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Unacceptable Levels

Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of affable filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children. To create this debut documentary, one man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy, and law. Weaving their testimonies into a compelling narrative, Brown presents us with the story of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ouch


The thing that impresses me most about America
is the way parents obey their children.


-- Edward, Duke of Windsor

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A moral issue

Conservation
is a great moral issue,
for it involves the patriotic duty
of insuring the safety and continuance
of the nation.

   -- Theodore Roosevelt                   

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

TGIVF! Welcome to the second in a series of Vinegar Fridays! Since talking turds was so popular this week, I thought we'd keep it in the bathroom today...that oh so pleasant task of cleaning the toilet.

Having an odor problem? Deodorize your toilet by pouring 3 cups of vinegar in the bowl and letting it sit for about a half hour or so. Better yet, let the vinegar do its magic overnight and then give your toilet a quick brush before flushing. That is, of course, if you have luxury of no one in the family needing to use the potty during the night. If you're someone who wakes up in the morning and has to go pronto, just think of the opportunity to practice your Kegels as you scrub away and watch the rings disappear! Not only does the vinegar clean and deodorize, but it disinfects as well.

Plus, you can freshen the air in the bathroom by simply mixing a teaspoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of vinegar and a cup of water in a clean spray bottle and spritzing it around the bathroom. Odors be gone! And don't worry about a strong vinegar smell -- it dissipates quickly.

Natural, economical, non-toxic, no harmful vapors or odors....what more could you want? White distilled vinegar is the best toilet cleaner around!

So that's it for the potty talk today! Hope you found it useful and, of course, unoffensive!

Keeping it green,

Hana

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heartburn and hairy babies...really?

Not that any of this really matters, but....remember the old wives' tale that said heartburn in a pregnant woman meant she was carrying a baby with a lot of hair? Well, researchers at Johns Hopkins (with nothing else to do, I guess) found there to be truth in this.

The findings were published in the journal Birth. Kathleen Costigan, an RN at the hospital, spearheaded the study in which she and other colleagues selected 64 women to observe throughout their pregnancy. The moms-to-be recorded their heartburn symptoms, ranking them according to severity.

When all was said and done, 28 of the 64 participants reported moderate to severe heartburn. Twelve women claimed they had none. So what happened when the babies were born? I know you're scrolling down quickly to find out.

With heartburn: 82% delivered babies with lots of hair.

Without heartburn: 83% delivered little baldies (or at least ones who didn't have enough hair to write home about).

So....maybe the old wives knew a thing or two. My personal experience, from what I can remember, was that I had out-of-control heartburn the first time around and daughter number one came out with a fair amount of thick black hair. Daughters two and three had fine light hair and gave me little trouble in the heartburn department.

Of course, there is scientific speculation as to why this occurs and it all has to do with estrogen. Women with estrogen levels slightly higher than normal tend to experience heartburn more because estrogen works to relax the sphincter at the base of the esophagus, which means stomach acid can work its way up and cause heartburn pain. Well, it just so happens estrogen seems to be the hormone responsible for hair growth in developing infants. Who knew? Oh yeah, all those old wives!

Have a heartburn/hairy baby story of your own? Do tell! That's what the comment box is for!

Keeping it, well, real (in a pregnancy/baby kind of way),

Hana

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A turd in the tub

Lovely title, isn't it? My husband, who doesn't like to talk about body functions, would be appalled! But, the truth is, if you've ever bathed a baby, you've dealt with this issue. So when it happens, what do you do?

First of all, relax. As long as it came out of your baby (and isn't some errant doggy defecation or something), just scoop it out, toss it in the toilet, rinse out the tub and start all over again. Keep in mind, your baby's skin is well acquainted with his poop.

When it comes to peeing in the tub, there's nothing to worry about here either, unless your little one has a UTI. Urine is sterile and contains urea, which is a known antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral agent. As a matter of fact, many commercial ointments and lotions contain urea (check the ingredient list) and there are proponents of urine therapy out there that not only recommend applying urine to the skin, but advise drinking it as well. I know....ewww. The healing benefits are out there, folks. Some even try to bring the wisdom of Solomon into the picture, by quoting (or misquoting, perhaps) Proverbs 5:15 -- "Drink water from thine own cistern and the streams of thine own well." But we're not going there.

All I'm saying is that when you plop your little one into the tub and something else "muddies" the water, don't panic. It really is okay. As a matter of fact, your baby or toddler is safer in a tub of water with his or her own urine or feces than when wearing a chemically-laden super-absorbent disposable diaper! Just saying....

So grab some organic and safe baby wash, such as Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash and fill the tub with some warm water. I know you don't need this reminder, but I'll post it anyway -- Never, never, never leave your little one, even for a minute, alone in the tub.

Keeping it real,

Hana

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Depressed? Feeling fat? Stressed? Read on...

Depressed? Try turning off the TV at night. Artificial light at night is thought to affect your biological clock's natural rhythm according to scientists at Ohio State University. If you're feeling a bit down lately, make sure you're not falling asleep to the TV! Of course, most relationship experts and sleep coaches recommend that you keep the television out of the bedroom. Period. If your kids have TVs in their rooms, reconsider the wisdom (or lack thereof) of this. Teenagers, in particular, battle with depression on a regular basis. Perhaps their television viewing habits (and sleeping-to-the-glow-of-the-TV-screen habits) are to blame.

Feeling fat? Here's a discovery I'm loving. Drinking green tea = a smaller waistline! Seriously. I recently found myself dropping weight and inches and was a little concerned about it. Not that I didn't need to lose weight -- I did. But after years of trying unsuccessfully, I couldn't help but wonder what was going on. 5 1/2 inches off my waist without a major effort caused a bit of concern. I did think it might have to do with the amount of tea (green, white, mint and orange pekoe) I was drinking. Now I know there was something to that. Apparently green tea contains compounds known to boost energy expenditure. These catechins actually rev up the release of fat from fat cells and get the liver working harder to burn fat after meals. This is especially effective with the stubborn belly fat so many of us struggle with. And it's not about the caffeine because green tea boasts only one half of the caffeine in coffee. Decaf green tea is still beneficial, but not as much as the regular brew. Four to five cups a day can produce some awesome results. Next time you hear, "It's tea time," jump on it!

Stressed out? Swiss researchers have good news for you! Eating an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks can help -- by reducing the levels of teh stress hormone cortisol. Is that the best news you've heard all day?!

Speaking of chocolate -- did you hear the news about chocolate milk? Apparently researchers in Spain have discovered that drinking chocolate milk (low-fat or skim) produces similiar benefits to heart health as red wine. Both men and women who imbibed regularly had higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduced inflammation in their arteries than people who didn't. Of course, the benefits are there for kids as well. Woo hoo! Chocolate's getting better and better!

Just a few tidbits to help you have a healthier life. Love to hear from you if you try out any of these suggestions. Did they work for you? Stop back in a couple of weeks and post a comment! We're all in this together....let's encourage each other to be the best we can be.

Keeping it healthy,

Hana

Monday, February 22, 2010

The myriad benefits of eucalyptus essential oil

I referenced the benefits of eucalyptus oil for pregnant women in a recent post, but at the time was not aware of how really wonderful this oil is for a myriad of conditions for all of us.

The healing properties of eucalyptus oil make it effective for treating colds, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pian, back pain, muscle pain/cramping, swelling and inflammation. Who knew?

A twenty minute eucalyptus oil bath taps into the unique blend of volatile oils that provide the healing benefits: camphene, eucalyptol, and pinene. If you find yourself ending the day with a variety of aches and pains, opt for one of these soothing baths before reaching for the painkillers. The analgesic, anti-imflammatory, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties will ease the pains in no time.

Feeling feverish? Congested? Coughing? A warm (not hot) eucalyptus oil bath will act as a fever reducer, decongestant, and expectorant. If you ever read the ingredients on your chest rub meds, you'll see cineole listed as the primary active ingredient. Cineole is just another name for eucalyptus oil and it's used to reduce inflammation and the production of mucous in asthmatics and others suffering from respiratory infections. Blending a little thyme and lemongrass essential oil will make the bath even more therapeutic for breathing issues.

In need of a pick-me-up? You guessed it -- hop into a eucalyptus oil bath for a stimulating and reviving experience.

Eucalyptus oil also has antibacterial properties and is a disinfectant, so it works well in keeping fungus and bacteria at bay while making it difficult for microbes to survive and wage an attack on your body.

To make your regular soak in the tub therapeutic, simply add eight to ten drops of the essential oil to the water.

Okay, so before you ask, eucalyptus oil should not be used with babies under two months of age. For babies and toddlers older than that, using Eucalyptus Smithii essential oil is recommended. This oil comes from South Africa (whereas most of the other eucalyptus oils come from Australia) and is the mildest eucalyptus oil available. If you are adding the oil to a bath for your little ones, use a carrier for the oil, such as sweet almond oil or whole milk, and only use three to four drops. Another option in place of bathing your child in a eucalyptus oil bath is to put a pan of boiling water with three drops of the oil added to it, under the crib. Your baby will benefit from breathing in the vapors produced.

With the effects this winter is having on my body, I'm heading out this afternoon in search of some of this miracle oil. Can't wait to climb into a fragrant, healing bath tonight!

Keeping it green and healthy,

Hana

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

I'm introducing a new feature today: Vinegar Fridays. Check back every Friday for another eco-friendly tip on how to replace commercial, chemically-laden products with distilled white vinegar and other green ingredients.

Today's tip involves your dishwasher. Actually, I have a few money saving dishwasher tips.

Skip the JetDry and pour white distilled vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser.

If you find your dishwasher (or washing machine, for that matter) is starting to look dirty, run it through a full cycle with just a cup of vinegar and nothing else. Of course, you don't want to do this if your area is under a water conservation order.

For less than 5 cents per load, you can forego commercial dishwasher detergent and replace it with a tablespoon each of 20 Mule Team® Borax and Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda. Between that environmentally-friendly combination and the vinegar rinse, your dishes and glassware will be sparkling and your grocery budget will have a little breathing room.

Keeping it green,

Hana

Another Goodwill purchase


Here's another plug for Goodwill. I bought a brand new in box Graco Contempo high chair for $34.99. The price tag was still attached from Target ($109.99). Came home, set it up, made sure it was safe and had all its parts and then did an Internet search for recalls. Everything's good. This model has a removable tray cover that is dishwasher safe and an extra seat so you can toss one in the wash and put on the other one. And it folds up flat. Couldn't be happier with this purchase as I prepare for another grandbaby. See, you don't have to pay full retail price for things. This is further proof.

I do recommend you check for recalls whenever you buy a product from a thrift store, consignment shop or garage sale.

Keeping it green,

Hana

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pittsburgh Cloth Diapers

Here's a diaper superstore worth checking out. Free shipping on all orders in the USA!

http://www.pittsburghclothdiapers.com/

The All-True Adventures of a Stay-at-Work Mom

My guest blogger today is Michelle Fossum, who shares her experience as the wife of a SAHD (stay-at-home dad). Thanks Michelle!


Recently I had the somewhat awkward experience of attending my first parent conference. Even though as a teacher, I have participated in seemingly hundreds of these, it was my first time being on the other side of the table. So, as I went with my husband to sit with my 3-year-old’s pre-school teachers, I admit being rather nervous. My son has been lucky enough to stay at home with his dad for the past 3 years, and other than his grandparents, has never even had a babysitter, so I was a bit unnerved to see what an “outsider” would have to say about him. After the usual litany of his strengths (“very active and coordinated”) and areas for improvement (“needs to share” and to “not be so rough”) I got the clincher. “Your son,” his teacher said, “is very caring towards the other children.” It made my heart melt, and honestly, I think I owe most of my son’s caring nature to the fact that since he was 3 months old he has lived with a man taking care of him most of the time.

Part of the difficulty in writing about stay-at-home dads from a Mom point of view is that I fear I will deal too much in stereotypes. Still, while I can only speak about my own family objectively, I can speak from that experience and how it has affected my son’s life and the life of our family.

I grew up raised by a hard-working single working mother who loved her job, and it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t work. While in this economy, more and more fathers are staying home with their young children not out of desire but out of necessity, for our family, this decision was made while I was still pregnant. Not only did I have a stable job as a teacher, but I also had excellent health benefits. And truth be told, my husband is definitely more of the nurturer. Even before our son was born he did the lion’s share of the cooking, he tended the garden, and he made sure my work shirts were ironed. So after three brief months being at home with my infant, my husband took over.

Returning to work after three months home with my newborn was a transition in many ways, but many of them were surprising. There is no latest pink-patterned edition of What to Expect when you Return to Work and Your Husband is Home with Your Newborn waiting to be bought at the Barnes & Noble. I have always, in my self-deprecating way, admitted to being a control freak, but handing over the parental reins was more painful than childbirth. It comes out of every mother’s deep-dark secret: we are mothers, and so we know everything.

Once my husband began spending more time with my constantly changing and developing son, I came face-to-face with the brutal reality I was no longer the expert on my son’s development, preferences and daily routine, but that I was a bona fide novice. Relinquishing that control, the sense that mother always knows best, was quite upsetting, and frustrating, and ultimately, humbling. Actually, truth be told, I was pissed off! Hey, I remember thinking when once my husband corrected me about some food-related issue, I am his mother, I do know a thing or two about what’s best for him, I did give birth to him after all! With time, however, I realized that I wasn’t being fair; I was trying to do it all, be the breadwinner and be the expert on my kid. When I accepted that I didn’t have to be that expert, it was truly humbling and freeing, because of course my husband really did know more about my son than me, and even though my kisses are preferred for bruised knees, and no one reads a bedtime story like Mommy, I am still a rung below my husband in knowledge of my son’s day – what he prefers to eat, what his favorite toy-du-jour is, or even what new milestone he has achieved.

While I was dealing with this maternal paradigm shift, I also had to contend with the reactions of others to my situation. One of the most amusing things to me about being an “at-work” mom married to a “stay-at-home” dad was the reactions of other people, particularly women, of all ages and perspectives. “Oh boy,” they would typically say, “how is he dealing with that?” My response was always the same: “He is dealing with it the same as I did the past three months.” We were both new parents, and neither my husband nor I were experts in parenting. We were learning through instinct, trial and error, well-thumbed parenting books, and lots of Internet browsing. Another odd reaction from well-meaning types was: “You must be so upset that it is not you at home!” That remark was probably the most insidious, as it implied that if indeed I wasn’t upset, I would give Joan Crawford a run for “Worst Mother of the Year.” As my husband so aptly stated, he never would have received that reaction after telling someone his wife stayed home. The friends, family and strangers who made those comments never seemed to understand that my husband had made the decision on purpose and was actually feeling pretty good about it.

Ultimately, our lives are pretty normal. In my house, like in most, Daddy and Mommy do different things: with my son, I read books, bake cookies, make crafts, soothe boo-boos, and snuggle at night. Daddy does, well, everything else with him: they cook together, do laundry, tend the garden, hike through the park, build forts, play hockey, and juggle a soccer ball. Whether my husband stayed home with him or not, I think my son would still have a naturally boisterous and physical personality. The difference manifests itself most, I think, in his extraordinarily well-developed nurturing side, which, for lack of a better word, I might call ‘maternal’. He gives food and water to our cats. He takes care of the plants and kisses them when the flowers wilt. He makes sure his favorite stuffed animal, a raggedy rabbit, gets enough rest and is never hurt.

My son’s relationship with the rabbit, a once-white gift from a family friend, is a perfect manifestation of this compassionate side. The rabbit, “Anna,” is his baby, and he makes sure we all know he is Anna’s Daddy. Anna has been fed, diapered, bathed, put in time out, given medicine to, been to preschool, had her temperature taken, and experienced (or suffered through) virtually every experience that my son has. He takes care of her just as he is taken care of by his father.

Each time I see my son as the confident, crazy, clumsy and caring 3 year old he is, I am even more certain that my husband and I made the right choice for our family. And I treasure the look in my son’s eyes when I come in the door from work every night. My husband and I have given him a strong sense of what a family is: a bunch of people working together to somehow, well, make it all work. Most importantly, my husband is demonstrating everyday a definition of what it means to be a man in the world, a concept that seems to becoming more and more misunderstood. My son is learning that Daddies cook and clean, and build and fix things, and get dirty and plant vegetables, and that, most importantly, that they care.

I come from the “Free to Be You and Me” generation borne out of the 1970s when gender roles were being turned inside out, and the story of “William’s Doll” from that film still resonates with me. After being teased about and discouraged from wanting a doll to take care of, William’s grandma says to her son, William’s father: “William wants a doll so when he has a baby someday he'll know how to dress it…and care for his baby as every good father should learn to do [because] someday he is gonna be a father, too.”

I am confident that if my son is blessed to be a father someday, no matter what his family looks like, he has more than his share of tools to do it right. But if not, I am sure “Grandpa” will definitely have a few pointers.

-- Michelle Fossum
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Expectations of a new mom

Do you know what I think is the most destructive force in the life of a new mom? Personal expectations. After all, many girls grow up dreaming of what it will be like when they have a baby of their own. Many times they base their expectations on their perception of their mother's experiences. If she was a SAHM and they plan to follow in her footsteps, they expect things to be the way they were for her. If she worked outside the home, they think that will be a breeze.

The problem is, we often don't perceive reality when we're small children. We may think our moms had an easy time of it, but chances are our perceptions are false. If Mom kept the house in perfect order, we think we'll be able to do the same. If Mom always had dinner on the table by 6 even though she worked 9-5, we expect similar mealtime routines. What we don't remember, perhaps, is the bags under Mom's eyes. She may have made it look easy to us, but we were children, after all, and our perception reflects that. Besides, as children, did we even notice the pile of laundry that sat on the couch for 3 days or the TV dinners she popped in the oven?

The bottom line is, it's not easy being a mother. Period.

The sweet cooing of a baby is often replaced by the sounds of colic. The sweet baby smell dissipates with each poopy diaper. The sweet caresses of your husband suddenly seem like nothing more than an annoyance. Sex becomes just one more thing on your to-do list and, generally, if you had your way, it wouldn't even be on the list at all. Besides, with all the changes your body is going through, the last thing you feel is sexy.

You stay-at-home-moms may have expected to have a perfectly clean home once you were able to quit work and be home full-time. You imagined full course meals, fresh baked bread and time to clip coupons. But you probably didn't take into account the constant demands of a newborn, nor could you have possibly perceived the overwhelming fatigue you would experience in those first few months.

Being up with a baby throughout the night only to have the alarm ring at 6 so you can put on your corporate attire and head out for day, creates a different picture than what you had imagined, doesn't it? A question will haunt you: How did my mother do this? You might even be moved to write her a note, thanking her for the sacrifices she made...if only you weren't too tired to lift a pen.

Expectations are rarely realistic. Acknowledging this can make the transistion from tired-pregnant-lady to exhausted-young-mom a little bit easier. Every baby is different and the dynamics in your family are not the same as the dynamics in someone else's. You are not supermom and no one expects you to be, so cut yourself a break and enjoy today for what it is. Tomorrow will present its own challenges and rewards.

If you're hooked on expectations, expect this: diapers aren't the only changes ahead. Ride the wave...you'll come out on top and your kids will grow up thinking you had it all together after all.

Keeping it emotionally healthy,

Hana

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too much stuff

We own too much stuff. Personally, and collectively, we own too much stuff. Let me be the first to admit I have spent most of my adult life over-buying. Throughout the years, there was barely room for people in the family room on Christmas morning because the mounds of presents threatened to swallow up all empty space.

To my children, I beg their forgiveness. I created a monster. As we’ve tried to break free of this tradition over the past few years, we continually find ourselves repeating the sins of our past. Enough is enough.

As I prepare for the dreaded April 15th tax day, I’m even more aware of this over-buying addiction I have. The It’s Deductible program has helped save me hundreds of dollars on my tax obligation because year after year I donate trunk loads to Goodwill and other charitable organizations. Where did it all come from? Oh yeah, under the Christmas tree! Well, not all of it, but you get the picture.

As money got tighter, I shifted my addictive behavior from the mall to consignment shops and thrift stores. When I ‘m out of town on business and have time to kill, I look up the local Goodwill store and work it into my schedule. Or, on occasion, I’ll be driving and see a familiar thrift store sign (Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul’s, etc.) and my heart starts beating faster. I think I need a support group!

If you expecting your first baby, don’t run out to Target or Babies R Us and register for every cute toy, piece of equipment and outfit that appeals to you. Chances are, you won’t need half of the stuff you want! Talk to other moms. Many of them will tell you about the plastic bins of outgrown clothing that was barely or ever worn on their little ones and/or the amount of nearly new equipment they sold for pennies on the dollar at their last garage sale. Stuff they didn’t need!

Perhaps you can suggest to friends and family that they go together to buy big pieces of equipment you’ll need – like a crib and changing table, rather than all buying you individual smaller gifts. Research ahead of time and decide if you want a bouncer or a swing (do you really need both?)

Over-buying for our kids starts when they’re in the womb. But you can make a conscious decision not to inflict the “I want more stuff” complex on your children. There are a lot of cute things out there. It’s natural to want them all. Tweaking your desire meter might take some practice, but there’s never been a better time to start than now!

Keeping it green,

Hana

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Your Children Only Get One Childhood

While parents put great effort into structuring their children's lives so they will become productive successful adults, they are neglecting a very important aspect of a child's life. Children need to play!

By Denny Hagel

I am the first one to say parenting is serious business. After all, I’m not only a mother and a grandmother, my work as an author is based on parenting as well. And like most parents, I focus on how and what my children learn, especially during their formative years. The formative years are the most important years in terms of the characteristics and traits they obtain and carry into their adult lives.

Parents place an enormous amount of energy on their children’s academic education, their social skills, and on providing a wide range of opportunities to broaden their scope of experiences to be sure they become well rounded people.

In addition, it has recently come to the attention of millions of parents who are implementing the principles of the law of attraction into their lives that it is equally important to also teach these principles to their children. They understand the benefits are enormous, the least of which being confidence, a positive mindset, and a healthy self-esteem.

Combining these important principles with a wide variety of experiences and a sound formal education, parents believe they have created the perfect recipe for their children to grow up to lead successful lives.

And by all accounts they have.

Through my work coaching parents I have become aware of the intensity by which many parents attempt to fill their children’s lives with the structured activities to accomplish this goal. I know their hearts are in the right place, they are doing what they feel is best for their children’s futures.

However, another extremely vital ingredient in raising a well rounded emotionally healthy child is being neglected...the opportunity to simply “play”.

Children are innately fun seeking, imaginative and creative creatures! Parents need to understand the crucial role “play” serves in the successful development of their children. Playing provides children with opportunities to exercise their minds in a non-structured environment, formulate ideas of their own making, and make choices without set criteria.

If every minute of a child’s day is scheduled they will learn to expect their lives to be orchestrated from outside sources without any effort or input on their part. On the other hand, when a child has “open or unscheduled” time to fill he learns to rely on his own thoughts and creativity. Children need to experience their imaginations.

Amid the daily structure of school work, homework, ballet lessons or piano lessons, and soccer or basketball practice, parents need to be sure their children have time to just be children.

Many parents make the mistake of viewing unstructured play time as a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children need time to create, imagine and explore according to their own internal framework.

It is during these play times they will develop their creative side which is necessary for them to eventually discover their passion. It is through these experiences they will learn about themselves and begin to connect with who they are.

They also need “down” time to just “be”. Think about how you feel at the end of a long day of doing all the things you are required to do. Then consider how you feel when you realize you have an extra couple of hours to do whatever you want...read a book, watch a television show...paint...or write the next best selling novel!

This “free” time is when you are able to re-connect with yourself and recharge your creative energy batteries. Children need this too.

Allowing your children to be children when they are children is the normal order of our development as human beings.

Robbing them of this important time is robbing them of something that can never be replaced. Your children only get one childhood...along with the best preparation for a successful adulthood, parents must also be sure they have the best childhood.

Let them play in puddles, run in the rain, climb trees, chase butterflies, build a “fort” in the living room out of the bed blankets...and sleep in it if they want to!

Let them create the experiences that will not only provide them with a childhood they will look back on with feelings of joy and happiness; it will also allow them to begin to develop important skills that they will use throughout their lives.

Once you reach your adult years there isn’t much that doesn’t fall under the “do-over” category. If you find yourself midway through your college years and decide to change your major from Psychology to English literature, it can be done. If you decide your job isn’t fulfilling...you can change jobs. Even if you come to realize that you have married the wrong person, you can get a divorce and marry someone else!

But if a child misses out on that magical time of being a child… playing, investigating, exploring and developing their creative side, it is lost forever. There is no “do-over”.

Parents must value and respect this time in their children’s lives as the treasure that it is.


They only get one childhood.



About the Author: Denny Hagel is co-author of "The Law of Attraction: The Next Generation" and co-owner of Innovative Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents teach the principles of the law of attraction to their children to provide them with the skills to live their best life! For more information and insights click on: =>http://www.InnovativeParentingLLC.com

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


I've been snowbound for the past week, but today the sun made an appearance and I decided to venture out into the real world again. Wow, it's a snowy mess out here! Parking lots are a bit humorous as drivers seem to have no idea how to park their cars! Even when the parking space lines are clearly defined, cars are parked in every direction, but the correct one. Maybe the drivers were experiencing snow blindness.

It’s good to be out among the living. As I write, I’m munching on a sour dough roll at Panera’s and enjoying a cup of coffee brewed by someone other than me. A couple of adorable little ones are sitting a few feet away from me and I’m debating giving their moms a couple of Green Grandma business cards. The baby girl just turned 6 months old and is eating baby food and drinking from a sippy cup. Her high chair cover is the first thing that grabbed my attention, so I asked about it. It’s an Eddie Bauer cover from Target and works well with both high chairs and shopping carts. I like the way the straps come over the baby’s shoulders and I plan to check it out the next time I’m at Target.

The other little girl is about 2, I’m guessing. She’s sitting on the same kind of high chair cover I bought for my grandbaby. Now that I’ve started this blog, I’m more observant of these types of things. I have to be careful though…I tend to stare a lot and people might start shielding their little ones from my gaze, although I don’t think I look like stalker material. But you never know.

With Valentine’s Day just 2 days away, I’ll wrap this up with wishes for you to have a happy celebration of the love that’s in your life. As I’ve said before, life is short. We never know what’s right around the corner. Say “I love you”s often. Don’t assume the people around you know how you feel. Even if they do, there’s nothing quite like hearing the words. If your parents have never been the type to express their feelings, express yours. You never know what kind of response you might get. Maybe, for the first time ever, you’ll hear the words spoken back to you.

Valentine’s Day is not just a day for sweethearts. Do your part in making it special for those who may not expect it…the single woman in your church, the elderly widow(er) next door, your workaholic boss, the cashier at the grocery store. We may not have any power over the weather, but we do have power over our actions. This Valentine’s Day, use that power to make someone smile. That will make it the sweetest day ever…I guarantee it.

Hana

Today's image, along with many of the others I've used, are courtesy of Karen's Whimsy. Find your own public domain images at http://karenswhimsy.com/public-domain-images

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Green Company of the Week -- Little Green Star


Bit the bullet and created a Green Grandma account on Twitter today. As a result, I've come across some wonderful new-to-me websites. One of them offers adorable certified organic cotton onesies and t-shirts for sizes 6 months to 6 T. Plus there are other accessories, although nearly everything I was interested in was sold out. I'll keep checking back though, because I love everything about this company, from what I can tell from checking out the website, Facebook page and the tweets on Twitter. I especially like the Ladies Don't Litter onesie. Too cute!

So, check it out. http://www.littlegreenstar.com/. If you purchase over $50 worth of products, shipping is free! And if you type in the code Love today or tomorrow, they'll take 50% of the prices! This is so worth checking out TODAY!

Little Green Star...you are my Green Company of the Week!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowmaggedon 2010

So what's the story with Global Warming?? As I look outside at the nearly three feet of snow in my yard, I can't help wondering what has brought about this return to winter. With projected temps below freezing for the rest of the month, it's hard to embrace the Al Gore-isms that permeate environmental websites and magazines.

Well, the flipside is we are now entering a season of Global Cooling, just like we experienced in the 1970s. Back then, the furor revolved around climatologists' claims that we were headed for an Ice Age. Of course, these claims only made them look like fools eventually, but many environmental enthusiasts jumped on the Global Cooling bandwagon perpetuating a mild hysteria. It really makes you wonder in light of the over-the-top hysteria that has resulted from the Global Warming camps.

Am I saying we should stop caring about pollution and environmental issues? Absolutely not! The best part about the Global Warming alert has been the wake-up call we've received. We all need to start caring about the environment...not because of Global Warming, but because we're killing our planet, our wildlife, our marine life and ourselves! Being green is about a whole lot more than Climate Change!

Speaking of which, the newest findings point to a projected 30 year Global Cooling pattern we have now entered. As a matter of fact, one of the U.N.'s top Global Warming proponents has changed his tune. Professor Mojib Latif, a professor at the Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University and author of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, predicts we are now in the early stages of a "mini ice age," based on the natural cycles in water temperatures in the oceans. He blames the rise in temperatures over the past three decades on the fluctuations in currents and now says we're going to spend the next three decades facing falling temperatures.

And the evidence is widespread. Did you know that Beijing had its heaviest snowfall in sixty years and Europe's recent snowstorms shut down the Eurostar train service, as well as the airports? Of course, there are some environmental enthusiasts blaming these arctic conditions on the rise in greenhouse gases, thus Global Warming, but we can't expect them to let go of the propaganda that fuels a worldwide hysteria. Based on this past summer, which I often referred to as "the summer that never was," and the current conditions, I'm thinking the Global Warming alerts just might be losing their zing.

The good news is, this might be the end of the Global Warming blitz for awhile. The bad news -- winters like this one will become commonplace.

My advice: invest in snowblowers (I know, I know, they're not environmentally-friendly, but they are heart healthy), generators, and lots of candles. We're in for some chilly weather.

Keeping it green and longing to see some,

Hana

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kiss me...I'm wearing fossil fuels


I hope you will forgive my lack of posts over the last several days. Just blame it on the snowstorm of 2010. That said, I'm back to it...unless this next one (due today) nails us again.


We hear a lot about fossil fuels lately, but I have to admit, I didn’t know exactly what that term meant, so I did a little research. Basically, what I found out is that fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, like coal, oil (petroleum) natural gas, methane and diesel that contain a high level of carbons and hydrocarbons. The push is for renewable energy from natural sources, such as wind, water, tides, geothermal heat and sunlight.

Okay, so we know that in an ideal world, our sources for energy would come from natural, renewable sources. But what about the non-energy-related products we choose? Petroleum derivatives, such as paraffin, mineral oil and propylene glycol are found in most of the cosmetic products we use. Just grab your tube of lip balm and look for yourself!

There are alternatives to using these non-renewable petroleum derivatives in the products we use every day, such as beeswax, and more and more companies are switching over to these environmentally-friendly ingredients.

Some health and environmentally-conscious companies to buy from:


There are countless other companies offering alternatives to petroleum-based cosmetics. A wonderful resource I stumbled upon is the website for Natural Living for Women, which states it is a guide to “a healthy, natural and green lifestyle,” and is animal, people and earth friendly. Check them out at http://www.natural-living-for-women.com/.

With all of the alternatives out there, maybe it’s time to walk on by the L’Oreal®, CoverGirl®, Maybelline® aisles at the drug store and invest in a healthier future for yourself and the environment.

Keeping it green and healthy,

Hana

Thursday, February 4, 2010

To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question.

Willingly inflicting pain on our little ones. Unthinkable, isn't it? Until you take them for their first immunization shots and have to hold them close as the pediatrician sticks them with a needle and they scream their little lungs out.

Having all girls, I wasn't faced with the issue of whether or not to circumcise my infants. That's one of the advantages of having a girl! But for those of you who will be having boys in the future, this is a decision you'll have to make. Of course, if circumcision is part of your religious heritage, there will be no debate. However, this is one issue many parents agonize over. Should we, or shouldn't we, they wonder.

There are some risks involved with circumcision, such as the possibility of excessive bleeding and infection. However, the health benefits include a decreased risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections) and penile cancer. There is also some speculation that circumcision can possibly reduce the risk of HIV.

The decision whether or not to circumcise is up to the parents alone...not the grandparents or other well-meaning relatives and friends and not the doctors. The best thing for parents to do, prior to the birth of their baby, is to research this controversial issue and make an educated choice.

Of course, no one wants to put their baby through unnecessary pain. But sometimes we have to expose them to pain for their own good.

Which leads us to another question: to pierce or not to pierce....let's see. Risk factors versus health benefits: possible infection and bleeding (not to mention willingly inflicting pain on a child) versus...hmmm...can't think of a single health benefit. I guess it's rather clear how I feel about piercing a helpless baby's ears. Just a thought.

Keeping it healthy,

Hana

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Helpful tidbits for greener, healthier and happier lives

Short little tidbits of info that you may find informative or useful:

  • Cut the risk of arthritis, cancer and heart disease by drinking white tea. The more you drink, the less the odds of developing any of the three, according to British researchers. Resolve to stick around longer for your kids and grandkids and start sipping!
  • Focus on what you can control in your life and try not to let your imagination take you to dark places by thinking about what might (or might not) happen. Your attitude and the atmosphere in your home will brighten with a little bit of practice. The minute you start tensing up with worry, ask yourself if what you're thinking about is really just in your imagination. If it is, let it go. Use your imagination to take you to sunny places, like the beach on a warm day with gentle breezes. See? Don't you feel better already?
  • Swapping is the way to go in the 21st century! Now, of course, I'm talking baby clothes, carseats, etc., not spouses! Check out http://www.freecycle.org/, http://www.swaptree.com/, or http://www.totsswapshop.com/. Your wallet, and the environment, will be glad you did!
  • Using clear plastic bins to store things in makes life much easier when, say, kid number two comes along. Head up to the attic and grab the newborn clothing, diapers/diaper covers, crib sheets, etc. without having to sort through boxes. Well, look at that...a good use for plastic!
  • Empty wine bottles make perfect boot fillers! Line up your boots neatly in your closet by slipping an empty bottle in each one. Just think: an organizing goal that involves emptying a bottle of wine or two. I'm liking this one!
  • If you're looking for a family bird that's child-friendly, skip the biters, like parrots and cockatoos (they really can take off a toddler's finger!), or the screamers, like cockatiels and lovebirds (aren't kids noisy enough?) and opt for a gentle budgie (parakeet) or a sweet singing canary. Keep in mind, however, that no matter what choice you make, there will still be a cage to clean.
  • By using a shampoo and conditioner-in-one, you cut down on the amount of plastic bottles you're buying and stacking up in your shower. Just a thought.
  • Men's noses are just naturally not programmed to pick up that poopy diaper smell. Period.
Enough for today. I hope something here will help you live a greener, healthier and/or happier life.

Hana

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Green product of the week

Just a quick nod to an awesome product I just stumbled across. ZoLi's Baby Ohm is a perfect alternative to the vinyl changing pads that fold up and get shoved into diaper bags. The Baby Ohm changing mat grips to the surface of those fold-down restroom changing stations or other non-carpeted/upholstered surfaces. Available in vivid blue, pink, orange or green, the mats roll up and can easily be slipped inside a diaper bag (next to your cloth diapers, of course!). The best part is that ZoLi's makes their diaper changing mats without the use of latex or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and they are 100% biodegradable.

ZoLi's Baby Ohm diaper-changing mat is my choice for the Green Product of the Week!

http://www.zo-li.com/

Monday, February 1, 2010

Aromatherapy during pregnancy...is it safe?

Experiencing mood swings during pregnancy? Geranium oil can help! Simply add 6 drops into 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil, such as sesame oil, and ask your sweetie to give you a massage (let him know he’ll benefit, too – mood swings can be brutal on a partner)! Geranium oil is also wonderful in enhancing circulation and easing leg aches and pains.

While you should avoid hot baths and hot tubs/whirlpools/Jacuzzis during pregnancy, a warm bath with 8 drops of neroli oil added can be the perfect solution to relieve some pregnancy tension and stress.

Other beneficial oils are:

Bergamot -- If you’re suffering from cystitis, this could be your answer!

Chamomile -- Headache? Don’t reach for an OTC remedy. Chamomile oil has been known to knock out the worst of pain, as well as help relieve indigestion.

Cypress -- Only to be used during the third trimester if you are experiencing swelling in your feet and ankles.

Eucalyptus -- Congested? Reach for the eucalyptus oil.

Grapefruit -- To be used to limit water retention.

Lemon -- Another good option for congestion.

Mandarin -- Not only will this help ease swelling in your ankles, it also helps with fluid retention in your aching joints.

Rosewood -- A natural antiseptic.

Tea tree -- If you have thrush, reach for the tea tree oil.

Ylang-ylang -- Another choice for relieving stress and tension.

There is an ongoing debate about lavender, but since many studies show lavender to be associated with miscarriage, I, personally, would avoid it at all costs.

Of course, before following any of the above suggestions, check with your doctor. Some advise that women should avoid all essential oils while pregnant. I also recommend that you do further research.

It is vital you avoid the following oils, as they can raise certain hormone levels and lead to miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some are not safe during any point during your pregnancy, so again, I highly recommend speaking to your OB before using aromatherapy with any of these oils. Also, remember to limit the use of essential oils to external use only.

Achillee Millefeuille
Basil
Cedar wood
Cinnamon
Clove
Cypress
Fennel
Hyssop
Jasmine
Juniper
Lemongrass
Parsley
Rosemary
Sweet marjoram
Thyme

However you approach aromatherapy during pregnancy, use caution and common sense. Never jump in feet first without researching and testing the water.

Keeping it natural and healthy,

Hana

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