12/28/20

18 NASA Endorsed Air-Purifying Houseplants

With winter settling in and your home and office windows sealed shut, the air inside is destined to become a dust cloud of stale air. Fear not, here are 18 NASA endorsed, Air-purifying Houseplants.



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FUN FACT: According to NASA, certain common indoor plants provide a natural way of removing toxic agents while neutralizing the effects of sick building syndrome. And it's not just the plant, the micro-organisms in potting mix (soil) remove benzene from the air. All you need is at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.





FIRST! Find out what's lurking in your air, then choose the right plant for your needs.

SECOND: Use the above to match the perfect plant, below!






Here are actual pictures of the plants...





The following is a sort of cheat sheet to find which plant is best for various toxins and how to care for it.



To see specific plants and care instructions, check out my Houseplant Air Purifier Pinterest Board, Here.



NOTE: Certain houseplants may be toxic to your pet(s), please check plants for warnings before purchasing.

12/22/20

10 Things To Know Before Transitioning To A Toddler Bed



The decision to move my son out of his crib and into a toddler bed was the source of many heated debates. As usual, I wanted to keep my baby in his crib, and the Aussie wanted his big boy (2ys) to be in a big boy bed frame

My husband talked me into letting him set up the toddler bed just so Ollie could get used to seeing it. 


Much to my surprise, the little guy took one look at his 'big boy bed' and declared no more Crib. He wanted to sleep in his big-boy-bed. 

Later that night, he was in my bed. For the first time EVER. 

Y'all.... The day we moved the kid out of his crib was the day we essentially moved him into my bed. To keep you from the same crappy night sleep, below are 10 tips found while researching an article I thought I would share.

1. There is no set rule, date, age, time, magical number.

Pediatric sleep disorders expert, Deborah Lin-Dyken, says there's no set time to make a move. Studies show most children make the switch sometime between ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2.

2. Climbing Is Not Key. 

Don't rush right out and buy a new bed the day your toddler climbs out of the crib. This IS NOT an indicator that he is ready. Lower the mattress all the way, and discourage climbing.

3. Keep the decor.  

The switch may freak your toddler out. Place the new bed in the EXACT same place the crib used to be. Use the same bedding, crib toys/stuffed animals. Change as little as possible. 

4. NO SURPRISES! 

Don't just spring the new bed on your toddler.  Start talking it up at least a week in advance.  One expert says, "Throw a big party to celebrate the bed's arrival."

5. Wait For Independence To Reign Supreme. 

Independence is an indicator that your child is ready to make the switch.  If your child takes pride in individual accomplishments, including feeding and dressing themselves, then it may be time. Kyle Pruett, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, in New Haven, Connecticut, says a sign of readiness is when your child calls out in the night and can be reassured just be hearing your voice.

6. One Thing At A Time. 

Don't introduce the new bed during potty training or moving to a new house.  Too many changes can freak a familiarity loving toddler out. -Dr. Laura Markham.

7. Transition Before The Third Trimester.

If the transition is due to the arrival of a new baby, experts recommend the transition be made and well adjusted to at least TWO months before the baby arrives.

8. Remember Who Needs To Really Love It. 

Let your toddler be involved every step of the way; including if possible, picking out the bed, and the new sheets, blanket, and pillow if necessary. Make the new bed cozy and inviting.

9. Get the Routine Down. 

If you do not already have one, create a bedtime routine and stick to it leading up to the big night. Familiarity is key to this transition. One expert says to add white noise or music to the bedtime routine, if it is not already part of it, to help your child doze off.

10. Prepare Yourself For A long Bitter Battle. 

This could (most likely will) be very scary for your little one, and may take quite a few nights of both, getting to sleep AND staying in bed through the night, before things settle. Remember, this is ultimately your decision, you have to be comforting and understanding that this is very scary. Talk through your child's feelings and be reassuring that this is a wonderful thing.  'All big boys/girls sleep in a big bed.'


Unless this is your idea of a "toddler bed," 
then you better be sure your toddler is ready...

Parenting Words Of Wisdom: Toddler beds are dumb. Skip it and buy atlas a twin size bed. You'll be happy to have somewhere to sleep your child throws you out of your bed.

Good luck, it's not an easy transition, but with the right timing and attitude on both parties, this could be a good thing.

Super Cute Winter Snowflake Activity For The Whole Family




With snow in the forecast for the next two weeks, idle time is imminent, meaning, if I don't find something to do, the kid will wreck the house like a caged bull free in a china factory.  In my search for fun family activities, I came across the cutest ideas for snowflake decorations. I'm not talking about kindergarten snowflakes. Oh, no. These are pro-flakes. And with the crazy, yet easy, snowflake templates and tutorials, making these pro-flakes looks easy.  I'm already picturing glitter tips on mine...

Check out these super-cute decorating ideas using homemade snowflakes. I bet you'll be busting out the coffee filters before sundown Saturday.
                                                   

Turn snowflakes into sun catchers! TIP: Use various blue, grey and white shades of tissue paper to kick the sun catcher snowflakes up a notch. Here is a complete how-to, here.
I have every intention of making this with the Aussie and The Kid. I think it will be so cute in our hallway. Check out the how-to, here.


Pin it


This is a fantastic idea for a baby mobile. On a much, much smaller scale. Find a tree branch, paint it, then hang a few snowflakes from it. TIP: Use bold color paper to make snowflakes to play to baby's love of bold fun colors! Find the how-to, here

I think this would be a cute idea for a winter party. Maybe add hanging white Christmas lights in between the snowflakes. Find the how-to, here.

                 This is a super cute idea. Add a little glitter for extra sparkle!  Find the how-to, here



Before you think there is no way you can make such beautiful snowflakes, check this out:




If you make a snowflake decoration or have a template for an awesome snowflake, please upload it to the FTM+D Facebook Fan Page, here.

Track Santa's Flight Around The World With NORAD

Did you know, you can TRACK SANTA across the world?

The North American Aerospace Defence Command, (NORAD) has helped families around the world watch and interact with Santa for over sixty years! 

Track Santa

On Christmas eve, at any given minute, your child can check where Santa is in the world, and where he is going next! It's not only super cool, it's a wicked fun geography learning experience for all involved. I promise you will see towns and villages you never knew existed!

For extra learning fun, look them up!



NORAD


The NORAD website isn't just for tracking Santa, there's also has a bunch of fun interactive things to do, games to play, and even 'Santa's Favorite Holiday songs' on the NoradSanta website. This means, your child can start interacting with Santa, Today! READ: this will buy you five to ten minutes for a coffee break, but stay close, because the games and song are fun for all.


 Santa App


There's even an APP for that! We used it last year...


NORADSanta APP



AND THAT'S NOT ALL!!!

Wait for it... 

It's totally free. 

I know, finally something free during the holidays. 

If you have kids, DO THIS! It's fun and exciting for all. 

Check out the NORAD Santa Tracker Website and fun games, here




11/23/20

What You Need To Know About Holiday ID Theft



Before you start your Black Friday shopping madness, protect yourself against ID fraud.  Here are a few simple tips to protect yourself this holiday shopping season:
Watch for fake deals and fake websites: One of the most common tricks for Grinchy scam artists is to offer you a great holiday deal or coupon that is simply a way to steal your personal information. "Be wary of messages delivered to you by e-mail or text message even if they appear to come from a company or person you trust," says Lucas Zaichkowsky, enterprise defense architect at Resolution1 Security. "The process known as "phishing" involves creating fake websites that look like the real thing, Zaichkowsky said, so you should always be on your guard and be very wary of handing out account info. And if you do get an e-mail with an offer that seems real, "look closely at the address to make sure it goes to the exact Web address you would expect," Zaichkowsky says.
Watch the point of sale: While some identity theft happens behind the scenes, "skimmers" are physical devices that scammers can place on card readers to steal your information as you swipe your card at the gas pump, checkout line or ATM. A good rule of thumb is to never use a card reader that appears to have been tampered with or looks like it has been simply added on to the other systems. Also, always keep your PIN number out of sight when using your debit card; simply cover the number pad with your free hand or your body to prevent others from seeing your access code.
Stay secure online: Experian, a world leader in credit services, has conducted surveys that reveal 40% of those who shop online don't check to see if a website is secure before entering. That means even if the website is real and honest, it's easy for thieves to break in and steal your account info. "Often an identity thief only needs a shopper's momentary lapse in focus to walk away with an unintended holiday gift of personal information," said Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education for Experian's ProtectMyID service. Frost said a quick an easy way to protect your online transactions is to check for HTTPS in the Web address instead of just HTTP. Most Web browsers also display an image of a padlock or some other indicator that the site is secure. Additionally, only use networks you know and trust — and avoid transactions on unsecure connections like the public WiFi at your coffee shop.

Use credit cards, not debit cards or checks: As a consumer you have protection guaranteed by U.S. Federal law when you swipe a credit card, says Adam Ghetti, CTO and founder of Ionic Security. "Under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, you are not liable for fraudulent purchases with a credit card. Also, you often get your money back quickly from your credit card provider and they take the dispute to the merchant on your behalf. The last thing you want to do around the holidays is see your checking account frozen or fight with your bank over how much money you really have to pay the bills this month. "Protect yourself by always using a credit card and not a debit card," Ghetti said, particularly when shopping online.
Travel light: If your purse or briefcase is a mess, consider the risk of identity theft as a great reason to clean things up. Carrying around bills, extra credit cards or checkbooks only increases the risk that thieves may get their hands on them. Try to only carry checks and credit cards you intend on using, and never carry documents with sensitive account information.
Check your phone's apps: Before engaging in any e-commerce on a mobile device, "delete the apps you rarely use and then take a closer look at the permissions of the ones you think you want to keep," said Gary S. Miliefsky of mobile anti-spyware company SnoopWall. Miliefsky then recommends checking permissions on apps you keep, preventing the software from accessing your personal information. The access some apps have may surprise you, he said. "For example, if you installed a scientific calculator that needs GPS, WiFi, reads your phone logs, SMS messages and sends data to another country, you should probably delete it immediately."
Check Your credit come January: Beck Frost of Experian notes that it's crucial to review credit reports and bank statements during and after the holidays to watch for potentially fraudulent transactions. You're entitled to one free credit report every 12 months under federal law, provided by major credit agencies such as Experian, Equifax or Transunion, and checking in after your holiday shopping is as good a time as any. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for information on obtaining your free report.

Tips To Save Big and Stress Less This Winter


I'm an obsessive organizer and planner. I can't help it, I need the order to stay sane. Even if it makes my husband and child insane in the process. Whatever. In the end, they both see the method to my madness and the benefit!

Below are my 5 MUSTS to prepare for the upcoming cold weather and holiday season.

1. Create a holiday/winter budget. It certainly doesn't help that the holidays begin when the kids need new seasonal clothes, the electric bill starts to skyrocket, and the grocery bill nearly doubles. I've learned the hard way to prepare the holiday/winter budget now, so I don't break the bank later.

TIP: Factor in how much you will need for seasonal clothes, holiday gifts and groceries (People always forget about holiday groceries!) higher utility bills and every other inevitable incidental that breaks the bank year after year.


2.  Start stocking up. Over the next few months, depending on where you live and the holidays you celebrate, a few things are about to become hot commodities, things you can grab in the stores and online now, that may not be easy to find or marked up later. Things like holiday wrapping, ice melt/salt, snow shovels, ice scrapers, gloves, hats, mittens, batteries, blankets... You see where I'm going.



Rather than wait until the first snowstorm to race out and get ice melt, I get it now. I also check our car windshield wipers, scrapers and snow shovels now to make sure they will withstand another season. Basically, I make a list of things I need and keep it in my wallet so when I'm out I will keep an eye out for sales and specials for each item.

3. Prepare the yard. Beginning in fall, plants, especially the delicate ones, need to be prepared for bitter winters and droughts. If you don't know what your Azaleas, rhododendrons, shrubs and trees need this time of year to safely make it through winter, look it up now! While some plants will need mulch, others will be fine. Some plants need to be cut back now, others after winter.  Some will need fertilizer now, others not until after winter. Knowing what your plants and trees need, can make a HUGE difference in the spring, especially with the bloomers, so take the time now to make them happy and thriving later! Check out this great post on ways to prepare the garden for Fall's first frost. 



4. Weatherproof the house.  As much as I pride myself on being organized and a great planner, it took me a few years to grasp the fact that most home weatherproofing needs to be done well before the first frost! I can't tell you how many times I have started to put plastic on the windows only to realize it's WAY too cold outside for the adhesive to stick. Most weatherproofing materials need it to be at least 55-65 degrees outside to work, so don't wait for the first frost to weatherproof under your roof. Here's a great post for easy, money-saving weatherproofing tips. 



5. Prepare the car for emergencies. There's no doubt about it, the winter weather is notorious for creating stranded motorist and long delays. The last thing I want to do is be caught on the side of the road in a snowstorm without a few essentials.

In my trunk, in addition to a small bag of ice melt/salt, I keep a duffel bag with a blanket, flashlight, a few bottles of water and packs of peanut butter crackers. I also have a mom-kit in the car loaded with winter essentials and daily must-haves; tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, lotion, lip gloss, a few snacks and a bottle of water.

These small steps now save big headaches and budget-busting winter dread. At least, it does for me!

Is there anything you do now prepare for the holidays and colder dryer months that saves you time and money later?







Try These Super Simple Ways To Beat Holiday Weight Gain Before It Beats You

I LOVE the holidays... the food, family and friend togetherness, presents, cozy weather, and of course, the traditions. And by "traditions" I mean, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas cookies.

What I don't love is how every year at the end of December some asshole elf sneaks into my closet and shrinks my fu*king clothes.

In other words... It's time for a 30/30 Challenge!



So what is the 30/30?

Spending 30 days (in a row) being mindful of your health and physical activity.

Why do it?

In 30 Days you can lower heart attack risk, lose weight, add years to your life, sleep better and of course, better your overall health and mood. Don't believe me? Here's the actual clip from the Doctors Show:

How much will it cost?

NOT A DAMN THING! 

I love that the 30/30 Challenge requires no gym membership, diet or personal trainer screaming at you. No excuses. Just you and a short 30-day goal focusing on a problem area or areas.

Just think... in two weeks you could be sleeping better, reducing your cholesterol and chances for a heart attack, losing weight, and become a healthier, happier person. How could you not want to at least try?


Where to start?

For a FULL mind, Body and soul makeover, do the 30/30 walking challenge. It's the ultimate 2019 weightloss resolution jumpstart. All you have to do is walk for 30-minutes for 30-days in row. 

The key is to find a way easily incorporate 30-minutes of walking into your day- You can walk twice for 15-minutes or 3 times for 10 if that's eaiser. That will help make the walking stick after the 30/30 is over.

TIPS:
  1. Take public transportation to work? Leave 15 minutes early and walk to the next stop or station. (I know, for those non-morning people this is a stupid suggestion)
  2. At lunch walk 15 minutes away from your desk, eat, then walk back--maybe even the long way back.
  3. On the weekends, go explore a new (historic) town or nature trail with the family.
  4. New mothers on maternity leave, make it a point that this challenge is CRUCIAL for you. Go for a walk by yourself every evening when your partner gets home.  Of course, you can take the baby, but getting out for some alone time will kill two birds with one stone for you!
  5. Only need a couple things from the store? If one is close enough, walk there!
  6. Walk the kids to school for the month.
  7. On rainy days, clean or organize a closet for 30 minutes, better yet, go to an indoor mall for some retail therapy--Again, kill two birds with one stone!
  8. Go walk through an outdoor mall.
  9. For a week straight, walk out of your front door and take a different street or path and see what you find!
  10. Download an awesome mystery ebook to listen to while you walk. TIP: Only let yourself listen to the book when walking, this might get those walks stretched out well past 30 minutes.

Once you decide to commit to the 30/30 Challenge, tell as many people as you can that you are doing this to add accountability.  Get a support group to help encourage and hold you accountable!  YOU CAN DO THIS!  It's just 30 minutes for thirty days.  It's not hard, or an on going commitment.  This is a challenge that you know you can do.

     YOU CAN DO THIS!

Don't need a full body workout, but have problem areas? Try a 30-day targeted challenge for but, thighs or abs. Below are a few of my favorites!









If you want to target more than your butt and core, the following 30-day workouts will give you all over results, inspire you to work out every day and only take a minute a day!



Want a Brazilian Butt?  Try this:





 Thighs keeping you down? Try this:


Do your abs make you sad? Try this:





 Are your arms causing your self-esteem harm? Do this:




Butt AND Gut have you in a rut? Never fear, help is here!



Looking for a whole-body 30-day tone every ounce challenge plan? Look no further...



If you already have a workout routine, here's a more advanced program that starts Day-1 with higher reps. 



or, this one:

Here is a four-month plan you can follow each month, or combine into one month:




If you have injuries or physical limitations, and none of the above will work, here is a 30-day food challenge. If it's too restrictive for you, break it up and try to avoid one-or-two foods for the day or week... 



Don't forget to Pin or print your favorite challenges!