5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy For the School Year


Back to School

The kids are back to school, and while parents are adjusting to new schedules, homework demands, and more, they also need to ensure their children stay as healthy as possible, despite being exposed to classmates’ sniffling, sneezing, and germ-sharing habits.

Here are 5 tips to keep kids healthy and happy as the school year begins:

  • Bank those sleep hours –Late night TV watching, video gaming and texting disrupt sleep patterns, so set limits on computer and smartphone use, and reinforce reasonable bedtimes in the first weeks of school. Not only are good sleep habits part of a healthy lifestyle, some studies show that even one less hour of sleep a night can hurt a child’s ability to learn. Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., Chief Director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas notes that our brain needs approximately 8 hours to rest and consolidate learning of new information.
  • Quickly treat aches and pains – Children, like adults, can overdo it: not getting enough rest or eating a healthy diet, especially during the first hectic weeks of school. That leaves them more susceptible to a range of ailments, including scratchy throats. Keep an eye on signs of a cold and act quickly before they progress. For a sore, scratchy throat, parents should choose over-the-counter medicines made for children, not adults, like all-natural Nature’s Jeannie™ Throat Care Spray for Kids, that not only soothes and coats irritated throats, but reduces bacteria significantly, loosens mucus, decreases inflammation and helps restore the throat’s natural pH balance. The spray also minimizes the risk of overmedicating: a new study found that 1 in 5 parents give their child overdoses of common medicines, due to confusing instructions and dosage information.
  • Reinforce healthy eating habits – It’s hard to get kids to eat healthy when fries, pizza and other fast food are on the school menu. Parents might consider making sure that at least a healthy breakfast starts the day, and here is good reason why. Scientists from the University of Alberta-Canada, in a study of more than 4,500 fifth-graders, found that children who ate more whole fruits and vegetables, and consumed fewer calories from fat performed better in school. “This study demonstrates the independent importance of overall diet quality to academic performance,” concluded lead author Dr. Paul J. Veugelers and colleagues.
  • Reinforce smart hygiene habits – How do kids contract germs in and out of the classroom? Not washing their hands! Kids frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make them sick. Empower your child with their own sanitizer keychain (fun, yet functional), remind them about the importance of washing their hands and explain how germs spread.
  • Encourage physical activity over digital activity – Although the school year does incorporate some play time or recess, not all schools put the same emphasis on the importance of physical activity. Especially in this highly digital age of iPads, smart phones, digital games, apps, media galore – go out of your way to carve some time for physical fitness. Consider a walk with the family after dinner, or a marathon jump rope contest. Researchers have found that regular aerobic exercise (three times a week for 50 minutes) improves memory function, so exercise is a good way to engage in quality time with your child and build their mental muscle.

Parents can start the school year off right with a child who is rested, healthy, eating well, feeling positive and focused on being healthy – it provides the best opportunity for an enjoyable school year for both you and your student!

Back to School

About the author:

Nature’s Jeannie™ was born out of frustration: plagued by painful sore throats, Juliet Boghossian concocted a throat gargle she could rely on to relieve and remedy her sore throat quickly and naturally, and eventually teamed with her husband, Michael Tatosian, to further develop the product that became Gargle Away® Advanced Throat Care. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Gargle Away’s proprietary blend of all-natural germ fighting, pain relieving and highly soothing ingredients provides the most comprehensive and effective throat care without a prescription. 

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5 Natural Teeth Whitening Tricks You Can Easily Do at Home



A lot of people aspire to have whiter teeth. Unfortunately, however, professional whitening procedures aren’t only costly, but they can also take much of your time. If you are looking for natural alternatives, here are a few tricks you can try:

Baking Soda with Lemon Juice

Baking soda has a mild abrasive agent that can gently scrub away any surface stains on your teeth. It’s also alkaline in nature, which means it can balance the pH level of your mouth. This helps prevent bacteria from proliferating in your oral cavity. Lemon juice, on the other hand, has an innate brightening effect.


Take a few teaspoons of baking soda and put it in a clean bowl. Add enough drops of lemon to create a paste. Expect the mixture to chemically react and form bubbles. Before actually applying the paste on your teeth, wipe off excess saliva using a paper towel. You can use a spare toothbrush or a cotton swab for application.

Coconut Oil Pulling

Although the idea might make you cringe, oil pulling is actually an effective teeth whitening trick. Coconut oil works by pulling off the stains on the surface of your teeth as well as the bacteria that are making them yellow.

This trick can be a bit time consuming, especially if you prefer to melt the coconut oil before placing it inside your mouth. If you are thinking of adding it to your dental hygiene routine, it’s best if you can set aside enough time for it. This method is best done in the morning to get rid of the bacteria that have build up during your sleep.


Take a good amount of coconut oil and place inside your mouth. Swish it around for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to pass the oil through and around your teeth. Spit it out and rinse with water. You can brush your teeth after oil pulling.



You might find turmeric staining most of the items in your kitchen. However, contrary to this, it actually carries a potent whitening effect when it comes to teeth. Turmeric has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties on top of acting as a mild abrasive agent.


Wet your toothbrush and dip it into your turmeric powder. Apply it evenly on your teeth, making sure you have everything covered. To get the best results, allow the powder to sit on your teeth for around 15 minutes before rinsing and brushing.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has the ability to pull out toxins. It’s also capable of lifting off stains that are making your teeth dull. A lot of shops, both online and offline, actually sell activated charcoal powder so you wouldn’t have a hard time finding one for your teeth.


Dip your wet toothbrush in your activated charcoal powder. Be careful with this process as the charcoal can easily stain your sink. Brush the powder all around your teeth while keeping your mouth closed to minimize spillage. After you’re done brushing, you can rinse it off and proceed with how you’d normally brush your teeth.

Strawberry Paste

If you’re struggling with coffee and tea stains in your teeth, one of the best natural teeth whitening solutions you can try is strawberry paste. This fruit contains malic acid that has a potent stain-dissolving property.


Take a teaspoon of baking soda and add it to two mashed strawberries. Using your toothbrush, apply the mixture on your teeth with gentle circular motions. Take your time when brushing with this paste to get the best results. Be sure to rinse with water thoroughly and brush and floss out any remaining strawberries that can get stuck in between your teeth.

Healthy Smile

Author’s Bio:

Promoting health and wellness, Sophia spends most of her time writing about inexpensive ways to achieve optimum health. Her latest work includes electric toothbrush reviews.

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Healthy Back to School Snack Idea featuring Mickey Mouse


broccoli isolated on white background

I still can’t comprehend that it’s back to school shopping time already. Didn’t the summer just start yesterday? It would seem that way.

Some kids are returning to school in just a couple of weeks. At least my son has another month before he has to return to school. I believe my daughter (who is in college) returns around the same time.

I don’t often make my son’s lunch for school anymore. He chooses to make his own. This coming school year, depending on how his schedule works out, he might be home for lunch.

I do make things easy for him when it comes to packing a lunch. I make sure he has plenty of options including fresh fruits and vegetables and snacks. Even if he ends up eating lunch at home (which he often does) I still like to make sure he has plenty of options. That pertains to my daughter as well. Normally she’s home for lunch in between her classes and her job.

The brand Good Health has some snack options you might want to consider.

My kids LOVE Veggie Straws and Veggie Chips. They have been enjoying them for many years.

I like the Veggie Straws and Chips from Good Health because they are made with no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no hydrogenated oils and zero trans fat. In addition they are made with ingredients I can actually pronounce and understand what they are. Another words… I know what my kids are eating.

These are actually made with vegetables – tomatoes, spinach, beets, broccoli and carrots. Personally I don’t really taste the veggies, per say. I just know them as yummy, crunchy treats. My husband says he can taste the veggies, and for that reason he won’t eat them. His loss! That means more for the rest of us.

Good Health knows that not all kids are open to eating snacks made out of vegetables. Some parents have a hard enough time as it is getting their kids to eat vegetables. I’m fortunate that my kids have always loved vegetables. Even as young children they would eat thing like broccoli and spinach.

If your little ones are a bit reluctant to eat their veggies, Good Health has a snack option you might want to look into. It’s the same yummy veggie treats that they already make, but these ones are made to look like Mickey Mouse.



They are the same flavors as their other veggies chips/straws, but they are done in a fun, child-friendly Mickey Mouse shape. These are sure to be a hit with the little ones (and not so little ones – my teens love them).

Good Health has other better-for-you snack options including Half Bake Popcorn (popcorn air popped with only a touch of flavoring), Popped Chips (popped – NOT baked or fried – chips) and something I really want to try, Apple Crisps. Good Health has other snacks option as well.

These are snacks you can feel good offering to your kids. They are a better-for-you option than (fried) chips, cookies and candy. Save those kinds of snacks for special occasions.

The new Mickey Mouse shaped veggie snacks, and other Good Health snacks, can be found at many retail locations across the country. There is a location finder (“Where to Buy“) on the Good Health website too.

For more information about these and other Good Health snacks visit GoodHealthSnacks.com (that is easy enough to remember). The brand is also found on Facebook and Pinterest (the links are found on the top right of their website site).

Have you ever tried Good Health Snacks before?

What do you think about the Mickey Mouse shaped snacks? Do you think your child/grandchild would enjoy snacking on something like that? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.



*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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4 Sunscreen Facts You Should Know



The guidelines on what you can and can’t put on sunscreen labels has gone through quite a few changes in the last few years – but many people aren’t aware of the changes. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently reported the results from a survey which found that only 14.3 percent of American men, and 29.9 percent of American women claimed that they regularly used sunscreen. Those numbers are staggering; everyone should be wearing either sunscreen, regardless of how your skin handles sun exposure.

But, with so few people regularly wearing sunscreen, it’s likely that even fewer people know much about just how helpful sunscreen is in defending against skin cancer caused from harmful UV rays. This article is going to go over four facts regarding sunscreen that you probably didn’t realize.

  1. Never Settle for Less Than 30 SPF

A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30, is about what anyone needs to stay covered from harmful UV rays. 30 SPF will protect you from 97 percent of the ultra-violet exposure emanating from the sun. It is important to note that there is no direct correlation between SPF and the length of its activity – for example, an SPF of 50 will protect you for around 150 minutes; this, however, does not mean that an SPF of 100 will protect you for 300 minutes.

  1. Look for “Broad Spectrum” on the Label

There are many, many different ways to create a sunscreen, and not all of them are effective as the others. Some brands, while doing a great job of defending against UVB rays, will leave you completely vulnerable against UVA exposure; or vice-versa. The term “Broad Spectrum” is regulated by the FDA and no brand can use this terminology without meeting their standard protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.

  1. No Sunscreen is Waterproof

Another aspect of the new labeling system mandates that manufacturers can no longer claim that their brand of sunscreen is “Sweatproof” or “Waterproof.” However, they may make distinctions between “Water-Resistant” – which refers to its ability to remain effective 40 minutes after water exposure, and “Very Water-Resistant” which indicates it’s effective for up to 80 minutes after water exposure.

  1. Reapply After Two Hours

While it’s true that lotion may rub off or fade away after the two-hour mark, the real reason for this is new regulations from the FDA saying that no manufacturer may label a product’s effectiveness for longer than two hours without reapplication, unless they submit data to prove otherwise.

These may seem like simple things to keep in mind when using or preparing to use sunscreen- but they can be life-saving facts. SkinCancer.org cites that one in five Americans will contract some form of skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. Over the past three decades, more Americans have had some variety of skin cancer versus every other kind of cancer combined. Be smart about your day trips, respect the power of the sun, and you’ll be sure to have a great time and make great memories that last a skin cancer-free lifetime.


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Shedding Some Light on Sunscreen Protection: What You Need to Know in the Heat of Summer



Summertime is heating up and that means another confusing trip to the sunscreen aisle. But not all sunscreens meet the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) criteria. A recent study found that 40 percent of top consumer rated sunscreens sold on Amazon did not adhere to AAD guidelines, including not being water and sweat resistant. Many others are also facing legal challenges alleging they are not performing up to their marketing claims. Board Certified New York Dermatologist Dr. Kally Papantoniou gives you what you need to know before you lather or spray.

Do you really need SPF 50 or higher?

SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage. Both UVA and UVB contribute to the risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Papantoniou explains that, “The SPF rating is a measure of the time it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed to the time it would take with sunscreen. “SPF is not a consumer-friendly number,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “It is logical for someone to think that an SPF of 30 is twice as good as an SPF of 15 and so on. But that is not how it works.” According to Dr. Papantoniou, “An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. “After that, it just gets superfluous,” she says. Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offers 100% protection. Dr. Papantoniou recommends SPF 30 – 50 products to her patients, depending on their skin type and medical history.

How much sunscreen should you use?

You’ve probably heard people say to use an amount the size of a quarter. Wrong! You’re supposed to use a shot glass full of sunscreen on all exposed areas to get the full benefit. “And here’s something else you probably don’t know,” says Dr. Papantoniou.  “SPF only refers to UVB rays. There is no ratings scale for UVA protection. So look for the words “Broad Spectrum” on the label and specific ingredients. The most important ingredients to for UVA protection are avobenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.”

DO wear sunscreens rich in antioxidants

Natural antioxidants are the latest breakthrough in sunscreens and are a safe way to boost our natural immunity to the sun’s harmful rays. When layered or combined with a sunscreen, they add an extra level of protection. Some known antioxidants are green tea polyphenols, vitamin C, raspberry seed oil, astaxanthin, ferulic acid and reishi mushrooms.

Me with sunburn on my upper chest/neck area. OUCH!

Me with sunburn on my upper chest/neck area. OUCH!

MYTH: Your daily facial moisturizer needs to have SPF.

FACT: “Only one of the products you use each morning needs to have SPF of 30 or higher,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “SPF is SPF, regardless of whether it’s in your foundation or moisturizer.”

MYTH:  Using multiple products with SPF gives you greater protection.

FACT: “SPF isn’t an equation,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “You can’t use an SPF 15 primer and an SPF 20 foundation and get SPF 30 coverage. Your sun protection is only as strong as your highest SPF, which in this case would be 20.” Of course, if you’re dabbing foundation or moisturizer on only small areas of your face, it’s wise to double up on products that contain SPF to ensure total coverage.

MYTH: “If you’re wearing foundation, you don’t need sunscreen. A layer of makeup will protect your skin from the sun.”

FACT: Makeup will not act as a barrier for UV rays, even if it has an added SPF. “Testing has shown that the SPF protection from a makeup product alone is insufficient. That small amount of SPF is always a nice addition, but not enough to protect your skin,” says Dr. Papantoniou. Always apply sunscreen (or a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sun protection) under your makeup. If you’re worried about your skin looking greasy, there are plenty of great mattifying options for the face.

Here’s a reminder of how to properly protect yourself:

  1. Always wear a hat and sun protective clothing if you’re going to be out for long periods of time.
  2. Avoid the mid-day sun.
  3. Don’t be tempted to use that tube of sunblock you didn’t quite finish last year.  New summer, new sunblock.
  4. Slather on generous quantities of sunblock at least 30 minutes before you head outdoors: To achieve the SPF level on the label, you need a teaspoon on your face, and a shot glass-worth for your body. Don’t forget your ears, your lips, your hairline, and your scalp or part lines.
  5. Reapply every couple of hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or exercising.


About the author:

Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. Connect with Dr. Papantoniou  via twitter @DrPderm or her website www.DrPapantoniou.com

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Do you or a loved one suffer from Mental Illness? You are not alone…



It saddens me in this day and age that there is still a stigma associated with mental health conditions. Why do people have to place a negative label on another person just because they suffer from a form of mental illness? People are people. Just because someone suffers from a mental health issue doesn’t mean they are any less of a person or that they are “flawed.”

According to the National Allience on Mental Illness Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million, or 18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year. One in five!

Think about you and four of your best friends, or four relatives. Statistically one of you will experience mental illness in a given year.

To be honest, that statistic seems pretty high. I would have thought it would have been 1 in 20.

Mental illness comes in many forms – depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, dementia, anxiety and schizophrenia to name a few.

Did you know that OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is considered a mental illness too?

I have dealt with anxiety since I was a little girl. To counter act it I used to sway back and forth when I was little or bite the inside of my mouth. Hugging something soft, like a plush animal, also brings me comfort when I feel anxiety.

I’m an adult now but there are times I catch myself swaying back and forth. I don’t even realize it when it happens. I also find that I still bite the inside of my house and if you saw how many stuffed animals I have around my home it’s clear that I still find comfort in them.

My son has anxiety too. When he was little he used to grab a tuft of his hair and twist it when the anxiety kicked in. I was worried he was going to start to pull his hair out.

depression, teen depression, pain, suffering, tunnel

I don’t know what causes my anxiety. I never had it checked out. I can pin point things that cause it. For example, I cannot stand repetitious sounds. Car alarms, people tapping their fingers on a table, people humming… thing like that bring on a lot of anxiety. My son has the same issues with sounds.

I also have a bit of an OCD. I cannot leave our home without checking to make sure the burners are turned completely off on the stove. We have a gas stove and I have a fear of the burners not being turned off resulting in a fire or gas leak. It doesn’t matter if I checked it already – I check it at least 2-3 times before I leave our home.

I may have forms of mental illness, but I do not consider myself “different.” I’ve got “quirks.” We all have quirks. That is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s not a good reason to bully anyone, label someone or put someone down. Guess what? NO ONE is perfect. We are all unique. Just because some suffers from a form of mental illness does not mean they are “diseased” and cannot function. Those are just myths made up by people who don’t really understand.

Bring Change to Mind  (BC2M), is a nonprofit organization built to start the conversation about mental health. It was co-founded by actress Glenn Close. The organization is hoping to amplify its mission by bringing this discussion about mental illness online to build the awareness, understanding, and empathy necessary to inspire action to end stigma and discrimination.

Check out this brief video about the stigma of having a mental illness.


I have a dear friend who suffers from chronic depression. I love her to bits. I wish there was something I could do to help her not have to take the medication she needs to keep it under control. She is an amazing person. Sweet, loving, funny and an extremely talented artist.

Bring Change to Mind would like to encourage people to share their stories about mental illness. It can be your own personal experience or the experience of a friend or loved one.

Feel free to share your stories on the Bring Change To Mind website, BringChange2Mind.org/stories/Share-Your-Story. You are also encouraged to share your stories on social media using the hashtag #MindOurFuture.

You are welcome to read and watch other people’s stories on these links – Read StoriesWatch Stories.

To coincide with this mission, Bring Change To Mind has created videos that showcase various stories, set to the song, “Ghost Story,” by Whitney Woerz, 


This is a powerful video. I really hope that you will take a few minutes to watch it, hear their stories and take in the beautiful song.

If you suffer from a mental illness, please know that you are NOT ALONE. There are organizations like Bring Change To Mind that are here to help you, or your loved one.

For more information please visit BringChange2Mind.org. They can also be found on social media. All of the link are found at the bottom of their website.

BC2M Logo


*I have partnered with Bring Change To Mind to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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