I thought this would be of interest to any of you who have OnStar in your car.
I thought this would be of interest to any of you who have OnStar in your car.
Since we’re on the verge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I thought I’d include some rather interesting findings from the TodaysMama.com 2008 Holiday Economic Survey.
I told Nathan yesterday that even though everything is fine financially with our family, knock on wood, his dad and I will be spending money fixing up the house this year rather than getting each other more stuff.
Now I just have to break the news to my husband. Honestly hun, do you need more hunting/fishing/bowling/golf gear? (I’m sure he’ll be emailing me this answer: “YES!”)
I’m not participating. However, I’ve only shopped once on Black Friday and thought it was a waste of my time. I prefer shopping online or shopping sales throughout the year and hiding the presents.
Done, I hope, with enough time for Amazon to get everything to me in time.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of Staph bacteria found on the skin and in the nose that is resistant to antibiotics. More than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly MRSA infections every year and in 2005, nearly 19,000 Americans died from MRSA infections. More deaths are linked to MRSA infections than AIDS.
There are two known types of MRSA: Healthcare-Associated (HA-MRSA), which occurs in hospitals and nursing homes and a newer type of MRSA that is called Community-Associated (CA-MRSA). CA-MRSA has recently begun to spread in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools.
It’s not just kids and families who get it but celebrities, too, like NBA basketball player Grant Hill and Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow. (There has been six cases among Cleveland Browns players in the past three years.)
The average school-age child who packs a lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That works out to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.
So what can you and your children do to reduce the waste? Here are a few tips inspired by Greenopia. Their Greenopia city guidebooks are an easy-to-understand consumer guide filled with local listings for green retailers, service providers, and organizations.
For more green ideas and products see Amazon Green.
These days the whole world seems to be turning green, which is a good thing not only for the environment but your bank account.
Many companies are producing green versions of their regular products, for example Clorox's Green Works, which is very affordable. (Click here for my review of Green Works.)
And like many moms, I'm buying more recycled and earth friendly products like energy saving light bulbs, toilet paper made from recycled paper, and environmentally friendly laundry detergent - all available at my local Costco for the same price (or cheaper) than the regular items.
Plus, I'm eating more organic and locally produced milk, eggs, and veggies. (Click here for my review of Horizon Organic's new DHA Omega-3 milk.) Often the organic stuff costs only a little bit more, plus I find that a lot of it tastes better than the mass-produced stuff.
A Book We Should All Read
So when the folks at FSB Associates told me about Nancy H. Taylor new book, Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community, I was very interested and ask for them to send out a review copy. This book gives readers the tools for a greener lifestyle beyond their own homes by profiling green transportation, schools, hospitals, and businesses. Go Green also includes tips for building green remodeling and eating locally.
FSB also sent me Nancy's article 10 Ways to Green Your Home and Family, which gives terrific tips on how to save energy in the home. I already do many of the things she suggests like turning down the water heater and using energy saving bulbs. However, I spend way too much energy yelling at my family to turn off the g-damn lights or TV.
10 Ways to Green Your Home and Family
By Nancy H. Taylor, author of Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community
We use a lot of energy in our daily lives, for heating, cooling, lighting, appliances and transportation. There are many ways to save energy and money by making a few simple changes.
1. Change your non-dimmable light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescents (CFLs). CFLs come in all shapes and sizes and even many shades of the color spectrum. So you do not have to have a white glare or even use the curly bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are going to be obsolete soon, so educate your kids about how much energy CFLs save. Because CFLs have a trace of mercury in the bulb, they must be disposed of at a recycling center.
2. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees F. or 50 degrees C. If your water heater is not insulated, wrap an insulating blanket around it. If your water heater is gas, and not insulated, be sure to leave room for the air vent. Do not cover any venting pipes with a blanket.
The President’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2009 eliminates the Inexpensive Book Distribution Program which is Reading is Fundamental's RIF book distribution program. RIF distributes 16 million books annually 4.6 million at risk families.
When I heard this I was outrages. Without literacy and good reading skills, kids cannot learn. It's important to keep this vital program helping kids and families receive free books and reading encouragement.
What You Can Do
Act now to help RIF build support for reinstating the funding by sending an e-mail to your members of Congress.
You can also tell your friends online at Facebook:
I sent an email through RIF's site, which was easy to do. You also have the option of adding a personalized message about how important books, reading and RIF is to you.
Here's the response I got back from Colorado Congressman Mark Udall (D):
Dear Ms. Nichols:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Reading is Fundamental program. I appreciate your taking time to get in touch and I apologize for the delay in my response.
With increasing testing and accountability standards for our schools it is important that we provide students and teachers with the tools they need to become proficient in reading. Reading is Fundamental creates an excitement about reading for students by allowing them to take home new books, encouraging them to read at home as well as at school.
I believe we need to do more to encourage reading in our nation's youth; however I am concerned that the current Labor-HHS-Education budget does not do enough to assist our schools in reaching the accountability standards and guarantee that American students' reading and math skills are at an adequate level. Please know that I will continue to work for the resources we need to ensure a quality education for all of our children.
Thank you again for contacting me. To do my job well, I need to hear critical feedback from fellow Coloradans. For more information about my positions, please visit my website at www.house.gov/markudall and sign up of the email newsletter.
Member of Congress
Let's save RIF because reading truly is fundamental.
I was born in NYC and grew up in NJ. I was in Colorado on 09/11/2001 watching the TODAY show when the planes hit. It still brings tears to my eyes and leaves me with an empty feeling. It was the start of a new way of thinking about how unsafe our world truly was.
I always thought Bruce Springsteen's The Rising -both the album and the actual song - expressed the sorrow, fears, and emotions of 9/11 the best. Leave it to a boy from the Jersey Shore .
Now that I've left comments on a zillion blogs, I have a slight retraction to my post below. After doing a little more research, I did find the abstract of the Journal of Pediatrics article, Associations between Media Viewing and Language Development in Children Under Age 2 Years.
A total of 1008 parents of children age 2 to 24 months were surveyed by telephone in February 2006. (I assume that these are the same parents from the Television and DVD/Video Viewing in Children Younger Than 2 Years study since the amount surveyed is just about the same.) However in this study, parents were asked to complete the short form of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI).
Results found that among infants (age 8 to 16 months), each hour per day of viewing baby DVDs/videos was associated with a 16.99-point decrement in CDI score.
Among toddlers (age 17 to 24 months), there were no significant associations between any type of media exposure and CDI scores. Amount of parental viewing with the child was not significantly associated with CDI scores in either infants or toddlers.
Since parents, not qualified researchers, were asked to fill out forms, I wonder about the results showing that there was a lack in vocabulary in babies who watched TV, but not toddlers. Did the toddlers catch up? And were parents able to give good data?
No direct observation, and no testing by researchers in a controlled setting. Hmmmm. While it's a start, I feel the study is very preliminary and there isn't enough quality data to justify threatening Disney's or Baby Einstein's reputation and sales.
Smart parents know that these type of videos aren't harmful. And they aren't delusional enough to think that watching them will get their kid into Harvard either. Good parents read to, play and spend time with their kids. But they shouldn't be made to feel guilty if they want to entertain them with a video or TV show so they can shower or cook dinner. Enough with the mommy guilt already!___________________________________________________________________
THE ORIGINAL POST:
I read in the Denver Post that watching educational videos is bad for babies:
In a study published in today's Journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that, among babies ages 8 months to 16 months, every hour spent daily watching programs such as Brainy Baby or Baby Einstein translated into six to eight fewer words in their vocabularies as compared with other children their age.
The study was done by Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD., Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, and Andrew N. Meltzoff, PhD.
However, I cannot find any mention in the study - and I've read the full text and looked at every table - that watching TV affects language development. In fact, the study concludes that:
The phenomenon of very young children watching television and DVDs or videos is now routine. Children start watching television at a very young age and watch a lot of it. This phenomenon would seem to be driven as much by parental beliefs in the educational and entertainment value of television for very young children as by parental need for an electronic babysitter.
They also concluded that it's better to watch TV with your child than letting them watch alone:
The finding that parents perceive that television has the potential for educational benefit can be used to reinforce the message to increase the proportion of viewing that is with a parent, which may serve to foster the parent-child interactions that have been associated with vocabulary acquisition during infancy.
However, there wasn't any hard data that if you watch TV with your child, they'll have a better vocabulary (or the opposite). Instead, this seems to be the opinion of the researchers, making me wonder about their bias.
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