Saturday, October 31, 2009

Change your clocks, change your batteries

Daylight savings time ends early tomorrow morning. On November 1st at 2am Daylight Savings Time it will become 1am Standard Time. One great benefit is that we all gain an extra hours sleep tonight!

But before you decide whether to set your clocks back Saturday night or Sunday morning, take a few minutes to pick up some new batteries for your battery operated smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Battery operated detectors need to have good working batteries in order to operate correctly. A good way to remember this is to change the batteries every time we change our clocks. So tonight when you're thinking about when to change your clocks take a minute or two to figure out what type of batteries your detectors take and pick some up. And then either tonight before you go to bed, or tomorrow morning when you get up, as you reset your clocks replace your detector batteries. In less than 5 minutes you can ensure that your detectors will be able to alert you in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide emergency.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Safety

Halloween is only a few days away. Different towns have Trick or Treat on different nights. Irregardless if you have children out that night or not, we all need to exercise extra caution during Trick or Treat.

If you're driving at dusk or later watch carefully for kids darting out between parked cars or crossing the road. While many costumes can be bright and colorful, some are dark and may not be reflective. It can be easy to get distracted looking at bright Halloween displays, but keep your eyes open for costumed kids near the roadway.

Like most parents I’m finishing up my kids' costumes. When you look at your child's costume think about how it will look at night. If it is a dark color does it have any reflective striping on it to help them appear more visible at night? You can make your child's costume more visible by adding reflectivity - reflective tape is sold at most fabric, craft and pet supply stores. They can also wear glow sticks and carry a flashlight.

Does your child’s costume cover their face? Does it need to? Sometimes a little make up can be more comfortable than a full face mask. It would be easier for your child to see when they are walking at night and if you think they might be running it might be easier for them to breathe if they aren't wearing a mask. Also how long is their costume? Will they trip over it? If it is a bit long you can use fabric tac, a glue stick, masking tape or duct tape to quickly shorten the length of the costume.

Are your children trick or treating with you or another adult? Are they going alone with other kids? Do you know where they will be? Plan out where you are going or make sure you know which roads your children will be on.

Remind your children to never visit homes that do not have lights on or not to visit homes of anyone they really don’t know. Double check their loot when they return home to make sure all treats are in unopened and sealed wrappers.

Halloween is a really fun holiday. A little caution can help keep it a safe one as well.

Happy Halloween!
I'm trying out

Monday, October 26, 2009


I used to have an "unofficial" routine. It worked well and I was getting things accomplished so I didn't really think about it. However over the summer the routine slowly disappeared. I think I never really noticed it until recently when some days I've found it has been a struggle to get several things accomplished in a single day. Sometimes we don't understand the importance of routines until we realize we've lost them.

Monday I tried to return to a routine. I blocked out times for different projects and activities. It worked really well until my youngest decided not to take a nap. I was counting on her nap time to get caught up on some computer work. Since the kids had watched some TV earlier in the day while I did some quality housework I really didn't want to rely on the 'electronic babysitter' for a second time. So the really ambitious routine fell apart.

So today on Day 2 of the new routine we're tweaking it a bit. Yes I still have a lot I want to accomplish, but I am not planning on nap time for focused work time.

Do you have a routine for working at home with kids? How do you organize your day to accomplish everything?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Have you changed your Smoke Detector batteries?

One of the taglines I miss this time of year is "Change your clocks, change your batteries". Now that the change from daylight savings time has moved it doesn't coincide with Fire Prevention Week. This year we will return to Standard Time on November 1st.

Fire Prevention week has just ended, but have you checked your smoke detector batteries? Have you tested your smoke detector? This is a good time to do so. In many parts of the U.S. and Canada the weather is really getting colder, we are turning on our heat or using our fireplace or wood fired stoves. A working smoke detector and working carbon monoxide detector are important to have. Unfortunately I know this first hand, we almost had a fire last winter. Fortunately I smelled the smoke, but discovered that we had malfunctioning smoke detectors in our basement.

In my brief smoke detector research this morning I found this neat website will all sorts of Fire Facts, in fact it is The site has great activities for kids, parents and teachers, including coloring pages, design your emergency escape plan, smoke detector basics and even some parent homework! The website is sponsored by First Alert, who is offering a 10% discount on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for visitors of this site. To find out about the discount visit First Alert's website at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 10/7/09

A friend posted this on their facebook page the other day. When municipalities cut budgets and cut municipal positions our safety is what is put at risk when there are fewer and fewer firefighters and police officers on duty.

You can create your own neat posters at

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fire Prevention Week 2009

October 4-10, 2009 is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Stay Fire Smart, Don’t Get Burned”. The focus is on fire safety and burn prevention. Burns are painful and easily avoided if we all follow some basic safety guidelines.

Burn prevention is simple, but yet we all probably don’t think of these simple safety guidelines:

  • Keep hot things away from the edge of the table or counter. It is tempting for young children to try to grab things just on the edge of their reach. It is also easier for us grown ups to bump or knock over things that are too close to the edge.

  • Keep young children away from hot appliances; this includes stoves and ovens, but also curling irons, hair dryers, irons and heaters. Don’t use or leave hot heating pads in a child’s reach.

  • Keep your hot water heater thermostat set no higher than 120 degrees. Extremely hot water can scald young children and older adults very easily.

  • Don’t rely on thermometers to check water temperature when bathing young children or assisting older adults. Check the temperature yourself. And never leave young children unattended near water.

  • Be carefully wearing loose clothing when cooking.

  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended in the kitchen, especially when frying or broiling.

  • If you have young children try to cook using only the back burners of your stove.

  • Be careful opening containers from the microwave. Hot steam can burn just as quickly as boiling water. Be mindful of the steam from tea kettles as well.

  • Keep paper, clothing, toys and other items away from fireplaces, heaters and gas appliances.

  • Have your heating equipment and chimney inspected yearly.

  • Keep smoking materials away from children, soft furniture, bedding or things that can burn easily. If you must smoke indoors make sure you don’t smoke when tired or on medication that might prevent you from properly extinguishing your smoking materials.

  • Don’t place scarves or other fabrics over lamps or lampshades.

  • Replace cracked or damaged electrical cords. Don’t rely on extension cords to regularly power appliances. If you need the extension cord all the time then it’s probably time to have an outlet installed.

  • If you have young children use outlet covers.

  • Contact an electrician if you have electric circuits that frequently trip or fuses that need frequent replacement.

  • Call 911 if you smell an electrical or burning odor from a wall outlet or appliance.

  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and test them frequently. Do not ‘borrow’ the battery from your smoke detector for another use.

If you do get burned:

  • Immediately cool the burned area with cold, but not ice cold water.

  • Rinse in cool water for several minutes.

  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.

If the burn is larger than your fist; is burned completely around a finger, arm, foot, leg; or immediately starts to peel or blister you should seek medical attention. If you suspect an electrical burn or have a burn caused by a fire CALL 911. You can not see on the outside the injuries caused on the inside by an electrical burn. Do not place burn creams or ointments on any burn. Rinsing with cool water and a dry bandage are your best first aid treatments.

We’ve all heard the term, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that can be applied very aptly to Fire Prevention Week as well as a host of other projects. The preventative measures we take now can prevent much larger repairs or injuries later.

Many of these tips and more can be found at the National Fire Prevention Association’s website at or

Friday, October 2, 2009

Starbucks Via

Anyone who knows me knows that I love coffee. I truly do. It's pretty rare to see me teaching or at work without coffee in my nearby vicinity. So it is probably no shock to anyone that I was at my local Starbucks this morning to taste test the new Starbucks Via, their instant coffee.

Well I was able to tell which coffee was the instant and which was the fresh brewed, which is probably not a surprise either. However this was no ordinary instant coffee. Now don't get me wrong here - I do enjoy a mug of instant coffee from time to time. Usually later at night when I'm wanting another cup and don't feel like brewing it. Starbucks Via is very much Starbucks. Strong, rich flavor - and it did take me about half of the cup sipping back and forth with the regular blend to figure out which cup was the Via and which was the regular brew.

So if you love Starbucks coffee, but want the convenience of instant; you'll love it! If you're not a fan of Starbucks and/or don't like strong coffee (yes, I know who some of you are!) then this probably isn't the instant for you. But you can always pick some up and have it on hand for those of us loving a strong cup of coffee.