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Archive for April, 2011

NON-TOXIC PERSONAL CARE

Posted on: April 28th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

If You Can’t Say It, Don’t Buy It.

  • As a general rule, if you cannot pronounce the ingredients in a product, then they are probably toxic. Try to find items that are 100% natural. It will mean having to search harder for these products, but they will be better for you and your family.
  • Claims that state “natural”, “dermatologist recommended are usually marketing hype. Some natural ones to consider are:  Lush, California Baby, Alba Botanica.

 

Avoid “Fragrance”

  • If the word fragrance is listed in the ingredients you should be weary. The word fragrance is often used in place of toxins that are included in the product to create a faux scent. These toxins may cause allergies and other problems for your family. Instead, look for real ingredients. If it says it’s peppermint scented, then peppermint should be an ingredient. For safe laundry, try: Vaska Home

 

Say No To Fluoride and Triclosan

  • Fluoride, present in most toothpastes and mouthwash, can actually cause discoloration of the teeth over time. Use products with lower amounts of it. For children under 6, it is recommended that you use toothpaste with .08% fluoride. A safe toothpaste for the entire family is: Toms of Main

 

Buyer Beware

  • When buying products like diaper cream, be especially careful and do not buy products containing BHA. BHA is a highly toxic chemical that can cause skin discoloration or depigmentation. It is banned in all countries in the EU, but continues to be used in products here in the U.S.
  • Avoid SPF above 50 and sun screens containing Oxybenzone. Some alternatives include: sage sunscreen, Jason Natural, and Episencial
  • Avoid aerosol sprays, and insect repellents.  Safe insect repellant, Badgerbalm

For a complete list of what to beware of click here .

Navigating store aisles can be difficult. Environmental Working Group researchers have evaluated hundreds of safety studies and thousands of ingredient labels to bring you our top recommendations for what not to buy. Visit: ewg.org

Something additional for you and your family to be aware of, public health laws allow:

  • Almost any chemical as an ingredient in personal care products
  • Misleading and incomplete labeling of ingredients
  • Unsubstantiated claims about product benefits
  • No required safety testing of products or ingredients

Angela’s Teachable Moment: When you go shopping with your children, teach them the importance of looking at the ingredients in personal care products. When they become conscious of it, they will care about what they are using on their bodies and continue to practice healthy buying habits.  

CLEAN-UP INDOOR AIR

Posted on: April 21st, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

According to studies conducted by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) the air inside your home may be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside.

Be Consistent

  • Dusting and cleaning your entire house regularly will help you stay ahead of dust mites and other household pollutants that are bad for you and your children to be inhaling. Use a microfiber cloth and skip the dusting sprays.
  • Use a bag-less vacuum to avoid dispersing dust in to the air when changing the bags. Also, be sure to use a HEPA filter which is designed to keep even the smallest pollutant particles out of the air.
  • Use natural non-toxic products.  Label claims aren’t always true. Cleaning supplies certified by Green Seal or EcoLogo meet green standards.  Non-toxic options, like baking soda and vinegar, clean just as well without releasing toxins into the air. For more tips on Safe Cleaning Supplies for your home click here

Maintain Your Ducts

  • People often wonder whether it is important to regularly clean their air ducts. The answer is yes! A new process called Aero-Seal, developed at Berkeley University, seals off your air ducts, reduces energy bills and keeps harsh chemicals out of the air in your house.

Keep Pollutants Out

  • Keep out cigarette smoke, chemicals and excess moisture.
  • According to the American Lung Association, the “Deadly Three” or the three most toxic chemicals are carbon monoxide, second hand smoke and radon gas. You can keep your family safe from these chemicals by not allowing smoking in your house, installing a carbon monoxide detector and avoid keeping the car running inside the garage.
  • Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints inside your home. Regular paint has traces of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are highly toxic.
  • Avoid “air fresheners”  they only add toxic chemicals into the air and cover up smells.

Ventilate

  • Open windows for a few minutes every day to let in fresh outdoor air.
  • Turn on fans in your bathroom and kitchen while bathing and cooking.

Angela’s Teachable Moment: Have your children vacuum and then change the filter so they can see just how much stuff there is in the air. This will get them helping out at home and will teach them about indoor air pollution. 

ORGANIC OPTIONS

Posted on: April 14th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Why Organic?

  • Pesticides found on produce and other products contain harsh chemicals that are toxic for you and your children. Some fruits and vegetables are worse than others and should be bought organically (for instance, strawberries).  For a full list of the fruits and vegetables to avoid visit http://www.foodnews.org/executive.php
  • Organic animal food products reduce exposure to pesticides, hormones and antibiotics consumed by the animals in their feed. Since organic does not allow feeding of animal parts, it also reduces the potential threat of diseases like mad cow.
  • Babies are especially vulnerable to toxins and may be at risk of higher exposure. Baby food is often made up of condensed fruits or vegetables, potentially concentrating pesticide residues.  Organic Baby Food:  http://www.seedlings.com/, http://www.milesoutsideorganic.com/, http://www.plumorganics.com/, http://www.happybabyfood.com/
  • Breads, oils, potato chips, pasta, cereals, and other packaged foods, such as canned or dried fruit and vegetables are highly processed foods. Read the labels carefully and if you can’t pronounce it, then skip it.  For more information visit http://www.ewg.org/ourfood

Tips on saving $$

  • Organic produce is normally less expensive in season.  If it is not in season then it is shipped from somewhere else where they are in season.
  • Buy from a local farm or a store that purchases from local farms. One study in the U.S. found that 40% of organic growers at farmers’ markets don’t charge a premium on their products. Buying directly from an organic grower may also be less expensive.
  • Grow your own. There is nothing like fresh, home-grown produce for taste, cost and low environmental impact.
  • Make your own baby food.  http://www.babybullet.com/

Angela’s Teachable Moment: Grow your own organic garden with your children.  Discovering ways to eat more healthy, organic foods will be a learning experience for the entire family.  Plan meals around what’s in the garden and allow the kids to choose the vegetables to eat.  When they know where it comes from and why eating organic is important, they will enjoy them much more.

For more information on shopping Organic in your area, please click here

TAMPA BAY ORGANIC

Posted on: April 14th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

 

organic_kid

Shops:

Seedlings  1530 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, Florida 33629   www.seedlings.com

813-251-5111

Organic products for babies and children including: baby food, shampoos, cleansers, clothing and bedding.

 

Organic Markets:

Tampa

M D Oriental Market, 1106 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33612

813-868-1688

Abby’s Health and Nutrition, 14374 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa 33618

813-265-4951

Nature’s Harvest Market, 1021 North MacDill Ave, Tampa 33607

813-873-7428

Village Health Market, 3225 S MacDill Ave, Tampa 33629

813-831-6065

Chuck’s Natural Marketplace, 11301 North 56th St, Temple Terrace, FL 33617

813- 980-2005

 

Brandon / Lithia/Valrico

Chuck’s Natural Food Marketplace 114 North Kings Avenue, Brandon.

813-657-2555

Natures Health Foods and Café 3443 Lithia Pinecrest, Valrico 33594

 

New Port Richey

Nature’s Storehouse 9131 Little Rd New Port Richey, FL 34654

727-862-6878

Wright’s Nutrients 6630 US Hwy 19, New Port Richey

727-848-5140

 

Palm Harbor / Tarpon Springs

Palm Harbor Natural Foods 30555 US Highway 19, North Palm Harbor

Super Vitamin Outlet 32510 US Hwy 19 North,  Palm Harbor 34684

727-786-5994

 

Spring Hill

The Green Bean Organic Marketplace 11020 Northcliffe Blvd and Mariner Blvd Spring Hill 34608

352-688-7979

 

Organic Farms

Big Bear Farms, Inc 7606 Kinard Road, Plant City, FL 33565

813-986-1152

Blue Oak Farms Inc 4010 Powerline Road, Litha, FL 33547

813-478-0932

DeHoWa Farms, Farms & Farm Stands  4330 S Manhattan Ave., Tampa, FL 33611

813-839-8861

Fort Lonesome 15433 Cr 39 South, Lithia, FL 33547

813 699-2058

Blue Farms 1907 Streetman Drive, Lithia, FL 33547

813-689-7703

Hydro Harvest Farms 1101 Shell Point Road E, Ruskin 33570

813-645-6574

Jones Farm  244 Old Welcome Road, Lithia, FL 33547

813-441-2056

The Orange Grove 15433 County Road 39 South, Lithia, FL 33547

813-699-2058

Parke Family HydroFarms 3715 Tanner Road, Dover, FL 33527 www.parkehydro.com

813-927-4049

Rise and Shine Farms 3907 Heathcox Rd, Plant City, FL 33567

813-523-7505

Sweetwater Organic Farm 6942 West Comanche Ave., Tampa, Florida 33634

www.sweetwater-organic.org

Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm 5416 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa, FL 33624

813-293-3276

 

(Photo Credit: organicfoodexperience.com)

BILLMYPARENTS® FACT SHEET

Posted on: April 12th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

BillMyParents® provides SuperSafe™ Payment Solutions for tweens and teens between the ages of 8 and21 and their parents, ranging from giving parents complete control over purchases to simply monitoring purchase transactions. These solutions include Supervised Shopping™ and theBillMyParents® reloadable prepaid MasterCard®. BillMyParents® is the flagship product of Socialwise, Inc. and is headquartered withthem in San Diego, CA.

 

BillMyParents® is designed to link parents and young people to guide responsible eCommerce transactions, as well as allowing tweens and teens to shop in traditional retail settings without cash or a credit card. Their solutions foster family dialogue about spending and money habits, and provide the independence teens crave, while giving parents the ability to easily track and control their spending.

 

Supervised Shopping™ is a convenient way for 8 – 21 year olds to shop online at partner merchant websites. While browsing, users see the BillMyParents® button next to each item. Clicking the button sends an instant email request with product and pricing information to parents, who can decide whether or not to amend or complete the purchase at their discretion, eliminating the need for parents to hand over sensitive payment information or credit card numbers.

 

The BillMyParents® reloadable prepaid MasterCard® is safer than cash, can be used year-round anywhere MasterCard® is accepted and has no credit implications for either parents or teens. Purchases are not made on credit, do not affect credit scores, and are not withdrawn from a bank account – instead, funds are pre-loaded onto the card by parents. Perfect for managing allowances, the prepaid card is for users between the ages of 13 – 18, and users can only spend whatʼs available on the card account with no fear of over-drafting or associated bloated fees.

 

The Peace of Mind Control Panel is a proprietary way for parents to monitor and manage the BillMyParents® reloadable prepaid MasterCard®. Transaction Alertsdeliver parents and teens a text or email every time a transaction is made, including name and location of the vendor, amount of sale and remaining balance. Lost Card Protection covers a lost or stolen card, and funds are automatically transferred to the replacement card. With Emergency Load, parents can instantly add funds to a card account, and parents have the ability to instantly enable or disable cards using theLock/Unlock Account feature.

 

Easy on the budget, itʼs free to use the Supervised Shopping™ program on partner e-commerce sites including PacSun.com. The BillMyParents® reloadable prepaid MasterCard® costs significantly less than other prepaid cards on the market ($3.95 monthly fee and $.75 per-load fee) and there are no fees to activate a card account, contact customer service, check balances or cancel service.

 

Committed to safeguarding privacy, BillMyParents® utilizes state-of-the-art security measures, providing the highest level of protection against online fraud and cyber crimes using the SSL industry standard. Also PCI compliant (data security standard developed by major credit card companies to prevent theft), all personal and financial data of users and teens remain secure on servers and during transactions. The only information seen by third-party merchants is what is necessary to process and ship an order.

 

The Team: Several years ago, Jim Collas, CEO and President of BillMyParents®, was surprised to find that there was no simple and safe way for his teens to shop online without having to physically give them his credit card, so he set about creating BillMyParents® with his team. Mr. Collas has over 17 years of senior executive experience in the computer industry and consumer markets. Products and services introduced under Mr. Collasʼ management have accounted for over $28 billion in revenues worldwide. He is supported by a strong operating team whose members come from Ernst & Young, Aurora Electronics, ProFlowers.com, Sprint and CompuCom. The powerhouse BillMyParents® Advisory Board includes Joe Abrams (Co-founder of MySpace) and Maynard Webb (former COO of E-bay).

 

Socialwise (OTCBB: SCLW), the publicly traded parent company of BillMyParents®, develops platforms that integrate into traditional eCommerce products and services in order to service the explosive growth of online commerce and social networking sites

April is National Autism Awareness Month

Posted on: April 2nd, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

We received a special story about a girl named, Carly. Carly is from Toronto and is a young, autistic and non-verbal girl who has learned to communicate so well with the use of assistive technology (like WordQ software) that she now writes an educational blog about autism and has over 13,000 followers on her Facebook page! Read her inspiring story!

Autism and WordQ Assistive Software for Struggling Writers:

How a Cute, Smart but Non-Verbal Girl with Autism Found Very BIG Voice

“…my name is Carly Fleischmann and I have autism.   I have learned how to communicate through the help of technology and now I am able to shed some light on the myths and misperceptions about autism…. I do believe every nonverbal autistic child and adult has an inner voice just waiting to come out…Doctors and scientists are only partly going to help autism.  Technology and innovators are going to bring autism to the next level…I love WordQ 4 helping make my voice heard.”    –Your truly honoured autism educator, Carly Fleischmann (excerpts from her website, carlysvoice.com)

“The iPad or a laptop, along with such programs like WordQ….have revolutionized communication for individuals with autism and other disabilities.”   –Tammy Starr, mother of Carly Fleischmann

(March, 2011; Dover, New Hampshire)When Carly Fleischmann was a young child, her parents were told she’d probably need to be in an institution.  Today, this autistic 16-year old who also has apraxia (that prevents her from speaking orally) communicates on a regular basis — with wit and wisdom, educating the world about the inner realities of autism  — via Facebook (she has well over 12,000 followers!), Twitter (almost 9,000 followers!), email and her own popular website, carlysvoice.com.  Carly’s story has been chronicled on ABC World News and 20/20.  She’s been interviewed on Larry King Live, and cited several times on air by Ellen Degeneris.  (Here are some TV clips compiled by Carly’s mom:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7U1UjZzJLE.)

In her recent Toronto Star article entitled “Unlocking Carly,” Valerie Hauch reports:

“The Grade 10 student types with one finger.  Software programs like WordQ predict words, and she chooses which ones to use…Technology has unlocked Carly’s world and enabled her to tell people what her lips cannot:  She is an intelligent person with opinions, hopes, dreams, she likes cute guys, she has a whimsical sense of humour…She is also helping the families of others with autism understand them…One day, when Carly was 10, she and a therapist were working with the alphabet screen of a device to type words she knew how to spell.  Carly…typed the word “no.”  Then, she typed more words…About six months later, Carly’s sentences started tumbling out.  It was a revelation for her family…her father, Arthur, said:  “We realized that inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met.””  Reporter Hauch observes that “Without computer assistance, Carly’s family might never have met her.”

The WordQ software (www.goQsoftware.com) that Carly uses is a word-recognition and speech-feedback tool that was developed at Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  It was designed specifically for people who struggle with writing, often due to various kinds of learning disabilities.  The company’s VP of Learner Development, Neil MacGregor (who has struggled with his own learning disability since childhood), affirms that, “WordQ has been effective for many people with autism, as well as many with Asberger’s and aphasia, helping to make it possible for people of all abilities to express themselves.  We’re very proud to be playing a role in the transformation of many of these lives.”

WordQ+SpeakQ (the latter is an add-on that allows the user to mix typing and speaking) provide support for those with autism, Asberger’s, aphasia (loss or reduction of language due to brain damage) and other conditions, to get their ideas out in these ways:

  • ·         Word choices help avoid repetition and increase writing variety
  • ·         You can expand your vocabulary by choosing from a variety of words with the same meaning
  • ·         Spoken feedback reinforces correct pronunciation of words
  • ·         Read-back uses correct rhythm and pacing
  • ·         Identifying mistakes is easy when sentences or paragraphs are read aloud
  • ·         The selection process turns writing into an interactive experience
  • ·         SpeakQ speech recognition is forgiving of mild speech difficulties
  • ·         You write what you think and feel and hear it read back

Be sure to check ot Carly’s Blog at www.carlysvoice.com, and visit http://www.goqsoftware.com/  to learn more about WordQ+SpeakQ software programs.