Casper Mattress Review

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that we bought (with our own money, full disclosure) a king-sized Casper Mattress for our 10th wedding anniversary in April.

The Casper mattress is constructed of four types of foam in separate layers to provide support, breathability, and to keep you cool. Each mattress with a 100 night trial period, a 10 year warranty, and free returns within 100 days of when you receive your shipment.

We just passed our 100 days (today is 108 to be exact), and we are still in love with it! It’s the hottest part of the summer right now, and I don’t feel like it holds body heat (a common complaint about foam mattresses) more than our old spring mattress.

It’s firmer than our previous mattress, but super comfortable. The best part is, unlike a traditional mattress, I don’t feel a lot of movement if someone else is in the bed. My husband and I both used to wake up with neck and back pain, and that’s very rarely an issue now.

In fact, we are so happy with it, we bought (again, with our own money lol) a full-sized Casper for our 5 year old son, and he loves it, too!

So, if you’re in the market for a new mattress, give the Casper a try. With the 100 day trial period, you don’t really have anything to lose!

{This post is not sponsored by Casper Mattress or Amazon. It does contain affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

How to Keep Up a Healthy Lifestyle alongside Work

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

I imagine being a health journalist in America is actually a frustrating job. I mean it has to be, because it seems you’re constantly reading and writing about how unhealthy your country is. Just look at these numbers, and you be the judge:

If you’re a person who constantly writes about these problems, what can you do? You can give some advice that will hopefully help at least a couple of people with their health.

However, before we start talking about the solution, we first have to get to the root of the problem. Just why so many people in the United States are unhealthy? The answer probably won’t surprise you…

Maintaining a Good Work-Life Balance

In today’s day and age, people are mostly concentrated on their work, which in itself isn’t exactly a bad thing. But when you take a look and see just how many people are putting their work before their health and home life, you realize that constant work can hurt relationships, happiness and even health.

The problem is – modern technology has made workers accessible around the clock and fears of job loss have incentivized longer working hours. According to a recent Harvard Business School survey, almost 95% of employees today works more than 50 hours per week and 50% of them work 65 hours weekly.

But even if you feel like you’re too busy to concentrate on anything outside work, you need to make time for some of the most important things in your life, including health.

How to Balance Out Your Life

  • Sleep needs to be Your Number One Priority

If you ask any doctor out there, he will tell you that an average person needs anywhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to function properly. If you don’t have enough sleep, you’ll be unproductive, unfocused and your body will start storing fat and breaking down your muscle tissue.

In order to have high-quality sleep every night, you need to start using a smart alarm clock, or an alar app. You see, when we’re sleeping, our bodies naturally cycle between phases of light and heavy sleep. So if we’re awaken from the heaviest phase of sleep, we’ll feel terribly for the remainder of the day.

So one option to ensure that you’re not awaken from your deepest sleep, you should either purchase a light-based alarm that uses a gradually brightening light to slowly wake you up or download an app such as SleepCycle that senses when you’re moving during sleep and estimates when you enter light sleep.

 

  • Simplify Your Diet and Set Clear Rules

First off, you need to stop drinking sugary drinks like juices, sodas and alcoholic beverages. Moreover, it would be wise to stop adding sugar to your coffee and start drinking straight, black coffee. And while this may seem like hard work, it is worth it, because not only you’ll get in shape more easily, but you’ll save a lot of money in the process – Starbucks isn’t cheap after all.

You also need to ensure that you eat five to six small meals throughout the day instead of two to three large ones. Include vegetables with every meal and eat as much as you can to limit your calorie intake and get vitamins and minerals your body needs at the same time.

And you don’t have an excuse for eating junk food even if you’re on vacation. Thanks to the Internet, you can easily skip fast food chains and airport restaurants, by ordering a long-lasting food kit, which can last you for the duration of your trip.

 

  • Start Following a Time-Saving Exercise Plan

We’ve come to the hardest part of staying healthy – exercising. You know you need exercise and in order to ensure that a workout session fits your schedule, you need to make them short and intense, and schedule them for times when they are easy to do.

Ideally, you should hit the gym, because there you’ll have a distraction-free environment where you’ll be able to focus on your workout completely. Plus, every modern gym is filled with expensive equipment you usually don’t have access to. And average gym workout should last around 30 minutes and you should do them at least three times every week.

But if you don’t have enough time for a gym, you can simply workout at home. And you don’t even have to waste a ton of money for equipment – you can just buy an adjustable dumbbell and workout for 15 minutes every day. While this won’t build you too much muscle, it will still make your body burn excess fat and keep your cardiovascular system as healthy as possible.

 

Final Thoughts

Exercise is one of the most crucial human needs, unfortunately, in most cases, it is the first things that goes when our schedule starts filling up. But you have to make a conscious effort to exercise at least 150 minutes every week.

Once you start exercising on a daily basis, you’ll not only feeling healthier, but you’ll also feel more relaxed and satisfied. A quick workout will give you an endorphin rush, which will lift your mood. According to Mayo Clinic, it can even serve a 1-2 punch by also putting you in a meditative state.

The bottom line is, you have to work hard to achieve a good work-life balance if you want to remain healthy enough to advance your career. So make sure that your daily schedule includes a couple of minutes of exercise every day, be careful about your diet and enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

So what do you think about our tips? Do you think we left out something important? Do you have any health tips of your own? If you do, make sure to leave a comment in the comment section below and share your thoughts with the rest of us.

By Norman Harris

Healthy living and well-being have always been Harris’s main occupation. He’s a certified fitness instructor and in the last ten years, he’s taken up hiking and trekking as a way of staying in shape and keeping his inner peace. He shares his experiences and advice on as one of its revered writers.

December Baby – 19 months

Dear sweet boy –

Happy 19 months!

You’ve become quite a handful this month. You LOVE to go outside (never mind that it’s really hot!), and throw tennis balls for the dog to fetch. You haven’t added any words to your vocabulary that I know of, because all you say (or scream) now is “NO!” and point your finger at me. Hahaha Speaking of screaming, there’s a lot of that, too. Not always in anger, more in a “let me show you how loud I can be!” way. Between you and your big brother (who never stops talking), it’s loud here. All day long.

I love you,
Mommy

19 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Uses a spoon and fork – Yes
  • Runs – Definitely
  • Throws a ball underhand – No, but he throws really well overhand!
  • Enjoys helping around the house – Yep

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Understands as many as 200 words – maybe?
  • Recognizes when something is wrong (e.g., calling a dog a cat) – Not yet

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Washes and dries own hands with help – Yes, he loves to wash his hands!
  • Points to picture or object when you call it by name – Not yet
  • May know when he needs to pee – Nope

Essential Oil Basics: Part 5 – Essential Oil Use for Children and Pets

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Using essential oils around your children and pets should be done cautiously. In this post, I will be discussing 10 common essential oils and their usage around children, dogs, cats, and other small animals.

 

10 Common Essential Oils

The oils we will be discussing in this post are from Part 4 in this series.  (Please see that post for more information on these oils and what they can be used for.)  The Latin names are in parentheses/italics. Please be sure to verify the Latin name on the products you purchase, because the common names may be very similar!

 

Children

It is not recommended to use oils on or around babies under 6 months of age. Using child-safe oils in a diffuser is the best option for children 6 months to 2 years. Topical application with a .25% dilution is ok for children 2-6 years. Please see Part 2 in this series for more information.

Safe Oils:

  • Frankincense
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Tea Tree

Oils to Avoid:

  • Clove
    • Do not use topically on children under age 2
  • Eucalyptus
    • Do not diffuse or use topically on children under age 10
  • Oregano
    • Do not use topically on children under age 2
  • Peppermint
    • Do not diffuse or use topically on children under age 6

In Part 3, I mentioned a couple of my favorite blends that are not safe for use around children.  Here is why they are not, and some acceptable alternatives.

Breathe (due to Eucalyptus and Peppermint) – Sniffle Stopper

On Guard or similar blends, such as Thieves and Germ Fighter (due to Clove and Eucalyptus) – Germ Destroyer
 

Dogs

Before I list the oils that are safe to use around dogs, please remember the following:

1. Do not add essential oils to your dog’s food or water.
2. Avoid using essential oils with puppies under 10 weeks of age.

Safe oils:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Roman Chamomile

You can use these oils topically to help with ailments such as arthritis (lemon), skin issues and flea control (lavender). Oils MUST ALWAYS BE DILUTED (using a 1-2% dilution) when applying topically as a remedy, because dogs are more sensitive to smells than humans.
 

Cats

There are no safe oils for cats. Diffusing essential oils with cats around is highly discouraged (and NEVER put them on their fur) due to the possibility of liver failure. If you choose to use a diffuser with a cat in your home, please do so in a room that your cat cannot enter. You should be fine using any oils topically on yourself, as long as the cat doesn’t get any on their fur, their paws, or in their mouth.

Of the ten oils mentioned above, these eight are especially dangerous to cats and should be avoided at all costs. There are many others that are not included in this list. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree

 

Other Small Animals

No essential oils should be used around small animals (birds, rabbits, hamsters, fish, etc.) Do not diffuse or use cleaning sprays with EOs in a room with a pet in a cage or tank.

 

Obviously, this is not a complete list of oils that are safe or unsafe around your children and pets.  Feel free to comment below with any questions about a specific oil or blend, and I will be happy to help!

 

Check out all of the posts in this Essential Oil Basics series:

 

Disclaimer: The information contained on The Practically Green Mom represents the choices I have made to take charge of my own health and that of my family. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

{This post is not sponsored by any essential oil company or Amazon. It does contain affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

Amazon Prime Day 2017

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Amazon Prime Day 2017 is tomorrow, July 11th…but the deals start tonight (July 10) at 9 PM EST!

Here’s what you need to know:

1. If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, get a free 30-day trial!

2. If you’re a student, you can get a 6-month trial of Prime Student, AND a 50% discount if you decide to renew!

Watch the Amazon Prime Day page for all the details and deals! Happy Shopping!

{This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

Essential Oil Basics: Part 4 – 10 Popular Essential Oils and their Uses

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

In my last post, I talked about my personal favorite oils and blends. This post will cover 10 popular essential oils (single oils, not blends), and what they can be used for.

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Scent: warm and spicy, often used in holiday blends

Uses: cleaning, aching joints, relief of occasional toothache (adults only)

NOTE: only use a max dilution of 0.5% for topical applications, do not use with children under age 2

 

Eucalyptus(Eucalyptus globulus)

Scent: medicinal, clean

Uses: respiratory problems, congestion

NOTE: Do not use with children under age 10

 

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)

Scent: woody, a bit spicy

Uses: anti-aging, may reduce the appearance of scars, immune support

 

Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)

Scent: citrusy, a bit sweet

Uses: mood booster, brightens dull skin

NOTE: Grapefruit essential oil is phototoxic and can cause severe sunburn or blistering when exposed to the sun. If using this oil topically, do not expose your skin to UV light for 12-18 hours after application.

 

Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)

Scent: floral, fresh, sweet

Uses: promotes relaxation, relief for bruises, cuts, and itching

 

Lemon(Citrus limon)

Scent: citrus, fresh

Uses: cleaning, immune support, mood booster

NOTE: Lemon (cold pressed) essential oil is phototoxic and can cause severe sunburn or blistering when exposed to the sun. If using this oil topically, do not expose your skin to UV light for 12-18 hours after application. Steam distilled lemon (pictured) is preferred for topical use, since it is not phototoxic.

 

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Scent: intense, herbal

Uses: cleaning, immune support

NOTE: Do not use with children under age 2

 

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Scent: fresh, cool

Uses: headaches, congestion, promotes energy

NOTE: Do not use with children under age 6

 

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Scent: sweet

Uses: promotes relaxation, eases soreness

 

Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia)

Scent: clean, medicinal

Uses: skin care (acne), disinfectant

 

In Part 5, I will go further into safety information about using these oils around children and pets.

Check out all of the posts in this Essential Oil Basics series:

 

Disclaimer: The information contained on The Practically Green Mom represents the choices I have made to take charge of my own health and that of my family. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

{This post is not sponsored by any essential oil company or Amazon. It does contain affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

Essential Oil Basics: Part 3 – My Favorite Essential Oils and Brands

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Now that we’ve covered the what and how, let’s talk about some of my favorite oils and brands!

I’ll start by saying that there are people out there who insist that “x brand is better than y”, and yes, there are some cheaper brands out there that are definitely a “get what you pay for” kind of deal. But for the most part, I think it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people have loyalty to a particular brand, and you do you. I have several brands of essential oils in my arsenal, and though I don’t have a “favorite”, the two brands I use the most are doTerra and Plant Therapy (especially their KidSafe line, which are blends that are specifically formulated for children ages 2-10!)

In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned lavender is probably my favorite oil, and definitely the one I run out of the fastest.

I also love:

Peppermint ** – for nausea and headaches

Breathe ** – for respiratory issues and congestion

Tummy All Better – kid-friendly alternative to peppermint for nausea and stomachaches

On Guard ** / Germ Destroyer – for immune system support (the latter is the KidSafe version)

** these oils are not suitable for use around children (see part 5 of this series for additional information and alternatives)

 

Check out all of the posts in this Essential Oil Basics series:

 

Disclaimer: The information contained on The Practically Green Mom represents the choices I have made to take charge of my own health and that of my family. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

{This post is not sponsored by any essential oil company or Amazon. It does contain affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

Essential Oil Basics: Part 2 – Using Essential Oils

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

So now that you know what essential oils are, let’s talk about how you can use them in your own home. The most popular ways to use essential oils are to diffuse them through the air or apply them on your skin (topically).

 

 

Diffusion

Diffusing or inhaling essential oils is the most effective way to get the benefits, which include: relaxation, improved breathing, mood enhancement, and more!

Here are a couple of tips:

1. Only put essential oils in an essential oil diffuser – not a humidifier, candle wax warmer, etc.
2. Do not dilute the oils with a carrier oil (or use a pre-diluted oil blend) in a diffuser. It will ruin it.

Most diffusers work about the same, so here are the general steps, but obviously follow the directions that came with your model.

Step 1: Take the lid off the diffuser and add water. Most models will have a max fill line.
Step 2: Add your oils. For a small space like a bedroom, I only use a few drops.  In a larger space, I may use more depending on how strong the scent of the oil is.
Step 3: Replace the lid, and turn it on. You’ll see the mist and smell the oils immediately!

 

Run your diffuser for 30-60 minutes, then turn it off for one hour, and repeat if desired.

 

Topically

Topical application is best for a skin or muscle issue, or when you want oil absorption for a longer period of time. (Essential oils take time to get through the skin as opposed to being inhaled.) I always recommend you dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, before applying them.  I’ve included some dilution guidelines below.

Note: It is NOT recommended to use essential oils on children under the age of 2, unless directed by your healthcare provider.

.25% Dilution (1 drop per 4 teaspoons of carrier oil)

  • For children 2-6 years of age

1% Dilution (1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil or 5-6 drops per ounce)

  • For children over 6 years and the elderly
  • Recommended when applying oils to the face or all over the body

2% Dilution (2 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil or 10-12 drops per ounce)

  • For healthy adults in most situations

Please note that these are guidelines, not rules. There may be exceptions based on the individual and the oil being used. Always use the lowest dilution possible for your needs.

 

If that’s a little too much work (I totally get it), you can purchase many varieties of essential oils that are pre-diluted in a rollerball (pictured), and just apply it directly to your skin without having to mix anything.

Be aware that most rollerball applicators used the dilution recommended for a healthy adult, and may not be sutable for use on children (unless you are using the Plant Therapy KidSafe products…more on those in my next post!)

 

Internally

Some people and brands also advise taking essential oils internally (adding them to drinking water, etc.), but based on the research I’ve done, I do not feel like this is safe. Therefore, I do not practice this myself, or recommend it to others.

 
Check out all of the posts in this Essential Oil Basics series:

 

Disclaimer: The information contained on The Practically Green Mom represents the choices I have made to take charge of my own health and that of my family. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

{This post is not sponsored by any essential oil company or Amazon. It does contain affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

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