PRODUCT REVIEW: Easy-Off oven cleaner (Fume Free)

easy

     Today was THE day : ) … i cleaned my oven. The last time i cleaned it was a bit over a YEAR ago. Yes…a year, but it was not too bad. I always keep a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom and change it regularly. Plus i always cover whatever i bake with foil as well. I bought the blue can because I hoped it would work as well as the original product in a yellow can (i have heard so many great reviews), but without the toxic fumes.  I wouldn’t call it “fume free”…it still “stinks” pretty bad. But it works GREAT!
I put my old t-shirt/pants on and used a pair of regular gloves.
I followed the directions on the can and were able to clean my oven very fast. It did an amazing job! The result was unbelievable. I simply sprayed, waited, and then wiped the oven.  So fast..so easy!

The hardest part is removing the actual cleaner. I spent quite a bit of time wiping to get all the cleaner out of the oven. I used a sponge (rinsed very often) and paper towels.   I am definitely keeping the Easy-Off oven cleaner. Yes, the smell is still very strong and i am sure those fumes are not safe. That’s why i would recommend to clean the oven only when your kids are not home.  I’m glad my kids were napping and i was able to finish cleaning before they got up.

Honestly i prefer to use safe/chemical fee cleaners, but those do not always work. Easy-off does an amazing job. I will definitely use it in the future.

[I received a $5 Walmart gift card from Smiley360 which i used to purchase this product, but it does not affect my review in any way!]

PRODUCT REVIEW: SleepNumber Bed Review

sleep-number-bed     I have heard about Sleep Number air beds so many times, but have never considered to purchase one. Recently i became a Smiley360 member and participated in SLEEP NUMBER® SleepIQ™ program. I visited the store and learn more about their products.

Pros: The Sleep Number Bed offers adjustable firmness for each side. That is GREAT. I love firm mattresses and my husband prefers soft / pillow top ones. It is made from a good quality materials and will last forever.

Cons: My main concern is the middle area of the mattress. We love to cuddle / watch a movie in bed and our kids end up sleeping in our bed almost every night. The middle part of the mattress is not as comfortable as it is on the sides. Also i want to read more reviews online. What happens in the pump breaks down? And how often does this happen? Its an air mattress…no air – no mattress : ) And the warranty is not as great as i would like it to be.

To compare: Because we are on the market for a new mattress, we decided to visit a store that sells Tempur-Pedic mattresses. I’ve heard so many great reviews. And….it IS great! I loved the memory foam mattress we tried in the store. We end up purchasing a twin size mattress for our daughter the same day. We are still planning to purchase a king-size mattress. but i would like to read reviews online prior to ordering one or the other. I also would like to learn more about some other brands out there. I will update this post when i make up my mind.

SleepIQ: The SleepIQ technology is a good addition to your mattress, but…honestly…i can live without it. Right now i have three little kids and i get up 1000000 a night…why would i want to track that? I think its a fun rather than necessary feature : ) We would use it for a week or two and then just forget about it.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Angelcare Baby Sound Monitor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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???

natural-food-label-722x406

      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.