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  • Naturally Dyed Eggs

    Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    I'm not sure who the marketing whiz is who came up with this, but PAAS has new themed egg dying kits this year including pirates and princesses. If you see the connection, please let me know because I'm clueless as to how these themes make any sense whatsoever.

    Bizarre marketing aside, egg-dying is a really fun family activity - regardless of your religious affiliation. This year, try going au naturale using this fantastic recipe from Michelle Stern of What's Cooking with Kids:


    • 1 dozen hard boiled white eggs
    • White vinegar
    • Water
    • Colorful ingredients (described below)
    • Stickers and rubber bands to make patterns on the egg


    1. Hard boil 1 dozen eggs and allow them to cool in the refrigerator.

    2. Decide how many colors you want to make and take out the appropriate number of pots.

    3. To each pot, add: 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar

    4. Add the

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  • What’s a Better Juice Box? (Do You Know What’s In Yours?)

    Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    About the only time we buy juice boxes for our kids is when we're headed on a long road trip or when we go camping. But that's just us. In most American homes, juice boxes are a convenient staple and many moms see the word "juice" and automatically think "healthy." Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

    Here are two ingredients that are far from healthy, yet often found in kids' beverages:

    • Added sweeteners. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is one of the most common sweeteners, but as we reported two years ago, a pilot study found mercury contamination in this ubiquitous ingredient. It's also highly processed and made using genetically modified ingredients - a combination leading to still unclear impacts. In addition, some studies have linked consumption of excess amounts of any type of added sugar - not just high-fructose corn syrup - to such health problems as weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition, and more.
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  • Air Fresheners’ Real Impact On Indoor Air Quality

    Surprisingly, despite the economic downturn, the global sales of air fresheners are on the rise. According to the Wall Street Journal, "[c]ertain life events prompt consumers to buy more air fresheners. Getting a pet, moving to a new home, getting married and having children all motivate shoppers to pick up more air-care products…This will continue to be a key growth contributor…"

    Perhaps if consumers were more aware of the real impacts these products have on indoor air quality and health, they would think twice. Here's the unvarnished truth:

    Air fresheners almost never "freshen" the air. They just mask odors, either with synthetic fragrance or by interfering with your ability to smell by coating your nasal passages with an oil film or releasing a nerve-deadening agent. In rare cases, they will actually break down the offensive odor.

    What's in them and what's the risk?

    Known toxic chemicals that can be found in air fresheners include camphor, phenol, ethanol,

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  • Dr. Bob Sears Answers Your Questions About Vaccines, Antibiotics, Allergies & More

    Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    How many times has your child been sick or had a strange rash or some other malady that doesn't seem severe enough to rush to the doctor, but worries you nonetheless? I think I'm well into the thousands with my daughters, and while the internet is an amazingly helpful tool, I also have my go-to parenting library. Many of those tattered, worn books bear the trusted Sears name - not only because of the pediatric expertise found inside, but - more importantly - because of the friendly tone, balanced recommendations, and care giving philosophies that reflect my own.

    Welcome the newest addition to that library, The Portable Pediatrician: Everything You Need to Know About Your Child's Health. Encyclopedic in scope, The Portable Pediatrician features timely and practical information on every childhood illness and emergency, including when to call the doctor, what reassuring signs can help you know your child is okay, how to treat your

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  • When It Comes to Cancer, I Say Why Take the Chance

    Jennae Petersen

    In January 2010, my 4 year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer (leukemia, to be specific). I still don't like to use that word. In fact, I almost never say it. I don't believe my daughter has ever said it, and she's probably heard it only once or twice when doctors and nurses have slipped and said it. If you're curious about the details of our journey, you can read more at my blog, Green Your Décor.

    Today, I'm writing less about the details and more about what I don't know. What I'd love to know. Simply put, why?

    Not necessarily why in the "Why my daughter?!" type of sense, but why leukemia in the first place. The doctors have told us over and over that they don't know what causes the disease, and also that there is nothing we could have done to cause or prevent it. But that begs the question: If you don't know what causes it, how can you be so certain that it couldn't have been prevented?

    I have been obsessed with all thing green for a while

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  • Why Did the Chicken Take a Bath in Chlorine?

    Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    Unfortunately, this question is not the set up for a joke. It's a common practice in the United States to disinfect chickens in chlorine baths. According to the new book, Planet Home, by Jeffrey Hollender and Alexandra Zissu:

    "One of the many hot-button topics when it comes to chicken - conventional vs. local/pastured vs. free range organic (local or not) - is how the birds are disinfected post-slaughter. Conventional chickens in the United States tend to be disinfected in chlorine baths, a procedure that has long been banned by the European Union. It's also banned by USDA organic rules."


    Now, I know it's not straight chlorine - it has to be a specific dilution - but, even small levels of chlorine in water can interact with organic matter (like meat) to create dangerous by-products (not to mention the fact that the manufacture of chlorine is awful for the environment and horrible for the workers.)

    Why do they do it?

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  • 8 Tips to Snap Out of a School Lunch Slump

    Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    We're two-thirds of the way through the school year and if you pack a lunch for your child, you might be feeling a bit bored by this point (and maybe your child is, too?)

    Snap out of it and make school food fun again using these 8 tips.

    1-3. Make it balanced. Make it fun. Make it colorful. Catherine McCord of Weelicious is perhaps the best mom chef out there and she posts the lunches she makes for her son every day on Facebook. They ALWAYS make my mouth water. Check out this School Lunch video where she discusses making fun, nutritious lunches with super kid-appeal.

    4. Try something new! Ask your child to pick something new to try at the grocery store. Get him exploring the produce and bulk bins to find something HE wants to try. Then, prepare and pack it. Let him try it at school (far from your yearning eyes) and ask when he gets home what he thought. If he didn't like it, try something else. If he did, hooray!


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  • Five Misconceptions about Plastic Recycling

    Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    Plastics are everywhere and extremely convenient, but our increasing use of them is causing enormous amounts of pollution. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists (except for the little bit that has been incinerated, which released other persistent toxic chemicals).

    Plastic is generally toxic to produce, toxic to use, and toxic to dispose of. Many people believe recycling is the answer, but is it really? Here are some common misconceptions.

    Misconception # 1: By recycling plastic, you are reducing the amount of plastic that goes to the landfill (also known as 'the dump').

    Not necessarily.

    Collecting plastic containers at curbside fosters the belief that, like aluminum and glass, the recovered material is converted into new containers. However, most recovered plastic containers aren't recycled into containers, but rather made into textiles, parking lot bumpers, or plastic lumber - all unrecyclable

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  • Toxics Leaching from Plastic Food Packaging & What You Can Do

    Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic-lined cans - it's tough to find a food that isn't packaged in plastic. Yet, what leaches out of the packaging and into our food is often an overlooked component of food safety.

    According to Emily Barrett at Environmental Health News:

    [A new] study suggests that the problems go far beyond just one culprit or one health effect. Among the many toxic chemicals that can migrate from packaging into food are the endocrine disrupting phthalates and organotins and the carcinogen benzophenone. These compounds are heavily used in food packaging and have known health effects, yet are not routinely tested or regulated in food.

    Although some regulations exist to guarantee safe food packaging, the current system does not address concerns posed by endocrine disrupting chemicals. The associated health effects of exposure to hormone altering compounds are many and varied, including immune dysfunction, metabolic disorders (diabetes, thyroid) and

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  • DIY Antiseptic Cleanser for Cold and Flu Season

    The cold and flu cycle is in full swing and parents across the nation are looking for ways to stymie sickness with myriad products that kill viruses and germs. Anything to make it stop! But, many conventional products contain harsh ingredients that can pose risks to your child's health.

    Our friend and expert, Annie B. Bond, posted this easy, affordable, and effective recipe at Green Chi Café:

    If you use this great formula you save about $7.66 for this one cleaner alone. (And it asks for essential oils, too, which aren't cheap!) Not only does this preparation clean, but the essential oils disinfect and provide a natural fragrance.

    Makes 2 cups

    Cost for 2 cups:

    • DIY = $0.84
    • Store Bought = $8.50

    Up to 1 teaspoon antiseptic essential oil (thyme, sweet orange, lemongrass, rose, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, birch, lavender, or tea tree)

    1 teaspoon washing soda

    1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent

    2 cups hot water

    Combine the

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