Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

Ok, so I don't claim to be Marth Stewart. I wouldn't wear a poncho, let alone knit one. BUT for some reason today I was inspired. Maybe it was the idea of proudly displaying my son's Thanksgiving artwork in the front window, or the fact that it's pouring outside.
Either way, despite not having eaten breakfast or showered yet, I brilliantly decided that Curly and I could clean the windows.

Of the whole entire house.

All 10 of them. And two French doors.
By ourselves.

Stop laughing.

What better way to entertain a toddler on a rainy day and keep the noise down so the little one can sleep.

Now, mind you, we put in these new grid windows almost 3 years ago.

I've never cleaned them myself until today.

My mother cringes at this point of the story.

So....we pulled out the microfiber cloths and the following recipe and wa-la!

White Vinegar, Water and Newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking. If you're out of vinegar or don't like its smell, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.

We can now see the dirt on the other side of the windows a heck of a lot more clearly.

And the poor workmanship done installing the windows..but that's another post.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Books about boys

Local events sites

If you are looking for other events in Los Angeles, here are most of the sites I go to to find local events.

They are specific cities, magazines, news, and kids sites.
LA Parent Magazine
LA Family Magazine file://
BabyZone Web Site file://
Santa Monica calendars
Manhattan Beach
Marina del Rey
Culver City
Beverly Hills
Redondo Beach
El Segundo
Digital City - put in your city file://

Go City Kids file://
The Daisy Chain file://
Fox 11 News
ABC 7 News
Los Angeles Magazine
The Argonaut

Whats Up for Kids
The Howard Hughes Promenade
Los Angeles Area Kids
Los Angeles Almanac events
The Grove - click on events then kids
Westside Pavillon Kids Club
Mom Style New file://

Other family websites for info:,

For health info:

For general in LA: Urban Baby

Monday, November 24, 2008

Diaper bag list

Here's what I have. Keep in mind that you reassess as your child gets older (I carried less once Mr. Mischief turned 1) and depending on how long you're going out for.

I also have a smaller purse that has just the basics that I'll take if we go to just dinner. We also keep a bag in each of our cars with the basics too.

Every time we get home, I refill the bag right away before I put it away. That way we can leave the house ready to go =)

2 diapers for each kid
1 travel size changing pad (I still carry a disposable one for the icky changing tables if I can avoid using my precious pull-out.)
1 change of clothes (lightweight, no jeans, no shoes, incl. socks though)
1 travel size diaper wipes
1 travel size diaper rash cream
1 extra small refillable bottle of sunscreen
1 ziplock bag of snack item
1 nursing cover
1 bottle
1 small toy
1 small book
1 half pint bottle of drinking water
1 snack bar for you
2 one gallon ziplock bags (wrap used diapers, clothes)
2 sandwich ziplock bags
1 lightweight receiving blanket
1 burp cloth
1 sweater/jacket for baby*
1 t-shirt change for you*
1 set of disposable nursing pads*
1 hat *
1 jar of baby food (for emergencies =)**
1 disposable placemat**
1 disposable bib**
1 disposable spoon**

I also have a comb, sample of diaper rash cream, sample of body lotion, sample of shampoo, sample of hair and body wash, kleenex, two tylenol, sample disinfecting wipes, cotton balls, teething tablets, nose-sucker-thingie in the back of the car. These are all in a little bag together that I can take out or toss in easily, if I need to focus on the basics.

*These are optional depending on what you're doing and can be kept in the car.
**These are a recent addition. I used to just carry a cloth bib.

In the trunk of your car, in a separate bag, keep:
1 jacket
1 change of clothes for you both
1 pair of shoes
1 hat
4 spare diapers
1 pack of wet ones
3 gallon ziplocks
3 packs of goldfish crackers
1 pint of unopened water
1 ball
1 heavy blanket
1 roll of paper towels

I also keep a bucket, shovel and umbrella along with my highchair/shopping cart cover with this stuff in a clear plastic tub in the trunk. BabyDaddy thinks it makes me neater and more organized =)

They have special toys for their car seats that just stay out there so I don't have to worry about grabbing one on the way out the door. Nothing too heavy that can become projectile in an accident. Lovely thought, I know!

I'll recommend chiropractors to help you adjust your back after carrying all this in the next post.

Feeding stuff

I've sinced checked for BPA-free and all the below are. Yea for us.


here are the non-toxic ones:BornFree Training and Drinking CupAvent Magic CupEvenflo cups with inner liningFirst Years Take & TossGerber Color Change, Sport Fun Grip and Soft StarterPlaytex Sipster, Big Sipster and Quickstraw


We have one so far that's a camo print. It's fabulous for eating out and not messing up his outfits!
The ones with the dots are the cutest I've seen…I just don't know if I want to pay the extra money for fashion when it'll end up covered in carrots eventually...=) (Amazon also sells this one, but I tried ordering it and kept getting the blanket instead…I think they're coding is off.

The Gerber spoons and bowl

The Gerber fork and spoon are on the bottom right

These are great b/c you don't feel guilty if you lose one.

Target sells most of the above too.

Easy playdough recipe!

Here's a playdough recipe from a local mom...You would probably want to double or triple it.
For a handprint project, since you'll need to make a deep, round mold that is large enough to accommodate your child's hand.
This is a lot of cream of tartar; I think you could use less (or use teaspoons, not TBLSP per batch). Also, you can buy a HUGE thing of C of T at Surfas (at National & Washington), which is much cheaper than the grocery store. My kids like this dough much better than store-bought b/c it is softer and you > can have a lot of it.> > Also, you should bring a disposable pie pan to help form the mold and hold > the playdough while the plaster hardens.> > > 1 cup flour> 1/2 cup salt> 1 cup water> 2 tablespoon oil> 2 tablespoon cream of tartar> > Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil, and slowly add the water. Cook > over medium heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax > paper and let cool. Knead the dough with your hands until of proper consistency.>

Toddler food ideas from mommies

Who knew there was so much out there for our little ones? I

- cut peaches (cut in little cubes)- blueberries- blackberries- strawberries cut up- watermelon
- cheese cut in small pieces- cooked rice - brown rice conveniently clumps and can be picked up- oatmeal - frozen waffles- bagels with cream cheese- grilled cheese sandwich cut in very small cubes- avocado pieces- trader joe's breakfast bars- pizza cut in small cubes - frozen hash brown patties cut up
- Dr Praeger's veggie pancakes
--Noodles: I know you said he'll eat them this house I have to vary the noodle style.
Ravioli: along the same lines as noodles, but they sell frozen ones with cheese or beef in them. Also, TJs sells the mini cheese filled ones.
-pancakes (fresh or frozen-Krusteaz make mini pancakes)
-veggies -- especially green bean--canned ---*gasp* I know the sodium is high (unless you get no salt added) but they are mushy.
-cucumber --(she sucks on it more than eats---again ONE tooth)
-couscous mixed with anything (cheese, tom. sauce--messy b/c tiny, but ....)
-scrambled eggs or hard boiled
-french toast
-shredded chicken/turkey/pork
-ground turkey/hamburger/veggie burgers
-crackers ( she LOVES the "everything crackers" from TJs)
-PB&J sandwich (but sunflower butter not Peanut butter and "All Fruit" not jelly, but if I wrote SB&F you wouldn't have known what I meant)
-cantelope, diced,
-small pieces of orange
-frozen peas and carrots
-Wacky Mac (spiral different colored noodles with parm cheese)
-homemade french toast, cut into small pieces,
-turkey lunch meat (I get it from Trader Joes or Whole foods so it is not processed)
-spinach and brown rice patties (from Whole foods)
-sweet tamales, cut up
-sweet potato fries (you can get them pre-cut and bake them! Delish)
-Vegetarian Vegetable soup (drain in a sieve, give the veggies and ABC's)
-Edamame beans
-Green beans cut into small pieces and boiled or steamed until they are soft. (She won't eat them if they are firm in the least bit.)
-Lentils (Refridge section at Trader Joes
-Baked Beans or Black Beans-any kind of beans really, but the baked especially because they are sweet.
-Apple "crisps"- I bought them in a pack at Costco-they're basically dehydrated apples.
-Red Peppers cut into strips. She likes them boiled until they are soft, or she just chews on them raw-not much actually goes down the chute, but I figure it will eventually.
-Rice Cakes
-Pickles and Olives-not much nutritional value but she loves them both.
-Tuna Casserole
-Taco meat
-Frozen peas
-Corn on the cob-I just break off a smaller piece and butter and salt it.

Car seat notes

After doing my research, my personal recommendation would be to tell your grandparents on both sides that you already have everything you need and ask them for two Britax Frontiers for your two older kids. OR ask for gift cards to BabiesRUs Target and get it from them online. It will be the only carseat you'll use for both of them until they're 5. Ideally, #3 can stay in the ones you already have and move into 1's Frontier when he's ready for it.

Frontier is slimmer than any other Britax seat and will make it way easier for you to fit 3 carseats in one back row, if that's what you're thinking. If you get them on sale with free shipping, they're not much more than the second best ones and worth it because they'll last into the booster stage and you don't need a booster.

If you go Britax, the Frontier, then the Boulevard are the best.

Basically though, if your seats are installed safely and used correctly, then the kids are safe and that's what matters.

Here are the tips I got from the CHP when I had the boys' seats installed:

Make sure none of the belts or harnesses are twisted.
Always adjust the belts/head protection when your child grows.
The seat shouldn't move more than 1/2 inch in any direction. Sit in the seat when tightening the straps/seatbelt and use your weight to help you get them tighter.
Make sure your child isn't leaning back too far. They're not supposed to be lounging, the safest position is sitting up. Seatbelts/harnesses are designed to be used for up-right passengers.
The bottom/base of your carseat should parallel to the floor of your car.
The harnesses should be tight enough that you can't make a fold in the strap.
The chest lock should be placed across your child's sternum. NOT their stomach. THink about it- in a crash, do you want your child protected from whiplash by being held back up at their chest (where the ribcage/sternum will hold them) or do you want their internal organs crushed and their entire neck/upperback able to whip b/c the chest strap is too low.
SEcure any loose items in the car so taht they don't become projectiles in an accident.
Forget any after-market items like harness shoulder pads, piddle pads, mirrors, toys, sunshades as the carseats aren't designed to be used safely with them and they could become projectiles or compromise the safe use of the carseat.
Infant seats should not have the handle bar up. The CHP calls it the "Face Breaker" bar b/c kids often hit it in an accident and it can compromise the crush zone of the carseat.
There's my soapbox. =) My neighboy calls me the "CarSeat Nazi." =) There's a chart of all seats, height limits and price at the bottom Ratings on safety of each brand/seat Some more info on individual seats

OR here's the link to some Britax close-outs that are cheaper than the second best other brands. the fabrics aren't bad either =)

Community Activities - easy links


Here are some handy links you can use to find additional information on this beautiful area. Just click on one of the categories to jump down or scroll at your leisure. Enjoy!
Area Entertainment
Sports And Recreation

Area Entertainment
CNN Weather - Lancaster
First Valley Medical Group
Funland USA
Glendale Chamber of Commerce
Glendale Symphony Orchestra
Glendale Public Library
Glendale Theatre District
Intellicast - West LA
Griffith Observatory
Hollywood Bowl
KE6FCT - Palmdale
Hollywood Lifestyle
KPAL-TV - Antelope Valley
Hollywood Wax Museum
L.A. Times Calendar Live
Island Express Helicopter Tours
L.A. Weekly
Kayak Adventures
LA "Weather Hub"
Kings - Hockey
La Canada Chamber of Commerece
L.A. Times San Fernando Valley Calendar
Lancaster Library
LA Calendar Live
Local Weather
LA Coliseum
Local Weather
LA Entertainment & Events
Local Weather
LA Online Movie Guide
Beverly Hills
Lakers - Basketball
Burbank Chamber of Commerce
Lancaster Jethawks - Baseball
Landmark Theatres
Carson Chamber of Commerce
Local Movie Showtimes
Catalina Island
Local Sightseeing Flights
Catalina Island Conservancy
Long Beach Aquarium
Long Beach Symphony Orchestra
CitiVU: Rancho Cucamonga
Los Alamitos Race Track
"Verdugo-Online" Guide
Los Angeles County Raceway
"Weather Hub" - Los Angeles
Los Angeles Guide
1st Los Angeles Hotels propose a directory of hotels in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival
Antelope Valley Airport Express
Los Angeles Opera
Antelope Valley Press
Los Angeles Zoo
Avalon Airport
Magic Castle
Los Angeles Airports
Mojave Desert State Parks
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Mojave National Preserve
Los Angeles City Fire Department
Movie Link
Los Angeles County Beaches
MovieLink Showtimes & Tickets
Los Angeles Daily News
Mt. Wilson Observatory
Los Angeles Fire Department
NASA Test Center
Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics
Natural History Museum
Los Angeles Police Department
Norton Simon Museum
Los Angeles Public Library
Palos Verdes Sports
Los Angeles Times
Paramount Studios
Los Angeles Traffic Report
Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Weather
Santa Clarita Movies
Los Angeles World Airport
Santa Monica Mountains Recreation
Scuba Diving
Manhattan Beach
Seal Beach Yacht Club
Map Quest
Seeing Stars in Hollywood
Marina del Rey
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Local Weather - Catalina Island
Snorkeling Adventures
Long Beach
South Bay River Rafters
Long Beach Airport
Southern California Golf Association
Long Beach Community Hospital
Southern California Ski Report
Long Beach Convention
Sporting News
Long Beach Local Guide
Staples Center
Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Zoo
Metro Blue Line
The Queen Mary
Theatre and Concert Venues
Ontario Airport
Touring Beverly Hills
Palmdale Airport
Tournament of Roses
Palmdale Library
Universal Studios
Palos Verdes
Valencia Town Center
Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
West Hollywood Chorale
Pasadena Chamber of Commerce
William S. Hart Ranch and Museum
Rancho Cucamonga Public Library
Willow Springs Raceway
Redondo Beach
Alex Theatre - Glendale
Redondo Beach
Annual Guide For The Arts
Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce
Antelope Valley Ballet
Santa Clarita Valley Online
Antelope Valley Fair
Santa Monica
Antelope Valley Mall
Seal Beach
Antelope Valley Skydiving
Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce
Antelope Valley Winery
South Bay
Art Galleries in the Valley
Southern California Association of
AV Desert Diver
Sporting News
California Science Center
The Catalina Islander
Canyon Center
The Huntington Library
Catalina Explorer
The Palisadian-Post Online
Catalina Island Guide
Catalina Island Performing
Torrance Area
Center for the Performing Arts
Upland Chamber of Commerce
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
Upland Police Department
Cinemark Theatres 22
Upland Public Library
City Walk
Vanguard News
Clippers - Basketball
Convention Center
Victorville Daily Press
Descanso Gardens
Weather Channel
Dodgers Baseball
Weather Channel
El Portal Center for the Arts
Weather Hub" - Los Angeles
West Hollywood
Acton Chamber of Commerce
Antelope Valley Dining Guide
Agoura Hills
CuisineNet Restaurant Central
Agua Dulce
Dining in Santa Clarita
Dining Out
Local Eyes: Dining - East Valley
Beverly Hills
Local Eyes: Dining - West Valley
Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce
Pasadena Dining
Search For a Restaurant
The Daily Web Restaurant Reviews
Top Restaurants of Los Angeles
California Beaches
Zagat Restaurant Guide
Catalina Island

Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce
Catalina Links
Chino Hills
City of Industry
Culver City
Diamond Bar
Echo Park
Edwards Airforce Base
El Segundo
Garden Grove
Granada Hills
Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach
Hidden Hills
Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
Hollywood Entertainment District
Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce
INTELLiCast Weather - Los Angeles
KABC - Ch7 (ABC)
KCBS - Channel 2000 (CBS)
La CaƱada Flintridge
La Crescenta
La Puente
Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
Local Movie Showtimes and Tickets
Local Weather - Studio City
Long Beach
Los Alamitos
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles Daily News - San Fernando Valley
Los Angeles Downtown News
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Zoo
Mahattan Beach
Malibu Chamber of Commerce
Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach
Newport Beach
Newport Beach
North OC Info
Palmdale Chamber of Commerce
Palos Verdes Estates
Palos Verdes Estates
Paramount Studios
Quartz Hill
Rancho Cucamonga
Redondo Beach
Redondo Beach
Rowland Heights
San Dimas
San Gabriel
San Marino
Santa Fe Springs
Santa Monica
Santa Monica
Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce
Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area
Seal Beach
Sierra Madre
South Gate
South Pasadena
South Pasadena
Sporting News
The Huntington Library
The Music Center
Universal Studios
West Covina
West Hollywood
West Valley
Sports And Recreation

CityWalk on the Web
Descanso Gardens
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Park - Glendale
Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles Coliseum
Mt. Wilson Observatory
Natural History Museum
Norton Simon Museum
Staples Center
The Getty Center
The Los Angeles Zoo
Tournament of Roses

13 Nagging Environmental Questions...

Paper or Plastic?
13 Nagging Environmental Questions …
Finally Answered!
By Diane MacEachern
1.Should you choose paper or plastic at the grocery store? The best option is to use your own reusable bag. When you can’t, choose plastic – then reuse and recycle. Here’s why: According to a lifecycle analysis conducted by the Franklin Institute, plastic bags require less energy to produce and generate less solid waste than paper bags. They also create less air and water pollution than paper sacks. It takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. The downside: plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose. According to research conducted in 2000, only 1% of plastic bags were recycled compared to 20% of paper bags, even though most grocery stores now allow you to return plastic bags at convenient, in-store recycling bins. Let loose, plastic bags can injure and even kill wildlife, especially fish, turtles and other aquatic animals that mistake the bags for jelly fish or other food. Still, you’d need to use a paper bag 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 disposable plastic bags. Bottom Line: Use your own reusable bag when you can, don’t take a bag for single items, reuse bags as much as possible, and recycle when you’re done.
2.Use disposable or cloth diapers? It depends on where you live. According to the Institute for Lifecycle Analysis, disposable diapers produce substantially more solid waste. Cloth diapers produce half as much solid waste but use more water and produce more waterborne waste. If your community (like many of those in the West) is concerned about water shortages, it’s best to use disposable diapers. If your area faces landfill shortages (like some of those in the East), it’s best to use cloth.
Many parents wonder what health issues diapers raise. There is no clear-cut winner between disposables and cloth. Bleaching the paper for most disposable diapers creates dioxin, a toxin that can persist in the environment and cause cancer and other health problems. But according to the Pesticide Action Network, cotton is the most insecticide-intensive crop in the world. Thus, using cloth diapers made from conventionally grown cotton contributes to global pesticide use. Organic cotton diapers and alternatively bleached disposable diapers are available in the marketplace, but both are quite expensive. Because disposable diapers are superabsorbent, they keep babies drier longer. However, this phenomenon has a tendency to postpone babies’ tendency to potty train by around a year. You may change more diapers in the short term if your babies wear cloth diapers, but babies may transition out of diapers sooner, too. Some parents worry that the plastic and fragrances in disposable diapers could cause asthma or other illnesses in their children. To date, no diseases have been linked to the use of disposable diapers. You can wash cloth
diapers in fragrance-free detergents and softeners if that is a concern. Bottom Line: Choose cloth if you want to minimize the amount of trash you create and prefer to wrap your kids in cotton rather than plastic. Choose disposables if you want to save water.
NOTE: If you choose cloth, you may opt to launder the diapers at home, or use a service. When the study was originally done in 1992, commercial laundry services were found to be more water- and energy- efficient than washing diapers at home. Today’s new efficient appliances may make washing diapers at home just as energy- and water-saving.
3.Turn the lights off or leave them on? According to the Alliance to Save Energy, there’s no reason to leave lights on if a room is empty for more than one minute. This applies equally to the new energy-efficient fluorescent lights as well as to incandescents.
Bottom Line: Turn the lights off.
4.Turn the computer off or leave it on? For greatest energy savings, the U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends turning off the monitor if you aren't going to use your PC for at least 20 minutes. Turn off both the CPU and monitor if you're not going to use your PC for at least 2 hours. Plug all your office equipment into a power strip/surge protector that you can turn off completely at the end of the day or when your equipment won’t be used for long periods of time to avoid using "maintenance power" even when you’re not working. NOTE: you can plug televisions, DVD players, microwave ovens, and other electrical appliances into energy-saving power strips, too. Bottom Line: Turn the computer off.
5.Drink bottled water or tap? Tap water is actually better regulated for health and environmental safety than bottled water; it’s a lot cheaper, too. Plus, when you drink tap water you don’t have to contend with all those inconvenient throwaway plastic bottles. Bottom Line: Drink tap water.
6.Buy shade grown, organic, fair-trade coffee or conventional coffee? All coffee is grown in the rich equatorial belt that circles the world. Growing coffee in the shade is the natural way to raise this crop. It’s also the best way to protect coffee’s natural environment. Shade-grown coffee requires fewer pesticides and less fertilizer than coffee grown in the sun while providing habitat for birds and insects that devour the pests that prey on coffee plants. According to the Worldwatch Institute, plantations that grow "sun" coffee destroy rainforests to clear enough land for their crop. As a result, half as many bird species, and only one-third as many individual birds live on plantations that grow coffee in full sun. Diversity of insects, plants, and other wild creatures is lower as well. In addition to growing their coffee in the shade, farmers can grow it organically, which helps keep groundwater safe. And growing coffee using "fair trade" principles ensures that farmers are paid a living wage for their crop. You can buy coffee that is "triple certified" to be organic, fair trade, and shade-grown from companies like Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Equal Exchange, and Grounds for Change. Bottom Line: Buy shade-grown coffee. If possible, get coffee that is also organic and "fair-trade" grown.
7.Use paper towels or the electric hand dryer? According to the Smithsonian, there’s no contest. Electric dryers are twice as energy-efficient as paper towels, even if the towels are made from recycled paper. Although the production of the electricity that powers electric dryers generates greenhouse gases, the production of paper towels is twice as energy-intensive and creates more greenhouse gases overall. Also, the manufacture of paper towels emits pollutants, including chlorine, and many paper towels are made from virgin wood rather than recycled material. Your small choice can make a big difference. Bottom Line: Use the electric hand dryer.
8.Rinse fruit and vegetables in water or a commercially available "fruit wash" to remove pesticide residues? Rinse with water. Dr. Walter J. Krol in the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station studied the effectiveness of four commercially available fruit and vegetable wash products at removing nine different pesticide residues from produce compared to a 1% solution of Palmolive® or to rinsing with tap water alone. There was little or no difference between tap water or a fruit and vegetable wash in reducing residues of the nine pesticides studied. Of greater importance is to rinse all fresh produce under tap water for at least thirty seconds, and to rub the produce while rinsing to slough off as much pesticide residue as possible. NOTE: Pesticides can’t be thoroughly washed off produce that has been waxed. Non-organic fruits and vegetables that are commonly waxed include cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, apples, lemons, limes, and oranges. To avoid pesticide residue on those foods, either buy organic or peel them before eating them. Bottom Line: Rinse with water, and rub produce while rinsing.
9.Wash the car at home or go to the car wash? Go to a car wash that recycles the wash water. Cars that are washed in the street or driveway can pollute our rivers and lakes, since the water that runs off the car into the gutter is not treated before it enters our waterways. In addition to soap, this water could contain mud, rubber, grease, and other automotive pollutants. Ideally, commercial car washes treat waste water before disposing of it in the sewer. They also recycle the water they use, saving hundreds of gallons per wash. If you want to wash your car at home, skip the soap, fill up a bucket with water a few times and use a sponge to clean off the car. Otherwise, Bottom Line: Go to the car wash.
10.Use paper towels or cloth? Cloth. According to an analysis done by reporters at the Miami Herald newspaper and Natural Resources Defense Council, you’ll save at least $77 a year on paper products, reduce the amount of trash you generate, and help save trees and forests. Why? Most manufacturers of paper towels and napkins use little or no recycled material when they make their products. Even if they did, most households cannot recycled used paper towels and napkins; this stuff just ends up in the trash. Reusable cloth napkins and towels will last at least a year. Keep a sponge handy for soaking up spills. Bottom Line: Use cloth towels and napkins.
11.Roll down the car windows, or use the air conditioning? At the slow speeds you drive in the city, it’s more energy efficient to keep the windows down and the air conditioning off. On the faster-paced highway, according to Beat High Gas Prices Now! The Fastest, Easiest Ways to Save $20-$50 Every Month on Gasoline, you’ll improve efficiency and reduce drag on your vehicle if you keep the windows up and flip on the A.C.
12.Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, or organic? Local growers strengthen your own local economy and probably use less energy transporting their produce from the farm gate to your kitchen plate. But many local farmers apply pesticides and herbicides at some point during the growing season. Organic produce may be available in the supermarket – but it might come from New Zealand, Latin America, or even the other side of the country to get to where you live, racking up huge energy costs and losing a lot of flavor in the process. Personally, I try to have it all. Whenever possible, I buy locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables. If I shop in season, I’m more likely to meet my food shopping goals. If I have to, I put my health first. Fruits and vegetables that can’t be washed clean (like raspberries or cherries), I buy organic, even if they come from afar. Ultimately, I hope my choice will encourage local growers to adopt more organic growing methods. To keep track of what’s best to buy organically, and what’s ok to buy locally, I rely on the Environmental Working Group’s wallet-sized guide, available here.
13.Recycle, or buy less stuff? Buy less stuff – then recycle what you do buy. Consumption is driving many environmental woes. Energy used in manufacturing fuels global warming and contributes to air pollution. Clearing land to build shopping malls and factories destroys habitat for animals and plants, and minimizes open space for parks and recreation. Reducing consumption keeps resources intact and minimizes energy use. Besides, just because something can be recycled doesn’t mean it is. Here’s just one example, from the
National Container Recycling Institute. The beverage and aluminum industries tout the aluminum can as "the most recyclable" package in America, But recyclable doesn’t necessarily mean recycled. More than half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. in 2005 were landfilled or incinerated. Bottom Line: Buy less stuff.

Guide to Smart Plastics

Smart Plastics Guide
Healthier Food Uses of Plastics
For Parents and Children
Plastics are widely used to store and package foods and beverages. Uses include disposable and reusable containers, plastic wraps, cutlery, water bottles and baby bottles. Plastic is convenient, lightweight, unbreakable and relatively inexpensive. However, there are both environmental and health risks from the widespread use of plastics.
Environmental problems: Most plastics are made from petroleum, a non-renewable and mostly imported resource. Plastic packaging also creates unnecessary waste. Although plastic is lightweight, it is bulky, so it takes up a large volume of landfill space.
Health risks: Use of plastics in cooking and food storage can carry health risks, especially when hormone-disrupting chemicals from some plastics leach into foods and beverages. Plastic manufacturing and incineration creates air and water pollution and exposes workers to toxic chemicals.
What plastic labels mean
Not all containers are labeled and a recycling symbol on a product doesn’t mean it’s recyclable. Commonly, only #1 and #2 with narrow necks are recyclable, but some communities recycle other plastics with narrow necks. Check with your local municipality or waste disposal company.
PETE: Polyethylene terephthalate ethylene, used for soft drink, juice, water, detergent, cleaner and peanut butter containers.
HDPE: High density polyethylene, used in opaque plastic milk and water jugs, bleach, detergent and shampoo bottles and some plastic bags.
PVC or V: Polyvinyl chloride, used for cling wrap, some plastic squeeze bottles, cooking oil and peanut butter jars, detergent and window cleaner bottles.
LDPE: Low density polyethylene, used in grocery store bags, most plastic wraps and some bottles.
PP: Polypropylene, used in most Rubbermaid, deli soup, syrup and yogurt containers, straws and other clouded plastic containers, including baby bottles.
PS: Polystyrene, used in Styrofoam food trays, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, carry-out containers and opaque plastic cutlery.
Other: Usually polycarbonate, used in most plastic baby bottles, 5-gallon water bottles, "sport" water bottles, metal food can liners, clear plastic "sippy" cups and some clear plastic cutlery. New bio-based plastics may also be labeled #7.
Choose less polluting productsto reduce exposure to chemicals from plastics.
PVC: The toxic plastic
Polyvinyl chloride, also known as vinyl or PVC, poses risks to both the environment and human health. PVC is also the least recyclable plastic.
 Vinyl chloride workers face elevated risk of liver cancer.1
 Vinyl chloride manufacturing creates air and water pollution near the factories, often located in low-income neighborhoods.
 PVC needs additives and stabilizers to make it useable. For example, lead is often added for strength, while plasticizers are added for flexibility. These toxic additives contribute to further pollution and human exposure.
 Dioxin in air emissions from PVC manufacturing and disposal or from incineration of PVC products settles on grasslands and accumulates in meat and dairy products and ultimately in human tissue. Dioxin is a known carcinogen. Low-level exposures are associated with decreased birth weight, learning and behavioral problems in children, suppressed immune function and disruption of hormones in the body. 2
Health concerns with food use of plastics
A myriad of petroleum-based chemicals go into the manufacture of plastics. Some can leach into food and drinks and possibly impact human health. Leaching increases when plastic comes in contact with oily or fatty foods, during heating and from old or scratched plastic. Types of plastics shown to leach toxic chemicals are polycarbonate, PVC and styrene. This does not imply that other plastics are entirely safe. These plastics have just been studied more.
Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen, can leach from polycarbonate plastic.3 Human exposure to BPA is widespread. A Centers for Disease Control study detected BPA in the urine of 95 percent of adults sampled.4 Scientists have measured BPA in the blood of pregnant women, in umbilical cord blood and in the placenta, all at levels demonstrated in animals to alter development.5,6
Hormones stimulate certain cancers. Bisphenol A has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells7 and causes breast tissue changes in mice that resemble early stages of breast cancer in both mice and humans.8,9 One study found an association between ovarian dysfunction and higher levels of BPA in urine.10
Early-life exposure to BPA can also cause genetic damage. Researchers found that BPA causes chromosomal errors at low levels of exposure in mice, which can lead to spontaneous miscarriages and birth defects.11 As for human data, one study found that women with a history of recurrent miscarriages had over threefold higher levels of BPA in their blood compared to women without a miscarriage history.12
Of 115 published animal studies, 81 percent found significant effects from even low-level exposure to BPA. While none of the 11 industry-funded studies found significant effects, over 90 percent of government-funded studies did so. Adverse effects include:13
• Early onset of puberty, and stimulation of mammary gland development in females
• Changes in gender-specific behavior
• Changes in hormones, including decreased testosterone
• Increased prostate size
• Decreased sperm production
• Altered immune function
• Behavioral effects including hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, impaired learning and other changes in behavior
DEHA (di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate) is one of several plasticizers (softeners) to which people have daily exposure through food, water, air and consumer products. PVC cling wrap contains DEHA, which can leach into oily foods on contact and when heated. DEHA exposure is linked to negative effects on the liver, kidney, spleen, bone formation and body weight. It is also a possible human carcinogen, affecting the liver.14
Styrene can leach from polystyrene plastic. Styrene is toxic to the brain and nervous system, among workers with longer-term exposures,15,16 but also has been found to adversely affect red blood cells, liver, kidneys and stomach in animal studies.17 Aside from exposure from food containers, children can be exposed to styrene from secondhand cigarette smoke, off-gassing of building materials, auto exhaust fumes and drinking water.
Tips for safer, moresustainable food use of plastics
1. Avoid using plastic containers in the microwave. Since chemicals are released from plastic when heated, it’s safest not to microwave food and drinks in plastic containers. Instead use glass or ceramic containers free of metallic paint. If you do microwave in plastic, use only plastic labeled "microwave safe." Note that "microwave safe" does not mean that there is no leaching of chemicals. Avoid using for fatty foods, as there is greater leaching of chemicals into fatty foods.
2. Beware of cling wraps especially for microwave use. Instead use waxed paper or paper towel for covering foods. If you do use plastic, don’t let the plastic touch the food. For plastic-wrapped deli foods, slice off a thin layer where the food came in contact with the plastic and re-wrap in non-PVC plastic wrap or place in a container.
3. Use alternatives to plastic packaging whenever possible. Use refillable containers at your local food cooperative. Bring you own take-home containers to restaurants. Bring reusable bags or cardboard boxes to the grocery store.
Fetuses and young childrenat greatest risk
Young children’s immature immune systems, rapid development and different eating patterns make them more vulnerable to toxic exposures. Long term exposures to these chemicals or a few large exposures at a critical time in development could adversely impact children’s health.
4. Avoid plastic bottled water unless you’re traveling or live in an area where the quality of water is questionable. Bottled water, because it is less regulated, has less-certain purity and safety than tap water, and is much more expensive. If you’re worried about tap water quality, consider installing a home water filter or use an inexpensive filter pitcher. Reduce or eliminate use of plastic bottles to avoid landfill waste and exposure to chemicals that leach from the plastic. You can also look for new biodegradable bio-based plastic water bottles.
5. If you do use plastic water bottles, take precautions. If you use a polycarbonate water bottle, to reduce leaching of BPA, do not use for warm or hot liquids and discard old or scratched bottles. Water bottles from #1 or #2 plastics are recommended for single use only. For all types of plastic, you can reduce bacterial contamination by thoroughly washing daily. However, avoid using harsh detergents that can break down the plastic and increase chemical leaching.
Baby bottles
Use alternatives to polycarbonate plastic baby bottles and "sippy" cups. Knowing what we do about BPA leaching and the real risks to children’s health, you might be surprised to learn that most plastic baby bottles and many "training" or "sippy" cups are made of polycarbonate. Fortunately there are alternatives, including baby bottles made of glass, polyethylene or polypropylene. Those made of pliable, milky-colored plastic contain no polycarbonates. Usually baby bottles are not labeled, so if you have questions about the type of plastic used, call the company’s toll-free number listed on the package.
Minimize leaching of BPA from polycarbonate baby bottles. If you can’t avoid use of polycarbonates—for example, if it’s the only bottle your baby will take—then just follow these tips:
• Discard old, scratched polycarbonate baby bottles and "sippy" cups. Plastic that shows signs of wear—such as scratches or a cloudy, crackled appearance—more readily leaches chemicals.20 Scratches can also harbor bacteria.
• Heat foods and drinks outside of the plastic and then transfer into the plastic only after they are cool enough to eat or drink.21
With your food, use 4, 5, 1 and 2.All the rest aren’t good for you.
Safer choices for foods and beverages
*Except new bio-based plastics labeled as such.
More on baby bottles and "sippy" cups
Avoid: Polycarbonate product examples
 Bottles: Avent; Dr. Brown’s; Evenflo (clear); First Years; Playtex Vent Aire; Sassy; TupperCare
 "Sippy" cups: Gerber Suzy’s Zoo & Sippy Snacker; Gerber Soft Starter
Safer alternatives: Non- polycarbonate product examples
 Bottles: Evenflo glass or pastel polyethylene plastic; Gerber polypropylene opaque plastic; Medela breastmilk polypropylene storage bottles and polyethylene milk storage bags; disposable bottle systems with polyethylene plastic inserts (e.g., Playtex Nurser, Playtex Drop-Ins) "Sippy" cups made of polypropylene or polyethylene: Avent Magic Cup; Evenflo cups (inner lining); First Years Take & Toss; Gerber Color Change, Sport Fun Grip; Playtex Sipster, Big Sipster & Quick Straw
Baby bottle nipples are usually made of silicone or latex rubber. Silicone nipples are lighter in color and are safer, as latex rubber nipples may leach carcinogenic nitrosamines.22
Green chemistry: Bio-based plastics
The emergence of the bio-based plastic industry holds great potential to eliminate many of the current concerns about petroleum-based plastic production, use and disposal. Although bio-plastics may not meet all product specifications, they are now used in food and beverage containers. For example, Natureworks manufactures polylactic acid, or PLA, a corn-based plastic used in a variety of products from containers to bottles to cutlery.18 EarthShell produces foam laminate made from potatoes, corn, rice or tapioca, which is used for food wraps, plates, bowls and takeout containers.19 These products are biodegradable in municipal composting facilities.
Published October 2005  Copyright Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
1. U.S. EPA, Integrated Risk Information System.
2. Institute of Medicine, 2003. Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds in the Food Supply- Strategies to Decrease Exposure, National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
3. Howdeshell KL, Peterman PH, Judy BM et al. 2003. "Bisphenol A is released form used polycarbonate animal cages into water at room temperature." Environmental Health Perspectives 111(9): 1180-87.
4. Calafat AM, Kuklenyik, Reidy J et al. 2005. "Urinary concentrations of bisphenol A and 4-nonylphenol in a human reference population." Environmental Health Perspectives 113(4): 391-395.
5. Schonfelder G, Wittfoht W, Hopp H et al. 2004. "Parent bisphenol A accumulation in the maternal-fetal-placental unit." Environmental Health Perspectives 110(211): A703-A707.
6. Ikezuki Y, Tsutsumi O, Takai Y et al. 2002. "Determination of bisphenol A concentrations in human biological fluids reveals significant early prenatal exposure." Hum Reprod 17: 2839-2841.
7. Wetherill, YB, Petre C, Monk KR et al. 2002. "The Xenoestrogen Bisphenol A Induces Inappropriate Androgen Receptor Activation and Mitogenesis in Prostatic Adenocarcinoma Cells." Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 1: 515–524.
8. Markey, CM, Luque EH, Munoz de Toro M et al. 2001."In Utero Exposure to Bisphenol A Alters the Development and Tissue Organization of the Mouse Mammary Gland." Biology of Reproduction 65: 215–1223.
9. Munoz-de-Toro M, Markey C, Wadia PR et al. 2005. "Perinatal exposure to bisphenol A alters peripubertal mammary gland development in mice." Endocrinology, online May 26, 2005 at, accessed June 1, 2005.
10. Takeuchi T, Tsutsumi O, Ikezuki Y et al. 2004. "Positive relationship between androgen and the endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A, in normal women and women with ovarian dysfunction." Endocrine Journal 51(2): 165-169.
11. Hunt, PA, Koehler KE, Susiarjo M et al. 2003. "Bisphenol A exposure causes meiotic aneuploidy in the female mouse." Current Biology 13: 546-553.
12. Sugiura-Ogasawara M, Ozaki Y, Sonta SI et al. 2005. "Exposure to bisphenol A is associated with recurrent miscarriage." Hum Reprod. 2005 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]
13. vom Saal F, Hughes C. 2005. "An extensive new literature concerning low-dose effects of bisphenol A shows the need for a new risk assessment." Environmental Health Perspectives. 113(8): 926-933.
14. U.S. EPA, Integrated Risk Information System.
15. Mutti A, Mazzucchi A, Rustichelli P et al, 1984. "Exposure-effect and exposure-response relationships between occupational exposure to styrene and neuropsychological functions." Am. J. Ind. Med. 5: 275-286.
16. Benignus VA, geller AM, Boyes WK et al, 2005. "Human neurobehavioral effects of long-term exposure to styrene: a meta-analysis." Environ Health Perspectives, 113(5): 532-538.
17. U.S. EPA, Styrene Fact Sheet, Dec. 1994, available at
18. Cargill-Dow, Natureworks web site,, accessed May 31, 2005.
19. EarthShell web site,, accessed May 31, 2005.
20. Takao, Y. and K. Arizono. 1999. "Fast screening for Bisphenol A in environmental water and in food by solid-phase microextraction." Journal of Health Science 45: 39.
21. Consumers Union, 1999. "Baby alert: New findings about plastics." Consumer Reports 64(May): 28.
22. Havery DC, Fazio T. 1983. Survey of baby bottle rubber nipples for volatile N-nitrosamines. J Assoc Off Anal Chem. 66(6): 1500-3.
What else can I do?
By choosing safer plastics and limiting plastic waste, you can support a healthier, cleaner environment and protect your child from unnecessary chemical exposures. You can also support companies and public policies that promote safer use of plastics. For example:
• Contact baby bottle manufacturers and urge them to replace polycarbonate in baby bottles with safer alternatives
• Avoid buying products made of PVC, used in plastic containers (#3), building materials, toys and other consumer products
• Buy bio-based plastic alternatives if available
More resources and links at
For more information about the Smart Plastics Guide, contact:
Kathleen Schuler, MPH(612)

Why it's ok that Mr. Mischief hasn't peed in the toilet yet =)

Article Location:,19840,648214,00.html
From BabyTalk magazine
Raising a Confident Child
By Michelle Bowers
While many mothers frantically shuttle their babies from music class to mommy-and-me, the
parenting motto championed by Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), a nonprofit organization
headquartered in Los Angeles, is an unexpected one: Do less. The group advocates slowing
down, attentively observing your child, and doing things on his schedule.
Based on a caregiving approach brought to the U.S. by Hungarian infant-development expert
Magda Gerber in 1973, the philosophy — which focuses on respecting the needs of the individual
child — has a devoted following of parents, including Jason Alexander, Jamie Lee Curtis, and
Jerry Seinfeld. "We don't set goals. We believe that infants are self-motivated," says Eileen
O'Sullivan, a member of RIE's board of directors.
While this isn't exactly a new concept in infant development, the group has created a program to
put this way of thinking into action for children 6 weeks to 2 years of age. "We want to help
babies have a strong sense of self. The payoff is children who are resourceful, confident, and
independent," says O'Sullivan. "They understand that they're valuable and worthy of our
attention." Here's how to "respect" your child, according to the RIE philosophy.
• Allow your baby to participate in childcare. Tell your child what you'll do before you do it.
Informing him about what will happen next — like a diaper change — can help him feel more
secure and lead to two-way communication down the road, says O'Sullivan.
• Honor what he can do physically. The group suggests not putting a baby into a position he
can't get into himself, such as propping him up with pillows in a sitting position. Healthy babies
will invariably reach these developmental milestones, argues RIE, and rushing the process may
frustrate them and even lead them to feel disappointed in themselves.
• Sit and observe. To see your child for who he is and witness small development changes as
they occur, RIE advocates that parents watch their child play, without distractions or planned
activities, ideally for at least 15 minutes three times a day. Occasionally, the parent should
comment nonjudgmentally about the child's activity — "sportscasting" in the RIE lingo.
• Follow your baby's lead. During playtime, let him choose a toy or a new place to explore. That
means making your home baby-safe is critical, so your child can have more freedom to wander.
In the spirit of doing less, RIE asserts that a child who is frustrated by, say, a ball that has rolled
under a chair shouldn't be helped immediately. Finding his own solutions can make for a more
valuable lesson.
• Turn off the television. Playing without the distraction of the TV lets your child decide what
interests him and may even help him develop concentration. For more information about RIE,

Great article that reminds us to slow down

I re-read this every few months or so to remind myself to slow down and involve my child in his care. Some are stronger followers of RIE than I am. I just like the theory of engaging the child,but I'm still going to do some stuff for him. Enjoy and take what you need from it =)

The Hottest Trends in Infant Programs Discover a new parenting approach that's
all about slowing down and enjoying your baby. By Gail O'Connor
The scene: a skylit, carpeted studio in Santa Monica, CA,
where parents are beginning to arrive with their babies for
their very first class. Teacher Hari Grebler invites the five
moms and one dad to join her in a circle on the floor,
where she's spread out some sheets. The parents place
their infants, all about 3 months old, on their backs. Each
baby then gets his first classroom "play object," a
colorfully printed cloth scarf, pitched tentlike beside him.
Twenty minutes pass, and since no infant has reached for
the scarves, the parents start to shift expectantly. Finally,
the father speaks up: "Are we waiting for other parents
Grebler gives a big smile. "This is it," she exclaims. "This is the class!"
It's hard to blame the parents who are new to Grebler's classroom for being confused. But
Grebler, an instructor with Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), is used to curious
reactions from newcomers. RIE (pronounced rye) is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit
organization that teaches its childcare philosophies to parents and caregivers. Unlike most
other parent-infant programs, RIE doesn't require parents to physically do much besides
relax with their babies.
Claudia Fried-Jenkins
Respect for Children
In RIE classes, which are intentionally kept small, parents are encouraged to observe
their babies at play more -- and interrupt less. "There's no discussion of 'When did she
start to sit up?'" says Grebler. "That's not as significant as observing how the babies
Respect for infants is the central theme. "If you were wearing glasses, I wouldn't come up
to you and snatch your glasses off your face, but so often we just pick up a baby or grab a
sock off an infant," says Carol Pinto, president of RIE's board of directors. "Respect is
getting down to your baby's eye level and telling him what you're going to do." When
you say to your baby, "It's time to change your diaper now," you're setting the foundation
for a two-way communication that involves your child, says Pinto. Even though an infant
might not understand your words, he'll begin to associate your tone of voice and gestures
with a pleasurable activity.
Until now, RIE has been a well-kept secret outside the Los Angeles area. Founding
director Magda Gerber, who also wrote Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect
and Your Self-Confident Baby, contained its growth so that new instructors could be
closely mentored in RIE's teachings. But word is getting out. As parents are told more
about things they should do -- and buy -- to help their children keep pace with the pack,
RIE's advice to slow down and enjoy one's baby has become a welcome antidote.
The classes draw an eclectic group. With Hollywood nearby, a RIE class is as likely to
include celebrities like Jamie Lee Curtis, Annette Bening, and Jason Alexander as
attorneys, nurses, and at-home moms. What draws all these parents is the belief that
babies are amazing little individuals who develop best naturally.
"RIE gave me a keen understanding of how much my children can be self-directed," says
actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who found out about RIE when her son, Tom, now 5, was an
infant. "I learned how to get out of the way of their direction and impulses and have seen
the results every day in my children," says Curtis, who still sings the praises of her
teacher, Elizabeth Memel. "My only regret is that I didn't find out about RIE when my
daughter, who's 14, was a baby."
Some parents who've attended other programs relish RIE's relaxed atmosphere in
particular. "I've learned to take cues from my son and not ask every five minutes, 'Do you
need this? Do you want that?'" says Claudia Buchanan, who lives in Los Angeles and is
the mother of 18-month-old Wilder. "Other classes tend to be less about the kids and
more about the parents. The parents want the kids to play with the right things. It's more
Putting Philosophy into Practice
There are about a half-dozen centers in the Los Angeles area and a handful of "educarers"
around the country who are teaching RIE-influenced classes. In 1979, Magda Gerber, a
former child therapist, cofounded RIE after moving to the U.S. from her native Hungary.
There, Gerber had studied with the late pediatrician Emmi Pikler, M.D., who believed
motor development varied among children and encouraged caregivers to allow babies to
develop at their own pace.
The danger of pushing children to do things before they're developmentally ready is that
it can lead to a sense of failure and disappointment, Gerber believes. She also counsels
against putting a toy directly in a baby's hand. If a child is interested in a toy that's been
placed within his reach, she says, he'll try to grab the object himself. This teaches a baby
to be independent and curious. Above all, it makes a child an active partner in the
learning process, not a passive participant.
Similarly, RIE advises parents to wait a bit before rescuing crying infants. If your baby is
upset because her ball is stuck under a chair, wait and see if she can solve the problem
herself. Make sure you're close by so that your baby knows you're available to help,
advises Pinto. You can offer encouraging words ("What can you do to get it out?"). "By
waiting," says Pinto, "you're giving your child the chance to experience mastery and to
learn by doing."
Today, many more experts are finding wisdom in these methods. "RIE teaches you to
respect your child as an initiator of learning," explains Peter Mangione, Ph.D., codirector
graduate school in the 1970s, that wasn't the common point of view." Back then, many
experts believed that parents needed to provide a lot of stimulation in order for their
children to learn. But in recent years, experts have refuted that notion.
Ultimately, of course, "babies are very individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all
approach," says Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, who teaches at the Columbia University Parent-
Infant Program in New York City. "You have to take the time to know your baby and
what he likes."
And that's what parents seem to really appreciate about RIE's philosophy. "It takes the
pressure off to be Supermom," says Claudia Buchanan. "I think I would have had the
inclination to say, 'Let's go to 10 classes and let's go here and let's do that.' Now, I just
enjoy my child a lot."
G ail O'Connor is an editor and writer based in Santa Monica, CA.
Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission from the March 2002 issue of Child

Healthy Home Tips from EWG

From those fabulous people who brough you the Safer Baby Products Guide...most of this you're probably already doing, but what the hey?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

uh....crap, but hopefully not on my dishes...

This from

The Dish on Your Dishwasher

A critical epicenter of activity in our kitchens is the dishwasher. Fifty-one percent of all American homes have one of these time- and labor-saving devices, yet it surprises many to learn that they're the most toxic appliances in the modern home.

Over the course of approximately 30 experiments, researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of Texas recently documented the dishwasher's role as a leading cause of indoor air pollution. Pollutants released by dishwashers include the chlorine added to both public water supplies and dishwasher detergents, volatile organic compounds like chloroform, radioactive radon naturally present in some water sources, and other volatile contaminants that have worked their way into public water supplies. When these materials are exposed to the piping-hot water that circulates through your dishwasher as it cleans, they are easily "stripped out" and evaporated into the air.

Depending on the material in question and your water temperature, dishwashers can reach 100 percent efficiency when it comes to transferring water pollutants and detergent chemicals to indoor air. Because these machines vent about six liters of air per minute into your home as they work, they're continuously releasing any water-borne toxins throughout each operating cycle. Even more problematic, the air pollution created by routine venting is often exceeded by the single large burst of contaminated steam that's released whenever a dishwasher is opened before its contents have cooled.

Although it certainly sounds a little odd to say, protecting yourself from your dishwasher means taking steps like these:
Ventilate your kitchen during and after dishwasher operation. This can mean opening windows, running your stove's ventilation fan (assuming it vents outside and not back into your kitchen) and using window fans.

If you're connected to a public water system that's using chlorine to treat drinking water, filter your home's water supply. An activated carbon filter placed where water enters your home will remove chlorine and most volatile chemicals. It will also filter water used in your washing machine and shower — two other hot-water sources of chlorine fumes.

Have your water tested for radon. If results are positive, seek solutions from radon abatement professionals.

Keep your dishwasher closed and sealed for at least an hour following a completed cleaning cycle. This will prevent the hot burst of pollutant-laden steam that escapes when dishwashers are opened immediately following their use.

If you have a "no dry heat" option on your dishwasher, use it. This prevents the activation of its heating coils. These coils heat up the inside of your dishwasher and quickly evaporate the final rinse water, which allows that water to transfer its toxic load to indoor air. Deactivating the heated dry cycle also saves energy.

Run your dishwasher only when it's completely full. Running a dishwasher when it's less than full means you're using it more often than necessary and increasing its contributions to unhealthy indoor air. And it means you're using more water and energy than needed.

Use a chlorine-free dishwasher detergent. This will greatly reduce the burden of chlorine and other chemicals in its water, which in turn reduces your exposure to them.

Make sure your detergent is phosphate-free, too. Contrary to popular belief, phosphate use is still legally permitted in dishwasher detergents, and phosphates may constitute as much as 20 percent of a product's formula. (Dishwasher detergents contain levels of phosphorus as high as 8 percent, which translates to a phosphate level of 20 percent.) Once phosphates are discharged into the environment, they promote massive algae growth in local waters. These sudden blooms of algae trigger a process called eutrophication, in which local waters become starved of oxygen and devoid of life. This issue is of special concern to anyone living near a lake or pond.