New Resource Created for Families of Children With Heart Problems

(NewsUSA) – The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion, a time for families to celebrate the excitement and wonder that comes with parenthood.But for families of children born with congenital heart defects (CHD), this exciting time can quickly become a scary journey of decisions, emotions and subsequent surgeries. It raises myriad questions, often with minimal guidance and few answers. And the emotional and financial stress can be staggering.Jennifer Page, mother of 11-year-old Max, who starred in an iconic Super Bowl commercial as the Little Darth Vader, has first-hand experience with the highs and lows that came with his diagnosis. Max had his first surgery at 3 months old and has had 11 surgeries already in his short life. He is one of the 40,000 U.S. children born each year with CHDs."At first, the diagnosis of a congenital heart defect was so frightening and overwhelming," said Jennifer. "But over time, I needed to learn all about Max’s condition and what his future would look like. I’ve come to understand how critical it is to have immediate, current and accurate information."To help families facing a CHD, the nonprofit group Mended Little Hearts worked with medical experts, parents and caregivers from across the country to develop the Mended Little HeartGuide. This comprehensive digital guidebook, developed with the generous support of global medical device manufacturer St. Jude Medical Inc., is aimed at parents and families of children with heart conditions.The guidebook includes information about "what to do after a diagnosis," "how to cope in the hospital," "how to navigate insurance" and "how to manage information overload." It also provides helpful advice and tips, such as:* How to build a caring support network* It’s natural to feel stressed* Keep asking questions* Don’t feel guilty when things don’t go perfectly* Take care of you* This is a lifelong journey"We believe this guidebook — written by moms, dads, doctors and other advocates who know the struggles of caring for a child with a heart defect — can be a helpful resource," said Dr. Mark Carlson, vice president of global clinical affairs and chief medical officer at St. Jude Medical. "Empowering families is part of our commitment to create innovative medical solutions that improve lives and keep kids thriving."For more information on CHDs and to download the Mended Little HeartGuide, visit

The Many Colors of Love: Engagement Rings Get a Makeover

WeddingDollarsCYou can thank Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for setting the bar so high when it comes to getting married.

The average cost of a wedding — sans a honeymoon — has now soared to more than $31,000, according to the wedding planning website TheKnot. And experts say the “images of celebrity wedding extravagance,” a la last year’s $12 million “Kimye” nuptials in Florence, Italy, are influencing couples’ spending choices.

Another reason for the jump, experts say, are the engagement rings.

The Latest Buzz Phrase in Health Care

(NewsUSA) – Here’s a buzz phrase you’ll be hearing a lot more of as part of our brave new world of health care: "integrative care settings."Not to worry: This time, if you’re a patient, you may actually wind up liking what it means for you.Basically, we’re talking about providing different types of care under one roof. Which makes sense when you consider that: (a) we’ve already begun moving away from a "sickcare" model, where many patients only visit a doctor when their health has declined to one emphasizing a more preventative "wellness-based care;" and (b) the "team approach" to care has also made headway."MDs are already focusing on sick-care, so who’s the expert in wellness and preventative care?" Kenneth C. Thomas, DC, a member of the Council on Chiropractic Education, wrote in an article for the Chiropractic Summit, which brings together leading voices in fields like education, research and government.His answer, not surprisingly, was doctors of chiropractic, known for their drug-free approach to treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.But guess what? Not only have major companies already incorporated chiropractic care in their on-site health clinics — there’s that integrative approach for you — but chiropractors are increasingly co-managing a wide variety of patients ranging from professional athletes to members of the military.And research suggests chiropractic’s benefits include:* Lower health care costs* Enhanced patient outcomes* Higher patient satisfaction"I think we’re looking at a more collaborative, patient-centered focus where chiropractors have an important role to play," says the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Gerard Clum, DC.To learn more or to locate a doctor of chiropractic in your area, visit

Survey Shows Americans’ Views on Dental Hygiene Differ by Region

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Does where you live impact your flossing and dental hygiene habits? A new national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) shows it does.
For instance, while more than a quarter of adults surveyed said they lied to their dentists about how often they floss their teeth, those who live in Atlanta (82 percent) are more likely to be honest about how often they floss. Could that be Southern manners at play?
Conversely, one in five, or 20 percent, of Chicagoans said they would rather sit in an hour of the city’s notorious gridlock traffic than floss daily. In D.C., less than one in five participants, or 18 percent, said they would let a friend know if they had something in their teeth.
Other key survey findings by geographic region:
* Three in five (60 percent) of U.S. adults, including New Yorkers, who have a partner say their partner’s oral health has an effect on their intimacy.
* Twenty percent of Houstonians guessed incorrectly when asked what a periodontist treat-ed versus a majority of those in other metro areas.
* Almost half of those in Los Angeles (45 percent) and Boston (44 percent) are more likely than those who live in Chicago or Houston to say a smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone they are attracted to.
* 21 percent of Philadelphians would rather wait in a long check-out line than floss.
So, while the survey indicates oral health habits may differ from region to region, it also clearly shows that Americans do have one thing in common — we all don’t floss as frequently as we should.
While flossing should only take an extra minute or two each day, it would appear it’s more than we’re willing to give. There are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in dental plaque, which brushing alone won’t remove, so that should be incentive enough to get flossing.
Whatever the reason for our reluctance to floss, there are benefits to showing your teeth a little love, according to the AAP.
The most obvious is that flossing prevents plaque, and those 500 bacterial species, from building up below the gum line, causing swelling and eventually leading to periodontal disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to a host of oral health issues such as receding gums, tooth decay and tooth loss, and is even linked to other chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable by brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day and receiving an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation. If you are at risk for or have gum disease, a periodontist has the specialized training and expertise for the right treatment.
For more information, visit

Novel Program Brings Hope to African Nation

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Ah, the plight of parents with college-bound children.
According to the just-released 9th annual national “College Savings Indicator Study” conducted by Fidelity Investments, while more parents than ever before are socking away money to finance their children’s college educations — 69 percent nationwide, up 5 percent from last year — they’re still on track to save just 27 percent of their stated goals by the start of freshman year.
Even non-math whizzes can see what’s described as “the challenge ahead” implied by these two numbers: $232 (the median monthly amount parents report saving) and $31,231 (the current average annual cost of tuition and fees at private colleges).
Of particular interest may be the behavior of millennial parents.
This is the generation, born between 1981 and 1997, whose particular revelation from the 2008 recession was how tough it is paying off their own student loans while trying to establish a career (56 percent who graduated with such debt remain saddled with it). So it’s understandable, as the study found, that they “appear particularly determined to help their children” avoid the same plight — specifically, by planning on covering 8 percent more than the 66 percent of their offspring’s college costs than parents overall.
“Millennials have weathered challenging conditions for much of their adulthood, and have adopted smart savings habits at a higher rate than their older counterparts,” says Keith Bernhardt, vice president of retirement and college products at Fidelity.
Here are some ideas you might not have thought of to keep from underfunding your own kids’ higher education:
* Consider opening a 529 Plan. According to the survey, 93 percent of parents using one of these state- or state agency-sponsored, dedicated college accounts say it helps keep them on target. Savings can be used for tuition, books, and other education-related expenses. And the best part? Federal income taxes are deferred on any earnings, and separate state tax deductions may also apply.
* Get with the trend. You’ve heard of wedding registries set up to help finance a honeymoon in, say, exotic Bora Bora, right? Well, it’s the same for college. If you have a 529 Plan through Fidelity, for example, its free 529 Online Gifting Service lets friends and family contribute to your account — with a private dashboard provided for you to send invitations and track gifts.
* Reallocate pre-school dollars. If your child has aged out of day care and afterschool care, that’s an average of $730 in monthly fees that could instead be squirreled away in a dedicated college savings account.
One other finding to emerge from the study: 70 percent of all parents say they need more “guidance” on the whole subject. Among the most popular Fidelity resource is an interactive, online College Savings Quick Check that lets you see how you’re progressing.

What We Have Learned About High School Equivalency

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The past 18 months shook up state education communities preparing students to earn a high school equivalency certificate. With some states dropping the old test for new ones, states choosing to have multiple options, and the implementation of College and Career Ready (CCR) standards, the landscape drastically changed in a short period of time.
Here’s what educators and those looking to achieve this educational milestone should know about the past year and a half.
1: 2014 marked the first year in U.S. history that alternative tests were used by states.
Twenty states administered alternative tests after choosing to either drop the GED test within their state or offer multiple tests for students to choose from. The HiSET exam developed by Educational Testing Service and the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion by CTB/McGraw Hill allow those who haven’t completed high school the opportunity to earn their high school equivalencies.
Introducing numerous branded tests broke conventional terms and understanding of how people actually go about earning a high school credential.
2: People are learning you don’t “get a GED.”
Employers, education administrations and institutions of higher education incorrectly ask whether an applicant has his or her “GED.” Having proof of a high school credential is essential for many careers and postsecondary education opportunities. However, the GED is a test — not something earned.
HiSET, GED and TASC scores are mobile, meaning they can be used for employment and college applications throughout the United States. Test takers now have a choice as to what test they choose to take based on various categories such as price or whether the test is available in paper- and/or computer-delivered formats.
3: The results are the same.
All three tests measure high school equivalent skills, and each has implemented CCR standards. Whether one takes the HiSET, GED or TASC test, the end result when passing these tests is the individual earning a state-issued credential. For example, in California, a student can take either test and earn the California High School Equivalency Certificate when passing each test’s subject areas.
The trend toward alternative testing shows no signs of slowing as more states consider new test options and vendors in the near future. Options in how one earns a high school credential have changed, but the outcomes are the same — increasing one’s ability to achieve a more secure future by reaching this education milestone.

Move Over Rosé: It’s High Season for Shandy

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – While last summer was a record-setting high season for French Provencal rosé, all signs seem to point to a new European invasion this year; the shandy is having its moment.
Hailing from 17th-century Europe, a shandy traditionally consists of beer mixed with equal parts lemonade, ginger beer or citrus soda. Originally known as the “Rich Man’s Shandy Gaff,” a mixture of champagne and ale, the drink evolved due to the vast majority of the general public who didn’t have the means to spend for champagne, instead replacing it with ginger beer or lemonade.
The shandy has its deepest roots in Britain and Germany, where it is referred to as a “radler,” German for cyclist; the name refers a bartender who, overwhelmed by a thirsty peloton, doubled his limited supply of beer by mixing it with lemonade. While shandies and radlers have remained a public house novelty to date in Europe the time is nigh for mainstream American acceptance.
Vermont-based Traveler Beer Company is now bridging the transatlantic gap to reengineer the Old World beverage for this side of the pond — with a decidedly American craft twist.
“This beer mixes the great old European shandy tradition with good old American ingenuity,” says Alan Newman, founder of The Traveler Beer Company. “Our mission is to introduce a broad audience to the American-craft shandy as a new mode of refreshment.”
Inspired by the old European pub classic, The Traveler Beer Company takes the traditional shandy and infuses it with American craft beer innovation and passion. Rather than mixing ale with a citrus-flavored soda or lemonade, Traveler’s craft American wheat beers are actually made with real fruit or fruit juices, such as lemon and grapefruit, making for a refreshingly approachable and seasonable craft beer.
Traveler Beer’s flagship beverage is the Curious Traveler, made with lemon and lime. For those taken by the increasing popularity of grapefruit-based drinks, Illusive Traveler has also proven to be a standout for the brand.
Other craft brewers, such as Kansas City-based Boulevard and Brooklyn-based Sixpoint, are also introducing shandies and radlers to U.S. beer taps and beverage aisles with unique twists on the age-old tradition.
Rather than making Labor Day the last call for shandy-drinking season, The Traveler Beer Company releases a variety for all seasons. Jack-O Traveler, made with real pumpkin, hits shelves in the fall, and Jolly Traveler, with pomegranate, orange peel and holiday spice, hits in November, just in time for winter entertaining.

Key Ingredients for a Healthy Heart

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – ¿Estás listo para el verano? Para los latinos, el verano es el momento perfecto para celebrar con la familia. La vida familiar es una parte importante de la cultura latina, se cuidan los unos a los otros, viven cerca y usualmente socializan juntos. Desde tomar vacaciones hasta barbacoas en el verano, cada evento es una razón para una divertida reunión.
JCPenney, una de las tiendas de ropa y cosas para el hogar más grande de la nación, está en sintonía con la comunidad hispana y ofrece desde elegantes prendas veraniegas y accesorios, hasta piezas de entretenimiento y decoraciones para el hogar perfectas para acoger a la familia y a los invitados. Los siguientes son sólo algunos ejemplos de lo que puedes encontrar en JCPenney para satisfacer todas tus necesidades para las reuniones familiares de verano y hacer que la fiesta siga su curso:
Fiestas Familiares
El comal Simplemente Delicioso de 14 pulgadas con tortilladora es perfecto para todo, desde calentar tortillas hasta hacer panqueques y huevos la mañana siguiente. Las cuatro opciones de color le ponen un giro innovador a un elemento básico de utensilios en la cocina latina. Para acompañar la comida, considere la máquina para hacer margaritas y granizados de acero inoxidable de Nostalgia Electrics. Esta licuadora de acero inoxidable puede hacer hasta un galón de margaritas o bebidas frías refrescantes en cuestión de minutos. El contenedor aislado tiene capacidad para 128 onzas de tu bebida fría favorita.
Vestimenta De Fiesta
Ofreciendo comodidad y estilo, una camiseta polo de mangas cortas de la marca St. John’s Bay es el estilo veraniego perfecto para los hombres. Esta remera de talle medio viene en más de 20 colores. Para las mujeres, un vestido sin mangas con el cuello plisado será un éxito asegurado y las mantendrá frescas. Hecho de chalis, este vestido importado se puede lavar a máquina y viene en una gran variedad de tamaños.
Después De La Fiesta
Para los invitados que se queden a dormir o para un divertido picnic de alfombra, el juego de edredón de 4 piezas de Eva Longoria Home Mireles podría ser exactamente lo que estás buscando. El edredón tiene un vívido patrón inspirado por los azulejos españoles con distintos tonos de gris, blanco y amarillo. El juego de 4 piezas de algodón incluye: un edredón dos fundas para almohadas y un volado para la cama con una caída de 15 pulgadas. Los juegos de tamaño completo y tamaño reina incluyen los volados estándar y los juegos de tamaño King y California incluyen volados King.
Para más información, por favor visite

Do More With Less

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s not easy being green. Much of what we purchase to feed our daily habits comes in extraneous packaging better suited to surgery than snacking.
While growing eco-consciousness has yielded no shortage of products to help you avoid wastefulness, the simplest solution is to find ways to do it yourself — and the following products are cleverly designed to help you do just that.
Problem: Using too many disposable cups.
Solution: Canning jar and a Cuppow drinking lid. From the water cooler to the café, bringing your own cup reduces your footprint without sacrificing your favorite routine.
Available at, $8.99 (free domestic shipping).
Problem: Taking expensive coffee to go.
Solution: CoffeeSock Pour-Over Coffee Filters. Buying your daily cup can add up to more than $1,000 a year, but brewing it yourself can keep that total under $100. A simple pour-over set-up with a reusable organic cotton filter from CoffeeSock Co. gives you the same great taste with none of the waste.
Available at Whole Foods Market, $9.99-$12.99.
Problem: Over-packaged junk food snacks.
Solution: Wide-mouth canning jar with a BNTO jar lunchbox adapter. Convenience comes with a hefty cost at the grocery store, and nothing beats making your own snacks for a fraction of the price. Reusable products help you skip the expensive, over-packaged junk and focus on healthy options while saving money and the environment — one treat at a time.
Available at, $8.99 (with free domestic shipping).

Haven’t Tried Sardines? Try These

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sardines are consistently rated as the most nutritious and environmentally friendly fish you can eat, and yet some people remain suspicious. “Wait! They have bones and scales?”
Well, yes, most premium sardines have bones — which melt away during processing, which is why they have more calcium per serving than a glass of milk. And yes, they do have scales, though they’re too tiny to notice. So despite the little fish’s sustainability and wealth of protein, calcium and Vitamin D — and the fact that sardines contain roughly 2,000 mg of omega-3s per 3.75-ounce serving — many people consider sardines a non-starter.
But sardine makers, like Norway-based King Oscar, also offer what is known as “skinless and boneless” sardines, a potential game-changer for the tiny fish.
John Engle, president of King Oscar USA, says that skinless and boneless sardines are another kettle of fish entirely. “Skinless and boneless sardines are actually an entirely different species of fish from our traditional ‘brisling’ sardine. They’re slightly larger, and fished from different waters, which allows us to remove the skin and bones from the fish and bring a totally different taste and texture to the can, qualities very similar to tuna.”
It also allows sardine companies to experiment with new flavors and even recipes. For example, King Oscar’s Spanish-Style Sardines are caught off the coast of Morocco and combined with olive oil, red peppers, pickled cucumbers, carrot and a dash of salt and a hint of chili flavor to make for a new twist on a time-tested food, and even potentially begin to change people’s perception of sardines.
“People eat seafood in a can by the millions — just look at tuna,” said Engle. “I think that by introducing new varieties of skinless and boneless sardines, it’ll open up the possibility of eating sardines to people who have heard that they’re good for you, but who just haven’t been able to get past the ‘yuck’ factor.”
One popular food blogger, Kimberly Moore of The Hungry Goddess, is already ahead of the curve. She suggests pairing King Oscar Spanish Style skinless and boneless sardines with paella to put a healthy, savory spin on the rice-based classic.
To see Moore’s paella recipe, as well as dozens of other recipes and products, visit or King Oscar’s Facebook page.