Need a last minute Christmas or holiday gift idea? Give the gift of charity

December 24, 2017

Are you a last minute shopper or have someone on your list that has everything so you have no idea what to get them?

Consider giving a gift that can help others in their time of need on behalf of your family and friends.

For example:

  • Donate to The Salvation Army as they continue to serve disaster survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate.  Whether its food, drinks, shelter or cleaning supplies, The Salvation Army provides practical assistance.
  • Charity Choice allows you to select plastic gift cards, printed cards or e-cards, good for redemption online at one of their 100+ partner organizations (or a specific charity of your choosing). They also have a list of dozens of nonprofit groups involved with helping those affected by recent hurricanes ~ learn more
  • TisBest Charity Gift Cards work like any other gift card, except that instead of buying more stuff, the recipient spends it to support a charity of their choice. You choose the donation amount and a customizable card image, and their email and print-at-home options let you send or receive an order instantly.
  • World Vision lets you choose a gift to donate, help children and families in need, and honor loved ones with a free personalized card.

There are many other incredible organizations online that have similar e-gifting options for the holidays and year-round so search around for one that fits your needs.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays, j & B

Study finds choking on food still common among kids (plus tips on how to help a choking child or adult)

July 29, 2013

Here’s an interesting Monday musing…

Did you know about 34 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every day for choking on food, according to a new report?!

According to U.S. News, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, looked at a national database, comparing the numbers of choking injuries year by year.

In 2001, about 10,400 U.S. children were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal choking on food. From 2001 through 2009, the annual estimate of non-fatal injuries was about 12,400 children, aged 14 and under, Smith found.

The average age of the children treated was 4.5 years old, and the age group of children from newborns to 4 years old accounted for about 62 percent of the episodes.

The top 5 foods involved in choking incidents were candy, meat, bone, fruits and vegetables. Hot dogs made the list but they were #11 according to MD Mama. Read more about the new study online and in the August print issue of Pediatrics.

So … would YOU know what to do if you see a child or adult choking..?

Things to watch for…

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing or choking for several minutes
  • Gripping the throat with one or both hands
  • High-pitched wheezing
  • Bluish color of skin, lips, fingertips/nails, and earlobes

NOTE: There are TWO separate “What to do…” parts here… one for ADULTS & CHILDREN and one for INFANTS!

choking adult heimlich maneuverWhat to do… for ADULTS & CHILDREN (Children over age 1)

  • Tell victim to try and cough it out. Ask “are you choking?” If victim nods yes, tell him/her you are going to help. (Be prepared to do the Heimlich maneuver.)
  •  Stand behind victim, wrap your arms around him/her and place your fist (thumb side in) just above victim’s belly button well below the breastbone.
  • Grab the fist with your other hand and give quick, upward thrusts into their abdomen.
  •  Continue giving thrusts until the object is coughed out and victim can breathe, cough or talk or until he/she stops responding or passes out.

If ADULT or CHILD stops responding or passes out:

Yell for help, check breathing, and position victim on a flat surface so you can begin CPR (30 compressions and 2 breaths) – or do Hands-only CPR – to help force object out.

choking-infant-backslapsWhat to do… for INFANTS (Newborn to age 1)

  • If infant stops breathing, have someone call an ambulance.
  • Turn infant face down on your forearm and support its head with that hand — hold at angle so it’s head is lower than chest. (May want to brace arm holding infant against your thigh.)
  • Give 5 back blows between infants’ shoulder blades with the heel of your other hand.
  • If no object comes out, turn infant over so it is facing up on your forearm (still at an angle so head lower than chest) — use your first two fingers to find the center of the breastbone on infant’s chest.
  • Give 5 thrusts to infant’s chest using only 2 fingers! (Each thrust should be 1½ inches [3.81 cm] deep!)
  • Repeat steps until infant can breath, cough, or cry or until he/she stops responding or passes out.

If INFANT stops responding or passes out: 

Place infant on a firm, flat surface above ground (like on a table or counter) so you can begin Infant CPR.

Additional Resources:

Learn more about CPR from the American Heart Association or find a CPR class near you … or contact your local Red Cross about their First Aid and CPR courses.

And visit the Child Injury Prevention Alliance for some choking prevention tips.

Stay safe out there, j & B

12 Deadliest Garden Plants (descriptions, photos and symptoms of poisoning)

January 31, 2013

We wanted to share a great post from about 12 deadly plants that parents and pet parents need to be aware of. Danielle Blundell provides photos, descriptions of the plant including the deadly parts of each, and the toxic toll it can take on small children and critters.

12 deadliest garden plants

Your garden may be a relaxing retreat, but it’s not a place to let your guard down, especially when it comes to small children and the family pet. Some popular plants you prize for their ornamental beauty can turn into toxic killers within minutes if ingested, whether consumed out of curiosity or by mistake. With this list you’ll know what flowers, shrubs, and berries to warn young, inquisitive minds about and which bushes and flowers to keep out of paw’s reach. You’ll also learn the symptoms of poisoning because—after prevention—rapid treatment is the only defense against death.

Continue reading on

Emotional Recovery Tips – Handling Emotions After a Disaster

November 2, 2012

Hurricane aftermathSince disasters usually happen quickly and without warning, they can be very scary for both adults and children. They also may cause you to leave your home and your daily routine and deal with many different emotions, but realize that a lot of this is normal human behavior.

It is very important that you understand no matter what the loss is… there is a natural grieving process and every person will handle that process differently.


Right after disaster – shock, fear, disbelief, hard time making decisions, refuses to leave home or area, won’t find help or help others.

Days, weeks or months after disaster – anger or moodiness, depression, loss of weight or change in appetite, nightmares, trouble sleeping, crying for “no reason”, isolation, guilt, anxiety, domestic violence

Additional reactions by children – thumb sucking, bed-wetting, clinging to parent(s) or guardian, won’t go to bed or school, tantrums (crying or screaming), problems at school

Please note: If any of your disaster reactions seem to last for quite some time, please consider seeking professional counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is nothing wrong with asking for help!


Death – You may lose loved ones or need to handle bodies during a crisis.

Deal with it – Recognize your own feelings so you can deal with them properly and responsibly.

Talk or not? – Talking to others can help relieve stress and help you realize you are not alone… other victims are struggling with the same emotions, including your own family. And don’t leave out the little ones … let them talk about their feelings and share your feelings with them. But don’t force anyone to talk about their feelings since they might cope better by keeping their thoughts private.

Accept help – Realize that the people who are trying to help you want to help you so please don’t shut them out or turn them away.

Time out – Whenever possible, take some time off and do something you enjoy to help relieve stress… and do something fun with the whole family like a hike, a picnic, or play a game.

Rest – Listen to your body and get as much rest as possible. Stress can run you down so take care of yourself and your family members.

Slow down – Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once and pace yourself with a realistic schedule.

Stay healthy – Make sure everyone cleans up with soap and clean water after working in debris. Also, drink lots of clean water and eat healthy meals to keep up your strength. If you packed vitamins and herbs in your Disaster Supplies Kit, take them.

Work out – Physical activity is good for releasing stress or pent-up energy.

handling emotions after a disasterHug – A hug or a gentle touch (holding a hand or an arm) is very helpful during stressful times.

They’re watching you – Kids look to adults during a disaster so your reactions will impact the kids (meaning if you act alarmed or worried – they’ll be scared, if you cry – they cry, etc.)

Stick together – Keep the family together as much as possible and include kids in discussions and decisions whenever possible.

Draw a picture – Ask your kids to draw a picture of the disaster to help you understand how he or she views what happened.

Explain – Calmly tell your family what you know about the disaster using facts and words they can understand and tell everyone what will happen next so they know what to expect.

Reassurance – Let your kids and family know that they are safe and repeat this as often as necessary to help them regain their confidence.

Praise – Recognizing good behavior and praise for doing certain things (even the littlest of things) will help boost morale.

Watch your temper – Stress will make tempers rise but don’t take out your anger on others, especially kids. Be patient and control your emotions.

Let kids help – Including children in small chores during recovery and clean up processes will help them feel like they are part of the team and give them more confidence.

Let others know – Work with your kids’ teachers, day-care staff, babysitters and others who may not understand how the disaster has affected them.

Above extracted from IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? by Bill and Janet Liebsch


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