Archive for October, 2010

Organize your beauty supplies, and do some good

Where do you keep your beauty products? Is it in a vanity? In the medicine cabinet? All over the bathroom? Chances are you have many products that you don’t use. Some of them may have been “on sale” purchases. You might have have received samples in the mail, or there’s items so far to the back of the cupboard you didn’t even know they were there.

Want an easy trick to keep it all under control? DONATE IT! Many Women’s Shelters are happy to receive your unwanted beauty products. Whether it be shampoo packets, lipstick testers, or disposable razors. As long as these products are still sealed, they are still useful.

The best way to tackle this task is to:

- take everything out of the cupboard (or off the tub, counter etc).

- wipe it down (chances are there is some sort of baby wipe, makeup remover wipe etc close at hand to make the job quick & easy)

 - sort the items into I NEED THIS and SOMEONE ELSE COULD REALLY USE THIS MORE

- put back the I NEED THIS ITEMS in a way that you can see all of it

- make sure to donate the SOMEONE ELSE COULD USE THIS MORE asap! Otherwise it will end up get shoved into another cupboard

 Feel great about what you accomplished and how much it helped others Not only will this keep your bathroom more organized, it will save you time when you’re getting ready (no search party for the tweezers required). Way to stay ON TRACK Everyone!

__________

Lisa

On Track Thursdays

Better Hand Sanitizers

It is that time of year again…the time of year when we must be extra diligent in keeping our hands clean in order to avoid the dreaded cold and flu. In my opinion, good old fashion soap and water is the best choice, but in case you are out and cannot wash your hands properly, there are some great natural products on the market that will keep those germs off your hands.

CleanWell

CleanWell Hand Sanitizers are my personal favourite. I always carry one on me when out. Each spray is proven to kill 99.99% of germs. CleanWell is made from natural essential oils and a patented formulation of naturally antimicrobial plant oils including oregano and thyme.  CleanWell is 100% biodegradable.

Clean George

Clean George Hand Sanitizers are made from great natural and moisturizing ingredients such as tea tree and manuka oils, which are known to be a natural antibacterial. All ingredients are organic.

EO Hand Sanitizer

EO Hand Sanitizers come in gel form, much like the alcohol-based sanitizers you are used to, but this formulation contains all natural and organic ingredients and will also keep your hands nice and soft.

You will notice that I did not mention any of the alcohol-based sanitizers out there. If you do not have access to one of the natural sanitizers I mentioned above and you need to get your hands clean, than by all means use it. Although they are not the best choice, they will get the job done. What is the problem with alcohol based cleaners? Here are a few points to consider:

  • If used on very young children, there is the risk that they will put their hands in their mouths. There have been a few cases where children have gotten very sick from doing this
  • If used a lot, they can dry your hands out and may not be the best choice for sensitive skin
  • Some contain triclosan
  • They are not eco-friendly/biodegradable

Image Sources: Nayla Natural Care website, Trees and Tots website, EO website.

Book Review: Easy to Read Wonder Tales

Can you feel it, that chill in the air? Yes it’s fall and the weather is getting colder but I’m referring to that eeriness that comes with the approach of Halloween. Leaves blow across the ground and once friendly neighbourhood houses have transformed into spooky dens. Last time I talked about Scary Science but how about some scary stories?

Veronika Martenova Charles has come out with Easy-To-Read Wonder Tales, 5 Easy-to-Read Scary Stories illustrated by David Parkins and published by Tundra Books  (age 5-8).

The books are designed with larger type using short, easy phrases and include a black and while illustration on almost every page. These books are designed as fun reads for early readers, helping to give them a sense of accomplishment.

We read It’s Not About the Crumbs, which is based on the familiar story of Hansel and Gretel. Each story consists of the three friends Jake, Lily and Ben. In It’s Not About the Hunter the kids are in an unfamiliar neighbourhood so they leave a trail of popcorn to help them find their way back. After Jake shares the Hansel and Gretel story, Lily shares a similar story, Africa’s version in Zahra and Binti , followed by Ben, Japan’s version in The Ogre.

The book is broken into chapters so your child can read at his or her own pace, the whole book or just a chapter. We read the whole book since my kids wanted to hear all the scary stories. The black and white illustrations break up the text and also add to the scariness with illustrations of the ogre and other scary creatures. These stories really interested my son who is a bit of a reluctant reader. When you’re just starting out reading can be hard so having a book that doesn’t seem like a chore to read is great, according to my son.

The other books in this series are It’s Not About the Pumpkin (the Cinderella story), It’s Not About the Hunter (the Little Red Riding Hood story), It’s Not About the Apple (the Snow While story), and It’s Not About the Rose (the Beauty and the Beast Story).

I have to thank Sylvia at Tundra Books for my review copies.

Easy-To-Read Wonder Tales

Written by Veronika Martenova Charles, illustrated by David Parkins

Age 5-8

Published by Tundra Books

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

You, Yoga and Baby

Amanda brings you a yoga video that you can do with your baby.  What a great way to bond together!

Soups and Sodium

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to the crisp fall-almost-winter weather.  I bundle up and we eat soup about 3 times a week for dinner with a side of some sort.  I love soup, and I make my own homemade soups (thanks to my sister-in-law that taught me how!) at home to take with me to work.

Why do I make my own soups?  Because I can control what goes in them whereas I can’t when I’m buying soup at a restaurant or on the run somewhere. 

Most restaurants have a “Soup du Jour” and in most cases a French Onion Soup (which is absolutely delicious).  However, those soups are made at suppliers, and in a huge quantity to be frozen and shipped to their stores.  (Unless you eat at a small diner that makes their own all the time)  These soups contain preservatives, and “fresh at the time” ingredients, followed by the ever so popular flavorable sodium.

A bowl of soup at your favourite restaurant?  Smaller calories, sure, if it’s a broth based soup.  But sodium wise?  That one bowl of soup could contain upwards of 800 grams of sodium, depending on the type of soup, its base and its ingredients.  That’s about your daily intake.

Ever wonder why you felt bloated after leaving the restaurant after just having soup and a piece of bread? 

Do yourself a favor.  If you’re craving a bowl of soup, use my simple at home recipe and take it on the go with you instead!

Leslie’s Soup du Jour

1 carton reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 can of PC diced tomatoes (I use Blue Menu, no salt added)

½ can of PC tomato paste

1 cup shredded carrots

½ cup shredded cabbage

½ cup black beans (fibre!!!)

½ cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

Mixed all ingredients together, and add a dash of Italian seasoning while it simmers.  Let the soup simmer for 20  minutes.  Portion out for lunches all week long.  Now that’s smart soup on the go!

Leslie

A Green Halloween

Have an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner! Oh where does the time go? But since we still have a little bit time to plan before the day arrives, here are some tips on making your Halloween a little bit more eco-friendly.

Halloween Costume

Just before back to school gear has been cleared from store shelves, racks of Halloween costumes are brought out. But do we really need to buy a new costume for our children each year? Absolutely not! There are ways to save and to recycle. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use hand me downs

I have 2 kids. Each Halloween my little one has always worn a costume belonging to her older sibling from a previous year. The little one has no objections at this point so this idea has been going great for us. We will see how long this lasts ;)

  • Put together a costume

You can put together really fun and creative costumes using things that are just lying around your home. Here are some ideas.

  • Create a costume exchange with other parents

Honestly, I did not think of this one until I saw it over on the Kids in the Capital blog. Check out their great post. Eco-friendly, cheap, easy and it takes barely any time.

Face Paints/Makeup

There are many face paints on the market and if this is the route you decide to go, be sure that you purchase a paint that is non-toxic and heavy metal free. The Environmental Working Group put out a report on the dangers of unsafe Halloween face paints. It is quite lengthy, but if you are interested, you can view the .pdf file by clicking here.

Some safe paint/makeup on the market are:

  • Lyra face/body Paint or Lyra Face painting pencils – These products are non-toxic, free of parabens, lead free and are washed off easily using just soap and water
  • Piggy Paint is the nail polish of choice in our home. They are water based and non-toxic. They have no offensive or strong odours like traditional nail polishes do. They are free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, Bisphenol A, ethyl acetate and acetone AND they offer this cool Halloween themed set called “Ghouls Just Wanna to Have Fun”.

 

Happy Halloween! Have fun and be safe!

Image Source: Piggy Paint website: www.piggypaint.com

By Gwen

Book Review: Scary Science: 25 Creepy Experiments

Now that October is officially here my kids are already talking ghosts and goblins. Forget Thanksgiving, in our house Halloween is the holiday focus in October. There are a lot of great Halloween themed stories to read but to really get your kids into the spirit how about a book that gets their hands a little dirty and slimy.

My kids love experimenting, whether it’s in the kitchen or the bathroom or backyard; they love discovering how things work and observing reactions. Couple their inherent curiosity with that of a haunted house or mad scientists lab and you have Scary Science. Scholastic‘s Scary Science [http://www.scholastic.ca/titles/scaryscience/] (age 7-12) by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone and illustrated by Ashley Spires covers some 25 creepy yet fun kid-friendly science experiments you can do right at home. Using basic household items, your kids can create secret messages only to be revealed in blood (or grape juice), stretchy spider webs, exploding stomachs, goblin lamps, ghost food and more.

The steps are very clear and easy to understand; my 8-year old took the lead with most of them only asking for clarification in one or two areas. Even my 3-year old, who helped by adding an ingredient here and stirring there, loved to watch the whole process. Performing the experiment and seeing the result is great fun but for those inquisitive kids who want to know why, there’s a handy paragraph to help explain for each result. My 6-year old son also really enjoyed the ‘Strange But True’ content. This box provided a stranger than fiction fact related to the experiment. Some are pretty gross, like the bar that serves a drink, the Sourtoe, containing a pickled severed toe, but my kids loved it (the story, not the drink).

Although the book contains kid-friendly experiments, like all experiments adult supervision is required. Scary Science can take your child’s love of Halloween to a new learning level.

I have to thank Nikole at Scholastic Canada for my review copy.

Scary Science: 25 Creepy Experiments

(age 7-12)

By Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone, illustrated by Ashley Spires

Scholastic Canada

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

A Calendar to keep you organized

Just when you think the September Back to School Chaos has subsided, October’s Extra Curricular Activities come rolling in.  Soon you will be finding yourself at hockey arenas, dance lessons, art classes etc.  What’s the best way to keep it all running smoothly? Google it!

On the home page of Google**, move your cursor near the top and other options become available. Pick the “More” option & then pick Calendar from the drop down menu.

A new screen will pop up and you are able to pick the view that works best for you (near the top right, I prefer the Month view). Now you can start plugging in your events. From there you can add others to the calendar (spouse, kids, pals, work etc) and assign them their own colour for their activities.  This keeps it organized & legible.  The calendar is also printable so it can be placed in the HUB areas of the house (usually the kitchen on the fridge, but perhaps posted to the TV set might make it more visible).  It also can be accessed on the go just by logging in to your Google account.

An easy step by step setup guide is available here
http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=97699
The only draw back is you can now see why you are always busy!

**You will need a Google or Gmail account

Lisa, On Track Thursdays


 

Candace also blogs for
the Yummy Mummy Club!