No Plans for New Year’s Eve?

New Year 2017

Whether you are with your family, with a loved one, or on your own, here are some simple ideas to ring in the new year.

Keeping it simple is always a favorite when you have a larger family. Host a dinner for friends with young ones so the adults can enjoy some adult time while the kids watch movies. Make it a pajama night so if the kids fall asleep, it’s easier to transport them home and put them to bed when the night is through.

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Most towns offer some kind of outdoor party to ring in the new year. From live music to fireworks at midnight, it can be fun for the whole family or just you and your significant other.

If you’re kidless, make it a pot luck so everyone can enjoy a little bit of something while playing cards or games or watching TV for the ball to drop. A nice dinner out with your significant other followed by a walk in the park can be romantic.

Ski, snow, sun and winter fun - happy family ski team

Enjoy a family activity like bowling, skiing, going to the movies, or going for a midnight (late-night) hike. There is nothing like being outdoors enjoying the air to start a new year. Not a nighthawk? Then get up early to see the sunrise in the new year.

Regardless of how you spend your New Year’s Eve, we wish you a safe and happy new beginning to 2017.

Now that you are sunburned, here is how to ease the pain.

Man with a sunburn

We have all done it; forgot to put sunscreen on, or thought that maybe we won’t be long. We have all burnt ourselves by being in the sun without protection. Here are a few relief suggestions that are natural and will have you on the road to recovery in no time.

If you don’t have an aloe plant already it’s definitely worth investing into one, as nothing soothes better than natural aloe straight from the plant. If you are like me and have cats that think that all plants are a form of food for them, then having a bottle of pure aloe on hand is definitely the way to go. Aloe is great for cooling any hotspots and soothing the skin. It also helps to moisturize the skin and to keep it from drying out. If you apply it often enough you might be lucky and not peel.

Aloe Vera Leaves

Another common side effect when you get burned is inflamed skin. Witch hazel is one of the best natural remedies for any kind of swelling. Dampen a cloth with witch hazel and put it directly on the affected area. If you do not have any witch hazel lying around, cold water will also do the trick while having a fan blowing directly on you.

If you don’t have the two above solutions in your house you could always turn to your fridge. Here are a few things that are a staple in most kitchens that will help with your burn.

  • Cornstarch – Add enough water to make a paste and apply to affected areas
  • Yogurt – Apply yogurt to affected areas and then rinse off in a cool shower
  • Teabags – Place teabags soaked in cold water on your eyelids. This will also help to bring the swelling down
  • Fat-Free Milk – Mix 1 cup of milk with 4 cups of water and add ice cubes. Use a cloth or cotton balls to apply to your skin
  • Freezer Packs – You can always use a freezer pack or bag of frozen peas. Just make sure to wrap the freezer pack in a cloth before applying to your burn

The key here is to keep your skin moisturized by applying non-perfumed moisturizer like Aveeno or something similar. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and veggies to stay hydrated. Often a bad sunburn is followed by heat stroke, so keeping yourself hydrated is very important.

Last but not least, get plenty of rest. Your body needs to recover from the trauma, and being active will not help.

What it means when you are suddenly jerked awake when falling asleep

You are all settled in for the night, cozy and warm in your bed.   You start to drift off to dreamland, and all of a sudden you are falling or something hits you in the face. Whatever it is, you are suddenly startled awake with a jolt.

This strange sensation actually occurs on a regular basis to many people, and scientists have finally figured out what it means.

This process of being startled awake is referred to as the “hypnic jerk.” Although everyone has their own unique experiences with the hypnic jerk and describe the feeling a little differently, it is often explained as the feeling of falling.

The hypnic jerk is most often seen when a person falls asleep rapidly during or after an exhaustive state. When the body is exhausted, the brain can process the stages of sleep too quickly. This confuses the brain into thinking that the body and its major systems are failing. The brain then responds by jolting you awake with a burst of chemicals and then builds a dream designed to wake you up.

Check out this video from Discovery News to better understand the hypnic jerk and why we twitch.

Summer Solstice is Here

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Today is the longest day of the year meaning it is the Summer Solstice. So let’s celebrate the start of summer with some interesting Summer Solstice facts:

  1. Solstice comes from the latin words sol, meaning sun, and sistere, meaning to come to a stop or stand still.  Today the sun reaches the northernmost position as it can be seen from earth. At this moment, its zenith does not move north or south as during most days of the year, but it stands still above the Tropic of Cancer. It then reverses direction and starts moving south again.
  2. The Summer Solstice happens when the tilt of the earth’s axis is more inclined towards the sun, directly above the Tropic of Cancer.
  3. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the Summer Solstice can occur between June 20th and June 22nd.
  4. It occurs at the same time across the world. Technically, the Summer Solstice occurs the exact instant the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. Today that is at 22:34 UTC.
  5. Today the sun rose at 5:39 am and will set at 8:33 pm giving us 14 hours, 53 minutes and 52 seconds of daylight.
  6. Many think that since it is summer in the northern hemisphere, the earth is closest to the sun during the Summer Solstice. But it is the opposite — the earth is technically the farthest from the sun during this time of the year.The Artic Circle will have 24 hours of daylight today.
  7. This will be the first Summer Solstice with a full moon in decades. The full moon — also known as the Strawberry Moon — will coincide with the Summer Solstice. This is the first time these two events have occurred on the same day since 1967 and will not happen again until 2062.

Spring is in the Air…

Spring is finally here! After an unusually bizarre winter with the “polar vortex” swirling around the east and the dry skies in the west, we’re all ready to enjoy the pleasures of springtime. The sun is shining, maybe a little rain is still falling, but warm weather is here, hopefully to stay!

 

Here is a list of 10 things to do, get outside… enjoy the weather and your family and friends.

1. Read outside on a blanket in the sun

2. Go fishing with your buddies

images-13. Do some spring cleaning to fun music

4. Make these beautiful spring centerpieces, using simple glass jars and lemons for a touch of color!

20893414909de221e35e3b2d0ff7b1fa-15. Fly a kite on the beach

6. Plan a “staycation” with these cool ideas

7. Take pictures of wildflowers

5847087633_598af01050_z-18. Make this delicious “dirt cake”:

6309663259aac1a07cbdb3f4d3e9cf879. Walk barefoot on cool grass

10. Make a fairy garden like this one!

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Water, only better

Staying cool in the summer months is hard to do sometimes, especially when trying to stay hydrated. Rather than reaching for those sugary drinks or just plain old water, here are a few recipes to spice up your drinking options in a healthy way!

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Nectarine and Thyme Sun-Brewed Iced Tea

What you will need:

Large beverage dispenser or pitcher

Organic loose leaf tea or 6 black tea bags, more or less depending on how strong you like your tea

1 gallon water

Sun

4 organic nectarines, sliced

5 medium sprigs fresh organic thyme

Ice

Put the water, tea bags, and thyme in the beverage dispenser and place in direct sunlight for 3 hours. Add nectarines and ice for a cold, refreshing drink.

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Fruit and Herbal-Infused Water

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One of the best things about infused water is that you can take just about any form of fruit, and herbs from your garden or local farmers market and give your water a boost in flavor.

Feeling simple? Drop a few raspberries and a sprig of rosemary in a glass of iced water.

Feeling adventurous? Toss mint, strawberries, lemons, limes, cucumbers, and raspberries in a pitcher of iced water for your next outdoor BBQ.

My personal favorite is orange water! Just slice up an orange and place it in a mason jar full iced water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the flavors of the orange with your water, and ta-da! A delicious cold, not-so-boring beverage!

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Another great way to add a bit of color and flavor to iced beverages is to take an ice-cube tray, fill it with water (I have even seen them filled with tea!!!), and add some organic blueberries, lemons, or mint sprigs!

What’s great about these recipes is that they are not just “two cups of this or that.” You can experiment with different fruits and flavors to get your own unique delicious drink!