Today’s informative article was written by health professional Marissa Oachs. Check out Marissa’s blog for more up-to-the-minute articles on parenting at http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/. A BIG thanks to Marissa for this engaging piece for families!

What Every Mother Should Know…About the Air We Breathe

By Marissa Oachs

As a health professional, healthiness has always been a priority to me. Now that I have a new baby my focus on health has really switched from my health to focusing on making my child’s life and health as healthy as possible. What I have learned over the last year as I have researched the best products for my family is that it is a very scary world. Almost all the products you buy in the store are unhealthy for you…it scares me to death and often infuriates me. WHY and HOW can industries and companies sell things to humans that they know are hurting us! When I started learning this, I knew I had to change my life and spread the word to other mothers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called indoor air pollution one of the nation’s top environmental health concerns. The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating this disturbing phenomenon, too. In fact, the WHO states that 40% of all buildings pose a serious threat to health because of polluted air. A cubic foot of untreated indoor air alone can contain up to 20 million particles such as pollen, dander, and smoke. Scary, I know!

Even scarier is the fact that more than 99% can’t be seen, and many particles are small enough to enter your lungs. Pollen, ash, and dust come indoors from the outside. Pets give off dander. Dust mites, feeding on decomposing skin (gross!!), thrive in mattresses. And cigarette smoke lingers. We all know smoking is bad, but second-hand smoke has been identified as a major health risk too.

And as much as we care about our children, over the years the air has hurt us women the most. There has been a dramatic increase in rates of asthma in women in the past 10 years because of our longer exposure to household chemicals. We often work closely with toxic chemicals and research has shown that our health care costs are $12.2 billion just from environmentally associated diseases!!! Has it hit home, yet?!

So…what can we do to fight these harmful air pollutants in our homes and in our children’s lungs? The good news is there are lots of things we can do! And I can honestly tell you…once you start trying to make a difference, you will notice a difference. I did…and my conscience is clear too!

Here are some quick tips:

1) Start by cleaning up that air – Look into buying an air purifier. Look for one that attacks all three types of air pollutants – microbials, gases, and particulates

2) Ventilate your home – Run the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen, open your windows, and make sure you have a good exhaust system in place for appliances and stove. Check out The American Lung Association’s recommendations for more ideas. http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/indoor-air-quality-47020101#ixzz0eJQL3iPT

3) Prevention – Be careful of the products you use.

  1. a. Use no-VOC or low-VOC paints – Paints release trace amounts of gases for months after application — even though they appear to be fully dried and the smell is gone. These gases are called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, and can include highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. If painting indoors, open windows and use exhaust fans to remove gases. Do not store open paint containers indoors.
  2. Use non-toxic cleaning products – Most cleaning products on the market today can produce harmful air pollution indoors. Hair and nail products, cleaning products, art and hobby supplies and other common products can increase the levels of VOCs. Some of the VOCs in these products include substances linked to cancer, headaches, eye and throat irritation and worsened asthma.

Feel free to reach out to Marissa Oachs if you have any further questions! http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/

Spring Cleaning Tips from Martha Stewart

There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. For many people, however, the idea is overwhelming and the pleasure comes only after the work is finished. While spring cleaning will never become effortless, below are some suggestions from Martha Stewart to help you get started and make things a little more manageable including eight steps to perfectly clean windows.

And to make things even easier and keep you from breathing strong, harsh chemicals while cleaning, Martha and The Hain Celestial Group recently introduced Martha Stewart Clean, a new line of effective, eco-friendly cleaning products for the home. The collection includes 10 products that are available in Home Depot, Giant Eagle, Publix and A&P stores and online at Amazon.com.

Previously, consumers had to choose between reliable or natural cleaners. Martha Stewart Clean products are both trusted solutions for removing dirt, grease, and grime, and non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Made with 99+% plant-and-mineral-based ingredients of the highest quality, Martha Stewart Clean contains no added fragrances or artificial colors, and comes in recyclable packaging making these products safe for use in homes with children and animals. Visit www.marthastewartclean.com for information about the products, helpful cleaning videos and more.

Eight Steps to Perfectly Clean Windows

1. Schedule the project Choose a time when the sun is not shining directly on windows. Its hot rays can cause the cleaning solution to dry, which will result in streaks.

2. Clean the surface With a soft-bristle brush, dust away cobwebs and loose dirt from windows and frames. Don’t forget hinges, sills, and tracks. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, especially if the frames are old and splintery.

3. Make the cleaning solution Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part hot water.

4. Prevent a mess Before cleaning the inside of each window, place an absorbent terry-cloth towel along the windowsill to catch drips.

5. Wet the glass Using a sponge, wet (but don’t drench) the windowpane with the vinegar-and-water solution, and rub away the dirt. As much as possible, keep the solution from coming into contact with the window frames.

6. Prime a squeegee Wet the rubber blade; a dry one will skip.

7. Wipe the glass Starting at an upper corner of the pane, draw the squeegee down in a straight, confident stroke. Wipe the rubber edge of the squeegee with a sponge or a lint-free cloth. Return to the top and repeat, slightly overlapping the first stroke. Finish by pulling the squeegee across the bottom of the window. Dry the sill.

8. Clean the frames Wipe surfaces using a cloth dampened with a non-ammomia all-purpose cleaner and water. Rinse them thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth to remove cleaning solution, and dry immediately by wiping with a clean, dry cloth.

For more Spring cleaning tips and ideas visit http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/gentle-reminders-spring-cleaning.

For safe, portable sanitation while on the go with baby, the Hygenie offers families a simple solution to eliminate up to 99% of harmful germs on bottles, nipples and pacifiers. In just 7 minutes, environmentally-friendly UV technology combined with ozone, which is one of the most powerful disinfectants known today, has sanitized baby’s items! With summer travel looming ahead, the Hygenie is one item that families will want to take on the road – it tucks easily into any suitcase, backpack, diaper bag or purse. Available in bright pink or green, the Hygenie costs $29.99 each. www.hygenieusa.com.

*Company provided samples and images for this review.*

BABYBEARSHOP is giving Tiny Green Mom’s readers a special offer just in time for Earth Day! Buy one of their delightful Lavender Vanilla candles and get the 2nd one free! Use the code below to purchase yours online at www.babybearshop.com.

Buy One Get One Free Lavender Vanilla Candle Code: tinygreencandle

Have a little one frightened of the dark? Monster Vapor offers “bravery in a bottle” – one spray and the monsters will surely stay away! Made of Organic Lavender, Organic Aloe, and witch hazel, this all-natural handy spray is a wonderful tool for parents to use with their child who experiences nightmares, has fear of being alone in the dark, or trouble sleeping. As lavender is known for its calming and soothing effect, Monster Vapor also makes a wonderful room spray to ease tension and stress. $8.50 a bottle, Monster Vapor can be found online at http://www.etsy.com/shop/zazzaro.

Check out this great “green” find! Fresh Wave Pearl Packs are non-toxic and natural odor eliminators for tucking into diaper bags, pet bedding, gym bags, shoes, laundry baskets, damp beach bags – anywhere you would like to vanquish unwanted odors! Rather than masking and covering up unwanted smells, Fresh Wave Pearl Packs simply rid the air of the offensive odor. This ingenious little pack lasts for approximately 30 days and contains powerful natural ingredients such as lime extracts to eliminate odors. Everyone will be breathing easier! $15.95 for a pack of 5. Purchase online at www.fresh-wave.com.

*Fresh Wave sent a sample for this review.*

For goat cheese lovers, this tasty recipe from OrganicAuthority.com combines creamy goat cheese with heavenly dates!

Organic Dates With Goat Cheese Wrapped in Prosciutto

Written by Laura Klein

These stuffed dates are a simple and easy appetizer that are absolutely delicious! The sweetness of the date paired with the creamy cheese and salty prosciutto are a party in your mouth! You can pull this appetizer together in 15 minutes. Do not overcook the dates or the cheese will run everywhere. They are best served right out of the oven.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup soft herbed goat cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon of marjoram
1 tablespoon of Italian parsley
salt and pepper
16 medjool dates, pitted
16 large basil leaves
4 wide, thin slices prosciutto di Parma, each cut into 4 long strips
16 toothpicks, soaked in water 10 minutes

Method:

1. Heat boiler to low.

2. Combine goat cheese, herbs and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Spoon 1 teaspoon cheese into each date; wrap with a prosciutto strip and secure with a toothpick.

Broil until cheese bubble, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly and serve immediately!

Martha Stewart has now launched a green, eco-friendly line called Martha Stewart Clean. Yes, even Martha is socially responsible! The entire line is gentle, non-toxic, and fragrance-free, using 99+% plant & mineral derived ingredients, and perfect for those with sensitivities. It comes in recyclable packaging, and the best part is that the entire product line, from laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaner, is AFFORDABLE. For those of moms who are green-minded yet on a tight budget, this is fabulous news! All products start at $3.99 and up, and are available at Home Depot, Publix Supermarkets, Giant Eagle stores and online at www.marthastewartclean.com.

*Company provided samples & other information for this review.*