Keeping Halloween safe and fun for everyone

Halloween is a magical time for kids, the opportunity to leave reality behind and transform themselves into anything they desire for one evening of fun. Oct. 31 is just over two weeks away which means moms everywhere are scrambling to get costumes put together. Beyond making sure your children’s costumes are adorable, unique, and/or scary (depending on what you’re going for), its important to keep safety in mind as you assemble your costume.
My kids at a Halloween parade in 2007
Here are some general costume tips for making sure your little ghosts and goblins have a good time while staying safe.

  • Select light-colored costumes whenever possible. If you must use dark colors, put reflective tape on the costume to ensure nighttime visibility.
  • Avoid masks (which make it hard for kids to see and breathe) and opt for non-toxic face paint or makeup instead. If a child must wear a mask, make sure the eye holes are big enough to see out of and ask that they remove the mask as they walk (or run) between houses trick-or-treating.
  • Double check costumes for ease of movement. Ask your child to run through the backyard in his or her costume to make sure its not so long that it could cause tripping. For toddlers, make sure the costume isn’t so bulky that it makes moving around difficult.
  • Make sure that costume props, such as wands or swords, are flexible, in case kids fall.
  • Put a nametag — with your phone number — on your children’s costumes.
  • If kids are older and will be trick-or-treating without adult supervision, be sure you know their route ahead of time and have them take along a cell phone.

Selected tips above from:
Eco Women – Safe Halloween
Lorain County Moms – Keep Kids Safe with Smart Costume Choices

When dressing up infants and toddlers, there are some additional things to keep in mind. Susan West has written a great article on the subject and has several helpful suggestions.

Look for a costume that has room to wear clothing underneath! If the cool evening doesn’t beg for extra clothing under that superhero, chances are your little one will eventually get tired of plastic pants and butterfly wings. Find a toddler costume that also allows for a jacket if necessary. If you need to remove the top or bottom of the infant costume, you can still continue on to your favorite Halloween party.

Want the safest suit possible? Opt for a suit that has few pieces and no mask. Some cute toddler costume ideas include a monkey, doggy, kitty or princess. Use face paint instead of a mask and easily attach ears or a crown with either a headband or barrettes. A shortened monkey tail will also help avoid potential tripping. TIP: make sure your little prince or princess can easily get in and out of the suit. This makes bathroom breaks as simple as possible!

Infant Halloween costumes should have no small parts which may come loose and placed in a child’s mouth while you aren’t looking, nor should they have any type of heavy hood materials which might slip down over a child’s face while they are placed in the rear of a car in the car seat.

Both infant and toddler Halloween costumes have become far safer than they once were. Materials used are normally flame retardant. Be certain that yours are, as it is difficult to be constantly aware that a child adheres to safety rules with regard to the candles placed in the jack-o-lanterns. Swap candles for glow sticks to be safe.

I’m not personally a big fan of the use of flame retardant on children’s clothes or pajamas (that’s a whole other post for another day), I think for one day a year when they might be standing over the open flame of a candle in a jack-o-lantern, it will likely not hurt them. If you are using a candle rather than a glow stick or flashlight in your jack-o-lantern, please take precautions to avoid an accidental burn by placing the pumpkin off to the side of your porch, away from the heavily trafficked area. It’s also important to remind your children to be aware of and stay away from flames.

While I personally can’t imagine trying to dress my 50 lb. dogs up in costumes (they would not be happy with me), some people choose to go that route. Here are some tips from Dog Tipper to keep Fido and Fifi happy on Halloween night.

If you decide to dress your dog in a costume make sure it’s a safe one. Be sure there’s nothing he can chew and choke on. Make sure the costume is not too tight, constricting his breathing.

Also, be sure he’s not getting overheated. Finally, reflective surfaces are excellent; although you plan to keep your dog with you at all times, many dogs get loose on Halloween night due to all the excitement. If you are chasing after your dog in the dark, reflective costumes will be the safest for him.

If you are still in need of a costume and don’t want to go the green route (hint, hint) by using items you already have at home, purchasing one at a consignment or thrift store or borrowing from a friend, please consider using CostumeStudio, where proceeds from your purchase will benefit the children of war-torn Uganda.

This Halloween we have teamed up with Invisible Children and will be donating 100% the profits from your purchases to help children in the war-torn region of Uganda. In a sense, we are giving away Halloween. It is estimated that five billion dollars will be spent on costumes this Halloween. Five billion dollars would feed over a hundred million starving children for an entire year. We are hoping to remove the barrier of entry to doing good by creating opportunities that integrate into people’s lives. We are enabling people to incorporate good into people’s everyday lives. On every product page is the exact donation amount you will be giving to help children in the war-torn region of Uganda.

Whatever costume you choose, make sure it’s a safe one and then have fun!

Cross-posted on BlogHer

Fighting poverty, globally and locally, is easier than you might think

Today, Oct. 15, is Blog Action Day, the day that thousands of bloggers, regardless of their genre, unite to discuss a single issue. This year’s issue is POVERTY.

I feel very fortunate that I’ve never experienced poverty. Yes, money was always tight when I was growing up. We never took vacations that didn’t involve staying somewhere for free and bringing our own food (my great-grandma’s cottage), going out to eat was rare, hand-me-downs were a part of life, and my mom grew some of our food in a garden and sewed some of our clothes. But I never went to bed hungry, I never had to cram my feet in shoes that were too small (or go without shoes at all), and I always had a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in.

And now, in my adult life, I am just as fortunate. My kids have it better than I did growing up (isn’t that always the goal?), but my husband and I definitely make sacrifices as we live on one salary so that I can be a stay-at-home mom. We try very hard not to live beyond our means, but this has been a learning experience for us over the years. As an aside, we recently paid off our last credit card, so other than one Jody uses for business trips (which we are reimbursed for), we no longer have any credit card debt to worry about. That is a fantastic feeling!

The sad truth though is that millions of people around the world are not as fortunate as I have been, and I fear that as the U.S. economic crisis continues, more and more people will find themselves living on less and less as they struggle to make ends meet.

The good news is that there are some simple ways each of us can help make a difference.

I’ve found a few ways to easily help fight poverty ONLINE. The first two are the simplest, which require nothing more than pointing and clicking. The second two require investing some money, but are both pretty amazing.

  1. Visit The Hunger Site every day. One click can help feed others.
  2. Play the Free Rice game – boost your vocabulary while feeding hungry people.
  3. Kiva – Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.
  4. MicroPlace – MicroPlace’s mission is to help alleviate global poverty by enabling everyday people to make investments in the world’s working poor. MicroPlace is currently the only website that provides everyday investors with the ability to make investments in the microfinance industry. Through MicroPlace, an investor can make investments that earn financial returns while having a positive social impact.

If we are really going to make an impact on poverty though, we need to focus our efforts locally as well as globally. Here are a few suggestions on how you can make a difference in your own COMMUNITY.

  1. Go through your closets and drawers and donate anything you no longer wear or haven’t worn in the past year. Have your kids help with this too by going through their own clothes and shoes to find those that no longer fit.
  2. In the same spirit and keeping your children involved, ask them to select a few toys to donate to those less fortunate. Let your kids deliver them to the charity of your choice.
  3. Eat meatless dinners for one week every month (or one day every week) and donate all of the money you saved on meat to a local homeless or battered women’s shelter.
  4. Skip your Starbucks coffee once a week and donate the money.
  5. Donate your time to help serve lunches in a local soup kitchen.
  6. If you have a skill to offer, check with your local charity to see if they can put it to good use. Chances are they will welcome the offer.
  7. The Salvation Army’s Annual Bell-Ringing Campaign is coming up and volunteers are always needed. This could be a fun and worthwhile project to do as a family.

I hope you’ll consider doing one or more of the ideas above and that you’ll stop by Blog Action Day to read some of the other posts today. If you’ve participated in Blog Action Day on your own blog, please leave a link to your post in the comments and I will compile a list here, adding to it throughout the day as time allows. Thank you!

Other Blog Action Day participants:
– The Buy Nothing Project: Fighting Poverty the Self-Sufficient Way
– Ima On (and Off) the Bima: The King and the Shack
– 123Pizza: Poverty and the Girl Effect
– Chasing Domestic Bliss: Poverty and Homelessness
– Crazy Adventures in Parenting: Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty

Organic skin care & cosmetics from Miessence – review & giveaway

Note: Giveaway is now closed to new entries.

When I was first introduced to the Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database, I was reluctant to do a search for the products I was currently using. I had a feeling the results would be bad news and, while I’m not usually one to turn a blind eye, I just didn’t want to think about it right then. Eventually, however, I came around, especially when my daughter Ava wanted to start playing with my makeup too. If I wasn’t going to be concerned about the safety of my cosmetics for my own health, I was going to be for the sake of my daughter.

As I looked up my products, I was disappointed, though not surprised to see several fell into the “moderate hazard” category, and a couple (like my mascara) fell into the “high hazard” category. Although I wasn’t letting Ava experiment with mascara, it still made me feel icky to think of the toxins I was applying to my eyelashes on a regular basis.

When Erin Ely from Ely Organics, distributor for Miessence Certified Organic products, asked if I wanted to try out some samples, I was more than excited.

Jaffa lip balmFirst of all, I love that Miessence products are certified organic and are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many of the ingredients sound like things you could eat. Like the Jaffa Lip Balm (which goes on soooo smooth and you’ll have a chance to win below), contains things like sunflower and avocado oils, fruit butter and rosemary leaf extract. With ingredients like these, it makes you feel like it’s more than OK to lick your lips!

I also tried the Mascara and was no longer using a product that scored in the “high hazard” category, but in the “low hazard” category. That made me feel a lot better about applying mascara. In fact, all of the Miessence products score in the low hazard category on Skin Deep!

Some of my personal favorites were the Moisturizer and the Balancing Skin Care Set (which you will have a chance to win below). And although I didn’t get a chance to try them, I also like that they have a full line of Baby Care products.

Overall I am very pleased with Miessence products. They are skin care products and cosmetics you can feel safe and good about using, even when your 3- or 4-year-old wants to try them out! 🙂


shampooSkin careYou can win a “Miessence Sample Kit” from Ely Organics which will include:

Retail Value is: $65

All you need to do to for a chance to win is leave a comment below letting me know which Miessence product you would like to try. You aren’t required to post about it or Twitter it, but if you do either, I’d be most appreciative. 🙂 (Be sure you to let me know in the comments if you do either post or Tweet it so I can be sure and send you a pony, or at least a virtual hug.) The deadline to enter is midnight Sunday, Oct. 19. The winner will be selected using and contacted via email on Oct. 20. Please make sure you include a valid e-mail address. Thanks and good luck!

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Overwhelmed moms confess

If one of the names you answer to is “mom,” chances are good that you live a decent portion of your life feeling overwhelmed. As if the responsibility of caring for another person’s (or people’s) every need isn’t enough, you most likely also have a house to maintain, bills to pay, perhaps a job to go to or a business to run, a blog (or two or three) to keep up, a partner to cheer on, organizations to volunteer for, classes, activities or meetings to attend or to schlep kids to, and the list goes on and on and on. If you don’t feel overwhelmed, then I call shenanigans and want to know what your secret is!

Photo courtesy of krystynana
Photo courtesy of krystynana

After reading a blurb on 5 Minutes for Mom last week announcing that a blogger who’s name I recognized – Anissa Mayhew – was on an episode of Oprah, I checked my TIVO and was happy to find the show was still there. I didn’t heed Janice’s advice to keep tissues nearby as I turned it on, but I should have. The episode was called “An Overwhelmed Mom’s Deadly Mistake” and focused on a woman named Brenda Slaby, a mom of two daughters and assistant principal who tried her best to be “supermom.” Her world came crashing down when, on a hot afternoon in August 2007, Slaby accidentally left her sleeping 2-year-old daughter in the car when she went into work. Her daughter died of heatstroke. Slaby “went from being a good role model for children, a good administrator and a good parent to being the most hated mom in America.”

I can only imagine what this mom must have gone through and continues to go through every day of her life. But as many others said on the show, this could happen to any of us. We’ve all done things (or not done things) without thinking about it. And like many moms on Oprah admitted, I’ve made my mistakes too. I’ve forgotten on a couple of occasions to buckle my daughter into her carseat. In my case and in Slaby’s case, it was a break in routine that brought about the mistake. In her case, she wasn’t the one who usually took her kids to school and daycare in the morning, but her husband had a dentist appointment which required her to do it that day and break her routine. And in my case, I didn’t buckle Ava right when I put her in her seat which I usually do, but went into the front seat to assemble a toy I’d just bought for her. Thankfully in my case Ava was fine, and in most cases these mistakes don’t prove to be anything more than a wake-up call for the parents, but they are always followed with thoughts of “what if.”

The topic of moms being overwhelmed is really nothing new. I wrote Confessions of a less than perfect mommy just three months ago when I confessed that I was having anxiety attacks from biting off more than I could chew. I just recently found myself in that place again and, thanks to a reminder from Julie at Chez Artz who said, “recent events have lead me to believe that I’m juggling so much that I’m truly at risk of serious injury,” (and boy, do I hear that!) I am forcing myself to slow down and reevaluate. But I digress.

Anissa, during her brief Oprah appearance, did a great job speaking about the unattainable bar that we’ve set for moms. She said we put pressure on ourselves to do more and be more and we lose focus of what is supposed to be the most important thing, our children. To which Oprah replied, “Yeah, being able to be present for your children,” which ironically is the theme of a blog carnival over at API Speaks this month.

The recurring theme of the show was that we as moms need. to. slow. down. Jodie at jodified designs. the blog. watched the episode of Oprah and confessed to leaving her kids in the car on several occasions. “Yes I leave the car running with the air on and yes I’m always just running in somewhere, but that’s just it. I’m always RUNNING.” She decided to share Slaby’s story on her blog “because what happened to her could have happened to any one of us. We’re all overwhelmed. Emotionally, physically, financially, mentally. Exhausted.” She encourages all moms to slow down.

Sharon at Whoa, Momma! confessed “one time while I had a break in my routine I was driving to work on autopilot and I had a momentary lapse where I was heading to work and forgot to take a turn into the neighborhood to drop off my baby at day care. I have since had terrible thoughts of ‘What if?'” Ever since that day she started putting her purse in the backseat so that she will always look in the backseat before leaving her car. She also refers to a scientific study “about how our efforts to keep kids safe has put them in the back seat where Momma is more likely to forget they are there.”

Natalie at BitchBuzz recently wrote a great post called Why Mothers Can’t Always Be Superwoman. She said, “I’ve never believed that women can have it all. I’ve rarely, if ever, seen a solid example of it and Lord knows many of us try our hardest to be and do everything, but somewhere along the line, something suffers.” She reminds us that it’s so important to take care of ourselves.

I speak to my many ‘mama friends’ and almost all are going through the same thing. We’re like zombified sheep on the trail to multitasking mecca where we expect to find nirvana and have everything slot into place. It doesn’t matter whether we’re working or not working; it’s a real challenge to get that balance of being mother, partner, employee/business owner, and ‘you’.

If any unexpected things get thrown your way, which is highly likely when you’re a parent, you can be sure you’re dropping balls in one of those areas, and the likeliest casualty is you. As women, we almost expect not to treat ourselves well, but we’ll work hard to be and do everything as a parent, partner, and worker.

She admits there’s no perfect answer, but notes, “I put too much pressure on myself, too much expectations, and don’t say ‘no’ often enough.”

I think, unfortunately in this day and age, being a mom and being overwhelmed just go hand in hand. The trick to handling it all is knowing when you need to slow down and reevaluate your priorities. Or as Janelle from Heathy Child, Healthy World told me on Twitter, “I think if you’re not an overwhelmed mom, you’re not doing your job, but when it gets real tough – stop and cuddle… and when cuddles don’t do the trick, find a dark, isolated spot and scream. It’s very cathartic. Always breathe deep.”

Posts from other overwhelmed moms:

Cross-posted on BlogHer

Back from the zoo

Call me crazy, but yesterday I took the two kiddos to the zoo – by myself. It was free admission and seemed like the perfect excuse to get my homebody butt out of the house and give the kids something fun to see. After hearing Ava’s reaction when I asked if she’d be interested in going to the zoo, there was no turning back.

I wasn’t sure how Julian would do with walking the whole time, but I didn’t want to cart a stroller around either since I knew I’d just have to hold him up to see the animals anyway, so I put him on my back in the Ergo for about the first 30 minutes and he was totally fine with that. After I took him down to change his diaper, I let him walk, and, surprisingly, he held hands with Ava and/or stayed by us most of the time. He only took off running once or twice and was easily corralled.

The only time there were tears during the outing was when I told Ava she could not have cotton candy (despite the fact that other kids were having it). We did, however, all share a couple of ice cream cones before we headed back home and that, she told me in the car, was her favorite part! Who needs exotic animals when you’ve got ice cream? ;oP She later told me that seeing all of the animals AND the ice cream were all her favorite parts. I guess she wanted to make sure there will be future visits to the zoo. 😉

A&J walking around at the zoo - 10/07/08 Posing with our elephant friend 10/7/08 J doing some animal watching 10/7/08 Feeding time for the penguins 10/7/08

Off to the zoo

I’m hoping to ditch all responsibilities, get out in the crisp fall air, and take the kids to a free day at the zoo today.

I just asked Ava if she wanted to go.

Ava: “Today?”
Me: “Yes.”
Ava: “I’d LOVE to!”
She’s still carrying on and saying, “I would really, really, REALLY LOVE to! That’s the happiest thing I ever heard!”

How can I argue with that? 🙂

Is home schooling right for us?

When I started down my crunchy parenting path over four years ago, I think several people assumed that when the time came, I would home school my kids. I figured then that I would consider it, but it seemed like ages away and I never really gave it much thought. Well, that time is now rapidly approaching.

At age 3, I started sending Ava to an amazing Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool. It wasn’t a surprise at all to me that she thrived there and, despite the cost, I didn’t hesitate for a second before signing her up for her second year this year. She’s had a great experience there with a wonderful teacher. In fact it’s been so good that I’ve even considered sending her to a Waldorf school for kindergarten through eighth grade. I think if it weren’t for the money involved (think college tuition), she’d be going there in a heartbeat. But since we are not independently wealthy, nor do I feel are we financially-hurting enough to qualify for massive financial aid, that doesn’t seem to be a viable option.

That has lead me to exploring our public school options. There are a few public charter schools in our district, a public International Baccalaureate school, as well as many traditional public schools. Because we live in an area with open enrollment, we could potentially send Ava to any one of those schools come next fall. The question is – which one is right for her?

I’ve been overwhelmed with all of the options (I do better with limited choices) and, while I haven’t actually visited any of the schools in person yet (I have talked with some moms about where they are sending their kids), I haven’t felt peaceful about the whole process.

That leads me to a conversation I had with another mom while at Ava’s friend’s birthday party last weekend. She intends to home school her kids, at least initially. She told me about a local home schooling co-op and gave me the name of a Yahoo! Group of local home school support group. And that’s when it suddenly started to seem (again) like something that could potentially be an option for us.

I’ve kind of been of the mindset lately that I couldn’t handle home schooling. That I wouldn’t be any good at it and that Ava needs to be with other kids all of the time. After all, she is a very social kid. But then I joined the Yahoo! Group and discovered that they meet regularly for play dates and have many activities together and that there are a lot of other ways for home schooled kids to be a part of social activities. The more I read, the more I think this might be right for us, at least on a trial basis. We could try it for kindergarten and if it works well, great! If not, then it’s back to square one and finding the right school.

We have been talking about kindergarten a little bit here and there lately, especially because one of Ava’s friends from preschool last year goes to the “big” Waldorf school now and we just saw her over the weekend at the Harvest Faire. So, in an effort to gauge Ava’s thoughts on the matter, I mentioned to her that I have been thinking about home schooling next year. I asked her if she knew what it meant and who her teacher would be and she did. And she said it was a “great idea.” I actually expected her to be more reluctant, but it’s good to know that she (at least in theory) is on board.

I’m not sure what I’ll ultimately end up deciding. I still want to visit at least a couple of the elementary schools that are  on the top of my list, but I have to admit since I started considering home schooling, I feel so much more peaceful and even a little excited. I know there’s still a lot I need to research, but I’m confident we’ll find our way.

Are there any home schoolers out there that want to share any resources, links to curriculum, etc. with me? Thanks in advance. 🙂

Photo credit: Flickr: brandijordan

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DonorsChoose Challenge: Combatting Global Warming with Education

As a mother of two young children, I believe in exposing them to a variety of outdoor experiences to help them learn about the world. We take trips to various local farms where the kids have picked fruits and vegetables, we’ve been swimming in rivers and lakes, we’ve been hiking in the mountains, and my daughter has even planted trees in a marsh. I can’t claim I do all of these things just to enrich their lives, it’s also because it’s fun for me! We live in Colorado and are fortunate to have many wonderful ways of connecting with nature if we choose to do so, but I know many others are not as lucky.

On, Sarah Karnasiewicz interviewed author Richard Louv about his book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.” Louv believes “in the last 30 years, children of the digital age have become increasingly alienated from the natural world, with disastrous implications, not only for their physical fitness, but also for their long-term mental and spiritual heath.” According to Louv, this is a societal disorder. Our lives, including the lives of our children, are often over-scheduled. In addition, in an effort to keep their children safe, parents don’t allow their children to wander and explore as much as children were allowed to 30 years ago. Other contributing factors to NDD are the amount of time children spend playing video games and watching television, as well as significant amounts of time spent riding in the car. All of this translates into to less time for “nature-play.”

This is concerning to me. I think if children lose their connection to the earth, they will be less likely to care about how their actions affect it and less apt to see how the two are even related in the first place.

When I was asked to find a “green” project to blog about for the BlogHer DonorsChoose Challenge, I wanted to find something that I felt could make a real impact. When I read about  Ms. S’s 10th grade physics class Read For Energy project, I knew I had found a match.

According to Ms. S:

My tenth grade classroom is in a public charter high school. It is an urban, high-need environment catering to at-risk students, the majority of whom receive free/reduced-priced lunch. We are a college prep institution in which 100% of our graduates are accepted to four-year colleges.

Many of our students end up as the first generation of children in their families to graduate high school and/or attend college. Most deal with racial discrimination and violence on a daily basis outside of our school.

Over the course of the school year we study physics while also studying the global energy situation. At the root of our studies is Global Warming. It may seem surprising, but despite all the news broadcasts, televisions commercials, and documentaries, my students don’t know much about global warming. As I mentioned before they come to our school below grade level in many cases, and also with many concerns about their personal lives. When they enter our school most of our students are more concerned with what is immediate — rewards and consequences. Our studies of global warming allow them to not only reflect upon their personal energy use, but also to think beyond themselves. It teaches them to think more globally.

While what I really wish we could do is buy these 10th graders the opportunity to spend countless hours in nature, connecting with the earth in a physical way, that’s not an option. However, I think by participating in this project to help purchase 40 copies of the book “Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You,” we are doing the next best thing. We can help them to learn that their world is bigger than what’s outside their front door and that their daily choices and actions can have significant lasting consequences.

I think that if we are going to slow or reverse the global warming problem, we need everyone to get involved – from preschoolers to high school students to large corporations and governments. Education is an important part of the process. “Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You” teaches about the science behind global warming, as well as activism (something I’m especially keen on). It teaches that anyone can help the cause and that individual actions count. Ms. S says, “I want them to know early on in the school year that their sole efforts can make a difference in the world. I also want them to pass the knowledge they learn in my class onto others to cause greater change.” Here, here!

I think these kids have an opportunity to make a real difference. I want to see them get these books (which, by the way, will be used by future students as well) and I hope you do too.

So what can you to do help?

  • Make a donation to Read For Energy! Every little bit counts, even $1. Seriously! (Note: This project will expire on Nov. 10.)
  • If this cause doesn’t move you, perhaps another one of the BlogHer DonorsChoose Challenges will. Take a look and see if something else inspires you to donate.
  • Blog about this or any of the other challenges. You can add a widget to your blog, by grabbing a widget code from the sidebar or from the BlogHer Challenge Page Widgets.
  • Make your own challenge page. Visit the FAQ for instructions on how to do so. Then be sure to label yourself as a BlogHer member so you can have your challenge connected to ours.

Related posts:
Nature, A Natural ADHD Treatment
Fight Nature Deficit Disorder October 11-13th
Climate Crisis – Truth or Hoax?
Note to Sarah Palin: The Cause of Global Warming Does Matter

Cross-posted on BlogHer