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Switch It Up In the Kitchen

(Family Features) Whether cleaning up after a busy weekend or hosting company, having a few quick kitchen shortcuts on hand is a great way to be prepared for whatever life brings. Many of the best shortcuts come from switching things up and using typical kitchen items in not-so-typical ways.

Aside from being the de facto mess cleaner, paper towels are among the most versatile kitchen tools you can have on hand. They can prolong the life of produce, be used to prep beverages and clean up spills. In fact, paper towels have so many uses, they may render some kitchen “staples” unnecessary.

Check out these tips from Viva Vantage paper towels that show you how to switch-up your kitchen routines and tap the full potential of the paper towel:

  • Ditch the bulky colander in favor of a paper towel. Place veggies and fruit on a sheet of paper towels under a running faucet to function as a strainer; the stretchy strength will keep the towel intact when wet.
  • Keep lettuce fresh longer by wrapping a paper towel around a head of lettuce to soak up excess moisture.
  • Hand wash and dry wine glasses and other stemware using the cloth-like texture of Viva Vantage paper towels for a sparkling finish.
  • Replace the need for a vegetable scrubber by utilizing the great scrubbing power of Viva Vantage paper towels to properly clean mushrooms, potatoes, etc.
  • Need to chill white wine quickly? Don’t dilute it with ice; wrap a damp paper towel around the bottle and put it in the freezer to chill rapidly.
  • Slip a damp paper towel under your cutting board to prevent it from shifting while slicing and dicing.
  • Need to get that grime off your stove? The great scrubbing power of Viva Vantage paper towels allows you to clean the toughest messes and restore your kitchen’s shine.

Finding non-traditional ways to use common household tools is a handy trick to make kitchen maintenance easy. So switch things up and see what a difference one item, like a paper towel, can make! Visit Vantage7DaySwitch.com for a coupon to purchase and try Viva Vantage paper towels, share your switch up experience and enter for a chance to instantly win a $100 gift card.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

What Parents Should Know about Spring Allergies

Approximately 40 percent of children suffer from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are different than year-round allergies because symptoms only occur during certain periods.

The symptoms for seasonal allergies show up at the same time every year and disappear in about four to ten weeks.

How can you tell the difference between a cold, the flu, and seasonal allergies? What steps can you take to help prevent them and make your child feel better?

Spring Allergies: 
• Spring allergies usually begin in March and may last through the summer

• Spring allergies are caused because of environmental changes. Pollen counts are higher during the spring

• Because of the nicer weather, children are more likely to be exposed to outdoor allergens, such as tree pollens, grasses and weeds

• Seasonal allergies usually develop by the time a child is ten years old. The symptoms peak when they are in their early twenties, and usually disappear by young adulthood

• Seasonal allergies do not usually develop in infants. Children need to be exposed to several pollen seasons in order to develop a reaction

• Seasonal allergies are sometimes hereditary. Children are more likely to develop them if their mother or father has had seasonal allergies

Symptoms of Spring Allergies:

• Lingering congestion that does not clear up

• Itchiness of the nose and throat

• Swollen, watery, itchy eyes and redness

• Sneezing and nasal drainage that is clear and watery

• Children can sometimes develop an ear infection, or inflammation in the ear

• Children can sometimes develop a rash that can appear anywhere on the body

• If a child has a fever or is complaining of body aches, those are usually signs of a cold or flu, not spring allergies

Preventive Tips:
While there is no real cure for spring allergies, it’s possible to help prevent them and relieve symptoms. Uncontrolled allergies can make your child’s symptoms worst.
• Keep your home’s windows and doors closed, use the air conditioner whenever possible

• Keep your car’s windows closed and use the air conditioner

• Have your child shower at night in order to wash the pollen off before bedtime

• Make sure your child washes their hands properly after playing outside

• Children should avoid the outdoors when pollen levels are at their highest, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

• Parents should schedule outdoor activities after 10 a.m.
Parents should always consult their child’s pediatrician. They can properly diagnose a child’s ailment and determine if medication or further testing is needed.

Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.

Renowned Natural Oral Health Dentist Offers Advice for National Children’s Dental Health Month, Makes Donation to Operation Smile

Think you are keeping your kids’ teeth healthy? Think again!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, making it a great time to look at how families around the country are caring for their children’s teeth. Most parents believe they are doing the right thing by opting for popular brands of toothpaste and colorful products that will catch their child’s attention. Yet what these people are not usually aware of are all the hidden dangers in the mass-marketed products because of the ingredients they are made of.

“Many of the products that parents are buying for their children to use are made with ingredients that they really shouldn’t have,” explains Dr. Bruno Sharp, a fourth-generation dentist who created a line of products called Dr. Sharp Dentistry, and is celebrating their 10th year as a Natural Oral Care provider. “Ideally, you want to use a natural product, so you avoid the ingredients that can be harmful to your child’s health.”

5 Habits for a Lifetime of Good Eye Health

(Family Features) Most of us are familiar with the healthy habits necessary to promote a high quality of life – whether we put them into practice or not. What some may not realize is that many of these common-sense teachings not only prevent disease, they also keep vital organs, such as your eyes, in tip-top shape.

“Your quality of life is closely linked to how well you see,” said Lisa Shin, an optometrist and VSP provider based in Los Alamos, New Mexico. “You can take steps now to take care of your eyes and preserve your vision well into old age.”

Nursery Decor Handmade with Love

(Family Features) Whether you’re working on a budget or simply looking to infuse a little handmade love, DIY projects can bring a special heartfelt touch to a baby’s nursery.

Themes for a nursery range far and wide: everything from bold patterns and shapes to animals and objects representing favorite pastimes. You can go completely DIY and make items such as the crib skirt, bedding and curtains by hand, or you can expand on pieces you purchase with creative accessories such as this wall art or mobile, both created by the crafting experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. Each can be fully customized to match the color scheme and theme you have selected to welcome your little one.

Toys And Unstructured Playtime Promote More Than Just Fun

Children Thrive When Imagination Is Allowed To Flourish, Experts Say

A child maneuvering toy cars down an imaginary highway in his backyard appears to be doing little other than having a good time.

But there could be more to the activity than meets the adult eye. Research shows that imagination and unstructured playtime are important to a child’s intellectual development.

Often, it’s a favorite toy that helps spark creativity – and occasionally much more. It was his son’s interaction with stuffed animals, for example, that inspired author A.A. Milne to create Winnie-the-Pooh.