Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl Review

Bamboobies Nursing CoverI tend to think of myself as more of a modest new mom, keeping breastfeeding as more of a private time between me and my baby. I appreciate the ability to see to her needs when and where she needs me, but I don’t really like to flaunt it or go crazy with everything in plain sight in restaurants or in public. It’s just not my style. I much prefer the comforts of home or a semi-private location like my car, if I get desperate. But that’s just me. To each her own!

With this desire of privacy in mind, I find it beneficial to keep a nursing cover on hand whenever possible in case a spontaneous feeding happened. I recently learned of the Bamboobies brand Chic Nursing Shawl, available in black or purple, which is a fashion statement as much as it is a great modesty accessory for breastfeeding moms. I received my own black Chic Nursing Shawl to try out free of charge for the purpose of this review.

First, the fabric is so soft and comfortable, made from Organic Eco-Soy material. I really enjoy how it hangs and moves easily to suit your needs and baby’s position. I received a size M-L, so it is a bit big for me to wear as a fashion statement. The pictures I’ve seen of other people wearing it that way do look quite nice, as the style resembles more of a shawl than the customary apron style.

I like to tuck the nursing cover inside the diaper bag or in my tote bag when we go anywhere that I might need to nurse the baby on the fly. It is super convenient, well-made, and it looks nice and discrete when in use.

The creator of the Chic Nursing Shawl is Kerry Gilmartin, a mother of three who dreamed up this stylish mommy accessory that serves a great purpose. The fabrics her company, Bamboobies, uses are sustainable and top quality, and she employs local seamstresses in Colorado to assist with production. These purple and black nursing shawls retail for $34.99 and you can find the Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl in more than 300 stores across the globe and online. For more information, check out www.buybamboobies.com.

Forced Air Heating Systems

Honeywell QuietCare HumidifierThe one thing that busy Americans look forward to after a long day at work, school, or at play in the midst of a cold winter’s day, is getting warm and comfortable at home. A home heating system is one of the most expensive appliance systems in your residence, and depending on where you live, it can essentially be the difference between life and death from cold weather exposure. For the most part, it costs more to install and maintain than any other single appliance in your home and will be responsible for the most electric kilowatt usage in the home.

The concept of circulating heated air to warm our living space seems simple enough, but for the 50’s era, it was cutting edge technology. It inadvertently put the steam radiator system and the traditional wood/coal burning fireplace and stoves into hibernation mode, as sales and installations around the country plummeted. The new HVAC forced air heating systems that were being introduced in early 1950 became extremely popular with new concepts and thermostats to control the amount of heat released. For the first time in home heating history, the temperature in various rooms could be separately and accurately adjusted.

Honeywell QuietCare HumidifierAs with most things that are discovered to have the potential to change our lives for the better, we sometimes rush things and don’t truly understand the possible effects on our personal health until time passes and the potential hazards are realized. From the get go, an issue with the needless circulation of micro-orbs and other irritants, allergens, and even carcinogens existed, with the potential to cause many airborne diseases. Pathogens that are believed to possess Legionnaires disease (mainly in the Eastern US), and some airborne and potentially dangerous carcinogens can become trapped within the filtration and circulation of the heat from the air handler, exacerbating breathing problems. People with (COPD) Asthma, Bronchitis, and Emphysema, and other chronic respiratory problems, as well as children, are exceptionally vulnerable to the “dirty” air that is circulated and in some cases recirculated throughout your home. The importance of a filter that could trap the irritants was evident and filter technology advanced.

HVAC systems contain a return air duct system to return the air that is previously heated through the filtration to the air handler for recirculation. Hypoallergenic filters can reduce but won’t eliminate most of the dust and allergens. The possible health issues don’t end with the potential for breathing difficulties, as a number of skin and eye issues directly relate to the heating system in our homes and offices. The Center for Disease Control estimates that nine out of ten cases of contact dermatitis are directly related to heating and air conditioning pollutants exposed to the patient. It is said that we spend at least 21 hours a day indoors in heating and air conditioning controlled environments. It is wreaking havoc on the respiratory and integumentary systems of literally the entire US population. Air and HEPA filters can improve overall conditions and should be checked, cleaned, or replaced periodically to ensure the proper filtration.

Advancements in the HVAC air quality, helping to improve  the effects on the health of the occupants. Research shows that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are effective in the reduction of certain viruses and mold spores that are known to cause illness and disease. Fresh outside air is healthy to breathe because of the direct effects of UV rays, so the idea is to bring UV rays indoors to help control microorganisms in indoor air. With a UV system installed in your HVAC system, the number of airborne bacteria and viruses that cause colds and other illnesses will be reduced as air is circulated through the system. With most people spending 90% of their time indoors, especially in the winter, it is essential to develop efficient heating systems that are easy on the health of the occupants and energy efficient.

Forced air systems are found throughout residential and commercial dwellings in the US and are going to be around for several years to come. The best bet for anyone that happens to live indoors and use heat to stay warm, is to learn the best option for your particular heating system. Many kinds of filters can reduce the diverse irritants and spores while UV systems kill virus and mold spores. If humidity is a problem for your home, then you may want to look into a humidifying system to add or reduce humidity to the air. Humidity should be kept below 50% indoors to reduce the mold spores that thrive in humid conditions.

The Honeywell Quiet Care Humidifier as well as many other Honeywell humidifiers and air purifiers are can improve your indoor air quality and your health, and they are easy to find on Amazon.com. The key to having good, clean outdoor air indoors is to learn the best way to clean the air conditioning and heating systems that we depend on to protect and keep our families safe and warm.

How to Make Feeding Your Baby Less Messy, and a Few Tips on Stains

Messy BabyJust when your baby moves from milk or formula only to enjoying some solid foods in the diet, the diaper duty seems to change for the better. Don’t get too excited though. You’ll just find yourself scrubbing something else off of all those little tiny clothes. Baby food gets everywhere, so you may need to get creative with removing stains—or preventing them. Here are a few tips to make feeding the baby less messy when you move to solid foods, resulting in fewer pieces of clothing to scrub each time you do the laundry.

Try these helpful tips to keep the baby food in your child’s mouth and not all over his clothing!

Choose a bib with more coverage. Bibs that fasten with Velcro sometimes have more coverage for the shoulders, minimizing the food mess when baby turns her head.

Choose bibs that wash easily and dry quickly, like waterproof bibs. You don’t want to spend your time scrubbing cloth bibs instead of clothes!

Look for bibs with pockets to help protect your baby’s lap from dropped food or liquid.

Push or roll up your baby’s sleeves to protect the cuffs from inevitably going into baby’s mouth.

Feed smaller bites. Less food on the spoon is more forgiving if your accuracy is a bit off due to a turning head or other sudden movement.

Baby Gear brand and Cutie Pie brand both make baby bibs that have good coverage, a generous pocket, and waterproof material that washes up amazingly well and also dries quickly. I highly recommend these girls’ and boys’ waterproof bibs for babies of all ages but especially for those now enjoying solids. The bibs I purchased have pink puppies and cookies patterns on them, and I love them so much. Amazon shows the Dex Baby Dura Bib Big Mouth as very highly rated for baby feedings as well.

If you do continue to find stains on your little one’s clothes, you can try Dreft stain spray or a gentle mix of dish soap and water to remove most stains. And, if your little one isn’t on solid baby foods yet, you might still be battling with messy diaper explosions. Stains from baby’s number 2 diapers are easily cleaned with Dreft baby stain spray and allowing the stained clothing to sit in the sunlight for a few hours. Try it—you might be surprised!

Put these few tips in practice and you should notice fewer items to scrub when tossing baby clothes in the laundry. If you have additional tips, please share them in our comments below. Good luck!

 

 

Links:

Boy bibs: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GCEMCM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002GCEMCM&linkCode=as2&tag=llb-baby-20

Girl bibs: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GIUUIQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002GIUUIQ&linkCode=as2&tag=llb-baby-20

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009PPBU2S/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009PPBU2S&linkCode=as2&tag=llb-baby-20

Dex:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005M4SKI8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005M4SKI8&linkCode=as2&tag=llb-baby-20

 

 

 

Spring Break: What’s HOT and what’s Not-The 2013 Top Spring Break Destinations

Playful Young Beach Couple by KayseyephotoThe end of another long winter is in sight for tens of thousands of college students across the nation and they have one thought on their minds (besides winter finals of course): spring break and the 2013 top spring break destinations! For many students and young adults, it has been a severe winter and a hard semester of classes. The upcoming spring break that many college students feel is their rite of passage, is beginning to spark conversations and frantic Web searches on campuses around the country, as students look for the number one place to be for this year’s spring break extravaganza.

The spring break vacation has evolved over the years to become one of the most profitable weeks of the year for the “chosen” resort communities. Many resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants realize the profits and potential for the future, and have welcomed massive waves of partying teens year after year, so that they strategically gain spring break notoriety, major profits, and a reputation as a desirable spring break destination. Depending on the college/university, most spring break vacation dates are strategically planned and announced well ahead of time, and they range from late February to early April.  For the most part, the 2013 top spring break destinations have stayed consistent over the past five years, according to several popular travel sites.

The number one vacation hot spot for spring breakers this year is projected to be Panama City Beach, Florida, again. To the returning student body, it is apparent why: reasonably priced beach accommodations and a community that caters to the spring breaker. The beach, with sugar white sand and majestic gulf waters, welcomes two million students annually. This beach has hosted many spring break parties for students across the U.S. Many events are planned for 2013 at world-class nightclubs like Club La vela and Spinnakers hosted by MTV. The hospitality services developed by the business community and the beautiful gulf beaches combine to create spring break events that are second to none. This makes it possible to keep the title of the “spring break capital of the world” year after year. The weather is great during spring with an average temperature of 75-78 degrees during March.

About To Jump by Surpasspro If you would prefer to follow the spring stampede of partying students that choose to bypass the “sunshine state” for other great destinations, it will more than likely lead you further south. Cancun, Mexico is traditionally known as a major port of spring break fun for students and is projected to be a 2013 top spring break destination again. Cancun is the spring break partying hotspot of the Yucatan Peninsula and has hosted many spring break events at famous nightclubs and restaurants like The Basic, Pat O’Brien’s, and Dady O’s, among many others. With clubs and beach bars that never close and a minimum drinking age of 18, Cancun is a natural college student magnet. The Mexican culture is vast and apparent with many events planned annually around the Mayan ruins that happen to correspond with many spring break dates for serious students. The average temperature during spring break months in Cancun is 78-80 degrees with a warm southern breeze.

Acapulco, Mexico in the years past was a major spring break contender and was ranked by students as number one year after year until interest turned to a more reasonably priced excursion in Cancun. With the national and global economy looking promising for the year ahead, it is expected that Acapulco will return to the list of top spring break destinations in the world. It is expected that the “pricier” upscale destinations like Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas, as well as Daytona and South Beach in Miami, Florida will see record numbers again, beginning this year especially. No matter what choice you make, you can usually find deals and packages offered by many of the resorts and hotels at all the hottest places to be. Regardless, the hard-working college students that will lead our nation one day will continue to flock to their favorite “hot spots” for spring break, in turn bringing major financial reward to the communities that strive to be one of the 2013 top spring break destinations.

 

 

Images available from StockFreeImages.

Spring Break Destinations for Adults: 2013

Family Walking on Beach by IcholakovAfter months of shoveling snow and wearing long underwear, people around the country are looking forward to the big thaw of spring and a break that isn’t focused on college mascots and underage drinking, but on enjoying time with family and a spring break vacation they will remember. A huge market awaits families wanting to experience the perfect spring break vacation without the partying students that are traditionally found at many of the well-known college hot spots. The best advice to avoid finding yourselves in the middle of a raging college party is to know the places to avoid during your family’s spring break vacation. College students are understandably drawn to the warmer climates and beach communities in places like Panama City Beach (Florida), Daytona Beach, Miami’s South Beach, and Cancun, to mention a few. Even though they are all great places to visit, they will undoubtedly be overrun with college students this spring.

The number one family destination for a spring break to remember is awarded to the southern city of Orlando, Florida according to several of the leading travel sites. Early Spanish explorers called Orlando “The city beautiful” and it is home to Walt Disney World, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, and Sea World Orlando, just to name a few of its attractions. The largest inland Florida city, Orlando attracts 15 million tourists annually, of which an estimated one third visit during spring break. The Universal Studios Orlando Mardi Gras celebration begins the second week of February and is a major attraction for the many spring break families that are wishing to experience Mardi Gras celebrations without the partying and burlesque type festivities that are often found in New Orleans. Other nearby Florida attractions are plentiful; it would take more than a week to see them all. Many of the area’s famous beaches are nearby as well, but if avoiding the college crowds is on your agenda, then the beach visit should wait until later in the summer. Planning ahead can give you the advantage of saving money while still giving your family the trip of a lifetime.

Vacation Fun by Sunshine_angelBut if your family is determined to get in the warm water this spring, think about some alternatives to the “party” beaches. Consider an unforgettable and magical spring break of a lifetime to the lost city of Atlantis. That’s right, Atlantis: an all-inclusive resort located on Paradise Island, minutes from Nassau, but far from the interest of the partying student body found at the popular spring break beach resorts at Bootie Bay and Freeport on the Grand Bahamas Island. Plan a trip to swim with the bottlenose dolphins or explore the underwater playground or activity arcade. You’ll find something for all ages and interests to learn and explore in Atlantis. It is a bit pricier than some choices, but many deals and specials are available to make it possible for your family to experience an unforgettable spring break in a magical setting.

If the winter hasn’t been cold and snowy enough for you, then hitting the slopes is still a possibility at some of the nation’s best ski resorts. Several ski resorts will remain open well into April, weather permitting. The slopes at Aspens Highland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado will remain open and many resorts at Lake Tahoe are scheduled to remain open through April 2013 as well. Many spring break packages are available for families and groups. Ski resorts in the eastern U.S. are expected to remain open throughout April 2013, weather permitting, as well. From the ski lodges at Maggie Valley, NC, to the natural base slopes at Winter Place, WV, lifts will be running and family specials will be plentiful throughout spring break.

Early spring is a unique time of year to plan a vacation for your family. The ski resorts are still producing snow and fun while the theme parks in Florida are warm, but not as hot and humid as later in the year. The travel packages are plentiful and cheaper than usual for spring break as well. No matter what you decide to do with your family, and no matter what their interests are, spending the time together is the best investment you will ever make.

 

 

Images available from StockFreeImages.

 

Aquaphor Products for Adults and Babies to Ward off Winter Skin

Aquaphor Advanced TherapyWhen the weather turns cold, I find myself battling dry skin with the best of them. My poor hands crack and become so sore, probably a result of washing the dishes every day and not applying enough moisturizer. This winter greeted me with especially bad dry skin, leaving my hands dull and even a bit whiter than usual, especially in the creases between fingers. Thankfully, with enough trial and error I have found a few products that really work for me and my dry winter skin!

My former colleague and friend first introduced me to Eucerin Calming Crème Daily Moisturizer, which I’ve loved ever since. This is your basic skin cream that really does seem to hydrate the skin for longer than average. When our daughter was born last year, our friends introduced us to Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy for babies, also from Eucerin. We’ve really enjoyed this product as it seems to have an almost-instant effect on tiny scratches and other irritations. A little bit really goes a long way, and the product smoothes on effortlessly, moisturizing and bringing the skin relief.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment can treat diaper rash, minor cuts, scrapes, burns, chapped or cracked skin and lips, chafed skin, and also protects from the winter’s harsh drying conditions. This baby healing ointment contains Petrolatum, mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, and bisabolol. A 3 oz. container will last you nearly an eternity unless you douse your entire baby in this special restoring cream.

Lip Repair + ProtectI received a generous shipment of two of these baby healing ointments from Aquaphor, along with baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo, and of course, two grown-up Aquaphor products for me to enjoy. I am thrilled to share that Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy (for adults) also offers great benefits to adult skin. As I mentioned, my hands become extremely dry this time of year. I have recently begun using the healing ointment to treat the dry patches and even a few cracked skin spots. The ointment instantly coats my skin and brings me relief from the dry winter conditions.

I find that I have a bit of a personal aversion to the texture of petrolatum-based products, so I actually follow up my application of the healing ointment with the previously mentioned Eucerin Calming Crème. It adds a nice dose of moisture to my entire hands while the rich and emollient Aquaphor Healing Ointment cares for my dry spots and cracked skin. In my experience with winter skin, I find that the rich, emollient products containing petrolatum, urea, and similar ingredients tend to have the biggest impact on healing and hydrating the skin. I know not everyone minds the waxy texture, so the product in and of itself is perfect! I honestly think I just like for my hands to soak up as much lotion as possible, so applying both really works well for me.

I can’t recommend this healing ointment enough, and if you need an everyday lotion, I highly recommend the Calming Crème as well. I bought mine at CVS, but you can get a bottle of these products at your favorite pharmacy, superstore, or online at Amazon and similar retailers.

I also received a tube of Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect and for me it is love at first application. This lip treatment goes on creamy and smooth, quickly protecting and repairing any cracks, chapped areas, and dry spots on your lips. I love how the feeling lasts, too. It isn’t like standard lip balm products where you have to reapply every five minutes to feel it is working. This lip treatment and repair cream offers immediate relief and I can only imagine it would be my go-to product for sunburned lips or windburn as well. This lip repair cream is designed for severely dry lips and it’s easy to see why, from your very first time using it.

While I don’t think there’s a real taste, it has a pleasant, neutral presence on the lips. Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect also contains broad spectrum SPF 30, to protect you whether you are at the beach or on the ski slopes. Make sure to apply it 15 minutes before sun exposure for best results, and also reapply every two hours or after swimming or perspiring. This lip treatment is fragrance free and designed for sensitive skin. I look forward to a winter (and spring, and summer, and fall…) of more comfortable, kissable lips, thanks to this rich and hydrating repair cream from Aquaphor.

If you liked these products, stay tuned for another review featuring Aquaphor’s baby shampoo!

 

How to Make Salt Dough Footprint Penguins

Baby handprint and footprint ornaments can be fantastic holiday gifts for those important family members. You can start with classic handprint ornament kits to become comfortable with the process, or dive right into the crafty handmade ornaments like Santa handprints and penguin footprints. Salt dough is easy to make and these ornaments can become a fun tradition for your son or daughter each holiday season.

Rather than recount the whole recipe, I am going to direct you to this excellent blog post on how to make Santa handprint ornaments. Here are the simplified steps to creating a penguin footprint ornament.

1. Make the salt dough first.

2. Roll out the dough and make an impression of your baby’s footprint.

3. Cut around the foot, leaving room for the hook or hanger as well as a place to write the year and your child’s name.

4. Consider carving details, like the beak, eyes, and a bowtie, with a toothpick.

5. Insert a paperclip into the top of the ornament. This will hold the hook.

6. Place on a cookie sheet.

7. Repeat as desired.

8. Bake as instructed.

9. Allow to cool.

10. Once fully cooled, paint as desired.

a. Suggested Paint Instructions:

b. Black footprint to form penguin, with heel as head

c. White oval belly

d. Orange triangle beak

e. Red or green bowtie

f. Silver background

11. Allow to dry.

12. Apply a coating of Modge Podge to seal the ornaments.

13. Use a snow writer or other paint pen to write the child’s name and the year.

14. Glue on wiggly eyes.

15. Tie a piece of red ribbon or cord onto the exposed paperclip.

16. Put into a gift box and offer to that special someone!

 

Remember to be very careful with these, as they can break very easily. These penguin footprint ornaments are a lovely gift for any grandparent, parent, aunt, or uncle. Enjoy!

 

National Margarita Day Recipes

La Pinta & Clase Azul Tequila

National Margarita Day is coming up on February 22nd; are you ready?! In case you aren’t an A-class mixologist, I’ve got you covered. Your friends will think you are top-notch with these recipes. (We can keep it a secret that you didn’t come up with them yourself.)

I received samples of La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila and Clase Azul Plata Tequila to create the two following easy to make, easy to impress margarita recipes. I’ve sampled La Pinta before and it was well received. For more recipes using La Pinta as well as other low-cal cocktail recipes, check out my article here.

This year National Margarita Day falls on a Friday-what a perfect way to celebrate the end up the week. While you’re TGIF’ing, make it an event to remember by enjoying festive snacks like mini quesadillas or chips and guacamole!

Clase Azul Plata Tequila

These margarita recipes are at perfect proportions. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced making a cocktail with so little things to add! There were no complicated items or steps and no one felt the need to add anything sugary to make it sweeter. Both drinks received many thumbs up from several different taste buds!

Clase Azul Plata Margarita

2 oz. Tequila Clase Azul Plata
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar
Shake and serve on the rocks, garnish with a lime slice.

This is the drink for lovers of tequila. It pack a strong, yet delicious punch. Clase Azul Plata Tequila comes in the most beautiful bottle. I’ve gotten just as many compliments on the bottle as the recipe received!


La Pinta Tequila


La Pintarita

2 oz. La Pinta 
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar

Shake and serve on the rocks, garnish with pomegranate seeds and lime wheel.

The sweeter of the two drinks, La Pintarita, offers a tart fruity drink. This was the clear party favorite. It even received the high acclaim of “This is my new favorite drink!”

These recipes call for the same ingredients, which makes the trip to the store super easy (as long as you search in the right places)! I found larger bottles of lime juice in the juice aisle (Imagine that!) and the agave nectar by the sugar in the baking aisle.

 

Tips and suggestions:

I suggest not skipping the “shake” step and to use a cocktail mixer in order to avoid the agave nectar sticking to the bottom of the glass.

  • If you want to switch things up a bit, use limeade if you don’t have lime juice on hand.
  • Although the pomegranate and the lime mainly serve as garnish, these fruits are great to keep on hand to snack on the seeds or to use slices for tequila shots.
  • Search online for where you can find these brands near you- they are well worth it!
Margarita Ingredients
Enjoy!

 

Extra Cheese- If You Please

Cheese tray Our long love affair with cheese in America dates back to the days of Christopher Columbus and the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Even though the pilgrims brought no cows initially, milk and cheese became important staples in the colonists’ diet. Goats and buffalo provided the milk and therefore, the cheese, until cows were shipped from England, sometime later. It is believed by historians that goat and buffalo cheese was presented to the Native Americans during the first Thanksgiving celebration. The actual creation of cheese is unknown but, credible historians believe its existence predates recorded history and its discovery was probably accidental.

Today, cheeses’ nutritional data and fat content are important factors to keep in mind when choosing the right cheese to purchase for your family. Cheese, as we know, is high in fat, sodium, and dreaded calories. But, the cheese nutritional value is believed to be more beneficial to the body when it is moderately consumed as part of a healthy diet, rather than removing cheese from your diet all together. Most cheese on the market today contains Zinc, Vitamins A and B12, Phosphorous, and Calcium in abundant concentrations, making it vital to a healthy diet. Currently, 54 countries produce 606 types of cheese with many different textures and colors presenting a wide variety of flavors. The pickiest palate can find a flavor as well as the nutrition that he or she needs to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cheese wheel Cheese has long been accused of playing a major role in the obesity epidemic in America. When reviewing the published nutritional facts for cheese, it is apparent that the high fat content, calories, and the amazing flavor of cheese, could easily lead us to over indulge on our favorite. But, not all cheeses are bad when trying to control your weight. If high fat content and calories are your concern, you can find several options that will treat you to an amazing cheese without the increased fat and calories. Many types of cheese are also offered in a low fat, low sodium variety. Cottage cheese is naturally the lowest in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, while cream cheese, among others, contains an amazingly high fat content. Knowing the difference can be important when trying to win the battle of the bulge.

Cheese, along with milk and yogurt, provides a unique combination of nutrients that, studies show, offers many health benefits; helping develop strong bones in the young and actually helping improve bone health for the aging population. Calcium fights the onset of osteoporosis and helps reduce high blood pressure when consumed in moderation.

Cheddar cheese is perhaps the most versatile and common cheese in the world. Created in England, its wide range of sharp, smooth flavor has helped cheddar become the most purchased and consumed cheese in the world. A little higher in calories and sodium but yet, its richness in vital nutrients makes this cheese beneficial to a healthy diet.

American cheese is actually a “processed” cheese made from a milk, milk fats, solids, and whey protein. It was initially made from a mixture of cheeses, more often than not Colby and Cheddar (which are American created cheeses as well). Since blended cheeses are no longer used in its production, American “cheese” is now pasteurized and classified a processed cheese food. Instead of the word “cheese”, it is now called “American slices” or “American singles”. Most companies that produce individually wrapped American cheese label the package with individual cheese slice nutrition statistics to clearly show the good and the bad cheese nutrition data compiled by the Office of food safety (FDA). Though criticized for its high fat content, it is still purchased and consumed in large quantities. It contains an abundant amount of our daily required vitamins, calcium, and protein, helping us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In the United States alone, we consume over 32 pounds of cheese per person annually, slightly increasing yearly. Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, Colby, and Provolone (in that order) remain the favorites and most purchased cheeses in the U.S. with an average personal consumption of 10 pounds of each per year. It’s obvious in America that we continue to say, “extra cheese please”.

 

Valentine’s Gifts to Daddy from his Little Girl

No bond comes close to the special relationship between a little girl and her daddy. Even from her earliest months before her first birthday, you can see the sparkle in her eyes as she looks at him or when he makes her laugh. Celebrate this special love by helping your daughter choose a Valentine’s gift for her daddy that he will cherish for years to come. Consider these Valentine’s gifts for dad from his daughter to make sure your entire family has a special time this February 14.

No matter what your budget, you can find or create lovely Valentine’s Day gifts for daddy, even at the last minute.

Valentine’s Gifts from Infant Daughter to Daddy
A little baby may not know how to gift her dad a gift this Valentine’s Day, aside from a sweet smile or a loving look, but you as mom can give her the help she needs to give dad a very special gift. Consider these Valentine’s Day gifts to dad from a baby daughter:

* Handmade Valentine – Get out the construction paper, lace, glue, paint, and glitter, and have fun. You can put your little daughter’s handprint or footprint on a paper heart and decorate it for your husband to mark your baby’s first Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to put the date and sign her name!

* Salt Dough Handprint or Footprint in a heart – Use a basic salt dough recipe and a large heart cookie cutter (or carve a heart with a dull knife). Gently press your baby’s handprint or footprint into the dough and use a toothpick or other small implement to add her name and the date. Bake as directed. Once cooled, paint however you like and seal with Modge Podge. Consider inserting a paper clip before baking if you would like to allow your heart to hang, or leave it as is for a paperweight style heart.

Valentine’s Gifts from Toddler or Young Daughter to Daddy

Toddlers and little ones get into everything! Take advantage of that and make her daddy’s Valentine’s Day a special one with some irreplaceable memories. Here are some gift ideas from a toddler girl to her daddy on Valentine’s Day:

* Handmade Valentine – Let your daughter make her own Valentine with any craft supplies you both so desire. Help her to cut and glue, but let her design everything the way she wants it. Help her to sign her name and take a picture of her holding it up, for a special bonus to the gift.

* Make a Video – Have your daughter do something cute or funny and make a video of it on your phone or Flip Video camera. You and her daddy both will love having this special footage years from now.

* Finger Paint Picture – Let your little daughter make her daddy a picture of her choosing using a fun craft supply like finger paint. Be sure to help her sign her name.

* Cookies – What dad doesn’t love cookies? Make some homemade chocolate chip cookies or other favorites with your daughter and help her wrap them up for Dad. You may have to do most of the work, but let her add the sprinkles or sugar sparkles on top so he can see right away that she helped.


When Being Prepared Counts: Advice from an EMT – Tips and Kits for Home and Away

Snow Covered Street The leaves are falling and the birds have flown south; natures’ subtle way of letting us know that another harsh winter is quickly approaching. Being prepared for the challenges of an unpredictable winter will help keep your family safe, secure, and warm. Making sure your home is safe and ready is a good place to begin winter preparations. Having adequate insulation in the attic of your home is essential; keeping the house warmer helps to not over work the heating system. A home heating system of any type can become dangerous when it is repeatedly overworked and especially as it becomes outdated. An average of 50,100 heating fires occur in homes in the United States each year, resulting in an average of approximately 150 deaths, 575 injuries, and $326 million in property loss. Being prepared can help keep your family safe; don’t become a statistic.

Fireplaces are especially dangerous if they haven’t been properly maintained. Proper service is essential and inexpensive. It is very important to allow sufficient air exchange when heating the house, especially if gas or fireplace heat is used. When gas/wood is burned, it creates many dangerous byproducts. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless gas byproduct that, if not vented properly, can be deadly to your family. CO poisoning is a serious medical emergency. If left undetected and untreated, it can cause coma and death. Protecting your family with a smoke detector is essential. There should be one outside each bedroom as well as inside each bedroom. If your heating system operates on open flame, it is essential to have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of the house.

The electrical power can go out at any time and leave you and your family in the cold and dark. Staying warm and safe can become a difficult task to accomplish during winter. It is a good idea to keep plenty of prepackaged emergency blankets and a survival kit specifically designed for winter. An emergency heat source can be essential; you can find LP/Propane portable heaters of several types and manufacturers.

A severe winter storm, as we all know, can be devastating, leaving your family stranded at home or even worse, stuck, scared, and alone in your car. Survival can depend on whatever preparations you have made to protect you and your family. Always be prepared, especially when the conditions outside are inhospitable to human survival. Keep enough food and water, dry clothes, and personal essentials on hand to be able to stay put for an extended period of time, perhaps a week. Keeping fresh food in your car or home when the power is out isn’t practical or safe. Protein bars, granola, freeze-dried survival food packages can be perfect alternatives. Keep one to two gallons of water for each person, survival emergency blankets, road flares, flashlights, and at least one dry change of clothes for everyone in the car.

You never know when an injury is going to take place, so keep a first aid kit close at hand. To help you find the right first aid kits, FreeFirstAid.com offers great deals from a wide variety of first aid suppliers, depending on your specific needs. It pays to be ready, and doesn’t your family deserve it? Preparation is the common sense approach that can make the difference in an emergency!

 

Article provided by A. Lawson, CCTRP- Emergency Services Paramedic

Top 10 Mommy Meals to Make in 10 Minutes or Less

Mommy meals in 10 minutes or lessAs a relatively new mom, I’ve come to realize that even the best intentions don’t get things done around my house all the time. Sometimes the laundry suffers, sometimes the dishes, sometimes everything around me looks like a tornado tore through my home. I’m sure I’m not alone on this. I can’t tell you how many times it gets to be 2, 3, or even 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I think those days occurred more frequently when my daughter was younger, but now that she’s crawling and sitting unsupported, I find it a little easier to make up a snappy lunchtime meal in 10 minutes or less.

In thinking about it, I realized other new moms, and moms of more than one child, might be able to benefit from some Quick Chef ideas. So, my friends, here you have it – my favorite 10 mommy meals to make in 10 minutes or less. Enjoy!

Leftovers – It probably goes without saying, but if you have a feeling you won’t have time to make yourself a decent lunch, just cook a little more for dinner a few times per week. You can have leftovers with just about anything you make, but my favorite leftover dishes are any kind of pasta bake like lasagna, baked ziti, macaroni and cheese, and other things like Stromboli, stir fry, or whatever your favorite meals are. My other favorite leftovers tip is when you are having meat, especially chicken, ham, or some kind of steak, get ready to use those leftovers in a nice mommy meal as outlined in my other favorites below…

Gourmet Salad – If you don’t mind the bagged variety, you can eat healthy and instantly. Save some leftover chicken, steak, ham, or even salmon or shrimp from the previous night’s dinner and top your salad off with a few strips of that yummy protein, sliced hard-boiled egg, shredded cheese, and some bacon bits (we keep a jar of real bacon bits in our fridge). I occasionally also top my salads with walnuts or pecans and dried cranberries or Craisins. Yum! Top with your favorite dressing. You can alternate between house salad, Caesar salad, and some variety of a chopped or wedge salad if you like. Plus, a few meals of salad each week should help you get back to your preferred weight, if you haven’t already.

Oatmeal – Oatmeal is one of the quickest meals you can make, especially if you pop it in the microwave. Add Craisins or other dried fruit, a little sugar or brown sugar, and I even throw in some mini chocolate chips from time to time. This fast mommy meal makes a great breakfast or brunch item, but I just had it for lunch a few days ago.

Omelet – I am not big on scrambled eggs, but I do like a nice turkey, bacon, and cheese omelet done MY way. I like to use those little egg and pancake molds that you can find in just about any cool kitchen store, or online at places like Amazon. (Added bonus—your kids will love pancakes shaped like hearts and flowers!) I simply add some leftover turkey or deli turkey / lunchmeat, some of the aforementioned bacon bits, and top with a slice of provolone cheese. You can make your omelet YOUR way as a great breakfast, brunch, or even lunch idea in just a few minutes.

Tuna Melt – Simple and yummy – top an English muffin or half of a plain bagel with your choice of tuna and a slice of your favorite cheese. (You can add shredded cheese instead if you prefer.) Pop it into the oven at about 350 for 7 or 8 minutes or so, or until desired doneness. As a special tip, you can do this if you have other foods on hand as well, like a chicken melt, turkey melt, ham and cheese melt, etc. Enjoy!

5 More Mommy Meals…

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