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Archive for October, 2009

Safe Plastics

Oct 27, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Health & Safety

Safe vs. Unsafe Plastics

If you are like me, you want to do everything you can to keep your children healthy and safe.  One of the dangerous things right now is hormones and chemicals in plastics.  I wanted to know how I could protect my children from plastics and find what plastics are safest I did some research.  In our society it is almost impossible to avoid using plastics.  Sure I could only give my children glass and metal but I really don’t want to clean up broken glass regularly from my floors.  Here are some things to look for in plastics and things to avoid to keep your family safe from hormones and chemicals in plastics.

Even with safe plastics you should not  heat food in the plastic containers in the microwave as it changes the chemical composition and may leak chemicals into your food.  Only heat food in glass or ceramic containers in the microwave. Just because a plastic container is labeled as microwave safe does not mean that they will not release chemicals into your food when cooked.

Avoid polycarbonate bottles and sippy cups, look on the bottom of any plastic container and avoid anything with the number #7  plastic products and products made from PVC/Vinyl or #3 plastics. Thankfully Polycarbonate has been made illegal in sippy cups and bottles being sold in Minnesota but if you use older bottles or sippy cups you may run into polycarbonate.  I recycled all of my polycarbonate bottles as soon as I found out that synthetic estrogen leaks into your childs food and beverages when you use polycarbonate.  There are new versions of hard clear plastic that are made from corn and do not contain hormones but unless you know exactly what to look for please be careful.

For storing and serving food and beverages use #1,#2,#4,# 5 and avoid #3 #6 and #7 plastics. Don’t throw away unsafe plastics, please recycle them!

Instead of buying bottled water from the store and filling up landfills with empty bottles and bottle caps, use a water filter and a reusable bottle for water.  Invest in an aluminum reusable bottle like the Thermos Foogo Leak-Proof Straw Bottle to avoid any hormones leaking.  For my children I invested in the Thermos metal canisters bottle for their juice and water.  The Thermos brand containers stay cold for hours so not only do they save money they keep your beverages tasting good.

Stay healthy and pick safe plastics.

Nosefrida- A Safe Nasal Aspirator

Oct 27, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Health & Safety, Product Reviews

NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

With cold and flu season here and if you have a baby and don’t have a NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator you need one.  The first time your small baby gets a cold and you have to try to figure out the horrible invention of the nasal bulb sucker you will realize why this is such an important invention.

A traditional bulb nasal aspirator can damage the soft tissues of the nose.  You don’t know how hard you are sucking and you have to be extra careful not to accidentally blow air into their noses which can be very dangerous.   Now you have this bulb nasal aspirator full of bacteria and virus contaminated filled snot, how do you know it is clean between uses?

My husband ordered me a Nosfrida and told me that it looked weird but his friend from work swore it was the greatest invention for babies.  I was totally grossed out by the idea, why would I put my mouth anywhere near my child’s mucus?   It made me gag just to think about it.  I stuck it gently into my poor sick newborns nose, and put the other end into my mouth and crossed my fingers.  Even with the filter in place I was afraid I would accidentally ingest some snot but there is no way that could happen now that I used it.  I sucked gently and my baby did not flinch, I quickly realized how to suck the  It was amazing, I was able to control how hard I sucked and was able to clear my babies sinuses so that he could breathe in order to nurse. I knew it was gentle enough to use because he did not cry when I sucked his nose clear like he did with the bulb aspirator, and he just laid calmly and allowed me to clean his nose.

The suction in the NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator is completely controlled by you, I find it is most helpful to do long soft suction to clear the back of the nasal passages,  it is not a short, sharp suck like a bulb sucker that just gets small amounts of snot but can never clear the sinuses behind the  nose.  You would not believe how much mucus you can remove.  To me that difference in mucus removed is the difference between a sleeping baby and one who is up coughing and choking on mucus all night.

To clean it you simply take the end off the tube end, wash it out with hot tap water, use a qtip to loosen any crusties,  dry it with a paper towel, replace the filter, I tend to wash the mouth piece with alcohol in case I am not the next one to use it and put it back in the holding case.  I love that you can see it is perfectly clean unlike a bulb sucker, even with the bulb suckers that can be cleaned can have hiding spots that you cant access that could lead to a bacteria breeding ground.

It was a life saver when my little guy was a newborn, I even still use it when my toddler has colds, he is not the best at blowing his nose yet, he still does that mouth blowing thing into the Kleenex to make the Kleenex move and make the sound like he is blowing his nose.  So I hold down his head and suck out the snot so that he can breathe.  I would refer it to any of my friends, in fact I have bought it for many of them for baby shower gifts. It truly is a life saver, it has made what could have been many sleepless sick nights, sleep-able!

The Task of Taking Family Pictures

Oct 26, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Family Management


This weekend it was sunny for the first time in days, so our family went out to search for a good outdoor place to take pictures of the kids.  I love it when people have outdoor photos for their Christmas cards and we had not had a good photo shoot of the kids in months.  My husband grabbed his camera, I dressed the kids, did both of their hair, my husband restyled my son’s hair, I grabbed an extra set of clothes and a blanket, was armed with snacks and juice boxes and ran out the door.  I had a place close to home in mind but my husband had a place further away in mind, so we went to his location after all he was the one driving.

We drove down a dirt road, found the right place, unloaded the kids next to the corn field and instantly the little guy decided he wanted to be whiny.  He didn’t want his coat taken off, the tears came on, so I put his coat back on him but he was still worked up and whiny.  My daughter was ready to take pictures but she hates smiling right now.  She has created this fake smile where she completely closes her eyes and holds her mouth in a smile that looks like she is trying to pee.   My husband snapped pictures while I wrangled the kids and tried to make them both smile while looking towards the camera.  If someone was listening to us you would have heard, “Smile Please! Look at Daddy! No a real smile! Open your eyes! Sit down! Look over here!  Singing If your happy and you know it! Gross, Don’t pick that up! Please walk, OK fine, I will carry you.”

I realized that I have not had a good picture of both kids looking at the camera at the same time in months.    One will be looking at the dog while the other will have a great smile.  Then one will have a great smile and the other one will be smiling or will turn their head.   Trying to get them both focused is enough to work up a sweat, now add walking to try to find the perfect location to the mix, and you will need a nap when you are done!

After one hour of hiking down the dirt path, and taking hundreds of pictures we ended up with about five decent shots of the kids together, none that we are ready to create a Christmas card out o,f but at least decent.   Last night I was trying to retrain my daughter who has a normally beautiful smile until the camera comes out, how to smile again.     “Please don’t close your eyes, Please smile like you are saying cheese, You can keep your head upright, Look at the camera, right here.”  Someday I am sure she will smile for the camera again,  of course by that time, her little brother will probably decide he prefers a fake smile.    Maybe I should just become a Photoshop pro, take a head from one pic and a head from another and create a perfect perfect picture, until then, our Christmas card may show two kids looking in opposite directions.  Good luck with your family photos.

Three Tips to Get a Homemade Dinner Ready Fast!

Oct 14, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Food

As a professional mom people may wonder what else do I have to do all day besides cook and clean?  If you know me there are very few days I stay home and do nothing, we are always running, getting ready to go to the next place and trying to find new active learning experiences for my children.   This means that I don’t have all day to think about and prepare dinner.  I have learned many ways to help prepare a healthy dinner fast for my family without making boxed meals or prepared frozen foods.

#1- I plan my meals for the week and stick to them.  I sit down with a few of my recipe books, and I have a list of my favorite fast meals and plan the meals for a week, I then write down the recipe pages and recipe book next to them so I can quickly find them.  I try to pick out recipes that can be ready in less than 30 minutes and take as few pans as possible to cook in, to minimize clean up.  I write down each of the ingredients I need to buy to create this whole weeks of recipes and buy all of them at my weekly grocery store trip.

#2- When I get home from the grocery store I cut the fresh veggies and bag them or put them into storage containers so when I am ready to make a recipe I don’t have to clean and cut the veggies.  This also helps me to reach for a healthy snack when the veggies are cut up in the fridge.

#3- Another one of my favorite time saving tools is my vacuum sealer especially for meats.  I buy meat in bulk like a whole turkey breast or bulk hamburger meat and divide them into one pound packages.   Before I seal meats that need to be cut into bite size pieces like steak, chicken or turkey I cut them before I seal them, I throw in seasonings or marinade in the bag before I seal them, that way when I am ready to cook that meat all I do is defrost the package in the microwave and it is perfectly seasoned and recipe ready.

When it is a busy night where I have to get the kids out the door for swimming, gymnastics or to the park, I pick my daily recipe from the list, flip to the recipe book page, grab the pre-cut and cleaned veggies, pre-cut meat add rice, bread or pasta and can create a fast, home-made, stress free meal.

Save Energy, Save Money

Oct 13, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Home & Garden

It is fall in Minnesota which means it is time to start winterizing the yard, the gardens, the pool and the house.    I live in a house built in the 1960’s that is not as energy efficient as new homes.  I try to save money and energy by sealing up the house.

One project that can save money by making your house more air tight is caulking around windows and doors. This summer I painted the house and caulked every crack and crevice in the exterior around windows, doors, siding, pipes, boxes on my house.  I went through 16 tubes of exterior caulk using a basic handheld caulk gun and I became pretty good at laying a good bead by the end of the project.  As I was working around the house I noticed that the old caulk had shrunk, cracked and become brittle in all areas, there were even some areas under replaced windows that never had caulk applied and were letting cold air right into my house.    Caulk is cheap repair to keep out bugs, water and $3 a tube is a cheap energy saving option, in comparison to heating and cooling costs.

We use a Touch Screen 7 Day Programmable Thermostat to turn the heat down a few degrees at night, since I am home during the day with the kids I can’t lower heat during the day.  Since we replaced the old fashioned dial thermostat with the programmable one the furnace runs less often and maintains a more consistent temperature.

Our windows were all replaced in the early 90’s so they are still not as energy efficient as modern windows, so I use 3M (Plastic) Insulator Kits on the interior of the windows. I apply the plastic over each of the bedroom windows, and over the large picture windows in my house to keep the cold out and keep more of the warm in.  If you have never put plastic on your windows before it is a fast project and it is very rewarding.  I usually do it on a cool day when you can feel the cold air leaking from the windows.   When I am done you can feel the increase in warmth in the room and can no longer feel any draft by the windows.

I use applying plastic as my reason to wash the interior of the windows.  Make sure you get the little finger prints off  before applying the plastic because once the plastic is on the windows those smears and smudges are sealed in till spring.    Make sure you fully close, lock and close the storm windows before putting on the plastic.  If you have mini blinds on the windows, cut a little hole and seal the mini blind wand outside of the window and seal it up with clear scotch tape so you can open and close blinds on sunny days.  I also close curtains and insulating window blinds to keep even more drafts out of the room especially at night and on really cold days.

Minnesota gets cold so little energy saving steps will  help save you money and keep you warmer this winter.

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