Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Giveaway: Hyland's Taste and Soothe Event!

With the fall and winter holiday seasons approaching, travel is in the cards for many families across the country.  Sadly though, the onset of colder weather also marks an increase in occurrence of colds and flu.  As any parent can tell you, there's nothing more difficult than trying to care for your family when you are on the go and battling a cold; the exhaustion, discomfort, and inability to focus can slow down even the most enthusiastic parent.  So how can you fight back when you feel a cold coming on?  Funny you should ask! 

I was recently approached to do a review of a well-known, homeopathic, all-natural cold and flu remedy and I can honestly say that I wouldn't leave home without it!  From the company with over 100 years of commitment to homeopathy comes Hyland's Defend Severe Cold and Flu, a product designed to combat debilitating cold and flu symptoms including: runny nose, nasal congestion, body aches and headache, sore throat, and fatigue.  My sample arrived with everything you see (though they sent a far more adorable tea cup and yellow fuzzy socks which my daughter absconded with before I could photograph them!). 

I have previously used Hyland's products with mixed results, and was very impressed with the efficacy of this one. Hyland's Defend Severe Cold and Flu hit all the notes I look for in a cold and flu remedy: easy to take (dissolved completely in hot water without leaving behind any funky sediment), great taste (lightly honey-sweet with bright notes of citrus - soothing yet invigorating!), and effective relief of body/head ache, fatigue and congestion.  I should mention I did not have the flu or a sore throat when I sampled this product so I can't comment on its efficacy in managing those symptoms, but I was battling a headcold and was pleasantly surprised at how much better I felt after trying it (dramatic reduction in congestion and fatigue, and rapid relief from a stubborn headache).

That's why I am so excited to announce that as a participant in Hyland's Taste and Soothe Event, we at Travel-Tot would like to invite all of our readers to enter to win a free Hyland's package, including: an 8-packet box of Hyland's Defend Severe Cold and Flu, sweet little jars of honey, an adorable glass teacup, and non-skid fuzzy winter socks!  So whether you are enticed by my review of Hyland's Defend Severe Cold and Flu or simply wish to experience the product yourself, here's how to enter:

And the fun does not stop here! At the end of our contest, Hyland's will be partnering with Sampler to host a Facebook event that will make more than 1,000 lucky winners. Stay tuned to Travel-Tot's blog; details will be shared on Monday, October 28th when contest winners are announced!

Disclosure: Neither Travel-Tot nor Destination Mom was financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Please note: This event open to U.S. only and all entries to the Hyland's giveaway must be received not later than Monday, October 28th at 11:59am EST.

Friday, October 18, 2013

3 Tactics for Dodging Germs!

photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Cold and flu season is rapidly approaching, and dodging germs in a house with school-aged children is harder than trying to find an acorn in a leaf pile!  This fall, try to beat the odds by staying vigilant about avoiding germs with these 3 tips:

Avoid "germy" hot-spots: We can't keep kids home from school or in a hermetically-sealed bubble, but avoiding unnecessary places where germs are more common (i.e. playgrounds and play areas, public restrooms, shopping centers, restaurants) can help limit exposure.  If you do go out to one of these venues, come prepared; bring disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, urge children to keep their hands away from their noses and mouths, and encourage frequent hand-washing.

Vaccinate: Keeping your children's vaccinations up-to-date is critical.  Ideally, the vast majority of people over 6 months of age would also receive a flu vaccination each season to limit outbreaks, but at a minimum the following populations should receive an annual flu vaccination:
  • People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease
  • Pregnant women
  • People younger than 5 years (and especially those younger than 2), and people 65 years and older
  • Household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease
  • Household contacts and caregivers of infants less than 6 months old
  • Health care personnel
The flu shot is NOT approved for infants under 6 months or people with a severe allergy to the vaccine; also, people who have a moderate to severe illness and those with GBS should consult their physicians for information regarding vaccination.

Embrace healthy habits: Ensure that all household members get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, and get plenty of exercise; all of these healthy habits can help boost your immune system and give you an edge this cold and flu season! 
Safe and healthy travels!
-Destination Mom

P.S. - Don't miss our "Monday Giveaway" for a chance to win an amazing homeopathic, all-natural product that can help reduce the discomfort of cold and flu symptoms!!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Scare" Up Some Family Smiles!

Recently, over a cup of tea, a friend confided in me that one of the funniest memories she has from her childhood is of building an autumn scarecrow.  Every year her whole family (she, her parents, and her two sisters) would scour the house for old clothes and props to create their autumn masterpiece!  She said the whole experience routinely involved the family spending an entire day stuffing the body, arms,and legs, carving the pumpkin head, and decorating a "seat" for the scarecrow on their front step.  She recalled that many of their favorite family stories were shared over this bonding activity, and that many entertaining memories rose from it with each successive year.  She offered this fantastic "recipe" for a fun family day: 
 Build A Fall Scarecrow
  • one large shirt (they always used a flannel of their father's)
  • one pair of pants (these varied from year to year - she remembered stuffing tights to make a girl scarecrow one year!)
  • footwear (socks or shoes)
  • gloves (or mittens!)
  • one large pumpkin
  • about 8 hay bales (depending on how big of a scarecrow you are making and how much hay you want to use for the "seat")
  • paint/glitter/props (the props she remembered best were a yellow feather boa, a pitchfork, a fishing pole, a nerf water gun, and potted chrysanthemums - her mother's favorite for decorating around the "seat")
Decide on a theme for your scarecrow - everyone write down an idea and select one at random or hold a vote! Stuff clothes with hay, mingle liberally with laughter and enthusiasm.  Carve (or paint!) face of pumpkin, sprinkle with glitter, giggles, and love.  Arrange your creation together, finishing with shared family stories and seasonal snacks!  Once completed you have a magnificent scarecrow, and memories that will last a lifetime!

She mentioned that she still thought of all those years her family kept up their tradition every time she saw a scarecrow and that she planned to keep the tradition alive with her daughter once she was old enough to participate!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Haunted Halloween Fun: Zoos!

image courtesy of Tina Phillips/

All across the country, families are gearing up for Halloween and one of the most family-friendly, and increasingly popular ways to celebrate all October has to offer, can be found at your local zoo!  Many zoos have a month-long program or other special seasonal event that combines Halloween's spooky flavor with the natural joy of a day (or night!) at the zoo.

You may want to do a little research first and the AZA website is a great place to start!  From here you can locate any accredited zoo or aquarium in your area, along with contact information and direct links to their websites, which will contain calendars and event notifications for their unique October celebrations. 

Generally speaking, checking out the events and programs at your local zoo ahead of time can be helpful in determining whether the venue's offerings are appropriate for your child's age and emotional maturity; while some facilities offer a cute Boo-at-the-Zoo sort of theme that works for young children, some host more frightening displays or events designed for older kids.  Some even split the events so that daytime is more family friendly, while evening is a bit edgier!

Whatever the age of your little ghouls or goblins, your local zoo has spooky family fun in store!  So get on out there and scare up some smiles!

Safe and happy haunting!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Find a Farm and Family Fun!

image courtesy of Gualberto107/

Autumn is in full swing and one of our family's favorite fall activities is visiting local farms.  If you're new to the area, check out Local Harvest, a fantastic resource that can help you find local farms anywhere in the country (as well as farmer's markets!).  From hunting for that perfect pumpkin, to hayrides, corn mazes, petting animals, apple picking, cider making, and savoring the fresh, local flavors, farms truly have something for everyone!  So jump into the spirit this season and explore your locals farms; it's a great way to spend family fun time and get some fresh air and exercise!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Safety Check: Car Care Month!

image courtesy of stockimages/
October is Car Care Month, and the perfect time to prepare your car for the coming winter!  The tips below provide suggestions for a few basic preparations that could help ensure that your vehicle is in good working order before winter strikes. These tips may also just save you, and your family, the hassle of a winter breakdown and ensure that you are prepared should an emergency arise:

Inspect the battery: 
Examine the connections to your battery and be sure they are clear of debris. If your battery is near the end of its life, replace it before cold winter weather hits. Extreme cold can tax your battery and a weakened battery may fail to respond properly, leaving you, and possibly your family, stranded in bitter, potentially hazardous, conditions.

Examine belts and hoses:
Visually check all belts and hoses for wear and tear; replace those that are damaged as needed.

Oil and filter changes and fluid level checks:
Consult your vehicle's owner's manual, or a trusted mechanic, to determine the optimal interval between oil changes, and get one before the cold weather sets in. Be sure to have the oil filter changed too and to top off fluids, including: windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid.

Flush the radiator:
Have the radiator flushed to check for leaks; resolve any problems before cold weather sets in.

Check treads and rotate tires:
Inspect tires for signs of wear, damage, and proper inflation.  Be sure to rotate when necessary to avoid uneven tread wear.  Worn treads can pose a hazard in slippery conditions and improper inflation reduces not only fuel efficiency, but tire life as well. Replace tires if they are worn or over 6 years old. 

Update emergency supplies:
Ensure that all emergency kit supplies are fresh and functional; old flares, water, medicines, batteries, and food should be replaced. If you don't have an emergency kit, consider putting one together (click here for tips on that from Edmund's!) or purchasing one, like this one from AAA (be sure to include a few blankets, some water, and snacks); it could be the difference between life and death if you or your children are trapped in the cold for an extended period.

Roadside assistance:
A roadside assistance plan, like AAA's, is imperative if you travel extensively, particularly with children. In addition, it is advisable to always keep a fully charged cell phone in your vehicle and bring a car charger to keep it fully charged while you're on the road; having a phone available prevents you from having to rely on strangers to call for help!

Safe and happy travels!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Family Safety Sites We Love: The Safe Side

logo is the copyrighted property of The Safe Side, LLC

Any parent can tell you that when it comes to raising children, knowledge is power.  From helping your child take their first steps, to teaching him or her about personal safety, parenting is a learning curve!  That's why we love The Safe Side!  This phenomenal on-line resource is a must-see for teaching children about personal safety in a fun, non-threatening, informative way.   The Safe Side creates fun, effective safety videos for kids, ages 4-10, and study guides for families and schools. They highlight safety information on everything from how your child can keep "smart, cool, and safe," to avoiding potentially dangerous situations with people they "don’t know" or "kinda know," to internet safety.  Check out their site for more great information and free downloads!