illumibowl Toilet Night Light Review & A Giveaway!

** Disclosure: illumibowl provided me with a free product in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. They are in no way influenced by receiving the product for free.

For years we’ve struggled with Haley being afraid of the dark. Illumibowl is the remedy to that. Every night we’d leave the bathroom light on for her. I have to be honest when I say nightlights scare me. With any plug in all I think about is fire. Keeping on the bathroom light isn’t a huge hassle. But, the light does shine right under our bedroom door. Sometimes it makes it hard to go to sleep. But, now we don’t have to leave the bathroom light on anymore!

Have you ever seen the television show Shark Tank?! If not, it’s at the top of my list for TV show recommendations. Shark Tank is a television show that airs in the United States and Australia. It features six investors (also known as “sharks”) worth billions. Individuals come on the show hoping that one, or multiple, sharks will invest in their idea. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, I absolutely love the show!

Illumibowl is one of the products that was pitched on Shark Tank. Of course, like any great product, they made a deal. Kevin O’Leary offered them $100K for 25%. They accepted the deal. I mean, why not? Kevin O’Leary is “Mr. Wonderful” after all. But, what’s all the hype about?

Thanks to Illumibowl we no longer have to keep the bathroom light on all night!


This toilet night light has so many great key features. Its battery life is outstanding. The design is simple but does its job. Plus, it’s affordable.

Illumibowl Features

  • Motion Activated 
  • One size fits all! It fits any toilet
  • 8 different colors to chose from. You can even set it to rotate the colors!


This product doesn’t take up a lot of space either. You can barely notice that it’s there. But, it’s a fun little contraption to have. Great conversation starter, too. I think the Illumibowl will be a huge hit at our house during Halloween this year. Haley already has to tell me every time it changes colors and what color it is.

It’s easy to install, too. You just stick it to the outside of the toilet with the suction cups that are attached to it. The LED light has a suction cup, too. You just put that on the inner rim of the toilet. Really easy to remove and clean, too. Just take a rag to it.


Are your wheels turning now?! I know mine were when I was first introduced to this great idea. You’ll be happy to hear it’s affordable, too! I know that sounds crazy. How can such a cool gadget be super affordable? Don’t ask me. Ask the intelligent individuals who invented this product.

You can find the illumibowl for as little as $12.99 at many retailers. It’s available online as well as in many retail stores.

Buy The Illumibowl!

The Illumibowl Website

Bed Bath & Beyond


Win Your Own Illumibowl!

One of you lucky fine people will have a chance to win your OWN Illumibowl! The fine people at Illumibowl have agreed to gift one lucky reader of Dogs + Kids their very own toilet night light.

It’s easy to enter. Just use the Rafflecopter widget below!

Illumibowl is the sponsor behind this giveaway. They have agreed to ship (1) Illumibowl Toilet Night Light to (1) individual. Dogs + Kids is not responsible for shipping the item. All inquiries in regards to the shipment, quantity, quality, or any other questions in regards to the prizing of the Illumibowl should be directed to the giveaway sponsor. You can reach them via e-mail at:

The sweepstakes starts October 29, 2016 at 12:00 AM. The sweepstakes ends November 5, 2016 at 12:00 AM. Winner will be picked at random with One winner will be contacted on November 6, 2016 via e-mail. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to the e-mail. In the event the winner does not respond, will be used again and another winner will be picked. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright all you pro’s out there on raising children! What’s your #1 tip on helping children conquer the “afraid of the dark” fear? Let’s hear it! Although, I have to admit, sometimes I’m not fond of the dark either. 

Quick Guide: Monetizing Your Blog

** Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and subscribe or make a purchase I will receive a commission. This is what keeps Dogs + Kids running!

Monetizing your blog is possible from day one. Now, I say it’s possible. I don’t say you’ll be an overnight millionaire. Now, if you have had that kind of success, please e-mail me! Because, I’m pretty sure you’re the cousin who borrowed $20k from me a few years ago. All jokes aside, monetizing your blog is a process. You should look forward to long nights. Some days you may even feel like giving up. But, if you truly believe blogging is your passion – work for it! Because it is true that if you love what you do – you’ll never work a day in your life. 

Technically, I became a “blogger” 14 years ago. I was the generation who survived on daily doses of FreeOpenDiary, LiveJournal, Xanga, and MySpace. But, that’s another story for another day. I didn’t realize you could make money blogging until about two years ago. That’s when I started my first blog. Many of ya’ll may be here from that blog: The Southern Bark. The Southern Bark hung around for about a year. But, my audience wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Believe me when I say it’s sort of difficult to create content in such a little space. I was focusing on pet owners, of course. Which we all know is huge. But, I was really only trying to target pet owners in the South. My audience needed to be widespread.

But, I still found ways to monetize The Southern Bark. Even if, in a year, my page views didn’t reach 5k. To be honest, I didn’t monetize the blog per say. I monetized the the blog presence on social media. Once again, that’s another story for another day. Then I began The Thrifty Bark. Another pet focused blog. But, it wasn’t narrowed down to one region. That blog is still up and hanging in there. (Visit The Thrifty Bark) Although I should add content more frequently to it. I have monetized that blog somewhat. Mostly in product reviews.

My real hero came when I created this blog, Dogs + Kids. I believe I have found my “comfort point.” With this blog I am able to combine my three greatest passions. My kids, the pet industry, and writing. Plus, children and pets reach a large audience, too. Who doesn’t love cute babies and puppies?! Since my focus is wider I can create more content, too. I’m far from rich. You can see HERE I only made $1074.38 in my first 10 months when I began monetizing my blog. Now that I am 100% dedicated to my blog, more opportunities have came around.

Yep. Blogging is my FULL TIME job!

So, if you’re ready to monetize your blog, here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Always remember: you have to work to see progress in your blogging. You have to dedicate time, sweat, and sometimes tears. But, in the end, if it’s your passion, it’ll be worth it. You’ll have no problem monetizing your blog!

monetizing your blog


Quick Guide: Monetizing Your Blog

Affiliate Programs

If you’re looking for a genius in affiliate marketing, I’m not your girl. I mean, I know what they are. I know where to find them. But, I don’t do well on making money from them. But, it’s a learning process. I’m getting there. I will be successful!

So, what are affiliate programs? Affiliate programs are where you are advertising someone else’s product. It may be a digital download, clothes, jewelry, pet supplies, the choices are endless.

There are many different ways you can incorporate affiliate links into your blog posts.

Incorporating Affiliate Links Into Your Blog Content
  • Text Links Adding affiliate text links are a great way to earn money by sharing products you love. For example, you’re writing a great DIY post. Let’s say you have to have a pair of scissors to do this project. It just happens that you have a brand of scissors you love. Suggest those scissors in your post. Provide an affiliate link in the post so your audience can buy the scissors. Plus, you’ll earn a percentage from the sale, too!
  • Banner Ads Banner ads are a great visual placement. Many affiliate programs provide their affiliates with eye catching banners. These can be placed on side bars, in headers and footers, or even throughout pages and posts. Let’s say you’re a member of the Cricut affiliate program. You write a post on the awesome shirt you made thank to your Cricut machine. You can place creative banners throughout your post. Some may even feature special discount codes for your audience only.
Trusted Affiliate Programs


ShareASale is a great program. They have great affiliates. Many popular ones, too. Some examples of companies in their network include: Cricut, CityPASS, and many more!


Conversant, formerly Commission Junction, is another trusted affiliate program. There are major brands part of their network, too. You can find Stitch Fix there!

Rakuten LinkShare

Another great program. Rakuten LinkShare has great companies in their network, too. You’ll find companies like Dog Is Good & Melissa and Doug!

Sponsored (Paid) Posts

I’ve done my fair share of sponsored/paid posts. I’ll break it down as easy as I can as to what these posts are:

  • Brand has a product/service/information they think would be valuable to your blog audience.
  • You contact brand/brand contacts you
  • They tell you what all is expected of you (length of post, how many posts, if there will be a giveaway, social shares, etc.)
  • They discuss compensation (I have seen compensation for sponsored posts $1000+)
  • They give you a deadline or you give the brand a deadline.
  • You do what is expected of you and send the brand the links.
  • Brand gives you feedback
  • You get paid!

The most frequent piece of advice I hear in reference to sponsored posts is that most bloggers have success reaching out to brands. Not waiting for them to come to you.

Now, I have reached out to a few brands. But, have not asked for compensation other than a product to review. Some have happily provided me with a product. Some have told me they couldn’t.

Rejection is just part of the game!

There are some GREAT networks out there for bloggers. Networks that will connect you with brands for sponsored post or paid social media shares. I have a post that I created a few months ago that lists networks that I know help bloggers connect with brands.

4 Ways I Make Money Blogging

There are many other ways that will help you monetize your blog. Including just placing advertisements on your blog. But, most of these require you to have quite a bit of traffic to see any income. If you monetize your blog, how do you do it? 

Family Adventures In The South

I love finding new places to visit that are near by. Whenever we take family adventures we tend to stay in the south. Although we have dreams of traveling all over the world. Since Haley came into this world, we’ve taken quite a few family vacations. We have yet to take Dray on one. But, this upcoming year that will be a possibility. We can’t wait to experience family adventures with Dray and Haley! 

We love taking family vacations. There are so many gems out there. I love finding amazing things in small towns. I’m kind of “antique.” I enjoy small towns, Victorian houses, and small hidden attractions. So, before we ever take a vacation, I am always on Google. I want to know what’s on the way there. I want to discover places we can stop and discover.

Small towns and hidden family adventure gems are my thing!

Sadly, we’ve never traveled outside of the south. But, I know it’s coming. We have the dream of visiting other countries. Experiencing different cultures. I can not WAIT for those opportunities to arise. As for now, we’ll continue to discover hidden gems around the south. Nothing beats experiencing places you never knew existed in your own backyard.

family adventures

This is a picture of one of our family adventures. This was taken in Gatlinburg, TN at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Aquarium. We had a great time there!

We try our best to make a trip to Gatlinburg and Cherokee, North Carolina at least once a year. We missed this year due to financial reasons. But, we can’t wait to plan a trip for next year! We have quite a few attractions that our family loves.

Family Adventures In Gatlinburg, TN & Cherokee, NC


family adventuresfamily adventurescherokee1


family adventures

As you can tell, breakfast is all the rage in Gatlinburg & Cherokee!

family adventuresfamily adventures

I’ve visited the Gatlinburg & Cherokee area even since I was a wee one! 😉

Family Adventures in Tybee Island, GA & Savannah, GA

Two other places our family loves to visit are Tybee Island and Savannah. Both in Georgia. Both about an hour away from each other. Tybee is filled with the beach life. Lined with souvenir shops. Savannah is a charming (and historic) city. Savannah also claims to be the #1 most HAUNTED city in the country. Perfect for Halloween coming up, right?!

family adventures


family adventures

Beach babe on Tybee since before ’96! LOL 😉


These are just a few of our favorite places to visit in the South. Where do your favorite family adventures take place? Let me know! Especially if they’re in the south. I’d love to discover new places to take my family.

Nature’s Logic: Great For Dogs With High Protein Diets

Disclosure: I received a bag of Nature’s Logic Duck & Salmon Meal dry kibble for free. But, as always, all opinions are my own. They are not influenced by the compensation. 

Pluto, our Boston Terrier, is full of energy. He’s constantly running, jumping, and playing. To keep his energy going we sometimes buy him a dog food with higher protein. But, when considering a high protein dog food, you have to look at the dog, too. There are also a few more factors that come into play, too. I’ll be honest, when I first owned a dog, I had no idea. I just fed them whatever. They lived long, healthy lives, too. 

The thought of a high protein dog food may make some pet professionals and owners shudder. The most important thing to remember is: proteins are essential, but in reasonable portions from top notch sources. So, when you’re looking at the protein amount in dog food, you have to factor in other things. Like the source of protein.

Too much protein in a dog’s diet is sometimes harmful. Their body has a hard time processing the protein. So, it’s found in the dog’s urine. So, when I got my bag of Nature’s Logic, I was a little worried. The protein seemed a big high. But, I had to remember it was important for me to look at the other factors, too.

nature's logic

Nature’s Logic Duck & Salmon Meal Dog Kibble Pros

  • No synthetic vitamins
  • No synthetic minerals
  • #1 Ingredient: Duck Meal
  • Fruit & veggie concentrated

nature's logic

Always remember, when you’re looking for a dog food. Consider your dogs age, weight, breed, activity level, etc. Your veterinarian will more than likely be happy to discuss a suitable diet for your dog with you. 

nature's logic

Another great thing is the kibble size. It’s small. So, it’s great for smaller dogs. It’s also great for older dogs who can’t chew as well. For example, my senior dog Mack. We let him try some of Nature’s Logic, too. Just like Pluto, it’s hard to get a picture of them eating. They love to eat! But, I was able to get a picture of him begging for more. Even through those gorgeous, old man cataract eyes.

nature's logic

So, I feel like the crude protein (36%) is a little on the higher end. But, the great thing is, the protein is coming from good protein sources. Sources that must meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials standards. Plus, you can’t beat the veggies and fruits that are in the mix.

Nature’s Logic Veggie & Fruit Mix

  • Dried Tomato
  • Dried Carrot
  • Dried Apple
  • Dried Pumpkin
  • Dried Blueberry
  • Dried Spinach
  • Dried Broccoli

But, what if your dog is sensitive to a certain protein? Nature’s Logic offers a variety of protein mixes. High protein diets are ideal for puppies and dogs with high energy. We sometimes gave dog’s high protein diets that suffered from pancreatitis at the vet office I worked at.

nature's logic proteins

But, remember: I’m not a veterinarian. So, any diet concerns should be discussed with a veterinarian. 

Overall, I’m pleased with Nature’s Logic. The protein is all good protein. You can’t beat the variety, either. I think Pluto and Mack give it two paws up. Because they demolished it!

Are you familiar with the Nature’s Logic brand? What’s your opinion? I’d love to know and share feedback with the brand! 

Gerber Helps Fuel Healthy Toddlers

Gerber Helps Fuel Healthy Toddlers

My family has trusted Gerber for generations. The brand has stolen the baby industeries heart since 1927. We feel the same about their line of GERBER CEREALS, too. We used their cereals to introduce Haley to solid foods. Dray was introduced to solid food with their cereal, too. Plus, it’s easy to mix in your own purees. Making for a different experience for your baby every time. 

Introducing Haley to solids was easy. She was a great eater. Dray is a different story. His first birthday was Sunday. He still has problems eating solid foods. We’ve talked to his pediatrician about it. She says to just give him time. It’s just a different experience for me. I guess because Haley was such a fierce eater. Now she is picky, picky, picky.

I used GERBER CEREALS for Haley quite often. Now, Dray has become a Gerber baby, too. Both of my little ones were introduced to the solid food world through their cereals. But, I must say, the flavor variety has expanded since Haley enjoyed the cereal. I found this out while visiting Walmart. They have a HUGE selection. Which is great. Because, Dray is texture and taste funny.

gerber cereals

Dray loves fruit. So, when I saw the GERBER CEREALS Rice & Banana Apple, I was ecstatic! I knew he would love this. Plus, all of the benefits it offers is amazing. WalMart has a great variety of the cereal. So, if you’re in the market, I’d check them out.

The #1 food source of iron is GERBER CEREALS!

I mixed apple puree into the cereal. Dray absolutely loved it. He watched me every time I took the spoon to the bowl. He knew the good stuff was coming.



  • The #1 food source of iron
  • Two servings equals 90% of the daily iron baby need
  • Made with calcium
  • Promotes healthy bones and teeth
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • Non-GMO
  • Has Zinc, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and 6 B Vitamins

Are you just now introducing solid foods to baby? Or are you a professional at introducing them? Regardless of your rank, your baby or toddler will benefit from GERBER CEREALS. Since 1927, Gerber has helped build healthy babies. 

Service Dogs: Who They’re For & Identification

Service dogs are vital to many people. They require special training. This training can be expensive. It also may be lengthy. But, these dogs have a job to do. The person with the service dog may not always look like they need assistance. But, not all illnesses appear on the outside. Service dogs, their trainers, and handlers have many rules to abide by, too. 

During my 5 year stay at a local veterinary clinic, I met one service dog. Sure, I’ve heard of them. I knew they wore a vest, or something. But that’s where how familiar I was stopped. Which, to me, is pretty sad. Service dogs are a vital part of the medical community. They serve many purposes. The veterinarian field should be educated on this. Thankfully, thanks to an amazing trainer, I’m more familiar with them.

I met Elizabeth Brooks after I began working at a local grooming salon. She used the facility for her training classes. During my time at the shop, we grew a friendship. We are so different. But, at the same time, we’re a lot alike. She’s the mastermind behind Paw Pals Pet Dog Training. She dedicates her life to her business.

She began her training career in 1998. So, as you may expect, she’s seasoned. Elizabeth is also a graduate of Arizona Canine Academy. She’s a Certified Assistance Trainer and a Certified Dog Obedience Instructor. Paw Pals was also featured on Dateline NBC and The BBB Eye in Colorado Springs. This girl is well rounded! Her personality even  shows that.

Elizabeth has the patience of a saint. I worked by her side for a while. She was in the process of training a New Foundland. Not to be a service dog. She was doing private in home sessions for basic training. I wasn’t introduced to a service dog until later. That’s when I met this huge, blue merle Great Dane. He was only 8 months old when I met him. Elizabeth couldn’t tell me what condition his handler suffered from. But, watching her train him was a life long lesson.

Service dogs are not pets. When you see one, they are working. It’s important not to distract them. 

I think it’s important to educate others on the importance of service dogs. They are trained to help people. These dogs actually perform services for their handler. The services are based on what disability their handler has. Thankfully, there are laws that protect service dogs and their handlers.

Disabilities That May Benefit From A Service Dog

  • Epilepsy
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological Problems
  • Physical Weakness
  • Autism
  • Social Phobia

Service dogs are trained to do amazing tasks. Being working dogs, that’s what they do. They work for their handlers. They’re providing them with a service.

service dogs

Things Service Dogs Are Trained To Do

  • Deliver handler’s medications during an illness episode or flare up
  • Bring a drink to their handler so they can take their medicine
  • y Carrphone to their handler during an emergency
  • Answer the door when someone rings the doorbell
  • Dial 911
  • Help when there is a speech impairment
  • Ask for help from someone in the workplace
  • Assistance with going up and down stairs
  • Get handler to stand up
  • Call 911 if smoke alarm is going off
  • Carry a backpack with medical information and must have supplies
  • Medication reminders
  • Helps manage emotional overload
  • Crowd control
  • Wake up a sedated handler
  • Turn lights on
  • Assisting with safety in public

The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) website has a lot of information on service dogs.

Identifying Service Dogs

Orvis has put together a great article and infographic. It focuses on how you can identify if it’s a service dog or a pet.

Check out the Orvis article on identifying service dogs here.

Is That a Real Service Dog?

Is That a Real Service Dog? Developed by Orvis.

Daydreaming or Absence Seizures? Absence Seizures In Children

We all tend to daydream once in a while. But, is it daydreaming or seizures? Absence seizures can seem like someone is daydreaming. But, in reality, they’re having a seizure. Just like a daydreaming episode, these forms of seizures are also short lived. So, sometimes they may be hard to recognize. If you think your child is suffering from absence seizures, you should consult your pediatrician right away. 

My daughter, Haley, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was just 2 years old. Prior to the seizure that caught my attention, Haley didn’t seem to daydream much. She fell a lot. But, I figured that was normal. She was a wild toddler. But, one night she didn’t something strange. Something she has never done in the past. It was enough for me to prompt a call into her pediatrician. She suggested I bring her in right away. Within a week we were at an appointment with the top neurologist at the local children’s hospital.

The “Daydreaming” Episode That Made Us Call The Pediatrician

I remember that night so clearly. We were standing in the kitchen with the back door open. I was cooking, Haley was watching. Then Haley walked straight to the back door and looked out. She stared for a second or two. I thought she was just seeing what she could see. Then I called her name. No response. I called it again, still nothing. So, I started saying silly things. She wouldn’t respond. The only movement was her chewing on the inside of her bottom lip. I tapped her shoulder. She didn’t do anything. This lasted a good minute before I tugged her hair a little. About 10 seconds after the hair tug, she turned around. She was staring at me. She looked petrified. Then she just hung onto my leg. has a load of information on seizures!

daydreaming or absence seizures

Haley’s Initial Pediatrician Appointment

The next day we went to see Haley’s regular pediatrician. After an exam, she referred us to a pediatric neurologist specialist. She explained to us what absence seizures were. She told us to be patient. Sometimes neurology is backed up. So, getting an appointment may take a while. The neurology office called us that day.

Haley’s First Neurology Appointment

Neurology got us in fast. Within a week we were meeting with the top neurologist at the hospital. On his initial exam, his first instinct wasn’t seizures. Since I had never noticed it before, he chalked it up to daydreaming. But, decided to order an EEG anyways. It took a while for us to get the EEG scheduled. It was almost a month before her first EEG.

Daydreaming or Absence Seizures?

daydreaming or absence seizures

I watched Haley a lot during the month prior to the EEG. I knew what I was looking for now. That’s when I started seeing the occurrences more often. I was honestly surprised that I hadn’t noticed them before. But, these only lasted 5 – 20 seconds. 

Haley’s Diagnosed With Epilepsy

Haley’s pediatrician called us back two days later with the results of her EEG. They results were abnormal. She had abnormal activity in the right temporal lobe of her brain. She was diagnosed with epilepsy and we started her on medication.

Neurology called us in shortly after we got the results from her pediatrician. They informed us what absence seizures are. One of the rare, but possible, causes of the seizures is brain tumors. The neurologist wanted to do a MRI. Just to rule out any brain tumors. Thankfully, Haley was free of any abnormalities! So, Haley is part of that 60% that do not have a reason behind their epilepsy. 

Haley had a second EEG a year after her first. They found the seizures had spread to the left side of her brain as well. She still enjoys every day just like any normal kid. She even started Kindergarten this year. So, before you say your child is just “daydreaming,” make sure you know the facts. Because, let’s be real, is it daydreaming or absence seizures? Epilepsy is the 2nd most common neurological disease in the world. 

Halloween Safety For Your Pets | Planning Ahead!

October is finally here. That means Halloween is right around the corner. We all know what comes with Halloween. The costumes, parties, and of course yummy treats. But, like with any holiday, staying safe is important. Halloween safety is important. We want to make sure all our loved ones are taken care of. That includes our furry family members, too. Chocolate, sour treats, and sweet treats are yummy to us. But, they also entice your furry family members, too.

I must say, our family loves Halloween. We love to decorate, dress up, and of course eat candy. Plus, right before Halloween we get to celebrate Dray’s birthday! But, candy doesn’t just make our mouths water. Our two dogs are famous for licking their lips when they see candy, too. Thankfully my 10 years in the pet industry has opened my eyes to HUGE “no no’s” when it comes to our pets.

For 5 years, I spent time at a local veterinary clinic. Often we had dogs come in that ate something they shouldn’t have. It may have been an object, a plant, or even a pork chop bone. The scary reality is, what we love may not be safe for our dog. There’s one case I saw at the clinic that I will always remember. It was a simple mistake on the pet owner’s behalf. A simple mistake any of us can make.

Buddy was a regular at the vet clinic I worked at. Not because he was sick. It was because his owners traveled often. So, Buddy would use our boarding services on a regular basis. He was a 5 year old, healthy petite Boxer mix. His owners were an older, retired couple. Buddy was wild. But, despite his wild personality, we loved it. So did his owners. We were all aware Buddy received table food at home. His owners would often send him with prepackaged home cooked meals to eat while boarding. 

Buddy’s owners had a big trip coming up. So, naturally, he would be staying at the kennel. This trip was longer than their regular weekend getaways. They were traveling to England. So, Buddy would enjoy 15 whole days with us. Which isn’t an issue. I live near a military base. So, military pets boarded for quite a while, quite often. On his first night, I noticed something wasn’t right.

Buddy loved to eat. So, when he refused one of his owner’s famous home cooked meals, I worried a little. By day two, he still refused to eat. That’s when I knew I should bring it to the veterinarian’s attention. She examined him right away. Taking vitals, collecting blood. She even checked a stool and urine sample. Once the initial tests were done, she had to dig deeper. 

Abnormal Results Buddy Had

  • His bowel movements were runny
  • Low temperature
  • Abnormal blood levels

The veterinarian decided to do a x-ray. That’s where the problem was found. Buddy had something lodged into his esophagus and stomach. This prompted the doctor to perform emergency surgery on him. She removed many lodged shreds from his organs. As well as a decent sized pork chop bone. Upon talking to Buddy’s owners, they admitted to giving him a pork chop bone the night prior to boarding him. 

Unfortunately, the damage was done for Buddy. Shortly after surgery, he got an infection. He bloated and his gums became pale. His treatment was intense. He got IV antibiotics, numerous bags of IV fluids, and constant vital monitoring. Even after his treatment, we still lost him.

halloween safety

Halloween Safety For Pets

Now, Buddy’s outcome is not always the outcome when it comes to dogs eating “no no” items. Take my Siamese cat, Shorty, for example. He ate a ton of my sewing yarn. The first sign was his lack of appetite. Then one day, I saw string hanging out his butt. True story. It took our part time veterinarian over 8 hours removing over a foot of yarn. It was wrapped around his intestines. Cutting off vital blood supply.

Shorty recovered from the whole ordeal. In a record amount of time it seems. You would have never known he enjoyed yarn as an entree. But, as you see, severity varies from case to case. So, it’s important to cover all your bases. It never hurts to have a plan, to be prepared. That’s why Halloween safety for pets is so important.

Dogs and Candy: Sweet Safety Infographic

Dogs and Candy: Sweet Safety Infographic by Orvis.

The infographic above is a great visual tool for Halloween safety. Orvis gives you the facts. Plus, great tips on how to keep your Halloween candy safe. As we enter into the holiday season, remember to protect your furry family members, too.

Make sure you share your holiday pet safety tips below. Especially your Halloween safety tips. The fun night is just around the corner! As a parent, I’m always looking for ways to make sure my whole family is safe during late night trick-or-treating! 

Baby Not Sleeping? SleepyBud Has Great Tips!

Your baby is not sleeping at night. Well, you are not alone! It’s a common problem. Recently I received an e-mail from the masterminds behind the website SleepyBud. After I browsed around the site, I was quite impressed. The tips on here could really help me with Dray’s sleeping schedule. He’ll be a year old next month. But, he still fights sleep. 

Alright, mamas. We’ve all enjoyed that moment. The moment when you find out you’re pregnant. Were you excited? Were you scared? Whatever feeling you experienced, rest assure, it’s normal. With both of my pregnancies I experienced excitement and fear. Pretty much anxiety shoved into a bottle. But, day by day, I’m surviving. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t question my survival in the beginning. The sleepless nights. Nights that turned into sleepless months. The mom guilt. Forgetting important events, dates, and so much more. All I wanted was sleep. But, baby is not sleeping!

I thought I was doing everything right. Following the book. But, still, I remained exhausted. The drained feeling poked at me every chance it had. Haley is 5 now. She actually loves sleeping now. To be honest, her sleep schedule was predictable. She went to sleep about 9:30 every night. She’d wake up around 5:30AM to eat. Then she’d take a good nap for 2-3 hours. Then several throughout the day. That girl just loves to sleep.

Dray, on the other hand, totally different story. He’s almost a year old now. Sleep is the last thing on his agenda. I don’t think he sees sleep as a “priority.” My sleep vocabulary expanded greatly after having him. Googling tips and advice, because my baby won’t sleep, devours my search history. That’s why when Marten contacted me from SleepyBud, it was hard to contain my excitement.

baby not sleeping

Baby Not Sleeping? Check Out SleepyBud!

SleepyBud, founded in 2015, provides information that benefits you and your baby. The website helps you and your baby get a good nights sleep. Plus, there is so much scientific research behind each article. Jenny, her husband Marten, and their adorable daughter Molly are the masterminds behind this helpful website.

For the past 10 years, Jenny has practiced as a doctor. Marten is an airline pilot. Then you add their adorable 1 year old daughter Molly into the picture. A busy family who knows a thing or two about sleeping.

One of their articles I found quite informative. It focuses on how much sleep is normal for baby. Plus, provides an awesome baby sleep chart by age. You can see the article here.



Infographic Credit: SleepyBud
What have you done when your baby won’t sleep? If you’re facing that issue now, have you checked out SleepyBud?! If so, please share your experience on how the SleepyBud website helped you!

October Is RSV Awareness Month | Haley’s Experience

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a scary diagnosis for parents. But, unfortunately, it’s a common diagnosis. My family has experienced RSV first hand. That’s right. It’s possible for your little ones to get the virus even in places where it doesn’t get that cold. Here in Georgia, the virus is common, too. By knowing what to look for you can make sure your little one gets treatment right away. Plus, there are many ways to help prevent the virus. 

Our oldest, Haley, came in the world mid-August. Her birthday is actually two days after mine. Yep, I was in labor with her on my birthday. I spent pretty much all summer pregnant. I was miserable! But, she was worth it. She’s still worth it. I had quite a few friends who were pregnant when I was. I would say about 70% of them had babies who suffered quite in a few illnesses in their first year. I felt so lucky. Because, Haley was far from a sickly child. She was actually pretty healthy. I may owe thanks to grandma for keeping her while I worked.

Our happiness faded a bit around her fifth month of life. I knew right away she was sick. Because, well, she never got sick. It was January and the weather began getting cold here in Georgia. But, let’s let reality set in a little. “Cold” in a Georgia girls term is around 40 degrees or so. We all know what cold weather brings. It brings frost, ice, and snow. But, it also brings those dreaded seasonal bugs. At only 5 months old, Haley was diagnosed with Respiratory syncytial virus, better known as, RSV.

I didn’t know she had RSV. I thought may she caught a seasonal cold. But, it was a little more than that. The symptoms didn’t point me to the virus. Because, they were all symptoms I experienced in the past. I honestly didn’t know what symptoms to look for when it came to RSV.

rsv awareness

RSV: Haley’s Symptoms

The First Symptoms
  • Decreased appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

In the beginning, Haley’s activity level was unchanged. So, I figured she felt “good.” I just monitored the symptoms. In the beginning, I would frequently take her temperature. It never rose about 99.0 degrees. A couple days after the first RSV symptoms began, I noticed a change.

The Second Symptoms
  • Fever (101.0 – 103.1)
  • Decrease in activity level
  • Fussy, fussy, fussy!
  • More frequent naps

Once the fever came into play, I contacted Haley’s pediatrician. They suggested I bring her in. Thankfully, they were able to see us the same day. A sick baby is a scary thing. Especially a sick baby that never gets sick.

When Haley was seen at the pediatrician’s office the nurse first took her vitals. Including her weight, height, blood pressure, and temperature. Her temperature at the time wasn’t that high. Then the doctor checked her oxygen level. It wasn’t up to par. They kept switching her different ways. She enjoyed it. It was painful for me to watch. Still, it never rose to where they thought it should be. I can’t remember the exact number. But, it was enough to end Haley up in the hospital.

Her pediatrician listened to her lungs. She said she could hear wheezing. She explained to me about RSV. What it is, how you get it, and how you can help prevent it and the spread of the virus. Then she said she wanted to test Haley for it. My first thought was that it was a blood test. She was going to poke my sweet baby girl! But, I was wrong. I guess that’s why I’m not a health professional. 😉

Thankfully, testing your little one for RSV does not involve drawing blood. They take a cotton swab looking device and stick it in your little one’s nose. Okay, it’s a pretty long cotton swab. I mean, it may be somewhat uncomfortable, too. But, it’s quick and it’s easy. Plus, if you have a cool pediatrician like we do, the test can be ran at the office! Yep, that’s right. You get to wait for the results and get them the same day! Convenient, huh? After about 10 minutes we had our results. Haley was positive for RSV.

When we were first told Haley’s diagnosis, I cringed. I knew about RSV! The other moms told me the horror stories. Oh no! What was I going to do?! My mind was running a million miles an hour. So many questions. But, they wouldn’t come out. Then her pediatrician let me in on a few facts about RSV.

Haley’s Pediatricians RSV Facts

  • Almost all children, at some point in time, get the virus.
  • It’s pretty much the leading reason babies get hospitalized.
  • How severe the virus is differs from kid to kid.
  • RSV is a virus. So, RSV can not be treated with antibiotics.
  • It is contagious.

Once Haley was diagnosed with the virus, I took to the internet. That’s what everyone does, right!? Thankfully has all the information I need. I found out there how it’s spread, the symptoms, treatments, and how to prevent RSV.

rsv infographic

Haley was hospitalized that day. Her oxygen level was not where it needed to be. So, they hooked my tiny baby girl up to artificial oxygen. She spent two days in the hospital. Those two days seemed like the longest two days of my life. But, towards the end of her hospital stay, she was changing back to her normal self.

Haley caught RSV in January, during its peak season. The virus is said to be common from November to March in the United States. That must be why October is National RSV Awareness Month. A whole month dedicated to educating society about RSV! It falls right at the perfect time, too. Right when the air starts to get a chill to it. When those pesky symptoms start to show their face.

But, thankfully, there are steps you can take! Steps that will help make sure your family is as protected as can be against this, sometimes life threatening, virus.

RSV Protection

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Avoid being around people who show symptoms of the virus
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Make sure all surfaces are clean and disinfected
  • Don’t share forks, spoons, knives, or drinks

There was one key factor that Haley’s pediatrician stressed to us when she was diagnosed with the virus. She expressed to us how important it was to keep her comfortable. These methods help shorten the duration of the virus, too!

 RSV Symptom Relief at Home

  • Keep your little one’s room slightly warm
  • Invest in a cool-mist humidifier
  • Fluids, fluids, fluids!
  • Saline nose drops are a must
  • Prop your little one up for easier breathing

Once Haley was diagnosed with RSV, the symptoms lasted a long week. Awareness of the virus is important to my family and I. We were lucky Haley’s hospital stay was only two days. Plus, thankfully, not all little ones with RSV are hospitalized.

Because of our experience, I think it’s important everyone is RSV educated. offers a lot of information on the virus. Including how someone gets the virus, how it’s spread, and ways to prevent it. So helpful when you’re trying to decode your little ones symptoms. You’ll find great tips on how to keep your little ones healthy during the upcoming RSV season! It’s important that we protect their little lungs.

If you have any experience with RSV, I’d love to hear about it. My youngest is 11 months old. Since the virus is mostly seen by 2 years old, I’m worried. Are there are additional symptoms your little one with RSV experienced?