5/29/20

These Are The Fruits and Veggies With The Least, And Most, Pesticides

Each year,  the Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates a Shopper's Guide To Pesticides in Produce.  I cannot begin to tell you how helpful the guide is for parents wanting to feed their child the healthiest and safest produce available.  What's more, this guide shows which fruits and veggies don't necessarily need to be purchased organic to be safe from pesticides and GMOs.


Disgusting Fun Fact:

Nearly 70 percent of the fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides, according to EWG’s analysis of the latest test data from the federal Department of Agriculture. But the dirtiest produce commodity, according to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, is not a fresh fruit or vegetable but a dried one – raisins. (-EWG 2020)














Below are the two lists: Dirty vs. Clean. 
TIP: Take a screenshot of the two so when you're shopping, you know which fruits and veggies rated as dirty and should be purchased Organic (or at the very least washed REALLY WELL) and which are 'clean' and fine to be purchased conventional or non-organic. 

EWG'S CLEAN FIFTEEN FOR 2020

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupes
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew melon
  15. Kiwi


EWG'S DIRTY DOZEN FOR 2020

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes


For more information check out the EWG’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

These 16 Sunscreens Got Top Honors For Use On Children and Sensitive Skin (2020 Edition)

If you've been a long time reader, then you know, I was diagnosed with skin cancer at 22 years old. As a child growing up in Miami, the sun was a part of life. What wasn't a part of my life was, sunscreen. My sensitive skin would burn from the first drop of the PABA loaded, chemical concoctions that doubled as sunscreen in the early eighties. My mom tried to keep me out of the sun, but in south Florida, it was pretty much impossible.

Now that I'm a mother, and totally freaked out about my son having the same skin issues I do, I am the queen of safe fun in the sun.

Summer Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

YAY!  It's finally here... Summer! The warm, beautiful weather, outdoor activities and family fun are plentiful this time of year. Unfortunately, so are the opportunities for sunburns, heat rashes, bug bites, water dangers, and many more summer activity hazards. Below are five important summer safety tips to help ensure a super spectacular summer!

Why yes, that is Ollie and Professor "The Bloody Cat" playing at the beach!
1. Avoid sunburns like the plague: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting one blistering sunburn when you are a kid doubles your chances of developing melanoma. It goes without saying the best way to avoid sunburn is to avoid the sun, but during the warm summer months that is near impossible, so always apply at least an SPF 15 sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before exposure. Also, whenever possible try to provide shade for your child in the form of umbrellas, loose clothing, long-sleeves, light pants, and wide-brimmed hats.

For children under 6 months old, consult your physician before using any sunscreen. For children over 6 months old, but under 2 years old, visit The Environmental Working Group’s website (EWG.org) for an extensive list of safe sunscreens for sensitive skin.  (To read my complete post on the BEST and WORST sunscreens for the little ones Click Here.)

*If sunburn occurs and your child starts to feel ill, consult your pediatrician – seek immediate medical attention if your little one’s temperature reaches 105f.

2. Swim Smart- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 800 children drown every year. That number is scary and beyond heartbreaking. For that reason, when around any body of water with young children and poor swimmers, stay within arm's reach.

Here are a few top tips from the Red Cross on pool/water safety-
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. 
  • Do not trust a child’s life to another child 
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
    This is what I have Ollie in this Summer--They are called Puddle Jumpers.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. 
  •  Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Teach children to always ask permission to go near water!
  • If you are around water and your child is missing ALWAYS check the water first. Seconds count. 
* Secondary drowning occurs after a child has struggled in the water. It is rare and accounts for only 1-2% of drowning cases, but still be aware that if your child has struggled in the water, and swallowed water. As a result, secondary drowning is possible. Look for these warning signs:
  • Trouble breathing, chest pain, or a cough
  • A sudden change in behavior 
  • Extreme Fatigue
The bottom line is that you know your child, after a near-drowning incident or a long day of swimming,  Be aware of any sudden changes from the norm.


3. Stings and Bites-With lovely warm weather comes evil pesky bugs. Unfortunately, bright colors and floral prints (summer colors!) attract bees and wasps, as do those sweet sticky faces and hands. If you are going to a park or area that you know will have a high concentration of bugs, bees, and wasps, stick to clothing with muted light solid colors.

If your child is stung, don't pull out the stinger with fingers or tweezers. Scrape gently with a credit card to push the stinger out in the direction in which it entered. Once the stinger is out, make a paste out of baking soda and water, or a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream can provide relief.

As for insect repellents… DEET can be toxic! Repellents with 10 to 30 percent concentrations of DEET can be used on exposed skin, clothing and shoes, but do not apply it too little faces or hands. If you want to avoid DEET, the (CDC) recommends repellents that are made of picaridin are non-toxic and work just as well as formulas with low levels of DEET.

*The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC recommend that for children older than 2 months of age use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should never be used on children younger than 2 months of age.

*Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.

We LOVE and use the Honest Company All Natural Bug Spray and their sunblock stick for squirmy little faces...


4. Over Heating/dehydration/and heat rashes- The key to avoiding overheating is to stay hydrated. Always have cool drinks, preferably water or sports drinks readily available to your children. Never wait for your child to tell you he is thirsty. According to the AAP, your child is already dehydrated when he asks for something to drink, so offer lots of fluids both before going outside and once your child is outside playing.   

* Hot, humid weather can lead to blocked sweat glands that lead to nasty rashes in the folds of your child’s skin. If this occurs, place your child in a cool, soapless bath.  Dry him completely then apply cornstarch powder to the rash, and avoid unnecessary clothing.  The rash should clear up in two to three days.

5. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED IN THE CAR FOR A MINUTE! Next time you are alone in your car, turn it off and count to 60 - Not very comfortable is it?  Within one minute your car can increase by ten degrees Fahrenheit!  TEN! Under no circumstance should your child be left in a car. 

*Even the very best parents and caregivers have been known to forget about a sleeping child in the backseat. A good rule of thumb is to keep a small stuffed animal in the car, and every time you get in place the small stuffed animal in your lap to remind you that your child is in the car. Or place your purse/laptop bag in the backseat with your child, so you have to get in the backseat before leaving your car. (Thanks for the tip, Mel!) This is especially useful in the mornings.  This may save your child’s life.  

If you have any experiences or tips that you would like to share...please leave a comment below.  Have a happy and safe summer!

And last, a bonus, and something near to my heart, proper eye care during the summer season, and all year long... you don't want crows feet right?  The following infographic will blow your mind!




*Sources

10 Tips For Hosting An Epic Birthday At Home

Hosting a child's birthday in your home may seem like an easy and relatively inexpensive undertaking. Think again. 

Shit can get crazy fast.

I know. 

I learned this the hard way. 

A few times. 

Still, all is not lost, I learned from my mistakes and lofty ideas. Below are my 10 best tips for Hosting A Child's Birthday In Your Home 


1. Make a birthday party food room. 

The very first thing you should do when throwing a party at home is prep for mass destruction.  Seriously, cover the floors if possible. 

One great way to deter major messes is to keep the food in one room. At a minimum, strive to keep ALL FOOD in one area, and prep the hell out of that area.


Think: 'Kill Room'.

You might think I'm kidding... I'm not. Cookies, cake, and chips crumble EVERYWHERE! Add sodas and Kool-aid and... well... You know...

2. Only invite enough kids to fill a police line-up. 

Actually, maybe only half of a line-up.  There is NO reason to invite the whole freaking neighborhood and class! Especially because many parents will drop their child and run like hell. TIP: Think about how many kids you think you can manage, then invite HALF that number. 

3. Hide the good toys.  

There is no, "You break, you buy," at a child's birthday party.  It's more like, "Leave it out, it will die." 



4. Have a clear idea of activities.  

A three-hour birthday party free-for-all will not go over very well on your sanity. Plan activities like party games, arts and crafts, make the hubs dress up as a clown, learn how to make balloon animals... 

Plan at least five activities.


5. Serve Sugar-Free Food. 

You are dealing with kids. Sugar is BAD! BAD! BAD! Fruits and veggies are GOOD! GOOD! GOOD! 

Think: Gremlins

Healthy snacks are the best and safest bet.



6. Give out cups with lids. 

Go to the 'everything is a dollar' store and spring for a few cups with lids and straws - maybe a sticker or two the kids can decorate and personalize their cup.

DO NOT screw this up, these cups will be GOLD!  

7. Have a separate cake for the birthday boy/girl. 

Maybe this is just my kid... so if you are a gambler then go ahead and skip this lesson, but before you go, allow me to tell you a little story...

Picture it: The lights are low.  The excitement in the room is bubbling over.  The cameras are ready to go off in a second's notice.  Mommy (me) turns the corner with a cake lit up like a Christmas tree.  

We all start singing.... Haaappppyyy Birthday Tooo Youuu... (Fast Forward) YAY!  

He blows out the candles...  and Before I can even make a move, this happens...



So, let me ask you this again...
Are you a gambler? 


8. DO NOT OVER DO IT. 


My biggest regret during these parties was not slowing down to actually enjoy the party. I was so concerned with keeping things in order, food on the table, the cake and cookies off the floor, and staying on track...  FAIL!  

Take time to stop and look around. Watch your child having a blast on his day. Stand by your parenting-partner-in-crime and say happy birthday to each other.  This day is for you two, too. Don't waste it sweating and stressing!

9. Throw the party away. 

love the Dollar Tree when it comes to throwing parties... AWAY! While you are there buying cups with lids and straws, for ten bucks you can buy all you need to decorate like a Boss too! Including, TWO massive cheap plastic tablecloths.  Get one for the table and one to cover the floor underneath it.  Then buy as much paper and plastic crap bowls and serving trays as possible, so when the party is overall you have to do is remove the things you do not want to throw away from the table, then take each corner, tie them together and drag that shit to the garbage!  Then, sweep all the crap onto the tablecloth underneath the table, then throw it away!  This made clean up a Breeze.   Do. This. 

10Save your pennies in a jar labeled,  BIRTHDAY, so next year you can pay someone to host the party. 

Now, I totally get why people pay the big bucks to host their child's birthday party at a venue. After you spend the money on decorations, food and post-party therapy, you might as well just pay someone! You get in and out, no lingering friends or family to throw out of your house, no carpet cleaner to pay for getting cake, chocolate milk, and gummy bears out of the carpet, no toys to stash and then get back out... Yes, we will definitely be saving our pennies for next year!






5/26/20

Tips For Surviving Bad Financial Times After COVID-19


It seems that the economy has come to a standstill because of COVID-19. Businesses are closed while countries are imposing lockdowns. You may have lost your job or your business may now be shuttering. Many are wondering how they will be able to survive this. While COVID-19 will go, the financial aftermath will be clear. Some say the economy will quickly pick back up while others say that the financial destruction that COVID-19 has caused will stay for a while. You may be thinking about how exactly you will weather this economic aftermath. There are several things you can do. One thing is to save money. Another is to pick up side jobs such as walking dogs or cleaning houses. Even buying the best dividend stocks can make your budget and your wallet bigger. Here are some tips for surviving the bad financial times after COVID-19 is over.

The first tip that you will want to adhere to is to save money. This is simple and tested advice, but many people decide to not do it. One great way to save money is to cut out things that are not essential to your living. A great example of this is alcohol. Many people would be surprised at how much money they actually spend on alcohol every month. Just the money saved spent on this can buy you a couple of high dividend stocks or can be put into a general rainy day fund. Keeping a reasonable budget can help you out financially. After COVID-19 is over, there will still be less money going around in the economy for a while. Keeping a budget and a rainy day fund can really help you survive the economic uncertainty of a post-COVID-19 future.

One way to make money is to invest in high dividend stocks. There are two ways to make money with this stock. The first way is through capital gains. When the stock goes up, you make money when you sell the stock. The second and better way to make money with dividend stocks is through the dividend itself. If you own the stock for a certain amount of time, the stock will pay you a percentage cash payment depending on how much of the stock you own. If you use the dividend money to invest in more shares of the stock, the money will start piling up. This is an excellent way to be more finically secure and to be able to handle some financial shortcomings that will be coming along after COVID is over. Other investing such as bonds and blue chips stocks are both great ways to secure your financial future and to invest in other things.

One thing to do is to make sure that you are being productive. This can be reading a book about investing or even working out every day. When you better yourself and learn more, you will be able to get that good job or start-up your own business. Now that most businesses are closed, and most people are at home, now is the perfect time to learn that new skill or to read that new book about business. Being productive can be a difficult task for most people. It seems that your phone is always ringing or you are always watching videos online. Being productive and focused is a skill all in itself. If you can learn to be more productive, you will have a much better chance of being more financially secure when the economic shortcomings of COVID-19 are over.


It seems that as time goes on, the uncertainty that is surrounding the future after COVID-19 is increasing. Many people are predicting that life will not be the same and that there will be a new normal of social distancing and cleaning efforts. Some businesses will not be there after COVID-19 is over as well. You need to make sure that your money is secure. Betting on yourself, investing in high dividend stocks, and having a reasonable budget are all great things to do, whether it is COVID-19 or not. Make sure that you are making the right steps for your financial situation to be able to be secure after COVID-19 is finished.

4/22/20

16 Ways To Make It Earth Day Every Day! #EarthDay


16 Tips For Earth Day

I've always been conscious about the state of the planet, however, now that I have a child, I REALLY try to incorporate green living in everything; from eating, to cleaning, to limiting waste and overall consumption. It's imperative that I do all I can to reduce our carbon footprint. 


Below are a few tips I think are easy and eye-openers to not only what we can do, but how easy it is to live green! Without further ado, 16 Ways Celebrate Earth Day Every Day.



1. Avoid the "vampire effect." Even when not turned on, an electronic appliance that is plugged into a power source still draws energy. The Department of Energy estimates that America wastes 5% of electricity on the vampire effect. Unplug all unnecessary appliances, or consider using devices like Belkin's Conserve Energy-Saving Products that automatically eliminate the vampire effect.

2. Shower smarter. The average showerhead spits out 2.5 gallons of water per minute. That means that a person who takes a 10-minute shower every morning uses over 9,000 gallons of water a year. Cut back by installing a shower head that is EPA approved. Look for the Water Sense seal of approval. Products like Evolve's Roadrunner shower head, which flows at only 1.5 gallons per minute and conserves hot water until you are actually ready to shower.




3. ONLY run your dishwasher when it's full and STOP prewashing. Most modern dishwashers don't need you to rinse the plates before putting them in. "That just wastes water."

4. When away, drop the shades. Sun streaming through windows heats up space and makes an air conditioner work harder. During the day, especially when you are away, drop the shades!

5. STOP E-Waste. Did you know, when electronics are exposed to high heat, they release toxic chemicals into the air, water, and ground? This happens every day in landfills. Before throwing electronics away, try selling old electronics on websites like Gazelle.com or disposing of them at proper locations around your city.




6. Shop Sustainable- By now, you have heard of the trend to move to use Bamboo as a substitute whenever possible for wood. Also consider Natural home products like, stainless Steel which minimizes emissions by increasing its reuse and recyclability levels; Organic Cotton supports biodiversity and healthy ecosystems; Recycled Glass, simple; just reuse, reduce and recycle; and Cork promotes economic and social development in areas prone to desertification.





7. Recycle Old Clothes- If you've got something worn, torn, or hopelessly out of style – don't throw it away or let it pile up in the back of your closet. Bring it to your nearest H&M and help decrease the amount of fashion being wasted. Seriously, they will take bags of ripped, torn, and stained clothes! For each bag of clothes or home textiles you hand in, you will receive a voucher with a discount for your next purchase. 

 There are three ways H&M repurposes unwanted garments:

  • Rewear – clothing that can be worn again will be sold as second-hand clothes
  • Reuse – old clothes and textiles will be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths.
  • Recycle – everything else is turned into textile fibers, or other use such as insulation.
8. Fill the freezer: Don't let your freezer run half-empty. It's more expensive to run it while empty. TIP: Fill an old milk container with water if necessary to keep the freezer "full." That will make your machine a little more efficient. While you're at it, clean the coils behind the appliance for even more of an efficiency boost.


9. Meat-free Mondays: Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. Not only that, but an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water also go into making a single pound of beef.



10. Bulb swap: According to the EPA, if every American home replaced just one conventional light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes a year. 






11. Wash clothes in cold water and use the fastest spin speed available - Today's clothes washers and detergents are designed to effectively clean clothes in cold water. So skip the hot water waste. TIP: If you have a front-loading washer, select the highest spin speed, which will remove more of the moisture from your clothes, so your dryer won't have to work as hard! 

12. Upgrade the aerators on your kitchen and bathroom sinks - If you have an older faucet, install a new water-efficient aerator for under $5, and you can cut its water use by up to 40 percent. Simply unscrew the current one on the tip of your faucet and replace it with one that uses no more than 1.8 gallons per minute for the kitchen faucet and 1.2 gallons per minute for the one on your bathroom sink. You probably won't notice the difference, but your water bill will. Check with your local water agency as some provide efficient aerators free or at low cost.



It's really as simple as unscrewing the old aerator, and then screwing the new one back on!
13. Turn off your furnace when the cold weather ends - Like many other modern appliances, furnaces use electricity even when they're not operating. According to a Home Energy article, many furnaces draw 8 to 12 watts of standby power 24/7 when not in use. To eliminate this waste during the six or more months when you don't need heat, switch off the power to the furnace.

14. Donate Dollars To The Game Changers- One of the easiest ways to show our planet some love is to support the organizations that are promoting change and making a difference on a large scale. Here are a few respected organizations:

The Wildlife Conservation Network
The Sierra Club
The Conservation Fund
Earthjustice
Orca Network

15. Compost!  I know composting sounds like a lot of work, and for those of you who don't even have a yard or house plant, really can't see the point, but hear me out. All you need is a composting bin, that traps odors, amongst other things, and then start throwing your scraps away. Your compost will save thousands of pounds of waste from going into landfills, and help return much-needed nutrients to the soil. Chances are, your city has a place you can take your compost if you don't need it.




16. When You Clean, Go Green If there is one thing all parents have in common, it's that we clean up messes. Lots of them. Daily. So imagine if all of us were using two to three paper towels or disposable wipes for each mess... Scary to think about! That's like a forest a minute! (Ok, not really. Or maybe?) No, wait!  It gets worse...Various household cleaning agents can contain toxic chemicals like ammonia, phosphorus, alkylphenol ethoxylates, and petroleum. So when you wash your clothes, do the dishes and even flush toilet bowl cleaner, you may be sending these chemicals back into the water supply affecting the environment and wildlife too! 

If you have any tips to share, please add them in the comments below. Happy Earth Day 2018! 

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