Thursday, April 27, 2017

Live Your Best Life With Children & Loved Ones on the Autism Spectrum – A Checklist

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects millions of children and adults worldwide. Too often, it’s viewed as an affliction, a disease—something to be minimized, even stigmatized. Despite decades of scientific research that has radically advanced our understanding of ASD, too many of us remain stuck in this unhelpful mindset.

That’s unfortunate not just for parents raising children with autism and caregivers doing their best to support clients with autism. It’s problematic for people who live with ASD every day.

If you’ve been diagnosed with ASD, you already know that living your best life with autism involves sacrifice and setbacks. You don’t need someone to tell you ad nauseum.

If you’re a caregiver or parent to a loved one with autism, you likewise know what’s involved. Now more than ever before, you can rely on a phalanx of autism awareness and research organizations for unbiased information about your loved one’s condition and the best practices that you can leverage to help them thrive.

That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a daily affirmation. If your life is directly touched by ASD, for whatever reason, follow these simple steps to a more fulfilling life—if you’re not doing so already.

Know Who Your Friends Are

In her moving Huffington Post piece about raising a child with autism, Hannah Brown writes: “Once your child is diagnosed with autism, you find out who your real friends are, and who the staunchest allies in your family are.”

This is tough to read, and even tougher to acknowledge. But it’s also critical for anyone who wishes to maintain an even keel while contending with ASD or giving care to a loved one on the spectrum. Not that you ever needed negative influences in your life, but now is certainly not the time to be weighed down by people who only pretend to care. Embrace those who unquestioningly stick by your side through thick and thin, and cut everyone else loose.

Spread Your Love Around

The world revolves around no man or woman. This is doubly true for individuals on the autism spectrum and the family members they depend on for support.

If you’re responsible for the care of someone with ASD, you must do your utmost to avoid tunnel vision. There are others who depend on you for comfort and care, even if they don’t require or demand as much of your attention.

If you’re on the autism spectrum yourself, you must do your utmost to see the connections between yourself and others—and to embrace your very special place in the wider world. The world is too big and rich for the needs of one person to monopolize the attention of any other.

Find Strength in Numbers

When you start to feel as if you’re all alone, find strength in numbers. Look to ASD support groups for solace and encouragement, especially in the early days following your or your loved one’s diagnosis. The more experienced members of these groups have no doubt seen and done many of the things you’re seeing and doing right now. They’ll help you navigate what can seem like a confusing and cacophonous environment.

Tell Your Story

Your story is unique. Your story is interesting. Your story matters.

So tell it. You don’t have to shout your frustrations from the rooftops or pester your friends with never-ending reflections on your circumstances. But you should certainly share your story with trusted confidantes capable of offering guidance and succor, even if they don’t quite know what your day-to-day is like. Try it; you’ll feel better in no time.

Respect Boundaries

Children and adults with ASD may have different interpersonal boundaries than those who don’t live on the spectrum. That’s OK, even expected. It’s up to caregivers, loved ones, peers and colleagues to respect these boundaries. There’s nothing wrong with marching to the beat of your own drum; without the audience’s support, though, the music rarely sounds as sweet.

Find the Right Partners & Providers

Brown writes, “I’ve found that the therapist is more important than the type of therapy. It is imperative that the therapist establish a close, warm relationship with the child. Sometimes the people who work best with Danny are not particularly at ease with me, but they shine with him, and that’s what is important.”

That statement isn’t without controversy; many would argue that the type of therapy is quite important. But the underlying point is backed up by years of repeated experience: Children and adults with ASD flourish in the right environment.

Seek Independence

Older children and adults with ASD can and should seek independence—when they’re ready to do so and only as they’re able. Some individuals who live on the spectrum may never gain full independence; others may thrive in transitional settings that provide for mostly autonomous activity. The important point for parents and caregivers to take home is that people with ASD need to be involved in the choice to pursue independence or not.

Be Positive and Supportive

“[K]ids with autism are constantly being told what they’re doing is wrong,” writes Brown. “Make corrections as constructively and positively as you can.”

Translation: Say yes at least as often as you say no. Positive reinforcement always trumps negative reinforcement.

See the Dignity and Value in Every Life

We too often pay lip service to the idea that every life has value without stopping to think about exactly what that concept means. When every life has value, every life must be valued—even (and perhaps especially) when the wider world seems to shrug its shoulders.

If you’re responsible for the care of someone living with ASD, you’re the living embodiment of the idea that every life has value. Never forget that this is so. If you yourself live with ASD, always remember that you’re just as important, just as special, as those who don’t know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. No matter what anyone tells you, you have the right to shine.

Are you living your best life on the autism spectrum? Are your loved ones living life to fullest?

The Beating Heart Of A Digital Kitchen

comfort, control, cooking

A lot of people consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the house. It’s the room where most people eat and cook their meals. And, it’s one of the most social rooms in the house. A lot of parties surround the kitchen; with people choosing to be in a place they can talk. In recent years, computers have reached the kitchen. And, with this development has come to a new wave of digital appliances to make your kitchen truly great. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the options you can add to your kitchen. Now, you just have to go shopping!

  • The Fridge Freezer

One of the biggest items in most kitchens is it’s fridge freezer. These items are designed to store most of your food. And, they can be a big distraction if you choose the wrong option. Thankfully, modern options are designed with sleekness in mind; making them hide in the room. What makes modern fridge freezers so great is the inclusion of a small computer, in some examples. These smart fridges are designed to make your life as easy as possible. Some examples of these fridges have barcode scanners, allowing you to input the items you are storing. When the food goes out of date; the fridge will be able to tell you. Some will even order products like milk and butter at regular intervals to make sure you never run out. These appliances make life much easier, taking out loads of little shopping trips.

  • The Smoker

A lot of people like to have unique flavours on their food. And, one of the best ways to do this is with a smoker. These appliances allow you to make your own jerky in just a few hours. They also enable you to make meals with smoked salmon. Most people never make their own food like this. But, with the help of modern technology; it doesn’t have to be hard. Digital smokers will do most of the work for you, using settings you can find on the internet. Using the internet, it’s easy to discover why the Bradley Smoker is so popular and why you need to have it in your kitchen. This sort of item is great for those that love to eat; but, don’t always want to cook.

  • The Fryer

Nothing tastes quite the same as fried food. Most people don’t like to have the food baked. But, using a deep fat fryer is too unhealthy for a lot of people to want to use all the time. Thankfully, having fried food doesn’t have to mean frying you food in a pool of oil. Instead, loads of modern options allow you to cook your fries and other meals using as little as a teaspoon of oil. This is much healthier. And, these friars don’t create unhealthy food. So, you don’t have to worry so much about eating it often. Along with the health benefits, these machines are also faster and safer than traditional options.

  • The BBQ

Everyone loves spending sunny days out in the garden or on the beach with a barbeque sizzling away. Having food cooked on this sort of device makes it taste better than anything cooked indoors. But, you don’t have to have a modern barbeque outside; it can stay inside. George Foreman’s range of devices now includes indoor barbeques, which create great tasting food. These are much healthier than traditional options. And, they can be used at any time of year; regardless of the weather. Just imagine having a rack of ribs in the winter.

  • The Projector

Everyone loves to read recipes while they cook new food. But, using a phone, laptop or tablet usually results in a big mess. The way that you control these devices means that your hands have to be clean if you want to do it with ease. Unfortunately, this makes it very hard of most people. This doesn't have to be the case, though. Instead, you can use a projector to do the work. In recent times, small devices have come out with IR transmitters, allowing their projectors to work as a touch screen. This can turn your countertop into a screen with 10-point multi-touch and an android computer controlling it. Not many devices have this sort of versatility.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of the modern options available for your kitchen. A lot of these options are designed to be available to everyone. They don’t cost a fortune. And, they are most likely the future of our kitchens. Investing in this tech now could keep you way ahead of the curve.

A Bedroom is More Than Just A Room With A Bed In It


When you add up everyone that lives under your roof, you start to realize how crazy that atmosphere can become. An average sized family in an average sized home can very quickly start to get on top of each other, which is why our bedrooms are such an important part of the house. The bedroom is our space, or place, our sanctuary, our bit of peace and quiet, that escape from the noise, and that room where we can catch our breath. That’s why it is so crucial we spruce them up a bit every now and again.

Of course, wanting to decorate and being able to afford it are two entirely different things; unless you know just how to upgrade each bedroom in a purse-friendly manner, that is.


The Writing’s On The Wall
Our bedroom walls offer us such a great chance to personalize and improve on a budget. It could be that we go with a gallery wall of photographs, in which you can have pictures of your kids and your kids can have pictures of old Hollywood icons, or cars, or whatever they are interested in. But that isn’t all you can do. Why not go through old magazines and make a collage wall yourself, or get some funky wallpaper to make a feature wall? You could equally decorate one wall in a load of mismatched mirrors or big frames filled with little mementos you’ve picked up over the years.


Sleep On It
The centerpiece of a bedroom, any bedroom is the bed. Unless you are Edward Cullen, there are no two ways about it. What’s more, everyone in your family is going to have different preferences, so it is up to each person decide what makes the perfect bed. Would your son prefer a futon, which would mean more space in the day? Is a gel mattress worth considering? What about adding a little bit of color to the frame, a bit of paint? All of these are subjective, of course, but they’ll add to the room hugely. The little things always do. Throws, cushions, new duvet covers, a new headboard; it all makes a bedroom more personal.


Extra Seating
When we want to get that little bit of peace and quiet by running up to our rooms, we want to have a little more option than leaping onto the bed. Maybe we just want somewhere to sit down and read for a minute. Maybe your son just wants somewhere he can get comfortable, plug in headphones and play PlayStation, and your daughters want somewhere they can read; that’s where extra seating comes in. You may fancy a chaise lounge to make your room that much more Parisian, while your son may want a wicked-comfy blow-up sofa, and your daughter a hanging basket chair that she can curl up in. Maybe a hammock is on your list of desirables? There are plenty of low-cost options out there when you look around, especially on the internet, and each of these bedroom ideas will replicate their personalities and, well, that’s what you want, really.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Turtle Beach Recon Chat for PS4 - Budget Friendly Crystal Clear Communication

It’s not easy being a gamer on a budget, never mind supporting a family of gamers. Between games, consoles, PC’s, and accessories, prices can get quite ridiculous. Fortunately, there are companies that recognize that their customers have different needs and budgets. 

Turtle Beach is a name synonymous with delivering quality, state of the art sound solutions for both the casual and hardcore gamer a like. The new Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon Chat headset doesn’t boast as many bells and whistles as some of their more premium headsets, but it still manages to be a quality headset upgrade from the headsets bundled with consoles, that not are not only uncomfortable but never lasted more than a week. 

Recon Chat Headset

Sporting a basic design, the Recon Chat headset is a plug-in-and-play set, as it connects to your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller using a 3.5mm jack. And while not as fancy as pricer models it still holds its own with seamless sound via a high quality 40mm speaker, and crystal clear chat communication, we love Turtle Beach for. 

The headset itself has a reversible over-ear design and unique open ear-cup, which has its benefits and downfalls. After extended periods of wear the comfort level was high and I enjoyed that I was able to switch ears, so to speak. My son, a glasses wearer, was even more impressed with the comfort thanks to Turtle Beach’s SpecsFit™ glasses avoidance zone that allows some extra space. He has a hard time finding headsets that don’t put a lot of pressure on his glasses causing discomfort, especially with any extended wear. With the Recon Chat, comfort was a noticeable benefit for him.

Turtle beach Recon Chat Headset

The open ear-cup however does leave room for outside noise. So this will really depend on your preference. I preferred to leave the sound to my television speakers and use the Recon Chat for just that. Chat. Chat was incredibly clear and there wasn’t any feedback, the sound from my gameplay wasn’t effecting the gameplay of party members I was chatting with. In fact it was noted they only heard me, not the TV. But, again, it would be up to personal preference. If you prefer the audio through the headset and TV in stereo, or to localize the headset to just chat audio. Additionally you’ll find The Recon Chat also comes with an in-line controller on its cable that allows you to adjust the volume level and mute your microphone right at your fingertips. 

in-line controls
Overall for the low price of $19.95, the Turtle Beach Recon Chat headset is fantastic value, and does what it is intended to do. This is a great headset if you’re on a budget, are just looking for an upgrade from that bundled headset, or just want to be able to chat with ease. Recon Chat is a quality solution for communication, and it’s versatile. The Recon Chat headset works great with PS4™ and Xbox One controllers with the 3.5mm jack, as well as mobile/tablet devices with a 3.5mm connection.

The Turtle Beach Recon Chat Headset is available for pre-order now to be released May,15th, 2017

* Headset provided by Turtle Beach. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were in no way influenced.*

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Have a Blast with Blast Box ( Review + Giveaway)

Have a blast on game night! With Blast Box from Zing you never know who will be the next to create a bang, in this exploding balloon, suspense, and strategy game.

Blast Box Game
Perfect for kids and adults, as I too had a lot of fun with this game, Blast Box comes complete with 1 Blast Box, 1 hammer, 100 balloons, 1 balloon pump, 30 plastic pins, 1 spinner and 20 easy tie balloon clips.

Game-play starts by inflating one balloon per player (2-4 players), place the balloons under the “Blast Box” and take your chance spinning the spinner (or use the free Blast Box app, available on iOS and Andriod and loaded with fun trivia questions) to determine how many pins to hammer into box. The next move depends on you, as you try to strategically hammer in your pin without popping a balloon. If you should hear a blast, well, you’re out! Be the last remaining player and win.

This game is quite literally a blast. My 17 year old and 3 year old had an equally good time playing. And with the added twist of trivia via the Blast Box app, this is a great game for family game night or game night with friends.

The game pins are plastic. I had no issue letting my three year old choose his pins and hammering them into the box, though the game is recommended for ages 4+. The balloon pump was really simple to use as well. Game setup took maybe 2 minutes.

I love a game that produces laughter, enjoyment, and suspense. There is nothing better than watching the kids’ giggle, when mom hears a pop and jumps back. What can I say, even tucked away in a box the noise from a popping balloon still gets me!

Find Blast Box availible now from for the SRP of $19.99. 
And don't forget to capture all the fun and share it using hashtag #BalloonBlastChallenge

Win It: Make your next game an exploding good time! Enter below to win Blast Box by Zing!