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Monday, July 30, 2012


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-LONDON2012.COM Great Britain breaks women’s Double Sculls Olympic best Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain break the Olympic best in the women’s Double Sculls heats on Day 3. It was their 22nd unbeaten race in a row.
Well done Team GB!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Biggest Mistake Made Choosing Running Shoes

The biggest mistake a runner can make is choosing one shoe to serve all their needs – running, walking, every day wear, and so on. Running shoes have soles constructed from a more cushioned material to allow for maximum impact. When choosing the proper fit, everyone’s feet are different and brand makers design styles with that reality in mind. Wet your food and step on to a brown paper bag in order to get a good foot print. Trace around the wet marks so you can see exactly how your foot fits inside the running shoe. Take this tracing with you when making your purchase to help select the best fitting running shoe. Avoid super-fashionable styles endorsed by celebrities because, chances are, you’re paying for the branding and not necessarily a better running shoe.
The most popular brand for professional and Olympic runners this year is Adidas’ Adizero Primeknit running shoe.
Jenn G (Guest Blogger)

Friday, July 27, 2012

New York Governor signs bill to prohibit indoor tanning devices for New Yorkers under 17

On July 17, 2012 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all New Yorkers under the age of 17. The bills A 1074 and S 2917 will still require parental consent for 17-year olds for the use of indoor tanning devices.
It has been proven that indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology on a daily basis more than 1 million people tan in a tanning salon.
2.3 million teens tan indoors in the United States annually.
The increased use of tanning beds by teenagers has contributed to the sharp rise in melanoma rates. Melanoma is linked to excessive sun exposure particularly in the first 10 to 19 years of life
The reason teens are at particular risk because they are still experiencing such tremendous growth at the cellular level
Tanning has been shown to release endorphins which give the teen a natural high. This encourages them in an almost addictive manner to continue tanning.
The US Dept of Health and Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, including tanning beds and sun lamps, as known carcinogens (a cancer-causing agent).
Studies have found a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma in those exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning.
The short-term, bronzing effects of tanning bed use are simply not worth the long-term consequences of increased skin cancer risk and premature aging.
Do you think this is something that should be legislated or should it be left up to the parents to?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Committee on Environment & Public works passed the Safe Chemicals Act!

Yesterday the Senate Committee on Environment & Public works passed the Safe Chemicals Act!
Thousands of other concerned citizens to demand safer chemicals – and products – for our families and communities. This legislation requires chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and the EPA to evaluate safety based on the best available science. To date, the EPA has evaluated only about 200 chemicals out of more than 80,000 currently in use. Now the bill goes before the entire Senate, followed by the House of Representatives. With your help, the original Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 will get a much-needed overhaul to protect our children from the toxic chemicals they’re exposed to every day.
Safe Chemicals Act of 2011
Testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found more than 212 industrial chemicals in the bodies of most Americans, including at least six known carcinogens and dozens that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and other adverse health effects. But the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which governs these chemicals, has not been amended since its adoption more than three decades ago – despite huge changes in chemical production and use and our state of knowledge about how chemicals can harm health and the environment.
TSCA placed severe burdens on EPA’s ability to require safety testing or regulate a chemical – burdens so onerous that over the past 30 years EPA has been able to require testing for only about 200 chemicals out of more than 80,000 on the EPA’s inventory. Moreover, TSCA has allowed EPA to regulate only limited uses of five chemicals. In 1989, EPA issued a regulation, ten years and tens of millions of dollars in the making, to ban most uses of the highly carcinogenic substance asbestos. The regulation was promptly challenged and ultimately tossed out by the courts, which ruled that EPA had not met its burden of proof under TSCA that asbestos poses an “unreasonable risk.” Since then, EPA has not tried again to regulate a chemical’s production or use.
The Government Accountability Office has issued several reports strongly criticizing the law, and, in January of 2009, placed TSCA on its list of “high risk” areas of the law.
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would address each of the core failings of TSCA. It is a risk-based bill that modernizes the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to require chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate safety based on the best available science.
In short, it would:
 Ensure EPA has information on the health risks of all chemicals. The bill requires chemical companies to develop and submit a minimum data set for each chemical they produce. EPA would have full authority to require any data beyond the minimum data set needed to determine safety of a chemical. While EPA can access information more easily, the bill also contains numerous provisions to ensure that no duplicative or unnecessary testing occurs, and that EPA accepts and encourages the use of rapid, low-cost, non-animal tests that provide high quality data.
 Require EPA to prioritize chemicals based on risk. The Administrator must conduct an initial evaluation of the safety of all chemicals and place those that meet certain criteria into one of three classes: immediate risk management, safety standard determination, and no immediate action. Not all chemicals will meet the criteria to be placed in a class. Prioritizing chemicals based on risk focuses EPA’s resources on the chemicals most likely to cause harm, while ensuring that all chemicals are reviewed for safety.
 Expedite action to reduce risk from chemicals of highest concern. Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals for which there is the potential for widespread exposure will be placed into the category of chemicals requiring immediate risk management. EPA must then impose conditions that will immediately reduce exposure.
 Further evaluate chemicals that could pose unacceptable risk. Chemicals that present uncertainty about their ability to meet the safety standard will be placed into the category of chemicals requiring a safety standard determination. EPA would then require additional testing and risk assessment. If the chemical cannot meet the safety standard, it cannot remain on the market. The Administrator, or industry on its own accord, may impose conditions on uses of a chemical that will reduce risk and allow the chemical to meet the safety standard.
 Provide broad public, market and worker access to reliable chemical information. EPA must establish a public database that will house both chemical information submitted to EPA and decisions made by EPA about chemicals. The bill narrows the conditions under which data submitted by industry can be claimed to be confidential business information (CBI), while still ensuring appropriate protections for legitimate CBI. It provides access to CBI by workers and local and state governments so long as they protect the information’s confidentiality. EPA must impose requirements to ensure that information developed and submitted, and advice received from advisory committees convened by EPA, is reliable.
 Promotes innovation, green chemistry, and safer alternatives to chemicals of concern. The bill requires EPA to establish a program to develop market and other incentives for safer alternatives, and a research grant program targeted at priority hazardous chemicals for which alternatives do not presently exist. A network of research centers would be established to conduct green chemistry research and alternatives analyses, and to provide training, educational materials, and technical assistance to educational institutions, small businesses, government and non-governmental organizations. The bill also allows some new chemicals onto the market using an expedited process for reviewing safety.
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 is a long-overdue modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act. It address the problems with TSCA that have been identified by the EPA, Government Accountability Office, and industry leaders that have testified in Senator Lautenberg’s Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health over the past two years. The bill also comports with principles for TSCA reform issued by the Obama Administration, the American Chemistry Council, and the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY Fly Trap – put an end to nasty pests – FREE


We spend a lot of time outside & one of our big challenges with outdoor living are a huge quantity disgusting flies!
In the past I’ve bought traps and bait (that smelled foul) & they have been really helpful.
However I have found a great DIY solution to keep the population down and best of all you can make this fly trap yourself from used plastic bottles which appeals muchly to my reusing ethos and also makes it FREE!
 Here is a method to make an efficient fly trap from one of your used plastic water bottles.
This is great for all sorts of domestic flies, blow flies and fruit flies
Materials: scissors, a hacksaw or sharp knife and some packing or electric tape
BAIT- a small chunk of meat chopped into the water will attract blowflies or a small amount of cat/dog poo with a little water. This will cook nicely in the warm air and attract flies like, well like flies on ****!
1)     Collect a plastic bottle,  it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a large soda bottle or a single serve water bottle
2)      If any black bases that are often on the larger plastic bottles, remove these.
3)     Cut through the plastic bottle about 1/3rd of the way down
4)     Place the bait in first to stop getting this over the entry section as the flies will happily feed on this and not enter the trap. 
5)     Invert the top 1/3rd section of the cut bottle and place in the bottom 2/3rds as indicated in the illustration.
6)     Tape or glue the bottle together, I used a few staples first then sealed the 2 edges with wide packing take
7)     Optional – Cut some wire in to a ‘U’ shape with some right angled ends that turn in towards the bottle. Either cut a small hole or heat the wire to burn a hole. This will be used as a hanger to be placed over a branch, on a fence, nail, etc.
Now your trap is ready to hang wherever you need it.
The trap works by luring the flies in to enjoy a feed. They are trapped and eventually die. In turn, the flies rot and attract more flies. You will find the stink quite strong, so keep away from the house.
I made my first one this weekend, the cats obligingly provided a little bait & I placed it on the ground in some dead leaves.
I checked on it a couple of hours later, it had got knocked over so was lying on the dead leaves at a 45 degree angle and had more than a dozen flies already trapped!
I was astonished how effective it was. No need to pay for expensive variations so I have made a couple more
NOTE: Once the bottle is full of dead flies, empty 90% in to your garden and bury the rotting insects. It makes a great nitrogen fertilizer, but it does rather pong!
Bonus -No nasty chemicals used

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hibiscus Tea – Healthy, Refreshing & Delicious

Agua de jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-kah), is an infusion of dried red hibiscus flowers.  The taste is slightly tart and refreshing. If you’ve ever had red zinger tea, it’s a little like that. Or a little like cranberry juice I love to add some fresh squeazed juice which makes it almost punch-like.
Hibiscus tea (an infusion actually) is popular all around the world. The hibiscus flower grows in tropical and semi-tropical climates. hibiscus trees are plentyful all over Los Angeles. You can find the dried hibiscus flowers at almost any Mexican market (look for “flor de jamaica”), I’ve bought them at Trader Joes or you can order them online but I like to pick them fresh from the garden.
The tea is a natural diuretic and has lots of Vitamin C. There’s also at least one government study that shows that hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • 2 quarts water
  • 6-10 Fresh flowers or 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar (optional – depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
  • 1-2 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • A few thin slices ginger (optional)
  • Allspice berries (optional)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon or 2-3 oranges (optional)
  •  lime juice (optional)
  • Orange or lime slices for garnish


1 Put 4 cups of the water in a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling.
2 Turn off heat, add sugar, cinnamon, ginger slices, and/or a few allspice berries if you would like.  Stir in the hibiscus flowers.
2 Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and/or allspice berries.
(At this point you can store ahead the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.)
3 Add remaining 4 cups of water, freshly squeazed juice, (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the concentrate, and chill. Alternatively you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version. Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.
*I prefer an unsweetened drink so choose to infuse the flowers without the sugar and after half an hour I pour half into a jug and set that aside for adult consumption.
Then added 4 teaspoons of icing sugar to the remainder which dissolves rapidly in the still warm infusion, before adding the juice of 2 large (freshly picked from the garden) oranges and chilled water for the children.
Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.
Yield: Makes 2 quarts.
Scientists in Taiwan reported in The Journal of the Science of Food Agriculture that hibiscus tea made from the hibiscus flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa) may help control cholesterol, and thereby reduce the risk of heart disease. Scientists stated that the extract from the hibiscus flower significantly lowered the cholesterol content in the blood serum of lab animals, and successfully prevented oxidation of low-density lipoprotein. The extract has also been used in folk medicine to treat high blood pressure and liver disorder.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Cook Kale Chips – Healthy Summer Snack


  • 1 head kale, washed and shake to dry
  • Spray olive oil
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale and cut or tear into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and spray with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp,turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.
Alturnatively keep the heat out of the kitchen and put the stifling heat in the car to good use.
I placed the baking dish on my dashboard of my car. I had planned to check on it after a couple of hours but forgot until it was time to pick the children up from camp at 3pm. The chips were crispy and delicious, I put the baking tray on the rear seat to bring in when we got home.
In the 10 mins it took to drive home, 2 children ate the entire tray! 
Bonus – their mouths were too busy crunching to indulge in their favorite game of winding each other up, I didn’t even mind that I could barely hear the radio over the crunching!
Amounts per 1 cup, chopped (67g) % RDA
Vitamin A 10302 IU 206%
Vitamin C 80.4 mg 134%
Vitamin K 547 mcg 684%
Calcium 90.5 mg 9%

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Take the scream out of applying sunscreen

One of the biggest challenges parents face each summer is getting sunscreen on kids.
One of our biggest mistakes is trying to do too much too fast.
The biggest tip for tear free sun screen application is schedule it. It means as a parent you have to allow time for it in your morning routine, just like brushing teeth and putting on shoes, this way it’s not a surprise and reduces resistance.
1) Allow 5 minutes per child, 1 minute per limb and 1 minute for face. I know it’s hard to find that extra time but it’s easier than spending 10 minutes with the eye wash when the sunscreen went in an eye!
2) Try to think of this as quality time, I know it sounds odd but really it does help to change your mindset. After rushing around getting dressed, breakfasted, bags gathered I have come to quite enjoy these few calm minutes. It’s also a useful time to inventory cuts and bruises and it reminds me of when they were little babies and I used to massage lotion in after bathtime.
3) Diversion/reward – Our children don’t get screen time in the morning but if they sit still while I rub sunscreen on they are allowed 10 minutes of TV, this is a huge incentive and they are so absorbed I could be smothering them in ants and they wouldn’t mind!
Remember sun protection only works if you put it on!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Applying Sunscreen – Put it where you want it – quick tip

Even the best sunscreens won’t give you the protection you want if you don’t:
a) Apply enough 
B) Put it where you need it
Quick Tip
When applying sunscreen, squeaze the amount you need on the TOP of your hand rather than your palm.
Then scroop small amounts and apply to each area of your face and body like a dot to dot using the top of your had like a paint pallet.
Lastly, using the finger tips of the other hand, blend the dots together.
Using this technique you will get more even coverage, less sunscreen on your palms, & the top of one hand will already be done!
*Note – Discard sunscreen that seems to have separated or is past it’s expiry date. Heat and age causes sunscreen to degenerate, which means it does not work as effectively & you may not get the sun protection you expect.