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Master Certifications: Is it important?

Master Certification: Carpet cleaning (basic) IICRC Certification is just the start. Think of Master Certifications as the “graduate degrees” of our industry. With the additional requirement of experience, beyond classroom learning, Master Certifications communicate a higher level of experience, expertise, efficiency and credibility, not to mention the confidence.

Master Certified Technicians exhibit higher productivity, increased technical competency, lower error rate and higher level of client satisfaction.

IICRC Certified Firms: Certification of a firm provides concrete evidence to clients that the company is staffed with people who know what they are doing and that the firm conducts business to an IICRC-prescribed set of ethical business practices and standards. IICRC stands for the highest standard of excellence in certification.

Although a lot of technicians become IICRC certified in basic techniques and stop there, three master certification paths – textile cleaning, fire and smoke restoration and water restoration – journeyman and master designations are reserved for those who truly developed their skills.  

Master Water Restorer, Master Textile Cleaner and Master Fire & Smoke Restorer are highest “graduate degrees” in our industry.

All master certifications must be achieved over a minimum of three years so classroom learning and certification is combined with real-world work. The IICRC Master status is the highest technical certification in the cleaning industry.

Certification: Why It Matters

Just as certified accountants, electricians, plumbers and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination, IICRC certification helps to immediately identify the cleaning, restoration and inspection industries’ most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses.

However, unlike electricians, plumbers, accountants, doctors and lawyers, the cleaning, restoration and inspection industry does not require a technician or the firm to be certified in order to perform these services. Certification matters because outstanding service means consecutively correct service, every time.

Being certified is voluntarily, therefore it is important to check if you’re cleaning and restoration service provider is in fact certified.   

Wiz Team, Inc. is keeping up with the latest education and training, techniques and technologies. We are staffed with experienced and educated, well-trained, satisfied employees who are the key to our satisfied clients.

The history of cleaning and restoration certification is long, but for us it all started from – a deceptively simple question: What works best for our clients?

It has driven us to research chemistry, extraction techniques, fiber identification, airflow and many other subjects.

Thanks to the strength of the schools and instructors, our technicians have knowledge and skills to achieve education on cleaning and restoration – improving their skills and serving our clients with best practices.

In the end, certification matters because we all work in service industry – and outstanding service means consecutively correct service, every time.

We obtain science-based information for best practices and build technical and scientific knowledge in the restoration and cleaning industry in order to provide the most outstanding service experience ever to our clients.

Wiz Team, Inc. is the ONLY cleaning and restoration firm in Chicagoland holding quadruplet Master Certifications designations.

We are certified as: Master Water Restorer, Master Textile Cleaner, Master Fire & Smoke Restorer and Master Rug Cleaner.  So, before you call a company whose technicians have only basic or worse yet have no certification, call the Wiz Team, Inc. – true Cleaning and Restoration Specialists – best in the industry.   

Carpet Cleaning: Making Better Decisions

Imagine…

You are shopping for new carpet, perhaps just a few rooms. Two of the rooms are bedrooms, which don’t get as much foot traffic as the entryway, living room and hallway you also need to replace. It’s been nearly 10 years since you had new carpet.

You go to a local carpet retail store. The carpet salesman has a great deal for you: A virtually stain-proof carpet with vibrant colors and also soft to the touch. You put your fingers into the carpet pile and love how it feels. You order the carpet for all the rooms you need to replace.

In a week or two, on the scheduled installation day, you remove all the furniture from the rooms and the installation pros show up and remove the old carpet and pad and put in the new.

It looks great!

A year later, when you decide it’s time to have the carpet cleaned, your carpet cleaning pros show up and do a great job removing the dirt. Even the spots come right out! However, there is a “worn” area in the living room and down the hallway, but not in the bedrooms. You ask your carpet cleaning pro why that is. He performs a fiber identification test and informs you that you purchased polyester carpet, which tends to matt down and look somewhat soiled just because of wear. He then kindly informs you that if you had purchased nylon, a more durable carpet fiber, this likely wouldn’t have happened.

You are upset. Don’t you hate it when you purchase something and it doesn’t perform as promised? Keep in mind – carpet salespeople may not be your best consultant when it comes to fibers.

So before you go looking for new carpet or furniture, give your carpet and furniture cleaning pro a call. Ask which fiber is best for each application in your home. Yes, polyester may be soft and colorful, but it may be best to keep it in the bedrooms and use durable fibers, like nylon and wool (which is expensive), in the high trafficked areas of your home. The point of our write up is to inform you how, even though, carpeting can all seem the same – they are not all constructed the same and do not wear and tear similarly over time. When choosing your next carpeting, be sure to give us a call, we are always here to help, assist, and consult you on all your in home textile needs! Choose the right fabrics for your lifestyle and not based on what a well-spoken sales person may recommend.

Breathe Well Again with Improved Indoor Air Quality

As you begin reading this, let’s do a simple exercise together.

Breathe in, really deep… go ahead, and really fill those lungs.
 
Feels refreshing, right? That is the magic effect of clean air and oxygen coursing through your blood vessels!
 
Taking a deep breath of air, especially outdoors after a recent thunderstorm or when the air is fresh, crisp and clean, smells and feels good. It can be surprisingly rejuvenating!
 
Unfortunately, taking a deep breath of air indoors, such as in your home or office work space, can be a different matter altogether.
 
The air you breathe, you innocently assume, is clean and healthy. That may not necessarily be the case, as countless reports of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) prove that not every indoor environment can be considered healthy. Often times scientific research finds that, indoor air quality can be 2 to 5 times more concentrated with pollutants than outdoor air. YIKES!

This is due to the fact that we spend most of our time indoors (90% to be exact) and the environment is almost hermetically sealed with all our advances in building and material quality. However, as great as this may be for overall energy efficiency – it can wreak havoc on our health.

Research points to some common household factors which contribute to the poor air quality: combustion by-products (cooking) create carbon monoxide and particulate matter suspended into the air, other substances from natural sources such as, dander, radon, and mold, as well as pesticides, lead, and asbestos. These materials may all be contaminating your homes indoor air.
 
When indoor air quality is poor, there can be issues for many people, especially those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses, among others. The list can be quite extensive. Typically poor air quality can afflict the elderly, young children, and allergy sufferers at its onset.
 
Poor indoor air quality doesn’t mean just “stuffy” air, the type that can build up in a home that doesn’t have sufficient air exchanges during the day. Although that can contribute to poor health for some individuals, what really causes health concerns are the various pollutants we mentioned above. While these pollutants are often indoors, they can also be outdoors, and you must recognize the affect they have on your health. For instance, you may decide to stay indoors when you hear of an outdoor poor air quality report on the news.
 
What you can control, though, at least to some degree, is the indoor air quality in your home.
 
What can you do? It’s simple. Keep things clean. Change your furnace and air conditioning filter on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer. We often recommend American made filters through FilterBuy.com, which makes replacement easy and simple – and they can custom make any filter to suit your HVAC systems requirements!

Use a quality vacuum for your carpet and furniture and use it weekly, and more often if you have a busy household. (Pro Tip: Do not forget to empty and clean out your vacuum before your next use. Poor maintenance of your vacuum may cause for re-contamination of the air.)

Beautiful hard floors? They need to be cleaned as well, as dust can easily build up and become airborne from hard surfaces. When you dust surfaces, such as shelves or countertops, use a microfiber cloth towel that will hold the dust instead of pushing it off onto the floor.
 
And, of course, have your carpet and furniture cleaned based on the recommendation of your favorite cleaning company (and manufacturer). In fact, isn’t it time you had your carpet and furniture cleaned… right now?
 
Do the best thing for your families well being and yours – make the call today for your free estimate. After all, you deserve the most outstanding service experience ever!

The Myth of the Vacuuming

You would be hard pressed not to find this noisy, electrical and often-underused mechanical device in any home, apartment or business.

What is it? The vacuum cleaner. You know, that silent sentinel in your closet that comes to life when you plug it in and push the power button, and it buzzes all over the carpet as you chase it around the house.

Vacuuming gets all the dirt?

The problem with the vacuum cleaner is we trust it too much. No, we’re not saying you shouldn’t vacuum your carpet. You should vacuum once per week per occupant, on average, for the main areas. You might vacuum the bedrooms less frequently. We all know that proper vacuuming is important in caring for the carpet.

But some feel that vacuuming the carpet is equal to carpet cleaning. That’s a myth and it is simply not true. Professional carpet cleaning removes so much more than a vacuum can remove. Yet it has been reported that consumers feel that frequent vacuuming removes the dust and grime from their floors and they can either skip or prolong regular carpet cleaning.

That’s not the case.

A good vacuum, no matter how powerful or advanced, removes only dry soil. The stuff that is tracked in every day and should be removed every day, as well. Vacuums don’t remove the sticky, greasy soil stuck to the carpet fibers. You need professional cleaning to remove those soils.

Compare this to washing your car with a dry rag… or brushing your hair and skipping the shower and shampoo… or — well, you get the point. You need quality cleaning, deep carpet cleaning, to get your carpet thoroughly cleaned.

Do yourself a favor. Keep that vacuum cleaner working, use it all the time, but also use your professional carpet cleaning pro. We know what it takes to remove ALL the dirt!

 

Carpet Cleaning: It’s Just Good for You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowadays we are all concerned about better health. We take vitamins and shop for healthy foods. Visit our doctor on a regular basis, we drink filtered water… What we might not appreciate is the value of filtered air.

Carpets are Filters

How can you effectively filter the air in your home? You do it by changing the filters in your HVAC furnace system on a regular, scheduled basis. If you wait too long, you know the filter is going to be dirty. So you should change it often, and maybe you want to even put it on your smartphone or wall calendar so you don’t forget. You might even want to pick up a better quality filter.

But what about the biggest filter in your home? Are you wonder what it is? Just look down… if you have carpet, that’s the filter that often gets ignored. If you don’t have much carpet, odds are you have area rugs covering those hard floors. Those area rugs are filters, too.

Remember, allergens are very light and float in the air, and are respiratory concerns, especially for allergy and asthma sufferers. Carpet helps to keep those particulates to a minimum.

Cleaning is Important

Carpet in a home is a protection for you, because it traps all kinds of allergens that can be the bane of asthma sufferers. Carpet is a filter and, like all filters, has to be either changed or cleaned. It’s not practical to change your carpet every year or so (heck, no one could afford that!) but you can –  and should – have it cleaned.

There are many documented studies about how homes and facilities, such as schools, are healthier because of carpet and regular cleaning schedules.

So enjoy your carpet and clean air in your home – have it cleaned by your favorite carpet cleaning pro!

If you prefer we can put it into our calendar and remind you so you don’t forget it. Call Wiz Team, Inc. to schedule your carpet cleaning (847) 526-6060

 

clutter

Clutter Cleaner

 

When you have way too much stuff and no system of organization, you end up with a house full of clutter. It starts to choke you and drain your energy. Only a person who lives with clutter can understand why somebody would hoard their possessions, or even their “junk”. A common feeling among people, who have a cluttered house, is that they know where everything is located, and many times, they actually do! What may look like a mess to someone else seems organized to the one living that way. It is actually difficult for some people to get rid of things and they tell a friend, “On my next vacation (or days off), “I’ll help you if you help me”. It seems like such a desperate job that it looks impossible.

Starting The Process

When your children are growing up, you tend to save things for them but usually in a more organized manner than when they grow up and move out. You are left your stuff and their stuff and lots of stuff that doesn’t get used any more. I am going to use this article as a blueprint for the way I attack my spare bedroom. I have decided that I am going to pretend to be moving and I only want to pack the “good, usable and necessary” stuff for my “new place”. That is going to be my motive and seems to be a great way to think about the extra stuff in your house once you decide to get rid of the clutter.

Keep, Discard, Donate

Do you know how to separate clutter from what is actually valuable? There are shows on television and books that have been written, that try to help people determine what they should keep and what they should discard. The television shows are interesting to me, for a number of reasons like, there are many people to help you with the process of doing and deciding and there is a monetary gain to receive once the clutter is gone. In case you have never seen the show, the television people will add new pieces of furniture that will help retain the order and the organization of the home. They strive to organize things in ways that will be easy for people to maintain.

Clutter Free Path

If you are wondering how to start the whole process, you will need to remove EVERYTHING from a room, including clothing in the closets and furniture. The professionals give advice on how to sort all the stuff in your house. They say to separate all the stuff in 3 large areas designated to donate or sale, discard and keep. It is difficult for people to get rid of things that they have been “collecting” for years, especially if those items are attached to a lot of memories. There has to be a limit on each thing that you handle so you won’t get bogged down in emotional memories. Then start the difficult but rewarding process of choosing which pile your item will go in. As you work diligently through this process you will see your clutter disappear.

If you need some help getting started give us a call and we will be glad to join you!

What’s Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2019 occurs on Monday, May 27.

Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Throughout America, in various towns and cities we are holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

 

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

However you observe Memorial Day, do not forget those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom!

Flood Wet and Damaged Rug

Rugs and Floods – Rugs during a Water Damage Loss

 

Water Damage Loss Lake Forest, IL: When a home floods and mitigation company is called out to save your home, it is extremely rare that team’s expertise is oriental and area rugs.

In the midst of all of that chaos (usually in the middle of the night) your rugs are most likely the last concern of the mitigation team trying to saving your home.

Usually they are not trained to recognize the difference and understand the value of your rugs.

The wet rug in the family room may be worth a hundred dollars or a hundred thousand dollars, to them won’t make a difference. That rug might be an easy-to-replace contemporary piece or a rare and antique piece of textile art; if they are not trained properly they will not know that.

We know that. We are ONLY Master Certified Rug Cleaners in Chicagoland!

We know how valuable a rug can be when a memory from a past trip or an heirloom is handed down through family generations.

In the middle of water damage disaster saving that rug may be the one bright spot. We know who to do it!

Here are simple guidelines that help us save rugs value (monetary and sentimental) when dealing with water damaged rugs.

 

First thing first, we identify fibers.

Rule of thumb is natural fiber (silk, wool, and cotton) rugs have a higher value than synthetic fibers. Natural fibers absorb water more readily than synthetic fibers, and these will be the fibers most prone to dye migration and mold. The longer natural fiber rugs stay wet, the more damage and contamination will result.

During the triage our focus is first on the rugs that are wool, silk, and cotton. Synthetic fiber (nylon, olefin/polypropylene, and polyester) rugs are usually machine made and will have a label on the back corner which shows fiber content but we are skilled in fiber identification.

When a homeowner is not present to inform us which rugs have a higher value to them, then we focus on whether rugs are woven or tufted.

We will identify if woven rugs have been woven by hand or woven by machine, and we focus on saving first the rug that is hand woven.

Tufted rugs have a backing material. Usually these rugs have a cloth covering on the rug, or a glue or rubber backing.  A tufted rug that is from Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, or another similar or online stores, is usually a commodity rug and often costs less to replace than to attempt to save.

Because of their structure, tufted rugs left wet too long tend to fall apart, and the adhesive and backing materials are extremely susceptible to mold growth. Therefore, these rugs often are considered a total loss when exposed to a flood. In those instances we suggest to homeowners to replace this types of rugs, rather than spending money on saving them.

As in all aspects of water damage – Time is of essence!

Extraction and drying as quickly as possible is a must for all rugs. If extracted and dried quickly, further damage to natural fiber rugs will be halted and the rugs can be fully wash and disinfected so that it can be return to pre-loss condition, as much as possible. The quicker the water-damaged rugs are dried out, the greater the chance to save them.

Never, never, never do it yourself or allow your restoration team to hang wet rugs to drip dry. This can cause more dye migration throughout the rug and, depending on the weight of the rug, it also can cause structural damage that may be irreversible.

There are précised steps that have to be taken on what is the best way to extract and dry rugs after a water loss. Extraction needs to be performed within a certain direction of the pile, so pile damage does not occur. This is especially true in extracting silk or artificial silk fibers, which can help lessen damage to delicate fibers.

Proper extraction of a woven rug is essential in removing moisture from the foundation fibers, and speeded drying process.

Water damage rugs will have to be taken to a professional drying chamber for a proper quick dry out, so that moisture doesn’t affect the face side of the rug.

The longer a rug is wet, the higher the chance of dye damage.

Transporting of a wet rug is critical too.

If you decide you want to drop off your wet rug at our rugs studio, here a few tips on who to minimize the damage to your rug in transit.

When transporting a wet or damp natural fiber rug, do not roll up without a barrier to prevent dye bleeding from the face to the back side.  Also never stack them on top of one another without a barrier between. Best way to do it is to roll them in cotton sheets or towels (after extraction) to help absorb dyes that are released and prevent them from spreading into other areas of that rug.

An ideal scenario, for water-damaged rugs would be to immediately call us, so we can properly extract, transport, wash and decontaminate and then thoroughly dry them. But if your restoration company is not Wiz Team, Inc. and they do not have a facility with a complete rug-washing system in place, then have them extract the rugs as quickly as possible, which will allow you to take these rugs to our rug studio with minimal damage and a much higher likelihood of us saving them.

Most natural fiber rugs have cotton interior warps and wefts, which are prone to mold growth from a flood. So main concerns with rugs getting wet from floods is the risk of mold in the interior fibers.

All synthetic fiber rugs have interior jute and cotton fibers, which also are extremely prone to mold growth from flooding. Therefore, extraction and speedy dry out is the first step to stop contamination risks and permanent damage.

All rugs exposed to flood water must be thoroughly washed and treated with the appropriate disinfectant or sanitizing solution to return them to pre-loss condition.

At Wiz Team, Inc. we perform a throughout wash process, and then the proper disinfectant or sanitizing solution is applied. There is a strict guideline that we follow for effective decontamination based on the source of water and the category of the flood.

Per guidelines water damage rug may require a 20-minute dwell time, or perhaps multiple cycles of disinfecting soaks, which cannot be performed in home or by water damage restoration team that is not trained who to do it properly. This can (on a rug with dyes that are not colorfast) present a dye-bleed risk and permanent damage.

Sometimes pre-existing conditions may magnify the risks of this salvage attempt. A rug with heavy pet urine contamination that has already created a mold and dry rot problem within the foundation of the rug may create a contamination scenario in which the rug needs to be handled as Category 2 or 3, even though the water sours was a clean-water pipe break.

Water Mitigation Companies (unless also certified as master rug cleaners), do not have knowledge nor training how to properly treat and handle water-damaged rugs.

As ONLY Certified Master Rugs Cleaners in Chicagoland, our role is to identify which rugs can be saved and take all appropriate and necessary steps necessary to minimize the damage to the rugs by properly decontaminating and professional washing your rugs.

With our rug triage process for water damaged rugs, especially on woven and natural fiber rugs, will increase the chances of saving the most valuable rugs in a flooded home.

If you suffer water damage to your home and you have rugs that have been affected by flood water – Immediately call Wiz Team, Inc. (847) 526-6060ONLY Certified Rug Experts to help you save your rugs!

At Wiz Team, Inc. we are proud to be IICRC Certified as Master Textile Cleaner, Master Water Damage Restorer, Master Fire & Smoke Restorer and Master Rug Cleaner.

We hold over 20 different certifications.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and is observed in different forms throughout the world.

The idea of celebrating Mother’s Day in the US was first conceptualized by Julia Ward Howe (famous lyricist of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”). In 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”. She originally proposed converting July 4th into Mother’s Day as a way to dedicate the nation’s anniversary to peace. By 1873, eighteen North American cities observed the new Mother’s Day holiday.  However, Howe was the principal financier of these celebrations, and as she stopped contributing, many cities and states ceased observing the holiday.

The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908. Anna began writing to congressmen, asking them to set aside a day to honor mothers. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and in 1914 the bill passed in Congress.  President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day – forever establishing Mother’s Day as an official holiday in the U.S.

Anna Jarvis was the daughter of Anna Reeves Jarvis, and it is said that she swore at her mother’s gravesite that she would dedicate a day to honor mothers, both living and deceased.

Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts.

On the morning of the second Sunday in May, American children follow the tradition of serving their mothers breakfast in bed. Other children will give their mothers gifts which they have made themselves or bought in stores. Adults often give their mothers red carnations, the official Mother’s Day flower. It is the one day out of the year when children, young and old, try to show in a tangible way how much they appreciate their mothers.

This is the busiest day of the year for American restaurants. On her special day, family members do not want Mom to cook dinner!

If their mothers are deceased they may bring white carnations to their grave sites.

History of Mother’s Day

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

At times, Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.

Celebrations of Mother’s Day throughout the World

As with many holidays and celebrations that are observed worldwide, each country has its own unique way of honoring the holiday to accommodate for indigenous beliefs and practices. Although Mother’s Day is observed in nearly every country, every country has a particular way of celebrating this special day and honoring our Mothers.  Read on for a few of these traditions.

Argentina – It is customary to honor Argentinian Mothers with dinners, poems and special gestures of attention. Children write letters in school or make cards and crafts to take home. Husbands cook and clean and look after the family, allowing the mother to relax and enjoy the day. Moms are almost certain to receive flowers, cards, candy, jewelry or an unexpected surprise.

Canada – Canada was one of the first nations to pick up the US version of Mother’s Day, making it a national holiday in 1909. The customs largely reflect those of its southern neighbor, although in Canada there seems to be an added emphasis on doing chores for the Mother and cooking her supper.

China – While China’s Mother’s Day is based primarily on the practices of the United States, it is interesting to note that most Chinese names begin with a character signifying Mother in honor of one’s maternal heritage.

Denmark – In Denmark dining out to lunch is a popular Mother’s Day pastime. The day is called Mors Dag.

Ethiopia – Mother’s Day in Ethiopia occurs in mid-fall when the rainy season ends. Called “Antrosht,” Ethiopians celebrate by making their way home when the weather clears for a large family meal and a three day long celebration. For the feast the children bring ingredients for a traditional hash recipe, which the mother prepares for the family.  After the meal a celebration takes place. The mothers and daughters ritually anoint themselves with butter and dance while the men sing songs in honor of family and heroes. This cycle of feasting and celebration lasts two or three days.

France – Inspired by American soldiers in World War I, France celebrated Mother’s Day first in 1918. The Minister of the Interior created the official day in 1920, declaring December 19 La Fete de Meres, Mothers’ Day. The focus then was on the re-population of France following the high rate of attrition from WWI (known in France as the Great War). Mothers with four or five children were awarded a bronze medal; those with six or seven children would receive a silver medal, and eight or more offspring garnered the gold. This tradition was abandoned when a more modern version of Mother’s Day came from the Vichy government, which on May 25, 1945, instituted the National Day of Mothers. Today a common gift is a cake shaped to resemble a bouquet of flowers, along with candies, flowers, cards and perfumes.

India – A westernized version of Mother’s Day is officially observed on May 10 in India, though cities and cultural centers tend to celebrate it more than the smaller settlements. On this day mothers receive flowers, a prepared meal, cards or a phone call.
Apart from the modern version of Mother’s Day, Hindus have long celebrated a 10 day festival in October called Durga Puja. As the ancient Greeks honored their earth goddess, the Hindu holiday praises their divine mother, Durga. This ancient festival has evolved into one of the biggest events in India. Families spend weeks preparing food and gifts for friends and cleaning and decorating their houses for parties.

Italy – The Italians celebrate La Festa della Mamma with a big feast and a cake made in the shape of a heart. Typically Italian schoolchildren will make something to bring home to their Mothers, and the family will take care of the chores for the day.

Mexico – In 1922 a journalist, Rafael Alducín wrote an article advocating the celebration of Mother’s Day in all of Mexico. Though the practice had already spread to parts of Mexico, Alducín’s article led to widespread observance of the holiday, and May 10 is now the universal day of celebration of “Dia de las Madres” in Mexico.

Celebrations include starting the morning with a song sung to the mother in the morning, followed by a family breakfast or brunch.  Typically the mother will also receive flowers, chocolates, or sentimental cards (May 10 is the largest day for sending cards in Mexico).

Singapore – Singapore’s Mother’s Day places a heavy emphasis on marketing a wide variety of gifts including spa packages, vacuums, hampers, jewelry and other more traditional presents such as flowers. 

Sweden – Sweden’s Mother’s Day, which takes place on the last Sunday in May, has a strong charitable focus: the Swedish Red Cross sells small plastic flowers leading up to the holiday, and the proceeds raises are given to poor mothers and their children.

Thailand – Thailand’s Mother’s Day, 12th of August is celebrated as the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and the entire country immerses in celebrations. As the Queen is also seen as being the mother of all Thai people, this day is also celebrated as ‘Mother’s Day.’ Thai people celebrate this day because of the queen’s benevolence towards needy and poor in the nation. The Queen has captured the hearts of Thai people through her devotion toward welfare and well- being of her people. Thai people also take this day as an opportunity to thank their dear mothers for their unconditional love. Mother’s day morning in Thailand starts by giving alms to the monks. Following the Thai tradition, kids kneel down before their mother to show their love and gratitude. They present her with white jasmine flowers or garlands. In return, mothers shower their blessings on the kids. On this day, white jasmine flowers are a common sight in Thailand as they are the symbol of maternal love. The white color of the flower symbolizes the purity of mother’s true love, which will never change. Charitable activities, donations, and offerings to monks are also an important part of the day to express children’s love and gratitude towards their mothers.

United Kingdom – Like the rest of Europe, England and Ireland observed the mid-Lent holiday and honored and decorated their “Mother Church,” the church where they were baptized. The church eventually extended the observation to honor all mothers. The English called this Mothering Sunday and, in the 1700’s they observed it by taking a break from the fasting and penitence of Lent and having a family feast. Mothering Sunday fell out of practice in the early 1900’s, but the tradition was reinstated after the end of WWII, inspired largely by the United States. Today the UK’s Mother’s Day continues in much the same way as the old tradition, with cards and dinners in honor of Mom.

Did you know? Fun Facts and Trivia about Mother’s Day….

  • Red Carnations are the official Mother’s Day flower.
  • The National Retail Foundation predicts Mother’s Day is a $14 billion industry
  • Google Trends shows a sharp spike in search traffic for Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day in the US and UK and the month leading up to it
  • Florists see their biggest sales in May
    • Flowers are believed to be one of the most popular gifts to send Mom on Mother’s Day largely in part because Anna Jarvis handed out carnations to the church-goers during the original days of celebrating Mother’s Day
  • US restaurants claim that it is the busiest day of the year
  • Long Distance telephone calls peak on this day. More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.
  • The International Mother’s Day Shrine is a church in Grafton, West Virginia, was the site of the first unofficial Mother’s Day celebration as created by Anna Jarvis, May 10, 1907
  • More than 83 million mothers are living today in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  There are approximately 2 billion mothers living worldwide.
  • Modern moms have an average family size of two children, while mothers in the 1950s had an average of 3-5 children, and in the 1700s, women gave birth to an average of 7-10 children!

Show how much you appreciate her – spend some time on this special day with your Mom!

Spring Cleaning | Lake Forest, Illinois

Springtime = Cleanup Time

 

 

Spring is the perfect time to deep clean, organize, and de-clutter your home. Here are some tips and tricks

Would you like to declutter your home?

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the to-do list? I definitely do. So, I created Declutter your Home Printable Checklist. I broke my home into rooms and then I broke those rooms into areas.  These are the things that often get overlooked or passed over and called good enough.  But Spring is the perfect time to deep clean, organize, and de-clutter your home.

Do Some Decluttering

Clutter: described as anything that is kept, even though not used, needed or wanted. It also can be defined as having a disorganized and overwhelming amount of possessions in our living space, cars or storage areas.

Clutter creates stress that has three major biological and neurological effects on us: our cortisol levels, our creativity and ability to focus, and our experience of pain. Clutter in the home has been linked to increased levels of anxiety.

No, you don’t have to go full Marie Kondo method, but why not get rid of some of the stuff? Here are my three principles of decluttering.  Those are:

  1. If I haven’t used it in over 1 year, get rid of it;
  2. If it doesn’t bring me joy in some way (a’la Marie Kondo), get rid of it;
  3. If I can replace it easily, I don’t even think twice about getting rid of it!

How about clothes you haven’t worn in years? Extra kitchen appliances (out and never used)? Winter clothes/hats/gloves that no one is wearing? Your kids’ broken toys? Junk mail? Donate or throw out the items you never use that just take up space. When you are done your home will be clean and it will bring you joy!

Get Healthy Kitchen Tools

After the long, cold and messy months of winter we’re all looking forward to prepare and cook healthier meals in less time. As more fresh fruits and vegetables come into season this spring, make sure you have the kitchen tools needed to take advantage of fresh produce and eat and drink healthier. Having the right type of kitchen tools and appliances can help you incorporate more healthy foods into your diet and can make healthy meal prep a breeze and keep your healthy diet on track.

Carve Out an Exercise Corner

If you are not a big fan of going to the gym but don’t have a home gym, and you prefer the flexibility of working out at home whenever you can fit it into your schedule, then is finally time to create a exercise corner. Outfit it with a yoga mat, some hand weights, and a medicine ball. You could position it near a television so you can more easily workout by using DVDs or YouTube videos. Even a nook or empty corner just big enough for your kind of training could be transformed into a workout zone.

If getting in shape is a priority for you this year, reorganize and find a corner of your home that can be dedicated to exercise.

Get a HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air), refers to a type of filter that removes 99.9% of particles above a certain size (above 0.3 µm – micron). Install HEPA Purifier in your home and you’ll go a long way toward removing stuff that can trigger or worsen allergies and asthma.  HEPA Air Purifier isn’t a complete solution that can address all indoor pollutants, but it can improve your indoor air quality. It removes particulates/contaminants from the air like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites. While HEPA filters remove particulates from the air, here are some contaminants that are in the air and that HEPA can not remove:

VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds are airborne chemicals and they are simply far smaller in size than what can be trapped;

Viruses: Much like VOCs, viruses are also too small to be removed;

Bacteria: While bacteria are large enough to be trapped, bacteria are understood to release endotoxins into the air stream when dying on the air filter surface. Studies have demonstrated that endotoxins cause inflammatory and atopic responses in no asthmatic and asthmatic participants;

Mold: Mold spores are large enough to be caught in HEPA filters but stay alive on the filter surface. Other particles that accumulate and fill the filter start acting as nutrients and allow mold spores to potentially grow on and through the filter membrane and eventually release new spores into the air.

It is important to say that frequent replacement of filters is critical since pathogens collected on the filter can include live organisms and eventually pathogens are re-released into the air.

Even though HEPA Air Purifier is not a perfect solution, it is a worthwhile buy – especially for people with allergies or asthma, those at risk for cardiovascular disease and families with young kids. But anyone can benefit, breathing cleaner air isn’t a bad thing for any of us.

Maybe you’ll be able to conquer the whole list in just a few days or maybe not, but it’s a place to start.

Do you have any decluttering secrets or tricks?  Please share with us via email!

If we can be of help, please call us!

Until next time…

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