Thursday, May 30, 2013

Retirement Advice for New Parents and Stay-at-Home Moms



Just recently, I was give the opportunity to interview retirement expert, Jerry Golden.  Jerry is the president of Golden Retirement Advisors and developer of Savings2Income, a website that offers info and tools to create a plan for worry-free retirement. 

Jerry Golden


Interview Notes

How can stay-at-home moms save for retirement?
 
Jerry: The most important “savings” a stay-at-home mom can contribute is “paying-it-forward” by educating herself on the smart ways to save and invest. These include the value of starting saving early, the magic of compound interest, the importance of Social Security (and the options), the benefits of diversification, low fees and deferred taxes, and finally the value of her savings if/when she joins/rejoins the work force when the kids are grown. A smart plan may be worth as much as the amount of money set aside. She should also participate in the process with her husband.

What do new parents need to consider with retirement planning?  
 
Jerry:There are three major areas of long term savings for new parents: down payment on a house, the kids’ education, and retirement. It’s critical to have a plan for each, whether it be all personal savings, help from parents, loans, etc.  Regarding retirement, take full advantage of any employer-sponsored plans by “maxing out” on any employer contributions. With their first paycheck, they’re beginning to accumulate credits toward Social Security benefits.  Similarly, treat their 401(k) contributions as automatic deductions which they won’t spend until retirement.  
 
 

What will the average person need to have saved for retirement?
 
Jerry:While many would- be “experts” promote a magic “number” someone would have to have saved by retirement, instead, individuals should focus on (a) the income needed to support a lifestyle, and (b) the sources of that income, Social Security and any pension or part-time work, and the income gap that must be filled from saving/investments to sustain a retirement lifestyle that lasts a lifetime. This “picture” comes more into focus the closer you get to that magic date. The key to success will be to maximize the after tax income from those savings, and more efficient strategies that incorporate low cost investing/saving and tax-deferral can be twice or more as effective – the earlier the start, the greater that effectiveness.

What are some common mistakes people make when planning for retirement?  
 
Jerry:When it comes to saving and investing, too many people think that small contributions won’t make a difference, but they will, and the magic of compound interest, can make it a huge difference. For anyone who may be afraid of investing, low cost, diversified investments is what they need. The same is true for almost everyone as they get closer to that planned retirement date. In the last analysis, it all boils down to a lack of a retirement income plan. Here’s how having such a plan helps the management of your retirement funds:
 

a.      Identify all of the assets you consider to be retirement savings. Include assets held outside a rollover IRA or 401(k) that you believe will be necessary to support your retirement lifestyle. If you previously worked and were part of an employer sponsored retirement plan, keep track of those benefits, or better yet, if it is in a 401(k) plan, see if you can make a trustee to trustee transfer to a low cost tax-deferred Rollover IRA plan that you can control.
b.     Get an honest assessment of how much retirement income these savings, together with Social Security, any pension, and wages post-retirement, will produce. If there’s a gap, consider increasing your savings rate.
c.     Get most of your savings into tax deferred accounts. That may mean investing in a no load variable annuity with your after tax savings.
d.     With your savings identified, your gap measured and your accounts in the right place, decide whether or not you need professional help in designing an investment portfolio, including diversifying among types of investments, and selecting individual mutual funds or ETFs. You may need that help in particular as you begin making the transition from savings to income.
e.     When selecting an advisor, make sure you agree with the plan that’s developed and the fees being charged. In this case, the long-term strategy is yours, but let the advisor make the “tactical decisions”, reserving your right to review the plan as often as you feel is necessary. If you go it alone, take the long term view and stay diversified.
 
Jerry Golden Bio:

Jerry Golden, developer of Savings2Income, and President and founder of Golden Retirement, LLC, is widely acknowledged as a leading innovator in the financial services industry. His numerous achievements include the design of successful innovations in life insurance, variable annuities, and retirement income, and his considerable influence extends across the entire industry.

Prior to founding Golden Retirement, LLC, Jerry was President of the Income Management Strategies Division of MassMutual Financial Group, where he and his team developed the Retirement Management Account (RMA). Initially conceived at his firm, Golden Retirement Resources (acquired by MassMutual in 2005), RMA has been described by Cerulli Associates (recognized experts in researching asset management and distribution trends worldwide) as the “quintessential managed account platform for retirement income”
 
I want to personally thank Jerry for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions for us today.  This advice definitely gives us as parents much to think about as well as plan. 
 
If you are a new parent or stay-at-home mom, what are your thoughts on retirement?  What plans do you have set in place?  Would love to hear from you! Please feel free to share with our readers.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beyond Organic-A Trusted Source for Food and Skin Care


Michigan Home Mommy Works would like to welcome back guest blogger: Teresa Jungling




When you buy food at the grocery store, do you know where your actual food comes from?  Can you trust that your food wasn't once covered in pesticides, or has been genetically modified?  Do you know if the meat you purchase hasn't been loaded up with antibiotics and added hormones?

Recommended to me by my doctor, Beyond Organic has become my trusted source for some of the healthiest and most nutritious foods, beverages, and even skin care.  Better yet, it is delivered right to my door.

Beyond Organic's mission is to transform health of our nation one life at a time.  They offer 100% greenfed beef; cultured A2 dairy; raw cheeses; raw snacks; non-toxic; organic skin care, and more!

Beyond Organic was founded by NY Times Best Selling author, Jordan Ruben.  Jordan has a proven track record within the health industry.   Taking his previous company, Garden of Life, to $1 billion in sales in 10 years, Jordan not only understands what it takes from a business perspective, but also a health perspective.

As a work at home mom, you might want to feed your family healthy food, but don't know where to start.  Beyond Organic is a great option!  They even provide an opportunity for those who would like to have their own business working from home-allowing you to earn your food for free and to even earn an income!  Please contact me if you would like more information.

Personally,  I find this to be a rewarding business in regards to the fact that I'm providing people access to healthy food.  In addition, I have received education regarding today's food and toxins that impact our health.    My family and I have benefited from the food that we eat and the skin care that we use from Beyond Organic.  I want to share these benefits with others!

Teresa Jungling -Teresa is the owner of Living Natural Today.  She shares information about organic food, nutrition, healthy living, chemical sensitivities, and toxins.  She is also an Independent Mission Marketer with Beyond Organic.  She is passionate about sharing resources and helping others live a more healthy and natural lifestyle.  


Thank you so much Teresa for sharing this information with us.  It is so important to become educated about the foods we potentially consume on a daily basis, even skin care.  My family has recently jumped on board eating organic foods as well as using skin care alternatives.  Beyond Organic sounds amazing and is definitely worth checking into.  Please feel free to contact Teresa regarding more information.

If you would like to be a guest blogger here on Michigan Home Mommy Works, please contact me at lindsey@michiganhomemommyworks.com.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Staying Organized and Going Paperless with Evernote




Is your home free from paper clutter?  I can hear the snickers and laughs even now.  Paper clutter has been an issue in my home for quite some time and I have been searching high and low on how to minimize this problem or going paperless altogether.  Is paperless possible?  Yes it is! As long as you are committed and dedicated to keeping it this way.

I was recently introduce to Evernote.  I think I may have heard it in passing, but didn't give it much thought.  What is Evernote?

Basically, it's an online system that helps you organize everything into one place such as:
  • Notes
  • Images
  • Documents
  • Web Clips
  • Audio Notes
and more.  It's pretty simple to get started.  Sign-up is free and you can decide if you would like to upgrade to premium to utilize it on a deeper level.

After signing up for an account on Evernote, you will be taken to your own dashboard where you can create notes.  You will be able to "save your ideas, to do lists, research ideas, meeting notes, and more!  You can even capture images that you would like to remember. (i.e. business cards, etc.)"

You also get to sync your notes and find them anywhere.  Nice, right? You can search text within images, on any computer, phone or tablet that you use.  Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

Evernote is also great for bloggers too.  It's great for drafting posts and brainstorming ideas.  It also is helpful for the administrative side of things.  Do you homeschool?  Again, a great tool to keep everything organized.

A busy moms, it's always nice to find new tools that could potentially help us out in the long run. I personally look forward to utilizing Evernote as much as I can to keep things organized.  My goal is to be paperless.  How about you?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicken Salad Caprese



Tofu Version

Are you looking for a fun yet unique recipe for your family gathering this Memorial Day weekend?  I came across something that I would love to try and wanted to share it with you.

Chicken Salad Caprese

Here are the ingredients needed to make a stellar chicken salad:
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 Pound of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (Cute in cubes)
  • 2 Cup of Grape Tomatoes (Cut into halves)
  • 14 oz. of water-packed artichoke hearts  (Be sure to rinse and drain)
  • 1/2 a Cup of Pitted Greek Olives (Cut into thin slices)
  • 4 tsp. of Dried Basil
  • 1/4 cup (s) of Olive Oil
  • 2 Minced Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of Coarsely Ground Pepper
Tomato Crostini
  • 2 French Bread Baguettes
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Small Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Salt
My mouth is watering as I type all of the ingredients, haha.  Please note that these recipes and ingredients can be seen on www.samsclub.com

Now the fun part.   Putting the recipe all together:
  1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Next, combine oil, salt, and pepper.  Lightly drizzle over chicken mixture.  Toss thoroughly so that it evenly coats.  Use a whisk to combine the ingredients.
  3. Cut the baguettes into 1/2 inch slices.  You will want to place on baking sheets in oven at 425 degrees.  Do this for about 4 minutes or until the bread  is lightly browned.
  4. Cut the garlic (in half lengthwise) and rub all over the bread.  Cut tomatoes (into quarters) and rub on bread.  Brush the bread with oil and then sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake for up to 3 minutes longer and serve with the salad.
Yum!! Since I will be going away this weekend, I will not get to try this right away.  It's definitely on my list of recipes to try in the summer days ahead.  Can't wait!

Have you ever made Chicken Salad Caprese?  Please feel free to share any ideas with us to make this a terrific salad.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Do you Know GMO?


Michigan Home Mommy Works would like to welcome guest blogger:  Teresa Jungling



As a mom/and or wife, we strive to do our best to keep our families healthy. One area in which health can ultimately be impacted is in the area of diet.  Proper food can provide the nutrients that our bodies need.  The wrong foods can create disease.

Today, there are many challenges facing us regarding our diet.  Fast foods and processed foods may be convenient, but what are their lasting health impacts?  We have to read food labels and pay attention to the amount of sugar and salt that has been added.  Is the food organic?  What country did the food originate?  The list could go on and on.  Now, there is the added issue of GMOs.  Actually, GMOs have been around since the mid 1990's; however, if you are like me, I only became aware of them a few years ago.  There are still many who have never heard of them.

What are GMOs?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism.  According to the non GMO Project, "Genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE).  This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding."

There have been short term studies done on animals regarding GMOs, but testing on humans has been scarce.

Today, over 80% of corn and soy are genetically modified in the U.S.  Corn and/or soy are found in many processed foods.

The FDA does not require food to be labeled as GMO.  However, there are many states who are trying to pass laws to get food labeled.  Some food manufacturers and grocers are taking it upon themselves to label food. 

What can you do to avoid GMOs?

  • Look for Non GMO Project Verified label on the food package.
  • Buy organic food.  According to organic regulations, organic foods do not contain GMOs.
  • Look for grocers who may label food within their market.
  • Only buy from sources that you can trust-do a little research about the manufacturer.  If you go to a farmer's market, ask questions of the farmer.  
It take a little work and education, but taking the steps to eat healthy today will help prevent disease in the future. 

Teresa Jungling -Teresa is the owner of Living Natural Today.  She shares information about organic food, nutrition, healthy living, chemical sensitivities, and toxins.  She is also an Independent Mission Marketer with Beyond Organic.  She is passionate about sharing resources and helping others live a more healthy and natural lifestyle. 

Thank you, Teresa for sharing this info with us today.  This is excellent info that we most definitely should be taking to heart!

If you would like to be a guest blogger on Michigan Home Mommy Works, contact me at lindsey@michiganhomemommyworks.com.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Michigan Home Mommy Mag Press Release

Michigan Home Mommy Mag Press Release that went out today......Feel free to share!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Waking Up in Heaven Book Review

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for this post.  All opinions expressed here are honest and my own.


I was just recently given the awesome privilege of reviewing an amazing book by an amazing mom author.  Let me just say, that this book touched me in more ways than one.

Waking up in Heaven is a book based on author Crystal McVea's life testimony.  "It is a true story of Brokenness, Life, and Heaven again."  It is also authored by Alex Tresniowski.

About the Authors

Photograph © Splendor Photography

Crystal McVea is a schoolteacher and is the mother of 4 healthy children.  She is married to U.S Army veteran, Virgil.  Both husband and wife are Christians and are highly involved at their church located in Oklahoma.

Alex Tresniowski previously has written for People as a human-interest writer.  He has also written many books.  You can check out his recent book, An Invisible Thread.  It is a bestseller for the New York Times!  It spent more than twenty weeks on this list.

Waking Up in Heaven invites readers to witness the relentless pursuit of God in a life that was broken and seemingly beyond hope, an awe-inspiring account of love, forgiveness, and redemption, and the healing power of God’s presence.



Synopsis:
God let me see me through His eyes. And in that instant I knew that God had always loved me, through all of those dark and difficult years when I doubted His existence, through every crisis and every heartbreak that made me turn away from Him more. I knew, in that instant, that His love was endless and boundless, and that if He loved me so much, how could I not love myself? ~Crystal

Summary

In December of 2009, Crystal McVea, (mother of 4) stopped breathing. I am sure this was a very scary thing for everyone involved.  After many attempts to revive this mother, she was not considered to be alive any longer.  During 9 minutes of being deceased,  Crystal couldn't remember anything that happened in the hospital room.  She just remembers "drifting off."

She does remember waking up heaven.  Her life was truly battered and broken.  But God met her and showed her many things during that time.  That 9 minutes alone, changed everything for Crystal.

Crystal didn't originally believe in God or desired to serve Him.  She admits she was a "skeptic and a sinner."  She is sure of thing thing and that is God and heaven are for real.  God's love for us is real.

Personal Review

As a Christian wife and mother, this book touched my life and caused me to shed many tears.  How one person can go through so much in her life truly broke me.  God's hand was and is truly on Crystal and her precious family.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires for their life to truly be changed.  If it doesn't change you or at least make you think, I think this would surprise me.   Many of us have gone through major trials in our lives.  My first major trial with my husband was when we lost our precious son in 2005. This alone does not compare to what this beautiful woman has gone through. She is a true testimony to those she comes in contact with.

There are some really rough life experiences within this book.  My 10 year old daughter asked me if she could read it, but I am unsure if she is ready to read some of those experiences.  I am anticipating within a couple years she will be able to read the book as well.  She loves reading about heaven.  I guess I would recommend this book for ages 13 and up or based on what your child is allowed to handle at this point in time.

I want to personally thank Crystal and Alex for allowing me to review their book.  It has been an honor. 

If you would be interested in purchasing Waking up in Heaven, you can do so on their website or on Amazon.

You can follow Crystal on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you have a book you would like for me to review here on Michigan Home Mommy Works, please contact me at:
 lindsey@michiganhomemommyworks.com.

I do reviews on:
  • Christian books
  • Recipes
  • How-To books
  • Children's Books
  • Educational Resources
  • Health and Fitness
  • Business
  • Fashion

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Braces Then, and Like, Invisalign Now, Totally!

 Sponsored Post: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed here are honest and my own.
 
Taking you back to the 80's Valley Girl style, haha!  In the late 80's, I remember sporting bulky metal braces to help straighten my crooked teeth with a nasty overbite.  Thankfully, I didn't have the scary looking {head-gear} to go along with it all, but I did have the rubber bands that started from the front and went diagonally to the back of my mouth to correct the overbite.  My mom was always vacuuming those little rubber bands because they were always snapping out, especially when I would yawn!  Ahhh memories, LOL!  I just wish I could find a photo of me with those lovely metal brackets.....
 
 

Just recently, I was introduced to an alternative to braces that I think you and your teen may be interested in learning about.  Invisalign! It's also available to pre-teens as well.

Braces are a right of passage for many kids, and thanks to the 21st Century technology such as Invisalign Teen, patients can watch their winning smile evolve instead of waiting to see the final result when the traditional metal brackets come off.  Invisalign patients can start to see improvements and progress in as little as 90 days.



Had this been available when I was wearing braces, I think I would have loved for my parents to consider this option.  It seems much easier to deal with and can't beat "invisible."

{Invisalign Bloggers Event (Live Tweets) May 9, 2013: @mihomemomworks      
Invisalign is compliance driven. You need to have all of your adult teeth to sport these.
No broken wires. You can eat what you want when taking the trays out! Perfect!
No gaps! Teeth look laminated like a library card. And you can speak well! Motivated patients are key!

How does Invisalign work exactly?  Visit the Invisalign website to read full details about the clear alternative to braces. The best way to find an Invisalign provider is to visit Doctor Locator.

Have you or someone  you've known used Invisalign?  And if so, what was their experience?  I look forward to reading your comments on the subject.

Follow Invisalign on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was compensated to attend an Invisalign event and do a post here on Michigan Home Mommy Works only.  All opinions expressed here are honest and my own.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kidecals: Durable Waterproof Labels




banner

Disclaimer: I received a package of Kidecals in exchange for this post here on Michigan Home Mommy Works.  Any opinions expressed here are honest and my own. 

As a mom, do you find yourself labeling everything under the sun?  Haha, you know what I mean.  Children's clothes, backpacks, etc.  Realistically, it may be required at your child's school, etc., but it's also nice too so that there aren't any mix ups.

I was just recently introduced to an amazing product that I thought I would share with all of you fellow moms out there.  Have you ever heard of Kidecals?

Kidecals are the "most durable waterproof labels on the market."  Anything that is waterproof and has to deal with kids has to be great.....

Personalized Kids Name Labels are perfect as we all hate losing their belongings, right?  It can become a headache.  You can label anything from water bottles to books with these labels.  They offer fun yet trendy designs that you can choose from.  Again, they are durable.  Guess what?  They are also dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer safe and won't damage the surfaces.  How great is that?

Are you looking for something that is waterproof?  Thankfully, Kidecals labels are just that.  How many times have you labeled with a sharpie, yet it still fades or washes away?  These eliminate the problem and pretty much stick to anything ranging from clothes to water bottles.  Kidecals also works on pool toys!  That right there should be proof that these labels are truly "waterproof."

Kidecals labels come in fun Partystache stickers to use as drink markers.  They also have Mustache Chalkboard Stickers perfect for labeling and organizing items in a pantry or craft room.  I can imagine these fun mustache stickers at any potluck or party. 

Chalkboard labels can be written on.  It's an easy way to get organized without creating new labels.  Kidecals makes pretty designs and their chalkboard labels are actually very durable.  They are also dishwasher safe.  Nice!

Do you take your child to daycare?  This is the best place to use these labels.  Not only are they cute, they are dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer safe.  They stay put on anything from clothing to sippy and snack cups.

Kidecals is a fun site for these personalized clothing labels.  Are you sending your kids off to camp this summer?  These are the perfect solution for all of your labeling needs.  The fact that they are waterproof and washing machine safe is a definite plus.  With these you don't have to worry about using Sharpies anymore.  Kidecals was recently featured on the Today Show! Good stuff.

It's definitely not hard to believe that Kidecals was founded by a mother of two boys.  Not only are Kidecals super cute or "cool" for boys, they are again super durable for all of the stuff you could possibly need to label for camp.  Are you on board?

Would you like to receive 15% off Kidecals?  Here is the promo code you can use when making your purchase at http://www.kidecals.com.  PROMO CODE: bestlabels

Check out a video of these labels here.







Have a product you would like for me to spread the word about?  Contact me at lindsey@michiganhomemommyworks.com for details. I look forward to working with you.


Friday, May 10, 2013

The True Cost of Being a Mom

Click Here

                                                Courtesy of: CashNetUSA: It's Economic

Planet Fitness Fees Go Towards Breast Cancer Research



Click to Enlarge


 Monday evening I signed up for a membership at a local Planet Fitness.  I was excited to learn that the current offer was $10 down. $10 a month.  100% of each enrollment fee ($10) is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Do you want to help make a difference in your own health and the health of others?  Sign up for your membership today.  Hurry, this offer ends on May 15, 2013!

Here's to strong and healthy bodies!

Happy Mother's Day, Michigan Moms!



And the Winner of David Carter's 100 Lift the Flaps and Learn to Count Preschool Book is.......

 
 
Maureen Ruble
 
 
Congrats, Maureen!  Maureen will be receiving David Carter's 100 Lift the Flaps and Learn to Count Preschool book.
 
Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway.  Stay tuned for future reviews and giveaways.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Last Minute Mother's Day Deals



Have you ever visited Coupon Cactus?  It is an awesome online coupon site as well as cash back shopping.  Deals range from Arts and Hobby to Travel and from popular brands.  Here is a list of current deals going on which is perfect for last minute Mother's Day ideas:

Category
Merchant
Coupon
Expiration
Jewelry
Limoges Jewelry
25% off any order
5/20/2013
Flowers
Teleflora
20% off any order
5/12/2013
Chocolate & Candy
Fannie May
30% off Non-Sale Items
5/26/2013
Spa
SpaFinder
12% off orders over $50
5/12/2013
Health & Wellness
Bath & Body Works
20% off orders over $40
5/13/2013
Gardening
The Cook's Garden
$10 off orders over $50
5/15/2013
Electronics
MCM Electronics
15% off any order
5/16/2013
Cooking
Cooking.com
20% off any order
8/31/2013
Crafts/Sewing/Knitting
Fabric.com
15% off any order
5/10/2013
Green Living
Gaiam
15% off any order
5/20/2013

And of course there is much more available.  My schedule has been so swamped that I forgot that this Sunday is Mother's Day already.  Time just flies by.  Now with this info, I won't have to scramble. I thought I would share this with you as well if you are as scatter brained as I am, haha! Definitely feel free to check it out.  I didn't know about Coupon Cactus and their amazing deals until just the other day.

Since I am also into making things with my girls, we are also considering homemade ideas from one of my favorite places; Hobby Lobby! 

If I don't get a chance before then, I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And the Winner of the Lisa Loeb Songs Giveaway is........

 
 
Tabitha Moon
 
 
Congrats, Tabitha! Tabitha won the Lisa Loeb giveaway here on Michigan Home Mommy Works.  She will be receiving the Lisa Loeb's Songs for Movin' and Shakin' book as well as the CD. 
 
Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway.  Stay tuned for future reviews and giveaways!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Interview and Book Review with Autism Expert Dr. Robert Melillo



Dr. Robert Melillo

Just recently, I received the awesome opportunity of reviewing expert Dr. Robert Melillo's book on Autism: AUTISM: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders-and What Parents Can do Now.

Dr. Robert Melillo is an "internationally known clinician, professor, researcher, and expert in functional neurology and neurobehavioral disorders."  Since 1994 his program "Brain Balance" has helped thousands of children."


I do not have a child with Autism, but I did work with Autistic children in the past while working in the Child Development field.  I learned a lot about this disorder through my teaching practicum and one-on-one experiences through a Head Start program for two years in our state.  It just broke my heart to sit down with the parents and hear their heartaches, frustrations, and concerns. My heart truly goes out to these beautiful children and their families.

When offered the chance to review Dr. Melillo's book along with an interview, I jumped on the chance as it has deeply tugged on my heart strings through the years.  I currently have a new friend who deals with Autism on a daily basis with her precious child.  This family is so strong and so precious. 

I was also given the chance to interview Dr. Melillo with questions I think many of us have had regarding Autism.

Here is my recent interview notes with Dr. Robert Melillo:


Lindsey: Why are Autism and ADHD rates continuing to exponentially grow?

Dr. Melillo: In the first chapter of my new book I explain that we are seeing a “real” increases in the numbers of new kids being diagnosed with these disorders not just recognizing or “over diagnosing” these issues. Based on the fact that we are seeing a dramatic increase in such a short period in time, the cause of the increase must be environmental; we cannot explain such an increase in purely genetic terms. There is no such thing as a genetic epidemic; genetic mutations take generations or thousands of years to have a big impact on traits. There is no one environmental factor, there are many, pesticides, antibiotics in our food, hormones, drugs in our water supply, chemicals in our environment are certainly some of these factors, but the most important factors are believed to be what we call lifestyle factors. Things, blood pressure, obesity, exercise, diet and stress levels play the most significant roles. I think the main change that has occurred over the past 30 years is the change in physical activity levels at younger and younger ages. This is being driven by technology and computers and the advancement of their popularity. Computer games, video, TV, social media all of these activities have exploded over the past thirty years and each year it becomes more pervasive in our lives. The average child 10 years ago had a couple of hours of screen time a day and that was purely TV and video games. Now they are spending on average 10 hours a day and that includes iPads, computers, phones and all of these devices. What they are reducing as they increase this number is the numbers of hours they spend moving their bodies and interacting with their environment and other people. This has an effect on adult, because it increases obesity and all of these other chronic illnesses. It also increases inflammation in our bodies and increases stress hormones in our bodies and activates the immune system, which can lead to autoimmunity. In children this reduced activity is also leading to obesity and other health issues, but the main effect on the child is that it affects their brain development. It results in a slowed and unbalanced development of the brain especially the two hemispheres, which develop in stages. This can lead to a left or right brain developmental delay, which ultimately is what is happening in the brain of a child with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia etc.

Lindsey: Is there anything you can do to decrease your risks of having a child with Autism or ADHD?

Dr. Melillo: This is the whole point of my book, ultimately if Autism is an environmentally based and driven disorder, then ultimately the answer is prevention. If we can identify and measure as many risk factors as possible in an individual before they become pregnant or even during the pregnancy, and if we know what the “safe” levels if there is one, of that environmental factor, and then we can do something to reduce that risk factor and we can measure that. When we get all of the risk factors we can measure and effect, into a safe level, then we know that we have lowered the risk of having a child with a disability like Autism. There are no guarantees that it will prevent Autism, but you have reduced the risk significantly and that is all you can do. As we do more research, which we are doing in my lab, we will be able to have more definitive information. In my book I go through a Ten Point Preconception/Prenatal plan for a prospective parent to follow. I think it is the best thing produced yet in this area of science and medicine and it will only get better as I perfect this program in time.

Lindsey: Does Autism start at birth or is it developed in the first few years?

Dr. Melillo: The research clearly seems to support the fact that autism really starts in the womb before birth, and that it also continues to develop after birth, both are happening at the same time to different degrees. This is why we believe that it is environmental, and developmental, it looks like it is genetic, but it isn’t primarily due to a genetic mutation, environmental factors are effecting the expression of genes before and after birth. The genes most commonly affected are those that build functional connections in the brain and especially between the two hemispheres. We know in all of these developmental disorders especially Autism, the main characteristic that we can see and measure in their brain is that they have less connections between the two hemispheres of the brain. They also functionally seem to have certain skills that are much better than others in their brain and body. This is why it seems that this imbalance in brain development is affecting the connectivity in the brain and produces the unique mixture of strengths and weaknesses that we see in all of these disorders. In Autism and ADHD we think it is a right hemisphere delay and in Dyslexia and learning disabilities it is the opposite. The reason for the differences is because the two sides of the brain develop at different stages, the right hemisphere skills develop in the womb and for the first 2-3 years, and then it switches to the left for 2-3 years. So if a negative environmental influence or factor interacts with the genes that build brain connections at a particular time in development, and the child has certain natural strengths more on one side of the brain, all of this comes together to produce these disorders. I believe that these can all be prevented, but if it isn’t prevented, hope is not lost we can reverse all of these to various degrees and in most cases we can completely correct them. This is what I discussed in my first and second book Disconnected Kids and Reconnected Kids, and what we do in our 60 plus Brain Balance Achievement Centers.

Lindsey: What are the early warning signs for children with Autism?

Dr. Melillo: The earliest signs are when they have significantly delayed or even miss developmental milestones, especially motor milestones. If they don’t roll over at 3-5 months equally on both sides, if they don’t crawl right or enough, if they walk or talk late these are every significant and they need to be addressed as soon as possible. If you intervene at six months old you may be able to make a huge difference in a couple of weeks or months. Whereas at six years old it may take 6 months and at 12 years it may take a year or more and it and becomes much harder to correct. If the child has many immune or dietary issues, bowel problems, if they are very colicky and irritable these are also early warning signs. Also it has been shown that we can document good eye contact and nonverbal communication between child and mother at 1 month. Many women instinctively know if this is right or not in their baby especially if they have had other children that developed properly, mothers tell me all the time they felt “disconnected” from this child with a disability. Also if a child has a real unevenness of skills, where they have certain skills that are exceptional but they seem very behind in other skills this is also a big clue. If you notice any of these I suggest they educate themselves, I think Disconnected Kids is the first thing they should read, it will give them hope. Then they should go to my website drrobertmelillo.com or Brain Balance website brainbalancecenters.com. Or they should try to find a specialist in Functional Neurology  (International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation) or Functional Medicine (Institute for Functional Medicine) in their local area.
 
I want to thank Dr. Melillo for answering these questions so that I may share this with all of my readers and followers.
 
As a Christian, I believe that Autism can be healed.  Why do I believe this?  I  know of a family who had a son whom was diagnosed with this disorder.  They prayed and believed for a miracle that this boy would be healed for a long time.  Guess what?  He was healed!  The doctors tested him again and there was no evidence that he ever had Autism!  God is good. I believe through resources such as this book, things can happen.  Do you believe in miracles?
 
 
 
If interested in purchasing this book, you can do so at Amazon.
 
Here are topics discussed throughout the book:
 
Part 1: Searching for Causes
  • The Autism Epidemic: Controversy and Reality
  • The Causes: Genetics Versus the Environment
  • What's Happening in the Brain of a Child with Autism
  • Risk Factors: What the Research Tells Us
Part 2: Finding Solutions
  • What's Your Cognitive Style?
  • Measuring for a Brain Imbalance
  • Listen to your Body: Assessing your Symptoms
  • Your Lifestyle and the Stress Response
  • When Immunity Gets Out of Balance
  • Reducing Your Risk Factors: A Ten-Point Preconception Plan
  • The Brain Balance Program for Parents-to-Be
Part 3: Early Detection
  • Searching for Early Signs of Autism-and What You Can Do
I am going to do a quick and easy giveaway for this book since it is a very sensitive topic.  The first reader to respond in a comment below with their interest in this book and why, will receive a free copy of AUTISM: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders-and What Parents Can Do Now.

Many Blessings!

Friday, May 3, 2013

David Carter's 100: Lift the Flaps and Learn to Count Review/Giveaway

 
 
Disclaimer:  Michigan Home Mommy Works received a copy of this book in exchange for this review and giveaway.  All opinion's expressed here are honest and my own.
 
"Flaps upon flaps upon flaps—100 of them—are layered on top of each other like gift boxes filled with surprises! Acclaimed master paper engineer and illustrator David Carter offers children a magical experience as they uncover an array of 100 wonderful things in a treasure trove of landscapes. From bustling city streets; to scenes deep undersea; to a prehistoric world with dinosaurs, this clever, visually astonishing book will not only amaze kids, but teach them to count up to 100 too!"

This book is perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners.  My preschooler loves it and it's the perfect tool for teaching children how to count to 100.  The book is so colorful and inviting.  Because of the details in this book, parental supervision is suggested for the younger crowd as the flaps are delicate making it easy to tear.  This would also be a great opportunity to teach book respect.

 
To see a demonstration of this flap book, watch the video below:


 
Interested in this book for your child?  Feel free to enter our giveaway below.  One reader will receive David Carter's 100: Lift the Flaps and Learn to Count.  Want to purchase this book?  Click here.


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy Momni Sweepstakes Day!


Are you looking for unique ideas for Mother's Day?  Omni Hotels would like for me to share with you their "Happy Momni Day Sweepstakes!  To bring you up to speed on Omni Hotels, click here.

Win a  2 Night Weekend Giveaway plus $100 Omni Gift Card for this "Momni Day" sweepstakes.  Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  After all, all moms need some pampering along with some much needed R&R!  Click below for details on how to enter!



Omni Hotels & Resorts is running a Mother’s Day Pinterest Sweepstakes
called “Happy Momni Day“! Pin your tribute to your Mom (or yourself!)
for your chance to win!

Lisa Loeb's Songs for Movin' and Shakin' Book and CD Children's Giveaway


Lisa Loeb

Disclaimer: As a blogger, I was provided with a copy of the Lisa Loeb Book and CD in exchange for this post and giveaway here on Michigan Home Mommy Works.  Any opinions expressed here are honest and my own.

As a mom, I am always zeroing in on age appropriate children's books and CD's.  I was excited to be introduced to Lisa Loeb. 

Who is Lisa Loeb?  She is a Grammy- nominated singer/songwriter.  Lisa was "catapulted" into early success with the platinum-selling No. 1 hit song "Stay (I Missed You)," and want on to record eight acclaimed albums.  Lisa is also the author of Lisa Loeb's Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs (Sterling Children's Books, October 2011), which won a Parent's Choice Award.  Lisa's dynamic career encompasses, music, film, television, an eyewear collection, award-winning children's recordings, and work on behalf of her charity, the Camp Lisa Foundation.  Born in Maryland and raised in Texas, Lisa now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children, Lyla and Emmet, and their two cats.  Visit Lisa at lisaloeb.com and follow her on Twitter @LisaLoeb.

"Lisa's voice is as charming and sweet as ever and lends itself perfectly to these fun, playful songs.  I love her and so do my girls.  These songs are the perfect addition to our nightly dance parties.  Thank you, Lisa!"~Sarah McLachlan


I recently received her book and CD: Lisa Loeb's Songs for Movin' and Shakin': The air band song and other toe tapping tunes.

Want to get kids off the couch?  This will get them singing and dancing in no time, especially with Lisa's new book that is full of fun, energy, and endless laughs for the whole family!  Lisa Loeb's Songs for Movin' & Shakin' will have kids movin' and groovin' with her sparkling second collection of songs, activities, and recipes-plus a CD with five all-time children's favorites and another five original tunes.  It's sure to stir up lots of fun; budding nusicians discover the joys of playing in an air band with "Turn it Down' (a tennis racket makes a great guitar), children scared of the dark can face scary creatures with "Monster Stomp." and more!  Ryan O'Rourke's illustrations light up Lisa's lyrics and will delight young readers, movers, and shakers alike.

Songs include:
Turn it Down (The Air Band Song) * Father Abraham * Miss Mary Mack * Monster Stomp * Going Away* Do Your Ears Hang Low? * Everybody Wake Up * Hello, Today * Peanut Butter and Jelly* Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes. (original song)

The illustrations in the book are bright and cheery.  The book is illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke.   Ryan has worked with clients including the Boston Globe, Time for Kids, the Wall Street Journal, and PBS.  Ryan has earned acclaim for his art from American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, and others.  He lives in northern CT with his wife and two cats.

If you would be interested in purchasing Lisa Loeb's book and CD, you can do so here.  In honor of this book and CD, I would like to give away a book and CD to one of our readers.  Please read the terms and conditions within the giveaway widget below before entering!  Have fun!

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