Not sure what to get for your friends and family this year and you want your gift to be clever and unique? How about a gift that is safe for the environment. Help lower your carbon footprint and show your friends and family that you’re environmentally conscious with these great green gift ideas.
Conservation gifts – Adopt a animal or buy gifts that benefit an organization of your choice. The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and National Wildlife Federation are a few great organizations to choose from.
The gift of an experience – A bike tour, wine tasting, cooking class, movie tickets, sporting event or comedy show. A lot of people prefer these types of gifts because of the experience they get out of it.
Gifts that cut down on waste – Water filter, dish towels, compost pail, bamboo utensil set, reusable water bottle and coffee thermos are some great waste-free ideas.
Useful energy-saving gifts – Water- or energy-saving gadgets like a new thermostat or smart light switches for people who love tech gadgets.
Make-it-yourself gifts – Use your creative talents with homemade candles, paper, lip balm, jewelry, photo prints, or a hand-knitted scarf. A personal touch is usually the best gift to give.
Food gifts – Edible gifts like homemade jams or preserves, syrups, local honey, homemade candy & breads, or a subscription to a local meat or cheese club can also be tasty.
Gifts that keep on growing – Herb plants, tree-planting kit, seedlings, or seed paper are all fun ideas. When giving a plant gift, it’s always helpful to include care instructions.
Gifts for the outdoor lover – Ski lift ticket or season pass, rock-climbing lessons, sailing club, or fishing trip.
For more information on green gift ideas click: HERE
Thinking about skipping out on dusting while you clean your home? Did you know that even the smallest amount of dust can harbor harmful chemicals? According to a new study, researchers analyzed dust samples collected from homes in 14 different states. The results revealed 45 chemicals in dust that came from simple household products, such as vinyl flooring, furniture, cleaning products, perfumes, and even pizza boxes and popcorn bags.
The 45 chemicals were found in five classes of compounds: Phthalates, flame retardants, phenols, fragrances, and highly fluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health hazards such as hormone disruption, fertility problems, and cancer. Click Here
Children are more likely to be at a higher risk for exposure to these chemicals from dust, because children often crawl or play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths. “These categories of chemicals are certainly of concern,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the study. However, the new research shows only that the chemicals are present in dust. Future studies are now needed to examine the extent to which these chemicals get in to the body and contribute to harmful effects on health, Spaeth said.
In addition, this new study explains that dust exposes people to multiple chemicals at once, as opposed to just a single chemical at a time. For this reason, more research is needed to better understand the exact health effects of dust exposure, the researchers said.
This makes it very difficult for consumers to avoid these chemicals, because many are found in common household items. Manufacturers are often not required to include the substances on the label. However, there are ways for people to reduce their exposure to chemicals in dust. These methods include washing hands frequently, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, and opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home, when possible.
Some companies have already banned some phthalates from children’s products, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a petition to ban phthalates from food packaging, according to researchers.
To find out more about this study, visit the website HERE
We all know that sleep is a very important part of everyday life. Most of what we know about sleep has come about in just the last 25 years. We might think we know all there is to know about sleep, but here are a few facts about sleep that may surprise you.
Dolphins are very unique in their way of sleep. One half of their brains are awake while the other half is asleep. This is called “unihemispheric sleep.” Dolphins also sleep for, 1/3 of their lives, just like humans.
The word “catnap” means short sleep. Some people take catnaps with their eyes open and may not even be aware of it.
When a person wakes up in the morning, half of a dream is forgotten in the first 5 minutes. 90% of the dream is gone within the first 10 minutes.
12% of people dream only in black and white.
People can survive longer without food than without sleep.
A snoring partner affects a non-snoring partner by waking the non-snorer an average of 20 times per night, making the non-snorer lose approximately 1 hour of sleep each night.
Our brains are more active during sleep than they are while watching television. Sleeping also burns more calories than watching television.
The phrase “good night, sleep tight” came from woven mattress bed frames that were tightened with a key when the ropes started to sag.
The largest bed ever made was in Great Britain. It was built in 1596, measured 11 feet by 11 feet, and could sleep 12 people comfortably.
The famous Charles Dickens was an insomnia sufferer. He claimed that he could fall asleep fastest by sleeping in the middle of the bed, facing north.
How many of these sleep facts did you already know? For more information on these fun sleep facts, visit HERE
Ever wonder where your city ranks for getting the best night’s sleep?
Here’s a study that has the answer. Find out if your city made the top 10.
“Sleep in the City” Study Examines Relationship Between Sleep and Happiness
A new study unveils the best and worst cities in America for getting a restful night’s sleep. Minneapolis was ranked as the best place for restful sleep while Detroit was identified as the least likely city in which to wake up. New York City is notorious for being “the city that never sleeps.” Perhaps that’s why it was ranked 6th among the worst cities for sleep.
The analysis was based on five criteria, including:
- Happiness index
- Number of days when residents didn’t get enough rest or sleep during the past month
- Average length of daily commute
- Divorce rates
- Unemployment rates
Best Cities for Sleep
- Minneapolis, MN
- Anaheim, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Raleigh-Durham, NC
- Washington, DC
- Northern NJ
- Chicago, IL
- Boston, MA
- Austin, TX
- Kansas City, MO
Worst Cities for Sleep
- Detroit, MI
- Cleveland, OH
- Nashville, TN
- Cincinnati, OH
- New Orleans, LA
- New York, NY
- Las Vegas, NV
- Miami, FL
- San Francisco, CA
- St. Louis, MO
For the best-ranked cities for sleep, the study found higher scores for overall happiness and low unemployment. The cities that scored poorly on number of nights with good sleep also had low scores on measures of happiness, and were established as the worst cities for sleep overall. According to the study, Detroit earned the distinction as the worst place for sleep due to a low number of nights with good sleep, along with a high unemployment rate and a low happiness index. Minneapolis was identified as the city where residents may have the easiest time getting a restful night’s sleep. Other factors that helped Minneapolis clinch the title of best city for sleep were a high score on the overall happiness index, a short commute time, and low unemployment.
For more information on this sleep study, visit HERE
There’s nothing better than growing your own vegetable garden. You spend a lot of time all summer taking care of your garden in order to get the most out of it. That’s why it’s important to know when it’s the right time to begin harvesting. This not only depends on when your crops are ripe, but also the length of your growing season.
Below is a list of garden vegetables ,along with the best time for picking each kind.
Asparagus: When spears are 6-8 inches tall and as thick as your pinky finger, snap them off at ground level and new ones will begin to grow. Stop harvesting about 4-6 weeks after the initial harvest.
Beans: Pick before the seeds start to bulge. They should snap in half easily.
Beets: These are ready as soon as you see the top of the beet above the soil line. You can leave them in the ground longer if you prefer larger-sized beets. Also, you can harvest the green tops and eat them as well.
Cabbage: When the head of the cabbage is solid all the way through when squeezed, it is fully matured and ready to pick.
Carrots: These are harder to judge, but can be picked when the carrot shows at the soil line and you can see the diameter of the carrot. They can be left in the ground longer once matured, and a light frost is said to sweeten the carrot.
Cauliflower: Similar to broccoli, when the head looks full and the curds of the head are smooth. They typically will not be the same size as ones found at the supermarket.
Corn: Once the silk turns dry and brown, the kernels should exude a milky substance when pricked.
Cucumber: Check daily and harvest while they’re young. Timing and length will vary, but the cucumber should be firm and smooth. Over-ripe cucumbers can be bitter even before they start to turn yellow.
Eggplant: Slightly immature eggplants taste best. They should be firm and shiny. Cut the eggplant rather than pulling from the plant.
Garlic: Garlic tops will start to fall over and begin to turn brown when the bulbs are ready to be picked. Try to dig them up rather than pulling them, and allow them to dry before storing. It’s best to brush off the dirt instead of washing them.
Kale: Kale should be deep green, with a firm texture. The flavor is best in cooler weather.
Lettuce (Head): Harvest once the head feels full and firm. Hot weather will cause them to go to seed quicker rather than filling out.
Lettuce (Leaf): Harvest the outer leaves once the plant reaches about 4 inches in height. Allow the younger leaves to grow, and repeat for most of the summer season.
Onions: Once the tops have ripened and fallen over you can dig up the onion, allow the onion to dry completely before storing.
Peas: These are best to be tasted to determine when to pick. If a sweeter pea is preferred, it is best to pick before the pea pods get too large and full.
Potatoes: “New” potatoes can be harvested when the tops start to flower. For full-sized potatoes, wait until the tops dry up and turn brown, then dig around the perimeter of the potato to avoid slicing it.
Pumpkins: As soon as pumpkins have turned to the expected color and the vines are starting to wilt away, they can be picked. As soon as a pumpkin is cut from the vine it stops turning orange.
Radishes: These mature rather quickly. As soon as you see radish pop out above the soil line is the best time to pick. Don’t leave them in the ground too long, as they will become tough and go to seed.
Squash (Winter): Similar to pumpkins, these can be cut from the vine as soon as they turn to the expected color.
Tomatoes: When a tomato has reached its color and is slightly soft to the touch, gently twist and pull from the vine.
Now that all the hard work and harvesting are done, it’s time to enjoy the end results. There are many different ways to enjoy your harvest. Depending on how good a season it is, one way to enjoy your harvest in the winter months is to freeze certain vegetables or do some canning. Making spaghetti sauce or salsa is a great way to use up all those extra tomatoes and peppers. Happy Harvesting!
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.
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.