Tuesday, November 23, 2010

List of 100 Ways to Give - Part IV

31. Take a cart from the parking lot to the store on your way in.

Next time you are on your way into the grocery store and pass one of those cart corrals clogged with buggies, take one with you into the store. You'll make someone's job a little easier, and you're going that way anyway.

32. Always return your shopping cart to a designated return location.

Ever had a cart run into your car? Well, neither have I. *whew* But I see carts left every which way in parking lots, even when the corral is not that far away and there isn't a cloud in the sky. At a grocery store on a hill, I once saw a cart roll downhill through the entire parking lot, across a fairly busy road and finally go off the blacktop on a side road. There was nothing I could have done to stop it. Thank goodness it didn't hit anything. You can give back by putting a cart where it is supposed to go.

33. Donate a handmade item to a raffle/sale/auction for charity.

Are you good at crafts, cooking and the like? Non-profit organizations are always looking for funds. Why not donate a good which you have made so that the group can sell it? You give to the cause and get the word out about your talent. There is nothing wrong with receiving sometimes ... it's a very important part of the cycle.

34. Get certified in CPR.

For my last job, I had to get certified in "Heartsaver First Aid". Every two years, you get re-certified. Thank goodness I never had to use it outside of the class. And thank God I would know what do to if an emergency occurred.

35. Pass on your knowledge of CPR on to another person.

Imagine if even 5% of the general public were certified in CPR and/or first aid, imagine how many people could be helped after an accident or natural disaster. Imagine if your loved one(s) were one/some of those helped.

36. Volunteer at your child's school.

How can one instructor teach 25 children? With help of the kids' parents! When my boys went to public school, I volunteered in the classroom once or twice a week. Their classmates called me "Mrs. B." Even years later. I still smile thinking about it. You can help a child understand a difficult concept, make copies, help put up or take down displays. I loved every minute of it.

37. Adopt-a-Highway.

Don't go running across freeways to pick up a cup someone thoughtlessly threw out the window. But anyone can pick up an empty bag that blew up to a yard. Get together with your neighbors and "adopt your street". Start to think (if you haven't already) about what you put in the garbage in the first place. Every little bit helps!

38. Walk/play with animals at the local shelter.

The reason most shelters are faced with having to euthanize animals is because they can't afford to keep them. Help reduce their costs. You can donate money or food or accessories. You can volunteer your time to care for the animals. You can get a youth group to get the word out about an adopt-a-thon. There are groups around the country who will transport a pet from one state to another if there is an animal that can be rescued.

39. Teach basic cooking skills to youngsters at a shelter.

My kids are fairly independent an like to do some things by/for themselves. Teaching them kitchen safety and basic cooking skills (dependent on their ages and abilities) was a win-win situation. It freed me up from going into the kitchen to get someone something every 15 minutes! And learning a new skill was great for their self-esteem.

Kids from struggling families have enough in life with which to be concerned. Having an adult who cares (and has time) to teach them a skill that makes their lives better is a God-send. It doesn't have to be in a shelter...you could show a scouting or youth group. Get your kids involved too...nothing helps cement your knowledge of a new subject as teaching it to someone else.

40. Put a dollar in the Salvation Army red bucket.

A couple of years ago we started a little tradition. When we went to WalMart on payday, each of the kids got a dollar to put in the bucket on the way out. It got to be where the kids would start asking for their dollars when we checked out. Two years ago, my daughter (then 5) even got to ring the bell herself when she put her dollar in. It brought a smile to every bell-ringer's face. The way I figure it is if I have a dollar for a soda (and that's cheap for a bottle of pop these days), I have a dollar to put into the bucket for an organization with the connections already in place to do a lot of people good.

Monday, November 22, 2010

List of 100 Ways to Give - Part III

21. Join and participate in coupon train.

Do you clip coupons religiously? Join a coupon train! I had never heard of one of these until I joined several "Mom" sites on the internet.

There is a list of people in the train. You get an envelope of coupons from the person before you on the list. You clip even more coupons. Keep the ones you use and mail off the others to the next person on the list. Giving and saving is great!

22. Shovel a neighbor's sidewalk.

As my mother got older, and my brother got busier (I had moved away with my family some years before), a neighbor took it upon himself to bring his snow-blower over and get the snow off my mother's driveway. This is quite a job because snows where Mom lives often put down a couple of feet at a time. What was his connection to my Mom? Both his wife and my mother were born in Switzerland.

23. Give a cold drink to your mailman during the summer.

I suppose in this day and age, it would be better to have a bottled water of juice or can of soda around. I've seen some mail trucks where the air-conditioning consisted of a little fan attached to the dashboard. Can you imagine riding around in one of those for 8 hours? Ugh!

Back in the summer, when I would go to work in the afternoon (and the car windows had been up until that point), I had to use a shirt to operate the steering wheel until my hands got used to the heat. I always had something to drink with me.

24. Give a warm drink to your mailman during the winter.

Now there's nothing wrong with giving a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to your mail person. But in this day and age some might not feel comfortable accepting or drinking it if they don't know you well. You be the judge.

25. Make a special supper for each member of the family once a week.

Some people say charity begins at home. Where better, then, to start giving? And what a great example to set an example for your children! It doesn't mean you have to eat 'high on the hog' (sorry, I'm country, those are going to slip out now and again *lol*) every night, but cook a favorite dish, put their food on a special plate, have each family member tell a good quality of the family member du jour. Help your kids see that each person has something special about them. Do this less than once a week...just do it.

26. Read a book to a child.

Moms and Dads should be doing this anyway. Schools suggest at least 20 minutes per day of reading with your child. I know the idea of this is to get the child reading to help improve his or her skill. Every now and again, though, it's nice to be done for instead of to do oneself.

27. Read a book to an elderly acquaintance.

My husband's Mamaw is 89 years old. She used to get out and go, putter around her house and kitchen. A couple of years ago she broke a hip. She can get around on her own, move from chair to chair etc. But most of the time she just sits in her wheelchair. Now, she's hardly ever alone. She's in her home, and two of her three remaining children live within 5 minutes of her. We always visit when we stop by the in-laws'. Come to think of it, this would be a great chance for the kids to practice their reading!

28. Read a book to a visually impaired acquaintance.

I tutored a visually-impaired Greek exchange student for about a year, at a time when I was doing several plays. She enjoyed going to "see" the plays...I know, at first I didn't get it either.

We don't do this (give) because someone is someone has less than us. We give because every person is worthy of "being seen", being connected to others.

29. Drive someone to the grocery store who does not have other transportation.

One of our neighbors recently lost his apartment and his girlfriend in one fell swoop. He has no transportation. Well, our common landlord is letting him stay in one of the apartments that is being renovated in exchange for some work. And once in a while we drive him where he needs to go.

A twist on this one is to call up a neighbor when you are going to the store anyway and see if there is something you can pick up for them.

30. Join and be active in your local school's PTA/PTO organization.

The PTA meetings at my sons' primary school (when they were in public school) were always packed. But few people were around when it came to organizing programs or fundraisers. Take the next step. Do more than you have to. Just don't wear yourself out. They are our children too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

List of 100 Ways to Give - Part II

11. Organize and give a (musical) performance at a rest home.

My mother was in the Swiss Chorus Edelweiss in Salt Lake for some time and they used to do this sort of thing a lot. Not musically inclined? I bet you know someone who is!

And why stop there? You could read to someone who is visually impaired, offer a craft class. I could go on and on (trust me on that one!)

12. Go Christmas caroling at a hospital.

I used to do this every year with my Job's Daughters group. My favorites were "Be Kind to Your Parents" and "The Twelve Days After Christmas".

13. Thank a soldier for their service to the country.

See someone in uniform? Go up, extend your hand and say "thanks".

14. Thank a veteran for their service to the country.

My MIL's husband is a Viet Nam veteran. He lost both legs and one arm in the war, helping to save some of his buddies. He came back, earned two Ph.D degrees and worked until his retirement helping other veterans who had become disabled in the service.

15. Thank a soldier or veteran's family for their service to the country.

My husband took the kids to see his mother a couple of years ago and I had to stay behind to work. I missed them terribly, so much so that I got a little tattoo with their initials and birthstone colors inside of hearts. This is so small compared to the sacrifices made by the families of soldiers and veterans, sending their loved ones for the good of their neighbors and friends and families. Invite them over for dinner. Take them a meal. Join an organization that is already formed.

16. Buy an extra school supply to donate to the school's family resource center.

Especially during back to school season, you can usually find real bargains on school supplies. Buy an extra pack of paper, set of pencils or whatever and donate them to your school's family resource center. Now, when we lived in Texas, I had never heard of such a thing, but we've run across several here in Kentucky. One local church has a school-supply giveaway each year that even welcomes homeschoolers!

17. Weed a neighbor's garden.

Yeah, I know, I hate weeding too. But it feels good when it's done. Imagine the smile you can create on the face of someone who may not have the time (say, a single parent) or the ability (for example, an older neighbor or someone who has been injured) when they see their yard or garden without weeds!

18. Plant and maintain a garden for an elderly acquaintance.

If you have the time and the help, you could even "adopt" their garden. Everyone needs healthy fruits and vegetables!

19. Teach a gardening class at church or community center.

Have a green thumb? Pass along your knowledge to others. It fits so well with the "give a man a fish" idea. Now, lest WAHs think I'm saying they shouldn't charge for their time and talent...far from it! I'm just saying that everyone has received help in life and paying it back (or forward) every now and again allows that charity energy to keep going.

20. Watch kid(s) for a neighbor in a pinch.

Almost a no-brainer here. Do you know someone who needs to go shopping without curious eyes in tow? Or maybe they just need some "quiet" time getting groceries or running other errands. This doesn't mean becoming the neighborhood's no-charge babysitter. Let your own situation dictate whether or not you accept any payment offered. All options, if honest, are honorable.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

List of 100 Ways to Give - Part I

The entire list of 100 Ways to Give was compiled in a single session lasting roughly an hour. Since I like to elaborate on...oh, pretty much everything, I decided to break the posting up into ten ideas a day...so people wouldn't get bored.

Also, not all the ideas are gems. Some may even be repeats or forms of one another. But the important thing and the design of the exercise was to brainstorm many ways to give and get me thinking outside my box.

So, here we go...

1. Take a meal to your next-door neighbor.

I have a hard time getting to know people. Some places we have lived, bigger cities for example, make not knowing people well easier. I think we talked to one of our four breezeway neighbors once or twice during the year or two that we lived in that apartment.

If you are a subscriber to the "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" theory, getting to know one's neighbors would fit right in. And food bribes are usually much appreciated.

Even if you know your neighbors well, they would probably appreciate the thought and gesture. Give it a try sometimes and let me know how it goes.

2. Take a meal to a shut in.

My husband had a headache today. He wanted to check on his father, as FIL will be going in for an operation on Thursday of this week, and we have not heard from him for several days. FIL is one tough old (j/k) bird and I am confident he will come through just fine, but DH is worried. A wife knows.

The point is, after the operation, he will be basically bedfast for at least a couple of weeks. Both he and his mother (aka Mamaw) have those little motorized scooters, so can get around fairly well. But he is in his 60s and Mamaw is 89.

Tell me any one of the in-laws would not love to get an already-cooked meal over the next couple of months! I think this is going on our family calendar as a regular event...once a week or every other week.

3. Send pizza to the local fire department.

Most FD's around here are volunteer. I've known and worked with several volunteer firefighters at different times and these men and women are committed to keeping the people and properties in their areas safe.

I'm sure there would be some logistics to work out. The pizzas would probably have to be delivery, or maybe a family or group could make the 'za' right in the fire house with ingredients that the staff had bought. It's hard to be too careful these days. (Don't you miss the days when this type of terrorist activity did not even occur to folks?)

4. Send pizza to the local police station.

I worked midnights at a police department in Texas, taking reports over the phone that did not require officer dispatch and transcribing reports officers had phoned in. We loved just about any excuse for a party.

Ditto the logistics issues as with the fire department.

5. Let someone pull out in front of you coming out of a parking lot.

The road that comes out in front of the gas station at the local Walmart is always crowded. I avoid it wherever possible. I shudder to think what that lot will be like just before Christmas. If I have to go, I hope it is about 4-5am, because it should be just shy of impossible to find a spot. People are likely to be grouchy. They've had to fight to get the most-wanted giftable items in the store. Drivers zoom around the parking lot, less observant than usual, all in attempts to get that close parking spot.

Imagine their surprise when you stop and motion them in front of you in the line of cars exiting the parking lot? I'm smiling about it even now. I think I'll make a point of this every time I am in that lot.

6. Give your spouse a back rub.

When I was pregnant with my oldest child, I was in a massage therapy program. I got halfway through and then had to drop out, because I developed sciatica and could not stand up long enough to give a massage. But one thing I found out during the program...the person giving the massage gets almost as much satisfaction as the receiver. There's just something about giving of yourself to another that feeds your soul. And a back rub does not have to be a prelude to...anything else, but then there's no law saying it can't be either! *wink*

7. Give your spouse some scented massage oil (so he can give you a back rub)!

There are many wonderful lotions and potions available in stores and online. You may even know someone who makes and markets their own customized blends and you can send a little business their way. Or, of course, you could make your own. There are scads of recipes and instructional videos online.

8. Buy an extra non-perishable food item at the grocery store and take them once a month (etc) to the local food bank.

Don't buy the most expensive thing there unless you can afford it. Speaking as someone who has been on the receiving end of food bank provisions, I would rather have generic spaghetti for five meals than gourmet pasta for one. (But I would eat it if it were there, of course.)

The point I'm trying to make is that giving this way does not have to put your budget at risk. Something that may seem minuscule to you may mean loads to someone else.

9. Talk to five friends and neighbors about joining with you and multiply your food bank donations!

There is definitely strength in numbers. If one less gas station coffee for me means one child has a full belly tonight...how can I refuse? If you and just one friend do the same, maybe two children from your city or town will not go to bed hungry. The benefits multiply with each additional giver.

10. Give flowers to someone in the hospital.

When I was in the hospital with my daughter, my boss from the PD came in one day with some flowers. Not only was I stunned that he visited at all, but the man brought flowers! Ok, I looked terrible at the time, but my insides were blooming with happiness!

It doesn't even have to be someone you know. Just take some in and have a nurse or CNA take them to someone who does not get many visitors. Or even drop an arrangement off at a nurses' station. Tell me THAT wouldn't raise a smile or two. Having worked in a health care environment for about 4.5 years, I know how under-appreciated the staff sometimes feel.


So, that's the first ten ideas. Have they brought up any ideas for you? I'd LOVE to hear them!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Five Question Friday #1

1. If you could have any talent and turn it into an occupation, what would it be?

I would love to be able to support my family by acting on stage. I actually started out college in musical theatre, but I was so introverted that I had trouble auditioning. I had to pass an audition at the end of the first year, and failed miserably...to the tune (no musical theatre pun intended) of one of the professors writing that "you should find something else to do. You have no future in theatre."

Several years later, as a finance major at a different college, I saw a notice for auditions for "The Importance of Being Earnest", and told myself that "I should do that". Then I saw that the auditions were that day and nearly talked myself out of it. But I went. And I got the part of "Lady Bracknell". And for 5 years after that, I did about 5-6 plays a year.

Along the way, I also finished my degree. For my mother's sake, I will add I attained "magna cum laude" status. Oh, and I found out my singing voice was pretty good after all.

2. Would you rather have a house at the beach or a cabin in the woods?

Beach. I love the ocean. I feel so connected with ... 'eternity' there.

3. Is there any meaning or reasoning for the names you chose for your child/children?

My husband had a brother and a sister that either were stillborn or died in early infancy. DS1's first name is the same as the brother. His middle names come from my husband and my father. DD's name is the same as the sister's. Her first middle name is a traditional name going up on my mother's family. As DH got to choose his sister's middle name years ago, we thought we would let DS1 do the same for his sister. His first thought was "Cherry". Not wanting to explain to the then 6-yr old boy why Cherry might not be the best middle name for a girl, we asked him to choose another. Thought #2 was "White". Strange. Thought #3 (and the one he stuck to longest) was "Olive". So we modernized it a little to "Olivia". Last but not least is DS2. His first name starts with a "B" and is just a name DH likes. His two middle names comes from my FIL and my MIL's umpteenth husband. We were going to list "V"'s name first and "D"'s name last, but that would have given him the initials "BVD"...like the underwear. I put my foot down. *lol*

4. What is your guilty pleasure? (I know we've done this one before, but I'm guessing people's "guilty pleasures" change frequently. At least, mine do!)

Baklava. I could have that for dessert every day after every meal.

5. Do you live in a house that is deep cleaned or straightened?

Don't be funny. I think I'm a permanent fixture in the "CHAOS" club of Flylady.net fame.


To read other great answers to the above questions, please click on the graphic above.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 1 - 30 Day Giving Challenge

My giving today was to my family.

My father-in-law is having some rather serious health challenges at the moment. Several years back, after an operation on his knee, an infection set up that eventually required the amputation of his right leg just above the knee. In spite of this "disability", he continues to be one of the most active people I know. He cares for his aging mother (Mamaw is 89). He drives the local Amish people around - locally and nationally, having recently made a couple of trips to Delaware.

Anyway, he learned this summer that his other knee requires an operation, and he is understandably nervous. In addition, he has a slipped disk in his neck and that needs an operation as well. He was at the hospital today getting a CT scan.

DH approached me at home and asked if we could take the kids to Stanford, so he could be there if his Dad needed him. Chris was worried because when he talked to his father on the phone, he said his father sounded like he was drunk. FIL wasn't drunk, but has been taking some serious painkillers to deal with his physical ailments. He said his father would probably be upset at him, but he wanted to be there just in case.

So we woke up the kids, got them dressed and we headed out. I was deliberately obtuse about why we were going, because the two youngest (DS2 - age 12 and DD - age 7) tend to get rather upset about sickness and injury. We just said we were going to help Papaw.

Well, when we were halfway there, Papaw (FIL) called and said he was turning into his driveway. So we turned to head towards his house. Before we got there, DH decided not to go. Obviously his father got home ok. FIL is extremely independent and DH thought he would probably get mad that we all came up "to check on him" and probably needed rest anyway.

This took 3-4 hours out of our day. But it was for family...and that means everything to me.


Even though it is past the beginning of the month, I invite y'all to join in the challenge, by clicking on the button to the left for more information!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

30 Day Giving Challenge - Starts November 1

I've always been a fan of making life better for those around me. So when I came across a link to the "30-Day Giving Challenge" while reading the "Life-Your Way" blog, I decided to join in the fun with others making a point of giving to at least one other person (etc.) each day during the month of November 2010.

I invite anyone who happens to read this to join in. Join in even if you start after the 1st of the month. Because any act of selfless giving, no matter how small or how often, makes the world a better place for everyone and everything in it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Camouflage Gardening

No...my family is in no way affiliated with the armed forces. No, I'm not a survivalist, and I'm not into hiding my garden from passersby. So why the title?

I was trying to find a suitable color name somewhere in between green and brown to describe my thumb. I start out green - the seeds take off and lots of little sprouts shoot skyward. But my transplant technique needs some...care and maybe some fertilizer.

No pictures yet.

We started out cherry and some other tomatoes for a "Topsy-Turvy" hanging tomato planter. My 7 year old DD was quite a help ... almost more than I could hope for, if you know what I mean! *lol*

The cherry tomatoes came up well in a little four-place plastic (yeah, I know, sorry) container. It came with the kit, and we don't have a lot of options right now. I borrowed one of our two cake pans to start the bigger tomatoes. A total of 3 cherry and 11 other tomatoes formed the basis of our fresh food supply this season.

Thanks to the wind and rain we've gotten over the last two weeks (twice taking refuge in an empty downstairs apartment), most of the coconut fiber washed out of the four-spot, but they seemed to be holding their own. During the last week, every day brought a new sprout or two to the cake pan tomatoes. (Haha, I think I will call them that from now on.)

Yesterday was especially windy. We had put the four-spot inside the container meant to hold the finished Topsy-Turvy conglomerate. It was blown over and scattered in the parking lot of our apartment building. But all the coconut fiber (and the 3 seedlings) were in a 3-4" wedge on the floor of the front porch up against the wall. I have tried transplanting them into some of those little fiber cup things that you can put right into the ground. Two look to be doing ok. One could use a "little engine that could"-style pep talk (and some good gardening karma from my sisters and brothers out there).

I'd like to take the ones we don't put in the hanging container and transplant them up at my husband's Mamaw's house. She and her sons (and their families) have about 1/4 acre plowed up there and just onions, lettuce and maybe one or two other things planted right now.

We also have sunflower seeds, corn, pumpkin...and I think one other type of seed, that will begin their growth journey in the coming days and weeks. One of these weeks I even will hazard to promise some pictures...of the garden.

Happy tending!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mamavation Monday - 3 May, 2010

For those in the Mamavation Nation who don't know me...which is, oh, just about everyone *lol*...here are the basics:

I have been overweight since shortly after puberty. My father passed away when he was 47, (I was a senior in high school) from a stroke and heart trouble. I am roughly the same age as my father when he passed, but my children are 13 (DS1), 11 (DS2) and 7 (DD). I want to be around for a while - a task made more difficult by my high blood pressure. I had a mini-stroke last August, going to the ER with bp of 212/120. For 4 years, I have taken care of adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Three years ago I started smoking (yeah, I know), in part due to the stress of the job. Right now I'm on medical leave due to being hit by a resident while trying to prevent her from injuring herself.

My nutrition and fitness habits have dwindled over the years to next to nothing, and I want to change that. After all, one day I want to spoil my grandkids the way my mother and DH's folks spoil my kids now. :O)

So, what I need to do:

1. Stop smoking.
2. Improve my nutrition.
3. Improve my physical fitness.

For the next week, I will:
1. Keep a log of my smoking.
2. Keep a log of my eating and drinking.
3. Keep a log of my physical fitness activities.
4. Review my logs on Monday morning, 10 May 2010 (the day before is both Mother's Day and DH's and my wedding anniversary) and determine "umbrella" goals, as well as goals for the following week.

Mostly I can use accountability partner(s). I am much more likely to make that extra effort to skip a smoke, or to drink that extra glass of water, when I know I'm going to be telling someone else!

How could I support other people in their 'walks' (no pun intended)? I'm a good listener and sounding board, whether someone needs to vent, brainstorm or chat.

I've heard it said that when you have a friend, your joys are doubled and your troubles are cut in half. I want to get that from, and be that for, other goal-oriented Mamas.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Friday

Today's triclosan article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclosan

I found the overall tone of the information on wikipedia to be that the side effects of triclosan were not as bad as some people claim to be. I tried not to let this color my opinion and discount what the article said, as I am predisposed to have negative thoughts about triclosan's 'cost vs. benefits'.

As several of the residents at the facility where I work have developed MRSA infections due to frequent hospital stays, and the article stated triclosan was particularly effective in combating MRSA, I'm actually all for it in a health-care setting. And I think I posted the following example recently, although I am not sure: a co-worker sprayed (over-sprayed?) disinfectant at work one day and I had to wear a mask in order to keep my cookies down, if you get my meaning. It was hard to breathe.

Of course, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone with an account, but has built up credibility as a source of information over the years. They certainly were thorough in citing sources: 31 for this page.

is a simple one-sentence question and 1-2 paragraph answer, that any high-concentration of bleach should be handled as little as possible and only in a well-ventilated area.

The upshot is that my opinion about triclosan and bleach use in a home setting is not really much different today than it was yesterday. I would still prefer to (personally) use products that have as little to do with a laboratory and engineered products as possible, but part of the carnival assignment was learning more about the substances and one article on each (triclosan and bleach) this week seemed to be about right for me.


I came up with the following list for a set of basic natural household cleaners:
1 spray bottle
1 opaque spray bottle (to prevent breakdown of peroxide)
white vinegar
hydrogen peroxide
baking soda

All that should be easy enough to acquire on Monday when I get paid.


Here are some websites I found to aid in DS1's lessons:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Thursday

Today's article read on triclosan: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/green-products-services/antibacterial-soap-55073001

For me, the most interesting thing about this article was that they claim the American Medical Association (AMA) is against use of products containing triclosan in households. Reading this article at the AMA site suggested it would be better to avoid the use of household products in which triclosan is an ingredient, but qualified this statement by including that insufficient research data exists to draw a conclusion. It was interesting to me to note that this was the only article found by doing a search of the term triclosan at the AMA site. The information on household products was found on pp 4-5 of the article, and centered on questions of the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan and the possibility of increased antimicrobial resistance.

I also checked this article at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) site. It was 26 pages long, and no, I didn't read the whole thing. My eyes started to blur in front of all the scientific data. To me, the FDA's findings were not significantly different from that of the AMA. Mostly it seemed that people were not washing their hands long enough with whatever product to make much of a difference in the amount of bacteria left on their hands.

Even though we wore gloves when assisting residents with toileting and bathing at my job, I always washed my hands between each resident served and changed gloves at least once (things could get messy) with and/or in between people. I use the "ABC Song" method to time my handwashing. :O)


Today's article read on the effects of inhaling bleach: http://www.ehow.com/about_5376626_side-effects-inhaling-bleach.html

The suggestions in this article included:
  • wearing protective gear (mask and/or gloves), especially when dealing with full-concentration bleach;
  • working in a well-ventilated area;
  • diluting the solution;
  • vinegar or lemon can help remove bleach that comes in contact with skin;
  • high concentrations (more than 500 ppm-which is way more concentrated than household bleach) can cause serious inhalation problems.

I don't know about y'all, but I want to go outside and breath some semi-fresh air, go wash my hands when I get back in and make sure I have the Poison Control Center toll-free number (1-800-222-1222) readily at hand!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Wednesday

OK. Here are the personal care products we use in the bathroom:

Aussie Cleanse & Mend shampoo
Suave Jumpin' Berry body wash (yeah, not just for the kids *lol*)
Listerine Total Care cinnamint mouthwash
Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste - cinnamon rush flavor
Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash

While none of them list triclosan or bleach, the acne wash has something called "microclear technology" ... and it's got the color of most 'antibacterial soap', so it makes me wonder....

Here are the articles I found to be reading over the next 5 days on triclosan:

5 Articles on the effects of inhaling bleach:

Anyway, these particular articles were chosen randomly from the first page of a Google search result on the topics of "triclosan" and "effects of inhaling bleach". I'm just trying to increase my knowledge of the subjects in order to construct an informed opinion on whether or not to have them in my household, and if so, to what extent.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Tuesday

Ok. So I went to the Kitchen Stewardship blog site today, actually from a link in the email feed for another post, and was thrilled to find out that the Spring Cleaning Carnival (SCC) post was up! I read through the entire thing a couple of times, taking time to get the background from various links shown throughout the entry.

I went through our apartment at, oh, let's just say 'close' to midnight and found the following potential 'nasties':

  • Dawn antibacterial hand/dish soap
  • Mr. Clean w/Febreze multi-surface cleaning
  • DC Home Lemon Bleach
  • Febreze extra strength
  • Glade Powder Fresh room spray
  • GV Sheer Spring Laundry Detergent
  • GV Fresh Scent Color-Safe Bleach
(Please note I am not passing judgment on the above products. I mean, we've been using them to clean and disinfect, so they are apparently meeting a perceived need.)

The dish soap contained 'triclosan', one of the evil elements in question. Two of them contained the other - bleach. The remaining products (#2, 4, 5, and 6) did not list either triclosan nor bleach, but had the usual "touch or inhale this product and you can kiss your *ahem* life goodbye" warnings. To me that would mean, if there is a safer alternative, wouldn't that be a good idea? My dear husband (DH) and my dear son #2 (DS2) both suffer from sometimes horrendous allergies, so eliminating potential irritants is of great interest here.

And, I must confess, I have searched out "antibacterial" products in the past. *cringe-have mercy on me*

My level of action is a combination of "baby steps" and "making strides". Wholesale replacement is not a possibility for us right now, especially since I'm in the middle of an indefinite medical leave from my work due to on-the-job injury to my right arm. (Thank goodness computer use is not painful! *haha*)

Subscribing to the theory that it's not 'really' the new day until the sun comes up, I will say that on Monday, 3/22, I went through my family's pantry/cleaning products, identifying sources of triclosan and bleach.

For the rest of the week:

Tuesday 3/23 - go through our personal hygiene products etc (see the "sneaky sources" info at the Spring Cleaning Carnival post linked above)

Wednesday 3/24 - search a list of 5 articles on triclosan and/or bleach's effects on people, to be read one a day starting on Thursday 3/25 until Monday 3/29.

Thursday 3/25 - make a list of supplies needed to make homemade cleaning products (click on the link to see Kitchen Stewardship's (KS's) post on the subject).

Friday 3/26 - make a lesson plan for our DS1 (age 13) relative to his capabilities of understanding on the subject.

Saturday 3/27 - make a lesson plan for our DS2 (age 11) ...

Sunday 3/28 - make a lesson plan for our dear daughter DD-age 7 ...

Monday 3/29 - amass at least some of the supplies identified on 3/25 by repurposing or purchasing.

*breathe* . . . "Baby steps, baby steps"

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Went Away for a While . . .

...and now I'm back.

I'm starting a blog carnival hosted over at the Kitchen Stewardship blog starting *egads* tomorrow, and thought I'd better get back into the swing of things.

Quick recap - I work at a residential/teaching facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. At the end of January, I was injured (tendon damage in right elbow - can't lift much of anything w/o pain right now). I have worked about 1 week since that time; thank goodness for built-up sick and annual leave and worker's compensation. Last Thursday I finally went to a 'specialist', who put me off work for 3 more weeks. So, I should have lots of time for blogging, right?

I tried one of the 'making your own yeast/sourdough' recipes on the above-mentioned site, and it worked well, but I don't really have a big enough jar to keep it going on any sort of scale. I'll have to change that in the coming week.

Anyway, off until tomorrow and the carnival. YEEHAW!