PRODUCT REVIEW: Angelcare Baby Sound Monitor

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angelcare monitor     As a first time mom i was terrified by SIDS and constantly worried my daughter would spit-up and choke… I searched for the best monitor by reading reviews online and asking my friends for recommendations. It seemed like the Motorola Video monitor had best reviews, but it was very expensive. The next runner up was Angelcare Video monitor.  They also have highly-rated sound and movement monitors. It is a great idea for “crazy” moms like me, but i have chosen a simple sound monitor from Angelcare (around $50 online).
PROS:

1. Very sensitive monitor. There is a sensitivity control on the back of the base. My first baby was sleeping in out bedroom until she was 6 months old and i used this monitor only during her naps (same with the second baby).  In the very beginning (first month of life) i keep it at the most sensitive setting and can even hear her breathing. 
2. No static / interference. 
4. Great range. I can go to the backyard or just go outside to chat with my neighbor/check the mail box.
5. I like that the parent unit displays the temperature in the room where the baby is sleeping. I wish it could also let me know when the temperature is too low (this feature is available in the more expensive models), because in the winter our kids room gets much colder then our bedroom. 6. I used a mute button (mutes the parent unit for a minute or two) very often when the baby was waking up at night. Usually she would fall back asleep on her own.
CON:

1. It comes with only one receiver. Would be great to have two, because sometimes my baby sleeps in our bedroom and sometimes – in her own room. 2. The night light on the base is a great idea, but its just not bright enough for me and i do not use it at all. 

BOTTOM LINE - I love it!

Angelcare Baby Sound Monitor is THE BEST BABY MONITOR under $50!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Step2 Crabbie Sandbox

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Step2 sandbox     I purchased this sandbox from local ToysRus store. I believe i paid around $65.00 for the sandbox and $7 per bag of sand.

I would give this sandbox 5 out of 5 stars! Great buy!

Perfect size, good quality, easy to clean, color doesn’t fade (had it for over a year now). Unfortunately, my daughter started eating sand on the second or third day and i had to get rid of the sand. I was very disappointed. Then i decided to fill it up with water. The sandbox was transformed into a kiddie-pool : ) My daughter loved it! I was covering it with the lid every night and changing water every two days.

Now my baby is 2 years old and i think she is ready for a sandbox! Going to get couple of bags with sand sometime soon.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Britax B-Ready Double Stroller

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6697_twilight_3700     When i was pregnant with my first baby i spent hours searching for a good stroller. At the end i had two choices: Britax B-Ready and Baby Jogger City Select. These strollers are very similar. Both were around $400 online (plus $100-$150 for a second seat).  I liked the City Select more then B-Ready, but a very good deal made me choose Britax stroller (20% off + FREE second seat).

I’ve been using this stroller for over 2 years (with one and two children). Here are some features that i love:

1. Huge canopy!

2. Huge basket!

3. Very easy to clean!

4. Great for tall parents (i’m 6 feet tall)

5. I love the color of my stroller (Twilight)

6. The second seat is half-size and very light. You can fold the stroller with the second seat attached. The second seat is appropriate for newborns.

 

Here what i dislike:

1. This stroller is super heavy and bulky! I am a tall and strong woman, but its not that easy for me to fold and unfold this stroller. I have a cadillac Escalade with a huge trunk, but if i take my stroller with me…there is not that much space left.

2. I hated the arm bar. It is covered with black foam….what!? WHY? Why would you covered with foam? My kid almost chocked on the pieces of foam she bit off the bar. After this happened i purchased the cup holders from Britax website. These cup holders are great for snacks, but i would prefer one of them to be a bit deeper (cup/bottle falls out all the time).

3. Foot rest is too short!

4. I wish the main seat would recline flat. I had to use a Chicco infant car seat and a Chicco car seat carrier (Snap’n Go) for 5 months before i could put my baby in a stroller. So if you choose this stroller, definitely buy a Britax infant car seat (i purchased a Chicco car seat and a carrier way before i got the stroller – big mistake)!

Don’t take me wrong! I love my stroller! Yes, there are some things i do not like, but its a great stroller!

Storage Tips to Make Produce Last Longer

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ProduceNutrition(1)     Because of an injury i couldn’t drive for more then 3 months. I asked my husband to buy plenty of produce (enough for 2-3 weeks) so he didn’t need to go shopping every week (he has very busy schedule). I always leave fruit on the table, potato, garlic and onion goes in the dark and cool place and the rest (vegetables) i put in the fridge.

In about 7-8 days i saw my fresh herbs were getting bad, then cauliflower started to spoil… i ran to the computer and tried to find some info on how to store produce to keep it fresh longer.

Every site says the same – “Store in a loose bag in the fridge” or “Store in a plastic bag in the fridge. Put a few holes in the bag for longer storage to increase air circulation”. BUT my vegetables are already in the loose bag and in the fridge.

The last thing to do was to call my mother. She recommended to wrap herbs in a paper towel, it absorbs moisture, prevents it from sticking to a plastic bag and makes it last longer. I wrapped in a paper towel not only my herbs but everything in the fridge : ) Well…herbs were fresh for more then 3 weeks, same with cauliflower, Eggplant and other.

Some tips on how to keep you produce fresh longer:

1. Handle vegetables and fruit very gently! Do not place one bag with produce on another one. Be more careful with avocados, tomatoes, eggplant, peaches, apples bananas – all soft fruit and vegetables that can be damaged.

2. Do not wash any vegetables before placing in the fridge.

3. Remove leaves, leafy tops from cauliflower, beets (if you don’t use them), carrots and other.

4. The cheapest way to have your fridge smelling fresh (odorless) is to keep inside an open container with soda.

5.Wrap vegetables that spoil fast in a paper towel . I wrap everything in my fridge accept carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers, salary and cabbage. Make sure it is not one of those thin towels that feels like newspaper. I prefer Bounty – very soft and absorbent.

If it is impossible to wrap something (like containers with strawberries, spinach, berries…) just place a paper towel on the bottom and on the top, then cover with the lid.

6.Always keep plastic bags open!

7.Check your produce from time to time – remove damaged or spoiled vegetables immediately.

Child Help / Teen Help / Anonymous Teen Counseling

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TEEN     Being a teenager is tough, and finding a safe place to ask questions and discuss personal thoughts can be very helpful.

TeenCentral.Net is helping teens with their problems, providing them with valuable information,feedback from professionals who can offer guidance in making decisions, news and celebrity stories.

Teens who visit are asked to join and select a username that in no way discloses who or where they are. Then they can write their story or read real-life stories of teens who have faced similar problems.

Teens are free to write about any problems they are experiencing and ask for advice on how to deal with them. The response from the counselor will be posted within 24 hours.

TeenCentral.Net is TOTALLY ANONYMOUS and SAFE internet resource to help kids face and overcome crisis and life’s daily challenges.

IF YOU ARE A TEEN (or maybe you know one) who needs guidance and advice but don’t feel comfortable talking to friends or adults about your problems, go to www.TeenCentral.Net. and check it out.

FREE Newsletters, Valuable Coupouns and FREE Guide to Raising Your Child – “Caring for Your Baby and Young Child” from Publix Baby Club

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PUBLIX     If you are an expectant mother or mother of a child under 2 years old and you live in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama or Tennessee – join the Publix Baby Club®.
You’ll receive a free subscription to the Publix Baby Club newsletter until your baby’s second birthday. It’s stuffed with tips and important advices on baby care, parenting, health and nutrition.
You will also receive valuable coupons for basic supplies for you and your baby such as:

FREE Hand Sanitizer
FREE Cocoa Butter
FREE Isopropyl Alcohol
Nursing Pads (Buy one get one FREE)
Drop-In Bottles or Liners ($1 OFF)
Baby Shampoo (Get FREE baby lotion)
High Calcium Formula ($3 OFF)
Organic Baby Formula ($5 OFF)
Diapers (Receive FREE wipes)
Diapers ($10 OFF when you buy 2)
Diaper Rush Ointment ($2 OFF)
Baby Wipes (Buy one get one FREE)
Pacifiers (Buy one get one FREE)
and other….

And if you’re a first-time parent, you’ll receive a FREE Gift from Publix Baby Club: The American Academy of Pediatrics complete guide to raising your child – “Caring for Your Baby and Young Child”- it’s a $20 value.

Contents:
Preparing for a new Baby
Birth and the first moments after
Basic infant care
Feeding your baby: breast and bottle
Your baby’s first days
The first month
One month through 3 months
4 to 7 months
8 to 12 months
Second year
Age 2 to 3 years
3 to 5 years
How to keep your child safe
Emergencies
+ Complete Encyclopedia covering possible injuries. illnesses, diseases and other.

To join Publix Baby Club go to - http://www.publix.com/clubs/baby/Home.do

List of Harmful Ingredients Used in Personal Care Products

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harmful_chemicals_in_skin_care_     Have you ever thought that using some of your favorite moisturizers every day can cause skin rashes, allergies, biochemical or cellular level changes!?

Not everybody know what those tiny and hard-to-pronounce words under “Ingredients” on the back of the product mean …
Do you know that Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and benzylparaben) that are used in many cosmetic products as a preservative can irritate the skin, lead to endocrine and fertility problems or even cancer? For so many years parabens have been considered as a cheap way to preserve products such as lotions, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens and deodorants, but studies have shown that some parabens can act as a hormone estrogen in the body’s cells.
A lot of people started paying attention to what they eat, choosing natural and organic products, products without hormones and antibiotics. But what about every day personal care products? Don’t think that if you don’t eat it it can’t be harmful!
New research has shown that parabens can be detected in human urine within hours after applying lotion (containing this chemical) to the skin. This demonstrates that parabens do indeed penetrate the human skin from cosmetic products.

There are dozens of chemicals that could be harmful and shouldn’t be used!

1. Parabens, known as butyl, methyl, ethyl, propyl, or isobutyl paraben:
Used as preservatives in deodorants and moisturizers.
Interfere with estrogen levels. University of Reading researcher Philippa Darbre’s study (in 2004) detected parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors. Unfortunately it’s not enough to prove that they cause cancer.

2. Phthlates, known as Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate:
Found in perfumes, nail polishes and some hair products. Phthlates are used to enhance penetration of skin.
Can lead to damage of the liver, lungs, kidney.
This chemicals act as hormone disruptors and can lead to premature breast development in girls or problems with reproductive development in male fetuses.

3. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)/ Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate/ Sodium Laureth Sulphate:
Used in shampoo, bath products and toothpaste as an emulsifying and foaming agent.
May cause reproductive system disorders, damage to the liver, lungs, heart and immune system. It’s also a severe skin irritant.

4. Petroleum based products, known as petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, paraffin oil, paraffin wax:
This chemicals are used in shampoos, hair products, anti-aging creams, mascaras, perfumes, foundations and lipsticks.
It’s byproducts of crude oil and may have potential cancer causing effects. They clog pores and interfere with the human body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins. It’s used primarily because it’s cheap.

5. Artificial Fragrance, known as “fragrance” or “parfum”:
It’s used in personal-care products to make it smell more appealing.
These hazardous cosmetic ingredients can cause headaches, dizziness, breathing disorders, allergic rashes and other allergic reactions, skin disorders, coughing, vomiting, depression, hyperactivity, irritability, and chemical sensitivities.

13. Propylene Glycol, known as propan-1,2-diol, PG:
Used as an humectant (retaining moisture) in shampoo, body lotion, deodorant or sun lotion.
Extremely toxic! Depresses the central nervous system and may cause respiratory and throat irritation, liver, brain, and kidney disorders, conjunctivitis in the eyes, brain damage, and hypoglycemia. It’s a severe skin irritant.

14. Alpha-hydroxy acids, know as AHAs or fruit acids, including glycolic, lactic, and citric acid:
Used as exfoliants and ph balancers in bath products, anti-aging and face and body products.
May cause photosensitivity to sunlight and increase risk to sun related skin disorders and skin cancers.

15. Artificial Colors, known as Blue 1, Green 3, Yellow-5m Yellow-6 and other:
Some of this artificial colors are carcinogenic (cancer causing) not only when ingested, but also when applied to the skin.

16. Bronopol, known as 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol:
Under certain conditions may cause the formation of carcinogenic (cancer causing) nitrosamines.

17. 1, 2 – Dioxane:
Used in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, soaps and cleaning products. Studies: the carcinogenicity of dioxane caused nasal passage liver and nasal passage cancer in mice.

18. Diethanolamine (DEA)/ Triethanolamine (TEA): 
Chemical reactions between nitrites and DEA or TEA might occur during the manufacturing process what leads to the formation of nitrosamines. Most nitrosamines are carcinogenic (cancer causing).

19. Cosmetic talk: 
Cosmetic talc is carcinogenic (cancer causing). Inhaling talc is very dangerous and using it in the genital area (BABY POWDER!) is associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer.

And this is not a full list of dangerous and possible harmful ingredients used in every day personal care products!!! You may be unknowingly poisoning yourself with this carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals every single day! Manufacturers try to fool us with signs “Natural” or “Organic”, but it absolutely doesn’t mean that the product you are purchasing is 100% safe to use ! List of ingredients – that’s where the truth can be found!

Are “Organic” and “Natural ” Personal Care Products Really Organic and Natural???

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      Consumer’s demand for natural and organic cosmetic products has increased greatly in the last couple of years. More and more often you see labels like “Natural” or “Organic” appear on body lotions, shampoo and conditioners, body washes or make-up.Unfortunately, there’s no government regulation about the ingredients that are used in cosmetics. Unlike food, there is no organic seal that can be put on cosmetic products that would ensure you it’s 100% natural and safe to use. A product labeled “organic”, “natural”, “botanical”, “nature inspired” or “natural origin” is not necessarily free from harmful ingredients.

Manufacturers use so many dangerous chemicals in personal care products just to improve color, texture, scent or extend it’s shelf life. At the same time they use very clever advertising practices to trick consumers into thinking they are using healthy all natural products.

They tell you the product contains natural and organic Lavender essential oil that soothes your skin and calms your mind…BUT! They don’t tell you it also contains Parabens and Phthlates that possibly can damage your liver, lungs, kidney or even cause cancer! You’re using these products every single day on your largest organ – skin!

Most ingredients penetrate your skin and end up in your blood stream. New research has shown that some ingredients can be detected in human urine within hours after applying lotion (containing this chemical) to the skin. How can you be sure that the product you purchase is 100% natural? • Read the label very carefully. Check the ingredients and make sure that it doesn’t contain any of this chemicals -http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2286623/list_of_harmful_ingredients_used_in.html?cat=5 Wright this list down and carry with you when shopping for personal care products!!!

You can also visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website – www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. Enter the name of the products you use or would like to purchase and see whether they contain ingredients you should avoid.

Trying to Conceive: How to Track Your Ovulation. How to Read Your BBT Charts

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Your menstrual cycle is divided into two phases: the follicular (before ovulation) and the luteal phase (after ovulation).

During the first phase hormone Estrogen keeps the temperature low (normally between 97.0 to 97.5). Right before ovulation occurs the concentration of estrogen jumps up causing even lower temperatures. Some women (not all) can see a slight dip in temperatures what means ovulation is about to occur.
In the second phase (Luteal Phase)that starts right after ovulation hormone progesterone takes over. Temperature usually rise between 97.6 and 98.6 (about .2 of a degree) and stay elevated until your next cycle begins.
If you become pregnant during that cycle it will remain high during the entire pregnancy.

So…a dip in temperature (not always!) followed by a rise (at least .2 of a degree) higher than all temps the previous six days and staying at or beyond this level for at least 3 days shows that ovulation has occurred.

If you are not trying to conceive at this moment just keep charting you basal temperature and in a couple of months you will see a clear picture: how long your cycle is, how stable it is, when you are most fertile and when your ovulation occurs.
If you are trying to conceive and never charted your basal temperature before follow this steps:

1. Take your temperature every day from the first day of your cycle.
2. Start charting mucus changes from day 10 of your menstrual cycle (earlier if your cycle is less then 28 days).
3. Use ovulation tests every day from day 10 (earlier if your cycle is less then 28 days) of your menstrual cycle (do not use your morning urine!)

Test line on the ovulation test gets darker then the control line about 1-2 days before ovulation occurs. At the same time your mucus should change from white, thick and sticky to clear, stretchy and slippery (consistency of raw egg white). So…if you are trying to conceive – have intercourse starting from the day you see a positive ovulation test.
Right after ovulation occurs temperature rises (.2 of a degree). You still have about 24 (sometimes 48) hours before the egg dies.

Every woman has anovulatory cycles (1-2 per year). A anovulatory cycle means that no ovulation occurred during that particular cycle. During anovulatory cycle you will see many low and high temperatures throughout the entire cycle with no clear separation of a rise in level of temperatures. If you have anovulatory cycles more often then 1-2 times a year – consult your OB/GYN!

*Nonovulatory cycles along with low amount or poor quality of cervical fluid, too high temperatures during your first phase could possible be a sign of low estrogen levels.
*Low temperatures in your second phase (after ovulation) could possible be a sign of low progesterone levels.
*Temperature drops before menstruation and rises again with the first day of bleeding – possible sign of endometrit (inflammation of the endometrium).
*Rise in temperatures in the first phase (when temperature stays high for 3-5 days) could be a sign ofinflammation.

Trying to Conceive: How to Track Your Ovulation. Charting Your BBT (Basal Body Temperature)

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Temperature     Basal body temperature is the temperature of your body at rest. Charting your basal will help to understand when you ovulate. Charting can also show when you are most fertile and how stable your cycle is. All this information is very helpful if trying to conceive.

1. Take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get up or speak! If possible do not even open your eyes! Leave your thermometer under the pillow so you could reach it easily.
2. Take your temperature same time each day! If it’s your day off (weekend) – set an alarm. Staying within 30 min either side of your average time is good.
2. Take your temperature after a minimum of 5 hours sleep (not 2 or 3!).
3. It doesn’t matter what thermometer you use, just do not change it during your cycle! If you use an electronic one wait 1-2 min after it beeps. You can also purchase a basal body temperature thermometer that records temperatures to the tenth of a degree for more accurate results.
4. You can take your temperature rectally, vaginally or orally (not preferable). Stay with the same method for the entire cycle.
5. Chart your cervical mucus changes starting from the day 10 of your menstrual cycle. Mark the day when your mucus changes: from 1 (no mucus) to 2 (white, thick and sticky) to 3 (clear, stretchy and slippery – consistency of raw egg white), then back to 2 and 1.
6. Start using ovulation tests from the day 10 of your menstrual cycle. Mark the day when the test line is darker then control line.
7. Mark important info like “stressful day”, “sickness”, “party late” in your chart. There are so many things that influence your basal temperature.

Some tips:
1. If you woke up 2 or 3 hours later then usual (the time you usually take your temperature) – skip this day.
2. If you woke up about 1 hour later then usual (the time you usually take your temperature) chart the temperature at 0.2F lower then the actual result.
3. If you went to bed late or had to wake up at night and didn’t have 5 straight hours of sleep – skip this day.
4. If you have to wake up about an hour earlier then usual (the time you usually take your temperature) – chart the temperature at 0.2F higher then the actual result.
5. If you fell asleep and forgot to remove the thermometer – skip this day.

One more advise – stay away from different fertility/infertility forums and chat rooms. Yes, you will learn a lot of new and sometimes useful information, but some women get addicted to this kind of sites.
Try not to think about it…just let it go… Don’t stress if you can’t get pregnant for a couple of months.Sometimes it takes up to a year for healthy couples to conceive!
Start taking prenatal vitamins, eat healthy, exercise and enjoy your life! And don’t forget to chart your basal body temperature every day.
If you are trying to conceive for more then one year or have some concerns (very unstable cycle, often anovulatory cycles, too high or too low temperatures)- consult your OB/GYN.