Out with Mommy

A Special $1 Buttermilk Pancake Short Stack Day on August 23 Punctuates Efforts as IHOP and its Franchisees Aim to Serve One Million Pancakes in One Day to Benefit No Kid Hungry

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If your family loves IHOP for breakfast like mine, you will be happy to know that your next meal of short stack pancakes, until September 25, will not only make your own children happy but will help other children across the nation.

IHOP® restaurants and its franchisees proudly announced today that the Family Dining leader has again joined forces with No Kid Hungry in an effort to end childhood hunger in the U.S. The IHOP + No Kid Hungry campaign, which runs August 1 through September 25, invites IHOP guests and fans to join in the fight by donating to the leading non-profit on their check or through www.IHOP.com.

To amplify efforts, on Tuesday, August 23 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., IHOP restaurants will offer* guests a short stack of their world-famous Buttermilk Pancakes for just $1 with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting No Kid Hungry. The brand and its franchisees have set an ambitious goal: serve one million pancakes in just one day to help every child in America get access to the healthy breakfasts they need to start the day.

For close to six decades, IHOP has been the leader in bringing guests a freshly made breakfast served any time of day, every day ― but at least one in every five children across the U.S. struggles to get the food they need to grow and thrive. No Kid Hungry works to connect our future leaders with a healthy breakfast by delivering food to where kids live, learn and play.

“IHOP and our franchisees are passionate about helping build the overall well-being of the children and families in communities everywhere, including addressing the critical issue of hunger in the United States,” said Kirk Thompson, senior vice president, marketing for IHOP and Marketing Advisory Board Member for the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry platform. “Together with No Kid Hungry, we can enable the more than 16 million children across America who struggle with hunger to start each and every day with the strength that comes from eating a good breakfast.”

IHOP restaurants’ efforts will help kick off the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry campaign, which fully launches nationwide in September and unites the restaurant industry around a shared mission of helping end child hunger.

“We’re thrilled to have IHOP back for a second year supporting No Kid Hungry and extending to their guests the mission to end childhood hunger in America,” says Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength. “IHOP’s tremendous goal to serve one million pancakes in one day means that three million more breakfasts will be possible for kids in need. That translates into more kids doing better in class, missing less school, and becoming more likely to graduate high school. That’s a lot of potential in one pancake.”

To learn more about the IHOP + No Kid Hungry campaign and the fight against childhood hunger, including how to donate to the cause, go to participating IHOP restaurants and www.ihop.com starting August 1.

04_kidstabletIf you hate those “reloading” reloading messages when you are streaming your favorite shows, and you worry about what content your kids are accessing online, Amped Wireless has a new solution for your family.

Amped Wireless, the leading manufacturer of high power, long range wireless solutions, is bridging Wi-Fi performance, security and simplicity with the launch of ALLY, a whole-home smart AC1900 Wi-Fi system with MU-MIMO. Available for pre-order August 23, ALLY is designed to deliver an unparalleled Wi-Fi experience for homes of all sizes.

The ALLY Wi-Fi system is the first seamless roaming solution with blazing-fast Wi-Fi speeds, MU-MIMO technology and whole-home coverage with award winning, high power technology. Offering easy setup and a mobile app for on-the-go control, the ALLY and ALLY Plus systems reach up to 15,000 square feet of secure coverage for seamless roaming and uninterrupted streaming.

Built with the digitally-connected family in mind, ALLY features intelligent parental controls that make online parenting feel easy and safe. Through ALLY’s customized user profiles, parents can manage and limit access to selected content, websites or apps. Additionally, parents can monitor and segment a child’s screen time, review an activity log, pause Internet service and even set a curfew schedule for their Internet use.

Parents can also feel at ease knowing that devices on their network are protected by AVG Technologies, the leading provider of software and services to secure devices, data and people. Customers can download the ALLY app and help safeguard devices from malware by activating AVG’s free, built-in web protection and real-time monitoring of network traffic. ALLY’s security features, parental control options and iOS and Android apps are built on Chime, AVG’s smart router platform developed by AVG’s Innovations Labs, an exploratory branch of AVG Technologies.

“Innovation is part of our DNA here at Amped Wireless,” said Jason Owen, Executive Vice President of Networking, Amped Wireless. “We are elated to announce ALLY and our partnership with AVG. By combining Amped Wireless’ award winning high power technology with AVG’s software and security expertise, we’ve created the industry’s best whole-home Wi-Fi solution. The result is a one-of-a-kind system that performs at the highest levels while providing a user experience that is second to none, bringing peace of mind to users as their network and families are protected.”

The partnership establishes ALLY as the only home wireless system that offers web protection that safeguards devices, including tablets, phones, computers and other devices. Additionally, the system alerts users when a new device requests network access, further protecting the network from unwanted parties.

“Gartner predicts the average family house will contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022. As the complexity of the connected home increases, so does the potential risk involved,” says Todd Simpson, Chief Strategy Officer of AVG Technologies. “AVG’s Innovation Labs created Chime to simplify security and router technology for connected families. In time this will be like an antivirus for the home that can stop threats before they reach devices.”

In addition to the advanced software and security, the ALLY hardware is also ahead of the innovation curve. All units are built with next generation 802.11ac, Multi-User MIMO technology. Traditional Wi-Fi systems stream data to just one device at a time, leaving the rest of the devices to wait their turn which results in slower downloads and video buffering. With MU-MIMO, ALLY is able to stream HD content at faster speeds to multiple devices at once, delivering increased speeds for homes with multiple devices. Pair that with Amped Wireless’ award winning High Power Technology and you have unparalleled reliability, coverage and performance. Every smartphone, tablet, computer, TV and more can connect from virtually anywhere in the home or office. It is the solution for a flawless, whole-home, reliable Wi-Fi system.

There are ALLY solutions for both small-medium sized homes, as well as medium-large sized homes, and everything in between. Both ALLY and ALLY Plus products have an estimated delivery of early October. ALLY is priced at $199.99 and ALLY Plus at $379.99. For purchase information and additional details visit ampedwireless.com.

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It’s National Awareness Month March 1-6, and one particular group is probably the most aware of the need for more sleep – single moms.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that women in general get less sleep than men, and single moms fare the worst when it comes to getting the minimum of seven hours of sleep, which is deemed important for good health.

The Sleep Experience Team of sleep specialists at Luxi mattress offers these tips to single moms, and their children, to get more and better sleep.

  • Stick to a regular bedtime and a routine for you and the children.  When children know the cues for bedtime, such as bath time, brushing teeth, story time, etc., their mind and body prepares for sleep, as does yours.
  • Avoid watching TV, checking email and texting late at night, and don’t allow screen time for children for at least one hour before bedtime. Research shows bright lights from screens wake up the brain, and a stimulated child does not go to sleep easily, which also keeps parents up too.
  • Don’t eat late at night, and don’t allow children to eat or drink one to two hours before bedtime. A full stomach or bladder can make for an uncomfortable, restless night and disruptive trips to the bathroom.
  • Make sure you have a mattress that is right for you. Your body changes throughout your lifecycle — before, during and after pregnancy, and likewise your mattress should change.  Consider a mattress that can be adjusted, such as Luxi, which unzips and configures to soft, medium or firm as your needs and preferences change.
  • Once the children are asleep, practice some relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercise, meditation, and calming visualization.

For more tips on better sleep from the Luxi mattress team, go to http://www.luxisleep.com.

Remodeling a home can be a hefty investment, but there are ways to cut the costs and completely renew your home without breaking the bank. Knowing how to do this can be very important when you’re trying to sell your home and margins are tight; after all, you don’t want to invest $20,000 into a renovation only to make an extra $10,000 from the sell price. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Focus on efficiency rather than size.

There’s no need to completely remodel your kitchen for new storage spaces. Make use of smart storage options to give your kitchen more storage space without completely tearing everything out. Replace empty cabinets with sets of pull-out drawers, hang shelves on the walls, and buy a few lazy Susans to make the best use of existing space.

2. Use a ‘light tube.’

Skylights are expensive, but everyone likes natural light. Luckily, there’s a solution: a light tube. This device fits between the rafters in the roof and directs sunlight down into the living spaces. While light tubes are $500 in cost, a double-paned skylight can cost $1,500 — and that’s before installation costs.

3. Use recycled materials.

For any jobs that require you to purchase construction materials, consider using recycled materials rather than purchasing them brand-new. Not only does this help the environment, but it helps you save money with materials that are just as high quality, but cost significantly less than new materials would. Habitat for Humanity offers a number of options at their ReStores found all throughout the country.

4. Put in some of the work yourself.

Sweat equity is very much a thing. Speak with your contractor to find out what jobs are available for you to do to cut down on the cost. Chances are, your contractor is strapped for time. They’re usually busy with a variety of different jobs and will happily offer you a lower cost if you agree to do some of the work for them. Demolition jobs are a great way to cut the cost of a remodel.

Whether you’re selling a home or just trying to bring new life to the one you’ve had for years, remodeling can be expensive. Do what you can to cut costs and get your free quote for an estimated remodel for the room of your choice.

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If you are shopping for the mom who has everything … everything except some time off for herself, then Present Now has the perfect gift for her.  Present Now in Palm Springs, held at the Riviera Palm Springs January 23-24, is the ultimate luxurious girls getaway for moms, where moms can bond, enjoy a fabulous cocktail party and dinner with friends, shop at an exclusive trunk show, bid on spectacular auction items, and listen to great music and be entertained  by mom comedian Stephanie Blum. Proceeds from the event will benefit Present Now, the Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that gives gifts to children living in domestic violence shelters.   Registration is currently open with discounted rooms available through December 23.  Go now to www.presentnow.org for more information.

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Present Now, the Los Angeles non-profit organization that provides gifts of necessities and specialty items for babies, children and teens living in domestic violence shelters, announced a new partnership this week with Alexandria House, a transitional residence for woman  and children, located in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles.

 

Present Now will give the children living at Alexandria House care-packages of gifts throughout the year to bring them relief, comfort and happiness to ease their hardship.

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“Children living in transitional housing such as Alexandria House usually have very few possessions because they have fled for safety with their mothers, leaving behind all of their toys and belongings.  Present Now’s Presents Program is designed to alleviate some of the initial stress of entering a shelter while also bringing some measure of joy during this time of acute crisis,” said Erica Fisher, co-founder of Present Now.

 

Children at Alexandria House will receive a birthday cake or cake-making kit along with a surprise birthday present and a restaurant gift card on their birthdays. On Valentine’s Day they will receive an age-appropriate digital device for learning and play.  In September, as children return to school, they will receive a backpack full of school supplies.

 

“Our goal with these gifts is to create hope and some measure of comfort all year long for the child.  It is also our intention that when these families transition out of shelter living into their new homes, they are able to bring all of these presents with them to begin their new lives,” said Present Now co-founder Melanie Neumann.

Connect with the tech geeks on your holiday shopping list with these 12 brainy games, devices, and smart toys that will rock their Christmas.

Hi NOON

Kids of all ages will feel in the middle of the action with the NOON VR Headset ($89). Developed by South Korea-based tech company Nextcore, this lightweight headset can be paired with any smartphone with a 4.7-inch or larger screen. Wearers can watch IMAX-quality videos enjoy a fully immersive virtual reality experience, such as virtual roller coaster, a volcano erupting or even a flight through outer space. Available at Amazon.

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u robot

Engineering enthusiasts (grades 4+) can literally make a new as they become better builders with the RiQ ($229) easy-to-build-and-program robot kit with building components, sensors, and a microcontroller.  The hands-on kit uses is a fun introduction to science concepts such as mechanical engineering, structural engineering, physics, gear ratios, and other STEM concepts. Available at edventures.com.

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Fly kids

Everyone wants the “it” gift of the season, the Sky Viper Video Drone 950 ($89) from Skyrocket Toys. This lightweight, durable and high-performing drone spans 12.75” and features the ability to record video and pictures in full 720p high definition with one-touch custom camera moves in autopilot. Its long-range 2.4 GHZ transmitter can be adjusted for all levels of flying experience.  (Ages 12+) Available at skyrockettoys.com.

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Creative remake

Move over Minecraft, ARCKIT is the new exciting, creative and addictive building activity but in real, tangible life.  Professionals, hobbyists, design fans and budding young builders age 12+ can use these ingenious kids to create realistic models to scale, from their own future home to classic architectural monuments, outside as well as the interior, in a true 3D model.  The pieces can be dissembled and reused, and the system is compatible with 3D computer modelling programs.  Available in various sizes, starting with the ARCKIT Go kit, or ARCKIT 60 with 220 pieces, and ARCKIT 620-pioece AR240 Kit, all which can be expanded with component packs.  $69 to $399. Available at Barnes and Noble.

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See it all

 

For those who like to see it all, olloclip’s New Macro Pro Lens ($69) is the microscope for the digital age. Compact and portable enough to put in a backpack or on a keychain, it quickly affixes to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus utilizing the front- or rear-facing camera to become a powerful high-clarity microscope for discovery and photography, featuring 7x, 14x, 21x macro magnification, for examining insects, flowers, and innumerable small objects, for learning and fun.  Available now at olloclip.com and major retailers including Apple and Best Buy.

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Sounds good

Host your own family talent show with the pitch perfect Singtrix Personal Bundle, by the makers of Guitar Hero, and everyone is a start.  Even bad singers sound good and good singers sound great with this next-generation portable karaoke machine that works with any smartphone, tablet, PC or other audio device, for listening with headphones or a speaker system. The Personal Bundle features more than 300 quality vocal effects and controls to create instant four-part harmonies, so that anyone can sound like a rock star.  Available at TOYS “R” US and other national retailers, $229.00.

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Hot box

Lots of subscriptions boxes promise surprises inside, but the Cooper and Kid box delivers, with curated products full of wonder and excitement for kids, with a focus on activities designed to enrich parents’ quality time with children. These kits are full of activities, games, tools, and crafts, like rocket-propelled experiments, that make for great for quality time with kids. Even the shipping box converts into a toy.  Subscriptions start at $59 per month for a box per quarter. Available at ccoperandkid.com.

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Smart girls

Smart is the new cool with Project Mc²  line of toys and activities aimed at teaching girls about science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) through play. The collection includes smart stylish dolls ($24.99) that each include a real-working experiment, such as a kit to create a lava light or an erupting volcano or a glow stick. Other products include the Rock Sugar Jewelry ($9.99) kit for making fashionable accessories through chemistry in the kitchen, and Mckeyla’s Ultimate Lab Kit ($49.99) full of science experiments, and a Soda Can Robot ($14.99) construction kit. Available at Target, Amazon and Toys R Us.

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Message in a teddy

Kids stuffed animals really can talk to them, in the voices of their loved ones, with CloudPets ($29.99 + $6.99 shipping and handling). These connected plush toys pair with Bluetooth devices and use BTLE technology that allows children, family and friends to record and send messages by pressing the toy’s right or left paw to send or receive. Designed as a cute and cuddly way for long-distance family and friends to keep in touch, the toy can also be used as a sleep machine with downloaded lullabies to help baby doze off.  Available at cloudpets.com.

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Super charged fun

Some video games are mindless fun, but top-selling video game franchise Skylanders offers fantastical exploration of a fictional world that expands the imagination.  With an array of characters that players place into the game using physical action figures, players can engage in exciting racing and battle interaction in Skylands. In Skylanders SuperChargers (starter kit $74.99), Skylands is in peril. A special team called the SuperChargers equipped with an unstoppable fleet of incredible vehicles must embark on epic adventure to stop the villainous Kaos and save Skylands.  Available at Toys R Us and wherever video games are sold.

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Lock on

Super strength goes with super design and hi-tech with the keyless Master Lock No. 1500eXD. School kids will be the envy of classmates with this hi-tech combination padlock hanging on their locker, and they never need worry about forgetting the combination thanks to a vault enabled  permanent Backup Master Code.  Made of boron carbide for maximum resistance to cutting and sawing, the lock comes installed with a replaceable CR2032 five-year-life battery. $39.68. Available at Amazon, Home Depot, Target and other national retailers.

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Change up

For anyone with a serious case of FOMO who can’t stop changing channels when TV watching, Pronto ($49.99) makes it easy.  This palm-sized hub pairs with the free Peel Smart Remote App to turn an iPhone or iPod Touch into a universal remote that controls more than 3,000 home entertainment devices, even streaming video players. This remote is so smart it makes viewing recommendations based on the user’s interests and viewing habits. Available at Newegg.com and BestBuy.com.

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