Thursday, October 29, 2009
Here is a terrific article that offers 10 Safe and Fun Halloween Activities for the whole family. As a mom of 5 kids I have always looked for simple ways to make Halloween fun and not just a 'Sugar-loaded Holiday'.
Too Cute To Spook: 10 Not So Scary Halloween Activities
by Dr. Caron B Goode, NCC
For many young children, this Halloween will be the first time they see a tombstone on a lawn, a skeleton hanging from a tree, and people they are familiar with, appearing to be someone they are not.
Young children have a difficult time distinguishing between what’s real and what’s not. In fact, until children reach the age of 5, the boundaries between reality and fantasy often remain blurred. They may believe the ghosts and ghouls are going to “get them” or that the walking mummy wondering around the neighborhood is “real.” It’s this reason that some children, especially sensitive ones, may find October 31 to be scarier than it is fun.
If you’re a parent of a child pre-school aged child or younger, consider shifting to a not so scary celebration this Halloween. From less spooky costumes to kid friendly arts and crafts, the little ones can have Halloween fun, without the fright.
Try incorporating some of these 10 Not So Scary Halloween activities into your holiday celebration. They’re guaranteed to rate high on fun and low on fright.
1. Donuts on a String. Hang small, powdered donuts from a piece of heavy string. Fasten each strung donut to a long line of string. Have an adult hold each end of the line level with the children’s mouths. Encourage the children to try to eat the donut using no hands. Older children may enjoy this activity while wearing a blindfold. If children become frustrated, the donut can be moved to a plate to make eating it hands free easier.
2. Pin the nose on the pumpkin. Create a large pumpkin from orange poster board. Add the eyes and mouth using a black marker. Cut out triangles from black poster board, place double sided tape on the back and hand them out to the children. Let each child have a turn sticking the nose on the pumpkin. While younger children may simply enjoy adding the missing piece to the pumpkins face, older children may enjoy this activity while wearing a blindfold.
3. Decorate Halloween cookies. Bake sugar cookies in the shape of pumpkins. Provide frosting and sprinkles for the children to decorate their own cookie. This is a fun project that doubles as a festive treat. Children can decorate additional cookies, place them in a cellophane bag, tie them closed with ribbon and give them out as special gifts to family and friends.
4. Visit a farm. Consider incorporating the fall harvest theme into your not so scary celebration. Many farms have pumpkin patches for children to select their own pumpkins. Some even have petting zoos, hay rides, train rides and more. The natural and often colorful scenery at most farms makes the perfect backdrop for fall family photos.
5. Decorate pumpkins. While younger children may be too young to carve a pumpkin, they can certainly color, paint and add embellishments like stickers and sparkles. Yarn can be glued on for hair and felt can be used to create hats or other accessories.
6. Host a not so scary Halloween party. Incorporate games like Duck, Duck Pumpkin, read age appropriate Halloween themed books and decorate and snack on pumpkin shaped sugar cookies. Make costumes optional.
7. Hide the pumpkins. Cut out small pumpkins from orange poster board and decorate with black marker. Hide the pumpkins outdoors. Give each child a small bucket to collect all the pumpkins she can find. Give each child a turn at hiding the pumpkins.
8. Attend an alternate Halloween event. Many churches and community centers host free harvest celebrations geared towards the families in their communities. They often have games, activities, food and candy for kids of all ages to enjoy.
9. Organize a neighborhood trunk or treat. Create a theme and invite people you know to decorate their car trunks. Invite everyone over at a set time to park their cars in your driveway. Have the children go from trunk to trunk to collect individually wrapped candy. This allows you to have control over who your child collects candy from and what type of Halloween décor your child is exposed to. Another creative spin on this is to have family members decorate their bedroom doors and hand out candy to each other.
10. Create your own costumes. With a little non-toxic face paint, a bin of dress up clothes and a lot of creativity, you children can create a costume that perfectly suits their personality and level of spookiness they’re comfortable with. Have a parade and award prizes for different costumes. You can give prizes for the most colorful costume, the costume with the most sparkle and more to be sure that all children are recognized for the hard work they put into their costume selection and design.
With some careful thought, a little creativity and advance planning, you can create an age-appropriate Halloween celebration that your child can truly enjoy.
Dr. Caron Goode is a well-respected leader in the parent coaching industry as the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents International (www.academyforcoachingparents.com) that trains students in the empowerment model of parent coaching, Dr. Goode has shared her holistic approach to achieving parenting success and managing family relationships in magazines, newspapers and radio. Her most recent books include The Art and Science of Coaching Parents and award-winning Raising Intuitive Children. (http://www.raisingintuitivechildren.com/ )
Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen
Healthy Environments, Inc.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Energy Drinks--- Good or Bad?
You pop open your favorite Energy drink and pound it down. A few minutes later you are 10 feet tall and bulletproof and on top of the world, you feel invincible. An hour later you feel overwhelmed and depressed, your officemates stepping over your now crashed and energy depleted body. You drag yourself to the nearest Energy drink and the vicious cycle starts all over again. How did this happen? Where did it all start?
The soft drink market is a 56 BILLION dollar a year industry. A rising part of this industry falls under the category of Energy drinks. Some of the largest beverage manufactures in the world are scrambling to get a piece of this Energy drink market. Companies such as Anheuser-Busch Co., PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co. and Hansen Natural Corp. are just a few of the big name companies cashing in on the Energy drink phenomenon.
Red Bull, an Austrian company that introduced its trademark brand to Europe in 1987, created the energy drink category. That year, the company sold 1 million cans. The brand came to the United States in 1997, and last year Red Bull sold 1 billion cans worldwide. Red Bull continues to dominate with 51.4% of the market.
In 2002 Energy drink sales totaled nearly 300 million dollars, nearly double from 2000. In 2005 the Energy drink market reported 3 BILLION dollars in sales. However, all these profits come with a price…your health.
Most Energy drinks contain these 4 main ingredients: caffeine, taurine, sugar and guarana. (some energy drinks are now sugar free but be wary of what they substitute the sugar with. Aspartame is linked to many health issues).
All of these ingredients are stimulants, which squeeze or stimulate our adrenal glands to produce additional adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol, which are stress hormones that give us that boost of energy. Unfortunately this continual squeeze on our adrenals can eventually exhaust and burn them out. The continual over-stimulation of our adrenal glands leads to adrenal fatigue and exhaustion. This is becoming a common and underlying cause for many of the health challenges we face today.
Our adrenal glands play a critical role in our survival. Yes they make our stress hormone cortisol, which is catching a lot of attention because of their association with weight loss. But they are also intimately involved in stabilizing our blood sugar. Insulin Resistance and diabetes is increasing. Many of these problems are attributable to over-stimulation of our adrenal glands, which leads to adrenal burnout.
The adrenals also make our sex hormones. This is critical for both women and men, because if the body is constantly having to make stress hormones, it will have to steal progesterone, which in turn effects the balance of estrogen and testosterone. Is there any wonder why so many people are suffering from hot flashes, PMS, loss of libido and depression?
IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE TO THESE UNHEALTHFUL ENERGY DRINKS?
The answer is: YES!
Water...or better yet, Kangen Water…. http://www.thewetterwater.com – the truly amazing ionized alkaline WATER that hydrates to the cellular level.
It's time to say NO to Energy Drinks that are slowly destroying health. Take a stand today against Junk Drinks.
Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen
After Reading this, you will NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel better.
Forget the pills -- eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex, England ) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system...
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work?
Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.
The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Potassium is a vital mineral which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
According to research in 'The New England Journal of Medicine,' eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death from strokes by as much as 40%!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!'
If your roses are covered with Aphids, drape banana skins over the branches, it’s amazing, but in a day or less, they are GONE!
I've tried it, and I couldn't believe it, no more aphids, as long as I save my banana skins for the rose bushes!
Impressed? Well then, PASS IT ON TO YOUR FRIENDS!
Unzip a BANANA today!
The Allergy Queen
Healthy Environments, Inc.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
By Melissa Breyer
It’s easy to want to involve our pets in all of the action and excitement of our lives; but it’s not always so great for our pets. Consider Halloween. Consider it from a pet’s perspective, to be specific–the doorbell ringing over and over, a parade of yelling sugar-fueled “creatures” behind the door, chocolate to find, decorations to get tangled up in, and how about the dreaded pet costume?! (I know some pets don’t mind costumes, but I just keep thinking of my daughters’ dog Winkie and his look of misery when the doggie witch costume first appeared.) It’s important to keep your pets safe this Halloween by thinking around the holiday excitement, and being aware of the little catastrophes lurking in the evening. Here’s a round-up of tips from animal protection groups compiled by consumeraffairs.org:
>Don’t give Halloween candy to dogs and cats. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets. Candies that have the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs–even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and lead to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion can include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and increased thirst, urination and heart rate, and even seizures.
>Avoid putting costumes on pets. Many dogs and cats don’t like costumes, and some can confine or restrict their movements. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume doesn’t impair their movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe or bark. Also check the costume for any choking hazards. A safer alternative is a simple Halloween bandanna.
>Keep pets inside and away from the front door and trick-or-treaters. “Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home, said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Pet Adoption Center in Manhattan. “Be sure that your pet has identification tags should he or she accidentally get loose.” And remember cats–especially black ones–often fall victim to pranksters.
>Keep candy wrappers away from pets. Cats love to play with candy wrappers, animal experts say–and many cats love to eat strange things. But if cats ingest aluminum foil or cellophane it can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.
>Keep Halloween decorations away from pets. Dogs and cats can easily knock over a jack-o’-lanterns and start a fire. And curious kittens are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Keep dangling decorations in high places to avoid choking hazards. Wires and cords from holiday decorations also pose a danger to pets. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic or give them a potentially lethal electrical shock.
>Use fake cobwebs sparingly on trees and bushes. They can pose a risk to pets and small birds can easily become entangled in the webbing.
10 Tips for Fall Cleaning a Healthy Home
By Annie B. Bond
It’s that time again–windows close with a thump, the furnace clicks on, and next thing you know, you’re living in a hotbed of pollution that could rival the smog in L.A.
Here are 10 easy, simple things you can do to keep the air quality pure and safe in your house this autumn.
1. Empty your refrigerator tray. It can start looking pretty swampy in there, and the ‘fridge fan blows that moldy yucky air right into your home.
2. Dust your heaters. When the heat comes on, it isn’t good to smell fried dust.
3. Check for foreign objects in your heating elements. Anyone with small children knows that plastic objects can find their way into the heating units and next thing you know, everyone is sniffing and wondering, “Why does it smell like burning plastic in here?” Toxic!
4. Clean your oil burner. A dirty furnace doesn’t function as well and can emit more harmful carbon monoxide and other undesirable compounds.
5. Clean chimneys. Prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide buildup in your home.
6. Devise a compost system. When the windows stay closed, molds in the air from fermenting compost can become a problem. Be sure to empty your kitchen compost every day.
7. Be alert to outgassing. New products and activities like painting will have more of an effect on your indoor air quality now that the windows are closed. You may want to air new carpets or upholstered furniture before putting them in your house. If you’re painting, be sure to provide plenty of ventilation, and choose non-toxic paints.
8. Steam-clean your carpets. Get rid of dust, dust-mites and other noxious things so you won’t be inhaling them with every step you take.
9. Choose your candles wisely. Petroleum-based and lead-wick candles contribute significantly to dangerous levels of indoor air pollution. Buy (or make) candles made from beeswax, soy, or vegetable oils, lead-free wicks, and pure essential-oil fragrances.
10. NO kerosene space heaters, ever! They are lethal. If you need extra heat in a room, consider one of the free-standing electric heaters filled with oil that radiate clean heat.
Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Hopefully if you’re at this site and reading this you are well aware of the alternatives to using disposable bottles and recycle the ones you do. The advent of bottled water sent our already wasteful consumer culture into pollution overdrive and it’s a tremendous task to put the brakes on the momentum of this waste. Here is a list of plastic bottle fun facts that put the magnitude of this pollution into scope.
* Plastic bottles take 700 years to begin composting
* 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself
* 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled
* 38 million plastic bottles go to the dump per year in America from bottled water (not including soda)
* 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles
* The average American consumes 167 bottles of water a year
* Bottling and shipping water is the least energy efficient method ever used to supply water
* Bottled water is the second most popular beverage in the United States
Although it can be easy and convenient to pick up bottle beverage products the end cost to the environment is staggering. So be mindful when you drink…and remember, friends don’t let friends drink from disposables!
Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen