July 10, 2007

Back to School Means New Environment, New Odors


(ARA) – If you have kids, from the time they’re in the cradle to when they move into a college dorm and everywhere in between, they need help keeping their stuff clean. And when back to school season arrives, the backpack, sports duffle, locker and dorm room all take on smells of their own.

The forgotten banana in the backpack, sweaty hockey gear left in the duffle or last week’s turkey sandwich in the locker all create tough odors. You may be able to stick the backpack in the washer but smells often linger even after being washed. And you can’t wash out their locker at school.

An easy solution for both problems is to drop a Fresh Wave Pearl Sachet into the pocket of their backpack. The kids hang the pack in their locker where it further attracts and rids the locker of bad odors. The packet attracts the odorous molecules from the locker as well as the backpack to keep both smelling fresh.

Fresh Wave, a unique odor neutralizing product comprised of a proprietary blend of Soya, natural extracts of Lime, Pine Needle, Aniseed, Clove and Cedarwood, comes in a variety of forms. Independent laboratories’ research and data prove that Fresh Wave products are effective for eliminating all kinds of odors.

How does it work? When the mixture of natural elements is activated by airflow, it attracts captures and neutralizes odor molecules. All that remains is a clean, natural-smelling environment, with no masking fragrances and no harsh chemicals.

When the kids go off to college for the first time, many will stay in the dormitories. Dorm rooms have smells of their own from last year’s occupants and probably the previous ones. Not only is this smell not welcoming, but can be intolerable. Not to mention the odors that come from some roommates who aren’t especially tidy.

You can’t follow your kids there to help, but you can send along something to help them keep their space smelling more like home. Make a college survival kit, including things like a set of utensils and dishes, homemade cookies, a picture of the family dog and something to help keep their space smelling fresh and clean.

If you think your kids would never use it, think again. The Fresh Wave Gel is so simple. They just open the jar and set it in an inconspicuous spot for continuous, safe odor removal. Air currents in the room waft over the open jar allowing the gel to soak up odorous molecules. You can send a new jar with them every semester for a fresh, clean-smelling living environment — so much better for studying!

And for the conscientious student, drop a small bottle of the Fresh Wave spray into their packs for those times when they pull an all-nighter and don’t have time for a change of clothes before class. The spray eliminates all kinds of odors, even cigarette smoke, for a fresh, clean smell without masking perfumes.

For more information and locations that carry Fresh Wave products, visit www.fresh-wave.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

June 27, 2007

Rediscovering the Outdoors with Your Kids Starts in Your Own Backyard



(ARA) – With school almost out, summer is the perfect time to rediscover the outdoors. Experiencing nature’s wonders firsthand — admiring a garter snake slithering in the grass, planting flowers in the yard or devouring strawberries picked fresh from the garden — can prove as captivating as anything on the TV or video-game screen. So begin today to get your kids to celebrate and capture summer outside with our living planet.

Parents searching for inspiration don’t have to look far to identify great outdoor activities that are nearby, easy and fun. And the benefits are enormous, studies reveal. More-active kids do better academically. They score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. They show better coordination, balance and agility, and they’re sick less often. They are less likely to bully, be violent and to vandalize. And they are more likely to develop their imagination and the sense of wonder.

“Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it,” contends award-winning journalist and child advocate Richard Louv, whose book Last Child in the Woods coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” and also triggered a nationwide “No Child Left Indoors” movement. “In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.”

Not as many children today are discovering the outdoors. In a typical week, only six percent of children ages 9 to 13 play outside on their own, while a typical child in the U.S. watches more than three hours of television daily. The decline in outdoor adventuring is cited as one reason why the obesity rate has more than tripled the past three decades, to 17 percent from 5 percent, for children ages 12 to 19.

But getting your kids off the couch and out into the neighborhood for memorable adventures is easy and enjoyable. “We realize it can be a challenge for parents to identify outdoor activities that kids will consider fun,” says Jennifer Hanley, outdoor living and gardening expert at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. That very premise inspired the National Gardening Association — in conjunction with ScottsMiracle-Gro – to feature guides to creative, outdoor activities on www.kidsgardening.org. The site offers a wealth of ideas on how to get kids outside and in tune with their natural surroundings this summer.

Hanley’s nature and garden-related suggestions include a stroll around the yard or the neighborhood park to introduce children to the six basic parts of plants and their functions;  planting perennials that live and bloom year after year; and designating a day for immersing children in nature — without TV, computers and video games.

Whenever a child laments, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do,” recommend any of these options and add enthusiastically that you will be glad to join in the adventure:

* Starting a learning garden in the backyard or neighborhood plot. This helps kids learn about taking care of plants (and the animals drawn to the plants) and respecting the environment and nearby nature. Your kids can take photos of the garden as it grows and produces whatever they’ve planted.
* Bird watching and identifying trees and plants that appear in the yard. These activities often entice older kids, especially if they understand that a periodic bird or plant census helps detect any significant shifts in their populations.
* Recording sight, hearing, smell and touch observations on walks in your neighborhood, which helps kids hone their sensory-observation skills. They can log the information they gather using a scientific approach and even make drawings to chronicle their observations.

Janet Fouts, a West Virginia environmentalist, invented nature games with her daughter, Julia.  In one game called “The Sound of a Creature Not Stirring,” they would listen for sounds they couldn’t hear — an apple ripening, dew on the grass, an earthworm moving through the soil, and a spider weaving its web, among others. Fouts maintains that this attention to nature’s details helped in her daughter’s speech development, writing, artwork and keen attention to detail.

By making outdoor activity fun, parents play an integral role in helping children appreciate the beauty of nature in their surrounding areas and understand the importance of being environmental stewards, starting in their own backyard.  

Courtesy of ARAcontent

June 16, 2007

Dad’s New Favorite Pastime: Digital Pictures

(ARA) – Face it: Dads and technological gadgetry go together like barbecues and the month of June. And, when you add digital photos to the mix, the fit’s an even better one.

Just ask Derek Whiteside, a 33 year-old father of two daughters, Alice, who just turned two, and six-month old Helen. An entrepreneur at heart, Whiteside spent the last five years establishing and managing a boutique beer and wine shop that he recently sold.

So, as he ponders his next business adventure — likely something service oriented he says — in addition to caring for two young daughters, he fills his time by using his PC to enjoy all kinds of entertainment, especially digital photography.

I have a sassy new computer in the living room,” Whiteside says proudly.

But in the Whiteside household, the PC does way more than serve as a gateway to the Internet and a repository for spreadsheets and other documents: powered by Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista, Whiteside’s computer is his family’s photography nerve center.

Using a Canon Powershot digital camera, Whiteside has rendered the shoeboxes full of photos stacked on closet shelves as relevant as the rotary telephone. “We’ve been comfortable with digital photography since before the girls were born,” he says. Drawing on Windows Vista, he uses the PC to organize photos in several ways — by the month they were taken, for example, or by subject matter – and shares photos with family and friends across the nation via email. One of Whiteside’s more noteworthy recipients of his photographs is his 87 year-old grandmother, who recently bought a computer.

Whiteside also enjoys the ability to edit his photos instantly, resizing, for example, and eliminating red-eye shots.

“One of the great things about Windows Vista is that it has functionality for photography, music and home theater built into the system,” Whiteside says. “Having an operating system that can do those kinds of things easily is very nice.”

And, he adds, the entire operation is integrated into the living room. “There are no wires showing,” he says. “It looks pretty. It has a lot of polish.”

Finally, Whiteside is wading into the world of video chatting, following the lead of his sister-in-law’s family. “They’re into it,” he says. “It’s a really fun thing to do and only requires a Web cam, which is pretty affordable. It’s sort of like the Jetsons.”

For more information on Microsoft Windows Vista, click here

Courtesy of ARAcontent

June 4, 2007

Rolling sneakers blamed for rise in kid injuries

Doctors recommend safety gear for kids who wear trendy ‘Heelys’.

CHICAGO – Trendy wheeled sneakers that let kids zip down sidewalks, across playgrounds and through mall crowds could also send them rolling into emergency rooms on a stretcher, say doctors who blame a rash of injuries on the international craze.

It’s called “heeling,” named after Heelys, the most popular brand. They’re sold in 70 countries and are so hot that their Carrollton, Texas, maker, Heelys Inc., recently landed atop BusinessWeek’s annual list of fastest growing companies.

But doctors from Ireland to Singapore have reported treating broken wrists, arms and ankles; dislocated elbows and even cracked skulls in children injured while wearing roller shoes.

Full story: Rolling sneakers blamed for rise in kid injuries

May 21, 2007

Montessori turns 100 – what the heck is it by the way?

It took the free spirit of the 1960s to revive Montessori education in the United States. Montessori herself had died a decade earlier, but her emphasis on children’s “absorbent minds” and their capacity to teach themselves aligned with the era’s rebellion against school’s traditional strictures.

Montessori classrooms, with their silver candlesticks (for polishing), beautiful toylike cubes, and child-size shelves and bins, seemed like the perfect romantic alternative to boring workbooks and rows of desks. They still do.

Mothering Magazine, my own barometer of granola parenting gone too far, calls them “magical” and filled with a “sense of wonder.” On the 100th anniversary of the 1907 opening of Montessori’s first school—in the slums of Rome—5,000 schools devoted to her method dot the United States, with another 17,000 worldwide. Many are preschools, but some are for older kids as well.

Full story: The Cult of the Pink Tower – Montessori turns 100—what the hell is it?