Sharing is Caring, Especially When It Comes to Cleaning

Low Calorie Margaritas

With Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, we’re all looking for a great way to celebrate without piling on the pounds. Most restaurant margaritas have up to 500 calories – per drink! This simple, blended low calorie recipe is less than 200 calories, so you can enjoy two drinks for less calories than one restaurant margarita.

Start by running a lime around the edge of each glass. Fill a saucer with kosher salt, and then dip the wet glasses onto the saucer so that the rim of each glass has salt stuck to it.

Next, place the following ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup tequila
1 ½ tablespoons Cointreau
3 tablespoons sugar (or agave nectar to cut down on calories even more)
12 ice cubes

Poor the mixture into glasses, and enjoy!

This year, celebrate in style with this great low calorie margarita recipe.

How to Disinfect Toys

Most websites will tell you to clean baby toys with a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. Personally, I don’t like the idea of my child putting anything covered in bleach in it’s mouth, but how else can a toy be disinfected and still safe?

There are a few easy ways to clean and disinfect toys, without using harsh chemicals.

Distilled white vinegar is the organic cleaners best friend. Not only is white vinegar a great disinfectant, but it also removes odors and stains. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, and viola!

Place the mix in a spray bottle and use it to wipe down your child’s toys.

And don’t worry about the vinegar smell, that will go away quickly, much faster than the smell of bleach!

For any type of toy that doesn’t contain wood or batteries, simply tossing them into the dishwasher will work perfectly.

Teething rings and plastic toys can also be washed with the dishes, in hot, soapy water. Remember not to soak wooden toys as they will grow mold.

Most stuffed animals can go through the washing machine on a gentle cycle, and dried on low. If the toy is already well worn, place it inside a pillow case before putting it through the machine.

With a few simple tricks, it’s easy to clean your child’s toys without using harsh chemicals.

Spring Into Family Fun

We all know spring cleaning the house requites help from more than just one set of hands, so follow some of our tips on how to turn spring cleaning into a fun experience of the whole family.

Start with a family meeting. Confirm a definite date and time for your cleaning extravaganza. Triple check all schedules to make sure you don’t overlap or conflict any commitments or events. Once you set a time, keep it.

Pre-shop. Buy and gather all supplies at least one day before your spring cleaning event. This keeps you organized and prepared for the big day. Breaking the momentum to run to the store can really put a damper on every one’s attitude.

Tourney time. Divide the cleaning and organizing chores evenly and then create even teams of your family members. Create team names, mascots, colors and cheers. First team to finish gets a special prize at the end of the day.

Tune-age. Have each family member give you their top ten favorite songs and create a mixed CD to keep you cleaning, singing and grooving through the day.

Time outs. Schedule breaks with snacks and down time. Serve your family favorites snacks along with some healthy choices to keep energy and blood sugar levels stable.

Photo opportunities. Let each team designate one photographer to take pictures of the days events. Create a scrap book or photo collage for the house. You never know what your kids will use as great family memories for their children.

Everyone is a winner. Treat everyone to a prize at the end of the day. Whether you order a pizza or head to the movies, make sure you have something fun, relaxing and rewarding to share with your family.

The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Many health gurus and scientists talk about the health benefits of chocolate. However, eating a regular milk chocolate bar every day will likely only make you less healthy.

So what exactly do they mean when they talk about healthy chocolate?

First, it’s important that we differentiate between the health benefits of cocoa, the raw product of the cocoa bean, and chocolate. Chocolate is a processed byproduct of the cocoa bean, and often contains less than 20% cocoa. Any health benefits from cocoa will only be found in very high quality dark chocolate bars. Chocolate bars with 60% cocoa, and no added sugars are a far cry from the sweet milky chocolate that most of us adore. Real cocoa is slightly bitter, and closer to coffee than a chocolate bar.

Cocoa can be found in any health food store, or even in your local grocery store. Cocoa enhances your mood and is a great stress reliever. Cocoa also improves blood flow and lowers high blood pressure.

Next time you crave chocolate, reach for a high cocoa content variety and reap the benefits of this super yummy bean.

Is it Spring, Yet?

With nicer weather and longer days, it feels like Spring is already here. In the Northern Hemisphere Spring starts on March 20th, less than one month away. So what does it mean when we say that Spring is on its way?

The seasons are determined by the tilt of the Earth’s axis towards or away from the sun. Meteorological Spring is determined by the vernal equinox (around March 20th in North America). This refers to the day that the hours of sunlight and daylight are exactly equal; 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.

In the southern hemisphere of Earth, the Spring comes during our Autumn, and in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia the first day of Spring in September 1st. According to the East Asian Solar term, the Spring starts on February 4th and ends on May 5th, similar to the Celtic Spring which starts in early February. In Sweden, a country with limited daylight, the first day of Spring is considered the day where the average temperature during the day is higher than zero degrees Celcius for one full week!

Even though it’s not technically Spring for almost another month, it’s time to open the windows and let the sunshine in!