Playground Safety Tips

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

Most parents would love to see their kids get more exercise, but regularly playing outside may do more good than parents know. Not only does playing outside get kids some much-needed exercise and provide a strong counterpoint to all the time they spend in front of screens today, but playing outside also provides kids with stimulation beyond their physical development. Playing outside with other kids can give children stronger cognitive abilities and helps them develop good social skills. Add this to the physical activity that helps keep kids in shape and avoid obesity, and the neighborhood playground becomes even more important.

Even though playgrounds are great places for kids to work on their physical and mental development, they’re also potentially dangerous places if children and parents are not careful. Parents need to be aware of the possible dangers at playgrounds and teach their kids to exhibit safe behavior while playing. A quick visual inspection around the playground before play begins can be the difference between a fun day in the fresh air and an injury. What follows is a list of basic playground safety tips parents and kids should keep in mind every time they use the playground. Keep these guidelines in mind, and parents and kids can look forward to a healthy and happy time on the playground.

Washing Wool Covers (Updated)

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

Since I mentioned wool diaper covers in my post on toddler cloth diapering a couple of weeks ago, I thought it might be a good idea to write an updated post about how I wash them.

Spot Treating Stains

 
Wet the wool with warm water, and add a small drop of wool wash (such as Ecover Delicate Wash or Unicorn Fibre Wash) to the stain.

Using your index finger and thumb, gently pinch the soap into the stitches of the wool. (Do not rub, this will cause felting.)

Let sit for approximately 15 mins, then rinse well, and repeat if necessary.

Washing Wool

 
Fill a bowl or sink with lukewarm water, and add a few squirts of the wool wash. I use my hand to swish around the water to create suds.

Turn the wool inside out, add to the bowl, and let soak for 10-15 mins. Come back a couple of times and swish it around a bit during this soak.

Rinse under running water that’s the same temperature as the the water in the bowl/sink (very important, because extreme temperature changes can cause felting!)

Wash again if needed, and gently squeeze (don’t twist or wring) out the extra water after the final rinse.

Dump the soapy water and rinse the bowl or sink prior to lanolizing.

Lanolizing

 

** If your child is potty-trained or your using wool over disposable diapers, you can skip this step, because you don’t need the wool to be leakproof. Skip ahead to drying the wool.

Make a lanolin mixture (emulsification):

Heat a mug or small bowl of water. Add a teaspoon of solid lanolin and a few squirts of wool wash or baby wash. Stir until the water turns milky white.

Or you can skip all of that, and use E-Muls Pre-Emulsified Solid Lanolin, which is lanolin that’s already emulsified for you!

Refill your bowl or sink with warm water. (I actually use a gallon sized Ziploc bag for easy clean up!)

Add your lanolin mixture or E-Muls (following the instructions on the bottle). The water should turn cloudy.

Put your clean, rinsed wool in the bowl/sink/Ziploc bag, and soak for at least 30 mins. I tend to do it overnight, but only because I forget about it. Haha

You do not need to rinse following the lanolin soak.

Dump the lanolin water out (preferably outside, as it can clog pipes over time).

Drying Wool

 

After the wool has soaked in lanolin (or been rinsed completely, if you’re skipping the lanolin step), squeeze out the extra water, and roll in a towel or add to a SPIN ONLY cycle in your washer to lessen drying time.

Lay wool flat to dry in a well ventilated area, preferably on something like a sweater drying rack that will allow air to circulate around the wool. Turn the wool occasionally (front, back, inside out) as it’s drying. Do not dry directly in the sun or over a heater.

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

December Baby – 20 months

Happy 20 months, little man!

This month’s highlights:

  • You’ve added 7 words/phrases consistently to your vocabulary! (“here it is”, “Wow!”, “What?”, “Yes”, “Cheese”, “Ow”, “Car”)
  • We went to the Children’s Museum, and you spend the majority of the time in the little grocery store, putting things in a basket and taking them back out. It was so cute! 🙂
  • You love to copy your big brother, and follow him everywhere. (He’s not a huge fan of that…)
  • Your new favorite toy is a remote control car that plays the most annoying music, so sometimes I have to hide it from you. Which is probably why you started saying “car”…hahaha

I love you!

~ Mommy 

20 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Feeds doll – I’ve never seen him do this, but he doesn’t actually have a doll.
  • Takes off own clothes – He can take of his shoes, and attempts to take his shirt off, but hasn’t done it successfully yet.
  • Dumps an object in imitation, such as throwing garbage away – Yep

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Learns words at a rate of ten or more a day – He’s started saying a lot more lately, and understands very well, so yes.
  • Can walk up stairs (but probably not down) – Yep, and he’s getting the hang of walking down them, too.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • May start exploring genitals – He’s a boy…enough said!  lol
  • Draws a straight line – Not really
  • Names several body parts – Just eyes and ears, so far.

Cloth Diapering Your Toddler

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

It’s been a long time since I posted anything about cloth diapers, but yes, we are still using them! My youngest son is almost 20 months old now, and gone is the epic cloth diaper stash I had for his older brother. This time around, it’s all about being functional, not fancy!

Our current daytime stash is all cotton fitted diapers, and we cover them with either a Thirsties Duo Wrap or Sloomb wool (ok, that part is kinda fancy).

Flushable diaper liners or a Spray Pal with a diaper sprayer are also helpful at this stage…for obvious reasons… 😉

We are not using cloth at night anymore. Disposables are just working better in that long 11-12 hour stretch, and I’m ok with that. He’ll probably start potty training sooner than later, anyway.

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

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 comes 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.}

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