Keeping Pests and Rodents at Bay

The weather’s warming up (finally!) and with the sunshine comes unwanted pests like insects and rodents. As these creatures venture out of their hibernation nests and start exploring, they’ll sometimes make their way into your home. What’s a healthy mom to do?

Well, you don’t want them bringing germs into your home, but using poisons to keep them away can harmful to children and small pets. Fortunately, there are safer and more natural ways to keep your house free of pests.

file0001062282119 300x200 Keeping Pests and Rodents at Bay

There are ways to keep pests away without dangerous poisons.

1. Keep it clean. Bugs and rodents usually make their way inside for two reasons: to stay dry and to find food. Keeping your home clean, particularly in the kitchen, removes one of those incentives.

2. Seal holes. If mice and insects are finding their way in, find out where and seal those holes up tight. Common places include areas around doors and windows, especially in basements and garages that tend to be more neglected.

3. Deter with peppermint. Mice and many unwanted insects dislike the smell of peppermint. Spray a solution of peppermint extract or essential oil and water around windows, doors, the foundation of your home, and any problem areas. Planting peppermint in your yard can also help!

4. Use sound. You can buy devices that emit a high frequency sound that keeps away bugs and rodents!

Mice and bugs aren’t just annoying – they can carry harmful germs and illnesses into your home! Keep them away with these natural methods.

 

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Busy Moms

Spring is technically here – even though it doesn’t seem like it yet for everyone! Purging the winter dust and clutter makes home feel so much more energizing and inviting. That’s why spring cleaning is such a popular notion – the mess and dirt can really build up after a long winter cooped up inside!

busyspring 300x224 Spring Cleaning Tips for Busy Moms

You don’t have to tackle your whole house to reap the benefits of spring cleaning!

But what about those of us who simply don’t have time to scrub our house from top to bottom this Spring? Fortunately, you can break the spring cleaning process down into manageable chunks to get it done – even if you have a busy lifestyle.

  • One room at a time. Don’t try to get your whole home done at once – just take it one room at a time. Start with your most lived-in rooms; you’ll appreciate the results so much more. The kitchen, for example, is a great place to start. 
  • Follow the same process for each room. You’ll get into a “groove” and work much more efficiently if you follow the same routine each time. For example: purge clutter (to trash and to donate), organize what’s left, and clean from top to bottom.
  • Update your decor. Add fresh flowers and other “Spring” touches to freshen up the way your home looks and feels.
  • Clean the window treatments. If you can’t get to all the “extra” jobs in a room, at least do this! It will really make a difference when you start opening up the windows as it warms up.
  • Tackle fix-it projects. As you have time, tackle any little projects you’ve been putting off all winter. Any broken door latches, handles, etc. getting fixed will be appreciated far more than a squeaky-clean floor under the fridge. icon wink Spring Cleaning Tips for Busy Moms

If you’re too busy to tackle the whole house this Spring, don’t worry. Just focus on the tasks that you and your family will notice and appreciate the most.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Beware of The Bait & Switch On-Line!

In keeping with my theme of how to protect the ones we love, I wanted to share a recent experience. I typically write about home environmental issues but this is about protecting yourself financially when planning a trip.

Don’t Be Mislead By On Line Reservation Sites 

imgres Beware of The Bait & Switch On Line!

The hotel reservation agent is trained to assist you.

Ever try to book a hotel reservation on line?  Years ago when you wanted to make a reservation, you called the hotel directly, the 800# for the hotel company or your travel agent. Today it’s far more confusing with many listings of hotels on the Internet and many services claiming to offer the best deal to book your room. Last May I searched the Internet for a Marriott Courtyard near Westchester, PA. I was attending a training class and needed one overnight stay. I went on-line for the hotel phone # and called directly since I had several questions. When I searched for the hotel many hotels popped up in Philly and Exton, PA, and many listings, making this simple task very confusing. I tried to carefully look for the Marriott name in the URL, which is the search name or store sign that would lead me to the correct place. It was late, 6pm already and a person answered, quickly put me on hold, and then my call was rolled over to a reservation center. I thought perhaps the hotel was too busy to take my call and automatically connected me to the Marriott reservation center.  The agent answered the phone “Reservations, can I help you?” I told her I wanted to book the Marriott Courtyard in Westchester, PA and asked if this was Marriott. She replied, “I can book your Marriott room for you.” Then I was told she had a Marriott in Exton, PA and could go ahead and book it. I told her I saw a Fairfield Inn by Marriott listed in Exton but I only wanted a Courtyard by Marriott.

I asked a few questions regarding the distance to my meeting etc. and then told her I may wait and book it after dinner. It was late, I was debating to leave very early in the morning or drive the 2 ½ hours that night. I still wanted to have dinner with my kids and then I would decide if I still had the strength, I was exhausted. The agent became aggressive and explained there must be something going on in the area because there were only 3 rooms left. I should really book the room now.  It all went down hill from there.

  1. images Beware of The Bait & Switch On Line!

    Hotels.com is eager to take your money and has little regard for how and where you sleep.

    The reservation agent was not Marriott Worldwide reservations but Hotels.com. The bait and switch.

  2. The agent was persuasive and pushed me into making the reservation making me feel I may not get a room and I should book it now. There were in fact many rooms available that night.
  3. Although the room was being booked after 6pm and I called 1 ½ hours later to cancel, it was considered non-refundable since any reservation cancelled after 6pm would be charged.
  4. When the email confirmation showed up on my cell phone it was a Fairfield Inn by Marriott not a Marriott Courtyard.

I did go ahead and have dinner with my kids and realized as I was driving up the highway, I was too tired. I pulled over and called the Fairfield Inn of Exton, PA direct. The hotel explained that it was booked by a 3rd party reservation company and they couldn’t do anything about it. They are charged by Hotel.com and can’t refund the money. When I contacted Hotel.com they directed me to an email address where I could send my complaint. Hotels.com responded by telling me it was cancelled after 6pm and I would have to contact the hotel to have my money refunded.  Each of them pointed a finger at the other.

After almost an entire year, I forwarded this NY Times article to both Hotel.com and the hotel management company where my room was booked. The hotel manager called to apologize giving me a refund on my credit card for the one night stay plus tax and offered me 20,000 points on my Marriott rewards program.  Hotels.com did nothing. I am now aware that the third-party booking sites often give consumers confusing and inadequate

information about rates and restrictions. It may not be fraud, but it’s absolutely consumer deception. In the future when you book reservations be sure you know who you are talking to and it’s always safer to book with the hotel company directly.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Can You Allergy-Proof Your Carpet?

If you have allergies, most experts will recommend that you get rid of carpet in your home and use ceramic, tile, or wood flooring – anything that’s easier to keep clean. That’s because carpet tends to trap allergens like dust, mold, pet hair and other pollutants. allergyproofyourcarpet 300x199 Can You Allergy Proof Your Carpet?

If removing your carpet isn’t currently an option, however, there are still a few things you can do in the meantime to reduce the allergens in your home.

  • Vacuum frequently. Removing debris from your carpet before it sets in is key. Use a high quality vacuum cleaner to vacuum 1-2 times a week – maybe even more often if you have pets that shed a lot. Some high traffic areas might even need a daily vacuum! Before vacuuming sanitize the head of the vacuum cleaner, before and after you vacuum. This helps to destroy microorganisms (such as, bacteria from animal feces, mold, fungus) which can be responsible for many allergy triggers.  
  • Have your carpets cleaned professionally. The smaller carpet cleaners designed for home use seem convenient, but they aren’t very good at removing all the water from the carpet padding, which can lead to mold growth in your carpet.
  • Avoid powdered “carpet freshening” products. These are notorious for triggering allergic reactions, and it’s difficult to make sure you vacuum up all of the powder.
  • Lower the humidity in your home with a dehumidifier. According to a resource from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “To thrive, dust mites need very warm temperatures (75-80 degrees F) and high humidity levels — 70-80 percent relative humidity. One study showed when humidity is 60 percent or lower, the mite population stops growing and dies out.”
  • Keep Dr. Doormat at all entrances. We track millions of microbes, toxins and allergens into the home everyday on the bottom of our shoes. It is estimated that 60-90% of the dirt and debris is tracked in from our shoes. By trapping allergens from the bottom of your shoes and destroying microbes on the mat, it will help keep your carpets and your home environment cleaner!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Sitting Too Much – Is Your Health At Risk?

We all know that exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. But new evidence is showing that what you do outside of your allotted “workout time” during the rest of the day has just as much of an impact on your health. Sitting too much, researchers say, is linked to earlier death, increased risk of bone fracture, and heart disease.

It’s incredibly easy to live a lifestyle with too much “down-time” in this day and age – even when you work really hard. With so many of today’s jobs involving sitting at a computer and favorite leisure activities including TV, movies and gaming, sitting can easily take up a majority of the day.

sitting 300x223 Sitting Too Much   Is Your Health At Risk?

Prolonged sitting increases your risk of several health issues – even if you work out regularly.

According to James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., ”Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.”

Replacing some of the time you spend sitting down with standing or activity is a great way to lower your risk of these dangers and live a healthier lifestyle. Here are some ideas:

  • Ride your bike or walk instead of riding in a vehicle whenever possible.
  • Stand while working on the computer. There’s no rule that says you have to sit at a desk! Work at a “standing desk” or elevated table while you stand. Position your monitor at eye level, especially when working for longer periods of time, to prevent neck and back strain caused by turning your head down.
  • Use a treadmill desk. Walking while you work or surf the web – it doesn’t get much healthier than that!
  • Take short walks and standing “breaks” during the day if you work at a desk. One of the worst aspects of sitting all day is when it’s prolonged – get up and move around every so often – each hour would be great.
  • Combine fun and fitness. Find ways to unwind at the end of the day other than watching TV – at least a few times a week. Do a stand-up activity with your family, like a walk around the neighborhood or a game of charades.
  • Stand up while you’re on the phone.
  • Drink more water! It’s great for your body, and forces you to get up and take more of those quick bathroom trips throughout the day. icon wink Sitting Too Much   Is Your Health At Risk?

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Household Uses for Baking Soda

You can find baking soda in pretty much any home, but it’s often highly underused! There are endless household uses for baking soda. Plus – it’s very inexpensive and all natural.

bakingsoda 267x300 Household Uses for Baking Soda

Baking soda has endless uses around the home.

Here are a few ways you can use baking soda in your cleaning around the home:

  1. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup in your garbage cans to absorb odors.
  2. Use an an abrasive scrub to shine your sink and stainless steel appliances.
  3. Use a paste made from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to remove underarm stains and on baby clothes (light colors only.)
  4. Add baking soda to the litter box to curb odors.
  5. Wash your fruits and vegetables with a solution made from 1 part baking soda, 5 parts water.
  6. Use baking soda as an abrasive scrub to remove toilet stains.
  7. Add a scoop to your laundry to boost the power of your detergent.
  8. Scrub pots and pans with baking soda and vinegar.
  9. Make a solution of baking soda and water, then run it through your coffee maker to clean it.
  10. Clean baby bottles with baking soda and water.
  11. Use baking soda to clean your barbecue.
  12. Clean your oven with baking soda.
  13. To clear drains: pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Let the mixture “fizz” for a few moments, then flush with hot water.
  14. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into shoes to curb odors.
  15. Make your own air freshener by combining 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 cup of warm water, and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Store in a spray bottle and shake well!

You’ll find that you can replace many of your store-bought cleaning products when you start utilizing baking soda around the home. Good riddance! It’s much healthier and a lot easier on the wallet, too.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Cleaning with Kids: Homemaking With Little Ones in Tow

A few weeks ago on my Facebook page, I asked what you wanted to read about here on the blog. A few of you wanted to hear some tips for cleaning with kids!

 Cleaning with Kids: Homemaking With Little Ones in Tow

A little bit of cleaning each day keeps the mess away! Everyone can pitch in.

Keeping a home clean and orderly with little ones in tow is definitely a challenge – but it can be done and it’s well worth the effort. As I mentioned in my post about your impact as a homemaker:

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org website, children thrive on routine and structure. Home management in the way of cleaning, scheduling, and organizing allows them to be more emotionally stable.
  • A clean home helps children learn and grow: a messy home is more predictive of bad behavior than parenting style alone, according to a 2006 article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines.

Getting kids involved in the process of cleaning early on in life is a tremendous help. Make it joyful and fun – don’t treat cleaning up like drudgery or a punishment. It’s just a part of life and it doesn’t have to be unpleasant!

Some of these tips can help:

  • Curb clutter in your home. With less stuff (ie. junk) around, there’s less to clean!
  • Give age-appropriate tasks. Kids as young as two can do simple tasks like sorting silverware, matching socks and putting away toys. As they grow, introduce other chores like sweeping up the floor, dusting, and making their bed.
  • Stick to routines. Children thrive on routines – make cleaning up part of your everyday routine. You’re kids will know what to expect and learn to make cleanliness a habit.
  • Make it fun. Put on some fun music and have a blast while you clean! You can even get your kids their own special cleaning supplies – towels, a mini broom, spray bottles in their favorite color.
  • Be patient. As your kids learn, it may take a bit longer to get things done. Don’t hurry through or let perfectionism take over – it will be well worth it when you have little helpers who really know how to get the job done!

 

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Keeping Teens Safe – What You Need to Know About Teen Dating Violence

Here on the blog, I talk about ways to protect the ones you love. This means keeping your family safe and healthy – including in the relationships they have with others.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. This issue is a particularly scary one for parents. No one wants to think it could happen to their child, but according to the CDC, “9.4 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend.”

teen 300x190 Keeping Teens Safe   What You Need to Know About Teen Dating Violence

Knowing the signs of teen dating violence will help you keep your loved ones safe.

Be aware of the signs of dating violence and keep the lines of communication open with your kids and teens to keep them safe. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school.
  • They are more likely to engage in harmful behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use.
  • They are more likely to develop eating disorders.
  • Violence is not just physical. Teen dating violence also refers to emotional abuse and stalking.
  • Dating violence often starts with emotional abuse such as name calling and belittling, which lowers the victim’s self-esteem. Abusers will make their victim feel worthless and like they are lucky to be in the relationship.
  • Lack of parental supervision, warmth and consistent discipline are all factors in teens who become abusers.

Protect your teens by knowing their friends and watching for signs of abuse, like depression and lowered self-esteem. Encourage your teens to spend time with their friends in your home so that you can get to know them. Visit LoveIsRespect.org for resources regarding dating violence, too.

It’s all about protecting the ones you love!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Protecting Your Family From Frostbite and Hypothermia

Severe cold weather isn’t just uncomfortable – it can also be extremely dangerous. Frostbite and hypothermia are two serious risks that come when exposed to the cold.

According to emergency medicine specialist Thomas Tallman, wind chills are particularly dangerous when it comes to cold weather safety: ”When you’re wet or exposed to high winds, core body temperatures can drop quickly and you can get into trouble pretty fast.”

Frostbite occurs when circulation drops to the point of the outer limbs freezing. This is a survival mechanism – in order to preserve the inner organs, the body tries to keep only the core warm, so less blood is pumped to the arms and legs. The most outer extremities are most at risk: the feet, hands, and nose. That’s why it’s so important to keep them warm!

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 96 degrees – left too long, it can lead to death.

Keep your family safe by following these cold weather safety tips:

cold 300x222 Protecting Your Family From Frostbite and Hypothermia

Wear mittens, a hat, and thick socks to keep your extremities nice and warm.

  • Dress in layers and wear a hat, mittens or gloves, and thick socks and boots when venturing out into the cold. Sometimes you can get glove liners for the inside of the mittens.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the cold.
  • Ask your doctor if any of your medications increase your risk of hypothermia.
  • Keep your home warm and be sure to have an adequate supply of fuel or wood if you need them to heat your home.
  • Learn to recognize hypothermia: see your doctor immediately if your temperature drops below 96 degrees or you feel sluggish and cloudy-headed.
  • Learn to recognize frostbite: according to WebMD, there are 3 degrees of frostbite.
  1. Frostnip, which usually affects the face, ears, or fingertips. While the skin may feel numb, frostnip does not lead to permanent tissue damage.
  2. Superficial frostbite, in which the outer skin is affected.
  3. Deep frostbite, in which the skin and underlying tissue freezes. Permanent damage is possible, depending on how long and how deeply the tissue is frozen.

Treat frostnip with warm (not hot) water and by warming the body gradually. See a doctor immediately for more severe frostbite.

Staying warm isn’t just about being comfortable – your body needs to maintain a normal temperature to stay alive! Be aware of the risks, and teach your kids to recognize when it’s time to come inside, too.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Healthy Valentine’s Day Gifts

Valentine’s Day is coming up FAST – have you gotten a gift for the one you love yet? If you’re still searching for ideas, consider some of these romantic – and healthy - Valentine’s Day gifts! heart 293x300 Healthy Valentines Day Gifts

  • Dark chocolate. While milk chocolate is loaded with excess fat and sugar, dark chocolate is on the healthier side. It’s lower in sugar and loaded with minerals and antioxidants.
  • A weekend away. Plan a romantic getaway over the weekend – preferably somewhere warm! Studies show that those who travel actually live longer.
  • Couple’s massage. An aromatherapy massage in particular has many benefits, including reduced stress, a heightened immune system, and balanced hormones. Plus – who doesn’t love a good massage?
  • Fresh fruit is a lovely “sweet” alternative to candy on Valentine’s Day. You can even get fresh fruit baskets now that are really beautifully arranged to make it even more special!
  • Fresh flowers. This old standby actually has some health benefits! According to a 2005 study on the emotional impact of flowers, “Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. All study participants expressed “true” or “excited” smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. This reaction was universal, occurring in all age groups. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Specifically, study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.”

Sending Valentines to school with the kids? Consider skipping the candy (they’ll be overloaded with it, anyway!) and making homemade jewelry or sending small items like pencils or other decorative school supplies. They’ll last longer, too!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.