Friday, May 15, 2009

3M Filtrete + Tips for Giving Your Home a Clean Air Check UP

I hate the cold Michigan winters, so I always look forward to spring. The nicer weather, the flowers, kids playing outside. However, my allergies flare up worse then ever. I've always suffered year round allergies, but spring and summer are usually the worst. My husband and daughters have them as well. It makes spring both a welcome and a burden.

Environmental Protection Agency logoImage via Wikipedia

While the tendency may be to head indoors for relief, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies indicate that indoor levels of many pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels, making it one of the top five urgent environmental risks to public health. In fact, many seasonal activities such as cooking, spring cleaning and redecorating can spread indoor pollutants. Did you know:

· Poor indoor air quality can cause a lack of concentration in school-aged children (Journal of Indoor Air)

· Every year, asthma accounts for an estimated three million lost work days for adults and over ten million lost school days for children (American Lung Association's Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality)

Dr. Neil Schachter, M.D., past president of the American Lung Association of the City of New York, suggests a "home health check-up" to help make your home a healthier place to live. He recommends avoiding cleaning products that contain ammonia or chlorine, and limiting your pet's access to certain areas of the home, including the bedroom. A high performance air filter, such as a Filtrete filter, may also help improve indoor air quality. Listen to these tips and more on Dr. Schachter's podcast on While you're there, play the Filtrete Clean Air Fact or Fiction to test your knowledge of indoor air quality. You could win a home inspection from Steve Ramos, featured home inspector on HGTV's House Detective.

It's recommended to change your air filter at the start of every season, or every three months. Recognizing that this may be the last thing on the mind of a busy Mom, 3M, the makers of Filtrete filters, offers the Clean Air Club. Moms can receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring special offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more. Plus, the first 50 people to sign up each week will receive a free bamboo plant - a natural air purifier.


Tips for Giving Your Home a Clean Air ‘Check-Up’

  1. Avoid cleaning products with ammonia and chlorine – Ammonia and chlorine are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can irritate the respiratory tract in people who are sensitive to these chemicals. They can cause watery eyes and sore throats and even can trigger coughing and shortness of breath. Choose milder yet effective cleaning aids like those that use baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and citrus oils.

  1. Houseplants...a clean air ally – Common indoor houseplants, such as bamboo plants, English ivy and peace lily, can provide a natural way to help fight against rising levels of indoor air pollution by absorbing some potentially harmful gases. A six-inch potted green plant can clean a room of excess carbon dioxide in eight hours2.

  1. Lay area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting – Wall-to-wall carpeting can attract and hold indoor dirt, pollen, pet hair and mold spores and many contain chemicals. Vacuuming can remove some surface dirt, but often, the vacuum can actually push pollutants deeper into carpet fibers. Area rugs are best since they can be picked up and cleaned thoroughly.

  1. Use high performance air filters – Use a high performance filter, like the Filtrete 1” Advanced Allergen Filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season. Test your knowledge of indoor air quality facts and blow away some fictions by playing Clean Air Fact or Fiction at
  2. Restrict your furry friends – People who are allergic to cats and dogs are actually allergic to the dander that pets shed. To help minimize exposure to pet dander, keep pets out of the bedroom and especially off the bed.

  1. Turn up the air conditioning – Air conditioners not only cool the air in your home, they can also help reduce humidity levels. During the warm months of the year, turn up the air conditioner to help keep humidity levels lower, which can help keep mold from growing.

  1. Turn off the humidifier – Room air humidifiers are moisture-generating sources that can spread bacteria, mold spores and chemical deposits into the air in your home. Keep relative humidity between 30% and 50% to help prevent mold growth.

  1. Leave shoes outside – Avoid bringing contaminated outdoor pollutants indoors by removing your shoes before entering the home. Wearing shoes indoors can track particles that can become airborne, including animal dander, mold spores, pollen and bacteria.

Be sure to check out Mom Central, they work hard every day to keep moms in the know about important topics!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review ~ The Side-Yard Superhero

The Side-Yard Superhero (Life in Degraff: An Automythography), Author Rick Niece defines an automythography as ~

A work of nonfiction that looks reflectively at what we think we remember and how we think we remember it; an iridescent memory based upon truth and fact. R.D.N.

In his new book, “The Side-Yard Superhero” (Synergy Books, March 2009), Niece comically recounts his childhood experiences as a paperboy in small-town DeGraff, Ohio, and the special relationship he forms with Bernie Jones, a teenage boy with severe cerebral palsy. Taking the reader back to the small-town life of the 1950's and '60's, Niece shares the lessons learned from cherished friendships that still inspire him today.

A university president and true storyteller, Niece shares an assortment of childhood memories, ranging from the eccentric and humorous (the trendsetting Fern Burdette who only wore a brassiere from the waist up) to the heartwarming and poignant (the reclusive Miss Lizzie who made the best pumpkin bread in the Midwest) to the true bittersweet moments, including Dick Tracy comic lover and wheelchair-bound, Bernie Jones.

“Being friends with Bernie Jones was no different than being friends with any other boy in town. Although Bernie’s world was confined to a wheelchair, it did not stop him from being an intrepid daydreamer, adventurer and hero,” says Niece. “I learned more from Bernie on how to live life than from any other person.”

Raised in a town of 900 residents, Niece learned the true sense of community and trust, a theme that runs throughout his memoir.

“The memories I share in ‘The Side-Yard Superhero’ are about capturing a time of pure innocence and simplicity,” says Niece. “I wanted to write a book that appealed to grandparents and grandchildren alike, opening the dialogue about the time when life was simple and people were downright good.”

In an interview, Niece is available to discuss:
-Time of innocence: How to rediscover simplicity in a world of complexity
-How to teach your children to be responsible and respect others
-How childhood experiences affect us in adulthood
-Does small-town America still hold its charm?
-Finding superheroes in everyday life

With more than 40 years as an educator, Rick D. Niece, Ph.D. currently serves as the president of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark. He, along with his wife SherĂ©e, work to provide intellectual and cultural enrichment for the 675 students of the University, preparing them for graduate school and professional employment success as well as establishing lifelong values. Niece is currently working on part two and three of the “Life in DeGraff, Ohio” trilogy. For more information, please visit

My thoughts ~ I grew up in the 80's & 90's so I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Niece's experience in the 50's & 60's. He has a writing style that pulls you in. Knowing that it is a true story, makes it all the more enjoyable. This is one of those books that everyone can enjoy from your grandparents, parents to your teens.

The way that Niece befriended a wheel chair ridden boy without a second thought gives you hope that humanity really is kind. With this book, it will hopefully inspire readers to do the same!

Regardless of when you grew up, The Side-Yard Superhero will take you back to your childhood. Watch out for a flood of all your wonderful memories. I highly recommend picking up this book, it is a wonderful read!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Giveaway ~ 16x20" Poster Print

I have a fun giveaway for my readers today! One of my lucky readers will win a 16 x 20 Poster Print from UPrinting. UPrinting has been specializing in online printing for over 25 years.

They have been a trusted leader in Online Poster Printing, featuring their signature easy-to-use website and free file review (a complimentary proofing service which requires no upfront payment). UPrinting offers convenient marketing support services such as design, lists, and direct mailing to help grow small and medium-size businesses nationwide.'s high quality printing services include Canvas Printing, business cards, brochures, postcards and more, all at the most affordable prices.

To enter ~

  1. Leave a comment in this post telling me what you will do with your 16 x 20 Poster Print.
  2. Write a post about the contest on your blog. Your post must include a link back to this post, as well as one to the sponsor - Leave a second comment for a bonus entry if you blog!
Contest will run until May 23rd 1159pm est. The winner will receive a 16 x 20 poster printing for free using the sponsor's website. Shipping and handling is free for the U.S. and Canada only.

10% OFF All UPrinting Products!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PurpleTrail Review & Giveaway is an online invitations and party planning site. You can plan amazing parties, meetings, get-togethers and other social events with ease.

Features Include:

  • Easy address book import with duplicate detection
  • All event details on one page
  • Comprehensive invite management & status tracking
  • Always stay connected using your mobile phone
  • Recurring events & reminders
  • Share event photos from one place
  • Easy updates on your desktop widget
  • Rich post event experience including thank you notes
  • Available platforms other than web (desktop application, cell phone, etc)
PurpleTrail also has a section called PartyTrail dedicated to party ideas & games. The section is complete with party ideas and neatly categorized and ordered by holidays and occasions.

The best part about PurpleTrail is that they are AD FREE! Yes you read that right, add free. You can send invitations, e-cards etc to friends and family with no ads.

To try the service visit and sign up. Signing up for the free account is super easy. It takes just seconds. PurpleTrail offers 4 different levels of plans including the basic free plan. There is a plan for everyone!

PurpleTrail has generously donated a Basic Plan to one of my readers. Check out PurpleTrail, come back here and post a link to any of your favorite party ideas from in the comments section of this post.

Extra entries ~

Contest will run until May 22nd at 11:59pm

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Review ~ Star Trek Movie

I've been a huge fan of Star Trek ever since I could remember. I used to watch Next Generation with my dad. That is the Star Trek I love. TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager.

I never got into the original series. I had no intention of seeing the Star Trek at the movies. Luckily for me, my dad asked me to go yesterday.

The movie was AMAZING! I know enough about the original to get all thejokes {which were good}. If you are a fan at all of Star Trek, go see this movie!

J.J. Abrams did an amazing job. I've seen mixed reviews, mainly with them being good. I can see how the people unhappy would be though. I think if this was a remake of TNG, I would have issues. You can not replace Picard & Ryker in my eyes, no way!

Since I was never into the original, I think this movie was amazing. I'm so excited to see another Star Trek, I hope it continues on it. Gene Rodenberry created something amazing. Did you see who they got for Kirk? OMG he is good looking :) The actors really got the rolls, couldn't have made better choices.

I highly recommend the new Star Trek. Don't wait till it comes out, it has to be experienced at the theater! This is coming from someone that prefers dvd's to going to the movie theater. Some movies have to be experience and this is one of them.

Here are some fun links I have read today related to Star Trek ~

They are working on another one for 2011!

Have you seen it? Are you planning on it?

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TV Store Online Halloween Costume Giveaway

I didn't realize that the sold a huge line of Halloween costumes until recently. They are the place to go if yo...