Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Have Your Cake, But Don't Eat It, Too!

I am dumbfounded... why is Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS), an inexpensive detergent and makes mixtures foam well, an ingredient in a cake? This chemical has been theorized to cause harm when used in HBA items like soap and shampoo. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet for SLS, it is "MODERATELY TOXIC BY INGESTION" and "if ingested: if conscious, induce vomiting".

Wegmans Ultimate White Cake with White Frosting:

38 oz.

Serves 8-10.

Sugar, Butter, Water, Enriched Bleached Flour (Bleached Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid), Egg Whites, Soybean Oil. Contains 2% or less of the following: Whole Milk, Palm Oil, Cornstarch, Emulsifiers (Propylene Glycol Mono and Diesters of Fatty Acids, Sorbitan Monostearate, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60), Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Dextrose, Modified Tapioca Starch, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Calcium Acetate, Soy Flour, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor.

ALLERGENS: Contains Eggs, Milk, Soy and Wheat. MAY CONTAIN Peanuts and Tree Nuts due to shared preparation area.

Store Refrigerated. Best Served at Room Temperature

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - Let's Work Towards Prevention

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for US children? This is not OK. So, this year, for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, let’s focus on prevention – starting with carcinogenic chemicals found in our everyday environments.

According to Healthy Child Healthy World, "a Report on Carcinogens released in June by the National Institutes of Health lists 240 substances as causing cancer. As this list of carcinogens grows, so do the rates of pediatric cancer, which is now the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children and has shown a nearly 29% increase in diagnosis over the past 30 years. And, while survival rates have also increased, the impacts of treatment create their own domino effect.

Treatments kill cancer cells, but they damage healthy cells as well, causing complications from heart problems and decreased IQ to reproductive problems and decreased lung function. While many of the same interventions such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are used to treat both children’s and adults’ cancers, children are more apt to suffer significant long-term impacts. In addition, according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, survivors of childhood cancer have a mortality rate more than ten times higher than the general population’s due to the long-term effects of treatment. (Read more about these studies and others in the Healthy Child Healthy World Perspective on Pediatric Cancer, which you can download here.)

Clearly, prevention is preferable.

And, on that note, the 2008-2009 annual President’s Cancer Panel Report, released in May 2010 acknowledged that “children are far more susceptible to damage from environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds than adults, and recommended that parents and child care providers choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines and medical tests that will minimize children’s exposure to toxics. Ideally, parents should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to a child’s conception and throughout pregnancy and early life, when risk of damage is greatest.”

Healthy Child Healthy World’s 5 Easy Steps include recommendations that address the concerns of these and other groups of scientists and pediatricians in regards to pediatric cancer. They include:

Avoid Pesticides: Use non-toxic or least toxic pest remedies such as soap water to kill ants and boiling water to kill weeds. Prevent pests through good sanitation. Remove shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in pesticides.

Use Non-Toxic Products: Read labels and ask questions about what chemicals are in the personal care and cleaning products, as well as furnishings, that you buy. Look for products made from natural, rather than synthetic, materials.

Clean Up Indoor Air: Use non-toxic products, utilize plants to filter indoor air, and open windows for a few minutes a day to ventilate rooms.

Eat Healthy: Choose to eat and prepare organic, whole foods rather than packaged foods whenever possible. Reduce meat intake and include more nuts, seeds, whole grains and produce.

Be Wise With Plastics: Reduce the use of plastics, especially with foods and beverages. For example, opt for filtered water in a stainless steel reusable water bottle rather than single-use, plastic bottled water and reusable glass storage containers over plastic. If you do buy plastic, chose safer plastics #2, 4 or 5."

Halloween Fun

Can you believe that it's almost October? We have a busy month so I've already thought ahead to Halloween. It is a favorite holiday for my daughter. She loves to pretend so I made sure to get her costume early so she could dress up as her favorite animal: a tiger! We try to keep a theme going each year while they are young so my daughter will be a tiger, my son is going to be a zebra, and daddy and I are going to be zookeepers (that's a pretty literal translation of most days here!). We chose to purchase from OneStepAhead.com since we got some super deals on the costumes and I've been very happy with their quality and customer service! The costumes are super cute, great quality, and will keep the kids warm on a chilly trick-or-treat night! And I love that the costumes include everything you need - in our case even tiger-paw and zebra-hoof gloves!

NOTE posted 9/29/11: OneStepAhead.com is offering $5 Flat Rate Shipping through 10/2/11(no code needed)!

Here's some great advice that I found on their site:

*Don't take for granted that costume size matches clothing size. (It varies widely by manufacturer.) Look at the company's weight and height details to pick your size.

*Plan for the weather. If you live in a cooler climate like we do, think about buying a larger size costume so you can layer clothing beneath it or choose a costume that covers more of body.

*Take your child's needs into consideration. If they don't like to wear hats, don't buy a costume that requires any type of mask, wig, or hat. If they don't like certain fabrics, stay away from costumes made from them. You want your child to be comfortable in order to have fun.

*Find out exactly what you're buying. Are the accessories included? What's the fabric content? Is it machine washable?

*If buying online or from a catalog, know the return policy; they vary.

*Last minute purchase? Be sure to check the shipping deadlines to avoid a Halloween nightmare!

*Better yet, order early. No one knows what costumes will be the hot sellers any given year, and once they're gone, they're gone. So when you spot that perfect costume, order it. Once it arrives, inspect it, have your child try it on, and then tuck it away for the big day. Now you're ready!

In addition, don't forget about safety!

*According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of accidental injuries on Halloween. Shorten overly-long skirts, capes, tails, and anything else that trails on the ground and choose safe, sturdy shoes. Forgo high heels or grown-up shoes. They may look terrific, but they're tripping hazards (and uncomfortable, too!)

*Make sure your little goblin is highly visible, especially if trick-or-treating at dusk. Fix reflective striping to his costume or treat bag, or make sure he's carrying a flashlight or light stick. (Using a flashlight? Don't forget to check those batteries!)

*Beware of masks that limit visibility. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure it offers good ventilation and that the peepholes line up with your child's eyes.
Face paint is a great alternative to masks, provided it's gentle and child-safe. Choose non-toxic, lab-tested makeup that meets all federal standards for cosmetics.

And when Halloween is over, don't toss the costume - use it for dress up and roll play! Roll-play encourages learning and "engages emotion, cognition, language, and sensory motor skills, scientists theorize it actually creates synaptic connections between parts of the brain. And the more synapses, the greater a child's intelligence!"

If it is time to get rid of your costumes, consider being "green" and participating in a costume swap. National Costume Swap day is October 8th. See if your area is hosting a swap. Get details at GreenHalloween.org. Swap.com is also a great resource for Costume Swap Day so check them out, too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time for Good Hygiene - The LED Wash & Brush Timer

Recent research has found that washing your hands with normal soap and water is the safest choice for preventing colds and flu but sometimes children race through hand washing without really washing properly. The same problem can occur with tooth brushing... even for adults (did you see how shocked the women where on "The Bachelor Pad" when Blake, a dentist, actually brushed for 2 minutes?). I found a great solution to the "race to wash and brush" problem - The LED "Wash & Brush" Timer available at OneStepAhead.com.

This is especially useful for young children, children with sensory processing disorder, or those on the autism spectrum. These children often do not enjoy hand-washing and tooth brushing. It may not be comfortable for them and the time it takes to finish the task may feel like an eternity. Visual timers, like the Time Timer, work great for these children but you don't always want to carry around a big timer. The LED "Wash & Brush" Timer is the perfect solution since it's small and compact and children can use it themselves.

This timer is super easy to use, even for a toddler. The child simply pushes either the "wash" button, which has a picture of a hand, or the "brush" button, which has a picture of a tooth. The light beneath will turn green and begin to blink. The speed of the green flashing light gets faster, helping to indicate the child's progress and reassuring the impatient child that the end is in sight. When the light turns red it's time to stop.

The LED "Wash & Brush" Timer is a well-thought-out product. The green and red light are easy for kids to understand. It makes the task almost like a game and leaves your child feeling empowered! The product also comes with a mounting racket and two different ways to mount it - suction cup or velcro. This is a smart design as it allows the unit to easily be used in various locations - mount it in the bathroom that's regularly used, but take it to another location, on vacation, etc. The only downside I found was that it requires three AAA batteries which are not included (we never have batteries when I need them!), but that's really a minor inconvenience. At less than ten dollars, I think it's well worth the money and saves me from arguing with my children while ensuring their good hygiene.


This product was provided free of charge. These are my honest opinions on the product. I do not post reviews on products I can not stand behind. Please see my Terms of Use for more info.