Radon Gas: Your Home’s Silent Killer

I received the guest post below from BJ, ‘lil Burghers fan and
head radon professional at Home Radon Pros. He asked if he could share some information regarding the dangers of 
radon gas and the harmful effects it has on families in the Pittsburgh area. Although this post is contains sponsored content, I was interested in sharing this important message with you. All opinions are that of the author.

radon pros

Everyone puts their family’s health as a top priority in their lives. From dieting to exercising, we take many precautions to ensure we can live a long healthy life. Take a look in your home, you probably have multiple smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in order to alert your family of these potential dangers. You probably preach to your older children that drunk driving is dangerous and remind them to be smart and safe when consuming alcohol. But I would bet that you haven’t had your home tested for the number one danger in a home that kills more each year than house fires, carbon monoxide, and drunk driving combined. This danger is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas called radon. A gas deemed by the surgeon general as a “class A carcinogen” that kills 21,000 people every year. That is one person every 25 minutes in the United States. As the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, next to cigarette smoking, it is something that you should be concerned about for you and your family’s well-being.

What is Radon and Is My Family Affected?

Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. It enters your home through small cracks in your basement and travels throughout the rest of your home. Radon is present everywhere, but becomes threatening when it gets trapped in small spaces. As the gas seeps into your basement, the gas condenses putting more particles in a smaller space. Not all homes have high levels, but for us living in Pittsburgh, PA, we have a higher chance of high radon levels in our homes. In fact, 40% of all Pittsburgh homes have radon levels higher than the EPA recommended action level

You or the previous homeowner may have had radon testing conducted in your home when you first moved in, but this doesn’t mean that your levels haven’t changed. Radon levels in your home are constantly changing due to factors such as; changes in the soil conditions beneath your house, home renovations, and weather changes. This means the radon test you had 10 years ago when you first moved in, is far from accurate.

What Can I Do To Keep My Family Safe?

Knowing your homes radon levels, and the health impact it is having on you and your family, is the first step in the direction of keeping your family healthy. Radon testing can be done by radon professionals in a few short days. This will either give you the peace of mind that your home is safe from radon, or give you the direction that you should have a radon system implemented into your home to remove the radon. Both radon testing and radon removal are quick and affordable processes that will not compromise the beauty of your house. The only way to truly know if you and your family are in danger of radon gas, is to have a radon test conducted in your home. The longer you wait, the longer you and your loved ones are exposed to this deadly gas, which puts you all at a greater risk for developing lung cancer.

Home Radon Pros is a Pittsburgh company that focuses on educating families on the dangers of radon gas. We want families in our local communities to be healthy and protected from something that they may not even realize is slowly harming them. We recommend that everyone has their house tested, at least once a year, to ensure that radon gas in your home is not putting your family at risk. Testing is the first step, don’t let you or your family be a statistic in the ever growing number of radon related deaths every year. Call us today at 412-584-0799 to schedule a radon test for $159.99: a small price to pay for the well-being of you and your loved ones. You can also found out more information on our website at www.homeradonpros.com. Mention the ‘lil Burghers blog for $10 off radon testing in your home.

Star Wars Crafts for Kids

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Tomorrow is May the 4th, better known to most of us as Star Wars Day! If you’re looking for fun crafts to do with the kids (or let’s be honest, yourself after they’ve tired out), we’ve rounded up some awesome Star Wars crafts for kids that you’re going to want to get working on! Follow the tutorials in the links below, then come back and tell me what your favorite(s) were. Oh, and May the Fourth be with you!

star wars crafts

Star Wars Crafts for Kids

1. Lightsaber Christmas lights from Desert Chica
2. Darth Vader Craft from Kidz Activities
3. Yoda paper bag from The Joy of boys
4. R2D2 luminaries from Diy candy
5. Yoda puppet from Coffee cups and Crayons
6. Star Wars R2-D2 Craft for Kids from Mom Inspired Life
7. Paper Plate Darth Vader Puppet from The Chirping Moms
8. Light Saber Sensory Bottles: Star Wars Activity from Little Bins for Little Hands
9. Star Wars Craft: Chewbacca Puppet from JDaniel4’s Mom
10. Star Wars Lego Mosaic from Childhood 101
11. Princess Leia Bookmark from The Start Button
12. Star Wars Inspired Paper Plate BB8 Droid Robot from Fun Learning Life
13. Light Saber Pencils from Keeping it Simple Crafts
14. Star Wars Party: Jedi Training Badges from Daze and Knights
15. How to Make a Star Wars Inspired Light Saber from Pool Noodles from Disney Family
16. Star Wars Craft: R2D2 Pencil Holder from Crafts by Amanda
17. DIY Lightsaber that REALLY works from Lemon Lime Adventures
18. Easy DIY Star Wars Fleece Blankets from Mom Endeavors
19. DIY Star Wars Fabric Converse from Something Monumental
20. Star Wars Craft: Crayon Resist Death Star from Fun-A-Day
21. Star Wars Paper Lanterns from Adventure in a Box
22. No Sew: Star Wars Costumes from Sophie’s World
23. Star Wars Princess Leia Cupcakes from Paint Brushes and Popsicles
24. Chewbacca Paper Portrait from Geek Dad
25. Star Wars Count & Clip Cards from Raising Little Superheroes

star wars crafts for kids


These crafts and activities would be great not just on May the 4th but for any Star Wars themed event. Tell me which of these Star Wars crafts for kids you liked best…or if you have your own ideas to share! Bonus points if you recognized I’d be super excited by the toilet paper roll ideas (if you’re new around here, I’ve been collecting toilet paper rolls for years with every intention to make some of these crafts).

Filter Easy (Home Tip!)

Enter disclaimer text This post is brought to us today by Filter Easy.

When it comes to home maintenance, I’ll admit – I’m pretty slack. Things just take a back burner to living life, you know? Things like replacing the solo cup that holds the toilet lever just right on flushing simply don’t stand a chance against extra snuggle time with a sleepy baby. We use lists and calendars, but things don’t always go as planned.

That’s why I was excited to hear about Filter Easy – a service that delivers air filters to your home. We suffer from some pretty rough allergies from dust, mold, and pet dander. Add that to six humans living in an older home and you get a good dust layer on your air filters which then just defeats the purpose. Add that combo to the slack home maintenance list and you get more sneezes and coughs than necessary.

filter easy

With Filter Easy, we don’t even have to think about the state of our home’s air filters. After placing our first online order, they knew the exact size(s) and amount of filters we needed (yet another tedious task – constantly trying to remember our exact air filter size). Then three months later, right when it’s time to replace again, your next set just comes to your doorstep.

Yes, home maintenance to-do-list items can really be checked off that simply! Take a look at what happens when they aren’t:

dusty air filter

Nope, that filter was not that brownish color when it was installed. And goodness knows when we last put them in. (“Pro” tip, write the filter dates on the cardboard part of the filter on installation so that if you don’t go with a service like Filter Easy for your air filters you still know when the last time they were changed was.)

Then when the new filters arrive on your doorstep…

filter easy delivery

You simply unbox and install then wait 90 days with clean air before the next subscription arrives! Check out the (nasty!) difference:

clean air filter

Filter Easy makes it so easy to manage your home’s air filters. Their products are made in the USA and help save 5-10% on your energy bills. There are three different grades of filters offered (LiteAllergen, MicroAllergen, and SuperAllergen – which we tried). The price points on all three are comparable to big box and hardware stores but they take out the time to shop and remember to add them to your list. Win-win!

Tell me – what’s your nagging item on your home maintenance list?

Top Five Lawn Care Tips

This has been the summer of gardening here around our house. Greg’s been handling most of it, but we’ve both learned some pretty good lessons about how to take care of our lawn. Granted, soil in Pennsylvania is far better than the sandy soil of South Carolina (where he grew up), but it still has its challenges. These are the top five lawn care tips we’ve learned this summer and would like to pass on to you (that you can even implement NOW!).

Top Five Lawn Care Tips

lawn care tips

Tip One: Do it in the morning.

Nope, this isn’t relationship advice. (Though maybe gardening can teach us something about relationships, Greg sure does put time into his relationship with our yard, wink.) This is plain and simple the best way to get the most out of the trifecta of good things for your plants (water, soil, and light).

This includes mowing and watering, both of which if done later in the day (say after 10 AM) can be harmed by the sun. The sun will cause the moisture you put on your plants and grass to evaporate if you wait until later in the day.

What about nighttime? Well, if you’ve ever set a damp swimsuit in a dark corner of your laundry room, you’ll know that moisture in the dark can lead to bad things. Same happens in your lawn – remember the trifecta – you don’t want moisture sitting and bringing disease to your grass or garden. Your yard needs water + soil + light to thrive.

(If you have irrigation questions, the folks at Custom Turf in Pittsburgh can help you find the best plan for your yard, including sprinkler installation!)

Tip Two: Don’t Keep up with the Johnsons.

When we lived in Ford City, the neighbors to the left of us used to battle with their left-hand neighbor over who could have the shortest grass (trick was on them, they were bordered by the Willis and Peterson houses and we live by the “let it grow” method). There’s no need to cut your grass at the first sign of a dandelion or when the neighbor is outside doing it, too. You actually want grass to be a little bit taller for it to be healthier. If you must be cutting frequently, don’t cut it short.

Tip Three: Reuse Your Waste

We became fans of not only compost (more to come on this) but also leaf mulch this year. Returning to your yard what grew in it is sort of a way to tell it thank you for looking so good.

When it comes to grass clippings, we do a combination of using them as yard mulch and compost. You can either put your grass clippings right back on the lawn (with a mulching blade on your mower) or get a mower bag to collect it for the compost pile. Both will give back to your yard in big ways (think free fertilizer!).

When fall comes, mulch up your leaves and use them as leaf mulch in the garden. We did this with ours and are loving the results. Greg will share a leaf mulch tutorial later this year, so stay tuned.

Tip Four: Keep it Dirty

Dirt is one of the key factors in having a successful yard or garden. Sometimes, you have to deal with what you are given and make the best of it. Sometimes, you can use fertilizers and enhancers to make it work to your advantage. We’ve kind of done a combination of all three in our yard – from testing soil to understand just how to work with it, to re-sodding where we had tree stumps. It’s a process and a journey, but your dirt really is important to the process. Treat it well.

Tip Five: Keep Your Lawn Guessing

Change things up and your yard will thank you. When you cut the grass, don’t always do it the same direction. This helps it grow in healthier and fuller. Your stress on keeping things the exact same every single time will go away, and your yard will feel less stressed, too. Bonus? Your mower blades won’t wear in one place faster than in others because you’re asking it to function a little differently each time.


If you have lawn tips to share, please comment and tell your secrets! If you need more tips, check out customturfinc.com

This post, Top Five Lawn Care Tips, is a partnership between me and Custom Turf. All thoughts and tips are my own. 

Coffee Cookies and Coloring

Tonight we were supposed to go to The Lantern Fest, but hopefully everyone who snagged tickets (THANK YOU!) realized it was postponed until June 4. Instead, the kids and I spent the evening inside with some coffee, cookies, and coloring.

coffee cookies coloring

Okay. They didn’t have coffee. They had cookies. And…they didn’t color. They watched me. And they asked a lot of questions.


What kind of crayons are you using? I wasn’t using crayons. I was using Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils. They are like my favorite leggings, buttery smooth.

Can we have a cookie? Sure, but just the Thin Mints. Mommy only has a very tiny stash of four lonely Samoas left and they’re all mine (two remain).

Why are you coloring in your Bible? Is that really allowed? I’m sure your Pappy would have a good reason why it “wouldn’t be allowed”, but Mommy is doodling when a Bible verse speaks to her (like she did with chalk yesterday). This is a special journaling Bible and I draw in it.

journaling bible

What does that verse mean? I John  5:14-15 are about fervent prayer, asking for things to be done in God’s will. I’ve been doing this lately. There are big things I want for my family. Big things that would likely mean a few changes but a happier Mama. When we pray that God does for us what is in His will, those big things happen. Sometimes they are scary, but when we realize they are exactly what we asked for, they are right and good.

Can you use the teal to color soulOddly, yes. The teal is calling to me, so I am going to color with it.

adult coloring book

Why aren’t our coloring books that neat? Actually, kids, they are. They are so neat that adults have now starting using adult coloring books to make them feel better, more like a kid. I’m jealous. And yes, I’ll color in your coloring books with you tomorrow.


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Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub

Enter disclaimer text I’d love for you to be able to make your own Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub and Lemon Whipped Body Butter, so I’ve included some links to help you find exactly what you need!

When I was away in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago, I had a chance to get the most divine pedicure I’ve ever had. It involved almost 90 minutes of scrubbing my piggy toes and a sweet tea sugar scrub. I couldn’t help but think that those of you who’ve come here for the “Mama’s Moment Detox Bath” tips would also thoroughly enjoy this treat for tired feet. As a bonus, I’m throwing in the recipe for a follow-up lotion, Lemon Whipped Body Butter!

sweet tea sugar scrub

Both of these recipes are adapted from ones I’ve found on the internet, but I made them my own with trial and error. I may have burnt a tea bag in the process! *wink*

Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, in liquid form
  • 2 tea bags
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Lemon Essential Oil (optional)
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil (optional)

I heated the liquid coconut oil (I’ve found Fractionated Coconut Oil works best) and added in the tea bags. This was the part that was most tricky. You want to steep the tea, but you don’t want  to burn it. Do this on your stove over low heat. Have patience, and don’t let the bags burn. I suppose you could just dump the tea from the tea bags in the oil as it warms, but I’m not sure it will have the same effect of “brewing” in the bag.

sweet tea sugar scrub

Once this mixture is warm and brown-ish, remove from heat (and remove the tea bags) and add in the sugar slowly. You don’t want this to be like sand, but you also don’t want it to be oily. You may not need all the sugar, you might need more! It’s an eyeball test.

Once you have a nice consistency (test it on your hands – do you feel the benefits of the oil?), add the tea leaves from the tea bags to the sugar mixture. If you like your tea with a little bit of lemon (Arny-Palmers, anyone?), add in about 5 drops of lemon essential oils. I added 3 drops of tea tree oil to mine, too.

Scoop the mixture into a pint size glass jar with a lid.

Use the sweet tea sugar scrub in the tub or as your own at home pedicure fix. If the sugar dries out, stir in a little bit of liquid coconut oil until back to original consistency.

I highly recommend you follow up with…

Lemon Whipped Body Butter

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup coconut oil, in liquid form
  • 1 cup shea butter
  • Lemon essential oil

This is a favorite of mine, a recipe I got last winter when I was down in the dumps. My friend Suzie made it for the Resting Place ladies, and I missed out. But I was able to find my own shea butter online and whip up my own at home with her recipe.

lemon whipped body butter

You simply warm the coconut oil and Shea Butter over low heat until all the lumps are out. Put in the refrigerator for an hour (or more) until it is solid. Add in 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil and whip with your stand mixer.

Put this in a pint size glass jar with a lid and store in a cool place (the oil will return to liquid form if you don’t…but you can put it back in the fridge and whip again if it does this).


Once you’ve done your sweet tea sugar scrub and lemon whipped body butter, you’ll want to slip on a nice pair of soft socks and read a good book. You can come back later and thank me.


My Succulents

I took (and posted) three selfies over on Instagram yesterday. When trying to find a photo to write about for this post, I was like, oops…share one of my succulents instead?

And then I got thinking about my succulents. They survive in drought and heat. They retain water for when they need it. They overcome (everything except for being eaten by a big, silly dog, RIP my first crop of Hens and Chicks). Wouldn’t you want to be like a succulent?

Not all are prickly like the commonly known cacti. Many flower or are beautiful shades of green and blue. I even found a variety that grows cobwebs. Diverse and beautiful, my succulents.

Kids, I hope you become like succulents. Physically, there are many benefits to drinking water (and your body will handle that what and when to do with it if you treat it right). Mentally, drink from the water of life and take in all you can, storing it until you need to use it. Be beautiful on the outside, yet with some roughness to ward of the enemies this world is sure to send your way. But most of all, be uniquely you, my succulents.


10 Toilet Paper Roll Crafts (You Won’t See Me Making)

Let me be honest with you. Pinterest has me hooked and addicted, but as a mom of four, there really isn’t time to do everything I’ve been pinning. But every time I sit down squat quickly over the toilet [before one of the four starts to cry] to take a pee, I can’t help but wish I could turn my collection of empty toilet paper rolls into something more. Today I bring to you the list of 10Toilet Paper Roll Crafts (You Won’t See Me Making) except for in my dreams.


(I know a lot of you are visual learners, but give some love to the original posters and visit their links or my Pinterest Board to see what I’ve gathered. Stealing ideas is not my game.)


  1. If your kids have a zoo trip planned this summer, follow it up with making their favorite animal (60 are available on this round-up at Hative.com).
  2. In early spring, get your garden started with Burlap and Denim’s Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starters.
  3. Thrive 360 Living lists five activities kids can do with empty toilet paper rolls. My favorite of this bunch is the bowling set…because I have enough rolls I could probably make one for each of my four kids and still have leftovers to make all the other ideas listed here.
  4. My big kids like to dress up, so I’m sure they’d love to make Reading Confetti’s Super Hero Cuffs.
  5. There are plenty of fun ideas over at Kids Activities Blog, but I love the Toilet Roll Ninjas. I’d pair it with a reading of Evan’s favorite book of current, Nighttime Ninja.
  6. How about some noise for Hand Made Kids Art’s DIY Kazoo’s? Great to pair with a lesson on sound, yes?
  7. If I had been thinking, I would have used Crafts By Courtney’s idea to make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as centerpieces for Evan’s 4th birthday party. (Who am I kidding? I was so pregnant and tired from moving that I barely was able to order the cake and pizza for that day!)
  8. Arianna might not like piñatas (still), but how cute are these from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!? Right?
  9. The teacher in me simply adores Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and would make these trees in a heartbeat if only I had a spare one to give. (Source: Life, Crafting, and Teaching.)
  10. These Confetti Launchers from Piikea Street have to be my favorite. They are patriotic and make a mess. I just might have to bend a little and make some for 4th of July.


I know. How could I not want to make any of these after taking the time to pin them and share them with you? Maybe, just maybe, I can pull it off. And if I do, look for a follow-up post later this summer with the results. If I don’t? I’ll be asking Evan’s HeadStart teachers to please take these rolls off my hands.


What is your favorite from the list…or do you have something even more awesome we could try?