New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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Totally Together

I Love Lysol and I Can Not Lie

July 21, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

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I like things clean. I feel calm and collected when the house is tidy and everything is in its place. I used to think this was a personality flaw, but now I realize I am who I am, and I like who I am.

I, Stephanie O’Dea, happen to be a sort-­of-­Type-­A Clean Freak.

I also love the Smell of Clean. I’m not a “vinegar and baking soda” kind of person ­­­ I am fine if other people clean with these products ­­­­ but they just aren’t the cleaning powerhouse I need them to be.

1, I don’t want the house to smell like Easter Eggs all the time and 2, I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that the germs are dead.

Because that’s what really matters to me. DEAD GERMS.

One of the side effects of my Love Affair with Lysol® is that we don’t get sick very often [KNOCK WOOD].

Sure, we get the sniffles now and then, but colds and flus don’t wipe through our house. I mostly credit this to Proper Hand Washing [side note: evidently I wash my hands so much that my fingerprints are hard to read now? I learned this after the school district fingerprinted me for volunteer work], but I do also use a lot of Lysol® Disinfectant Spray and Disinfecting Wipes.

I still let my kids get dirty ­­ we spend a lot of time outside, and I am not worried about outdoor germs or bugs, or licking a bit of worm slime. That kind of stuff is absolutely fine with me.

vintage lysol
One of my earliest memories is going to family church camp and watching my grandmother go over the entire room with a can of Lysol® Disinfectant Spray. She sprayed down the light switches, TV (it didn’t have a remote, so she sprayed down the controls on the front of it which I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to do with electronics), the doorknob, and the entire bathroom.

She also laid down newspapers so we never stepped directly onto the carpet… huh. I’m beginning to see where I get my tendencies…

ANYWAY.

This Is What I Do To Help Keep Us Healthy

To keep us as healthy as we can be, I do ask my kids and all kids that come into my home to wash hands. It’s become such a habit for my kids (and for me) that I don’t even really need to say anything anymore. Everyone plops their shoes/backpacks/etc. by the front door and immediately washes their hands.

We do entertain a lot of other kids after school or on playdates, and I ask them to do the same. Every once in a while I get a kid who doesn’t want to wash hands “but I just washed them after lunch” or “my mom says I don’t have to” ­­­ but I stick to my guns. This is a big deal for me, and I will take kids into the bathroom if need­be and help them wash their hands properly.

I also try my hardest to keep little kids in one area of the home, and provide easy-to-­wash toys. I like Duplo Legos, Little People ­­­ —hard plastic toys­­­— these toys can easily be run through the dishwasher if necessary, or I take the bin outside later and spray the toys down with Lysol® or rub them clean with a Disinfectant Wipe.

This is what I did when I ran preschool centers, too. It keeps the toys shiny and dust­free, but most importantly it keeps boogers and saliva germs away. I also at least once a month (and more often during cold and flu season) spray down the doorknobs, light switches, and TV remotes with Lysol® or use the Disinfectant Wipes. I’ve written about this in the Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life book.

This truly is one of the best ways to make sure to Kill Germs Dead before they spread throughout the family and cause illness.

Lysol® and BlogHer

Lysol Healthy Habits bus

I’m doing some work with Lysol® and BlogHer and am happy to share with you a new project that Lysol is working on– ­ the Healthy Habits Program, to bring a healthy awareness about germs to kids.

Lysol has put together its Healthy Habits Bus which is a “Science Museum on Wheels” that is able to go to schools across the country to show kids how germs work (good germs vs. bad germs) and how to practice proper hand washing procedure/sneeze etiquette.

The interactive games onboard the bus include a cool Hand Scanner where kids can put their hands under the scanner and see their hands projected on a screen in front of them – with animated “germs” wriggling all over them.

Lysol Healthy Habits Bus Hand Wash Station

Kids can then watch a video about germs and watch an  “Anatomy of a Sneeze” film before being able to practice proper hand washing right there on the bus. I love interactive school projects like this. I remember getting all excited when I was little when the Brush Mobile would come to school (do they even have those anymore?) or when the Library Lady would come and help us renew all of our library cards so we could check out books at the Book Mobile.

Lysol® is going to have a booth at BlogHer this year and I look forward to checking out the videos they have and learning more about their Healthy Habits Tour Bus.

Host the Lysol® Healthy Habits Bus at Your Child’s School

I’m excited to share this part with you!

Lysol’s Healthy Habits Program wants to offer your child’s school an opportunity to win a $15,000 educational grant, a one year supply of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol No­Touch Hand Soap, and to have the Lysol® Healthy Habits Bus come to YOUR school.

To enter your school, please visit Lysol’s webpage and enter the pertinent information.

This contest ends July 31, 2014. I think this is a great way to help raise awareness about healthy habits and hand washing.

My fingers are crossed for you and your school!

Final Thoughts (Does Not Reflect Lysol’s Opinion)

Before I go, I want to bring up Super Germs and the idea that use of disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and over­zealous handwashing with antibacterial soap are making us (the human race) resistant to germs and are actually making germs stronger and badder.

I am not a scientist. All I know is that as a mom, my job is to do everything I possibly can to keep my kids happy, safe, healthy, and strong.

My gut, my pediatrician, and my grandma’s teaching tell me that hand washing and germ­killing is good.

If I’m wrong, and the germs are in fact getting stronger and badder because of what I’m doing to help keep my kids happy, safe, healthy, and strong, then I’m okay with it. I trust that science will continue to adapt and develop to Kill Germs Dead.

If germs can adapt, so can the scientists. I am not comfortable using my kids as guinea pigs to test out whether or not theories such as Super Germs exist.

All in all, at the end of the day, we are all doing our absolute best to raise our kids the best we can.

And mine?

You’ll find them over there, in a cloud of Lysol. ;­)

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!!

A Review of Kiwi Crate Art Projects for Kids

March 14, 2012 by · 8 Comments 

 


Spring Break and Summer Vacation are sneaking up on me. We’ve got Spring Break the week leading into Easter, and then have another day off to recover from the holiday. That’s 6 days of me being home with all three kids that I’ve got to figure out how to fill so I’m not subjected to days upon days of Netflixed episodes of The Wizards of Waverly Place or (#someonepleasehelpme) Caillou.
[side bar: did you know there was an I Hate Caillou page on Café Mom? Hysterical.]

Anyhow, when BlogHer asked if I’d test out the subscription-based Kiwi Crate art box, I said #yespleaseandthankyou right away.
[another side bar: I had this as a work-from-home business idea back in 2003. I was going to call them Preschool Packets and make up worksheets and art projects and sell them online, and on Ebay. I think I have a domain name or two that I'm still paying for...]

My idea was complete amateur hour compared to the Kiwi Crates. This is a very well designed and executed product. I initially thought the art boxes were kind of pricey at $19.95 each, but once I saw what they entailed, I changed my mind.

The “crate” is a thick cardboard box–the kind a really expensive pair of shoes comes in-and the kind that my kids COVET for all of their collections (more often than not the “collection” is gum wrappers, or Popsicle sticks, or soda can tabs. #Icantevenexplainhowmuchthisannoysme) and the art supplies are wrapped in tissue paper.

The presentation worked on my kids–they were instantly excited and could hardly wait to dig in.

Our box contained three art projects: a stained glass mosaic, a color-your-own spinning top, and a canvas art bag that was colored by wetting tissue paper squares with a water dropper. Totally cool. The box also contained two bluntish Fiskars kid scissors, markers, and 3-D glasses.

We invited our neighbors over, and pulled out some construction paper and stickers to keep the babies busy. I had 2 seven-year-olds, a ten-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 2-year-old all sharing the supplies from this box (along with the aforementioned stickers and paper for the little guys).

The kids worked straight for about an hour, and really enjoyed themselves. The markers were small and were a bit dried out; so I replaced them with our own Crayola washables.

All the kids occupied themselves long enough for my friend Jen and me to make and enjoy two cups of coffee. And gossip conversation.

That is so worth $19.95.

Also, we have enough leftover for a few more collage projects, and the kids are enjoying the canvas art bags (good quality; the baby put in a bunch of pointy rocks and dragged it around outside) and the Fiskars scissors will last a life time.

If I wanted to buy everything at Michael’s and put this together myself I’d spend more than the $20 and would have to prep everything–not something I’m honestly going to do.

I really like this as a gift idea. I’m going to see if I can get the grandparents on board and get an annual subscription for the kids for Christmas this year. I think the kids will get a kick out of opening a new box with a new activity/project each month and the anticipation of awaiting a new arrival. They really like mail as it is.

In the mean time, I’m going to sign up to get us through the summer months. We’re laying low again-I hate paying for lots of activities, and I really like having the kids home with me, even if they argue and bicker more than I’d like them to. (socialization! in action!)

And the projects are cool. My tweenager (#notmymostfavoriteterm) was all into the art supplies, and I can definitely see her and her friends working on these types of art activities together out in the yard.

Before they head off to middle school next year.

Which isn’t okay with me.

I wonder if Kiwi Crate has some sort of time machine project where I can have the kids on “pause” for a while?

Pinterest and Feelings of Inadequacy

February 17, 2012 by · 46 Comments 

I admit it. I got sucked into the Pinterest bubble. I find this site *fascinating.* I’m fascinated by how quickly it’s grown, what a monumental force it is in driving web traffic, and how it’s such a colossal waste of time.

fascinating. utterly fascinating.

I must admit, though, that there is definitely a feeling of anxiety and insecurity when it comes to Pinterest. It’s easy to feel that if you aren’t already engaging in the site you’ve missed the boat (not true), or if you are on the site that you aren’t doing it “right.” Again, not true.

I did a little work for BlogHer this week. I spoke on a social media and how it effects women’s commerce panel, and wrote a little fluff piece on how Pinterest is a big traffic driver and shouldn’t be ignored. I still feel that way–this site should not be ignored.

I stayed away for quite a while (I joined last month at the encouragement from an IRL friend) because I was scared to get sucked into yet another THING. I’m kind of tired of having to “check just one more thing” before logging off the computer.

And then I started tracking my google analytics and realized that this THING was driving a crapload (technical term) of traffic my way. Pinterest is now my #2 traffic driver to the slow cooker site (after google) – I easily get thousands of hits a day from it. This isn’t someTHING to ignore.

(embarrassing disclosure: I’m not a typical BlogHer member. I’m a very late adopter to technical things. My slowcooker url is still on blogspot, I don’t have a facebook account, I was late to join twitter, and I don’t own a smart phone).

That said: If you aren’t on Pinterest yet, I’m going to boldly suggest that you poke around a bit, and create an account—even if you’re just doing so to claim your name. To see what from your site has been “pinned,” type the following into your browser bar:

http://pinterest.com/source/yoursiteurl.com/

It’s important to see what has already been pinned so you can then maybe re-link or refresh these particular articles, and to see what type of writing is currently the most appealing and most likely to be shared.

I wrote those words on Wednesday. Today is Friday. I still stand by them, but I have one caveat: be careful. If you are the type of person who gets intimidated easily by women sharing all the (perceived) wonderfulness of their lives, tread carefully.

Don’t follow as many people as you can; follow your friends (maybe even your in-real-life friends, not your blogging friends). Don’t believe that just because so-and-so repinned a photo of a “fabulous mudroom” her mudroom actually looks like that. Don’t assume that EVERYONE is doing art projects with their kids every hour of every day. Don’t get sucked into wanting to throw away all of your clothes to buy all new ones. Don’t make the mistake of judging a person’s bank account because they repinned a pair of $450 boots. They probably didn’t click through to see what the boots cost.

at least I hope that’s the case. otherwise my own boots feel terribly unworthy.

Pinterest is women-driven. And although most people (men) would think that men are the competitive sex, I’m going to suggest it’s actually women. Women want to do everything well all the time. Or at least we want to make it look that way. The fact that Pinterest is actually a vision board is quite telling. This isn’t real. This is a fantasy. Take a deep breath and remember that you are already good enough. You don’t need to have rockhard abs while whipping up 37 different varieties of cheesecake in order to feel good about yourself.

just be you.

further reading:

56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest on CopyBlogger

Stop Being a Pinterest Sexist on Clever Girls

How I Grew a 1000 Visitor a Day Source of Traffic to 3000 Visits a Day on ProBlogger

You Need Pinterest. I’ll Bet You a Bubble Bath on BlogHer

What are your thoughts on Pinterest? Important? A Waste of Time? Just another social media THING? (my pinterest page is here, pinterest/stephanieodea)

 

 

The Business of Blogging series:

Part 1: The Business of Blogging

Part 2: Figuring Out Your Internet Voice

Part 3: Writing for Search Engines Doesn’t Mean Selling Your Soul

Part 4: Is Self-Esteem Tied into Sitemeter?

Part 5: Patience, and Other Blogging Virtues

and other stuff:

10 Best Business-y Books

Creating a (non-cheesy) Vision Board

Working from Home with Small Children in the House

Conversations with Coke Recap

June 20, 2011 by · 13 Comments 

This is a compensated post. Coca-Cola paid for my travel, lodging, and activities in Atlanta, and BlogHer is paying me to write this post.

I am back, safe and sound from Atlanta from the Coca-Cola event. I feel fresh and renewed, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the insane amount of Coke Zero I had on this trip.

For the record? I really like Coke Zero. I was too cheap to buy and test it out myself, but since Coke flows freely and readily within the mothership, I had the opportunity to taste test approximately every 3.5 seconds. I am not a Diet Coke fan, but like Coke Zero.
A lot.

I got an awful lot of rather um, interesting comments and questions about this trip. I was ready for these questions, but the tone and the (perceived) anger from some of them kind of threw me for a loop.

To the point that I kind of wanted to hide in a corner and suck my thumb and twirl my hair.

And that’s not okay.

I will never ever ever try to get you (or you, or you) to buy something you do not want to. I would never try to make you feel bad for your choices or for what you choose to feed or serve your family.

Please don’t do that to me.

I’m not an all-or-nothing kind of girl. I like all-natural, organic food, but I also like Cheese in a Can. I try my hardest to get us to all sit down to eat dinner together at the table, but sometimes the best thing is to spread out a blanket and watch TV while shoveling it in.

And I’m okay with it.

I’m supposed to write what I learned these past few days at Coca-Cola’s headquarters. I should probably write that the nutritionist and scientist told us that your body metabolizes high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and cane sugar the exact same way. I should refer you to their website: TheBeverageInstitute.org to read the studies and form your own decisions.

I should tell you that McDonald’s sponsored our lunch (McDonald’s is the largest distributor of Coke products) and that the Asian Salad is quite tasty, the dressing is Newman’s Own (NOT GLUTEN FREE) and only has 90 calories (the dressing, not sure what the whole salad has, but that  info is readily available online) and that the new smoothies taste fantastic and my kids really like them for an afterschool snack.

One of the biggest and hugest highlights of the trip was listening to representatives of Coke’s Women in Leadership program. They spoke about the importance of listening to women and understanding their background. That women everywhere struggle with balance and feelings of guilt and worries of not “being perfect.”

The powerful quote of the day was their leadership motto: Lift as You Climb.

I learned that women need to be nicer to each other.

A LOT nicer.

And we need to learn how to support and nurture each other and stop making snap judgments.

Because at the end of the day, everyone is just doing the very best they can within their own circumstances and situation. And you should love and cherish that person—even if their choices are somewhat different than your own.

And these women? I couldn’t have been happier with this amazing, powerful, confident grouping. I feel honored beyond words to have met and spent time with them.

Women truly CAN change the world. I know it. But first, we’ve got to stop pushing each other down and start holding hands and supporting.

Lift As You Climb.

I am thrilled to introduce (starting at the top right and working down the stairs):
the guy is Phil, he was our Coke tour guide and archivist. super nice guy.

Creating Motherhood, Calliope

Doobleh-Vay, Amy Turn Sharp

Sweetnicks, Cate O’Malley

VodkaMom,

BusyMom

MochaMomma

Joy Unexpected, Yvonne

The Meanest Mom, Jana

Home 2 3 Duncan Boys, Lakeitha Duncan

Three Kid Circus, Jenny Lauck

Bongga Mom

Kirida, Mona

Take the time to meet these women and read their stories. We can learn so much from each other.

I’m in the midst of a new site redesign (nothing will change, but it will all be different. don’t freak out.) and would like to start an everyone-is-included blog/website roll. If you have a site that you’d like included and you’re a REAL person and not some spam monster, please email me at contact@stephanieodea.com (I’m the contact!) with the subject line: blogroll and I’ll get you on the list. This roll will constantly be updated—it’s time we reach out and support one another.

Thank you for your love and support, and have a wonderful day.

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