Thursday, July 30, 2009

How To Improve Your Sleep

I have several friends, including myself, where sleep doesn't always come easy at night. I was sent this article and it includes the same information I have read in several magazines, so I thought I would post it.

If you haven't been sleeping well, the solution may be simpler than you think. Before you turn to addictive sleep medications, try these all natural bedtime remedies:

1. Write it down. Get worries, fears, and tomorrow's "To Do" list out of your head and onto paper.
2. Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol may put you to sleep, but it will also wake you up several hours later.
3. Finish vigorous exercise five hours before bed. It can take that long for your core body temperature to drop in order to fall asleep.
4. Create a restful environment. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and clutter-free. Consider using a white-noise maker.
5. Avoid stress inducing activity prior to sleep. Answering emails, paying bills or watching stress-inducing TV will keep your body restless.
6. Utilize relaxation techniques. Release the stress of the day with light stretching, soothing music, aromatherapy oil, deep breathing, meditation or a combination of these activities.© 2009 The First Thirty Days, Inc.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Daily Advice

I think it's nice to share some advice every now and then that is applicable to many people. I got this in one of my emails by "Ariane's Change Secrets" I subscribe to.

* If you don’t have high expectations for teachers, classes, parents, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc., whatever happens is a bonus. Being disappointed by unmet expectations is what hurts the most.
* Compare and Despair. The minute you compare yourself, you're setting yourself up to get depressed.
* Write down three accomplishments that you're incredibly proud of. When you're feeling down, remember, you're the person who got them done!
* Someone else in the world would do anything for your life, school, friends and clothes… even on your worst day.
* Do the thing that scares you. Nothing feels better than being courageous.
© 2009 The First Thirty Days, Inc.

"Cool Hand" Dad

I found this touching story in Parents Magazine June 2009.

When Robert Haag's son, Michael, was born five years ago without a fully developed left arm, Haag was stunned to learn that prosthetic hands for infants were essentially useless because the "forefinger" and "thumb" were connected to each other and therefore immobile. That's why Haag, of Atlanta, came up with a simple fix. He cut just-for-show appendages apart so that his son could at east hold a block or a pacifier like other children. And thus bean Haag's quest to make prosthetics useful to a child. He turned a Spider-Man fishing rod into a "fishing arm" by altering the pole to screw into Micheal's prosthetic socket. His goal is to improve Micheal's and other children's life and shares his designs on under "Pediatric Trainer."

Dads Who Help Dads

One: I know dads don't have as many resources as mom do regarding what to expect with a pregnancy and baby, so I found this in Parents June 2009 for you.

Troy Jones is from Los Angeles and Sam Holt hails from Australia. Together, they created Being Dad for fathers-to-be worldwide to get the lowdown from fellow dudes about pregnancy (so you want to have sex with your 8-month-pregnant wife?) and birth (yeah, he'll come out as clean and cute as in the movies!) and other stuff you might not think to ask.

Two: I have not read the book yet, but Kevin Nealon gave us a short blurb on his labor experience on the Ellen Degerenes show (one of my son's favorite shows by the way) and had my whole family rolling on the floor, laughing. Here is his book, Yes, You're Pregnant, but What About Me? available on Amazon.

Fun Facts to Impress The Kids About Bugs

I think these facts would interest adults as well as kids. (I found these in Parents magazine June 2009). Also, there are some insects that make for some unusual pets listed below. I was thinking about getting the hissing cockroaches for my classroom...

Ladybugs: Wings beat 85 times per second. Ladybugs have organs in their feet to help them smell.

Stinkbug: Spray foul smelling substance in self-defense

Whirligig beetle: lives in rivers and streams and has divided eyes that allow it to see above and below the surface at the same time

Water spiders: spend their entire lives under water in an air bubble they’ve spun from silk
Borneo Walking Sticks: Can grow more than 22 inches long!

Isopods (pill bugs or roly-poly-bugs): roll up into balls when disturbed.

Ants: can lift up to 50x and drag up to 30x their weight. And their brains are the largest in the animal kingdom, in proportion to the size of their body. (That gives us humans a run for our money).

Hercules beetle: can carry 850 times its own body weight, making it the world’s strongest creature!

INSECT PETS - cheap and easy to care for. Try a pet sore or you can order bugs at

Phasmids: stick insects eat fresh leaves and need a spray of water every day.

Ants: Fascination AntWorks at uses nontoxic blue gel to that ants don't need additional food or water.

Crickets: Adult males sing and can be kept in a ventilated aquarium, and will eat lettuce and oatmeal.

Madagascar hissing cockroach: can't bite or hurt you. Keep it in a tank with a heating pad underneath and feed it fresh veggies, fruit, and dog food.

Movie Monitor Web-Sites

I know my son is young and will not be watching movies for another year or two, but I found some websites in Good Housekeeping July 2009 that can help parents find out why a DVD or TV show is rated PG-13 among other options. I think as a parent it's good to know where to turn when you are questioning what is appropriate for your school aged child.
Reviews here list exactly what's on screen in terms of sex & nudity, violence and gore, and profanity.
This site presents reviews as report cards on quality, violence, sexual content, language, and drug use. Clink on "The Big Picture" for studies on kids media trends.
Movies, TV shows, Websites, games, books, and music are rated for suitability for kids ages 2-17.

3 Rules for New Drivers

(From Good housekeeping July 2009)
I know my son is a long way off from driving, but the rules for safe driving can apply to parents too. I've lost family members to alcohol related accidents and I've seen neighborhoods kids get thrown from cars and die, along with high school classmates who didn't buckle up and follow the rules.

BRAKE TO CONSIDER THIS: Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths. So outline your safety expectations — and the consequences — up front by creating a contract with your teen.
Experts at Allstate say driving pacts can initiate potentially lifesaving conversations between parents and teenagers. Here are points to include on yours:

Silence Cell Phones
Chatting on a mobile gives a driving teen the reaction time of a 70-year-old. Agree that your kid will never talk or text.

Limit Late-Night Cruising
New licensees are twice as likely to crash at night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) as during the day, so set an early curfew.

Start Solo
One teen passenger doubles the risk of a teen's getting into a fatal crash. Decide that your kid won't chauffeur pals.

Take It Slow
Speeding accounted for 44 percent of fatalities among 15- 20-year-olds in 2005. Make sure your child knows the speed limits in your area. And remember to abide by them, too, so you're a positive role model.

Always Buckle Up
Seat belts can lower the risk of dying in a car crash by 45 percent, so agree that they are a must, even for short spins around the neighborhood.

Absolutely No Alcohol
No tolerance for drinking and driving seems obvious, but still write it on the contract so your expectations are crystal clear. The stats are sobering: Approximately 25 percent of fatal teen crashes in 2005 were caused by drunk driving.

You can download a blank parent-teen contract from Allstate.

Summer Skin Alert

I found this increase in cancer among our kids very scary.

Melanoma diagnoses among kids rose 84% from 1975 to 2005, according to the National Cancer Institute. One bad sunburn more than doubles your kid's chances of developing the deadly skin cancer later in life, says the Skin Cancer Foundation, so remind kids to apply water-resistant sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) 30 minutes before heading outdoors. (Good Housekeeping July 2009)

Slimmer Body Tricks

I found these tips about sodium, blood pressure and weight/exercise, and sleep in Good Housekeeping July 2009. These tips in particular either have to do with some statistics I found astounding or pertain to certain family members.

The American Heart Assoc. calculated that is we all cut back sodium 400mg, there would be 250,000 fewer heart disease cases and 200,000- plus fewer deaths over the next 10 years. Stepping on the scale will be less scary too. “Sodium makes you retain water, when there’s less in your body, you’ll lost fluid,” says Norman Kaplan M.D. professor of internal medicine at UT South-western Medical Center.

People who cut back on salt usually eat more fresh foods. Toss in exercise and you’ll naturally be losing weight. “You can expect blood pressure to fall one point for every pound you lose,” says Dr. Kaplan. And sometimes more: “I lost 10 pounds and my pressure went down 15 points,” he adds.

Sleep 10% more. Sleep isn’t like pulling the car into the garage and turning off the engine,” says James Walsh, PhD, executive director of the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, MO. “Sleep actively restores the brain and body, including the immune system.” People who snagged less than 7 hours sleep were nearly 3x more likely to catch a cold after being exposed to viruses than well-rested souls who averaged 8 or more hours of sleep. Getting 8 hours can also help protect you from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and help keep your weight down. (Personal note on weight * "Because you’re not awake to eat!").

Are women worth less than men?

I took a class my first year in college, 1996, about women in society and we talked about wages and commercials, raising families, and other things that had to do with gender biases. I remember thinking then, “wow, there’s still wage gaps?” This class was one of the best I ever took because it opened my eyes to the way women and men get treated (in general) different from each other. Now over a decade later, it appears that there is still inequality when it comes to work and pay.

So I was really disappointed when I saw an article in Redbook magazine May 2009 regarding the pay gap between men and woman. I figured in today’s society these type of things were equal since a lot of work places have easily accessible salary scales. However, here are some current statistics that show things are not 100% equal still.

· Women earn 78 cents to every dollar earned by men: African American women earn 71 cents, and Hispanic women earn 58 cents.

Here are some current lawsuits regarding this issue:

*In 2004, Boeing settles a gender-discrimination lawsuit and agreed to pay 29,000 female employees who’d worked at Boeing the previous seven years. The settlement also calls on Boeing to change its salary structure and modify the way it evaluates performance. (And people want to start paying teachers on merit and test scores?!)
*In 2004, Wachovia agreed to pay 2,000 female employees who had been subjected to compensation discrimination over six years. The company also agreed to intake self-monitoring measures for three years to ensure fair pay to its employees. (Again, people want to start paying teachers on merit and test scores?!)
*Female Wal-Mart employees currently are involved in the largest employment-discrimination suit ever, suing the company for pay discrimination and an old-boys’ network that promotes men and prevents women from advancing in their careers. Managers have been quoted to say, “God made Adam first,” “Men are here to make a career, and women aren’t. Retail is for housewives who just need to earn extra money.”

· Gendered wage disparity will cost women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime in lost wages.
· If women earned the same as men, their annual family income would rise by about $4,000 and the poverty rate would be cut in half.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top 10 Baby Words

Here is a list of the Top 10 First Words according to Baby Talk (December 2009).
Dada (check)
Mama (check)
BaaBaa (check)
Bye (check)
Ho (check)
Uh Oh
Grr (check, does neigh count too?)
Bottle (that's what BaBa is for)
Yum Yum

So our son nailed most of those words. His other favorite words at 13 months is "that" which is his favorite words since he merely points and mom and dad must figure out which item he wants us to say or get, and "coc" which stands for clock and cookie.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Diet Lies

Redbook Magazine June 2009

I just wanted to point out these myths. I'm sure you can find more info online.

The more you work out, the better

Muscle weighs more than fat

Fresh fruit and veggies are more nutritious than frozen or canned.

You gain more weight in winter

Take Sides on Relationships Online?

I found this new website interesting. Posted from Redbook Magazine, June 2009.

"You probably could use a referee in your relationship once in a while, but should you have the Internet have the last word on your couple fight? At the website, she and he can anonymously post their side of the story-whose turn was it to take out the trash?-and leave it to online voters to determine who's at fault. And if the Web world takes your guy's side? Let him cozy up with the laptop tonight."

Personally, I wouldn't want to post something from personally life and have strangers tell me their opinion, would you?

Image-Oriented Bullying

I love this story because I know a lot of us don't want to see our own children dealing with this type of bullying.

"No matter the politics, it's hard not to admire McCain's cheerful insistence that we focus on the issues-and not on appearance. When a critics mocked her by calling her a plus-sized model, she fired off a response on, admonishing people for 'image-oriented bullying' and reminding us how these tactics distract us form what really mattes."

Redbook Magazine, June 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Words of Wisdom

I found these rules to be good perspective on completing tasks:

"Rules of Rock Climbing offered by veteran rock climber, Matthew Childs, to offer you much wisdom. As it turns out, they’re basically rules for life.
* Don’t let go (give up). Hang in there, and you’ll come up with solutions.
* Hesitation is bad. Momentum is good—don’t stop.
* Have a plan at all times. Don’t just plan for the hardest parts.
* Know how to rest. Regroup, calm yourself, focus and keep going.
* Fear Sucks. It keeps you focused on the consequences of failing what you’re doing, instead of on the accomplishment of what you’re doing.
* Opposites are a good thing. Don’t always follow the most obvious solution or path.
* Strength does not equal success. Sometimes flexibility does or something else.
* Know how to let go. Don’t hang on until the bitter end."
© 2009 The First Thirty Days, Inc. All Rights Reserved | P.O. Box 115, Village Station, New York, NY 10014