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If your kids are always saying “nothing sounds good” when it comes to food, add a little fun to their snacking experience with these treats, that might even be good for them.

Super veggie pizza

Do your kids claim they are allergic to vegetables?  Good luck getting them to each that spinach ice cream; but you can sneak in some vitamin-rich cauliflower without even an argument when its served up in their favorite kid food – pizza!  CAULIPOWER is a gluten-free, delicious and nutritious ready-to-cook cauliflower crust pizza that will have them asking for more cauliflower please. Available in four tasty varieties – three-cheese pizza, veggie pizza, margherita pizza and plain crust. Available at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

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Care for some chocolate, honey?

Kids love chocolate.  Kids love honey.  But who would have thought these two flavors would taste incredible together? MANUKA did. The New Zealand company known for its potent and pure honey combined these two delicious flavors by wrapping rich dark 99-percent-cocoa chocolate around honey and adding a touch of mint or ginger.  The result is a scrumptious gluten-free, no-preservative, no-artificial-colors treat that will definitely help the medicine go down – in fact, with its anti-bacterial properties that boost the immune system, you might not need any medicine.  Available at https://www.shoppri.com/

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Squeeze in breakfast

No time for breakfast? Grab some morning time nutrition on the go with Munk Pack ready-to-eat Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes, full of whole grains and real fruit bites, and certified gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and vegan. In a spouted pouch, these palm-size pouches are ideal for a quick healthy breakfast, or as an on-the-go snack for outdoor activities or travel. Each serving has only 90-100 calories and 3-4g of fiber and nothing artificial. Available in Maple Pear Quinoa, Peach Chai Vanilla, Raspberry Coconut, Blueberry Acai Flax, Apple Quinoa Cinnamon.  Buy at Wegmans, Raley’s, Publix, Whole Food sand select grocers nationwide.

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Have a ball, er…drink

Sugary juices are the culprit in many an unpleasant trip to the dentist, so give kids a healthier, flavorful option that is not full of sugar. AquaBall, the flavored water in a ball-shaped bottle designed to fit perfectly in kids’ hands and car cup holders, is the only zero calories, sugar-free and preservative-free children’s beverage on the market. Packaging includes Disney and Marvel characters that make drinking up cool for kids.  Available in Berry Frost, Fruit Punch, Grape, Strawberry Lemonade.  Available at grocery stores nationwide.

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Mother Nature’s Candy

Candy happens.  Stop trying to fight it by offering carrot sticks.  If they are going to eat candy, at least let it be lower sugar, organic candy, like YumEarth, makers of vegan, gluten free, Non-GMO treats with no high fructose corn syrup and free of the top 8 allergens.  Varieties include candy drops, lollipops, gummies, sour beans and chewy fruit snacks. Available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans and other select grocery stores or online at www.yummyearth.com

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1709_960_fb (1)As someone who endeavors to eliminate toxic chemicals from my home environment, I am always eager to try out new green and chemical-free products. I recently had the opportunity to sample two up-and-coming brands, Green Grab and PHur, and here is what I found.

Getting on my green

Grab Green brand, or GG as it is abbreviated, makes a full line of cleaning products, including dishwashing detergent pods, degreasers, liquid hand soap, air fresheners, laundry detergent — and something interesting I had never tried — cookware and bakeware cleaner pods.

Starting with the most interesting and unique product, the cleaner pods are made to get the cooked-on nasty mess off the bottom of stainless steel and enameled cookware and glass and aluminum bakeware. It is not recommended for copper or Teflon.

It just so happened as I was trying out these products I had made hot chocolate for my son, and I had deposits on a sauce pan that I scrubbed and scrubbed and could not get clean. I followed the directions and tossed the pod into the cookware and added hot water and then used a utensil to swish around and dissolve the pod. I let this sit for about 10 minutes. Then I used the same scouring pad as before, but this time the hard crust on the bottom of the pan and the ring around the side came off.  It worked great.

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On to the laundry detergent, the Stoneworks laundry pods truly worked to deeply clean my clothes, eliminate odors, remove stains and soften the fabrics, and they worked with my HE washer, which is important because often these pods do not dissolve in these types of washers. As a bonus the packaging is environmentally friendly, printed on Kraft paper using water-based inks.

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All GG products I tried have pretty heavy fragrance, and while the fragrances are very pleasant, such as tangerine with lemongrass or rose petal or vetiver — the last of which I was unfamiliar with but learned is a blend of grass, patchouli and black currant essential oil’s. The scents are strong, so those sensitive to perfumes may find them overwhelming. To be fair though, after the product is used, i.e., after the laundry is done, the scents were not overly evident.

All of green grab products are made from naturally derived ingredients, non-toxic formulas, and are phosphate chlorine and dye free. In the three-in-one laundry detergent pods, I was pleased to see the product fulfilled on its promise to make clothes bright, and it did this without optical brighteners or chlorine.

In keeping with the companies policy of full transparency, Grab Green dedicates half of the back of its packaging to listing the natural ingredients and explaining what they do, four instance, “Sodium carbonate peroxide — cleans, remove stains and brightens.”

The secret agent of disinfecting

The next product I tested was a new one with a new concept in cleaning. The PHur system kit is based on the science of PH, which involves an eco-friendly water + salt + science formula that the inventors painstakingly tested over several years and have now registered the product as a proven disinfectant with the EPA on both Federal and State levels.

 

The PHur System Kit includes cleaning water, disinfectant, an on-the-go disinfectant, and a microfiber fiber cloth.

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The kit involves a simple three-step cleaning process, which includes spraying on the cleaning water and agitating the surface to be cleaned with a microfiber cloth, then spraying the surface with disinfecting water.  No rinsing or wiping required. The last step is walking away and letting the system do its job.

I recently had an unfortunate opportunity to try out the system when a stopped-up toilet caused a foul mess in my bathroom. My handyman plunged and unclogged the toilet but he splashed sewage water on the floors and wall. As the bathroom has polished wood floors, I did not want to use any chemicals that would strip the finish, and as the bathroom is small and enclosed with no window and a fairly ineffectual exhaust fan, I did not want to spray a bunch of fumey chemicals in the room.

I applied the water and disinfectant as directed, and I am pleased to say the lingering odor in the room is gone and the floor and toilet looks clean and shiny. I admit though I cheated on step three, which is walk away. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the mist on my wood floor, so I wiped it up with the cloth.

Both the Green Grab and PHur system are products I would recommend. They work as promised, and they give the peace of mind of cleaning without leaving behind poisonous chemicals.

Grab Green products are sold in major retail stores, on the www.grabgreenhome.com site, on Amazon.com and through several other online retailers. A sample bundle of products runs $11.25 plus $6.99 for shipping and handling. The PHur starter kit is $30.95 and can be ordered online at https://phurwater.com/.

pi shirtWhat’s Pi Day all About?

When my son was a kindergartner I first heard about Pi Day.  The kids at his school competed to recite the most numerals of Pi formula from memory, spelling bee style, with students as young as six showing some amazing recall abilities of up to 30 digits without flubbing.

Just like any good holiday or observance, the marketers have gotten a hold of it to make it into a commercial event. As a blogger, this week I was bombarded with dozens of pitches from bakeries, pizza parlors, frozen pie and pizza companies, Pi day merchandisers for T-shirts, mugs and the like, and even LACTAID got into it, promoting dairy-free pie recipes (and LACTAID tablets for the lactose intolerant who can’t avoid dairy) for Pi Day.

Before we lose the meaning of Pi Day, and it becomes a national day of eating pies and buying stuff, here’s the true meaning of Pi Day, in case anyone wants to use the occasion to learn about Pi on March 14, when Pi Day was founded in 1988 by a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, who decided that he and his colleagues should celebrate the day and promote learning science and math.

LEARN ABOUT PI

Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same.The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.

HISTORY OF PI

By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits past its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

Learn More on Wikipedia

GEOMETRY

The number pi is extremely useful when solving geometry problems involving circles. Here are some examples:

The area of a circle.

A = πr2

Where ‘r’ is the radius (distance from the center to the edge of the circle). Also, this formula is the origin of the joke “Pies aren’t square, they’re round!”

The volume of a cylinder.

V = πr2h

To find the volume of a rectangular prism, you calculate length × width × height. In that case, length × width is the area of one side (the base), which is then multiplied by the height of the prism. Similarly, to find the volume of a cylinder, you calculate the area of the base (the area of the circle), then multiply that by the height (h) of the cylinder.

Hunting, fishing and camping retailer hosts weekend fanfare with special guests, giveaways and family activities

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Mega outdoors outfitter Cabela’s will open its newest location in Gainesville, Virginia, on March 9. The opening ceremonies begin at 9:45 with an archer slicing through a red ribbon with an arrow. When the doors open at 10 am, guests can enjoy a variety of activities designed to showcase Cabela’s hunting, fishing, and camping gear and accessories.

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The 80,000 square-foot store, which employs more than 175 people, will dazzle outdoors enthusiasts with its massive array of merchandise, displays and demonstration areas, including multiple fishing pole aisles, an archery department that includes a tech room for tweaking equipment and an indoor range, and a firearms library that every hunter and sport shooter will want to check out.

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Besides the merchandise, customers will be able to browse the store’s collection of museum worthy vintage outdoor photos and memorabilia, hand painted murals of local scenes, such as an expansive fresco of the shores of the Rapidan River, and taxidermy exhibits of mounted bears, moose, bass, hawks, and all sorts of animals, fish and fowl that can be found locally in Virginia and around the world.handguns-1000-pixels

A huge mountain side replica is the most impressive fixture in the store, featuring a large aquarium that will be stocked with local fish, such as trout and bass, but these are just for the looking, not for hooking.

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If you are interested in trying your hand at fly-fishing or other forms of casting, trained staff will be on hand to let customers try out the rods, reels and lures.

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For those who can’t wait to get out and camp, a complete campsite is on display, including a faux fire, so that customers can crawl inside the display tent, test out sleeping bags and try out gear, such as a fishing pole like device for dangling hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire.

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Even dogs will love the store, which carries a large selection of dog beds, chew toys, and training decoys for hunting dogs, such as Cabela’s resident mascot Ellie, a 10-year old yellow Labrador Retriever, who will be more than glad to show visitors how a pro flushes and fetches.

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If you prefer feathered friends, that you eat, you can gander at an assortment of turkey calls, that a staff expert can demonstrate, beckoning plastic prey to a camo duck blind on display.

As part of the opening festivities, famous outdoor experts will be on hand, such as Eva Shockey from the outdoor Channel, who will be at the store on Saturday, March 11, from 1 to 4 PM; Trent Cole, NFL pro and Cabela’s ambassador, who will be at the store on Sunday, March 12, from 12 noon to 4 PM; Captain Miitchell Blake, a professional saltwater guide; Mike Hanback, host of Big Deer TV on the Sportsman Channel; and Patrick Hoover, a renowned archery hunter.

For those who are lucky enough to be among the first 50 customers through the door on March 10, 11 and 12, there will be giveaways of utility bags, caps, and tripod stools, as well as a chance to win a GoPro Hero5 Black. There will also be a number of family fun activities on Saturday and Sunday, March 11 and 12, from 11 AM to 5 PM.

The new Cabela’s, which will be the third store in Virginia and the 86th worldwide, is located at 5291 Wellington Branch Dr. cross from the popular Stuff! Consignments shop and adjacent to Virginia Gateway Center.

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oxyled

If you have kids that wander the hallways at night — getting up to go to the potty, get a drink of water, or coming to get mom or dad to scare away the monster lurking in the closet, leaving a light on will  keep them from going bump in the night, but that can be costly.

A better option than traditional nightlight is the OxyLED OxySense T–03S Wall Sconce, a stylish nightlight that is perfect for lighting spaces such as hallways, balconies, stairs, attics, basements, closets and other places where it’s not feasible to install a permanent light fixture, or where you need the convenience of lighting that comes on and goes off only when the hall or room is occupied.

This nightlight, which gets its bright, white light from 14 energy-saving LEDs, is larger than a typical plug-in nightlight, measuring approximately 6 inches wide, and 4 inches tall. It does not require an outlet nearby, because it is charged using a USB micro plug cable or four AA batteries. The light can be mounted with the included adhesive strip or using the supplied screws.

The unique design features a translucent disc that is illuminated behind a brushed silver-look band that features a jewel-cut globe in its center for decoration. The small globe also lights red while the unit is charging and changes to green when it is ready for use.

The fact that this light can be recharged with a USB is a selling point for me, because I hate to be constantly replacing batteries, and because this light uses so little energy, it only has to be recharged approximately every six months. Because of its wireless design and its modern styling, the light can be placed just about anywhere, whereas some nightlights have an industrial look more suitable only for garages or hidden spaces like closets.

I have used other light sensor fixtures, but this by far is the most sensitive, lighting up automatically when it senses human motion within approximately 10 feet, and it turns off 15 seconds after you walk away out of its sensing range.

While it can be moved around as needed to light dark spaces, my OxyLED is permanently affixed above the door in my basement, where now when I enter the room my path is lit so that I can find the light switch, which has always been an irksome task, because the builder decided to hide the light switch behind the door.

If you need a small space lit for convenience or safety, this is the best-looking and easiest night light of its type that I have found.

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There’s plenty of surveys on the possible winners of the Oscars, but Pollfish conducted a survey of another kind, to find out opinions about politics and diversity at the Oscars.  Of course there’s different views on why those polled feel the way they do, but in my view, it’s not because we think actors and others in Hollywood don’t have valuable things to say, but the event is supposed to be a celebration of talent, and hearing about the state of our Country at this time and the horrible divide among our population following the election.

Here’s what the survey said.

Most Americans don’t want to hear Hollywood’s political opinions

45% of Americans think celebrities should be allowed to voice their opinions at the Oscars. Another 25% say Hollywood shouldn’t use its platform to talk politics, 21% think celebrities should completely stay out of politics, and 10% say Hollywood is too liberal.

One in four Americans Don’t want to hear Trump’s name at the Oscars

Asked which issues they don’t want to hear about at the Oscars, 19% of Americans said they hope celebrities don’t talk about Donald Trump. Other topics Americans don’t want to hear about are immigration (14%), the refugee situation (12%), and racial inequality (12%). Only 12% of Americans wouldn’t mind hearing about political topics during the Oscars.

Half of Americans think this year’s nominees are more diverse than usual

Asked whether they think this year’s Oscar-nominated films are more diverse than in previous years, 49% of Americans said yes. Another 18% said no, and 13% think the Oscars have always been diverse. 1 in 5 Americans aren’t sure.

Men and women don’t see eye-to-eye on Oscar diversity

54% of men and 47% of women think this year’s Oscar-nominated movies are more diverse than in years past—a 7% difference.

2017-02-22-2For anyone considering a move out of state, here’s a ranking of 2017’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family by WalletHub, a personal finance site.

In order to determine the best states in which to put down family roots, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 40 key indicators of family-friendliness. Our data set ranges from “median family salary” to “housing affordability” to “unemployment rate.”

Best States for Families Worst States for Families
1 North Dakota 42 Alabama
2 New Hampshire 43 West Virginia
3 Vermont 44 Georgia
4 Minnesota 45 Arizona
5 Nebraska 46 Alaska
6 Massachusetts 47 Nevada
7 New Jersey 48 Louisiana
8 Iowa 49 District of Columbia
9 Connecticut 50 Mississippi
10 South Dakota 51 New Mexico

Best vs. Worst

  • Wyoming has the highest median family annual income (adjusted for cost of living), $79,732, which is 1.7 times higher than in Hawaii, where it is lowest at $48,111.
  • Utah has the lowest divorce rate, 16.22 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 29.81 percent.
  • Wyoming has the lowest share of families receiving food stamps, 6.17 percent, which is 3.6 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 22.01 percent.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest share of families living below poverty level, 5.6 percent, which is 3.1 times lower than in Mississippi, where it is highest at 17.6 percent.
  • Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs (adjusted for median family income), 6.16 percent, which is 2.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where they are highest at 17.41 percent.
  • California has the lowest infant-mortality rate, 4.30 percent, which is two times lower than in Alabama, where it is highest at 8.68 percent.
  • Vermont has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 1.18, which is 10.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 12.69.

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065/


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