Archive for the ‘kid-friendly’ Tag

Is It A Cold?… Or Mold?: How To Tell And What To Do Next (Part 2 of 2)

At the root of all of these physical reactions is an elevated level of toxic spores. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to protect your home and family from these dangers.

A simple visual inspection of you home can give you a good idea of whether mold is present. Keep in mind, though, that it prefers dark, damp growing conditions so you’ll need to check basements, under carpets and pads, and in other somewhat hidden locations in addition to what is readily visible. If any water damage or leaks have occurred, the chance of mold increases. Mold growth will usually show up 24 to 48 hours after water saturation occurs.

Mold may also hide inside cabinets, behind drywall, under baseboards, or behind wallpaper. Check behind bubbled or peeling paint, particularly on windowsills, in basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Any substance that looks slimy, dark, furry, or otherwise suspicious may be mold. It will typically be accompanied by a musty odor.

If you do locate mold inside your home, the next step is to identify what type of mold you’re dealing with. Specially trained mold inspectors should be brought in to determine the type, source, and extent of your infestation. They will identify the mold by collection samples and sending them to a lab for further analysis.

Another more cost effective option is to purchase a home mold testing kit. These do-it yourself kits are able to detect the presence of mold and provide you with the data you will need in order to have the mold identified. These kits can be purchased online and even at some home improvement and “super” stores.

Inside the kit, you will find instructions explaining how to collect a usable mold sample. You will then be asked to send the specimen to a laboratory for testing. The laboratory will then determine whether the mold is benign, allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.

Once the type of mold has been analyzed, you will then need to decide on their next course of action. If the mold appearing in your home is found to be toxic, a mold specialist may be your safest bet. A mold specialist will be able to safely and professionally remove the mold infestation. Some homeowners insurance will cover the costs of professional mold removal.

In most instances, mold removal is a simple process involving the removal of a small section of wall or floorboards at the source of the infestation. In more severe cases the process could require some substantial deconstruction and reconstruction. In this sort of situation, other contractors including plumbers, roofers, foundation specialists, etc. could be required in addition the specialists doing the actual mold removal.

For the best in home security, I recommend selecting one of the premium home security systems from ADT, the nation’s leading provider of security services. ADT home security systems can provide a critical lifeline to emergency response services in case of home invasions, medical emergencies and fires.
Because of the growing number of infestation reported each year, some states have passed laws and started programs designed to help to protect consumers from the damaging physical and financial effects of toxic mold damage in the home.

Fun Winter Bird Feeder Craft For Kids

Winter weather can lead to cooped up preschoolers in need of something fun to do. The next time your little gets a case of cabin fever, try this easy and fun project– it’s for the birds!

Better yet, you probably already have everything you’ll need to help your child create and cute and fully functional bird feeder.

Supplies Needed:
Pine cones
Yarn or twine
Creamy peanut butter
Bird seed
*Note: If pine cones aren’t readily available in your yard, try a walk through a local park. If you still don’t come across any, craft stores will usually carry a supply.

Put a big dollop of peanut butter on a plate and give your child a butter knife to spread the peanut butter all over the pine cone. For safety, make sure they stay seated while working. Repeat for however many pine cone bird feeders you wish to make.

Do this next step outside if possible– it can get messy! Pour some wild bird seed into a bowl, plate, or small bucket. Have your child roll the pine cones in the bird seed until completely covered.

Help your child tie a piece of yarn or twine around one end of each pine cone.

If you need to, sprinkle some more bird seed on the pine cones to make sure they are completely covered. It’s the fun part anyway!

Let your child choose where he or she wants to hang the completed pine cone bird feeders and then tie the bird feeders in place. If you can pick a spot where you can watch the bird traffic from inside– even better!
Sit with your child and watch for visiting birds. Keep a bird book and some binoculars nearby so that you can try to spot and name the different birds that frequent your neck of the woods.

Don’t forget to protect those you love and care for the most with a home security system, which can provide a lifeline in case of medical emergencies, fires, and of course burglaries. I personally recommend ADT home security systems. ADT is the leading provider of home security systems in the U.S., with more than 100 years of experience.

Keeping Kids Safe: Staircase and Hallway Safety

Staircases and hallways are high-traffic areas and should be monitored for safety hazards. Knowing what to look out for is the first step toward keeping those areas safe for the whole family.

1. Safety gates can be used to prevent very young children from accessing unsafe areas such as open staircases. Don’t forget, however, that hurtling safety gates can pose its own safety risks. Try to position gates in such a way that allows you to regain safe footing after stepping over and before starting down the stairs. If that’s not possible, make sure you purchase a gate that can operate as a swinging gate. If family members and guests can simply open the gate, as opposed to dislodging it completely each time they need to pass through. This way, they will be less inclined, at least hypothetically, to try to hurtle the gate or attempt some other less-than-safe method of passage.

2. Halls and stairs need to be safe to use as night too. Make sure all nighttime traffic areas are well-lit and kept free from toys, decorations, unsecured rugs or runners, and other items that could cause falls or be dangerous to fall on to or walk in to.

3. Stairs should be checked periodically for signs of structural instability.

4. Carpeting stairs can provide a slip-resistant walking surface and some degree of cushioning in the event of a fall. Runners or carpeting that only covers the middle portion of the steps, however, can be more dangerous than a bare walking surface. The change in surfaces can lead to some serious falls when one foot winds up on a carpeted section of a step and the other lands on a part without.

Don’t forget to protect your children and other loved ones with a home security system, which can provide a lifeline in case of medical emergencies, fires, and of course burglaries. I personally recommend ADT home security systems. ADT is the leading provider of home security systems in the U.S., with more than 100 years of experience.

Keep Kids Safe, Even When You’re Not Around: Kitchen Safety

Using child-proof gates to block access to unsafe or unsupervised rooms is a great way to help keep small children safe. Kids, however, are naturals when it comes to outgrowing things. Shoes, toys, and, yes, even safety gates are all fair game, making it imperative for parents to teach children from an early age how to be safe even when no one’s watching. This series of posts will cover room-by-room safety tips that your child should know and that you can use as a checklist to ensure your home is as safe as possible.

In the kitchen:

1. Avoid yucky germs and cross-contamination: wash those hands! All it takes is a little regular soap, warm water, and about 18 seconds of your time. Make sure to show kids how to lather up well, wash the backs and fronts of both hands, between fingers, and under the tips of fingernails. Rinse under running water and dry with a clean towel.

2. Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating with clean water and, if the skin is thick enough, a vegetable brush.

3. When using a knife, always cut away from your body.

4. Microwave cooking might seem kid-safe as there is no open flame or heating element to be burned by- but don’t be fooled! Microwaved foods can cause serious burns. Stir microwaved foods before checking for a safe temperature and make sure to only use cookware that is approved for microwave. Cover foods with plastic wrap for more even heating with less mess, but be sure to use caution when removing the film; steam burns! Containers can get hot too, so keep potholders handy.

5. Hot liquids, not fire, are the most common cause of burns on children. So use the back burners instead of the front ones whenever possible and always keep pot handles turned away from reaching hands. If you or your child do get burned working in the kitchen:

• Immediately submerse the burned area in cold, running water for at least five minutes. Do not use ice! This can further damage the skin.
• If the burn begins to blister, cover it loosely with sterile gauze. Don’t use fluffy cotton- it can irritate the injured skin.
• If the burn is severe, large, or on sensitive skin such as the face or groin area, seek medical attention as soon as possible. When in doubt, get help.

Stay tuned for more helpful hints in Kitchen Safety- Part 2!

For the best in holiday home security, I recommend selecting one of the premium home security systems from ADT, the nation’s leading provider of security services. ADT home security systems can provide a critical lifeline to emergency response services in case of home invasions, medical emergencies and fires.

Kids in the Kitchen = Better Nutrition

One of the best ways to encourage your children to make responsible food choices now, while setting good habits for the future, is by getting them involved in the family’s food selection and meal planning process. Spending time talking to your kids about different types of ingredients, food preparation, and nutrition will not only serve to convey importance, it will also give them valuable information they will continue to use throughout their lives.
Start with the basics and keep it simple. Print out or bring home an up-to-date food pyramid in order to help your child understand what the different food groups are and how many servings of each are healthy to have during the course of a day. When your next grocery store trip rolls around, you and the small fry will have the chance to get in some field work. Before leaving the house, decide together what meals the family will have during the week and what ingredients you’ll need to pick up at the store; your mini-helper can participate by checking through cabinets and the refrigerator for supplies you may already have in the house.
For your child’s first kitchen assist, think: quick and easy. After you have a few positive experiences under your collective belts, you’ll be able to try increasingly more complicated and time-consuming recipes together. Don’t forget to use the opportunity to teach your child about kitchen safety and make sure to keep in mind that a successful parent and child cooking venture isn’t judged by a taste-test, but by how much fun you had while learning together.

Here’s a kid-friendly recipe to get you and your tiny chef off to a tasty start!

• pizza dough (boxed, canned, pre-made, whatever you prefer)
• shredded cheese
• eggs
• breakfast meat and/or vegetable toppings

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Beat eggs in a bowl with a little water, milk, or sour cream. Chop up toppings and add to eggs. Mix in shredded cheese.
3. Spread dough out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan/stone. Make a small lip around the edge of the dough so the mix doesn’t run off.
4. Gently pour the eggs, cheese, and topping mixture onto the pizza dough. Place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 25 minutes or until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.
Don’t forget that cooking left unattended is the leading cause of house fires. I recommend a ADT home security system, including a monitored smoke alarm to help keep your family safe. A monitored smoke alarm ensures that the fire department responds in an emergency, even if you are asleep or away visiting family. ADT is the leading provider of home security systems in the U.S., with more than 100 years in business.