Fun Fall Activities for You and Your Family

Fun Fall Activities for You and Your Family

Fall is officially here which means cooler weather (hopefully), pumpkins, beautiful foliage, sweaters and so much more. If you have kiddos at home, now is the perfect time to start planning some unique activities to do with them this season. Sure, picking out the perfect Halloween costume is great, but there are tons of opportunities to spend some quality family time and even throw some educational activities in too!

  1. Check out the local community calendar. – This time of year, it seems everyone has fun fall festivals going on. These are especially fun for kids as there are usually activities like face painting, hayrides and more. Here are a few happening right here in our own back yard:
    • Fall Festival on September 28 at Rhythm and Therapy Music Therapy Services.  (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fall-festival-tickets-70438947789)  – Open to current and past Rhythm & Therapy clients, as well as anyone in the community that has a child with special needs. The hope is that you and your family get a chance to have fun in a supported environment! Maybe even meet some new friends
    • Berry Patch Farms – Stop by anytime between October 5-30 and enjoy the day at the Pumpkin Patch. Take the hayride and take some beautiful pictures while you’re out there. http://www.berrypatchfarms.net/pumpkins.htm
  1. Visit an Apple Orchard – Fall is the perfect time of year to learn about seasonal fruits and veggies. Apples are the perfect example. Stop by an apple orchard where you can pick your own apples. Not only will it be a fun experience for everyone, but once you get home you can then turn all those apples into something else! Bake an apple pie, apple crisp, apple sauce, apple cider – The possibilities are endless. Depending on the age of the kids, you can even use the apples to make apple stamps and create a fun art project out of them. It also goes without saying that Apple Orchards are beautiful and also provide another good opportunity for photos.
  2. Jump in a Leaf Pile – Ok, all of you reading this have done this as kids. If you’re looking for a low-key, no spend activity, this is it. Rake all those leaves that have fallen in the yard up and voila! You have an instant afternoon of smiles and giggles. It is very difficult to jump into a pile of leaves and not have a big grin on your face after all.
  3. Go on a Nature Walk – The colors are beautiful. The leaves are falling off the trees. The weather is more manageable than the heat of summer. Get outside and go explore. Play a game of “I Spy” while you’re out there to see what kinds of things you can find. Collect leaves along the way, seeing how many different colored leaves you can find.

Fall isn’t just about what you can see either. While you’re on your nature walk, be sure to close your eyes and see what you can hear. Can you hear the wind blowing through the trees? Can you hear the leaves crunching under your feet? This same idea can be done with all of your senses. See if your kiddos can tell you what they feel (The cold air on their skin? The warmth of the sun?).

  1. Carve Pumpkins – One of the most loved fall activities – Pumpkin carving. After you pick out the perfect pumpkin, set aside some time to sit down and carve those things out. Reach in and get all the “pumpkin guts” out and let your kids decide what they want to carve into their pumpkin. It’s their masterpiece. If you have young kids who aren’t able to carve or if they don’t want to, why not paint the pumpkin or decorate it with markers or stickers. No matter what, a fall porch isn’t complete without a few artistic additions of the carved (or decorated) pumpkins. Plus, when you get done, you can roast the pumpkin seeds for a post-carving snack!
  2. Go camping – Pack up the car and find a family friendly campground where you can all enjoy the great outdoors. If you don’t want to go far from home, camp out in the backyard! Be sure to pack extra blankets and warm clothes for the cool evenings. Fall is the perfect time for camping. It doesn’t have to be complicated either – Pack a cooler full of hotdogs (and buns, condiments, etc.) and some s’mores ingredients (Camping isn’t the same without a s’more) and you’re all set! Ok, yes, you’ll need other snacks and extra clothes and who knows what else, because, let’s face it, kids are always hungry and you just never know what’s going to happen. Point being, sleeping under the stars is a beautiful alternative to a typical evening.

We could go on and on with all the fun activities you could do with your kids this fall. It’s a beautiful time of year to get outside and educate them with all the things happening in nature or stay inside and cozy up with some hot chocolate and watch a movie together. Whatever you decide to do this fall, we hope all of you have a beautiful season spending time with your family.

Important Product Recalls for Your Family

Important Product Recalls for Your Family

Wintergreen Essential Oil Recalled by Piping Rock

A failure to meet child resistant closure requirements left children at risk for poisoning, leading to a recall of Piping Rock’s Wintergreen Essential Oil. The recalled Piping Rock wintergreen 100% pure essential oil is in a 1/2 fl. oz. (15 ml) glass amber dropper bottle. Consumers should immediately place the recalled essential oil out of the reach of children and contact Piping Rock Health Products for a full refund. Piping Rock Health Products is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Trek Kickster Bike Recalled Due to Fall Hazard

All model 2013 through 2019 Trek Kickster bikes have been recalled — the steer tube clamp on the bike can break, posing a fall hazard to children. The bikes are made for toddlers who are learning how to ride a two-wheeler. The Kicksters do not have pedals so children can focus on balancing.  They come in black, blue, red and pink and “TREK” is written on the crossbar. Consumers should immediately take the recalled bikes away from children and take it to a Trek retailer for a free repair.

Infant Head and Neck Support Accessories Recalled for Suffocation Hazard

The Boppy Ebony Floral and Heathered Gray with model numbers 4150114 and 4150117 head and neck support accessories have been recalled. The firm has received three reports of babies’ heads being pushed forward chin to chest by the product. No injuries have been reported. Consumers should immediately stop using the head support and contact The Boppy Company for a full refund.

Potential Presence of Foreign Material Causes for Recall of Udi’s Classic Hamburger Buns

Conagra Brands is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity (approx. 2,200 cases) of Udi’s Classic Hamburger Buns due to the potential presence of small pieces of white plastic. The company discovered the issue which occurred when a dough scraper was inadvertently incorporated into the production process for a small amount of the product. Consumers who have purchased this product are advised not to consume it and to either throw it away or return it to the store where originally purchased. There have been no reports of injuries due to consumption of this product to date.

Possibility of Health Risk Involved with Mountain Mel’s Essential Goods Tea Varieties

The Milk Lady’s, Peaceful Baby, and Diges-Teas were recalled by Mountain Mel’s Essential Goods, LLC due to a potential Salmonella contamination. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Consumers who have purchased Mountain Mel’s The Milk Lady’s Tea with LOT # ML6271950, Peaceful Baby Herbal Tea with LOT # PB781950, and/or Diges-Teas Herbal Tea with LOT # DT7619100 are urged to take a photo of the product and lot label, email that to info@mountainmels.com for a full refund.

Spending More Time With Family

Spending More Time With Family

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget that the simple things in life are what sometimes bring us the most pleasure. And what better way to enjoy those simple moments than by spending more time with your family.

When you make it a point to spend valuable time with your family, not only will you grow closer to your children and your significant other, you will also create strong bonds, important love connections, and healthy relationships

 

Why Spending More Time With Family Is Important

Spending quality time with your family helps when it comes to coping with those unexpected challenges that sometimes arise. It also helps to instill a feeling of security, helps you and your significant other instill life-long values in your children, fills your children with confidence, and so much more.

Time with family is both meaningful and serves an important purpose. You should never think of spending time with family as a waste of time, or time lost when you could be earning more money to provide for your family. Even though you give money and possessions to your family, your time is what they need the most.

 

Family is Key

The family that your children grow up in has a big influence in the way that they will handle relationships, cope with difficult situations, and learn about living life. In order for your children to understand each of these concepts, it’s important that you spend as much time with them as possible. In short, be a proactive part of your family.

In order to do this, you need to actively block out family time within your daily schedule. When children spend quality time with their parents, the chances of them getting into trouble outside of the home are significantly decreased. Always remember that it’s not the amount of time that you spend with your family, but rather the quality of the time that you spend with them.

As children grow, it’s important to always try to meet them at their level, and to find ways to relate to them. Even as children grow into teenagers, never give up on spending time with them. After all, they may appreciate you spending time with them more than they are willing to communicate.

 

Why Is Family Time Important?

Spending more time with family is important because:

  • It builds a stronger bond between everyone
  • It provides everyone with time to talk, listen, and communicate
  • It teaches children valuable life lessons
  • It shows appreciation, affection, and encouragement
  • It instills in your children family values
  • It stresses the importance of family traditions and rituals
  • It teaches everyone to accept the differences in one another
  • It allows everyone to stay in touch with friends and relatives
  • It teaches the importance of sharing household chores
  • It helps parents to better connect with their children

 

Family Activities

Family activities are a great way to ensure fun time and keep everyone involved and active. While there are a host of fun activities to choose from, some activities may work better for your family dynamics than others. Some great family activities that you and your family will surely love are:

  1. Camping out in the back yard — Nothing brings families together better than roughing it. Share some scary stories by the fire and roast some marshmallows for Smores as a way to get cozy and spark up meaningful conversations.
  2. Going on a picnic — Sharing food in a peaceful park setting is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your family. After all, some of the best family bonding is done over a picnic basket full of goodies on a huge comfy blanket.
  3. Having a family game night — Family game nights are a great way to share some laughs while encouraging turn-taking and fair play.
  4. Enjoying a weekly family dinner — Why not schedule a weekly Sunday dinner at home? Not only can quality time be spent prepping the meal, but you can also share a great conversation talking about how everyone’s week went while you are all eating that special Sunday dinner.
  5. Volunteering — Volunteering is a great way to teach children about giving back to others. Why not spend some time at a local soup kitchen or volunteering at a local animal shelter. Regardless of the activity, you will all get closer while learning valuable lessons about community and the importance of giving back.
  6. Spending a day in nature — Nature hikes are the perfect way to learn about natural surroundings, parks, trees, and birds. Not only will you all learn a lot more about the nature that surrounds you, but you will also get in some much-needed quality time.

 

Spending Quality Time with Family is Time that will be Cherished in Memories Forever

Spending more time with your family is not about the quantity of the time you spend, it’s about the quality of the time you share with your loved ones. Even dedicating a small portion of your time can make a big difference in the lives of the ones you love. The time to spend more moments with your family is now.

Helping Older Siblings Adjust to a New Baby

Helping Older Siblings Adjust to a New Baby

Helping Older Siblings Adjust to a New Baby

Having a child is one of, if not the most precious, magical and rewarding experiences we can experience in life. Yet for families that already have other children, the introduction of a new baby into the mix can have a significant impact on the family dynamics and relationships.

Some children do quite well adjusting on their own, but others need additional support during this transitional time in their lives. One of the keys to making this transition with older adult siblings is opening up the lines of communication and foster a healthy connection between your children.

It’s not always easy for an only child or older siblings to adapt to having someone new in the family, especially if they know that their new sibling isn’t a temporary thing and is now receiving the majority of their parent’s attention. At first, it may seem impossible for the older child to accept the reality that he will no longer be the only one, but with these helpful tips, your children will be best friends in no time.

 

Prepare with Crafts and Other Activities

Before the new baby is born, a great way to get him to be more inviting is to prepare him with special arts and crafts projects about the new baby to come. Ask your child to draw pictures and tell stories about the exciting plans that the older sibling-to-be will have with his or her new brother or sister. This will allow the excitement of eventually being able to teach the baby how to play sports or even about their favorite pair of shoes. Asking them to draw a picture of what he is excited about will help your child to feel more comfortable with having to share space in the family. Don’t forget to hang his art on the fridge!

Acknowledge their Emotions

When it comes to new siblings, empathy is a must. Depending on how old the older sibling is, he may not immediately feel comfortable with telling you how he feels about this brand new situation. And, if he’s younger, he may not even know how to express it. Acknowledging how he may feel, especially the negative emotions that come with a new baby brother or sister, will ease his fears of being replaced, forgotten, less important, or simply left out.

Give them Reassurance

Acknowledging their emotions should never come without reassurance. After addressing his possible fears and doubts, it is important that you make sure he knows that his mixed emotions are valid and quite common when it comes to having a new sibling. But, even so, his fears will never come true. It will help even more to make sure he knows that he actually needed when it comes to being an older sibling, and that this new baby is very lucky to have someone like him.

Get them Excited to be a Role Model

It’s difficult for an only child to suddenly have to share his mother’s love, so it is extremely helpful to pump him up about how important he is as a role model; the protector, so to say. A great way to initiate this is by asking the older child who their role model is as well as why he looks up to that person so much. Whether it’s a family member or a favorite baseball player, let him know that that is how his new sibling will look at them. Not only will he feel a sense of pride, but explaining the importance of the older sibling acting as a role model will guide him through his own decision-making process too. After all, the choices he now makes must benefit his new sibling as well!

Let them be Involved

Allowing the older sibling to help out with a new baby will make them feel like their existence is still validated. Even simple tasks such as having them hold the baby while you do the dishes and allowing them to feed them a bottle will give the older child a whole new perspective on his role in the family.

Giving the older child special tasks will comfort by reminding them that their role in the family is actually needed and important. Furthermore, asking for their advice and opinions will do wonders for his send esteem. For example, let them choose their new sibling’s clothes or asking your child which book they think would be best to read to the baby that day.

Special Alone Time

Don’t forget to make it a point to schedule a special alone time with the oldest child. The new baby will take up a lot of time that he isn’t quite used to sharing, so even a special day each week will remind your oldest child that he will never be forgotten about, and also that he will still always be a special person.

Most Importantly, Don’t Force it

We tend to think that these tactics will succeed immediately, but the truth is, this adjustment takes time. Forcing the older child to pick out a toy or feed the baby a bottle will make their new sibling seem like nothing more than an annoyance or a chore. So, it’s important that you don’t push or force older siblings to participate in being involved with the baby right away, even in the sense of a role model.

Continue to pay attention to your oldest child, no matter how they initially react, or more commonly, doesn’t react at all, and eventually, they will come to you on their own.

Back to School Tips for Busy Parents

Back to School Tips for Busy Parents

The new school year will be here before we know it. Whether you’re sending your first child to school with a tearful goodbye, or rejoicing as your five school-age children disappear for eight hours so you can get some work done, this guide will help you be ready for this back-to-school season.

On the other hand, perhaps it is not your kids who are going back to school, but you. Many adults are returning to school for lifelong learning, a chance to finish that degree they never quite wrapped up, or to further their career.

This guide applies to you, as well! With these back-to-school tips, you will receive an “A+” in school preparedness.

Having trouble agreeing on parenting, school, visitation or other family-related issues with your former spouse? At The Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell, we know how stressful legal issues can be when children are involved. If you need help finding an amicable resolution related to your child, reach out to us today. Our caring and compassionate legal team will make sure you have one less thing to worry about when getting prepared for the looming school year.

Back to School Tips that’ll Get you an “A+ in Parenting this Schoolyear

1) Get to Know the Teacher

Meeting the teacher early on in the school year helps you open good channels of communication. If this is your kid’s teacher, you set a foundation for showing that you care how their education is going, which lays good groundwork before any parent-teacher conferences.

Taking this initiative will leave a good first impression with your teacher and will help you feel at ease knowing you are leaving your child in good hands. Use this time to build rapport and ask any questions you may have.

2) Take a Tour of the School

Walking the halls of school before the first bell rings helps in a number of ways:

  • Help your child learn the routes to and from class to avoid confusion
  • Find out where key areas are, such as the library, cafeteria, and the all-important bathroom
  • This practice helps settle first-day jitters, allowing for a more relaxed environment

3) Don’t Wait for Back-to-School Sales

Tax-free weekend sounds great, but many places hike up prices to make it look like items are on sale or that you save a lot of money by not paying sales tax. This event also makes you deal with huge crowds and potentially sold-out items.Avoid the pressure of cramming in back to school shopping the weekend before school begins by picking up items here and there as the summer progresses. Many schools publish a school supply list by grade online. Picking up a few supplies every week will also help you avoid breaking the bank.

4) Get in the Right Mindset

This tip is especially helpful with children who are going to school. Summer is fun, but they need to be eased into their new routine of “study before play”. A few weeks before school begins, start talking about what your family’s school year routine will look like.

Two weeks before school starts, abandon those late summer bedtimes for a normal school year bedtime. Establish if showers will happen the night before or the morning of. Prepare your children to avoid the shock of the end of summer. Start practicing getting up early to get in the habit.

5) Make Summer Fun but Educational

Be sure to fit in some pool days and summer relaxation but also take advantage of fun, educational offerings. For instance, tour an art museum or a science center. Take the kids on a nature walk and talk about different birds, insects, plants, and animals. There are many opportunities to enjoy the good weather while also learning!

6) Participate in Summer Reading Programs

Libraries have really scaled up the “fun” in these programs, and it helps young children retain early reading skills. Whether you read to your child or if they can read on their own, books can provide a world of entertainment and education. The rewards are great incentives to keep the kids involved, as well. Go sign up for your local program today!

7) Create a Family Calendar

Not only is school starting back up, but many activities resume as well. By scheduling any sports, hobbies, music lessons, or study groups, you can help avoid family members overbooking themselves, including you!

You can also use this calendar to create a set “homework time” after school each day. This could be immediately after school, right after dinner, or right before bed, for example. Do what works best for your family.

8) Plan Ahead

Have a spelling test on Friday? Quiz your kid on a few words each night to avoid a rush. Flying out the door every morning?

Here are a few things you can do to slow the morning down:

  • Shower the night before
  • Pack lunch the night before
  • Pre-pack a week’s worth of snacks to set out on the counter or in the fridge
  • Pick clothes out the day before and set them in the bathroom
  • Prep breakfast on Sunday to warm up all, or part of, the next week

9) Be Flexible

Each child is unique in the way they learn and performs best. Be flexible with plans, routines, and schedules. By keeping everyone’s individual needs in mind, you can set your family up for success in this coming school year.

Get Ready, the School Year will be Here Before you Know it!

Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll be well-prepared for the school year ahead. Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re a seasoned pro, planning ahead can take a lot of stress out of the process.

As family attorneys, the team at The Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell is here to support you in making the best decisions and providing the best opportunities for your children. If you need assistance with any family legal matters don’t hesitate to reach out.

Summer Safety Tips for Pool and Beach Days

Summer Safety Tips for Pool and Beach Days

Summer Safety Tips for Pool and Beach Days

With the approach of warmer weather comes the desire to go to the pool or hit the beach. Winter and spring sweaters and pants quickly get traded out for tank tops and shorts.

While enjoying time by or in the water is no doubt a popular pastime for those looking to beat the summer heat, water is not without its dangers.

At The Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell, we want you and your family to stay safe this season while enjoying your time at the beach or in the pool.

Follow these summer safety tips in mind for an enjoyable, memorable summer that you and your family won’t soon forget.

1) Plan According to the Weather

No one wants to get to the pool or the beach just to find out the weather is about to take a turn for the worse. Even if skies appear to be clear, check your forecast. In some areas, storms can show up in minutes without much warning. Lightning can also be hidden by clouds during the day, leaving you and your family vulnerable out in the open.

Weather Tips:

  • A light sprinkle won’t likely ruin the day, but be prepared to seek shelter if rain becomes heavy or if that rain is accompanied by thunder or strong winds.
  • Pack a picnic or some games that you can play under a park shelter while waiting out any nasty weather that pops up.
  • If heavy storms are expected, simply pick another day. Storms that involve lightning will likely result in an evacuation of the area due to safety concerns.
  • Be sure to bring along a change of clothing in case temperatures cool down or the wind picks up.

2) Bring Lots of Liquid

It is easy to get dehydrated without realizing it, especially if you’re in the water where its cooler. Make sure you and your family take regular breaks to drink water and other hydrating beverages.

3) Always Supervise Children

This cannot be overstated: it only takes a moment for a child to be swept away by a riptide or to go under the water in the pool. Do not take your eyes off of your children.

Some families even opt to have a designated “watcher” for 20 minutes at a time, a good practice that can save lives.

Water Supervision Tips:

  • Drowning is not the big, splashy event as portrayed in movies. It is often much more silent and not as noticeable.
  • Riptides are hard to notice, as well. If you are at the beach, it is best to educate yourself on what a riptide looks like and always have adults in the water with the children.
  • Do not allow children to watch other children.
  • When using life jackets, do not assume that this makes drowning impossible.
  • Have a way to call 9-1-1 always available.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Teach your children how to swim properly but do not assume this means that accidents will not happen.

4) Make Sure to Safeguard Bodies of Water

Whether you plan to be around the water or not, sometimes children make their own plans. Unfortunately, there are stories of kids who escape the house and end up in the pool despite their parent’s best efforts to protect them.

Precautions you can Take:

  • If you are swimming, find a place with a lifeguard and always use a buddy.
  • Make sure that pools have proper barriers around them that cannot be easily accessed by children.
  • If someone is missing, check the water first. Time matters in this situation, and it is important to rule out water.
  • If caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore or tread water until help arrives.

5) Watch Out for the Wildlife

While wildlife encounters are bound to happen every now and again, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your family’s safety when face to face with Mother Nature’s creatures.

Wildlife Saftey Tips:

  • Check with locals or lifeguards to see if there are known issues with jellyfish or other animals.
  • If someone is stung by a jellyfish or stingray, avoid “old wives’ tales”. Instead, immerse the sting in water that is as hot as you can bear, or use a cold pack, to bring pain relief. You can prepare for this by keeping cold packs in a cooler.
  • Shuffle your feet when walking the beach, instead of walking normally, as stingrays only sting when stepped on.
  • If you encounter a wild animal (such as a boar at the beach), do not approach them. Calmly try to leave the area to avoid spooking the animal.

6) Always Wear Your Sunscreen

While most people are great at remembering the first initial application of sunscreen, it is remembering to reapply in a timely manner that can be an issue.

Tips for Time Under the Sun:

  • Even if you want to get a tan, be sure to put on some sunscreen. Excessive tanning has been linked to high rates of cancer.
  • Look for SPF 30 and ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium.
  • Lotions are better for application than sprays, which can miss areas.
  • Be sure to reapply every couple of hours.
  • Always wear light-colored clothing and hats to prevent overheating and to provide an extra protection for your skin.

Make Your Summer Unforgettable in a Good Way

Following these safety tips will help you and your family avoid potential accidents over the summer, especially when around water.

Summertime is for making memories with family and injuries can get in the way of having a fulfilling summer. Spending time by the water is one of the most fun activities summer has to offer, and observing these safety tips will help your family maximize the fun.