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One Mom's Moxie: December 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

MERV Ratings and Your Air Conditioning: What Do They Mean?

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Not all air conditioning filters are created equal. There are many different types of filters that you can use for your central air system, including the Filtrete filter you might already use. What they all share in common is that they all have a MERV rating.

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. It is a measurement used to rate how efficient an air filter is on a one to 20 scale, with 20 being the most efficient. The higher the rating, the higher the ability to trap small particles in the air.

Whenever you use your heating and cooling system, it filters the air in your home at the intake. The air then goes to the system's furnace for conditioning. It must pass through the filter before the air is warmed or cooled.
High vs. Low MERV Ratings

Basically, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the pore's filter will be. The smaller pores allow less air to pass through at once. This way, the filter purifies the air from the particles that would otherwise circulate back into your home. 

When the air filter has larger pores, then more air can pass through the filter at one time. This allows for the air to circulate back with greater speed, though some particles will escape back into the home. The average home has a filter with a MERV rating of 6 to 8. Places that have filters with a rating of 20 are usually highly sterilized environments like hospitals and science labs.


Do You Need A Higher Rated Filter?
The filter that you use should reflect you and your family's personal needs. Someone with small children might benefit from a 10 filter, while allergy sufferers, elderly people, and pet owners might require as high as a level 16. Keep in mind that the higher the MERV rating, the more energy your air conditioning system must use to force the air through the filter. This is why you should only use a higher rated filter is necessary. 

Personal preferences aside, the specifics of your existing air conditioning system will most determine what air filter you can use. When in doubt, consult an HVAC professional to find a good air filter match for your home.


Could Circulation Be Harming Your Sleep?

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When it's time to crawl in bed at night, the last thing you want on your mind is how long you'll spend tossing and turning before you're able to get to sleep. For some people who sleep on bedding that's too soft, the body gets insufficient support, leaving you with strain and tightness in your muscles and joints. While uncomfortable, the issue of tossing and turning is more closely tied to firm bedding however, as the rigid surface generates pressure issues that cause you to re-situate.


Typically referred to as pressure points, these problem areas are the result of body parts pressing too firmly against a surface, inhibiting normal blood flow. Much like a hose with a kink in it, too-firm areas against your body can reduce your circulation. When this happens to able bodied individuals, they turn or roll over from the discomfort it generates. This is actually one of the things that leads people to declare that they just can't get comfortable! While that is upsetting, it can also become a serious health issue for individuals who aren't as mobile. Left un-addressed, pressure and circulation issues can lead to sores.
  

To manage issues like these, sleep surfaces need a proper balance of comfort and support. This leads to a predicament for some people however, as they feel more comfortable overall on a firm surface, despite some nagging pressure issues they may be encountering. Luckily, there are materials that can add soft comfort to a bed, without detracting from its support. Memory foam is one of those products, and is particularly helpful in maintaining circulation, with its body-contouring temperature sensitivity. Often, people switch to memory foam, and wake to realize they barely moved during the night. Without pressure issues, your body can enjoy its most comfortable position, and you'll fall asleep quicker and more deeply!

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Article submitted by The Foam Factory, an online source for memory foam mattress and topper products; outstanding bedding for reducing pressure point issues and improving circulation.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

How To Be The #AwesomeUncle This Holiday Season!

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Want to be the #AwesomeUncle over the holidays? Or even the awesome aunt? Don't stress, there is a perfect gift for even the most difficult to please! I know a lot of us don't think giving a gift card is personable enough or you worry the recipient will think you didn't put much time or effort into it, but neither are true. Most nieces, nephews and other family members love to receive gift cards! The best part is you can find a gift card for various places at your local grocery stores!
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  • Gift cards make great holiday gifts because they are easy to buy, and easy to use. Many grocery stores now carry hundreds of gift cards, making last minute shopping fast and convenient.
  • Many grocery stores now offer “variable” gift card options, so you can load any amount you want onto the card up to $500 without having to go to the retailer.
  • Using gift cards as cash for holiday shopping and save money! Grocers like Safeway offer increased fuel rewards on gift card purchases.
  • If you prefer to shop online, check out hundreds of gift cards on GiftCardMall.com.



If giving a gift card doesn’t feel like enough for you then I have a few suggestions. You can pair an iTunes gift card with headphones, a set of gloves or scarf to go with a clothing store gift card or an assortment of candies with a theater gift card. There is always the unique ways of giving the gift card inside an ornament gift card holder, wrapping it up in a large box as sort of a joke, or putting it inside a stocking filled with other goodies like candy or small toys. For those that are difficult the best gift cards are Visa and Amazon gift cards, they can choose their own gift! And for those White Elephant, Secret Santa or for the holiday office gift exchanges, a gift card is the perfect solution. Don’t forget your neighbor, teacher, Godchild, or boss. Happy Holidays!

    Saturday, December 20, 2014

    Need the Perfect Gift? Get a Canon at Best Buy! #HintingSeason


    The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.


    There are so many reasons to capture the moment, or as I like to say the memory. With school activities, sports, and everyday life, there are going to be memories that you wished you had captured. The special memories I especially love to keep forever are the holidays celebrated together. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs available and you can pick one up today at Best Buy! I am planning on buying the camera myself as I have been wanting a DSLR for what feels like ages. This beauty produces some exceptional images. 

    • Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video
    • Continuous autofocus while taking HD video
    • Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.
    • The 3" vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation. 

    Best Buy has all the latest and greatest cameras to satisfy any photographer. I use the term photographer loosely, since moms, dads, grandparents and professionals can all be a photographers. There are many camera options but I still have my eye on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i.

    Save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. 
    Visit Best Buy to learn more. 
    *offer valid 12/7-12/20


    Friday, December 19, 2014

    Still Need A Holiday Gift? Grab A K’NEX® Amusement Park Set #ChosenByKids

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    With Christmas just a few days away I am still not quite finished with my shopping. Fortunately I was able to get some great ideas at the Walmart Toyland Event this past weekend. My daughters were honorary Toy Testers at the event and enjoyed trying a few of their toy selections available.



    Both my daughters were thrilled to play with the toys, they attracted attention to the event. Some people decided to purchase a toy after watching them play with them! The main reason we went was to pick up one of the K’NEX® Amusement Park sets. Unfortunately my store was completely sold out of them, as well as other local Walmart's. However, we are already very familiar with K’NEX® Amusement Park sets and have played with various K’NEX® sets.



    Not only are the K’NEX® Amusement Park sets affordable but they are on a lot of children's wish lists this year! There are three sets to choose from and I have to mention this, girls love to build things too! My daughters wanted to make sure I included that little piece of information. Below is some info on the sets.




    • Supersonic Swirl- Make your own space themed Jet Ride! Motorized for excitement and has a figure ready to ride. Comes with 464 parts, requires 2 "AA" batteries (not included). Recommended for 7+.
    • Amazin' 8 Coaster- This space themed roller coaster is motorized with a chain lift that will take the car up, and then you can watch it spiral through the track! The recommended age is 7+. The set comes with 448 parts and requires 2 "AA" batteries (not included).
    • Star Shooter- Build your own motorized, space themed roller coaster ride! The set comes with 434 parts and requires "AA" batteries (not included). Recommended for builders 7+. 


    Seriously the K’NEX® Amusement Park sets are a blast! We have played with several K’NEX® sets and the roller coasters are super fun! You can pick up a K’NEX® Amusement Park set at your local Walmart or by visiting Walmart.com. For more about K’NEX® and to stay up on the latest products and deals just check out K’NEX® Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.




    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    Updating the Bedroom

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    There are times when people seek to update the home. Some take on major projects. People take to knocking out walls, taking down cabinets and other major renovations. However, it’s not necessary to change everything within the home to make a drastic change. Small changes can make a huge difference. Look for key pieces that will bring out the life in any room. For starters, begin with changing the bedroom. 

    People sleep a third of their life. It makes sense that they should love the beds they sleep in. Comforter sets offer an instant way to change the look of a bedroom without having to make a huge change in décor. A comforter set makes the room feel cozier as well. Its warmth and plushness make a room feel warm and inviting. Depending upon the homeowner, soft materials may be desired. Some comforters offer two different sides if people like to change up the look of their room often. 

    Updating the room with tile can make the whole room appear different. Tile cleans up an otherwise cluttered room. Even if nothing else is changed in the room, the room will appear tidier as it lends clean lines and a feeling of openness throughout the room. Any color is suitable; however, lighter colors will make the room appear larger, and darker colors will make the room appear smaller. Be mindful of common color groupings and the tone of the tile chosen. Depending upon the existing colors in the room, warm or cool tones may be desired. 

    Wall décor in the bedroom makes a difference. Instead of spreading wall décor all over each wall, focus on a focal point to place a series of pictures. Reserve the other walls for small pieces of wall décor that act more like accent pieces rather than the main focal point. Use one wall for subtle lighting with miniature lights or backdrop lighting. 

    Home should be enjoyed. Even if one room is tackled at a time, it’s enough to make a homeowner feel accomplished without having to break the bank. Start with the bedroom where a person spends nearly a third of their life, and branch out to the other rooms of the home. When the home is comfortable to the homeowner, the homeowner is, naturally, more at peace. This feeling of peace transcends to the other areas of the homeowner’s life. 


    Gelato is a Healthy Snack Alternative

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    Gelato is a healthy alternative to ice cream and can be made at home. Although it is recommended to use an ice cream and gelato maker in the final churning process, the desired texture can be achieved by hand mixing. Supplies like gelato pan liners make storage easy and guarantee freshness.

    What is Gelato?

    Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream. This soft ice cream is made using the same ingredients of heavy cream, whole milk and different sugars. However, real fruit is used for flavor, and egg yolks may or may not be used depending on the recipe.. 

    Gelato is Healthier Than Ice Cream

    Ice cream is richer and creamier, but gelato is more flavorful. It is healthier than ice cream since it is lower in calories, sugar and fat. This is the result of a slower churning process that forces less air into the product. Ice cream is churned fast and produces more air creating more fat than gelato. The most common flavors are vanilla, chocolate, lemon, pistachio, hazelnut, strawberry or other fruit flavors using fresh fruit.

    Easy and Fun to Make

    This tasty treat is just as easy to make as ice cream. A basic recipe takes only approximately 20 minutes of preparation to mix the necessary ingredients and bring them to a boil. The blended ingredients are then either churned by hand or put in the appropriate appliance before being transferred to a pan for freezing.

    Use Plastic Liners For Storage

    Plastic liners are ideal for easy distribution to hungry mouths, and liners with lids are a space-saving method for storing in the freezer. Reusable liners save time and money for parents who make this frozen treat for their kids. Five liter pan liners store approximately 1.32 gallons of gelato. Other products that should be on hand are cups and lids, spoons and cone holders.

    Gelato Products is an example of a company that provides affordable products for businesses and individuals creating this wonderful dessert. High quality supplies at affordable prices are delivered in a timely manner. Orders with no minimum requirements can be made online every hour and every day of the week.


    Monday, December 8, 2014

    Are You a Clearasil Mom? Read How I Became One!

    I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Clearasil. 
    I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


    Recently I was sent two Clearasil products for my teenage daughter, Kaylen, to try out. Since I wouldn't let her test these alone, I gave them a try as well. They were the Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Daily Gel Wash and the Clearasil Hydra-Blast Oil-Free Face Wash. The Ultra Rapid Action Daily Gel Wash is formulated with maximum strength acne medication and gives you visibly clear skin in as little as 12 hours. The Hydra-Blast Oil-Free Face Wash helps reduce breakouts up to 85% in about 4 weeks. It is formulated with a moisturizing complex to help your skin feel soft. 


    We were both not sure how well the Clearasil face washes were going to work. My daughter has breakouts about once a month, sometimes twice, it just depends on what is going on around her. I also have some acne occasionally, so I was happy to try the Ultra Rapid Action Daily Gel Wash. 
    Kaylen has now been using the Hydra-Blast Oil-Free Face Wash for almost 3 weeks. During the first week she wasn't happy, but she had also used both the Ultra Rapid Action Daily Gel Wash with the Hydra-Blast. She now uses the Hydra-Blast Oil-Free Face Wash daily. So in the beginning she noticed a big breakout, I reassured her that this happens and that the wash was cleaning out her pores. Her face was also dry and just slightly flaky. Now she is getting better, the Clearasil wash is still working to clear up her face but it is noticeably softer. Kaylen really likes that the Clearasil wash is easy to implement into her daily routine, it's one quick thing that can be done even after her second PE class. Hopefully she'll let me take a photo of her after the full 4 weeks are over to share her results. I'll keep you all posted!
    I have tried both products but not on a daily basis, yeah I am really bad about skin care. I did like that the Hydra-Blast Oil-Free Face Wash made my face feel smooth and soft afterwards. It has a creamy texture and is very easy to use. When I used the Ultra Rapid Action Daily Gel Wash I noticed it seemed stronger and gave my face that clean, fresh feeling. I didn't notice a difference in my acne for either one, but I only get a few blemishes here and there. 

    Overall, I am happy with the results and I'm now a Clearasil Mom. I truly believe that if Kaylen sticks to using the wash daily that she will notice a big difference in another week or two. I like that both these washes come in containers that she can take with her on a sleepover or just about anywhere. If you have a tween or teen you should at least look at the Clearasil site to check out their awesome products! 

    You can also follow Clearasil on Facebook & Twitter.



    Friday, December 5, 2014

    A Fun Christmas Tradition

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    Hey everyone! As I sit here fighting a cold, with a painful sore throat, I wanted to be a little nostalgic and share a tradition our family has done for years now. Once our kids were old enough to understand Christmas we decided to do a gift exchange. I know this sounds pretty normal but as a blended family our kids didn't always get to spend time together. So doing the gift exchange helped the kids think about their sibling and get to know them a little better. When it came time to exchange gifts they would be anxious to see their siblings reaction. 


    This year our gift exchange might be a little difficult since there have been some changes. Hard to believe my oldest bonus-son has moved out on his own, and my daughters will be with their father for the week of Christmas. With a spending limit set they are going to need ideas of what to get each other. There is the Holiday Toyland event at our local Walmart we're going to check out on December 12th. I think this will help my kids decide what to get for each other, especially since the toys were tested and chosen by children. 


    I hope you all check out the Holiday Toyland event at your local Walmart, it really does look like a lot of fun! I also hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Do you have a family tradition? Is it a lot of fun or has it become mundane? I love reading your comments and silly stories so please feel free to share!