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Healthy Housekeeping

Getting kids involved in housework not only alleviates the parent's work load, but it also instills a good work ethic and sense of responsibility in children. It is important, however, that we are careful about what cleaning products we have our children use. Many household cleaners present serious risks to children that go beyond poisoning by ingestion. The fumes of chemicals can cause serious respiratory problems and eye irritation. The contact of chemicals to the skin can also cause serious irritation.

For those of us living in rural areas with septic systems and well water, we also need to consider the harmful effects these chemicals have on these systems. Cleaning products interfere with the natural break-down process of septic sytems, requiring the tank to be emptied more often. Also, since septic systems release the fluids back into the sand mound, those chemicals are finding their way into the ground, and potentially into the well water.

There are many green products on the market that make for much wiser choices for the health conscious parent. They do come with a higher price tag, so let's discuss inexpensive home-made cleaners.

Baking soda and vinegar are both inexpensive and have powerful cleaning properties, and when used together, make an effective drain cleaner. Baking soda mixed with a small amount of water makes a great scouring agent to clean tubs, showers, and sinks. Vinegar mixed with water makes a great floor and window cleaner. You can also add lemon oil for a nice lemony smell, so the house isn't only clean, but smells clean.

If you have any healthy housekeeping tips, please share them in the comments section below. Happy cleaning!

When to Call the Doctor

In my article about antibiotic overuse, I mentioned that I do not bring my child to the doctor's office unless absolutely necessary. My reasons for stating this are not exposing my children unnecessarily to whatever illnesses are around the pediatrician's office, and not subjecting them to unnecessary treatments. To read my article about antibiotic overuse go here.

The question now arises on when is it necessary to call your pediatrician for childhood illnesses. Also, which symptoms are cause for an urgent trip to the emergency room? The best way to answer these questions is to direct you to what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say on the subject. Go here to find a listing of the symptoms that merit a call to the doctor and those that need urgent care.

Squash Bread

Although I have yet to try this one, the idea intrigued me, so I'm passing it along. When summer is in full swing, so is summer squash. A friend of mine substituted summer squash for zucchini in her zucchini bread recipe and said it worked well. She also used the liquid of the squash as a substitution for the milk in the recipe and honey as a substitute for the sugar. Of course, I am a proponent of whole grains, so I would also substitute whole white wheat flour for part or all of the white flour, and I would also incorporate wheat germ (that nutrient-rich super food that I put in almost everything).  :o)

There are many ways to make healthful changes to every day recipes. Be adventurous and give it a try!