Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I am a sunscreen freak. I wrote an article for Know It Mom about sunscreen several years ago, and here I am doing another one - only because using a truly protective and safe sunscreen is SO important.
Always buy a broad spectrum sunscreen because it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays accelerate aging and may suppress the immune system. UVB rays cause sun burning, and both types of rays can cause skin cancer. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has done research on sunscreens and rate them according to their safety.
I always check with the EWG before I buy any sunscreen: EWG Sunscreen Guide
If you don't have time to hunt down your own, you're in luck! I looked up some of the highest rated ones with EWG and then read the Amazon reviews on them which helped me find two that I really LOVE this year. . .
My family and I are using Tru Kid Sport water resistant SPF 30 for the days when we are in water, and then we use DeVita Solar Body Moisturizer SPF 30 on other days when we aren't in water but are outside for long periods.
They are both safe for sensitive skin and were both given a 1 rating with EWG, which is the best rating possible. Some sunscreens go on really thick or leave you looking ghost-like, but these two really absorb well and I like the texture vs. many other sunscreens I have tried.
Here are the links to the EWG's recommendations on the ones I bought:
Tru Kid
DeVita Solar Body
For a couple of years now I have also used DeVita Solar Protective on my face if I will be in the sun at all. It's absolutely wonderful stuff! Here is the link for that:
DeVita Solar Protective
One reason I am so passionate about sunscreen safety is because there are so many main-stream sunscreens out there that contain Retinyl Palmitate. What's that? Here is a quote that I found on the EWG's website: "
About RETINYL PALMITATE (VITAMIN A PALMITATE): Retinyl palmitate is an ingredient composed of palmitic acid and retinol (Vitamin A). When exposed to UV light, retinol compounds break down and produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations, a precursor to cancer. Recently available data from an FDA study indicate that retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. FDA also raised a concern that extensive, daily skin application of vitamin A creams may build up in the woman’s body a high enough level of Vitamin A that may be toxic to the developing fetus.
Many anti-aging creams contain Retinyl Palmitate as well, so if you are using one with that ingredient, be safe and just use it at night.
I hope that you all protect yourself and your family in the sunshine this summer and have fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Datexx The Miracle Cube Timer

I just bought this cool little timer on Amazon, and it's a must-have. So, my kids have recently discovered video games - and they are obsessed. The first month or two was a little out of control and I knew we needed to cut back on game time. This was new territory for me and I knew that we needed some boundaries set.
I decided that they can play twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. They love playing after breakfast and in the evening with Dad. So.... after they have eaten their breakfast, got dressed, brushed teeth, etc., I let them play while I get ready for the day... it works out great for them ... and for me.
Before I got this handy timer, was just using the timer on the microwave, but the microwave is upstairs and their game system is down in the basement, so they wouldn't hear it go off. So when I found this timer, I was in love. It is modern looking, has four times to choose from, and it's easy to use.
I keep it in the basement in the game room and it's loud enough that I can hear it from upstairs and the kids hear it well too. You turn it on, choose the setting (by facing the side with the time you want up towards the ceiling), and once you set it down, it starts timing. Once the alarm has sounded (it beeps several times), be sure to switch it "off" so that you won't waste batteries. Check it out here:
Datexx The Miracle Cute Timer
There are other ones available that have different time selections and colors. To find them, just do a search in Amazon for Datexx The Miracle Cube Timer. These would make great gifts, especially for Mom's ... and Mother's Day is just around the corner.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nordstrom is the BEST!

I love shopping but it's very hard to do with two little ones who refuse to sit in a stroller. So I shop online a lot, or shop when my Mom can meet me and help with my kids.
My most favorite place to shop is Nordstrom because of several reasons; amazing customer service, high quality items, incredible return policy (no questions asked), plus free shipping and free returns... all the time!
Rarely do I buy anything that's not on sale. I am pretty frugal and so I like to keep an eye on my favorite items by adding them to my wish list online. When I see them go on sale, then I buy them, and I earn points by using my MOD card . . . The MOD card that Nordstrom offers works just like a debit card (takes the money directly from your checking vs charging it onto a 'credit card') and every time you make a purchase (using your card) you earn points. Obviously they offer a credit card too. But whether you have the Nordstrom Mod card or the credit card, for every 2000 points you receive a 'Nordstrom Note' ($20 to spend at Nordstrom; online or in-store).
They have special days throughout the year where you can earn double or even triple points, and one day a year where you can choose your own personal triple points day. But my most favorite thing about Nordstrom is that if you purchase something and it goes on sale within 2 weeks of your purchase, they will credit you the difference. Now that's what I call smart shopping!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summertime tip for getting sand out of kids' hair

My kids were playing in the sandbox and my daughter got sand all over her head. The tiny grains were in her hair and scalp. My husband was outside with the shop vacuum and suggested just vacuuming her hair. We tried it and it worked like a charm. It didn't hurt her hair, just got the sand out and off of her scalp. It also made her hair look wild which made my son crack up.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Granola Anyone?

I love eating granola for breakfast. I buy my granola from Costco and get the Kirkland Ancient Grains and the Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola. However, having just one type at once is a little boring for me. So........ I bought a cereal container from Ikea and I layer the two granola's in it. Then, when I'm ready for a bowl of granola in the mornings, it's already mixed and I just pour it into a bowl. If you like granola, but want to add a little bit of interest to it, try this trick. Enjoy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Diarrhea Buster (Smoothie)

I created a smoothie recipe today that helps with diarrhea! How exciting- haha! Because my kids have been so sick, I researched what ingredients could work in a smoothie that would help with diarrhea and that wouldn't make things worse.
Here is the recipe (I just eyeball the measurements depending on how many people I'm making them for- you can always add more as you go)
White grape juice
Yogurt with live cultures and low in sugar
Frozen strawberries
1 banana
Handful of blueberries (optional)
A few notes about the ingredients.... White grape juice (it's the ONLY juice that won't make diarrhea worse). Yogurt contains probiotics - find one low in sugar. Plain greek is always a winner. Strawberries actually help thicken stools. Bananas because they help replace electrolytes and they contain pectin which helps absorb the liquid in the intestines. Blueberries also contain pectin and have antibacterial properties.
Just a side note: applesauce contains pectin and is often suggested for helping diarrhea because of that. So applesauce is a great substitute for fruit at mealtime, or for a snack. However, apple juice does not contain pectin, so avoid it when you have diarrhea because it could make it worse.
Enjoy!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dear Mom on the iPhone

Remember when we had phones that we just used to talk on? We'd only reach for our phones if they rang or if we were calling someone. Of course, today we reach for our phones for those same reasons, but we also reach for them for SO many other things...... when we want to check the forecast, see what our friends are up to, log something in one of our many apps, and much more. These days, people are looking down at their phones constantly, instead of being in the moment. I read this article(see below) on Facebook today as my kids played next to me (Ha! You caught me!)and it totally made me cry. You see Mom's (and Dad's) doing this all the time and not giving their kids the full attention they deserve. When I first read the article, I thought: No this isn't me.... I check my phone for a few minutes here and there, and then put it down. But then I remembered the times where my kids put their cute little hands upon my cheeks to get my attention and saying 'Mommy!' as I'm looking at my phone. NO MORE! Reading this gave me a big wake-up call to change. So many of us are addicted and it needs to stop. We are setting the example and we are sending our kids a message that they are not as important as whatever is on our phones and that it's ok for them to do this too. Technology has turned us into robots.
My kids love the iPad. When my son was little, he used played educational apps at the dinner table and I could just shovel food into his mouth and he'd eat anything. I thought it was the greatest thing! Then one day, it hit me.... my son was not learning to feed himself, he wasn't enjoying and savoring his food. I'd look over at my husband, and he'd be checking the internet on his phone instead of talking to me while I sat directly across from him at the dinner table. This had to stop! I made a rule of no more devices at the table, and that includes the adults. Now, dinner time is family time and it's great! My kids still enjoy using the iPad, but not at the dinner table. They use it here and there throughout the day, and take turns. But when it's been more than 20 minutes, at the most, I whisk it away and we do something else.
Now, after reading the article below, I've decided to set a new goal...to treat my phone like an 'old-school' phone during the day when my kids and I are at play. I'm going to turn the ringer up, put it up-high on a shelf, and only reach for it when it rings, or if I need to make the occasional call. When I was young my Mom used to talk on the phone a lot. It drove my siblings and I nuts, and I vowed, I'd never be on the phone a lot as a parent. But being on the phone isn't just talking on it these days, so I am vowing now to stop and to start setting a great example to my little ones and be fully present. Do you want to join me in this challenge???
Here is the article:
Dear Mom On the iPhone, I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores. But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now….. Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. You aren’t. Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do. Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing. Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly. Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids. Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware! Play time at the park will be over before you know it. The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it. They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!” There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time. Because they know… You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime….. I know that’s not true, Mommy. I know your heart says differently. But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly. May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.