Sunday, November 28, 2010

Upcoming Review From CSN Stores!

I love being a preferred blogger for CSN Stores.  It allows me to offer giveaways and host product reviews on a monthly basis.  For Christmas this year, my family has decided to fore go the presents and take a trip to Florida to visit family and go to Disney!  We are very excited!  Having 3 boys, something that would come in handy for us is children's luggage .  We usually just pack out things in one large suitcase on wheels and many different bags.  I think the kids would enjoy having luggage of their own.

Visit CSN Stores for all your holiday shopping this season.  They offer free shipping on tons of different items and they have a price guarantee.  If you see any particular item on a different site for less (including shipping), email them using the special link and get a special code for the lower price!  I love that!

Stay tuned for my review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frugal Friday! Energy Costs

Well, as promised, I'm trying to get back into my Frugal Friday series.  I'm in the middle of 3 cake orders for tomorrow so today's tips will be short. 

Recently I had NYSERTA come in and do some energy saving things in my home.  This was a free service to us because we received HEAP last year to help pay for our heating bill.  I feel like I basically know what it takes to cut down on my energy bill but they did give me some interesting information as far as putting numbers into the equation.  It costs, on average, .17 per hour to run your electric dryer!  WOW!  With the amount of laundry I do, that adds up very quickly.  I'm guilty of being very lazy in this area.  I do have a clothes line outside but really, I can only use it in the spring and summer.  I have a retractable clothes line in my bedroom but that holds like 1/4 of a load!  I honestly don't have room for those wooden drying racks so other than the dryer, what's a family to do?  I'm thinking of hanging another indoor line and at least hang half of each load.  I also learned that you use more energy using a dryer if you aren't cleaning the lint filter after every use.  Obviously, it runs longer if the lint filter is clogged.

They also changed 16 light bulbs to the super energy efficient compact florescent bulbs.  They produce the same amount of light and use a whopping 75% less energy than a regular bulb.  Over the life of one CFL (compact florescent light bulb) you can save up to $70!  Multiply that times every light bulb in your house and that's a decent amount of money  back in your pocket!

So here are some frightening numbers for you as far as average costs to run different things around your house.  The numbers are based on NY State average electricity cost of .16/Kwh.  Appliances obviously vary so these are ballpark estimates.

42" HDTV:  6 hours per day = $7.01/month
Radio: 6 hours per day = $1.44/month (listen to the radio for that "white noise" instead of the TV!)
Computer: 6 hours per day = $7.82/month
Fish Tanks: $14.03/month
Waterbeds: $16.77/month
Swimming Pool Pump:  12 hours per day = $150.69/month!!  My brochure says we run these much longer than needed and suggests a timer.

Did you know that you can lower your heating bill by 1% for EVERY DEGREE you lower the thermostat for an 8 hour period!  Hello!!  Get some extra blankets and turn that heat down at night!  This is the example given:

Lowering your thermostat from 70 to 68 for a 24 hour period saves 6%
Lowering your thermostat from 68 to 60 when away from home or sleeping for 8 hours saves an additional 16%

These savings add up to 22%  and for every $1000 you use to heat your home, that's a savings of $220!!!  Holy Cow!  I really think I need to be better about this at night!  I freeze all winter long so I'm guilty of not turning it down.  I think I'll change my plan since we're not applying for HEAP this year. 

This one hits home for me as a SAHM with a cake business...on average it costs .17 per hour to run my gas stove!!!  Puts my costs more into perspective and makes me think twice about what I'm charging for cakes!

I've got more info but no time.  I hope some of this info helps you and gives you the desire to change!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Night Terrors: YIKES!

If you've read previous posts, you know that my Max has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction).  Now that his routine is established and he's back in therapy in school, things have mostly gotten better.  Summertime is hard for Max because we're more relaxed and don't really have any kind of schedule.  It took him a few weeks to get back into the routine of school and homework and set bedtimes.  I'm thinking ahead of time and have decided that when summer rolls around again, we need to figure out how we can keep him on some sort of schedule.  

It's only been this school year that we're really understanding how this SPD works and how we can help Max deal with it.  We've tried a couple of things to make up a sensory diet for Max.  This isn't a diet that involves food, this is a diet of different techniques we do with Max to help him calm his senses.  We do brushing before and after school and that seems to be the most beneficial to Max.  I occasionally, although should do it every time, do joint compression after the brushing and we got Max a small indoor trampoline for him to jump on.  In church we use our fingers to tickle his arms and back and it's like magic to get him to calm down and behave. 

We've noticed that Max's behavior and the severity of the SPD on any particular day is almost always directly related to his sleep pattern from the previous night.  The first time Max had a night terror, needless to say, my husband and I were scared!  To see your child in that state is truly terrifying!  I remember at one point before we had the diagnosis of SPD thinking he had some sort of Schizophrenia!  For Max, and I guess is characteristic of night terrors, is that it happens early in the night, usually 1-4 hours after going to bed.  There's no set pattern for him as far as the frequency.  Last night, he got up, came to the kitchen for a drink and by the time he got back to his bedroom he was crying really loudly.  This is the first time our oldest, Zachary, had witnessed one of his episodes.  Zach went to him and asked him what was wrong and I heard Max say "I don't know."  Zach got him back into bed and layed with him until he fell back to sleep.  This was a rather short and mild episode compared to some I remember.  I can remember one time when he cried hysterically and insisted that there were spiders all over his bed.  He cries loudly (without tears), taps his fingers together nervously, looks terrified, has no idea what's going on, doesn't seem to know who we are sometimes and never remembers in the morning.  You can bank on him having a terrible day if he's had a bad night.

Max has always had trouble calming down and going to sleep at night.  I know all the experts say (and some friends and family with sometimes unwanted advice) that the bedroom is only for sleeping and I shouldn't let him read in bed or listen to music but I find that these are the things that may help him.  If the kid has trouble winding down, should I simply tell him to lay in bed for an hour until he falls asleep?  Then he's up and down twelve thousand times with different excuses every time for why he's out of bed!  There are only so many things that work with Max as far as getting him to do what he's told.  I can't simply tell him to stay in bed and have him listen, he just doesn't work that way.  In fact, there are very few things that might work.  The threat of not having computer privileges the following day seems to be the thing of the moment. 

SPD kids are so hard to deal with on a day to day basis but Max's sense of humor and his deep love for his family just amaze me.  These are kids that are definitely misunderstood and looked upon as kids who are simply "bad kids" who just don't want to listen.  As their parents, we're judged as bad parents because we can't "control" our kids.  Our SPD kids have trouble making friends in school and are sometimes looked upon as "one of those kids" by classmates parents.  You know, the kids you say "ugh, I don't want that kid coming to the party" or "that kid cannot come to my house."  It's heartbreaking to have a misunderstood child.  It's heartbreaking to think that people can't look beyond these issues to see the heart that my child has.  That's why, as an SPD parent, I'll do what I can to help him with his sensory diet and to help him figure out how he can deal with it when I'm not there to help him.  My heart goes out to all you families dealing with these issues.  We've got super special precious children.  God chose us to be their parents for a reason.  Love, learn and teach!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Missing In Action and a little ranting.

I think part of the reason I quit doing regular posts about everyday life in my surrounded-by-boys world is because I feel like they're falling on deaf ears.  Man, the blogger world is fickle!  What's the key to having loyal followers who like to comment on posts?  I think in my blogging world I feed off your reactions and comments.  If I'm getting nothing, I guess I'll give nothing. 

Maybe I'll actually take the time to sit and get some things written and see how it goes.  I'd hate to be a blog that only does reviews and boring!  So, I'll try to update regularly on Max and his SPD and I'd love to continue my Frugal Friday series I abandoned before it even got established.  I've been doing lots of thinking about the direction of my blog.  A sort of support group type blog for other parents dealing with on being more & giveaways...a bit of all?  What do you, my followers, look for in an interesting blog?  I'd love to know.