Do These Tasks First to Make Your New House Feel Like Home 

Written By Jim McKinley, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

We all want our living space to be organized, functional, and to feel like home. Buying a new house gives you a fresh start, a chance to create the ultimate space that works for everyday life, and reflects your style. That thought may be overwhelming or it may be exciting, but most likely, you’re feeling a little bit of both. Don’t worry! Creating your ideal home won’t happen all at once, but these tips will help you settle into your new house quickly and happily so it feels like home.

Start with These Maintenance Tasks 

Before unpacking and decorating, doing a few easy maintenance projects will help make your new home both safe and comfortable.

  • Change locks – You never know who has keys to the home from the previous owners, so have all exterior locks changed and get a new set of keys.
  • Check safety devices – Make sure all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors work, and replace the batteries in them. If the home already has fire extinguishers, check to make sure they aren’t expired. If not, install a fire extinguisher in any room where there is a risk of fire, such as the kitchen.
  • HVAC and electrical tune-ups - Familiarize yourself with your home’s main systems, including the HVAC system, and change the air filter right away to help it run effectively. It can’t hurt to go ahead and have your system checked professionally. This can go a long way toward helping the air quality in your home. U.S. News also recommends cleaning your dryer vent to prevent fire. You should also locate the electrical panel and water shut-off valves.
  • Minor improvement projects – Unless you are absolutely sure of what you want, it’s best to put off big home improvement projects until you have lived in the home. But some projects like painting are simple enough and actually easier to do before you have unpacked everything. Plus, fresh paint on the walls is a quick and easy way to start putting your design touches on the house and make it start to feel like home.

Unpack, Organize, and Decorate! 

When it comes to this part, you may not know where to start because there is so much to do. Remember that you can’t do it all at once, so start with what will make the biggest difference. Come up with a plan for how to arrange furniture, and think about how you will use each room and how you want it to flow. Getting furniture in place is the perfect start because it serves as a springboard for the rest of your unpacking and decorating.

Next, work on unpacking one room at a time with a plan for organizing. You can always organize later, but it’s much easier to do it now so that clutter doesn’t become a problem in the first place. Some things may change as you get used to living in the home, such as realizing where you actually end up doing meal prep in the kitchen, which could mean swapping some plates or utensils around. But making these simple swaps is easier in a space that is already organized.

To get started with home decor, pick a few easy projects that will make a big impact quickly. For example, curtains are a great way to bring life to your new home. Depending on where you hang them, curtains can be used to make a room look bigger, or they can be used to create special areas or function as room dividers. They can even be used to hide storage space. HGTV has great suggestions for other decorating upgrades that are inexpensive and high-impact, such as adding a headboard or bringing flower arrangements into your home.

Moving can certainly be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with a plan of action with these tasks at the top of your list. Don’t forget that things don’t always go according to plan, so stay flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy the process of creating your perfect space.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Fresh, Fast, Flavorful Meals for Back-to-School Season

The start of each school year brings new routines for families to adjust to, which can leave little to no time to think about dinner. With the right ingredients, however, it’s still possible to create a healthy, home-cooked meal in a matter of minutes, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the dinner table catching up on the day’s events.

Cookbook author, actress, designer and mom of two Haylie Duff knows a thing or two about juggling her family’s busy schedule on top of her own. When it comes to getting a fresh, fast meal on the table, she looks for easy meal helpers that help cut down on time, but not on flavor, that she can feel good about feeding to her family, like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. It’s conveniently pre-seasoned, packed with protein and can be grilled, roasted, sauteed or slow-cooked – making it a versatile dinner solution for any night of the week.

For your next weeknight meal, try Haylie Duff’s recipes for Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos or Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki, which feature a few simple ingredients and can help you make dinner in a matter of minutes.

Find more time-saving tips and fresh, flavorful weeknight dinner ideas for the whole family at SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.

Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos

Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1          Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1          fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1          teaspoon taco seasoning blend
  • 12        white corn tortillas
  • 1-2       radishes, chopped
  • 1          jalapeno, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1          bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1          cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
  • 1          jar (16 ounces) tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
  1. Cut pork loin filet into 1-inch cubes. Bacon will fall off, but make sure to keep it.
  2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Saute half the pork cubes and bacon bits 7-8 minutes until browned. Repeat with remaining oil, pork cubes and bacon.
  3. Heat grill to medium at about 400° F. Sprinkle pineapple slices with taco seasoning; grill until char marks appear, turning once. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Place tortillas on grill until warm. Top tortillas with pork loin filet cubes, pineapple, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve with tomatillo salsa.

Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki

Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 16 minutes

Serves: 8

  • 1          Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8-12     Greek pita breads, warm
  • shredded romaine lettuce or arugula
  • chopped tomatoes
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • 1          cup tzatziki sauce
  1. Cut pork loin filet in half lengthwise and thinly slice. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Stir-fry half the fresh pork loin filet 7-8 minutes until browned; set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and pork slices.
  2. Layer warm pitas with shredded lettuce, pork slices, tomatoes and feta. Top with tzatziki sauce.

SOURCE:
Smithfield

School Mornings Made Easy

Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there’s few unused minutes in the day.

One thing that’s particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.

Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they’ll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.

As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.

For more information and breakfast ideas, visit smithfield.com.

Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 8 frozen prepared waffles, toasted
  • 8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
  • maple syrup (optional)
  1. Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
  2. In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
  3. Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.

Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.

Baked Eggs in Avocado

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 large avocados
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
  • 1 cup blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
  2. Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
  3. Top with bacon pieces, blue cheese and cilantro. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Smithfield

Paleo Perfect Gifts

Seeking the perfect gift for the friend following the paleo diet? The following brands make excellent choices… from Paleo Butter Coffee Creamer to the Drynk, which will keep your cold brew coffee chilled for 18 hours!

Coffee++ Paleo Butter Coffee Creamer
For fans of buttered coffee, Coffee++ is the World’s First Grass-fed Organic Cultured Ghee & MCT Oil blend! It does not contain any coffee or caffeine. If you follow a Paleo diet, coffee with a creamy taste is no longer an issue. Just stir Coffee++ into your coffee for a smooth, satisfying, and totally invigorating experience designed to power you through your day with clarity, focus, and energy. It tastes fantastic whether you drink it as is, add a favorite spice, or use natural sweetener. Batch-tested casein-free, lactose-free, whey-free, and gluten-free. Available in two sizes. www.pureindianfoods.com.

Drynk Beverage Containers from Vaya Tyffyn
Not all beverage tumblers are created equal! With a built-in coaster to prevent spills, each Drynk keeps hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold ones cold for up to 18 hours, ideal for those who want to enjoy their cold brew while chilled! Plus, Drynk comes with two different lids to suit your drinking style. The Sipper’s magnet keeps the hinged lid open while drinking so it doesn’t bump noses. The Gulper’s wide mouth is great for sports or cold drinks, or for sharing drinks with the pair of accompanying cups — which also helps cut down on spreading colds and germs. Drynks come in a range of fun colors and two sizes for all ages. Visit https://vayalife.com/water-bottle.

The HyperChiller 
A cold brew coffee is within reach in 60 seconds! The HyperChiller turns any beverage into a perfectly cooled drink in just one minute without ever touching ice! With the HyperChiller’s simple multi-chamber design, your beverage is exposed to the equivalent of over 30 large ice cubes, but protected by two layers of food grade stainless steel — so there’s zero dilution in the process of cooling. Just leave it in your freezer, then take it out, pour your beverage in (coffee, wine, spirits etc.) and the HyperChiller will rapidly chill it in just one minute. You can even use it a couple times in a row. When you’re done, just stick it back in your freezer to use again later. It’s compatible with all brewing methods and even fits directly into most full-size single cup brewers. http://hyperchiller.com.

Fat Fit Go
Need a delicious, portable paleo snack to go with your cold brew? Fuel your body Fat Fit Go, which offers long-lasting energy from high-quality, blended fats including MCT and other nutrient dense super foods in every serving! With an incredible, fresh taste, these delicious, portable energy packets with real food are perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle. No preservatives or undesirable ingredients. Just clean, nutrient dense energy! Completely Paleo, Keto and Vegan. Peanut, Dairy, Sugar, Soy and Grain Free. Fat Fit Go is made with carefully crafted ingredients, and available in two delicious flavors, Tropical Margarita and Original Chocolate.

Tropical Margarita is a delightful blend of Pecans, MCT Oil, Almonds, Coconut, Macadamia Nuts, Cocoa Butter, Chia Seeds, Avocado Oil, Salt, Lime Essential Oil, and Stevia (less than 1%). It has 3g of protein, 24g of fat, and 1g of net carbs. Original Chocolate is a carefully crafted blend that includes Chia, Pecans, MCT Oil, Almonds, Coconut, Macadamia Nuts, Cocoa Butter, Chia Seeds, Avocado Oil, Cocoa Powder, Cinnamon, Salt, and Stevia (less than 1%). It has 3g of protein, 24g of fat, and 2g of net carbs. You can learn more about Fat Fit Go at www.fatfitgo.com.

From Farmer to Fortune, How One Medical Device Revolutionized An Industry

Entrepreneur helps those with lower leg injuries, shares secrets to success 

Each year, many entrepreneurs bring their products to market. Yet, research shows that the majority of them will not make it. Among those new products each year, there will be rare items that not only make it, but that completely revolutionize an industry. That’s exactly what happened with the iWALK2.0, a medical device that is essentially giving crutches and scooters a run for their money and longevity. In fact, the company has seen such success from the sales of the device that they expect to hit their 100,000th unit sold this year.

“Crutches have been around for 5,000 years, but the iWALK2.0 has already earned its place in the industry as the device of choice for those who have a lower leg injury,” explains Brad Hunter, the innovator of iWALK2.0 and the chief executive officer of the company, iWALKFree, Inc.  “Not only have we won multiple awards for the device, but the feedback we’ve gotten and the sales statistics we’re experiencing all point to a robust future for the iWALK2.0.”

The story of the iWALK2.0 begins with a farmer who created the original version to give himself an easier way to be more mobile while recovering from a lower leg injury. Little did he know he was sitting on a billion-dollar idea. It was when Hunter came along and saw the potential in the product that the idea was brought to fruition for the mass market. Hunter purchased half of the company, took the device concept to a whole new level, and introduced it to the world.

Harrison Ford iWALK Santa Monica.

Harrison Ford iWALK Santa Monica.

During Hunter’s first year, the company had a million dollars in sales, confirming what Hunter had suspected, which was that this was going to be a successful product launch. A serial entrepreneur, he was no stranger to the hard work and dedication that it took to help products find their place in the market. While the device continued to do well, it really saw a huge increase in interest and popularity when Harrison Ford was seen using it. Ford then used it again, for a different injury, which further boosted awareness. Since that time, additional celebrities and athletes have used it, including surfer Kelly Slater and hockey player Nick Bonino, among others.

Hunter knows that there is more that goes into a successful company than just having a great product. His secrets to entrepreneurial success include:

  • Have a clear vision before you start anything and stick with it – no matter what.
  • Do your homework and lay a strong foundation before you make your first commitment.
  • If others say you can’t do it, prove them wrong.
  • Don’t give it 100%. Give it 150%… or more.
  • Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
  • Mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.
  • Build a strong team.
  • Watch your finances – daily.  Always know exactly where you are.
  • Be proficient at changing hats minute by minute.  Advanced multi-tasking capabilities are essential.
  • Know when to quit. Here’s a hint – never.

“Creating a truly great product is really hard. Building a truly great company is even harder,” adds Hunter. “But if you are dedicated to your vision, work hard, and believe in what you are doing you will increase your chances of success. Believing in yourself is a large part of the equation. I’m thrilled with where the iWALK2.0 is and in its future.”

Sales have soared, the company has won awards for the design and concept of the device, and it is literally revolutionizing the industry. Increasingly, people are opting for the iWALK2.0, which resembles a high-tech pirate’s peg leg, and makes it easier for them to be mobile while they are recovering from a lower leg injury. The iWALK2.0 attaches just below the knee, attaching to and recruits the user’s leg, giving people the ability to stand and walk as they normally do, thus replacing the need for crutches or a scooter. With this route, they are hands-free, which allows them to do things they are used to doing, such as walking their dog, drinking their coffee, using their cellphone, or carrying groceries. In 2017, sales were up 50% over the prior year, and on Amazon the sales were up 154% over the prior year.

The iWALK2.0 is hands-free, easy to learn to use, it’s intuitive, and safe. From the knee up, the leg is doing the same walking motion that comes naturally to it. The device is essentially a temporary lower leg, which gives people their independence and mobility back as they recover from an injury. The device is pain-free and makes it possible for people to engage in many of their normal routine activities, such as walking the dog, grocery shopping, and walking up or down stairs.

Clinical research, the results of which are on the company website, shows that patients using the iWALK2.0 heal faster, and have a higher sense of satisfaction and a higher rate of compliance. The iWALK2.0 sells for $149 and is available online and through select retailers. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the device. The device can be used with a cast or boot and comes with a limited warranty. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at: http://iwalk-free.com. To see a video of the iWALK2.0 in action, visit: iWalkFree.

About iWALKFree

The iWALK2.0 is a hands-free knee crutch, made by iWALKFree, Inc.  It’s a mobility device used instead of traditional crutches and knee scooters. It offers more comfort and independence, with the hands and arms remaining free. The device offers people a functional and independent lifestyle as they are recovering from many common lower leg injuries. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at: http://iwalk-free.com.

Florida Memorial University Awarded Scholarship by Kevin Hart’s “Help From The Hart Charity,” a New $600,000 Scholarship Program

UNCF, KIPP team up with charity to help 18 students attend HBCUs

Following up on his generous $100,000 scholarship gift made through UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) to four deserving college students back in 2015, actor and comedian Kevin Hart has joined forces with UNCF and KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) to help 18 more KIPP students earn a college degree including Laibela Faraba, a freshman at Florida Memorial University.

Through a new UNCF scholarship program launched in partnership with Kevin Hart’s “Help From The Hart Charity” and KIPP Public Schools, the $600,000 scholarship will provide funding to support KIPP students from eight different cities, attending 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Hart and the UNCF for helping advance Florida Memorial University’s agenda along with the other HBCUs,” said Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, Interim President, Florida Memorial University.

“Education and knowledge are powerful,” said Hart. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs. This is just the beginning; trust me when I tell you there are a lot more kids who want to go to college who don’t have the money to make it happen.”

UNCF is the largest provider of college scholarships for students of color in the U.S., awarding more than $100 million in college scholarships annually to deserving students. The 18 “Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship” recipients have been selected based on their academic and personal accomplishments and may receive substantive renewable awards based on need.

“The ‘Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship’ will not only support students, but will also demonstrate support for HBCUs,” said UNCF CEO and President Michael L. Lomax. “Research shows that HBCUs matter, and that HBCU students are having a positive college experience, but they also have an unmet financial need. Together, Kevin and KIPP have made an investment that will have a significant impact. We can’t thank them enough for their support, and we want to congratulate these 18 students for keeping their eyes on their goal of a college education.”

Hart’s gift to fund this new scholarship program puts him in line with many other renowned celebrities who have supported UNCF over the years. “Giving back to build better futures is the name of the game, and we hope that others like Kevin will understand why educational investments are so important, especially now, and step up to help more deserving students,” said Lomax.

“Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the hard work of these 18 KIPP students recognized by Kevin Hart and UNCF through this generous scholarship program,” said John Fisher, chair of the KIPP Foundation Board of Directors. “Michael Lomax has been a longtime KIPP supporter and friend and a tireless champion for young people. We are incredibly grateful to both UNCF and Kevin Hart for their partnership and support to help our students thrive in college and achieve their dreams.”

Lomax added, “Over the last decade, UNCF has been building a relationship with the KIPP public school network, and we are so excited that KIPP’s board of directors and their Chairman John Fisher are behind this outstanding new venture. There are more than 1,300 KIPPsters currently enrolled at HBCUs, and together, we are bringing resources and shining a spotlight on these students who are doing all they can to get a college education. This unique partnership will help UNCF continue to bridge the gap from high school success to college achievement and enables UNCF to help more students get to and through college.” 

About UNCF: UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

About KIPP Public Schools: KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of 224 public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. Started in 1994 as a middle school program, KIPP has since expanded to enroll 96,000.

Off to School and Into a New Routine

The fall season is met with many transitions, from cooler weather to time changes to more time spent indoors. Among these transitions is the immediate shift from packing beach bags for a day in the sun to packing suitcases to head back to campus for a new semester. As every student’s routine faces an overhaul this time of year, it is important to bear in mind any health needs that may come into play while away from home.

“When my patients are off to college – be it for the very first time, or as a returning student – I always remind them to keep health-related to-do’s top-of-mind, just as they would think about ordering textbooks or finding libraries on campus,” says OB/GYN Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, a paid consultant of Allergan, the maker of Lo Loestrin® Fe (norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol tablets, ethinyl estradiol tablets and ferrous fumarate tablets). Please see Important Risk Information, including Boxed Warning, for Lo Loestrin Fe below.

To prepare for the upcoming school year, Dr. Richardson shares the following tips a student may not find in her campus welcome pack:

  1. A new city means more than just distance: If you’re adjusting to a new time zone and you take oral contraception, always factor in the time difference to make sure you are taking your pill at the same time every day. You can also have your prescription transferred to a local pharmacy. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to fill a prescription for a three-month supply.
  2. Take more than just class notes: Purchase a planner to help stay on top of assignments while away from home and set reminders to make doctors’ appointments while at home. Stickers are also a discreet tool you can use to keep track of your period cycle each month.
  3. Finding your people means more than just making new friends: Seek out all resources that will set you up for a healthy semester. Find your campus health clinic and ask to be connected to a healthcare provider in the area, stay active at your university’s on-site fitness center and get coursework support through teaching assistants who are there to answer questions throughout the semester.
  4. Packing supplies means more than just lunch: Your class schedule may not allow you to go back to your dorm or apartment during the day. An easy way to stay prepared is to add a cosmetic pouch or extra pencil case to your bag to stash feminine hygiene products and your birth control pill pack.

To find additional resources about available birth control options, visitKnowYourBirthControl.com , and speak to your healthcare provider to determine the method that is right for you.

What is Lo Loestrin Fe?

Lo Loestrin Fe is a prescription birth control pill used for the prevention of pregnancy. If you are moderately obese, discuss with your healthcare provider whether Lo Loestrin Fe is appropriate for you.

 

IMPORTANT RISK INFORMATION

WARNING TO WOMEN WHO SMOKEDo not use Lo Loestrin Fe if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects (heart and blood vessel problems) from birth control pills, including death from heart attack, blood clots, or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.

 

Who should not take Lo Loestrin Fe?

Do not use Lo Loestrin Fe if you have or have had blood clots, history of heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure that medicine cannot control, breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones, liver disease or liver tumors, unexplained bleeding from the vagina, if you are or may be pregnant, or if you take Hepatitis C drugs containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, as this may increase levels of liver enzymes in the blood.

What else should I know about taking Lo Loestrin Fe?

Treatment with Lo Loestrin Fe should be stopped if you have a blood clot, and at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery. You should not take Lo Loestrin Fe any earlier than 4 weeks after having a baby, or if you are breastfeeding. If you experience yellowing of the skin or eyes due to problems with your liver, you should stop taking Lo Loestrin Fe. If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, your doctor should monitor you while using Lo Loestrin Fe. Your doctor should evaluate you if you have any significant change in headaches or irregular menstrual bleeding. 

What are the most serious risks of taking Lo Loestrin Fe?

Lo Loestrin Fe increases the risk of serious conditions including blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. These can be life-threatening or lead to permanent disability. 

What are the possible side effects of Lo Loestrin Fe?

The most common side effects reported by women taking Lo Loestrin Fe in a study were nausea/vomiting, headache, spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods, painful menstruation, weight change, breast tenderness, acne, abdominal pain, anxiety, and depression.

Birth control pills do not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. 

Please see the fullPrescribing Information, including Boxed Warning, andPatient Information which are also available atloloestrin.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Lo Loestrin Fe

Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches on a Budget

Dr. Yum serves up tips on how to pack affordable healthy lunches this school year

Back to school means back to lunch preparation for parents around the country. It’s a challenge that many parents take on, but often struggle to keep healthy. While it’s easy to toss in convenient snacks, it’s not going to do much in the way of keeping their little bodies healthy and developing well. One pediatrician wants parents to know that sending kids to school with healthy lunches each day doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In fact, she’s on a mission to help teach parents how to pack healthy school lunches on a budget.

“School lunches may not seem significant in a child’s life, but when you add up that they are eating them five days per week it’s quite a lot of their calorie consumption,” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “Teaching them healthy lunch habits from a young age will give them the tools to build lifelong healthy habits.”

Of concern for many pediatricians is the fact that most children are simply not eating enough healthy foods to begin with. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report earlier this year which stated that only 12 percent of adults meet the daily recommended fruit intake, and only 9 percent reach the daily vegetable intake. They went on to say that most U.S. children do not meet national recommendations for daily fruit and vegetable servings. Add to it the fact they report that 14 percent of preschool aged children are considered obese, and it’s a recipe for health disaster.

Here are tips from Dr. Yum for packing healthy school lunches on a budget:

  • Plan lunches for the week. Every weekend, sit down and make a list of what lunches you will make throughout the week. Dr. Yum’s Menu Planner can help you plan lunches, dinners, breakfasts and snacks and then gives you a shopping list for the week that is even sorted by department.
  • Buy in bulk. Skip buying individually packaged items like snacks. They are often much more expensive that way. Buy items in bulk, such as at Costco, and use reusable containers to put the items in. Keep it healthy by opting for things like dried fruit, trail mix, unsweetened applesauce, etc.
  • Use leftovers. Plan your dinner meals so that you can make extra and then put some aside for lunch the next day. The Dr. Yum Menu Planner is terrific for this too!
  • Make from scratch. When we buy items, such as muffins, premade at the store, they often have ingredients in them that we would never find in our pantry. Take it old school by going back to making your own items from scratch. Preparing a batch of healthy muffins, for example, and then putting them in the freezer will help you save money and have healthy options on hand at all times.
  • Skip the sugary drinks. Buying sugary drinks is not only expensive, but it puts too much sugar into your child’s diet. Opt for sending them with a reusable container filled with water or unsweetened tea.
  • Take a twist on old favorites. Most kids like a traditional PBJ, but you can add some twists by making peanut butter and sliced banana sandwiches, using a whole wheat tortilla, or putting peanut butter and jelly into a whole wheat tortilla and grilling it like a quesadilla. Each variation makes it a bit different, but very few different ingredients are used, keeping it easy and affordable.
  • Think smoothies. Packing a smoothie like Dr. Yum’s Green Dragon Smoothie once a week is a great way to get kids nutrition, serve them something they like, and make lunch preparation easy. Keep bags of frozen fruits and veggies (like spinach and kale) on hand and whip together a smoothie to put in their thermos. Smoothies are not just for breakfast!

“Get your kids involved in helping to make healthy lunches this year, which will teach them healthy habits and make them more likely to actually eat what you pack together” added Heidi DiEugenio, director of the Doctor Yum Project. “Once you decide you want to serve healthy and affordable lunches, you just need to stick with the commitment and make it happen. It will become a healthy habit for the whole family.” 

Quick, healthy recipe from the Doctor Yum Project website:  Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels

8 whole wheat tortilla wraps

1 cup hummus

1 cup red bell pepper, thinly cut strips

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup yellow bell pepper, thinly cut strips

1 cup fresh spinach, thinly cut

1 cup purple cabbage, shredded

METHOD 

Spread about two tablespoons of hummus on each tortilla, leaving a one-inch border on all sides. Line up a thin layer of sliced vegetables across the hummus. Roll up the tortilla tightly. Cut the roll crosswise into four or five pinwheels and serve. These can easily be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, ready for a party, snack, or packed lunch! 

Dr. Fernando created The Doctor Yum Project, an organization with the mission of transforming the lives of families and communities by providing an understanding of the connection between food and overall health, as well as empowering them with the tools to live a healthy life. The project offers healthy cooking classes, child nutrition classes, cooking camps for kids, hands-on cooking instruction for families, first foods classes, a teaching garden, and online tools to help families make healthier meals. They also offer a preschool nutrition program, with 40 classrooms and almost 600 participating preschoolers.

Dr. Fernando, otherwise known as Dr. Yum, is a board-certified pediatrician. She is also the co-author of the book “Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook” (The Experiment, October 2015). To learn more, visit the site at: www.doctoryum.org.

About The Doctor Yum Project

Founded by Dr. Nimali Fernando, The Doctor Yum Project is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of families and communities by providing an understanding of the connection between food and overall health, as well as empowering them with the tools to live a healthy life. They offer a variety of community programs to help with those efforts. They are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and feature an instructional kitchen and teaching garden for holding classes. To learn more, visit the site at: www.doctoryum.org.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fruits and Vegetables. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/downloads/fruits-vegetables/2018/2018-fruit-vegetable-report-508.pdf.

Crime Museum Offers Visitors Rare Look Inside Surveillance Van, Joins Other Overlooked Gems at Alcatraz East

Former undercover surveillance van joins museum displays

Alcatraz East Building

There’s a new artifact on display at Alcatraz East, but since its focus is on undercover work it might be hard to spot. The crime museum in Pigeon Forge is giving visitors a look inside the workings of law enforcement surveillance, with a van formerly used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a Georgia police department. Visitors can see how agents on a stakeout spend time in the cramped quarters of a van which is not nearly as glamorous as made out to be on television.

“It’s not often that something like this comes along, that was actually used by federal and local law enforcement on criminal cases,” says Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits. “And it has not been stripped of its equipment, giving visitors a real insider look at how it all works.”

Surprising to most people is the close quarters for the agents to work. In fact, the van doesn’t even allow the undercover officers enough room to stand up straight. It also offers little privacy using the toilet inside. Officers could monitor suspects from four different camera angles and would often spend hours in the tight space during a stakeout.

According to Lilburn, Georgia Police Chief Bruce Hedley, the van was used for several years in active criminal investigations, including drug crimes and burglary stake outs, such as in a neighborhood where there was a rash of car break-ins. From the Getaway Cars Gallery in the museum, guests will be able to see the camera perspective of a detective on a stakeout inside the van, viewing in real time as visitors come and go from the museum.

“I am very proud that the public can look at a very important piece of law enforcement equipment that we used to keep our community safe,” says Chief Hedley.

The surveillance van is not the only artifact in the museum that hides interesting details unseen from the public. The car belonging to the bank robber John Dillinger was involved in a shootout, and although the car was restored by a later owner, they kept one of the bullets visible, but only from inside of the car.

In the over twenty galleries in Alcatraz East, it can be easy to miss some of the most fascinating details of the hundreds of artifacts on view. For instance, the initial “ZT” carved in the brass railgun in the Pirates Gallery or the handwritten notes on the side of the Unabomber’s scale about its calibration. In the Mob Gallery hidden behind Mickey Cohen’s custom suit is his shirt, embroidered with his name. On the end of the sniper rifle used by the University of Texas Sniper are small numbers on a piece of tape, settings for the scope. There are other examples of objects that were designed to be hidden, like the dye pack inside a stack of $20 bills to ward against bank robberies.

Also going on display this week are the winners of Alcatraz East’s Graffiti Art Contest on June 2nd. First, second, and third place winners can now be seen on display, that is, if you’re paying attention. “The exhibit is a bit off the normal museum tour,” says Penman, “a reflection of where you often are when you see graffiti in real life, in alleys, abandon lots, by train tracks and other neglected spaces. We thought it was fitting to maximize our limited space and beautify our own “alleys.”

The museum is always adding to their collection and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

School Bus Safety 101

For millions of school-age children in the United States, each day begins – and ends – with a bus ride. While the school bus is the safest way to travel to and from school, according to the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT), it’s important for parents to teach their children how to stay safe in and around the school bus as obstructed views, distracted drivers and more can put kids at risk.

These tips from the experts at NAPT and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) provide parents with some additional measures to take and lessons to teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.

Before the Bus Arrives

  • Ensure backpacks are packed securely so papers and other items don’t scatter as the bus approaches.
  • Create a morning routine that puts kids at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pickup time. This helps avoid a last-minute rush, when safety lessons are easily forgotten, and ensures kids are safely in place for boarding.
  • Encourage children to wear bright, contrasting colors so they can be seen easier by drivers.
  • Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage kids to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
  • If kids must cross a street, driveway or alley, remind them to stop and look both ways before crossing.
  • Verify the bus stop location offers good visibility for the bus driver; if changes are needed, talk with nearby homeowners or school district officials to implement changes. Never let kids wait in a house or car, where the driver may miss seeing them approach the bus.
  • Remind children that the bus stop is not a playground. Balls or other toys could roll into the street and horseplay can result in someone falling into the path of oncoming traffic.
  • Instruct children to stay at least three steps away from the road and allow the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.

On the Bus Ride

  • When boarding the bus, items can get bumped and dropped. Caution children that before picking anything up, they should talk to the driver and follow instructions to safely retrieve their possessions.
  • Teach safe riding habits: stay seated with head, hands and feet inside at all times; keep bags and books out of the aisle and remain seated until the bus stops moving.
  • Instruct children to never throw things on the bus or out the windows and to never play with or block emergency exits.
  • Remind kids that just like when riding in a car, loud noises are off limits so they don’t distract the driver. That includes cellphones and other electronic devices; instruct children to put them on mute or use headphones.

Leaving the Bus

  • Remind children to look before stepping off the bus. If they must cross the street, teach them to do so in front of the bus by taking five big steps (approximately 10 feet) away from the front of the bus, looking up and waiting for the driver to signal that it is safe.
  • For parents who meet their kids at the bus, remember that in their excitement kids may dart across the street. Eliminate the risk by waiting on the side of the street where kids exit the bus.
  • Make the bus ride part of your daily “how was school?” discussion. Encourage kids to talk about the things they see and hear on the bus so you can discuss appropriate behaviors and, if necessary, report any concerns to school administrators. As bullying is prevalent and buses are no exception, ask your child to tell you about any bullying they observe, whether against another child or themselves, and talk about how to shut down bully behaviors.

For more information and additional school bus safety tips, visit BetterOurBuses.com.

An Alternate Form of Transportation

Many school districts are moving away from diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.

In fact, school buses powered by propane transport approximately 928,000 students to and from school every day at more than 840 public and private school districts in 48 states, according to a vehicle registration report compiled by PERC using IHS Polk new vehicle registration data.

“There’s a lot to like about propane school buses for community stakeholders and school officials, and school districts across the nation continue to take notice,” said Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development. “Compared to other fuels, propane school buses are quieter and offer reduced emissions. Plus, they cost less for the district to operate, so schools can put more money back into the classroom where it helps students most.”

Safety

Among the numerous safety advantages propane school buses provide, engines powered by propane are noticeably quieter than diesel engines, which can help ensure a safe ride. Plus, just like all buses, propane buses are crash tested to ensure they meet U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for side and rear impact. In addition, an automatic shut-off valve prevents the flow of fuel to the engine when it’s not running, even if the ignition is turned on.

Cleanliness

The World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency have identified diesel engine exhaust as a carcinogen, which can cause short- and long-term health effects. With the emergence of alternative fuels like propane, which provides a clean emissions profile compared with diesel and gasoline buses, there is decreased risk of exposing young passengers to harmful particulate matter that can be found in the exhaust in older diesel buses, which can escalate breathing-related issues and aggravate asthma.

Cost-Effectiveness

Financially, propane buses provide school districts with the lowest total cost-of-ownership compared to other fuel types, according to PERC. Even as gas prices continue to fluctuate across the country, propane consistently costs less per gallon than diesel and gasoline, by as much as 50 percent, which saves districts significant money on fuel costs. They also require less maintenance over the lifetime of the vehicle, saving additional money on upkeep. Savings on transportation can help keep more money in the classroom helping students learn.

Start a discussion with your children’s school district about exploring a switch from diesel buses to cleaner alternatives by first downloading resources including fact sheets, videos, a toolkit and more at BetterOurBuses.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Propane Education & Research Council