Sun-Safe-Summer-Fun!!

Summer2

 

Hi Happies!~

SUMMER, my favorite season!  Kids home from school. Bare feet. Baseball. Swimming. Bike rides. Farmers markets.

Trying to keep your kids safe and having fun all summer can be a challenge.  Here are a few “sun” tips to make that a little easier this year!

Let’s talk sunscreen…. As a teenager, I had a not so smart affinity for soaking up the rays.  Sunscreen…not so much, it was more like baby oil and sunburns.  After two children and having pre-cancerous moles removed, I am much wiser about sun exposure and the non-toxic options of sunscreen.

There are so many questions when it comes to sun exposure and sunscreen.  Is sun exposure good for you?  How much?  What do we need to protect ourselves from when it comes to the sun?  What ingredients are not safe to use?

Benefits of the sun -

Vitamin D is an important hormone for bone health, immune system support, as well as reducing your risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.  Fortunately, our bodies produce Vitamin D every time we are exposed to the sun.  The World Health Organization recommends 5-15 minutes of unprotected sun a few times per week.  This will give your body the sun exposure it needs for Vitamin D production.  Be careful to stay on the safe side of burning.

Protection from –

UVB, the short rays, that can wreak havoc on the top layer of your skin.  These guys are the culprits for sunburn and even worse…skin cancer.  They are the strongest between 10am and 4pm.

UVA, the longer rays, that make their way through the top layer of skin and penetrate deeper into the dermis.  These guys are serious; they can reach through smog, clouds, glass and even some clothing.  They are responsible for the big “W”…wrinkles!  Not to mention sagging skin and sun spots.  These rays break down the skin’s elastin, the rubber band-like tissue that supports skin and gives it structure.

Now that we have gone over some pros and cons of the sun, let’s discuss safe ingredients to lather up with when we are out this summer longer than our recommended 5 to 15 minutes.  Please note, sunscreen is not the end all be all.  Sun protection has two key components – safe sun habits and safe sunscreen.  In 2007, the FDA admitted that they “are not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.”  The International Agency for Research on Cancer recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation.

When shopping for a “healthy” sunscreen, there are some ingredients you are going to want to avoid.

Oxybenzone:  This chemical is a hormone disrupter—experts caution against using it on children.

Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or “retinol”): This has been linked to increased cancer cell growth.

Powder or spray mineral-based sunscreens (usually on ingredient label as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide): These ingredients are typically safe in lotion form, but can cause internal damage if inhaled.

For a complete guide on sunscreens and their safety and effectiveness, please visit EWG’s website at – http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/
If you find that you were not successful at staying clear of sunburn or too much sun exposure, applying aloe vera and/or coconut oil on any areas that are overexposed will help ease the pain and nourish the skin.

When you are out and about this summer enjoying this beautiful time of year, remember to be smart about your sun exposure.

  • Get your recommended 5-15 minutes of sun a few times per week for healthy Vitamin D levels.
  • Be aware of the ingredients in the sunscreen you are putting on your skin.  
  • Don’t leave your skin exposed to the sun for long periods of time.  Hats, protective clothing and a shady tree are some easy ways to help prevent overexposure.

Your turn…please share your tips for sun safety this summer?

Blog post by: Melanie

Sources for this post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_d

http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401454/Sunscreen-Snafu.html

June Happiness Hero: Grant

Grant 1

By Jessica Johnson

March 30, 2010 our Family was blessed with a beautiful 7lb. 9oz. baby boy! When Grant was born his heart rate was around 280 beats per minute. The Doctors told us that all babies are born with higher heart rates. Since I had a very long labor they figured it was from all the trauma Grant went through. They told us they would allow one hour to see if his heart rate dropped. Unfortunately, his heart rate never did drop.

The Doctors contacted Dayton Children’s Medical Center to pick Grant up and since he was stable he was allowed to travel by ambulance. As the squad got there they wheeled him into my room. Seeing his little body in an incubator hooked up to all the different machines and not being able to go with him is one experience that no Mother or Father should have to go through.

The staff that picked him up were some of the kindest people we’ve ever met. They told us exactly what they was going to do and that once he was all settled in his new room they would contact us and that we could contact them at any time to check on him.

So what was supposed to be one of the most joyous days of our lives as new parents, turned into one of the most frightening days. We did not know what the future was to hold for our baby boy.

I have to say as a Mother being wheeled from the hospital two days later without my baby in my arms was one of the most heartbreaking times I have experienced. I couldn’t wait to be by my boys side.

If you have never experienced the NICU it is so sad. Seeing all the sick babies with different health conditions really gets to your heart.  The doctors and nurses are absolutely amazing and they made us feel like we were right at home! They helped answer any questions we had. Since we were several hours from home we stayed at the Ronald McDonald house so we didn’t have to travel everyday. The Ronald McDonald House was such a blessing and they are a wonderful organization to support, you never know when you may need them.

Grant was diagnosed with SupraVentricular Tachycardia or SVT. SVT is a rapid heart rhythm of  the upper heart chambers. In SVT electrical signals travel from the upper chambers of the heart to the lower chambers of the heart. Usually when a person is in SVT the heart rate remains 150-250 beats per minute but can be slower or faster. When Grant was in SVT his heart rate would usually stay between 250-300 beats per minute. Grant was placed on a medication called Digoxin to help keep his heart in rhythm.

After a week in the NICU our baby boy was able to come home. He was sent home on medication and with a 24 hour heart monitor that he had to wear continuously.  It was a very bumpy ride the first 6 months of his life. At 3 months old Grant had been in and out of the Emergency room 8 times. On his last visit to our local hospital they transferred Grant back to Dayton Children’s.

Since Grant’s birth we have had several emergency room visits and hospital stays and countless doctor appointments. As Grant’s Cardiologist has said “Grant is not a text book case, everything Grant should have done all along he’s done the exact opposite”.  During everything he had and was going through his Cardiologist, Dr. Ross, stuck by our side and always stayed positive and encouraged us “that we would get through this”. We could not have asked for a better doctor for Grant. Dr. Ross always made us feel like family and would always go above and beyond!

We still do not know what Grant’s future may hold, we just take it day by day. God has been with Grant every step of the way and we know he will continue to be as Grant grows. We’ve also been blessed with amazing family and friends who have been with us every step of the way!

Without hope we have nothing!

We decided to change the name of the new Butterfly from Flutter to Hope and I know this might be a disappointment to some, but I think after reading this you’ll understand better. Renee has been a friend of ours for several years now and we think she’s a remarkably brave woman. She has inspired all of us and we “hope” her story encourages you too. We think our butterfly will be a symbol of happiness, a great reminder of hope to many people!

by Renee Backstrom

Renee Backstrom

I am a bereaved mother of three; Cooper, Willow and Greyson, and I have made it my mission to keep our babies’ legacies alive by helping others who have experienced similar pain. I became involved with Everything Happy shortly after the loss of our first baby. I was looking for a way to give back and what better way then by representing and spreading the word about this amazing company?

Soon after Everything Happy teamed up with the Western New York Perinatal Bereavement Network (WNYPBN) as one of their giving locations. This charity is one very close to my heart. The Happy Pals and Blankies that were donated to WNYPBN are used to provide comfort and support to siblings who have lost a brother or sister through the bereaved sibling program.

These items are provided to children during their time of grieving and healing. I have found a drive and desire amidst our losses to help others experiencing similar losses to ours. My mission is to bring a little bit of sunshine to the face of a grieving child/family and to provide hope.

Without hope we have nothing.

 

Our April Happiness Hero: Isabelle

IsabelleBest

 

Meet Isabelle. This sweet little girl had a big battle to fight as soon as she entered the world. Isabelle had open heart surgery at birth and thankfully she is doing remarkably well now! We’re so glad she is a part of our Everything Happy Family!

 

Her brave Mom, Amy, shares her story.

“From the moment I heard the word “unfortunately” from the obgyn during our 1st ultrasound when I was about 10 weeks pregnant with our 3rd child, my heart sank with the fear of the unknown. At first the Doctors thought our baby might have a genetic issue due to some high numbers that came back on the early screening ultrasound, which for any parent is devastating to hear that your baby might not be healthy. After a lot of prayer and some testing, we ruled out any major genetic issues, however at our full body ultrasound of the baby just a couple weeks later, I knew something was wrong with the baby’s heart when they spent a good 20 minutes on the heart alone. And sure enough, my mother’s intuition was sadly on point. Our baby had a congenital heart defect. At first the Doctors thought it was much more severe, however after a lot of prayer & asking God to heal her heart, with each fetal echo they did the diagnosis improved. Our baby girl still had a heart defect, but it wasn’t as severe as they initially thought. I tried to take each little piece of good news and be thankful for that and just take one day at a time to enjoy my pregnancy.

Fast forward to Feb 25, 2014 the day our amazing Isabelle was born. The Doctors said from the 1st breath she took, they were pleasantly surprised at how much better her heart was than what they had anticipated. While she still did need open heart surgery at just three days old and handing her over to the team of Doctors right outside the Operating Room was the single most difficult moment of my life, our little Isabelle again continued to amaze the Doctors at her speedy recovery. She was such a strong little baby that we were able to bring her home just one week from her heart surgery! She really is our little rock star! I am so thankful to God that He blessed us with her and that He answered ours and so many of our dear friends and families’ prayers. Isabelle will need another open heart surgery between three and nine months old, so we still have a journey ahead with her, but with God’s grace and continued prayers and support from so many, I know she will continue to amaze us all with her strength and her fight to heal quickly! We love her to pieces and are so lucky and blessed that she is ours! :)

*Do you know someone who is making a difference in the world or someone who is going through a difficult situation? If so, we would love to hear about them. Email your Happiness Hero submissions to: support@everythinghappy.com

If Wiggle’s Your Girl!

Wiggle Hippo

Sometimes we have to make really tough decisions here in Happy Land and we’ve decided, based on your great feedback, that bringing out new HAPPY characters on a consistent basis is very important to you! With that being said, we’ve decided to retire some of our existing friends to bring you new characters!

Now we know that might make some of you VERY sad but it definitely isn’t a permanent thing.

We have a shipment of medium Wiggle the Hippo Happy Blankies coming in next week and once that shipment and our in stock large Happy Blankie’s are gone then we’re closing up the “vault”.

What does that mean?
If Wiggle is your favorite then you’ll want to stock up! 

DETAILS:

Happy Blankie’s will be available up on the website TUESDAY, APRIL 22nd, 11:00am 

  • New Wiggle Gift Sets will be available
  • New Wiggle minky bibs, pillows and Snuggle Pals available
  • New Wiggle Tutu’s and Necklaces available
  • Wiggle Stickers
  • Once the Wiggle Happy Blankie’s are gone they’re gone

We will also be posting a few reminders out on Facebook over the next week.

We’re very excited about the new Happy Blankies that will be coming out in the near future! We have a lot of great things in store! :)

Blog post by: Emily

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Forward!

Spring brings warmer weather, fresh growth and new beginnings!

It’s been awhile since we’ve written a blog post and as you may have noticed quite a bit has changed since we started Happy Blankie in 2009. We’ve been in retail stores, we’ve tried Direct Sales and we’ve listened to your feedback the entire time throughout the journey.

Due to rising manufacturing costs we will be streamlining our business and making a few changes so we can continue to bring happiness to children in need! Our new focus is to simplify and strengthen our company by taking things back to the basics. Moving forward we will be concentrating on the following:

– Our most popular characters
– New, exciting character launches
– Simplifying our giving mission/giving process
– Raising funds to fuel the mission

THIS WEEK: Our fundraising campaign begins for the giraffe and butterfly characters!!

We’re excited about moving forward and we’re so grateful for your continued love and support.

You’re the reason we do what we do!

With Happiness,

Emily & Melanie

Happiness Hero of the Month: Diezel Charles Uhrich

Happiness Hero Diesel 2

Diezel was born 7 weeks early and had many complications due to his early birth. This little guy and his family remained strong, kept praying, and now little Diezel is doing great! Story submitted by his grandmother, Dee Dee Thompson:

Diezel was born on October 20th,2012, about 7 weeks early. He was 5lbs 10 oz which was a fairly good size for a preemie! When he was born his lungs were not mature, so they had to give him a steroid shot to try and mature the lungs. He had to be put on a ventilator for over a week because he could not breathe on his own. With a lot of faith and prayer we took it one day at a time. Then he had to have feeding tube to eat and developed jaundice. He was under a bilirubin light for a few days. With all our faith in God he came off the ventilator and came home at a month old weighing 4lbs 10 oz. He is our little miracle boy and is now 8 months old and goes to children’s therapy because he still has some choking issues. It’s a blessing to have my gorgeous lil’ grandson so well and happy, always pray and never give up your Faith in God.

This is little Diezel now!

Diezel Now

Kid’s Birthday Party Ideas!

party

Summer Birthdays are the best! Ideas for parties are so much easier when the weather is warm and kids are off of school. This Summer Living article by Martha Stewart has so many great party ideas for your little girl or boy :)

Birthday Party Themes:
1. Pink Party
2. Tea Party Birthday
3. Fiesta Birthday Party
4. Sprinkler Party
5. Tiny Party- based off of Alice in Wonderland
6. Carnival Party
7. Polka Dot Party
8. Space Odyssey Party
9. Bouncy Party
10. Pixie Birthday Party
11. Baseball Birthday Party
12. Obstacle Course Party
13. Animal Themed Party
14. “Wacky” Party
15. Flower Power Party
16. Skateboard Party
17. Movie Star Party
18. Initial Party
19. Spa Themed Sleepover Party
20. Tee Off Party
21. Season Themed Party
22. Messy Party
23. Rock Climbing Party
24. Bandanna Party
25. Western Party

For full information on how to throw one of these wonderful parties, go to: http://www.marthastewart.com/275068/kids-birthday-party-ideas/@center/276964/60-days-summer#275068/266188

4th of July Marshmallow Pops!

happy 4th

How to make these 4th of July marshmallow pops that your whole family will love!

You’ll need:
◾Marshmallows
◾Lollipop Sticks
◾White Almond Bark
◾Red & Blue Sprinkles (very festive!)
◾A box, flowerpot or other fun container
◾Styrofoam (to hold the sticks)
◾1-2 bags of Red Hots (for sprinkling over the styrofoam)
◾Ribbon or a Bandana (optional for decoration)
◾Free Printable Tags (just because they are cute)

Directions
1.Cover a cookie sheet with foil or wax paper.
2.Melt the almond bark in the microwave for a minute. Stir until it’s creamy.
3.Dip the lollipop stick into the melted almond bark and stick into a marshmallow.
4.Dip the marshmallow into the melted almond bark. Tap it a bit on the edge of the bowl until it’s all even.
5.Roll the marshmallow into a dish of sprinkles until covered.
6.To make the flag versions, don’t put the lollipop stick in first. Use a toothpick or two. After covering both ends with the different colors, push the stick into the marshmallow.
7.Stick into the styrofoam container, then cover with red hots.

Character Spotlight:

Flip the Monkey

Flip the Monkey loves to spend his days swinging through the jungle, stopping only for a quick break to lay in his hammock and snack on his favorite food, tangerines. He also likes to go exploring in the jungle with his best friend Rumble the Elephant. The two are best friends and go on many exciting adventures together! Flip’s next visit of the day is with his good friend Wiggle the Hippo. Wiggle and Flip love to dance! They dance everywhere and anywhere. The Happy Pals love to spend their days together doing what they love!