Category Archives: Parent-y Stuff

Vaccines are Safe!

A new study was released saying something that I (and many others) have been saying for a while: Vaccines are Safe!

Of course, as with any medication, there is a possibility of a side effect.  The antibiotics your kid would need to treat whooping cough could be just as likely, and probably more so, to cause a reaction as the vaccine that would have just prevented it in the first place.

 

 

Iodide and Pregnancy

Great news, pregnant mommas out there!  There’s yet another thing for you to stress about!!

 

A recommendation came out recently saying that pregnant women should take iodide supplements.  Iodine, which can be obtained through iodide, is an important trace mineral that helps with thyroid function.  The recommendation comes after researchers estimated that about 1/3 of all pregnant women are at least somewhat iodine deficient.

 

Is taking a supplement really necessary, though?  Pregnant women already have a tough time swallowing those horse-pill multivitamins.  Iodide can be obtained naturally through foods like kelp, milk, eggs, seafood, and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil.  In addition, table salt in the US can be purchased that contains iodide.  This is what makes the recommendation for iodide suplements surprising: Americans are excellent salt-eaters.

Why Babies Always Forget

Babies aren’t good at remembering things.  Well, that’s not accurate.  Babies aren’t good at making long term memories.  Think about it.  Do you remember stuff from when you were baby?

For along time, people assumed babies started to form long term memories as language developed.  These two things happen at roughly the same time, so it makes sense.  But, new research suggests something else.  New brain cells being made in baby brains might actually be the reason why babies can’t create long term memories.  Isn’t the brain a crazy thing?

 

 

It’s World Immunization Week

It’s World Immunization Week!  This is a great time to spread the word that vaccines are GOOD and save lives!  So remember, vaccines are good and save lives!

 

As a Science Momma, I get pretty annoyed by all the anti-vaccination rhetoric.  I’m guessing I won’t change anyone’s mind either way, but it’s still annoying.  People are graduates of the University of Google, and assume that because CrazyHippyMomma.com* says vaccines are bad, they’re clearly bad.  All those doctors and scientists and public health officials are clearly collaborating with the pharmaceutical companies to prevent people from getting debilitating diseases and need lifelong care whose cost would easily outweigh that of the vaccine itself.  Those kids dying in third world countries from diseases that are easily prevented by vaccines here in the US are probably in on it too, right?

That’s just one of the many, many things that bug me.  In general, I don’t like judging people, and I think child-rearing involves a lot of personal decisions.  But ignoring the advice of medical professionals and decades of research based on the opinions of vocal idiots doesn’t just hurt your kid- you can expose a bunch of other people to sickness, too.

 

 

* I’m not sure if there actually is a crazyhippymomma.com anywhere.  I don’t want to offend hippies, crazy or other wise.  I myself, as a cloth diapering momma, could be considered a crazy hippy, so please don’t be offended hippy mommas!

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/unicef/10-outrageous-things-you-may-have-heard-about-vacc-1ebx

http://www.asm.org/index.php/colloquium-program/browse-all-reports/91319-adultvaccinesfaq

Aquaponics

We recently set up a new fish tank.  It’s the Back to the Roots Water Farm.  It’s really neat.  Our betta fish, Toodles, lives in the water (because, where else would a fish live?).  On top, we can grow plants.  Right now, I’ve got either lettuce, spinach, or Swiss chard.  I can’t remember what seeds I added.

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Toodles.

There is a pump in the tank to bring water up to the growing surface.  The nitrogenous fish waste provides food for the plants.  The plants remove the harmful nitrogen compounds from the water.

It’s billed as a self-cleaning tank.   I’m not convinced that my little plants can handle all of Toodles’ waste yet, so I change about 25% of the water once a week or so.  The other problem we’ve encountered is algae.  Algae grows when the water is exposed to lots of sunlight.  Sunlight is required for my plants to grow, so I can’t just put it someplace dark.  We added a snail, which my daughter named Cinderella.  True to her name, Cinderella the snail works hard to help remove the algae and keep the tank clean.

My daughter has been fascinated watching the plants grow.  We put seeds in, and now we’re getting some sprouts.  She’s really trying to understand how all this is happening, and it’s been a fun way to explore science with her.

The tank holds about 3 gallons.  It’s much nicer than many betta setups, because it is so spacious.  The only addition we have is a heater, since betta are tropical fish.  Toodles is one happy, active, fun fish.  Our family is enjoying watching him and learning from him.

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See my beautiful sprouts?

Blowing Up Balloons with Yeast

Yeast are amazingly talented little organisms.  They make bread, beer, wine, certain dairy products.  Did you know that yeast can also blow up balloons?

 

Here’s another fun experiment to do with the kids:

 

Find a small bottle, like a soda or water bottle.  The smaller the bottle, the better your results will be.

Fill the bottle about 1/2 to 3/4 full of warm water.  It should be about the temperature of nice, warm bath water.  If the water is too cold, this will take a long time.  If it’s too warm, it will kill the yeast.

Add some yeast and some sugar (about a tablespoon-ish of each).  Quickly stretch a balloon over the mouth of the bottle, and make it air-tight with some masking tape.  Give the bottle a bit of a splash/shake to help mix it up, and watch and see what happens.  After juts a few minutes, you should see the balloon start to fill up a bit.

 

What’s happening with this?

Well, the yeast is breaking down the sugar, and using it to get energy.  One of the by-products of this process is Carbon Dioxide.  The Carbon Dioxide is released by the yeast, and fills up the balloon.  That’s also how yeast helps bread rise- by producing air bubbles in the dough.

C UR DNA (See your DNA)

Have you ever wanted to see your own DNA?  It’s actually pretty easy.  Seriously.  You can do it right now with stuff you normally have at home.  Here’s a link for the instructions:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/extract-your-dna.html

 

This is fun to do with older kids.  You can explain how that gooey stuff contains all the information for making them how they are.  Or just enjoy seeing something that normally seems so unimaginably small.