I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Now that my daughter is driving it’s opened up an entire new area of gift options for the holidays.  To figure out what a new driver wants for Christmas I asked my daughter to compile this list.  Here are her top picks for gifts for new drivers.

Anzazo Car Essential Oil Diffuser

This essential oil diffuser is designed for cars.  It uses water-less diffusion technology to protect the electronic components of your car from water vapors. 

And you can use your favorite essential oils or pick up some here.

 

 

 

Aux Cord for iPhone

 

This cord allow you to input sound from your iPhone with a normal headphone socket. Easiest way to play music, audiobooks or podcasts in your car.

 

 

 

Roadside Assistance Car Emergency Kit

New driver or experienced driver, this is a must-have in your car. This emergency car kit will prove invaluable should you ever get stranded or if your car, SUV or truck unexpectedly breaks down in the middle of the road. Above all, it’s a matter of staying safe and always being prepared wherever you are.

 

 

 

 

Car Vacuum

This will allow your new driver to clean the interior of the car themselves saving you time and money running to the car wash.

 

 

 

 

 

Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses Vintage Sun Glasses

Inexperienced drivers will benefit from these polarized sunglasses which reduce glare reflected off of roads, bodies of water, snow, and other horizontal surfaces.

And, they are really good looking!

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I never thought I’d see the day where I was asking my hubby for kitchen appliances rather than jewelry or shoes but……well, life changes doesn’t it?  I’m trying to get my family to eat healthy (especially my husband who has Primary Progressive MS) but I barely have time to grocery shop let alone the time needed to make healthy meals.

What I’ve learned is that I needed kitchen gadgets that make cooking easier and faster with less clean up.  Here are the products that I either have or are on my wish list.

Instant Pot

Click to purchase on Amazon

I’m a huge fan of one pot meals in my crock pot.  I almost always have something in my crock pot at least two or three times a week.  I started hearing about the Instant Pot last year and this is on the TOP of my list now!  An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, crock pot, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/searing pan, steamer and warming pot all rolled into one handy item.  I originally thought that it was merely a pressure cooker and was able to cook brisket and other tough meats in a fraction of the time but then I learned it is so much more. This isn’t your grandma’s pressure cooker!  You can make mashed potatoes in minutes, rice comes out fluffy, ribs are tasty like slow-cooked but half the time – you can even make cakes in it!  And, unlike a traditional slow cooker, you can put frozen meat directly into it.  This

 

Nutribullet

Click to purchase on Amazon

I’m a huge fan of smoothies.  It’s a quick breakfast or lunch when I’m running late but even more importantly I can get in at least 4 fruits and veggie servings for me and the fam at the start of the day.  I literally get spinach into every one of my smoothies and trust me – it might be green but you do not taste the spinach at all! At first I thought I could just get by with my blender but I learned there’s a big difference! First, the Nutribullet mixer is the cup so no need to mess up another glass and then have to clean the blender like I used to.  Plus, with the Nutribullet I can just throw things in – no prep except for washing the fruits and veggies.  Most importantly, unlike a blender, the Nutribullet literally pulverizes every you put into to it which helps unlock vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (such as omega-3s) that have been trapped within the cell walls of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. It’s a smooth smoothie loaded with nutrients.

 

Whiskware Pancake Batter Mixer with BlenderBall Wire Whisk

Click to purchase on Amazon

 

My son loves pancakes.  My mom who lives with us is in charge of making pancakes on the weekends but it’s a ridiculous mess (she uses her old fashioned electric frying pan, no stove top for her!)  to clean up.  Plus I’d love my son to start doing this on his own.  Enter the Whiskware Pancake Batter Mixer.  The batter mixer cleans up in less than 30 seconds and parts are top-rack dishwasher safe. Plus, the base doubles as a stand to keep the mixer stable while cooking. Now if I could stop him from getting the syrup all over the place!

 

5-Blade Spiralizer Vegetable Spiral Slicer, Noodle Maker, Fruits & Veggies Slicer

Click to purchase on Amazon

I’m working really hard to get carbs out of our life but it’s hard when I have two kids who LOVE pasta!  I’ve been slowly introducing zoodles (zucchini noodles) with marinara sauce and they’re enjoying it.  But the price of one package of fresh zucchini noodles is ridiculous and if I buy them on the weekend if I don’t use them right away they get a little funky.  This Vegetable Noodle Maker makes perfect noodles quickly and a lot cheaper than buying them in the store.

 

 

GeniCan

Click to learn more at genican.com

Nothing makes me crazier than planning out my dinner menu only to find that I don’t have one ingredient because no one bothered to tell me that we ran out.  I’ll admit, sometimes that person is me!  I’ll finish up one of my spices and completely forget when I get to the grocery that I need to replenish.  The GeniCan puts an end to that.  This is a smart device that attaches to the inside of your garbage or recycling bin and scans the bar code on anything you’re throwing out.  So, when your kids finish the last piece of sandwich bread when they toss the wrapper into the garbage they can scan the bar code on the bag and it will automatically be saved to a shopping list on your smartphone or delivered directly through Amazon Dash.  If something doesn’t have a bar code, like a banana, just hold the peel over the sensor and you’ll be prompted to say what item you want added to your list.  I love the idea of having everything added to my grocery list as soon as it’s finished.  And, when I’m on the road for business I can have it all delivered!

 

 

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Last week I was invited to a Febreze Safety Immersion to learn more about what Procter & Gamble is doing to ensure consumers feel safe using Febreze products. I’ll admit, before going I didn’t use Febreze products as my first thought was “chemicals.” Well, I was wrong and what I learned about Febreze, both during the presentation by scientists and the cool lab tour, is that reading the label doesn’t tell the entire story.

The morning started with a presentation by one of Febreze’s principal scientists. Science has never been my thing so I was sure this would be way over my head but it wasn’t – the scientist did a great job of breaking it down and explaining how Febreze’s OdorClear technology works to neutralize odor rather than simply mask it. There’s no way I could accurately describe this to you, but the below video can and it illustrates how molecules in Febreze actually capture “bad odor” molecules to eliminate them.

The best part of the day was our tour of the lab where we did real “stink experiments” – and I do mean STINK! Who knew you could create body odor in a lab and package it, but yup – it smelled like some of the worst body odor I’ve ever smelled. It literally made my eyes water! The scientist then sprayed Febreze Fabric Refresher Free, which has no perfume in it, on one of the body odor towels and a competitive brand on the other. The “BO towel” with the competitive brand smelled like…well…floral scented body odor – it was pretty gross. The towel with the Febreze had absolutely no smell whatsoever. You can also learn about the three other types of odor cleaning technologies and how and why Febreze cleans away stink here.

So great – Febreze works, but the big question for me was whether Febreze is safe or toxic. What’s really in the product and, more importantly, what’s not? Febreze products don’t have phthalates, formaldehyde or flammable propellants. All P&G products including Febreze ingredients are listed on SmartLabel (if you don’t have this app you need it!) and by the end of 2019 P&G will share online all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01 percent for all their products, which includes more than 2000 fragranced products.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation and assumptions online about air fresheners that aren’t based on science or research. To address this, the Febreze team recently participated in the inaugural Household & Commercial Products Association Air Care Summit to share and assess the science behind air fresheners. The summit included academic and medical experts in toxicology, inhalation science, pediatrics and pulmonology medicine. The goal of the group is to help consumers make informed decisions about the Air Care products they use and provide accurate information.

I was amazed at how much I learned at this summit and have been talking Febreze OdorClear technology with my family ever since! Stay tuned as I’ll be posting some real-world experiments with Febreze of my own.

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

This past week I was down in Florida at the COX Smart Home where I got to witness and play with over 50 smart devices – and I do mean SMART!  I’m old enough to remember the TV program the Jetsons and, well, it felt like this was the real-life version of the show complete with a robotic dog that made me think of Astro.

While all of the devices were incredibly cool there were some that, as a mom I absolutely fell in love with and I’m dying to own!  Some you may already know about but here’s my list for you to check out:

ORAL-B Pro 5000 ToothbrushI’m sure I’m not the only mom who has to nag her kids every day to remember to brush their teeth and then still wonder whether they actually did or not. No more! With this Bluetooth enabled tooth brush I just need to download an app and I can actually monitor my kids’ brushing habits daily, weekly and monthly.  It has setting for people with braces and will alert you if you’re brushing too hard or not hard enough.  It also “maps” your mouth and will alert you if you’ve missed spots and areas you need to focus on more.

Ecovacs WINBOT W730 – It still amazes me that I consider one of the best Christmas presents I every received from my hubby was a vacuum cleaner.  But not just any vacuum cleaner – he got me a Roomba 960.  When I saw it at the COX Smart Home I actually told people that I had named mine – Li’l Jake.  But there were even more cleaning gadgets at this house.  My jaw dropped when I saw the WINBOT window-washing robot.  It automatically determines the window’s size, maps a cleaning path, cleans the window and then returns to its starting position.  I soooo need to try this out at my house!

The Feed and Go Feeder – As moms we have a million thinks to think about – making sure the kids remember their snacks and lunches, pick up and drop offs for activities and what to make for dinner.  And for those of us who have pets we need to think about having someone come in to feed them or give them their meds if we’re out late at a Little League game or dinner.  Now, there’s a new smart feeder for your dog or cat that will automatically feed your pet!  The Feed and Go Feeder has six cup size compartments that hold wet or dry food (or even meds) that you can control from your smart phone.  You can set your Feed and Go to give you real time messages by SMS and/or Email to let you know when your pet is about to be fed, or when he has just been fed, or both! Even better, if you have more than one pet you can control unlimited Feed and Go’s from one profile.

Yunmai Premium Bluetooth Smart Scale – You might not agree with me that a “smart” bathroom scale is what every mom needs but, let’s face it, we always put our self on the bottom of the list when it comes to health management.  This scale not only lets you know your weight but the most important body composition factors including body fat, body mass index (BMI), BMR, bone mass, hydration levels, muscle mass and body age.  The Yunmai body fat analyzer measures your body from head to toe and effortlessly tracks up to 16 different people with Bluetooth wireless technology.  This is definitely something that would keep me motivated!

It’s crazy to think how our entire home can now be run by the touch of a button.  As long as we have high speed data to keep it all running there’s nothing we can’t do

Stay tuned for my review of more cool items this week!

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Talk about “man’s best friend!” This survey done by COX Homelife clearly shows how important our four-legged family members are to us.  Find out how COX Homelife can help pet owners keep an eye on their pets when they’re away from home.

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Every year there are thousands of home fires and hundreds of fatalities due to Christmas tree fires.  This video just released by the Consumer Products Safety Commission is a harsh illustration of what can occur.

Here are some tips to help prevent Christmas tree fires and keep you and your family safe:

Choose the right lights

Try to use the cooler-burning “mini” Christmas lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older style burns much hotter and can start fires. Don’t use numerous light cords attached to each other.  Purchase a cord specifically designed with multiple outlets along the wire.

Use a stand that fits your tree.

As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.

Make sure it has enough water

Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Be sure that the water remains above the base at all times. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.

Position the tree properly and protect it

Never place a tree near a heater or other source of heat.  If you have pets or small children in the house place a gate around the tree to prevent the pets from biting on the wires or having it fall down. Keep paper away from the lights.  This includes wrapped presents piled up and homemade Christmas ornaments made from paper.

 

FireSafetyMonthDisclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

October is fire safety month, and most schools will be talking to our kids about what to do in case of a fire.  But how many of us really practice this at home? A recent survey by COX Homelife found that only 63% of homeowners have an fire safety emergency evacuation plan and only 49% of those have practiced it in the past year.

Take some time in the coming weeks and put together an emergency evacuation plan and practice it! Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Having properly installed smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a reported fire by half.  Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every level of the home.  Consider purchasing one with an escape light built in as well.  Put a note on the calendar to test the smoke alarm on the first of every month.
  • Keep fire extinguishers in various places around your home including the kitchen, garage, near the furnace and near any fireplace. Be sure you know how to use proper fire extinguisher for each situation.
  • If you are using a portable space heater, be sure it has built-in safety features, such as automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices and heat guards.
  • Purchase a 2-Story Emergency Fire Escape Ladder and keep it somewhere in or near your bedroom.
  • Teach your children never to try and put out a fire themselves but to leave the house immediately and call 911 from a neighbor’s home.
  • Take them to a fire department to see what a fire fighter looks like with the mask and all of his equipment on.  A child could be fearful of him and actually hide in a fire.

Cox Homelife-Home Escape on Back BurnerHave a fire drill once every few months so that everyone can practice.  Be sure you have two exits established in case one is blocked and practice by crawling on your hands and knees, counting how many “hands” it takes to get to the exit.  When a fire occurs the smoke makes it impossible to see and it could be necessary to crawl to the exit.

 

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

feature-home-security-house-moon

What’s worse than having a flood in your basement and your oil burner failing when it’s the coldest day of the year?  Having it happen when you’re 200 miles away from home which is exactly what happened to me this past weekend.

Once again I was away at one of my daughter’s All-Star Cheer competitions in Atlantic City when I got the call from my hubby that the house had transformed into a wet refrigerator overnight.  I like to think of myself as a “can-do gal” but these type of situations make me completely lose it!  And while my husband is cool and collected during these times, being in a wheelchair makes it difficult for him to deal with them as well.

But what if one of us wasn’t home?  Freezing pipes and the leak from the water softener tank could have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage.  That’s why new home automation systems like the one from COX Home Security are not only great for keeping your home safe but also managing heating and lighting, detecting high CO levels and protecting from flood and fire.

The integrated system, which is customized for each family, can be accessed online or from an app on a digital device.   The homeowner has a variety of options such as control of lighting, monitoring the temperature and turning on or off the heat, sensing a flood, setting up a trigger for the system to take a video snapshot every time the front door opens and wireless calling as a backup if power goes out or an intruder cuts the wire.

Plus the system is modular, so as a family’s needs grow, and technology evolves, new devices can be added without buying an entirely new system.

COX Home Life was featured this morning on Designing Spaces, the award-winning home improvement show.  You can learn more about the system in this segment.