Valentine’s Day books for kids.

We love books in our house.

I started reding to my daughter when she was 3 weeks old, and from that time it’s her favorite thing to do.

These days we read all about Valentine’s Day, and I would like to share with you our top list of Valentine’s Day books for kids:

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1.The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart

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PreS-K-Gerry is all about celebrating Valentine’s Day. It’s one of her favorite days, and she prepares and prepares for it. She makes valentines for everybody in her family and all of her classmates. When the big day finally arrives, her parents help her celebrate with pancakes, complete with fairy dust, a tiara, and wings. She arrives at school looking forward to the class party, but then realizes that she left her valentines at home. What could be a huge disaster turns into a unique opportunity for Gerry to show her friends just how much they mean to her by acting out her valentines for them, telling them why they are special. It turns out to be a great day for everyone.
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For Valentine’s Day everyone is making valentines to send to Michiko in Japan. Eveline decorates her card with gold glitter. pablo draws a picture of a happy fish. The kids in Mrs. Madoff’s class remember all the things they liked to do with their friend Michiko, even though she’s thousands of miles away now.
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PreS – A little boy creates and presents valentines to his pets, family members, and even his teddy bear in this appealing picture book. Told entirely in rhyme, the story commemorates kindness as well as love: the child reads a book to a younger brother and sends an affectionate note to his grandmother.
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Almost everything about Valentine’s Day is fancy . . . especially with Fancy Nancy!

Mystery is in the air when Nancy receives a valentine from a secret someone. Join Nancy as she follows the clues to find out who it is—all in her trademark fabulous style, of course. Gorgeous stickers included!

Share what are your favorite Valentine’s Books and what you read to your kids!!!!

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Cooking Classes for Kids at Whole Foods. Review.

I am so glad we have Whole Foods Market very close to us, it lets us enjoy not just the variety of healthy foods but also different monthly store events.

Some of them are kids’ cooking classes, which are organized by the sotre every Tuesday afternoon. Our daughter loves everything about these classes, because it’s always fun and exciting for her to cook something by herself.

The cooking class teacher Kim is amazing. She is an easy going person and finds the ways to make every class full of useful information not just for the kids but also for their parents.

They try to teach the kids to eat more veggies, fruits, healthy foods and fix their own healthy dishes.

Sometimes they cook something that Sophia is not familiar with ( macaroni and cheese), in this case it’s better for me to skip those days.

But anyway, anyone will find these classes interesting and fun, and they are doing really good job, charging parents only 5$ per class.

Because of this crazy winter weather, we missed some of the classes, and our last one was Pizza Making. Sophia did it already once, when she was 2, so this time it was more professional and she enjoyed every single piece of her freshly baked pizza.

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They used multigrain dough this time, which was healthy and delicious.

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For the toppings they used different types of veggies, sauce, cheese etc.

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Ready to put in the oven:

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While we were waiting for the pizzas to bake, we had a little tour through the store and kids got some samples of food in different departments:

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Pizza is ready!!!!

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Is your cosmetic safe?

The number of chemicals that you put on your skin and that are on their way into your body is amazing! What you put on in the shower can affect things beyond how your arms smell.

Did you know that your skin is your biggest organ? Most of the things that you put on your skin get absorbed and go into your body. Some of them stay near the surface, while others get absorbed into your blood stream and travel throughout your whole system.

When we talk about safe cosmetics, we aren’t just talking about make-up. The national campaigns for safe cosmetics talk about every personal product that you put on your body: deodorant, make-up, shampoo and conditioner, hair gel, nail polish, toothpaste, sunscreen, aftershave, cologne, the list goes on and on. Any personal care product or beauty product that girls or boys use is referred to as a cosmetic.

How can your shampoo or body wash not be safe when it’s supposed to help you stay clean? Right. The whole point of cosmetics – from toothpaste to sunscreen to chapstick – is to help you clean and protect your body. Unfortunately, in the past few decades, there have been large rises in chronic (long-lasting) diseases and changes in the way our bodies work.

Many scientists think that changes in our health – such as the increase in long-lasting diseases like cancer, puberty starting earlier, or reproductive problems in adult women – may be partly caused by all of the chemicals that we are exposed to every day.

How can this happen? Part of the reason is that there’s not enough government regulation in the cosmetic industry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the same types of laws for things that we put on our body as it does for the things that we put in our body.

Without the government telling companies what they can and can’t put in their products, many companies pick chemicals that make their products smell better or look glossier without thinking about the health impacts of all those chemicals.

Safe Cosmetics are made from ingredients that have not been linked to cancer or birth defects. Doctors and environmental experts recommend that you avoid putting the chemicals listed below in your body.

Check around your house and see if any of your favorite cosmetics contain chemicals on this list.

  1. Butyl Acetate: prevents nail polish from chipping
  2. Butylate Hydroxytoluene: prevents colors from fading and changing too quickly
  3. Coal Tar: dissolves dead skin cells and controls itching in shampoo and hair dye
  4. Cocamide/Lauramide DEA: causes foaming in shampoo and bath products
  5. Formaldehyde: disinfectant and preservative in deodorant, nail polish, soap, shampoo, shaving cream
  6. Diazolidinyl Urea: helps the disinfectants (like formaldehyde) work
  7. Ethyl Acetate: liquid in nail polish, mascara, tooth whitening, perfume
  8. Parabens: group of chemicals that are preservatives and don’t allow bacteria to grow in your cosmetics
  9. Petrolateum (Petroleum): makes lipsticks shine, creams smooth, and softens skin
  10. Treithanolamine: keeps lotions, shaving cream, soaps, shampoos, and bath powders from clumping
  11. Triclosan: prevents bacteria on your hands from growing in your cosmetics, like on bars of soaps or deodorant
  12. Toluene: liquid part of nail polish and hair dye that makes it stick to your hair and nails and look glossy
  13. Talc: absorbs moisture and prevents powders like eye shadow, blush, deodorant from clumping in the containers
  14. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: helps the cosmetics stick to your skin
  15. Propylene glycol: keeps products from melting when it is too hot or freezing when it is too cold
  16. Phthalates: keeps color and scents dissolved in the nail polish, perfume, hair spray, and others

Safe cosmetics do not contain these chemicals (and many others). Check the label on the back of your cosmetics containers to see if your product is safe!

Here is my top 5 safe cosmetic list, that I regularly use:

1. Tarte Cosmetics Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara 0.24 oz.

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An Amazonian clay smart mascara that instinctively treats your unique lash concerns- working overtime to keep lashes hydrated, intact, healthier, and stronger, while delivering the appearance of voluminous lashes.

Formulated without : parabens, mineral oil,   phthalates,  sodium lauryl sulfates, gluten.

My favorite mascara!!!!! I have very sensitive eyes, and with this mascara I’ve never gotten any problems!!!!

2. Organic Lavender Remover

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This ORGANIC nail polish remover is soybean oil based and derived from American farm crops. It is packaged in biodegradable and recyclable materials and is NON TOXIC and NON CARCINOGENIC.

It is on sale in Whole Foods now, so you can get it for 50% off.

They also have great non-toxic nail polishes, that I am planning to try.

3. Mineral Fusion Natural Nail Polish, Citrus Cove, 0.33 Ounce

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Mineral Fusion is dedicated to making nail care healthy and effective while contributing to the wellbeing of our community.

Free of formaldehyde, toluene, camphor and butyl phthalate.

This nail polish on last at Whole Foods now too.

4. Desert Essence Soft Curls Hair Cream Coconut — 6.4 fl oz

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Made without:Animal Derived Ingredients or Animal Testing, Parabens, Artificial Dyes, Petroleum Compounds including Mineral Oil,Petrolatum and Paraffin,SLS,PEGS, PPG, MEA, DEA or TEA,Glycols,Phthalates,EDTA.

Add a soft, weightless bounce to curls with this feather-light natural leave-in conditioner. Just a small amount of this silicone-free cream softens and moisturizes curly hair, making it silky smooth to the touch. Infused with 5 desert derived botanicals and coconut oil to strengthen hair and repair damage from environmental stressors and styling.

5. Elma and Sana 100 % Pure Organic Argan Oil Cold Pressed Virgin, Golden, 2 Ounce
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Elma and Sana golden argan oil 1 oz blue glass bottle with dropper 100% natural raw cosmetic argan oil is the perfect oil for the face, body, hair, and nails. Ideal for all skin and hair types, argan oil improves skin hydration. This non-greasy formula is fragrance-free and organically cold-pressed. Made from the nuts of the Moroccan argan tree, It is high in vitamin E and essential fatty ideal for all skin and hair types. Improve skin’s hydration. Non-greasy 100% raw organic cold pressed. 100% natural fragrance free. Benefits, Non-greasy, fast absorbing and moisturizes softens and nourishes eliminates frizz and adds shine to hair strengthen soft and brittle nails imported directly from ecocert certified women’s cooperatives from morocco.

The best skin moisturizer!!!!!

Green Moon Art Studio For Kids.

I mentioned before that our daughter, Sophia attends local art classes, and today I want to share with you our experience with this SPECIAL place.

Green Moon is a special place for children to grow and learn. At Green Moon, children from 18 months to 12 years can enjoy the exploration of art.

This place was Sophia’s first drop in experience, and I am so glad we made this choice!!!

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She started her Art Classes when she turned 2, and before that she wasn’t actually stayed without me at any place for more than 10 min. I was nervous leaving her alone for 45 minutes alone in a new place.

Because this place is SPECIAL in many ways, me, as a mother and Sophia loved it from the first sight:

1. The owners and all the teachers are friendly and nice. Children adore them!!!! I remember Sophia kept talking about Miss Gabby few months ago. I didn’t know who she is, but the only person she mentioned in her games, was Miss Gabby. Later, I found out, Miss Gabby is her lovely teacher from Green Moon.

2. During their Art Classes kids always do different kinds of activities including sensory play which is so important in this age.

3. Their project’s ideas never end. At the end of every semester I am waiting for my daughter’s art works, because I can really call them ART WORKS!!!!! I am proud of my 3 years old daughter who easily can decorate walls with her projects in our home. Thank you to GREEN MOON.

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4. The studio has been recently renovated, and now parents can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while waiting for their kids in the studio.

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5. Decor!!!!! I love, love, love everything that is in Green Moon: colors, little details for special themes etc. This place has the special Art atmosphere!!!!

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6. Every holiday they have special drop in programs, and if you don’t attend their classes regularly, you can just have fun joining their special events.

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100418047. They sell their own art supplies now too!!!!! Isn’t it cool to get some special art projects made in the local art studio for you little ones, or for a present ? I am so into supporting the local vendors and organizations, and knowing Green Moon’s  art supplies are: safe for your kids, unique, special; make me happy that Sophia has this great opportunity to have her art journey with Green Moon.

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If you are interested into their art projects, you can buy them from their Art Studio, or even better ORDER them ONLINE!!!!

All their products has the list of ingredients, and this way you can make sure your kids will use safe, fun art supplies.

Puppet Art Set

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Rainbow Dough Set.

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They also have: Bird House art set, Non toxic paints, Make your own Frame set, beads art sets etc.

One of my favorite ones ” Build your own Art Set”. You pick your own art supplies for your projects in their Studio:

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The Studio has different types of classes, summer camp( which we attended last summer), private events and birthday parties. Here is the full list of their services.

You can also find them following these links:

Green Moon Website

Green Moon Facebook

Green Moon Instagram

Thank you Green Moon to make my daughter loves art in a special way!!!!!!

The Best Health and Fitness Applications for Your Phone.

I guess almost everyone has smartphones nowadays, and sometimes we can’t imagine our life without it.

This gadget is part of you, and it helps you in many cases.

I love to use my iphone for different aplications about health, fitness, exercising, healthy recipes etc.

Today, I would love to share with you some that I personally use and find them cool and useful.

Fooducate.

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My favorite app.

Reading food labels is important, but it’s also time intensive. Fooducate helps speed things up. Use it to scan an item’s bar, and not only will it offer a quick nutritional rundown, but it will also give the food a grade and highlight important details, such as serving size, GMOs etc.

This app is available for iPhone and Android.

Nike Training Club.

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This is the best app for exercising anywhere: home, gym, travelling.

Choose individual workouts, or select a targeted, structured four-week or 30 day program to help you get lean, toned or strong in 30 days. Add running to boost your results. Customize workouts with the drills you prefer. See the results, and celebrate your progress with your friends.

Featuring more than 100 workouts by Nike Master Trainers and world-class athletes like Maria Sharapova, with all the instruction and motivation you need to blast through your fitness goals. Take control of your training with Nike+ Training Club.

My fitness Pal

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Lose weight with MyFitnessPal, the fastest and easiest-to-use calorie counter for iPhone. With the largest food database of any iPhone calorie counter (over 3,000,000 foods), and amazingly fast food and exercise entry, we’ll help you take those extra pounds off! There is no better diet app – period.

PepperPlate.

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Channel your inner foodie with this all-in-one kitchen tool kit: import recipes from websites, food blogs or Word documents, then put them in a weekly or monthly menu planner. Tap ‘add to shopping list’ and the ingredients appear on your grocery menu.

Locavore

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LOCAVORE is the easiest way to find local, in-season food. Pinpoint nearby farmers’ markets & farms that sell the products you love. Discover seasonal recipes.

 

MyHealthyHabbit.

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Whether you’re trying to eat more fruits and veggies or drink more water, this app can help you reachyour goal. Choose a habit and the program monitors your progress in 21-day increment, sending out reminders, motivational messages and tips to help you stay the course.

These are my favorite health and fitness apps.

Share what are your favorite health and fitness apps.

 

Green Tips for Safer Use of Plastics with Food.

I am trying to avoid plastic in my kitchen at all, but if you still use it, follow these tips:

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 Don’t mix hot foods and plastic.

Putting hot foods or drinks in plastic containers is never a good idea. The chemicals and additives in plastics are not especially stable. They are released when the plastic is heated and then leach into the food or drink. That’s not good for anyone. Fatty foods and plastics are the worst combination of all because the chemicals in plastics are more soluble in fat, so they leach greater amounts of those chemicals into fatty foods.

Microwaving. Putting plastics in the microvave is a no-no unless you wish to season your food or drink with chemicals. Plastics labeled ‘microwave safe’ are supposed to be safer, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any leaching going on. Glass and ceramic containers are the best for use in the microwave.

Serving. Serving hot foods and drinks in plastic is a prescription for chemical ingestion. Harder plastics are safer, but all plastics leach. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel serving dishes are the most functional, food-friendly choices. They look nice, too.

Storing. When storing leftovers in plastic containers, wait for the food to cool to room temperature before putting it in the container. That way, you’ll avoid heating up the plastic and minimize the leaching.

Dodge the dishwasher.

Hand wash plastic items instead. It’s simple-don’t put plastics in the dishwasher, wash them by hand. Hot water and the detergents used in automatic dishwashers break down plastics and increase chemicals leaching. Wash plastic items by hand, using a sponge that won’t scratch them.

Rethink plastic water bottles.

Plastic water bottles are the bane of eco-green living, and they are pretty impossible to avoid. The reality is that we require fluids to live, and we need something to carry them in. Plastic bottles are the ubiquitous standard, but glass and stainless steel water bottles are great green options that let you avoid ingesting the chemicals that migrate from plastic and contributing to the piles of waste created by thirsty people everywhere. Glass bottles are an ideal substitute that can be used many times before recycling, but of course they are also breakable. Stainless steel is not only impervious to breaking, it;s long lasting and safe to tote around everywhere.

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I personally use these bottles for my family:

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
If you do use plastic water bottles, avoid letting it heat up in inderect sunlight, especially in the car.

Use less plastic Cling Wrap.

Plastic wrap is a mainstay in kitchens everywhere, though its clingy convenience comes at quite a cost.  Most plastic wraps are made with the worst kind of plastics, which are laden with softening chemicals like phthalates and plasticizers that are belied to readily migrate into foods.Reusable glass containers with lids and unbleached waxed paper are great, greener alternative for storing food. Aluminum foil can also be used and then recycled, though it should not come in direct contact with hot foods because it is a soft metal that can leach into the food and cross the blood-brain barrier.

Green and Safe Cookware. Silicone.

Making and eating healthy food is not enough to be healthy. Have you ever thought about cookware that you use preparing your food?

Good cookware is the cornerstone of the kitchen. Whether your finesse in the kitchen is limited to basic pasta or extends to five-course meals paired with perfect wine, choosing the right pots, pans, and ovenware os not only essential for consistent results, it’s a key influence on personal and planetary health.

I would like to talk about Silicone bakeware today, because I used to think it loads with tons of chemicals. To my surprise, I was wrong and let me tell you why.

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Silicone bakeware is strangely rubbery and needs no chemical coating to make it nonstick. It’s hard to believe it doesn’t melt in the oven or give gases like mad, but so far the verdict is that the stuff is safe. Silicone is made basically from sand. It’s inert and doesn’t react with food or heat. It may be hard for more traditional chefs and home cooks to accept these rubbery muffin and Bundt pans. But silicone has some attractive properties:

1. It’s nonstick and nonreactive.

2. It doesn’t retain odors or flavors.

3. It’s stain resistant.

4. It distributes heat evenly.

5. It’s dishwasher safe.

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Silicone is impervious to extreme thermal changes-it can go from freezer to piping hot oven and back again. It’s pretty nifty and pretty indestructible stuff-I mean, you could throw it on the floor and it would bounce.

By the way, silicone rubber spatulas are fantastically long lasting, heat resistant, and a safe, green alternative to plastic ones. They come in fun colors, too.

Silicone bakeware is probably number 1 in my kitchen so far.

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