Live long… Laugh often… Love always.
Feeding fresh produce to your family is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The problem we run into with fresh fruits and veggies and other smooth skinned produce is the chemicals, bacteria, wax, preservatives and pesticides that are on produce. I wondered what was the best way to clean my produce and found this study. According to a study by Cooks Illustrated (and reported by NPR) they tested the different methods to cleaning your produce. They tested bacteria levels when produce was cleaned with a scrub brush, water alone, a Veggie Wash, and vinegar and water soak. They found cheap vinegar wash to be the best at cleaning your produce, it removed 98 percent of the bacteria from the produce!
So when you bring home your next grocery cart full of produce, give it a soak in vinegar and water (one part vinegar to three parts water), and then rinse it with cold water to get the vinegar residue off. Vinegar is safe for you, safe for the environment and is cheap too! Like I needed yet another reason for me to buy vinegar by the gallon!
Flying with kids is a totally different experience than traveling alone. As a parent you no longer get to sit and take a nap or read a book and relax on a plane like you used to be able to when traveling without kids. You are now on stage and being criticized and critiqued by other passengers who paid to have a pleasant flight. As a parent your job is to be attending to your children for the duration of the flight, to make sure that they are not ruining someone else’s experience and making the other passengers miserable. I believe you need to be prepared and armed with bag of tricks to keep your kids happy. Here is how I do it and it is all about planning ahead and being overly prepared.
I have one carry on for me and one for each child. This year they both were old enough to carry their own bags, so they each had a wheeled backpack that they happily pulled around the airports. Inside of each of their backpacks was about five of their favorite small toys, my son had a car, a semi truck, a dinosaur, a Diego toy and a fake phone. My daughter had a barbie, some barbie clothes, a tiara, a hand held video game, and a few small trinkets. I packed 10 paperback books in each of their bags, a sticker book, and I also included their favorite blanket and cuddle animal. I tossed in one change of clothes for each kid at the bottom of their bags just in case we had a juice explosion.
In my bag I pack for the worst case scenario. I have read too many stories recently about people stuck on the tarmac, overnight, inside of the plane, and I am afraid that would happen to me, so I pack as if I am ready for that to happen. I brought one compartment of my full size backpack filled with snacks, goldfish crackers, cookies, M&M’s, small suckers, and two sippy cups. In the airport I pick up 2 waters, 1 juice and 1 sprite along with a sandwich and something healthy like an apple to eat, just in case. I fill up their sippy cups on the plane with the water/juice mixture so they are drinking plenty of fluids to help avoid ear popping issues. I also have children’s melt away Tylenol tablets that I give each one a full dose prior to boarding the plane, I also bring Ear-planes earplugs to put in their ears to help regulate pressure. I always carry hand sanitizers, bandages and an emergency kit that I keep in my purse on a daily basis. My son was also not potty trained, so I packed enough diapers and wipes to get me to the next day. In the large compartment of my backpack, I pack one portable DVD player with child sized headphones, and one Net-book computer with the favorite movies loaded on, along with a video IPod and about 5 more paper back books for the kids.
While we were waiting for the plane to take off and get up to cruising altitude to use approved electronic devices, we read books, watched out the window, talked about the parts of the plane, had the first small snack, drank lots of juice, played with the mini-magna doodle and the sticker books. Once we got up to cruising altitude we turned on the movies. My daughter watched Little Mermaid and my son watched Elmo, and that entertained the kids for about 1 hour. It was nice I was able to sit and browse sky-mall in between handing out snacks. Once they got bored, we took a short trip to the bathroom so they could stretch out their legs, changed my son’s diaper, washed both of their hands, sat down, read more books, told stores, drew pictures with my fingers on their backs, played with one of the toys in their bags, and then switched the movie to see if it would regain their attention, and it did. We use a lot of technology on planes because we have it, we use video players for the 4 hour car trip to the cabin multiple times each summer. If we did not own the DVD players, I would have brought more story books and coloring books and crayons instead, it would have worked as well, but there would have been no breaks to the parent entertainment portion during that 3 hour flight.
As for my preparation and over packing, my kids were happy to have the attention, content to relax and watch their favorite movies and snack on their favorite treats at leisure. We were not stuck on the tarmac, there was no screaming, no crying, they both sat in their own seats, in their seat belts, no kicking seats, and no irritated neighbors in the plane I believe it is because my kids were paid attention to the entire time and because there was plenty of things to keep them busy and entertained. Good luck with your plane ride!
Before I left for on vacation for 10 days, I canceled my newspaper because I did not read it and it was easier than putting it on hold and then having to deal with canceling later. I felt guilty about having the paper in my house, and I did not like the space required to recycle it especially when I did not read it. The same ads and information is online and if I view them online I am not contributing to the destruction of trees and the energy and cost of recycling. Since I did not read the paper this was a good decision for me. The only reason we signed up for the paper to begin with is my husband answered the phone when a sales person gave him an amazingly low rate for a year. We paid for one full year and no longer wanted any more papers after that period.
When I was on vacation I was getting multiple messages on my cell phone each day alerting me to the fact that I had voice messages on my home phone. I would call the house phone to listen to the message and there was only multiple clicks or just plain silence recorded for up to 60 seconds on the voice mail. The same thing happened each day, most days multiple times from one of the two numbers, 1702-554-1465, 1715-254-0345. It made me concerned that someone was calling our house to try to scope it out to verify that we indeed were not home, or I was actually concerned that someone was trying to get a hold of me for an emergency, so I looked up the number. It turns out that I am not the only person receiving these calls because other people were complaining about these numbers calling their homes multiple times each day as well.
I have documented how many of these calls I have received and how many voice mail messages were left from the automated service and will be contacting Pioneer Press directly to tell them to take me off their phone call list forever. I will never subscribe to the Pioneer Press again due to the harassing nature of these phone calls. I am writing this in case someone else is trying to figure out who keeps calling them, maybe they will find this post and realize it is not an emergency, just Pioneer Press.