Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some Easy Ways to Go Green!

In honor of Earth Day, here are some incredibly simple ways to “green” your daily routine. Don’t worry; none of these suggestions involve switching over to wearing itchy hemp clothing!

Fully Loaded – Cut down on your energy and water consumption when you take care of your family’s laundry or dishes. Doing full loads of laundry, like washing your baby’s entire blue and brown crib set at once instead of just the sheets, and selecting a shorter cycle can help. But a majority of the energy used for these daily chores is actually used to heat the water. So switch to washing your clothes on a cold cycle (there are special detergents now available for this option) and watch your annual energy bill deflate.

Bright Ideas - Incandescent bulbs are so 20th century. If you switch out your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, you will reap two very great benefits: less light bulbs changes since fluorescents last longer, and reduced costs because fluorescents use about 3 quarters of the energy that incandescent require. Less light bulb changes means less waste, and less energy means a lower energy bill.

BYOB- Bring your own bag! When you go shopping, hit the library, or pack a lunch, think re-useable. Retailers have gotten hooked on this new idea, so if more people catch on, we may one day eliminate the need for plastic bags, which don’t bio-degrade and pose a huge problem for our ecosystem.

Shut Down-You need time to sleep and recharge at night, and your electronics could use a little down time as well. If you go to sleep watching TV, set a sleep timer so it isn’t running all night (added bonus - you will get better rest too). Keeping appliances plugged in, even if they aren’t turn on can still use electricity, so use a power strip that you can easily unplug.

Java Junkies – You can make your daily coffee fix another green habit by asking your barista to fill your order in a re-useable travel mug or thermos. Many places will even offer incentives like a discount to customers going with reusable cups.

Incorporate these simple tips into your life and reap the benefits of reduced energy consumption and waste production. You'll cut down on your family's spending and help make the earth a cleaner place to live. Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Top Ten Things You Should Know about Crib Bedding

You might think crib bedding will be the easiest part of having a child, all you need to do is pick something cute and you’re good to go. But once you actually begin searching, you are bound to realize that looking for the right set becomes a huge investment, because you want to find something that not only looks great, but will last and keep your baby comfortable night after night. And as with all things relating to babies, even a purchase like bedding can pose a few complications for parents. Below is a helpful list of the top ten things to know about crib bedding so you find something that keeps your baby happy and healthy, and most importantly, sleeping easy at night!

Top Ten Things You Should Know about Crib Bedding

1.) A fitted sheet is all you need! Babies don’t need a flat sheet in their crib; it poses a health risk because they can get wrapped up in the loose fabric.

2.) A crib bumper is a great way to protect your little one and dress up your crib in one step. The bumper attaches to the rails along the sides of the crib, and the padded material keeps babies from “bumping” too hard against the crib once they start to move around.

3.) Hypoallergenic materials are a must! Babies have very sensitive skin, so finding materials that are non-allergenic will help prevent irritating their skin.

4.) Buying a few back-up fitted sheets is a smart move. We all know babies are prone to late night accidents, so having a few extra fitted sheets on hand will make your life easier. That way when you find a spill, just throw the soiled sheet in the laundry and put down a fresh one immediately.

5.) Comforters come with every crib set, but you probably won’t want to keep that in your baby’s crib while they are sleeping. A comforter looks great but like a flat sheet it is too much loose material for a baby under 12 months. So until they are old enough, keep the comforter out of their crib at night.

6.) Cribs must follow safety guidelines and standards established by the government, so don’t think about using an antique when it comes to your baby’s crib. It’s best to buy something new or gently used, because standard crib bedding probably won’t fit something if it’s more than a few years old.

7.) Rubber mattress covers are a great way to protect your baby’s mattress. Sheets are easily machine washed, but spills on a mattress are there forever. So avoid this problem by getting a rubber mattress cover, you simply install it underneath your fitted sheet.

8.) You should machine wash your baby’s bedding on a hot cycle to kill any germs, and allergens, which can lead to problems like asthma. Make sure you look for sets that are machine washable so you can easily keep up with the care of your baby bedding.

9.) When you wash your bedding, make sure to use a detergent specially formulated for babies or one that is clear of dyes and perfumes. Any additional fragrances and chemicals will only irritate a baby’s skin.

10.) If you have toys and pillows that match your baby bedding, don’t keep them in the crib while your child is sleeping. They can pose a suffocation risk. This goes for any mobiles or toys that can be attached to the crib rails; make sure they don’t hang too low and are securely attached to the crib.
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