The Maids of Portland, Maine

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Did You Make A Resolution?

Around this time of year, you will inevitably be asked if you have made a new year's resolution. And when you are, you may feel a rush of adrenaline--which may be because you feel a sense of personal connection to yours.
>Resolutions create pressure
Once you say something out loud, you are broadcasting your hope in your self. You have instigated public expectations in your performance. Now that it is said, you could fail! Not only that, but your friends and family will be holding you to your word. Enforcing behavior modifications that you may not feel as resolved in at that moment, as you felt at the time you jovially announced your New Years Resolution.
>Resolutions build intention
Letting people in on what you want to create in your life builds a supportive environment to actually bring it to fruition. When your resolve is meager, those who support you will become your temporary crutch until you regain your conviction. And, all worldly manifestations originate as a thought. The more thought generated in the same direction the more energy there is for it to manifest on your behalf.
>How genuine is your resolve?
When you hesitate to make a New Year's resolution, you don’t feel like thinking that hard or you don’t believe there is any value in the tradition or you just can’t think of anything, you are not recognizing how significant your personal resolve is in the outcome of your life.
When contemplating the New Year feel, what would make your heart full? Let yourself dream; imagine living your dream; visualize the journey. What convictions are necessary to make this change in your life? This is where your resolve needs to be. Express your resolution in a way that creates the feeling you have when you dream about the resolutions result.New Years resolutions are about creating positive change in your life. Happy New Year from The Maids!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Horrible Truth About Food Reconditioning

It's no secret that food companies aim to make money. They strive to spend as little as possible and bring in much more than they spend, that's just business. However, it's becoming more and more alarming when the public learns what some companies are doing, and being legally allowed to do to our food just to save money. One of these money-saving tactics is called reconditioning. It's a lawful process allowed by the FDA and it's probably effecting food that's in your cupboard right now.
>Reconditioning is the process of turning imperfect, mislabeled, or even contaminated foods into edible and profitable goods.
Some of these practices seem to be harmless and understandable. If a company flops some pasta and the end result is a batch of misshaped macaroni noodles, they may regrind it in to semolina flour and start over.
Another very common procedure deals with ice cream. Apparently chocolate ice cream flavoring is so powerful that it overpowers other flavors. Due to this fact, imperfect batches of other flavors get mixed together and become chocolate ice cream. While I'd like my ice cream to be perfectly pure, the fact that it may contain slightly odd blueberry ice cream doesn't really bug me, it's not unappetizing.
These steps make sense. They reduce waste and save the company money.The element of reconditioning that is disturbing is when a company is allowed to take an outright contaminated food, re-process it, and put it on the shelf for profit.
This has been done recently with moldy applesauce, salmonella-contaminated flavor enhancers, and insect-infested rice. In the case of the mold and salmonella, the foods were run through a heat process and repackaged. The rice got re-sifted and put on the shelf. The companies filed a reconditioning request with the FDA and kept their losses to a minimum.
As the consumer, I'd like to know if my rice was re-sifted because a family of bugs were residing in it. Or I'd really like to know if the applesauce I buy for my son was full of mold. However, the FDA does not require a label or notification or even a price reduction to shoppers. Obviously it's a money issue, too. We doubt many would buy rice with a sunburst label stating, "Contained bugs last month!"
Officials from the FDA recently stated that "It's no secret that the FDA allows certain levels of expected contaminants to remain in foods, simply because a zero-tolerance standard would be impossible to meet."
If reconditioning and contaminant levels weren't a secret, it sure wasn't being advertised. But why would it be? It would cost money and apparently making our health priority number one isn't good business.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eco-friendly Tips for a Natural Green Holiday Season

If one of the visions dancing around in your head this holiday season is to "go green," then you are in luck. Here are some eco-friendly ideas from The Maids to prep your house for entertaining and fill it with seasonal spirit and natural scents...
*** Buy a "green" Christmas Tree- Avoid artificial trees that are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC.) Choose a fresh tree instead. Live, potted trees are reusable. Or, recycle your fresh cut tree.
*** This year, find your decorations in your backyard instead of heading to the store. Berries, flowers and evergreen branches are beautiful decorations and fill the house with seasonal aromas. Make holiday potpourri by simmering ingredients such as lemon or orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. Add to your seasonal scents by baking gingerbread cookies.
*** The holiday season is for cozying up in the house, so this is the perfect time to clear the air inside of toxins as well as dust and dirt. Use mild, biodegradable natural and non-toxic cleaning products. Baking soda and vinegar mixed with a little water make excellent all-purpose cleaners. If possible, try and open the windows a little while cleaning to let toxins out and fresh air in.
*** Candles and holiday lights are a big part of the holiday season, but electric holiday lights consume a lot of energy. If you are stringing lights, conserve energy by turning the lights only on at night. make sure they are LED lights because they are brighter than standard bulbs and use one-tenth the energy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hormone Disruptors in Canned Food: New Worries

Many canned fruits and vegetables are packed in cans lined with Bisphenol A , a plastic that is a known hormone disruptor. As you may remember, a couple of years ago, BPA was in the news a lot: reports had been surfacing , for example, that the chemical leaked from plastic baby bottles into breast milk. Studies were emerging that consistently linked the chemical to breast and testicular cancer, as well as a host of reproductive problems. A handful of states became so alarmed that they banned the chemical outright ( though, frustratingly, often only from products that wound up in baby's mouths).
Should We Be Worried?
Studies confirm what health and consumer advocates have been saying for years: there are too many synthetic toxins in too many everyday products; there is too little known about these toxins; and there is too little information about any of it for consumers to make intelligent decisions. It has become impossible to shop your way out of our toxic world.
So What To Do?
Noting that the CDC has discovered 212 chemicals " coursing through Americans' bodies," Senator Frank Lautenberg ( D-NJ ) has once again introduced a bill that would update- for the first time in 35 years- the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, the law overseeing chemical regulation. Under Lautenberg's bill, the EPA would survey the 80,000 chemicals in use today, only 200 of which have ever been adequately tested for their impact on human health. Chemicals the EPA considers risky would be required to be tested further. Rather than assume their products are safe, companies would have to prove it. This has been the model in Europe for years.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Enjoy the Juicy Health Benefits of the Pomegranate

Winter is on its way, and with that we're faced with a new lot of produce to enjoy. Amoung the many to choose from is pomengranate. Although the health benefits of pomengranates are impressive, the Federal Trade Commission has had to step in to remind us that the fruit is not a cure-all or quick fix, as many are over-selling its benefits. Consuming pomegranates offers a lot to your body nutritionally, but they certainly won't provide any miracle cures.
* Pomegranate seeds and juice provide ample amounts of:
* Vitamin C
* Vitamin B5
* Potassium
* Fiber
* Variety of polyphenols
We need more scientific studies to confirm the following list of benefits, but until then, add pomegranate or its juice to any wintry day for a healthy treat!
Heart Health: Pomegranate lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. It also prevents plaque build-up and dangerous clots in the arteries.
Men's Health: When consumed daily for at least three months, pomegranate juice may combat erectile dysfunction.
Dental Health: Just as pomegranate prevents plaque in the circulatory system, it prevents dental plaque as well.
Joint Health: Inflammation is reduced by compounds found in pomegranate. Although this isn't a cure for arthritis, it can help alleviate the symptoms.
Cancer Treatment: Scientists suspect that the regular consumption of pomegranate could not only prevent cancer, but it could also increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment. Breast, prostate, skin and lung cancer were amoung the types studied.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Achoo! Cold and Flu Facts

Headache, scratchy throat, clogged sinuses- cold and flu season is here! Aren't you thrilled? Below find some cold and flu facts offered to you from The Maids:
a.} One sneeze sprays tens of thousands of wet germs into the air at speeds of 80 to 100 mph-as forceful as a hurricane, nearly four times faster than a cruise ship but not as fast as the Space Shuttle, which can do 0 to 17,000 mph in 8 minutes.
b.} Germs may survive 10 hours or longer on hard surfaces such as cell phones, keyboards and TV remotes, and an hour or more on porous surfaces such as fabric. On your hands germs stick around for about 30 minutes- less if you wash your hands with soap and water.
c.} Even tap water works better than ammonia for killing rhinovirus, the most common cause of colds. But your best choices are liquid bleach diluted with water or a disinfectant spray containing o-phenylphenol and alcohol.
d.} To keep colds away, aim for 8 hours of sleep per night- anything less and your chances of getting sick increase. There's nothing to the feed-a-cold-starve-a-fever thing, but warm liquids can help soothe the symptons.
e.} Antibiotic medications do nothing to fight the viral infections that cause the cold and flu. They only work on infections caused by bacteria, such as strep throat.
f.} Flu shots take about 2 weeks to kick in and typically protect you for 6 months to a year. Each vaccine protects against 3 strains of flu most prevalent in a particular year.
g.} Evidence suggests that moderate excercise helps fight off colds and flu. Staying indoors won't protect you- and besides, fresh air is good for you. Ignoring symptoms is a bad idea. Rest, and be patient-you'll feel better soon!

Five Reasons To Drink Lemon Water In The Morning

Lemons are truly one of the most beneficial and amazing fruits on Earth. The many minerals and vitamins is nothing compared to the live enzymes this popular fruit contains. When telling others about the benefits of lemons I forego the obvious things like the high amounts of Vitamin C, the antibacterial qualities, and so much more. The most amazing thing about lemons is that the live enzymes, which die shortly after being cut, actually boost the impact that the vitamins and minerals have on your body! Check out these benefits...
~*~ It balances pH--Lemon is an acidic food, but once metabolized, it becomes alkaline. I work very hard at keeping my body alkaline. Why?To put it most simply, alkalies help keep the oxygen in our blood at a safe pH level, and this helps our body heal itself, assimilate nutrients and fight off unwanted sickness.-Nicole BennetI have read of many people who have fought their cancer nutritionally by focusing on the body's pH levels. Kris Carr, of Crazy Sexy Cancer has halted tumors growing in her liver for over 7 years by focusing on nutrition, including alkalizing foods. I think that is crazy cool. Even a little crazy sexy cool!!I regularly check the pH of my body using these little pH strips. I now know what foods --GREENS!--will keep my levels where they need to be. I also believe lemon water helps this process.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Olive Oil as a Home Remedy

~*~ Olive oil is one of the most beneficial products on the market, which should not be a huge surprise. However, there are some things you may not know about olive oil. Not only is it a wonderful addition to our diet, it also has amazing bebefits forn our health! The uses we are listing below do not call for direct consumption of the oil, so we do not recommend buying the most expensive oils out there.
... Cure A Earache: A lot of people swear that olive oil will cure an earache. We are not so sure, but we do know it will make it feel a lot better. Carefully use a cotton swab to apply the oil to the outside of the ear cavity.
... Help Soothe a Burn: Many people love aloe vera juice and so do we, but if that is not available olive oil works just as well. Cool the burn off with cold water and apply the oil every hour or so. In a couple of days the burn should be gone or a least a lot better.
... Polish Leather, Wood and Even Metal: Use two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice to polish wooden furniture. You can also use plain olive oil on conditioned leather to revitalize it and give it a nice shine, but be sure to wipe away excess oil after about 30 minutes.
... Make Your Own Exfoliate: Simply combine some sea salt and some olive oil and use as an exfoliate. Your skin will show a healthy glow and you are bound to save money by making your own!
... Fix Squeaky Doors: You can use olive oil instead of chemical or petroleum based lubricants. Simply apply oil to the hinges and around them.
... Care For Your Cat: Add a teaspoon of olive oil to help prevent hairballs as well as promote a healthy and shiny coat.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Avoiding Toxic Toys Isn't Child's Play

~*~Parents know how to protect children from dangers like small toys that can be choking hazards and dangling, frayed electrical cords that can cause shock. But what about the dangers you can't see, like lead in the paint of brightly colored blocks or the chemicals in a plastic sippy cup? Here are the latest toy safety guidelines you should be aware of.
>Toxic Toys: Get the lead out...
According to George W. Shannon, MD, a family physician in Georgia who is on the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians, parents should be most concerned about protecting their children from paint that contains lead. "The government agencies that help us in the U.S. can supervise overseas manufacturers, but you may want to avoid buying toys [made] overseas because lead paint can be a problem," warns Dr. Shannon.
New rules from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are further cracking down on products that contain lead, especially limiting the amount of lead that's permissible. A new law is requiring that U.S. toy makers and importers certify that kids' products meet the stricter safety rules and the ban on lead. But beware of thrift stores and consignment shops that resell older toys: They aren't required to give the same certification. You might also want to throw out any older toys in your home, especially those with chipping paint.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Study highlights pervasive impact of consumer products on air quality in homes

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology provides the most comprehensive information to date on the mixtures of hormone disrupting chemicals people are commonly exposed to in their homes. It also confirms that indoor uses of consumer products are the primary sources of endocrine disrupting exposures in indoor air, and shows that indoor levels are higher than those outdoors.
Researchers from Silent Spring Institute analyzed 104 chemicals in 50 homes including both chemicals that penetrate indoors from outdoor industrial and transportation sources and those from indoor use of consumer products and building materials. Among those found were phthalates, parabens, PBDE flame retardants, PCBs, and pesticides, all widely used in homes, but suspected to have adverse health effects such as cancer and reproductive, neurological, and thyroid disorders.
Unlike industrial and transportation pollutants and pesticides, which vary a lot geographically, the authors note that pollutants from consumer products (plastics, furniture, cleaning products, cosmetics, etc.) do not vary widely geographically or demographically. This is significant because it shows the pervasive effects of common consumer products on indoor air quality.

Monday, October 24, 2011

7 Supermarket Foods to Avoid

In a recent article, seven experts in the fields of both food and the environment (scientists, doctors and farmers) were asked just one simple question: "What foods do you avoid?" Their responses had nothing to do with calories or nutrient-density, but all to do with their insider knowledge on how certain seemingly "healthy" foods that they closely work with are produced and packaged. The findings are scary . If the farmer who grows the food won't eat it himself, then we won't touch it either. Here's a summary of the findings. You can add these seven to your 'Foods to Avoid' list:
1.) Canned Tomatoes :
An endocrinologist and expert on the topic of the synthetic oestrogen bisphenol-A (BCA), linked to heart disease and infertility, won't go near canned tomatoes. Tin cans are lined with a resin containing BCA which is especially a problem with canning tomatoes, as the acid in tomato breaks this down in dangerous amounts. This is a serious health concern for everyone who loves a Spag Bol, especially children. Our advice: if you still want the convenience of stored, ready-to-cook tomatoes, opt for sauces and pasta in glass bottles.
2.) Conventional Beef:
For fat cows (and fat people) feed them grain, corn and soy. This is what farmers do to increase profits. The end product is meat that is nutritionally inferior. Cows were meant to eat grass. Studies show that grass-fed beef (compared to corn-fed) is higher in important vitamins, minerals and the heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory fats. Then there's also the issue of all the antibiotics used on those inappropriately-fed, sick cows... Our advice: Look for "grass-fed" or "pasture-fed" organic beef from strong healthy beasts.
3.) Microwave Popcorn:
Another poisonous packaging issue: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) lines the bags of those popcorn bags, and the heat in the microwave leaches this straight onto your movie munchies. The UCLA links this compound to infertility. Our advice: Corn kernels + butter + sea salt + plus a big pot (with a lid!) Simple.
4.) Conventional Potatos:
More than any other vegetable, non-organic potatoes are heavily sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides throughout every stage of their growth, harvesting and storage. So much so that potato growers never eat the potatoes they sell and grow their own separate plots without all the chemicals. Our advice: Organic or Bio-dynamic potatoes only.
5.) Farmed Salmon:
This is particularly scary considering that in Australia, the only fresh Salmon we have access to is farmed; all farmed, this includes "Atlantic" Salmon. These fish are crammed in pens and fed all manner of junk from soy and hydrolyzed chicken feathers and pellets. A scientific study on fish contamination showed high levels of DDT and PCB's (carcinogens). So serious were the findings that the director for the Institute for Health warns that any more than one salmon meal every 5 months increases your cancer risk. Not to mention that fact that the levels of Omega 3 and Vitamin D are devoid in these poor factory-versions that their wild, up-stream-swimming ancestors contain. Our advice: For fresh fish, choose small & wild varieties wherever available. For salmon in Australia, your only wild option is out of a tin. Look for brands like Paramount Wild Alaskan Salmon, or other brands form Norway and Canada are often wild too. Even still, eat these only occasionally.
6.) Coventional Milk:
Dairy cows today are fed growth hormones to maximize milk production. Not only does this make for a potentially breast/prostate/colon cancer milk shake, but it also leads to increased incidence of udder infection for the poor cow, leading to pus in the milk. Our advice: if you do drink cows' milk, make sure it states clearly on the label that it is produced without artificial hormones, and ideally choose organic whole milk from pasture-fed cows.
7.) Coventional Apples:
There's no coincidence that farm workers have higher rates of many cancers. Of all common fruits, apples are the most heavily and frequently doused with pesticides. Pesticide reside on conventional fruits is also linked to Parkinson's. To limit exposure, be wary of apples especially. Our advice: Organic. Or at the very least, wash and peel.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cleaning Up After Halloween Pranks

a.) Eggs- The most common item in the prankster's arsenal, the one that can leave your car and house a scrambled mess. Eggs can cause a great deal of damage if left to bake in the sun because they can corrode paint surfaces within hours. A powerwashing is one of the best ways to remove the egg. If it is already a stuck-on mess, or on a painted surface, use one part warm water, one part vinegar, and a little Dawn dish detergent as your cleaning solution. Pick out the shells first so they do not leave scratches, and hold a wet sponge or rag against the egg for a few minutes to loosen the egg before you gently scrub it away.
b.) Silly String- It's not that funny when this stuff is sprayed all over your property. This stuff can damage paint on cars , and it will adhere to painted surfaces. Hose off as much as possible before it dries. Be very careful if you try to scrape it off of painted materials, including your car, because it can pull the paint off with it. Try dish detergent and water as a cleaning solution first.
c.) Toilet Paper- This one may seem like a no-brainer to clean up... that is, when you can reach it. Also, if you do not get it out of the trees before it rains you could end up with clumps stuck in the branches. If you do beat Mother Nature to the punch, you can use a rake or expandable painter's pole to reach the toilet paper and pull it down. Or you can try wrapping duct tape around the pole ( glue side out ) to stick and retrieve the paper.
d.) Shaving Cream- It may be harmless to your skin, but this stuff can leave permanant marks on cars, asphalt, and painted surfaces if it is not cleaned off before it dries. The easiest way to remove it is with the power washer, or to simply wash it away with a non-abrasive sponge and Simple Green.
Don't forget a good defense sometimes is the best offense. Move all your pumpkins inside for the night, or put them out back, and store any lawn ornaments, planters, and furniture in the yard, shed or garage. The more you leave out in plain sight, the more tempting of a target your house becomes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Raising An Eco-Minded Child In Todays Throw-Away World

Parenting is tough. Not only are you charged with raising a child to be physically and emotionally healthy but also socially responsible. In this age of melting ice-caps, overflowing landfills and dwindling natural resources , it's more important than ever to raise an eco-friendly child. Here are some ways you can instill environmentally conscious values:
~*~ Start Them Young:
Make them green babies. Consider using cloth diapers and invest in organic baby blankets and clothing to keep your baby chemical free.
~*~ Make Your House an Eco-friendly House:
Choose non-toxic cleaners or take advantage of the cleaning power of baking soda and white vinegar.
~*~ Green Their Play Time:
For babies and toddlers choose wooden toys over plastic. For older kids, take a break from electronics and lead a nature wlak.
~*~ Make Recycling Fun:
Let the kids decorate the recycling bin to make it their own. Reward them when they put in their cans and bottles. Make sure they know the difference they are making with one sipmle step.
~*~ Teach Them The Importance of Conservation:
Encourage your children to turn off and unplug lights and electronics when not in use. On a nice day, let them help you hang clothes on a clothesline.
~*~ Volunteer:
Teach your kids about the importance of giving back! A parent is the strongest role model so make sure you lead by example. Conserve water and energy when you can, choose alternative fabrics and know that even the smallest gestures will teach your kids that being environmentally responsible is a responsibility that we all share.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Seriously Disturbing Facts About Soda

~>The soda, or beverage, industry is truly amazing. No matter how horrible the drinks are for your health, your wallet, and even your taste buds (let's admit it, most soda drinks are kind of disgusting) the industry is worth over $500 billion and continuing to grow with the support of millions of addicted customers! More surprising is that the government mandates that all bottled beverages be pasteurized, so all of the claims about vitamins, minerals, and other healthy benefits are direct lies.pasteurization is the process of heating up the liquid before bottling to kill harmful bacteria thus killing the good stuff. The worst of the different types of beverages is the massive soda industry that makes up more than 60% of the entire beverage industry.
~>According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans drink more than 50 gallons per capita of carbonated soft drinks each year. That adds up to thousands of extra calories, sugar, and who knows what else. For example, if Coke Classic is your drink at 96 calories per can, it adds up to 77,300 calories per year and 43,100 mg of caffeine per year.Other drinks studied included bottled water, coffee, fruit beverages, milk, tea, beer, wine, spirits and carbonated soft drinks. Of the nine, soda made up the largest segment of beverages consumed and the U.S. as the highest per-capita soda consumer in the world. But what is all this soda doing to our bodies? To know exactly what you're drinking, have a look at these ten seriously disturbing facts about soda.
1. The Increased Risk of Osteoporosis: This disease is a serious condition that can result in tremendous pain with fractures caused by thinning of the bones. Those at risk include seniors, women, smokers, and now those who regularly consume soda. Experts speculate that replacing calcium rich drinks, such as milk, with soda is leading to a deficiency and therefore an increase in osteoporosis. WebMD has more in this expert article.
2. Passing Soda May be Harder Than You Think: According to a study in the "Journal of Clinical Epidemiology," phosphate-based soft drinks have been proposed as a contributor to kidney stones. It looked at over 1,000 male patients who both formed kidney stones and were consumers of a significant amount of soda to see what effect soda might have on stone recurrence. Those who consumed phosphate-based sodas in the largest quantities had the highest rate of kidney stone recurrence.
3. Soda-holics on the Rise: Much like alcohol or any other narcotic, soda can become an addiction. In fact, due to its high levels of caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and sodium, it is difficult to tell which consumers become addicted to, if not all three. This addiction can lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, diabetes, and tooth erosion. This article at Suite 101 has loads more.
4. Annual Costs Can be Huge: With a twelve pack of soda averaging three to four dollars, have you ever stopped to think how much that costs per year? If your family drinks three per week, the annual cost is $546. With a soda tax looming, it can easily bloom to approximately $790.5. Linked to Tooth Decay: According to a report published in "General Dentistry," the phosphoric acid in soda causes tooth enamel erosion, even with minimal exposure. In fact, a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry says that the levels of acid found in sodas are comparable to that of a battery. There are also dangers for your teeth associated with the high sugar content of soda.
5. Linked To Tooth Decay: According to a report published in " General Dentistry," the phosphoric acid in soda causes tooth enamel erosion, even with minimal exposure. There are also dangers for your teeth associated with the high sugar content of soda.
6. Mountain Dew Syndrome: Did you know that Central Appalachia is America's number one spot for tooth decay? This is contributed to by poor diet, lack of access to dental care, and a love of soda, particularly Mountain Dew. This condition has become so common it is referred to as Mountain Dew Syndrome. Another disturbing fact about soda is that it was found to be used as a self-medicated anti-depressant.
7. What's Not On The Label: Studies have found that soda served from fast food fountains contain coliform bacteria, which is linked to fecal matter. To make matters worse, the bacteria was found to be resistant to eleven antibiotics.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

5 Humane, Yet Effective, Ways to Get Rid of Mice

It's that time of year when our houses start to fill up with unwanted guests. If you would rather not kill the little creatures, even though they do show up uninvited and their droppings are an unhealthy mess, The Maids offers advice on how some folks deal humanely with such guests:
~> 1.) Susan Womersley, who lives in an old farmhouse in Topeka, Kansas, puts an empty box of peppermint tea in her paper recyclables and noticed the mouse activity dropped dramatically. Now she places a few squares of cotton cloth sprinkled with peppermint oil in the pantry, refreshing them as needed. " No mice, and it smells wonderful!" she reports.
~> 2.) Norn Noe of Vancover, Washington, places small, peppermint-soaked cotton balls around his kitchen and slips them into the walls behind plug sockets. " Twenty-four hours later, no sign of the mice at all," he reports.
~> 3.) About once a month, Milton Ammel of Parker, Kansas, mixes a half gallon of apple cider vinegar with 2 gallons of water and sprinkles it around the outside of his house. "We haven't seen mice around for a long time," he reports.
~> 4.) When Randy Orcutt of Hillsboro, Ohio, was having trouble with mice in his camper, he placed Bounce regular scent dryer sheets in the drawers and cabinets. " All the mice left quickly," he reports, but the generic sheets did not have the same effect.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Is Your House A Health Threat?

A home should be a calm, welcoming haven, and for most of us,it is. But any house, no matter how well cared for, can also be dangerous. Household accidents cause at least 20,000 deaths every year; poisoning and falls are the top two culprits. Our simple guide is designed to make your house safer- a place you can not wait to come home to!
Your Air:
~ Test for radon. Exposure to this invisible, odorless gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the country, behind smoking.
~ Make a clean-air investment. A high-quality air filtration system will neutralize most floating germs, as well as dust, some mold spores, and other pollutants that may contribute to allergies and asthma, especially in kids.
~ Go low-Voc.Volatile organic compounds are chemicals emitted by a variety of products, including some paints, carpets, furnishings, insulation, and even permanent markers. Look for low-Voc labels on paints, finishes, carpets and furniture.
~ Ban smoking. A fireplace is cozy, but studies show that smoke from fires or stoves can contain pollutants similar to those in auto exhaust. Help keep your air clear by burning only dry, well seasoned wood.
Your TV:
~ Clean the clicker. A much-used remote control harbors nearly as much bacteria as a toilet's flush handle.
~ Stablize your screens. Last year, more than 14,000 children visited emergency rooms because a TV or other heavy piece of furniture fell on them. Check that the mounting apparatus of your TV is secure.
~ Switch them off once in awhile. Studies show that parts of our brain light up when the TV is turned off.
Your Floors:
~ Remove your shoes. Lead is uncommon in most homes, unless we track it in. People can pick up lead particles on their shoes, which could happen, say, by walking past construction sites. These and other contaminants that cling to your soles can be transferred to the floor, where children play.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Clever Ideas Worth Knowing

Did You Know...
1.) If you take your bananas apart when you get home, they will not ripen as fast as if you left them attached to the stem?
2.) If you add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef, it will pull the grease away from the meat?
3.) If you add garlic immediately to a recipe you will get a light taste of garlic, and if you add it at the end the taste will be stronger?
4.) Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating, and peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking?
5.) If you use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip you can easily pick up small shards of glass?
6.) If you put a dryer sheet in your pocket you will ward off mosquitoes?
7.) If you sprinkle cayenne pepper on your plants you will keep squirrels away?
8.) If you pin a small safety pin on your slip or pants you will reduce static cling?
9.) If you fill your measuring cup with hot water, dump the water, that any sticky ingredient- such as peanut butter- will easily come right out?
10.) If you have a foggy windshield, using an eraser will work better to clean than a cloth?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back to School- Reducing Sick Days For Your Child

Back to school and back to germs! How does a parent help reduce the risk of their child picking up every illness that goes through a classroom? Children are going to get sick but you can reduce the amount of illnesses that they get by following some tips for keeping your child healthy...
> Diet: Feed your child a healthy diet in order to keep their immune system as strong as possible. Breakfast is key. Make sure they eat something in the morning. A whole grain bagel with peanut butter or even a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit will help keep them fueled until lunch time.
> Hygiene: Teaching your child to wash their hands properly and wash often can help to reduce germs. Using a hand sanitizer can help but overuse can be bad. There are now hand sanitizers that are alcohol free which are less drying. Properly using tissues when sneezing and avoiding touching their eyes or nose can help reduce picking up germs.
> Sharing: Teach your child not to share drinks with other children. This may seem obvious to adults but children do not think this way.
> Rest: Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest in order to keep them strong and be less of a risk to pick up every illness around. Rest is as important as diet in keeping your child healthy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In Rememberance

~*~Today, September 11, 2011, marks the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. People all across the United States and the world are reflecting and remembering the lives of those who were lost.
~*~ Today, New York City is opening the National 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. This memorial consists of a street-level plaza that has been described as one of the most eco-friendly plazas ever constructed. The plaza has irrigation, stormwater and pest management systems that conserve energy and water. Swamp white trees were also planted all around the plaza. To support the trees, a suspended paving system was used that sits on top of troughs filled with nutrient-rich soil for the tree's roots. Collected rainwater will be used to water the trees.
~*~ Today, on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2011, The Maids remembers those who lost their lives,
... Those who lost loved ones, family and friends
... Those heroes who gave their lives and those that helped
... And our heroes who continue to defend our freedoms.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Helpful Green Tips For Your Labor Day Party

The long Labor Day weekend is coming and many families will be celebrating the approaching end of summer and back to school season with a cook out. Here are some tips and ideas for keeping your Labor Day party and weekend eco-friendly:
a.) Eco-friendly drinks:Reduce the wastefullness of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans by serving a pitcher of lemonade, iced tea, juice or ice water. Pot out permanant markers for people to write their names on their cups to eliminate waste. If you do use bottles or cans, be sure to put out clearly marked recycling bins.
b.) Green Paper Products: It is not always possible to avoid paper products, especially during a party, but today there are more eco-friendly paper products available. When you need to use disposable dishes, look for products that are recycled,biodegradable, or made from unbleached paper products.
c.) Grill Green: Hot dogs, hamburgers, shrimp, steaks,or corn on the cob on the grill create a smoken' Labor Day menu, but did you know that your choice of charcoal matters? Choosing eco-friendly Forest Stewardship Council certified charcoal ensures that no trees from endangered woodlands were cut to produce the charcoal for your Labor Day barbeque. Forest Stewardship Coumcil charcoals reduces greenhouse gases that are emitted when your charcoal burns. No unhealthy additives are released into the air or onto your food.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ways To Make Going Back To School Easy

Saying good-bye to lazy summer days an hello to structured school days can be hard to do. Here are a few ways of making going back to school easier for you and your children:
~*~ Set Realistic Goals With Your Children: This is a perfect time to involve your children in thinking about goals and objectives for the upcoming year. What worked well for them last year and which routines were helpful? What do they want to accomplish this year? How about being more efficient with homework by taking an half an hour television or Internet surfing break after finishing two hours of their assignments?
~*~ Organize School And Activity Schedules: Back to school planning allows you to get back into a routine. Buy a calender or make one with your kids. Write in all the activities that your children are involved in. This will help you to figure out how to organize each school day and weekend activities.
~*~ Transition Back To Healthier Eating and Sleeping Habits: With summer barbeques and late night trips to the ice cream shops, summer eating schedules usually vary from the school year. Now is a good time to get back on track with healthy choices for school lunches and snacks. Don't forget to explore tha many optiions for breakfast. Take at least a week to slowly shift your children's sleep schedule back to meet their needs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Quick and Easy Way To Remove Mold

Baking Soda is well known as a natural and safe household cleaner. Baking soda can also be used to kill mold in your home. Unlike other mold killers which contain harsh chemicals, baking soda is mild and harmless to your family and pets.
Besides killing mold, baking soda also deodorizes, so it can get rid of the smell mold leaves in your home. Baking soda also absorbs moisture to keep mold away. Vinegar is sometimes used along with baking soda when cleaning up a mold problem since vinegar kills different species of mold than baking soda.
*To kill mold, add 1/4 tablespoonof baking soda to a spray bottle containing water.
*Shake the bottle to dissolve the baking soda into the water.
*Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution.
*Use a sponge or scrubbing brush and scrub the mold.
*Rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold.
*Spray the area again and let the surface dry. This will kill any left over mold and prevent mold from returning.
You can also use a cloth instead of a spray bottle. Just soak the cloth in water, add 1/4 tablespoon baking soda to it, and scrub the moldy area. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Green Your Pet!

Creating a healthy and enviromental home and lifestyle for you and your pet is an invaluable way to show your animal that you love and care for him or her. Here are some ways pet owners can help reduce their animal friends' exposure to dangerous chemicals and potential disease:

~*~ Go organic and choose pet food that is free of BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin. Avoid feeding your pet any foods that contain artificial sweetners, onions, chocolate, yeast, nuts, coffee and spoiled items.

~*~ Leave your shoes at the door. By wearing our shoes indoors we expose our pets to petrol, pesticides, herbicides, lead and other chemicals that we track into our homes from outside.

~*~ By pulling weeds from your lawn with your own hands and refraining from pesticide and herbicide use, you are preventing your pets from ingesting nasty chemicals that can cause nervous system problems as well as cancer.

~*~ Make sure your pet's toys are chemical free. Many pet toys are also made from plastics that may contain unsafe chemicals.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Power of Lemon!

Here are some helpful tips to use when cleaning the kitchen:

1.) Rub lemon juice into your wooden chopping board, leave overnight and then rinse. Wood chopping boards appear to have an anti-bacterial properties anyway, but the lemon will help kill off any remaining germs plus neutralize odors.

2.) A teaspoon of lemon juice added to your dishwashing detergent can help boost grease cutting power.

3.) To clean the microwave, heat a bowl of water and lemon slices in your microwave for abot 45 seconds, then wipe. Stains will be easier to remove and old food odors are neutralized.

4.) Half a lemon stored in your fridge will help control and eliminate unpleasant smells.

5.) Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle salt onto the lemon. Massage the lemon onto any brass pieces you want to clean, until the tarnish is buffed out.

5.) Hot lemon and baking soda is a good drain cleaner that is safe to use in septic systenms. If you have a garbage disposal unit, throw in some lemon peel from time to time while it's working in oder to keep it smelling fresh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Enjoying a Green Summer

This year, why not green your summer vacation? There are lots of eco-tourism destinations and domestic green lodging.Or, try lowering your carbon footprint by camping and enjoying nature. Better yet, forgo a vacation all together and take a staycation instead.

Leave your car at home. With warmer temperatures, bike, walk, or push your kids in a stroller. Get to know your city's public transit without waiting for the bus in bad weather.

Dry your clothes outside. Let the sunshine do its thing and dry your clothes on a clothesline or rack. Save energy and money.

Fire up the grill. Invite friends and family over for an eco-friendly barbeque with reusable cups and plates, clearly labeled composting and recycling bins, and homemade, local or organic food.

Deal with bugs safely and naturally. Bugs already in your house? You can rid of ants with citrus, and fruit flies with beer. To keep mosquitoes away, plant basil.

Only use the air conditioner when necessary. If you have window units, only turn on the AC forthe room you are in. If you have central air, turn the thermostat up a few degrees.

Cool down in the kiddie pool. Reuse the water for your garden afterwards.

Choose your sunblock wisely. Use eco-friendly sunblocks and slather it on as needed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Month Of June

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.

~Gertrude Jekyll

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Pets and Allergies Can Go Hand In Paw

It is important to know that what causes pet allergies is the flakes from the animal's skin, called dander, not the fur. The animal's salvia on the fur from cleaning itself or on your skin from slobbery kisses can incite a reaction. Pet urine can also be a culprit. The Maids offers tips for coping with pets in the home are:

1.) Limit the areas of the home where the animal is allowed, promarily the bedroom and the bed. Don't forget how much time you spend breathing and touching things in that room.

2.) Buy a Hepa filter which can be portable or home-wide.

3.)Remove dander-trapping carpets. Install tile or wood that can be cleaned thoroughly. Use a vacuum with a hepa filter, too.

4.) Wash bedding frequently in hot water. Washing flushes away dander that has settled on the bedding.

4.) Do not allow the pet in the car or use washable seat covers.

5.) Wash your hands after playing with the animal.

6.) Clean and vacuum regularly.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Eight delicious fruits with amazing health benefits. Forget exotic, pricey produce; these supermarket stables can help lower your cholesterol, blast body fat and more.

1.) Apples: Chloesterol zappers

2.) Blueberries: Fat blasters

3.) Tangerines: Metabolic Masters

4.) Strawberries: Cancer fighters

5.) Dried Prunes: Bone boosters

6.) Grapefruit: Diabetes Buster

7.) Cranberries: Smile savers

8.) Grapes: Inflammation Squelchers

To learn about the 12 most powerful superfoods, follow the link above.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Time and the Sneezin' is Easy

*For people with pollen allergies, this year is especially tough, say allergy experts.

"Everyone always has a reason to think the current year is the worst year ever for allergies," said Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the allergy and immunology division at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.But this year those complaints really do have some merit, he added. "It's been a very unusual allergy season. I don't know if it's because of the very wet winter or that it's been cold longer, but the pollen counts are much higher. This week, it's been running about 6,000 grains a day, instead of the usual 1,500," Rosenstreich said of his local area.

Pollen grains are the tiny male cells from flowering plants and trees, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Sometimes, bees and other insects carry pollen from plant to plant, but some plants release the pollen into the air for the wind to carry.While that may work for plants and trees, it can cause sneezing and stuffiness in humans with over-sensitive immune systems who are exposed to these airborne cells.
Pollen counts vary from area to area. For example, normal pollen counts in the northeastern United States are generally much higher than in the Midwest or Southwest in the spring, because the Northeast has far more trees.

But this year, there's little relief anywhere for allergy sufferers. Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola University Health System's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., said 2011 is the worst year he's ever seen for high pollen counts.Leija provides pollen counts for the Midwest to the National Allergy Bureau, a division of the AAAAI. His most recent count was 1,500, which is very high for the Midwest, he said.

An unusually wet winter and temperatures that varied from too warm back down to colder than average have made trees in the Midwest pollinate in stages, and to finish pollinating later than normal, Leija said. "Usually, by this time of the year, the pollen count goes down, and people usually aren't prepared to be dealing with allergies in late May," said Leija. Climate change is also affecting allergy seasons. "Climate change is making pollen seasons start earlier and end later. And the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes ragweed stronger in the fall," said Rosenstreich.

So, if you're suffering this spring, what can you do to feel better?
One of the most important things you can do, said Leija, is to take your clothes off outside of your bedroom, and shower at night. "If you're outdoors during the day, your hair and clothes get pollen on them. If you take a shower in the evening and keep your clothes out of the bedroom, you keep the pollen out of your bedroom," he said. That may help alleviate a lot of your symptoms, he said. Another mistake is opening up all of the windows. While that may bring in fresh air, it also brings in pollen. Instead, Leija and Rosenstreich recommend running an air conditioner so that any air coming into the home is filtered. Rosenstreich said that air filters can help if you run them with the windows shut. Certain foods may make you more sensitive to tree pollens, and vice versa, Leija said. Foods to avoid during the spring if you have allergies include apples, celery, peaches, pears, cherries, hazelnuts and plums, he said. "People often complain they have itching in the roof of their mouth or throat after eating these foods and they didn't know why," said Leija.

Both experts recommended trying an over-the-counter antihistamine. Rosenstreich said many are available in non-drowsy 24-hour formulations. If those don't provide relief, he said, it's time to see an allergist. Prescription medications, such as nasal steroid sprays and antihistamine eye drops, may help relieve your itchy eyes and runny nose. And, if you're really miserable every springtime, Rosenstreich said you might want to consider allergy shots so that next spring you aren't one of those saying, "This year's allergies are the worst ever."

Health Day

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healing and Hope go Hand in Hand

On June 2, 2011 the Ronald McDonald House will be hosting its 6th annual Purses with Purpose " fun-raiser" at the Woodlands Club in Falmouth. At this event, more than 350 women are expected to bid on donated purses and accessories during the much-anticipated silent auction. The Maids are reaching out to its caring community supporters to ask- Would you consider donating an item to be showcased in their auction? This thoughfulness will be received with our grateful appreciation. If you would consider donating an item, please contact Robin Chibroski via email @ or via telephone @ 207-780-6282 ext 334. They say the RMH is a home away from home, but it is far more than that- it is a shelter from the storm.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring Green Cleaning for Allergy Suffers

The passage of winter leaves behind a high concentration of allergens in the home. Months of people and pets spending more time indoors, combined with the lack of circulation of fresh air, creates particularly poor indoor air quality. Now is the perfect time to engage in some appropriately timed spring cleaning in order to eliminate accumulated allergens. The deep cleaning that occurs with spring cleaning is important in maintaining an allergy-free home. However, cleaning products themselves are often culprits of damaging indoor air quality. As Jeanne McLughlin, a certified building biologist states, "The cleaner your home is, the more toxic it can be."

Traditional cleaners may work quickly and effectively against household dirt and grime. But many of the chemicals in these cleaners are toxic. Their fumes and residues actually pollute the air in your home, exacerbating allergies, asthma, and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), not to mention the poisoning hazard they pose to children and pets. Adverse reactions to chemicals in cleaning products vary. Exposure to common household cleaning chemicals can cause acute reactions like itchy and watery eyes or irritation to the nose, throat, and lungs when chemical fumes are inhaled. Coming into contact with the chemicals can cause skin irritation and burning. Needless to say, these possible reactions are of especial concern for those with allergies, asthma, and eczema.

So what's in typical household cleaning products that's so bad? Following is a summary of many of the toxic ingredients commonly found in household cleaners:
~Ammonia produces fumes that are highly irritating to the lungs, throat, eyes, and nose. It should not be used by people with asthma or other lung problems. Ammonia is commonly found in glass cleaners, but is also a base ingredient of many other cleaners such as metal polishes. Ammonia SHOULD NEVER be mixed with chlorine; the mixture produces a deadly gas called chloramine.
~Phosphates are mineral additives that soften the water. When phosphates enter the water supply, they create an overabundance of algae, which depletes the water's oxygen supply to the point that fish and other organisms die off. Phosphates are still present in many automatic dishwasher detergents.
~Petroleum-based chemicals are also widely present in cleaning products. Petroleum is readily absorbed into the skin and is a nerve-damaging chemical. Petroleum distillates are found in furniture polish, metal polish, and other cleaning products. Dish soaps are also often petroleum-based.
~Sudsing agents like diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) can react with nitrites (often used as a preservative) to produce nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic and can easily penetrate the skin, causing our bodies to absorb the toxins.
Sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, is extremely caustic, and also produces harmful fumes. Bleach is found in many cleaning products, including all-purpose cleaners, mold and mildew cleaners, and cream or powder scrubbing cleaners, not to mention laundering products.
~Sulfates, found in toilet bowl cleaners, are known to trigger asthma attacks.
Aerosol sprays produce tiny droplets that are easily inhaled into the lungs and absorbed through the skin. Propellants found in aerosol sprays are flammable, and fragrances, as discussed below, are also toxic.
~Fragrances made from synthetic chemicals are present not only in personal and beauty products, but also in cleaners, laundry products, and air fresheners. As many asthma and allergy sufferers know first-hand, synthetic fragrances can cause allergy and asthma attacks. In addition, the chemicals in fragrances are inhaled and absorbed into the skin and accumulate in the body over time.
~Formaldehyde, in addition to being present in varnishes, particle board furniture, and adhesives, is also found in some furniture polishes. Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen.
~ Chlorine can be found in many dish soaps. Dishwashers can release these chemicals into the air in the form of steam when the dishwasher is opened at the end of its cycle, causing it to be easily inhaled. Chlorine fumes in general are also harmful.

Cleaning your home with green cleaning products does double-duty in protecting you from allergies, asthma attacks, and MCS. While eliminating allergens and creating a clean home environment, green cleaning products also make sure that your home's indoor air quality remains pure. Spring cleaning with green cleaning choices is a great way to get a jumpstart on maintaining the freshest, cleanest, and safest allergy-free home.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Out With The Old, In With The New

Every year on April 22 millions of people across the globe come together to celebrate the Earth’s natural environment and resources. While Earth Day—the most widely celebrated environmental event—focuses largely on the outside environment, what about the environment inside the home? Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to jump-start a personal campaign to kick the chemical habit and create a sustainable home. Protecting the environment inside the home is a vital step in preserving the health and wellness of today’s families and the enviroment as a whole.

Let's look a five rooms inside your home and we will provide easy steps to become chemical-free:
1. The Kitchen: Swap the sponge for microfiber cleaning cloths. Sponges are a haven for bacteria and can lead to many illnesses. Instead, switch to reusable microfiber cleaning cloths for all home cleaning projects. In addition to preventing bacteria and mold growth, the scientific weave of microfiber is so effective that fewer cleaning chemicals are necessary. The cloths also reduce landfill waste and include post-consumer recycled or organically grown materials.

2. The Office: Recycle or refill ink cartridges. Every year more than 300 million toner cartridges are thrown away. That’s nearly one million per day! What’s more, ink cartridges take nearly 450 years to decompose. Instead of tossing toners into the trash, recycle them. Many companies including Staples and Offiice Depot have recycling programs for all sorts of office waste. A typical print cartridge can be recycled and reused up to six times so it’s definitely worth the effort.

3. The Bathroom: Dispose of old medications safely. Avoid flushing old prescription pills down the toilet or throwing them into the trash. Medicine can actually get into surrounding soil and water supplies if this happens, creating an environmental hazard. Instead, contact the local pharmacy, hospital or medical center. Most have programs that take back old medications and dispose of them safely in their bio-hazard containers for incineration.

4. The Bedroom: Switch to an organic mattress. In the United States, 20 million mattresses are discarded each year! Even more alarming, the synthetic materials in conventional mattresses are not biodegradable and recycling programs for mattresses aren’t readily available. Switching to an organic mattress has the added benefit of reducing the risk of allergies and improving sleep due to the natural, chemical-free materials used in its construction.

5. The Laundry Room: Go fragrance-free. The fragrances in detergents and fabric softeners sometimes contain phthalates—chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive-system harm in animal lab tests. Fragrances may also trigger asthma and allergic reactions with symptoms including skin and respiratory irritation, headaches, and watery eyes. Change to one of the many fragrance free laundry products on the market for an easy fix.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ever wonder how to clean mold off of outdoor cushions?

Spring plans come to a screeching halt when you notice that your outdoor furniture and its cushions are moldy. Not only is moldy patio furniture unsightly, mold can also cause allergies, diseases and other health problems.

****To Remove Mold:

1.) Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water ina spray bottle. You can double or triple this recipe if you have a lot of cushions to be cleaned.

2.) Remove the cushions from the furniture and spray them generously with the oil mixture

3.)Allow the cushions to dry in the sun completely before reattaching to the furniture. There is no need to rinse out the oil mixture.

****To Remove Mildew:

1.) Lay damp or wet patio cushions outdoors in direct sunlight to thoroughly dry out. Sunlight is a natural mildew deterrent.

2.) Brush the entire cushion vigorously with a whisk broom to detach any remaining mildew spores.

3.) Prepare a mildew-inhibiting solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach to one cup water. Substitute color-safe bleach if the cushions are not white.

4.) Wipe the chlorine bleach solution over the entire cushion using a cloth. Keep the bleach on the cushion's surface for 10 minutes to eliminate any lingering mildew.

5.)Lay the cushion in direct sunlight to thoroughly dry out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earth Day 2011: A Billion Acts of Green

April 22nd is Earth Day, it's only a few short days away! This year, Earth Day's theme is themed after A Billion Acts of Green: our people-powered campaign to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy. Share your commitment the the environment this Earth Day and declare your Act of Green!

*Some Acts of Green Ideas that you can do this Earth Day are:

Use your vehicle less

Plant a tree or a garden

Eat more local food

Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the store

Raise awareness about earth day

Switch off the tap while brushing

Convert all your household light bulbs to LED

Recycle,Reuse and Re-purpose

Use rechargeable batteries

Eliminate the use of pesticides or harmful fertilizers in your garden

Use a clothesline

Give up non-reusable plastic water bottles

Get inspired and mobilized with these ideas to demonstrate your commitment to enviromental protection and sustainability!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring cleaning Easter basket, nice Easter gift for home owner, first apartment

*~*This Easter, instead of giving an adult loved one a basket filled with sugary treats, how about giving them a spring cleaning Easter basket instead! A spring cleaning Easter basket is perfect for someone who just got their own place. It's also a wonderful Easter basket for someone who is hard to buy for. Everyone needs cleaning supplies!

~*~Hit the dollar store and buy a mop bucket or a pail or any type of dish pan or plastic container. You will use the the bucket or pail or dish pan as the Easter basket.

~*~Fill the bucket with cheap cleaning supplies. Good items to buy are sponges, wash rags, a can of Lysol, dish soap, a roll of paper towels, a spray bottle of Windex, and whatever else you can fit in the bucket. Shop at the dollar store to save money.

~*~Wrap the entire basket with some cheap netting that you can buy in the fabric section of any store that sells fabric.

~*~Tie the netting at the top of the basket with curling ribbon to secure it closed. Curl the ribbon by rubbing it along the edge of scissors to make the ribbon look festive.

Attach a little Easter card and leave a note saying you will spend an hour helping. Now there's a real gift!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring-Clean Your Pantry

Healthy eats can spoil quickly or lose their nutitional value over time. Check out this guide to see how long they last:

~*~Olive Oil: 6 months

Olive Oil is rich in polyphenol antioxidenst, which ahve been shown to help ward off cancer and heart disease. But a study in the Journal of Food Science found that these compounds can deteriorate after six months.

~*~ Nuts and Nut Oils: 3 to 6 months

Walnuts and pecans are top sources of healthful fats that turn rancid quickly.In a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutition, British researchers discovered that one brand of walnut oil had an actual shelf life 20 times shorter than the "best before" date printed on the label.

~*~ Ground Spices: 6 months

Grinding increases spices' exposure to oxygen, which breaks down healthful antioxidants and causes flavor to fade. If tossing the expensive jars makes you cringe, consider buying whole spices and preparing them as needed.

~*~ Green Tea: 6 months

Cancer-fighting antioxidents called catechins are one of the most beneficial compounds found in green tea. But a 2009 U.S Department of Agriculture study found that green tea's catechins lose 32% of their potency after 6 months. To get the biggest antioxidant punch from your cup, use fresh, loose leaves, and store them in a airtight tin to block out light and moisture.

~*~ Whole Wheat Flour- 3 months to 1 year

Whole-wheat flour is loaded with heart-smart unsaturated fats. But these fats go bad rapidly when exposed to heat and oxygen- in fact, whole-wheat flour spoils four times faster than white. Replace yours after three months or store in a sealed container in the fridge for six months or in the freezer for up to a year.

-Karen Ansel