How do you pack your child's lunch? One of my favorite back to school must haves are containers from Kids Konserve. Check back soon for a full review on this awesome line and how you can win in our giveaway! In the meantime, consider how our daily food intake in this country impacts our environment! Kids Konserve is helping my family produce less waste when we eat and my kids are encouraged to pack their own healthy lunches too!
• A waste-free lunch saves on average $216 per child per year (versus a disposable lunch).
• 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the U.S.• Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. Placed end to end, the number of disposable straws used in the U.S. in the past 4 days could reach the moon.
Think about this for a minute...consider using a great alternative like Kids Konserve! Stay tuned for a review and giveaway!
This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, all opinions expressed are my own
I am so happy to be tell you about "¡Piensa seguro, viaja seguro, mantente seguro!", a Spanish-language public service program with an interactive website at www.chuggington.com/seguridad. It is an awesome program that is brought to you by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Ludorum, the producers of the Chuggington™ television series. The link is for the Spanish website, but there is an English version here. ¡Piensa seguro, viaja seguro, mantente seguro!” or 'Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!' in English provides families with young children tools they need to help their child walk and ride more safely.
Can I share a secret with you? I was terrified to learn to drive. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I was in college that I took and passed my driving exam. Why did I wait so long? Well, when I was young I lost one a close family member in a car accident. I slowly overcame my fear of the open road, but then I became a parent and my fear of being in a car accident with my children was very real. Car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages two through six.
These 5 often very people are my loves. I worry about them in so many ways, but especially when I drive. I have never been a wreckless driver, but I certainly feel like I drive more cautiously when they are in my vehicle. I think all of us want to keep our children safe from car crashes. And, of course, I worry about them when they ride their bikes and go for walks. With so many small children, it’s nearly impossible for me to hover over them and protect them every moment. The best thing that I can do for them acknowledge that accidents happen and expose them to teaching them practical tips could save them from serious injury or death.
That’s why I love the new "¡Piensa seguro, viaja seguro, mantente seguro!” It’s a great resource fo bike, school bus, car and walking tips for the whole family. My kids enjoyed it the interactive destination allows kids to learn while playing with their favorite Chuggington characters.
The traffic safety campaign is geared to kids preschool-aged to 1st grade and focus on four main areas: pedestrian, bus, bike and car seat safety. The interactive format is great because my kids learn best when they are engaged…and they rather learn about safety from interactive lessons are hosted by the ‘trainees’ of Chuggington, Wilson, Koko and Brewster.
Here are my kiddos working on a few of the print outs from the website...
On a final note, I am so pleased that this joint initiative between The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the producers of the Chuggington™ is in Spanish. It has been my experience that there are alack of resources geared towards the Spanish speaking community. The website is a great resource the community and for all families with young children!
You are going to love this delicious smoothie. I make it for my kids all the time and it's one of my personal favorite smoothie recipes. We all know that blueberries and bananas are tasty and good for us, but have your given kale a try? I have started to use it a lot in our meals, but my kids are still a little reluctant to eat it. However, this recipe is one of my favorites because the kids forget that it has kale in it - the smoothie is sweet from the almond milk and blueberries.
I love that enjoy a nutrient packed option to start their morning or a quick refuel after school. You will love it too! Kale is just such an awesome superfood. It's a veggie loaded with vitamin A, C and K and it's a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. More kale recipes to come.
Play around with the milk serving, depending on the consistency you like. All you need to do is blend all of the above ingredients in a blender and voila! If you don't like almond milk, try coconut milk. Of course, you can always use regular milk too, I am just trying to use less dairy around here...
This is what you need:
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries
- 1 cup of frozen banana
- 1 cup of frozen kale
- 1 tablespoon of flax powder
- 2 cups of vanilla almond milk
- 1 tablespoon of coconut shreds (raw and unsweetened)
This past Saturday I ran my very first 1/2 Marathon - yay! I had the pleasure of training with a wonderful group of moms from my children's school, who encouraged and motivated me. Here we are after we all crossed the finish line. Looking good!
I know that my 1/2 marathon may not seem like a huge deal, but it is to me. I wrote about why I started running and why I finally decided to run this race - you can find that post here. Honestly, it felt like such a big day for me, mostly because getting to race day proved to be harder than I had planned. First, I couldn't register because the race was full. Lucky for me a few spots opened on my birthday and I officially enrolled. Next, I hurt my foot on our 12 mile run two weeks before the big race....Lucky for me it healed. Then there was finding time to train. Finally, my baby scratched my eye so bad the week before the race that I couldn't see...Lucky for me it healed fast too. On race day I felt really good...both feet and eyes were working as they should!
My friend from my running group picked me up at 5:30 am and then we met up with the other ladies from our group to carpool to the race. It was fun and exciting getting there at the crack of dawn and chatting away. This particular 1/2 marathon is part of the Great Race of Agoura. The Great Race is a huge fundraiser (they have several races that morning) for local schools and really has a ton of community support behind it. The volunteers were out in full force so early in the morning and that made me super happy. A bathroom break was next and then we made our way to the start line, which is located at the top of a residential street.
I felt nervous and excited at the same time. The race starts easy...you go down that long hill that you climb earlier (to get to the start line) and for the next 3 miles you run on flat land through charming Old Agoura. At mile 3 you hit the trail head and for the next 7.5 miles you run on the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is really quite beautiful...You would never guess that you are so close to LA and a major freeway! I started the trail portion feeling really great, with a good pace that I kept up until mile 6. That's when I almost cried. I realized that the hard part of the race was just starting. The flat trail was about to turn into a series of hard short climbs. I said a quick prayer and kept on going. Yep, those little rocky parts were harder and longer than I remembered from our practice runs but everyone was pushing along.
Then came the LONG steady climb up to the highest elevation. Most people, including me, walked for part of the climb. I made it to the top - pictured below - I was VERY happy to see this view! I knew that the next part of the race was mostly downhill!
It's a fast way down for about a mile...then you hit flat land, climb one more tough hill and finally you run on the streets for the last 2.5 miles. The last 2.5 miles took forever to finish. I was beyond excited to see that finish line! It was so nice to congratulate the ladies in my group on our run - we all did great! After the race my family took me out for a celebratory lunch - I enjoyed the biggest burger and cocktail! Here's a picture of me after I had made it up and down that hill!
How did I do? I finished in 02:07:11. I think that's great. 8 months ago I had struggled on my 1st post baby run. It was 2 miles and I cried when I got home because it had been so hard to complete. I have come a long way...until the next one!
I believe in hiring companies that not only do a great job but are also are good stewards in the community. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to have Zerorez SoCal come to my house and clean my kitchen and bathroom floors. They did a wonderful job and I will definitely have them over again to work on other areas of my house. I told you all about their non-toxic technology that's used to clean pretty much any surface in your home and how their water is so safe that even my kids drank it! See the picture on the left?
But did you know that Zerorez SoCal is also actively involved in helping our communities with their Zerorez SoCal Minor Miracles program? That's what makes them a really awesome company - they care about their work, your family's health, the environment and the communities that they serve.
"Minor Miracles is a program Zerorez SoCal has developed to help deserving organizations or individuals. We regularly choose individuals or organizations that we feel need a lift, and we clean their home or offices for free. We have noticed that helping provide a clean, healthy environment is greatly appreciated by recipients and gives them a psychic “boost”, and it also allows us to be a part of our community by improving the lives of those we touch with our “minor miracles”.
I have been incredibly fortunate to be around people who care about giving to others. The earliest lesson came from my parents, who taught me to give to the less fortunate, even though we didn't have much ourselves. Then, for a large part of my childhood I was enrolled in an after school program where I later volunteered as a mentor. I saw so many people give their time to help inner city children. Now, I am involved on the Board of two non-profits. I know first hand that these organizations depend on community support in all shapes and sizes! That's why I love the Zerorez SoCal #minormiracles program! They are doing their part to work with local organizations to better carry out their missions!
Do you know of a non-profit, church, or community space in Southern California that could benefit from free cleaning by Zerorez SoCal's #MinorMiracles program? Please take a few minutes and fill out this form and submit your nomination. Note their Service Areas: Orange County, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino.
Some of their past “minor miracle” recipients include:
- Working Wardrobes offices and showroom – helping the homeless train, dress, and apply for employment.
- U.S. Veterans offices – Provide apartments for veterans who are homeless and seeking a new start
- Women’s Shelter of Huntington Beach
- Mother’s Day Program (10 deserving moms provided cleaning service, recipients to remain anonymous) One winner filmed here: http://youtu.be/5vq2lr8ON-I
- Family of five teenagers who lost their father to a heart attack (recipients to remain anonymous)
- Whitehouse Restaurant of Anaheim – over 500,000 free meals provided to homeless “motel” kids
Zerorez SoCal Services include:
- Carpet Cleaning (great on berber!)
- Area rug cleaning (incl wool, silk, cotton, Persians)
- Upholstery cleaning
- Tile and grout cleaning and resealing
- Natural stone cleaning (marble, travertine, etc.)
- Hardwood clean and buff
- Mattress cleaning
- Air Ducts and Furnace cleaning
- Pet urine removal
- Linoleum and vinyl tile cleaning
- Counter top cleaning
- Shower cleaning
- Leather furniture cleaning
- Patio decks, garage floors, walkways
- Autos, boats, and motorhomes cleaning
- Carpet stretch and repair
- Commercial facility cleaning
Keeping your home free of toxins is a process that takes some planning, but overall the tips below are pretty easy to implement. I completely agree that some things need to be done cold-turkey, detoxing your home is not one of them. When I started to learn about the toxins found in my home, I was scared and wanted to make my home toxin-free as quick as possible. I worried a lot about every single thing that could be bad for my family's health, but let me tell you, it's not the best approach. I believe in making small changes to your everyday life that will in time (quicker than you think) result in sustained changes. Below is my simple list for detoxing your home according to the biggest toxin culprits.
Problem 1: Using toxic cleaning supplies
- Buy non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning products
- Make your own non-toxic cleaning products at home
When I was young, nothing told me "the house is clean" like the overwhelming smell of bleach coming from almost every nook in our home. I bought many toxic products to clean my home early on, but have since switched to non-toxic cleaning ones that work really well. I prefer products made with natural ingredients, that are safe for my family and the environment.
I often get asked if the non-toxic cleaning supplies work as well as the conventual ones. I have had some fails in this department, but have found some brands that I just love. A quick online search will also help you make your own non-toxic cleaning products. For example, you can create your own natural and toxic-free, all-purpose cleaner by filling a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Squeeze a lemon for a refreshing smell. Then simply shake up the mixture. Note that this cleaner is safe for most surfaces, but not granite. Don't ignore your personal care products too - they are loaded with toxins.
Problem 2: The constant foot traffic
- Insist that family members take off their shoes at the door
- Invest in a deep cleaning for your carpets and floors
We have seven people that are in and out of our house all day, so the floor and carpet are our biggest dirt magnets. We recently started to keep our shoes off in the house because they bring in so much dirt from our backyard. We keep slippers/sandals right by the door so the kids can change into them when they are home. Your carpets are the biggest filter in your home, and traditional carpet cleaning can leave behind chemical residues that can trigger allergies and asthma. We put in new floors when we moved into our home 2.5 years ago and I was shocked at how dirty they have gotten in that time, even with trying to keep them pretty clean. This is one area where you may have to call in the pros. A few weeks ago I had Zerorez Socal come to my house and clean my kitchen floors with their non-toxic green technology - I was so happy - they look new again!
Problem 3: It's slate in here
- Let the outside air indoors
- Use indoor plants
Did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than outdoor air pollution? It's amazing how much good a little ventilation can do for your home's health. Open up the windows and let outside air in as often as possible. The air circulation can help clear the stale air and discourage the growth of mold. It's also a great idea to use indoor plants to clean the air, and as an added bonus they are nice to look at! The window pictured here is not mine, but it's the view I dream of having one day!
Problem 4: Mold is your enemy
- Seek out the moist areas in your home
- Seek professional help
Mold can be found in almost any place that is super moist in your home, so focus on removing as much of it as you can in your showers, counters and basins. First, keep these areas as dry as possible. The biggest problem areas are bathrooms and basements. Next, it may be a good idea to buy a dehumidifier for the moist areas in your home because they are designed to remove moisture from the air. Just remember that while they are great tools for preventing mold and mildew from appearing in your home, they won't remove mold and mildew that has already formed. Finally, consider seeking professional help if it's too big of project, it's worth the investment.
Problem 5: I like a clean smell
- Limit artificial air fresheners
- Install carbon monoxide detectors
It's hard for me, but I have tried to limit our use of artificial air fresheners. This is my hardest tip to folow, because I love the smell of a "clean home". However, the use of fly sprays, scented aerosol and other air fresheners can be harmful. Did you know that they contain toxic elements? Instead, try using natural solutions to keep your home smelling fresh, like orange peels, rosemary, sage, potpourri and essential oils. Invest in an air purifier if you live in a high traffic area and don't open your windows to let the air in until the traffic has died down. It's also important that you install Carbon Monoxide detectors.
It can feel a little overwhelming to tackle all these toxin culprits at once. Pick one and work on it for a week or two, then move on to another. Soon your home will be a much healthier place for you and your family!
The larger my family has gotten, the more I have employed the 5-second rule. Dropped pacifiers being the biggest culprit...I remember that when my first child was tiny their dropped paci received a complete sterilization session, but by the time my 5th child came along, well, let's just say the pacifier has been given to back to the baby (by me) with a quick wipe on my shirt on a many occasions. You name it - toys, food, sippy cups - pretty much everything that my kids put in their mouths also ends up on the floor. All day long. Every day. It would make me crazy trying to clean every single thing that fell on the floor before handing it back to my kids. Lucky for me, conventional wisdom has allowed me to happily employ the five-second rule for quite some time.
1. My floors and carpets are clean. Well, ok, they are clean enough when you consider that I have 5 young kids, a husband and a dog that live in our house. 2. I have super mom reflexes that don't allow most items to stay on the floor too long.
BUT...see this cute baby?
He spends most of his day crawling around on my floors. He drools on them, plays on them and yes, licks them! Even though I clean the floors 3 days a week, between all the foot traffic and spills, I know this little guy is hanging out with some nasty stuff. I can see it in these pictures - see the dark grout color?
While I employ the five-second rule for my sanity, I know that it's a myth. Research has shown that once an item hits the ground, it's contaminated. Sure, the amount of contamination totally depends on how long you leave it on the floor, what's actually on your floor and the type of item that fell. I'm not a complete germaphobe, you just can't be with lots of kids in your home, but I do want to make an extra effort to keep the floors clean, especially when I have a baby crawling around on the floor.
So, now what? The floors were brand new when we moved in to our home 2.5 years ago. However, just in that short amount of time they have shown lots of wear and tear. I'm picky about how we were going to clean them because we've been working on making greener changes to how we eat, live and clean around here. That's why I was excited to have Zerorez Socal come to my house and clean the kitchen floors and bathroom floor.
What makes Zerorez SoCal different? Zerorez is a green technology for cleaning surfaces in your home without use of harmful chemicals or solvents. That's my kind of cleaning service! They use fresh alkaline water to clean instead of harmful chemicals that can leave residue. Zerorez cleaning services are based on their unique EMPOWERED WATER™ technology. Their water that is electrolyzed and oxidized to create a powerful cleaning solution without harmful toxins or chemicals - cool! As a matter of fact, their water is so safe that you can drink it - see? This is me drinking the water!
My kids were so shocked to see me drink the water that they just had to try it out too, of course.
Did it work? Yes!
Here are before and after pictures of the toughest kitchen area that our super friendly and professional Zerorez SoCal technician cleaned.
What do you think? Like night and day, right?
Want to check them out?
I was really impressed with Zerorez Socal. I'm going to have them back again soon to continue making our home clean and healthy! You can have them come to you by taking advantage of this special deal for Vidacoco readers! Zerorez SoCal can clean your carpet, hardwood, tile and grout, and natural stone. Zerorez SoCal does clean upholstery, but it is not part of the deal.
Thanks Zerorez SoCal! It was great having you out to our home and we look forward to having you all back. The kids are still talking about drinking the water!
by Coco Peate
To the lady who was throwing up her lunch in the bathroom stall next to me...
I could hear you, I knew what you were doing, and I cried a little for you. I wanted to knock on your stall and put my arm around you and tell you that you needed to stop. I wanted to tell you that you needed to love yourself enough to get past everything that brought you to this point. I know, however, that it’s not that easy. Moving past an eating disorder can seem impossible. I know the desperate feeling that eating even a very small amount of food can cause you. It can be so hard for people who haven’t been there to know what this is like.
I do hope and pray that one day soon someone will ask you what you need in order to get better. I hope that they listen, that they understand, and that they help you. Your honesty and courage and their compassion and love will help see you through. I know that being told that you need to eat, that it's what's on the inside that matters, that just "eating healthy counts" are not the words that help. I know you can't see how your already very small pants barely stayed on your tiny frame or how your arms were so thin that I wondered how long you have been struggling.
Perhaps this is new to you, or you have been doing this for so long that you can’t remember when it started. Please know that there is always a way out. It’s not easy, but know that it can get better. It starts with knowing your worth just as you are and deciding that you must love yourself. Once you can appreciate and value yourself, change can happen.
Thoughts on running and training for my 1st 1/2 marathon....
This morning proved to be awesome - I completed my 1st long trail run. It's a big accomplishment for me simply because at one point I could not even run 1 mile. After the birth of my 3rd child I started running and over time I could run longer and faster distances. It never fails that just as I am getting better, I find out I'm pregnant. I keep up with running as long as my pregnant body allows, but my body does not appreciate it - everything seems to ache, always - when I'm pregnant. Running makes this worse. And I always have to run near places with bathrooms, which is a whole other problem. Then, the baby arrives and everything is turned upside down around the house for a few months and running is not at the top of my to-do list. My baby is almost 7 months old and I have a decent handle on things around here so it's back to the running. The past few weeks I have been feeling pretty good about my running and I started to think about completing my 1st 1/2 marathon.
I had been thinking about it for some time, but I was scared. I have run a few 5ks and have done well in them, but long distances scare me. I have never run anything longer than 10 miles and I am not a fast runner. Anyway, I found out that a few moms from my children's school would be running a local and very popular 1/2 marathon on March 22. I know most of them and they very kindly have included me in their training for race day. This morning they had scheduled a 9 mile run, mostly on the trail that we will run that day. I have to be honest, while I have run that distance before, the thought of keeping up with others, perhaps the fear of being judged as a slow runner, and running a completely new course all freaked me out a bit.
Well, I ran it...it was hard...and I will do it again next week. Funny thing - I kept thinking that a rattle snake was going to cross my path or that a mountain lion was going to leap out at me from behind the brush. I took this picture when we reached the top of a steep hill...nice, huh?
I was reminded about 2 things on my run:
1. Comradery is awesome. On today's run, right around mile 5, I felt exhausted. The newness of running a long distance (for me) on a hard trail was beginning to take a toll. My feet hurt and I doubted I could run any longer. Then, I started to focus on my friend running in front of me. I just followed where her feet landed and kept ker pace. Later, when I couldn't run up the steep hill, another person in my group waited for me. I saw 3 other groups of women running the trail. The sense of "we are doing this together" was really nice.
2. Usually the best rewards require a lot of work, and it can be painful - physically and mentally. Yes, those of us who have been in labor can totally relate, right? I am not suggesting that we should all push our bodies to the point of exhaustion but the health goals that we set for ourselves often mean doing things we don't want to really do. Sometimes they hurt and that's ok.
I'm not training for a great finishing time, just for the ability to persevere and make it across that finish line with some friendly running partners. Looking forward to March 22nd race day!
Today, I totally was THAT lame mom in front of about 15 middle school kids. AND I am so happy about that!
It was the perfect afternoon for meeting a few friends at the park after school. Sorry friends who don't live in SoCal, we had pretty awesome weather this week. Anyway, I volunteered to drive over to the nearest Starbucks and get our sleep deprived bodies some caffeine. As I drove past the middle school located near the coffee shop, I cringed. Not because I don't like adolescents, but because I knew that there would be a LONG line at Starbucks. It's a thing around here, kids seem to flock to the nearest Starbucks after school!
Ok, so I park and go into the Starbucks and sure enough I'm #100 in line, well, ok #10, behind 9 middle schoolers. Behind me, a bunch of middle school boys. The funniest part was that I think every kid in there was taller than me! I didn't mind my place in line too much until the 3 boys behind me started talking. They were APPALLING! Ok, I know, boys "are like that" you may say...."Oh you must never get out" or "that's just what kids say these days," but honestly I was taken by surprise. I will spare you all the details, but basically they were joking abut RAPE! To both sexes!