Healthy Families

National Immunization Awareness Month

vaccines-immunizations- Catch UpSince August is the National Immunization Awareness Month, parents should take the opportunity to ensure that their children’s vaccinations are up to date. This is important since vaccines protect children from many diseases some of which have serious complications like infertility, deafness and even death.

For starters parents should ensure that the entire family is up-to-date on their DTap which protects them from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). The MMRV which offers protection from measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox) is another vaccine which all family members should be current.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all 11-12 year olds should receive the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine. Parents should therefore ensure that their pre-teens receive this vaccine since it prevents girls and boys from developing cervical, anal and oral cancer later on in life.

Parents should also remind their older children who are going to college to get all their immunizations before they move into dormitories. They should also make sure that those who are traveling to other countries receive the appropriate vaccines before they leave the US.

Since the flu vaccine becomes available in mid-to-late August, parents should also begin planning how all their family members will receive it to ensure that they are protected during the flu season.

In addition, since many immunizable diseases like hepatitis are easily transmitted, parents should also remind parents of their children’s friends to ensure that their children’s immunizations are up-to-date. This simple reminder can help protect not only their children, but also the community at large since having most people immunized reduces the chances of epidemics arising.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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8 Ways To Make School Mornings Easier

Family Eating Lunch TogetherThe back to school rush is here again, which makes for hectic mornings. Most of us have a routine, but some are still pulling up to the school as the bell rings. Eight O’Clock Coffee has been making mornings better for over 150 years, and they have compiled eight tips for stress-free mornings to plan your schedule around the oh-s0-important morning cup of coffee!

1. Make It At Home

Forget stopping for your morning coffee – that takes a lot of time and money. Prep your coffee pot the night before, so all you have to do when you wake up is flip the switch. Your coffee will brew as you get everyone ready and out the door.

2. Buy A Travel Mug

Invest in a great travel mug to take your freshly brewed coffee to go. Make sure it fits in your car’s cup holder.

3. Keep a Family Calendar

Include everyone’s schedules on it right next to the coffeemaker. You can glance at it in the morning and know what’s in store for the day.

4. Plan Ahead

Pack lunches and plan outfits the night before to avoid morning confusion.

5. Grab-And-Go

Keep grab-and-go breakfast foods, like granola bars and bananas, on hand.

6. Don’t Be Rushed

Give yourself a time cushion for unexpected delays (don’t wake up at the last minute!).

7. Keep The Coffee

Instead of dumping leftover coffee, store it in the fridge before you walk out the door. An iced coffee can serve as a nice afternoon pick-me-up.

8. K-Cups

To make mornings even easier, that smooth, rich taste of Eight O’Clock Coffee will be available in Keurig K-Cups this fall.

With these great tips, you can savor those last moments of summer and enjoy a smooth transition back to the daily grind.


About the Author

Eight O’Clock Coffee, “America’s Original Gourmet Coffee,” has been delighting coffee lovers with smooth, rich-tasting coffee since 1859 – and remains the country’s #1 retail whole bean coffee today. Eight O’Clock Coffee is also available in ground form and in Keurig® K-Cup® Packs. Eight O’Clock Coffee brings over 150 years of expertise to their full line of gourmet coffee varieties, including their top-rated 100% Colombian, and can be found at most U.S. retailers where groceries are sold. Eight O’Clock Coffee is headquartered in Montvale, NJ and is roasted and packed in Landover, MD. For more information about Eight O’Clock Coffee, go to, or @8oclockcoffee.

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Back To School Preparation Tip List

Back-to-SchoolHave you started getting ready for back to school? It’s not too soon!

Your children will be returning back to school before you know it. Summer vacation will be ending sooner than you think! For most in my area, school starts the day after Labor Day. It can be a hectic time if you are not prepared. Will you be ready?

Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for back to school:

Review the kids’ wardrobes and have them try on their clothes

Have a fashion show! Make sure to do this before you go shopping for new clothes so you know exactly what you need. Donate or pass down clothing to another child. If you do need new clothing, pay attention to sales to save money.

Complete necessary medical forms in time for the return to school

You might need to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for shots and signatures so allow enough time to do so. If food allergies are a concern, contact you child’s teacher to discuss necessary precautions.

Finalize arrangements for after-school care

This may involve transportation, payment arrangements and scheduling of pick-up. Be sure the provider knows who is permitted to pick up your child at the end of the day.

Purchase an alarm clock

This is a great tool for those children who have more difficulty getting up. Choose one that gets progressively louder or put one on the opposite side of the room to get them out of bed to shut it off.

Pack lunches the night before to save time in the morning

Plan out lunches a week at a time and have a sturdy lunch box or bag for each child. Purchase fruit snacks and granola bars, for example, in bulk to make sure they are always on hand.

Use a family calendar

This is helpful to keep up with the kids’ busy schedules. Indicate half days and school holidays for the year. Keep track of extra curricular activities. Check the calendar each evening to be sure you are prepared for the following day.

Organize your paperwork

The paper starts coming through the door the first day, so be prepared. Create an “in” and “out” bin for processing. Use a bulletin board for important information, such as extra curricular activity schedules, important appointments and contact information.

Start adjusting their bedtime

Gradually move the kids’ bedtime up by about 15 minutes each night so they will be well adjusted when it’s time for school to start. You want to be sure they get plenty of sleep.

Set up a homework station

Create one that provides enough space, good lighting and supplies that are needed. Your child will be more productive when they have a designated place to do their homework.


Finally, enjoy the rest of the lazy days of summer with the kids. This is the time to spend doing things you all enjoy before the hectic school season begins. Start planning now so you will be prepared for “Back To School.”

Written by: Audrey Cupo, Professional Organizer


About the Author

Audrey Cupo is a professional organizer and the sole proprietor of A BETTER SPACE based in Jamison, PA. She has been providing this service since 2004. She specializes in residential organizing and works with busy moms to eliminate the clutter in their homes and in their lives. She shows them customized tools to get and stay organized. Audrey not only loves to work one-on-one with her clients, she gives seminars and workshops on the subject of organizing, writes a weekly blog on her A BETTER SPACE website, and guest blogs on various other sites. Audrey produces a free monthly newsletter “Organizing News You Can Use” and, in her spare time, creates products for her own U Can Do It product line.

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The Importance Of Back To School Physicals

happy-docThe thought of going back to the doctor because you are going back to school does not resonate well with many children and even some parents. However these back to school physicals are important because they give the doctor an opportunity to thoroughly examine your child’s ears, throat, heart, lungs and other parts of their body.

The pediatrician is also able to check growth parameter like height and weight to see if your child’s development is within the normal limits. Their immunization status is also evaluated to ensure they are up-to-date.

Screening tests like blood sugar, blood counts and cholesterol levels are also done during these visits. These are important because early detection of abnormal values can be corrected by dietary changes, while serious complications can develop if they remain undetected.

In addition to prescribing medications for children who need them, the doctor is also able to provide preventative counseling and wellness guidance for those who are found to be perfectly normal. Both groups of children also receive advice regarding exercising, sleeping, drinking, smoking, drugs and sexual activity.

The child also gets an opportunity to ask a medical professional any physical, social or emotional concerns they may have during these yearly back-to-school physicals.

Parents are also not left out since they can also voice any concerns they may have about their child’s health. They can also elicit the doctor’s support for good habits they may be trying to instill in their children. Therefore, even if your child seems perfectly healthy, schedule your annual back to school physical today.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Start in the Summer to Ensure School Year Success

School busIs it really already that time…to start thinking of “Back to School?” Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” It’s definitely not too early to start planning for your child’s success for the coming school year.

As a teacher for the past eighteen years and the father of two (11 and 16) I have dedicated a big part of my life to helping young people reach their full potential, to find confidence in themselves and to reach success in their lives.

As parents, we want our kids to have wonderful school experiences. We want them to learn a lot, get good grades, get along with their teachers, and make meaningful social connections. So, take time over the summer to discuss next year’s expectations. Talk to your child about what they want for next year, and express your desires for them as well.

Your discussion should incorporate what happened last school year, both the successes as well as areas that need improvement. When you identify what went well, show your child how to continue to ride that wave for continued success next year. As for the areas that didn’t work out so well, take the time this summer to figure out what needs to change for next year.

Time For Big Changes

It’s not good enough to say, “You didn’t do your homework last year. This year you need to do it.” Instead you must help your child first buy into the importance of getting their homework done: “Did you like missing out on the class party last year? How do you feel about your grades on your report card? Do you think you practiced math enough to be as successful as you want?” Then, figure out what needs to change next year: “Let’s make a new agreement. You come home after school. Get a snack. You can have some screen time. Then by 4:00 screens go off and you finish your homework before dinner.”

Time For a Few Tweaks

If your child had an okay year last year, talk to her about how to take it up a notch, how to take it to the next level: “You hung in there last year for English class with a B-. I think you can pull an A next year. You read two novels last year. Do you think you can read four this year?”

Time To Enjoy The Spoils Of Success

And, if your child just rocked the school year, inspire him to continue that momentum come fall: “You had a great school year, last year. What do you attribute your success to? Well, let’s see if we can’t keep that up this year.”

Building Confidence

This summer, you’re going to want to instill confidence in your child for the upcoming term. That means you are going to have them visualize their success by year’s end. Map out a plan of action to reach that goal over the upcoming ten months. If you need to create a new schedule together to ensure success, this is the time to do it.

Stand United With The Teacher

And don’t forget prepping yourself for the upcoming year, as well. That means, no matter who your child’s teacher/s is/are, be prepared to back them up. As a veteran in the classroom, I know that sometimes parents feel as though teachers pick on their children. The truth is, we don’t! If we are telling you there are issues, it’s not because we don’t like your child. It’s because we want your support to help address the issue. Even if you don’t particularly like your child’s new teacher, back them up. The moment your child senses a division between authority at home and school, they know they can work one side against the other. So, back up the teacher and discuss the best ways to help your child.

This summer should be filled with camps, trips, swimming pools and lemonade stands, but don’t wait until the last moment to prep your child for the upcoming school year. If you start early and do it right, next year can definitely be a breeze, a summer breeze.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, Author


About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter is the founder of and the author of four books, the latest titled “Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting.” He is an elementary school teacher, the father of two girls (11 and 16) and has been married to his college sweetheart since 1992.

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Make Exercise Fun During The Summer Months

African American Parents WIth Boy Son Riding BikeSummer only comes around once a year and for many, so does that all important sun and nice weather. Summertime is a time of picnics, vacations and family reunions. With the kids out of school and all the fun to be had, keeping up your daily exercise program can be brutal. However, finding a healthy balance between recreation and exercise can be more rewarding than you think.

Instead of hiding away inside for your weekly workouts, many health articles suggest, in addition to eating healthy, incorporating other highly effective exercises into your regime to maximize your enjoyment of that warm weather. Don’t forget to get the kids involved as well!

Summer Workout Ideas

  • Enjoy a Nice Swim Do you enjoy doing a few laps? Keep cool while being active by incorporating a few good laps into your day while you and your family or friends enjoy the warm weather poolside. Depending on the intensity of your workout, a 155 lb woman can burn an additional 200+ calories per half an hour.
  • Find Those Skates A fun, interesting activity for you and the family, rollerblading can burn 250 calories per half an hour for a 155 lb woman. If you’re looking for something to do with the kids on Saturday that will make up for that missed workout, try a fun afternoon on the trails at your neighborhood park or nearest beach. Be careful though and don’t forget the necessary safety gear – helmet, wrist & knee pads.
  • Take Your Bike For a Ride If your normal daily exercise program includes a stationary bike for aerobic exercise, try taking your cycling outside for the summer. You can ride your bike to the store, to do your errands, or to a nearby friend’s house for a day in the sun. This old school age activity can burn an average of 300 calories each 30 minutes for a woman who weighs 155 pounds.
  • Take Up Water Skiing If you are lucky enough to live lakeside or near a large body of water, summertime can include a variety of boating activities for you and your family or friends. For a 155 lb woman, water skiing can burn up to 250 extra calories per half an hour. So try enjoying your lake and boating fun while sneaking in a workout that builds up your upper and lower body strength.

In conclusion, the active you probably looks forward to the summertime and warm weather, but dreads trying to balance fun with your daily exercise program. This year, try spicing up your old body care routine by introducing some new activities as well as old standards to your exercise routine so you can enjoy the warm weather and sunshine to its fullest. It’s important for the whole family to stay active during the short summer months.

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Easy No Cooking Summer Breakfast

Pixmac000075654835Don’t want a big heavy breakfast as you start your days this summer? Want something that is healthy but tastes great too?

This peachy cream smoothie recipe makes the perfect breakfast on those hot, muggy summer mornings. It’s quick and easy too. The kids will love it as much as you do. Enjoy!

Peachy Cream Smoothie

Serving: 1 smoothie


  • 1 med peach, pitted and chopped
  • ½ med banana
  • ¼ c almond flour
  • 1 c orange juice
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 4 to 6 ice cubes


  1. COMBINE the peach, banana, almond flour, orange juice, ginger, and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. POUR smoothie into a glass. Serve.

NUTRITION (per serving) 380 cal, 10 g pro, 60 g carb, 7 g fiber, 41 g sugars, 15 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 15 mg sodium

Recipe and photo credit:

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Common Tennis Injuries

Despite the fact that tennis is a relatively safe sport when compared to soccer or even basketball, injuries do occur. Below are some of the most common tennis injuries:


Tennis elbow is a common condition which develops as a result of overusing the muscles that bend the wrist backwards. Since these muscles are used every time a tennis ball hits the racquet, tennis elbow condition can be prevented by strengthening the wrist muscles and using the proper technique.


Sprained ankles are other common tennis injuries which arise as a result of sudden sideways movements, especially if the court is slippery. Symptoms of sprained ankles include painful joints which are also swollen because of the bleeding that occurs when the ligaments are damaged. Sprained ankles can be prevented by applying an ankle brace.


Shoulder bursitis is another unrare tennis injury which develops as a result of repeated tennis strokes like the serve. Symptoms of this condition include pain in the shoulder joint. Shoulder bursitis can be prevented by exercising the shoulder muscles to improve their flexibility and strength.


Calf strain is another relatively common tennis injury which arises when the calf muscles are torn after being forcibly stretched. This usually occurs when the tennis player makes quick and sudden moves to react to an opponent’s shot. Calf strains can be prevented by warming the muscles effectively before a game, which can be done by doing jumping jacks or jogging.


Stress fractures of the lumbar spine or lower back are other common injuries that tend to develop in adolescent tennis players. These injuries arise when training is rapidly increased because when the muscles tire, the stress is transferred to the bones which may not be able to quickly adjust to it and therefore they crack.

Symptoms of stress fractures include lower back pain, which is worsened by bending backwards when serving. Back stress fractures can be prevented by learning how to serve under an experienced coach to ensure the correct technique is used. Strength and endurance training exercises should also be done to reduce the risk of developing back problems while playing tennis.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Summer Concert Healthy Hearing Tips

In addition to warmer weather, music concerts are some of the fun outdoor activities that make people look forward to summer. However, these enjoyable musical extravaganzas are not harmless. Their noise levels can range from 110 decibels (dB) to 140 dB which is way above the 85 dB cutoff level that experts agree damages hair cells in the ear and can lead to permanent deafness.

Use Ear Plugs

To prevent summer concert hearing damage one of the first things you can do is buy foam ear plugs and wear them during the concert. These disposable ear protection devices are relatively inexpensive and they can be purchased from drug stores without a prescription. The fact that they can reduce noise levels by 15 to 30 dB makes them very wise investments.

Choose Your Seats Wisely

Another summer concert healthy hearing tip is to choose seats that are not close to the speaker since they have the highest noise levels. If you cannot choose where to sit or stand, position your body so that you are at an angle from the speakers and not directly in front of them. If you cannot see where the speakers are placed, move to another part of the venue if you have to shout to speak to the person next to you because that suggests the sound is too loud and it is damaging your ears.

Take Breaks

A third thing you can do to protect your ears during summer concerts is to take 10 minute breaks in the concessions area or restrooms between performances. These breaks will give your ears time to recover from the loud noises bombarding them.

Leave If Needed

A fourth summer concert healthy hearing tip is to leave the concert immediately if you develop ringing or pain in your ears.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Home Trampolines – Keeping Your Kids Safe

Big fun - child jumping trampolineBackyard trampoline accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries in children and teenagers. These injuries include fractures of the knees, ankles, ribs and spine with those of the forearm and elbow being the most common.

Other injuries that can be sustained by children jumping on trampolines include concussions and other head injuries, joint dislocations, muscle sprains and strains, cuts, bruises and bloody noses.

Parents can prevent trampoline related accidents by ensuring that it sits on an even surface far away from trees and other potential hazards. The trampoline should also have adequate shock-absorbing, protective padding on the frame. Parents should also erect a safety net around it and instruct their children never to bounce against it.

Parents should also ban trampoline jumping when they are not at home so that the trampoline users are supervised to ensure no somersaults are performed. Somersaults can cause severe head and neck injuries. Parents should also make sure that only one child jumps on the trampoline at any one time, since most injuries occur when there is more than one person using it.

Parents should encourage their children to exercise by riding bikes and playing basketball and other outdoor games, rather than by jumping on trampolines. In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a recommendation stating that parents should not buy backyard trampolines or allow their children to use home trampolines because of the many injuries sustained by children playing on them.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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