Thursday, December 12, 2013

Guest Post: Immunizations Your Child Needs

While preparing your child for life, getting their immunizations should be top of the list. This will help prevent diseases, and other problems from arising for them. Learn which immunizations are essential for your children, and why they are needed to ensure their health and safety in the future.


The day your child is born, they should receive a Hepatitis B shot. This shot needs to be given three times in the beginning stages of your child’s life, once at birth, once in a few months, and a final time between six months to two years old. This will prevent problems with your child’s liver over the course of their life.

The immunization is much more effective when given at a young age. Right around 95% of those who receive the vaccine at this time have the antibodies to protect them. The vaccine that is now in use first began to be developed and implemented in the 1980s.This early protection is seen to last well into the child’s adult life, making a healthy life more of a reality.

The first year

During the first year of your child’s life, he or she will be constantly going in for checkups to ensure everything is developing and functioning as it should. A few of these checkups include additional shots including at two months, four months, and six months. The shots needed at these times are:

·         Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis – this is to prevent the whooping cough from developing
·         Hib – this first dose will help prevent pneumonia from developing, as well as assist the safety of the lungs from other problems as well as the blood, joints, and brain
·         Polio
·         Pneumococcal conjugate – another security against pneumonia, protecting this deadly infection from taking hold of the body
·         Rotavirus – not getting this shot will increase the risk of diarrhea and vomiting caused by the rotavirus
·         Influenza – a protection against the flu from causing serious complications

Most of these shots given are just one dose of a series of shots. It is important to get the initial treatment, but it is equally important to continue after this, getting a shot when one is due. Make sure to get each one at the appropriate time to keep your child in good health.

After the first year

After the first year your child will still have regular shots, but they will not be nearly as frequent as before. This doesn’t make them any less important. Many of these are repeats of earlier shots that are required. Make sure to get these follow up shots done when they are recommended to make them the most useful.

Besides these repeats, your child will get vaccinations to prevent against chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella. All these are preventable problems that can be taken care of with these vaccines.

There are some immunizations that need to be taken care of for your child at a young age. Make sure to take your child in from an early age, to get the right shots at the right time. This will prevent them from getting dangerously sick during their life.

Cassie writes for Family First Pediatrics on the vaccines you need for your child. She writes advice for finding a pediatrician in Utah, and getting the best care for your child. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Post: 4 Ways to Protect Your Food and Storage from Pests

Stowing foods and other items in storage is a great way to save money or prepare for an uncertain future, but placing foods and other items in storage brings risk that belongings will become a prime real estate for pests. The key to keeping pests out of storage is to prep and pack all items correctly.

Here are four tips to do so.

1. Kill Any Bugs before Packing Items for Storage
Keeping new bugs out of storage spaces will not help if the bugs were already in the food and storage to begin with. In other words, even if bugs are not visible, items may already have bug eggs just waiting to hatch. If you are moving into a new home it is ideal to hire a pest control company to prevent or eliminate any initial bug problems. Pest control companies, such as
Terminix, offer different packages that are available to choose from that should eliminate any pest problems whether you are moving into a new home or just doing a routine cleaning.

2. Pack Items in Bug-Proof Containers
Once foods and clothing are bug-free, they must be packed in bug-proof containers to stay that way. Remember that even the smallest crack can let bugs in. Bugs can also find their way right through thinner storage containers, such as cardboard boxes and plastic bags, as they can chew their way through thin materials, or rain and water leaks will soften the materials and create holes for bugs to crawl through. Oxygen-absorbing bags, such as Mylar bags, and tight-sealing plastic totes should provide enough protection to do the trick.

3. Remove Oxygen from Storage Containers
Because bugs cannot survive without a source of oxygen, removing oxygen from stored foods and other items makes sure that bugs cannot make their home in them. Placing items in vacuum-sealed bags and containers will help
keep your food fresh longer while also keeping bugs out.

4. Add Bug Repellents
Common household items like bay leaves and cat nip are excellent ways to repel pests that might want to make a snack of stored food.
Bay leaves can be mixed in with dry goods or they can be used to line storage containers that dry foods are stored in. They should keep pests away without sacrificing food taste or quality.

Guest Author Bio: Maya Rodgers is a pet owner, animal lover, and small-time environmental activist who always keeps her ears open for ways to green herself and her family. She has always found an interest in bugs since she was a child and today takes pride in helping others combat pesky pests. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Government Shutdown Blues

So it's been a bit of a downer these days in Casa Lynch, because thanks to the government shutdown, Jon has been out of work for over a week.  Yup, we are one of the families that are directly impacted by the inability of the members of Congress to do their actual jobs and pass a right now we're floating in limbo, wondering when they will get their acts together and Jon will be able to go back to work.

Because see, unlike federal employees, Jon is a contracted employee, which means he will NOT be getting back pay once the government gets its act together and says he will be going back to work.  This is day 9 of the shutdown, and Jon has used all of his leave to try and make up the difference...but the fact is, right now, we're looking at our funds and trying to decide what's on the chopping block next, and it's simply not pretty.  We have had a lot of unexpected expenses, medical bills, and I just found out I have to have a procedure in two weeks that could wind up costing us a great deal of money, depending on what they find.

A friend of mine set up a Go Fund Me site for our family, something to which I was initially opposed, but now I am here, asking you for a favor.

Please send the link to this site to your representative in Congress: (  Please let them know how how their lack of concern for the people that they represent is causing undue hardships and difficulties for hardworking Americans, many of whom want nothing more than to go back to work.

If you aren't sure how to locate your Congressional Representative, go here.  We truly appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guest Post: Getting Your Kids Involved in the Kitchen: Delicious (and Healthy!) Classroom Snack

Making sure your kids are properly nourished is essential, not only for their happiness, but for their well-being. A full belly boosts their mood, helps them stay focused, and of course, provides them with essential nutrients.

Hunger will inevitably strike at some point during the school day, so fight it before it strikes by sending your kids to school with some tasty snacks--and we’re not talking about a bag of chips or cookies; we’re talking about some healthy, nutritious snacks that will really do your kids a world of good. To make these snacks taste even better, get your kids involved in making them. They’ll learn a thing or two about proper nutrition and food preparation, and they’ll especially love sharing their handy work with their classmates.

Ants or Ladybugs on a Log

Whether you call them ants or ladybugs, one thing is for sure--your kids will enjoy making and eating this tasty snack. To make it, wash and cut pieces of celery. Have the kiddos spread peanut butter along the inside of the celery sticks and then place raisins or dried cranberries on top of the cream cheese. The finished result really does look like ants or ladybugs crawling along a log. Does your kid not like or is he allergic to peanut butter? Switch it out for cream cheese.

Apple Smiles

Make some silly apple smiles for your tykes to gobble up. Clean and cut apples into slices. Let your kids spread some peanut butter or cream cheese along one side of two apple slices. Arrange marshmallows (or raisins or nuts, for a healthier option) on the top of the peanut butter or cream cheese, toward the outer edge of each slice. Place one slice on top of the other and you have some silly, and yummy, apple slices.

Fields of Carrots

Do your children like hummus and carrots? If so, make it a fun and healthy snack for school. Fill small dishes, or even flower pots, with hummus. Insert a piece of parsley into the top of a baby carrot to create the look of a stem and place the parsley-free end of the carrot into the hummus. Fill the dish with of these orange veggies to create a field of carrots.

Special Shaped Pita Chips and Dip

Instead of giving your child store-bought crackers or chips and dip (not too healthy), make your own good-for-you pita chips at home. Select different shaped cookie cutters, like animals, transportation items, shapes, or whatever else your child would like. Let your children press the cookie cutters into the pita chips and sprinkle the cut out pieces with a little salt. Arrange the shapes onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake for about five minutes. Serve the chips up with some hummus, spinach dip, or any other type of dip for a tasty and nutritious snack.

Sure, ordinary pieces of fruit are yummy, but they will taste even better when presented as a kebob. Choose a few different fruits of your children likes, cut the fruit into pieces, and use cookie cutters to give them different shapes. Arrange the cut fruits onto skewers (make sure to clip the ends to remove the sharp points) and voila! – You have cute and tasty fruit kabobs! You can add piece of cheese, as well, or serve the kebabs with a yogurt dip.

Making sure your kids bellies are full and that they eat right is just one of the many jobs of a parent. Make these delicious and nutritious snacks together and send your kids off to school, knowing that they will have fully tummies and are eating right.

Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. She enjoys creating healthy snacks with her kids and love the way they get excited to help. She contributes to the Candy Concepts Inc. blog, writing about craft and family topics.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guest Post: Putting Together Your Home's Emergency Kit

Putting Together Your Home's Emergency Kit

You can never be too prepared for life’s little emergencies. It is always better to be over prepared as opposed to completely caught off guard. When it comes to your home and family, they deserve the best and so do you. You need to be ready to tackle any and all problems that might come your way. With every passing day, our world grows more chaotic. Weather patterns are changing rapidly throughout the world and humanity is at its most hostile. There is more than just a lot of media hype to the real possibility of danger for American families.  What if there is a tornado? What if there’s a house fire? What if there’s an earthquake? What if there is a bombing or a hurricane or some other state of emergency?  All of these things happen quickly and without warning. The better you prepare for such contingencies ahead of time, the less time you will have to spend worrying about how they could affect your family.

Start by stockpiling non-perishable food. This includes canned fruits and veggies, soups, potted meat, and other canned goods. You should also keep dehydrated food products such as ramen noodles on hand at all times. Saltine crackers, cookies, and electrolyte enhanced drink powders are great to have around in emergencies.  If you want to go the extra mile, get a food dehydrator and use it to create your own backup supply of dehydrated foods to eat in case of emergency. It is also a good idea to stock up on large quantities of bottled water to sustain your family for a lengthy period of time if necessary. Keep in mind that adult humans require 2-3 liters of water per day. All kinds of situations could call for you to remain inside your home without utilities or access to other resources.  It is essential that you are prepared for this and have enough to feed you and your family.

When there is an emergency, there is going to be panic to follow. People are going to make mistakes and can accidentally hurt themselves when presented with unexpectedly dire circumstances. In certain kinds of emergencies, it can be harder to get help from hospitals as they are packed with individuals who are hurt. That’s why it is up to you to always have your own fully stocked first aid kit. Keep several throughout your home and one in each car so that they are always close at hand. A good first aid kit will always include a variety of bandages, sanitary cleansing pads, antibiotic ointment, cold packs, heat packs, cotton balls, rubber gloves, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, pain killers, vitamins, and other household medicines.  Also, if anyone in your family requires daily medicine for illnesses such as diabetes, anxiety or heart conditions, asks your doctor if it would be acceptable for you to obtain a backup supply of each so that it can be stored inside your emergency kit. A good first aid kit can help with a full range of emergencies, from minor to Earth-shattering.

There are many other things it is very good to have close at hand when disaster strikes. These include flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, lighters, duct tape, rope, knives, scissors, a screwdriver, pliers, a hammer, some rope, safety pins, an axe or hatchet, tarps, protective gloves, helmets or hard hats for each member of the family, blankets, extra clothes, and a variety of portable radio devices such as a set of walkie talkies, a CB radio, and an AM/FM band radio. Make sure you have extra batteries for each, since radio could be your only connection to the outside world in some emergencies. If you want to be serious about having everything you need, buy an extra one of each of these things and seal them inside plastic crates to be stored in a secure area of your home and only used in emergencies. Some families use underground areas such as basements or bunkers for this.

Ask each member of your family what he or she would need in case of emergency, and include these items in your kit as well. Effective home emergency plans require input from the entire family, so it can be helpful to keep emergency contact information for all family members inside your emergency kit. Include a list of frequent locations for each family member, along with addresses and phone numbers for each. This includes all schools and workplaces for each member of the family. Also add any other important information you can think of about each person to this list, such as social security numbers, doctors contact information and special medical needs. Copies will also need to be made of official documents such as birth certificates, driver’s license, title deeds, insurance cards and social security cards for each member of the family. All of this should be included inside your emergency preparedness kit.

Once all of this is compiled, the last step to preparing for emergencies is to talk to your family and come up with a plan.  Communication is vital when it comes to surviving emergencies together. If everyone is on the same page, it is always easier to work as a team. Decide on a central location for family members to meet in case of emergency, and devise a plan for how each person would get there under various circumstances. Since there are so many different kinds of emergencies, you may need to make multiple plans. Some may call this kind of thinking silly or paranoid. The truth is you cannot be too careful when it comes to your family’s safety. Nobody can deny that if you spend time thinking about this kind of stuff before emergencies have a chance to occur, you will be able to think much more clearly in the event that they do. Talk to your family about emergency preparedness kits and plans. In doing so, you could be saving their lives.

Author Bio: Karla Jennings is a handy woman to have around the house. She runs her own home improvement blog about her passion for home living and organization. She is also a writer for Maid Brigade. Her work can be found on various home living, design, and family blogs throughout the internet.


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Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Post: Saving Money for College

I spend a lot of time creating castles in the sky for my children. Who doesn’t dream about the amazing futures their children could potentially have? On my wish list: college, love of their life, amazing job, house, family, in no particular order. Oh, and scads of money and success. Of course, I realize that not all my dreams will come true—or even are my kids’ dreams, for that matter. But if even a portion of it is, I am more than ready to help out in any way that I can to make their dreams come true. Especially with college, when they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. College tuition costs have risen over 500 percent in the last 60 years, and most aspiring students aren’t able to pay for their college education without assistance. While there are federal and private grants and scholarships available, most families, like ours, will have to rely on loans to help with tuition, room and board (if they choose to go to a college far away from home), books, and other costs. Loans can really sneak up on you in the long run, so it’s worth it to do some research and find out more about the state of student loan debt. This infographic covered the past, present, and future of student loans, and was definitely food for thought.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guest Post: The Best Apps To Help Manage Your Coupons

While the practice seems antiquated at times—and other times an extra sport televised for public consumption—couponing has very practical roots, and is a practice from which most households would benefit. If you are apt to shop for brand-name packaged foods, health and beauty products, baby supplies and other things you’d find at a grocery store that are mass-produced, clipping coupons could save you hundreds of dollars per trip. However, gone are the days of spending Sunday afternoons with scissors and the weekly newspaper chock full of coupons and flyers-- clipping out the ones you’d need and squirreling them away for later use—and then forgetting to bring them with you to the store. Modern technology has rendered those issues moot. These handy apps make couponing a breeze, ensuring that you’ll have the coupons you need at your fingertips—as long as you have your phone. Some of these apps even find coupons that you need for you! Here are our top five picks for coupon apps:

1. Grocery Smarts: Far from the prettiest app, Grocery Smarts is the one that replicates the original couponing experience by scouring the Sunday paper for coupons and comparing prices from weekly flyers from stores like Target, CVS, Walmart, and Rite-Aid to help you hunt down the best price. This app also helps you cross-reference manufacturer coupons with store sales—where the two overlap is where the extreme savings kick in. Grocery Smarts also allows you to create a list of planned purchases and your estimated total. And it (obviously) scours grocery store flyers for deals—with and without coupons. You can even email and save coupons you find online to print at a later date. The only drawback? You still have to carry physical copies of the coupons with you to the store.

2. Shopkick: This free app, available on both Androids and iPhones, gives you access to Shopkick-exclusive deals in nationwide chain stores, like Target, Best Buy, Toys’R’Us, and Macy’s. While it doesn’t deal with coupons in the traditional sense, Shopkick can still save you plenty of money at stores you frequent by providing deals you can’t find elsewhere. Earn points at some locations by simply walking into the store! Browse the in-store deals prior to going the location, and you’ll accrue even more points. These points add up to even more savings at a later date.

 Image courtesy of Chris Potter / 3. 

3.  Yowza: If you never enjoyed the process of sorting through papers, clipping out coupons and then bringing envelopes full of paper scraps to the store, then Yowza is for you. It allows you to find and save coupons for future use, and the cashier can scan the coupons straight from your phone, eliminating the paper trail. Free to download and use, these coupons and deals appear based on your geographic location, and often are straight from the manufacturers or merchants, so many of the savings are exclusive to people using the app.

 4. GeoQpon: GeoQpon is another coupon app that presents savings and deals based on your geographic location. Available for Android products only, this app provides a host of filtering options—like brand, location, or category—which makes finding the coupon you want much easier. This app will even show you how to get to your nearest store that will redeem the coupon or has the deal via Google Maps.

 5. SnipSnap: This app appeals to the traditional coupon user who doesn’t want the hassle of paper slips, but enjoys the search for savings through the Sunday paper and weekly flyers. SnipSnap allows you to scan in paper coupons that you find hunting for deals. It also reminds you when expiration dates are coming up. If you enable geolocation with this app, it will remind you to use store-specific coupons if you happen to walk into that particular shop. However, note that some manufacturers still require the paper copy for redeemed coupons, so SnipSnap’s scanned versions may not work in every store. Whether you’re just trying to save a few dollars on frequent purchases or are an extreme couponer, these coupon apps will make finding and using deals much easier. Try them all to decide which one suits your lifestyle and needs most.

Virginia Cunningham is a beauty and health-issue related blogger, who has written for a variety of different blogs on a plethora of subjects. Virginia has also started writing about finance as well, offering insights and advice along with contributions to National Debt Relief.