Monday, October 22, 2012

Did Your All Purpose Cleaner Make the Cut?

There are so many all purpose cleaners on the market.  So which one do you choose?  There have been many debates on whether to use the green cleaners, old faithfuls like Pine Sol, or just use vinegar and baking soda.  Consumer Reports put our favorite brands to the test.  They were tested for their ability to remove stains, grease, soap scum and streaking.  So who won?

Pine-Sol  won the overall test.

Can one household cleaner vanquish tough kitchen stains such as grease and grape juice; soap scum and other bathroom scourges; and stubborn mineral deposits left by hard water?

To find out, we applied those and other common stains to tiles; sprayed or wiped on 19 all-purpose cleaners, and inserted the tiles into our special scrubbing apparatus. In our tough tests, only Pine-Sol Original cleaned well enough to be recommended, earning high marks on all stains. It did so without streaking, and at 9 cents per ounce is a CR Best Buy.

All-purpose cleaners are typically used to clean such household surfaces as kitchen counters and bathroom tiles. In our labs we pit them against four soil types—grease, grape juice, ketchup and mustard that we spread on glass, ceramic and metal tiles. Then it's on to the soap scum test.

Finally, we see if the cleaners leave streaks behind. Only the Pine-Sol aced that test. It was also very good at removing stains and soap scum and was the only cleaner to make our list of top-picks.
So if you use name brand all purpose cleaners then it seems as though Pine Sol  might be your best overall all purpose cleaner.  What are your favorite household cleaning products?

Check out these men using Pine Sol!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's Flu Season! Shot or No Shot!

While talking to many of my friends, I found that there was a mixture of emotions regarding flu shots and vaccinations.  Some people feel that they are absolutely necessary while others are afraid to vaccinate their children.  With many recent allegations that vaccinations cause autism, their are many concerned parents. And rightfully so!  Here is a guide to some pros and cons about vaccinations.

PRO Vaccines
  1. Vaccination should be required for children. No individual should have the right to risk the health of the public solely for the purpose of satisfying their personal moral, philosophical, or religious views.

  2. Vaccines can eradicate disease and prevent serious illness and death. Mandatory vaccination has eradicated diseases that once killed thousands of children, such as polio and smallpox. According to researchers at the Pediatric Academic Society, childhood vaccinations in the US prevent about 10.5 million cases of infectious illness and 33,000 deaths per year. [2]

  3. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most childhood vaccines are 90-99% effective in preventing disease. When children who have been vaccinated do contract a disease, despite being vaccinated against it, they usually have milder symptoms with less serious complications than an un-vaccinated child that gets the same disease. [3]

  4. Since some individuals that have been vaccinated may still get sick when exposed to infected individuals, 75% - 94% (639 KB)  [33] of the population (depending on the disease) must be vaccinated to acheive "herd immunity." When herd immunity is achieved the number of immunized individuals is high enough to prevent the spread of disease through the population. [4]

  5. The risks of not being vaccinated far outweigh the small risks associated with vaccination. Preventable diseases like measles and mumps can cause permanent disability and death. In 1991 an outbreak of measles in an unvaccinated group of children in Philadelphia caused seven deaths. Children infected with the mumps can become permanently deaf. [5] Although a very small number of deaths from the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine have been reported (39 KB) , [34] the most common adverse reactions are minor soreness and or fever.

  6. Even when diseases seem to no longer exist, outbreaks can still occur if children are not vaccinated. In Boulder, CO, fear over possible side effects of the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine [6] led many parents to refuse vaccination for their children causing Boulder to have the lowest school-wide vaccination rate in Colorado for whooping cough and one of the highest rates of whooping cough in the US as of 2002. [7]

  7. Because children and infants are more vulnerable to the swine flu (H1N1 virus) they should be required to take the FDA-approved vaccine to prevent illness and possible death. [8]

8. The claim that vaccines cause autism is false. Many studies, including one by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, reject the hypothesis that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in vaccines, causes autism [9]. On Mar. 12, 2010, in the case of Mead v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (500 KB) , [35] the US Court of Federal Claims ruled that the "theory of vaccine-related causation [of autism] is scientifically unsupportable."

  9. Children should be required to receive vaccination against hepatitis B. The disease can cause inflammation of the liver leading to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver or cancer. The World Health Organization recommends that hepatitis B vaccination be a part of universal childhood vaccination programs. Reports that the hepatitis B vaccine may cause multiple sclerosis have been refuted by many published studies. [10]

  10. Girls between the ages of 11 and 12 should be required to get the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine because it protects against four strains of HPV - two of which cause cervical cancer. In the US, cervical cancer is the second leading cancer killer of women, with 10,000 women diagnosed each year, and 3,700 dying from the disease (as of 2009). The HPV vaccine can stop these deaths and should be given to all girls before they become sexually active and have the potential to contract HPV. [11]

  11. Vaccines should be required because they produce significant economic benefits for society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every $1 spent on vaccination saves the public $6.30 in medical costs (123 KB)  [36] that would result from having to treat unvaccinated diseased individuals.

CON Vaccines

  1. Governments should not have the right to intervene in the health decisions parents make for their children. 31% of parents (639 KB)  [37] believe they should have the right to refuse mandated school entry vaccinations for their children, according to a 2010 survey by the University of Michigan.

  2. Many parents hold religious beliefs against vaccination. Forcing such parents to vaccinate their children would violate the 1st Amendment which guarantees citizens the right to the free exercise of their religion.

  3. Vaccines are often unnecessary in many cases where the threat of death from disease is small. During the early nineteenth century, mortality for the childhood diseases whooping cough, measles, and scarlet fever fell drastically before immunization became available. This decreased mortality has been attributed to improved personal hygiene, water purification, effective sewage disposal, and better food hygiene and nutrition. [12]

  4. Vaccines interfere with natural law and God's plan for humanity. Disease is a natural occurrence, and humans should not interfere with its trajectory.

  5. Common childhood vaccinations may cause rare yet serious reactions (139KB)  [38] including anaphylactic shock, paralysis, and sudden death. This risk is not worth taking, especially considering most diseases vaccinated against are not necessarily life threatening.

  6. Vaccines can trigger auto-immune disorders such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome (GBS), and other disorders. [13]

  7. Vaccines can cause brain inflammation (encephalopathy) which can lead to death or permanent brain damage and disorders such as autism, ADD/ADHD, and other developmental problems. [14] In addition, the vaccine additive thimerosal (found in most pre-1999 vaccines) has been associated specifically with the development of autism and is still found in certain meningococcal, tetanus, and flu vaccines such as the H1N1 vaccine (62 KB) . [39]

  8. Vaccines clog and disrupt the lymphatic system with large foreign protein molecules (the active ingredients contained within vaccines) which may lead to lymphatic cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. [15]

  9. All vaccines cause immune system suppression, and can permanently damage the natural immune system. Unvaccinated children build and strengthen their immune systems through fighting off infection and developing natural immunity to diseases like measles and chickenpox. Artificial immunity, generated through vaccination, weakens the immune system and leaves children more vulnerable to all other diseases and infections. [16]

  10. Children should not be required to receive the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) vaccine. Some studies have shown that children who receive the DPT vaccine exhibit shallow breathing which has been associated with sleep apnea and may be a causal factor in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies of infants whose deaths were recorded as SIDS show a temporal relationship with DPT vaccination (these infants tended to die at similar time intervals in relation to when they were vaccinated). [17]

  11. Children should not receive the hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B is a blood-born disease and is primarily spread by sexual intercourse and intravenous drug use. Children are not at great risk of contracting the disease. In addition, researchers have found that immunization with the hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis. [18]

  12. Young girls should not receive mandatory vaccination for HPV (human papilloma virus). The vaccine was approved in 2006 and the long-term effects are unknown. Since approval, adverse side effects such as severe allergic reactions, Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome, spinal cord inflammation and pancreatitis have been reported to the US Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. Although these adverse reactions may be rare, they are not worth the risk since the vaccine only protects against two of the 15 strains of HPV that may cause cancer of the cervix (20-40 years after an individual is infected). [19]

  13. Vaccines are promoted primarily to generate profits for manufacturers and financial donations for medical organizations that endorse vaccines. In 2003, a House Committee on Government Reform report (4 MB)  [40] revealed that the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had members with significant financial ties to vaccine companies. The American Academy of Pediatrics, a leading pro-vaccination organization, receives millions of dollars from vaccine companies. [20]

For more information go to

Let me know your thoughts on vaccinations. Will you vaccinate your child? Comment below.

Will you vaccinate your child? free polls 

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Have to Organize my Refrigerator Too?

It seems like everything in life works best if it is organized. As a mom we have to organize our kids toys, closets, drawers, lives... Now we have to organize the fridge too?  Well of course! But get this, you may be doing it WRONG! If you are anything like me, the most used stuff ends up on the top shelf.  Here is a guide to organizing your fridge according to Real Simple Magazine.

1. Eggs do best where the temperature is most consistent-on the middle shelf. Store in the original cartons (don't transfer to the fridge egg container).

2. Milk tends to land on the top shelf, but it should be on the bottom, all the way in back, where it's coldest.

3. Yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese fare best on the bottom shelf for the same reason. Stack items on a turntable to keep everything accessible and expiration dates visible.

4. Packaged raw meat should go on the super-cold bottom shelf. And if juices drip, they won't contaminate the whole fridge.

5. Vegetables stay fresh longer with a bit of humidity. The drawer labeled vegetables or high humidity is the moistest spot in the fridge. Store in the original packaging or in a plastic bag, loosely tied.

6. Fruit belongs in the low humidity drawer (sometimes marked crisper). Keep in the original packaging or in a plastic bag, loosely tied (citrus is fine with no bag).
Tip: Leave vegetables and fruits unwashed until you use them. Water can promote mold and cause bacteria to grow.

7. Deli meats belong in the shallow meat drawer, which is slightly colder than the rest of the fridge, or (if there's no such drawer) on the bottom shelf.

8. Butter and soft cheeses don't need to be super cold, so they can live in the dairy compartment on the door (the warmest part of the fridge). Place soft cheeses, like Brie and goat cheese, in an air-tight container after opening them.

9. Condiments are generally high in vinegar and salt, which are natural preservatives. So ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing are fine on the door. Same goes for pickles and jarred salsa. Olive and vegetable oils can remain in the pantry. But nut oils, like sesame and walnut oils, belong in the refrigerator, also on the door.

10. Orange juice can be stored on the door, as long as it's pasteurized. Fresh-squeezed should be stored on the bottom shelf.
Now that you have all of the tools that you need, head into your kitchen and reorganize your refrigerator.  It will be much easier for your husband and kids to polish off the milk now that they are confident that it is cold and fresh!

What are some of your kitchen organization secrets?
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