Saturday, March 30, 2013

Long-term Sad Effects of a Happy Meal

From Kimberly Snyder's Blog

What I propose to do here is to start you thinking, really thinking, about the implications of every fast food meal. Some will say “Everything in moderation,” but I say not so with fast food. Each fast food meal digests to leave hormones, steroids, next-to-impossible to digest oils, cheap refined sugars and so many other horrible substances in your body that we made a whole infographic (below) on the subject.

Please share this with friends and family members that eat fast food. Maybe next time old Micky D’s calls out to them they turn their back and go somewhere healthier to eat or just eat a simple, but infinitely healthier meal at home.

Fast Food

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How to Deal With Unhealthy Stress Caused by Debt

We all know that paying down debt has positive effects on your finances.  But have you ever realized that it can have positive effects on your health and overall well-being too?

It’s true!  Getting out of debt has intangible benefits and can help you become a happier and healthier person.

Last year when I became debt free, I discovered first hand, how interconnected being in debt is with the overall health of your mind and body.

Four of the five top causes of deaths in America, being heart disease, stroke, cancer and lower respiratory diseases, can be triggered by stress. One of the main stressors on our bodies is the financial problems we encounter everyday.  Read:  How Debt Affects Your Health.

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Get Better Birdhouse Nesting Results

From Birds & Blooms

There are few bird-watching experiences more rewarding than setting up a birdhouse and having a pair of birds select it as their home to raise young.

 Not all backyard birds use houses, including many popular species like cardinals, orioles and goldfinches. But enough common birds do nest in birdhouses to make it worthwhile to set up a few to see what happens.

About 30 bird species in each region of the country are so-called cavity nesters, which means that most of them will also use a birdhouse. Bluebirds, purple martins, house wrens, chickadees, tree swallows and house sparrows are the most common occupants. You might also be able to entice nesters like wood ducks, screech-owls, woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches.

But setting up a successful birdhouse isn't as simple as "build it and they will come." There are several key factors to consider that will give you the best chance to attract nesting birds.  Attract more nesting birds with these five basics.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Use Herbs to Freshen Your House


Our sense of smell is one of the strongest ways we connect to our memories. Pine needles conjure up the holiday season, this or that soap takes you right back to Grandma’s house, wet earth for spring and pumpkin spice for autumn; it goes on and on.

Surrounding ourselves with pleasing scents is an easy, effective way to provoke feelings of comfort and calm. Here are 7 simple ways to get your groovy fragrance on.
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Tips for Buying an Energy Efficient House


With increasing consumer awareness of environmental issues, it’s growing much easier to find energy efficient homes, but it helps to be armored with some tips before you set out on your home buying journey.

Savvy buyers can find the perfect house for their needs and negotiate the best deals. If you’re using a real estate agent, which is a very good idea unless you’re familiar with real estate transactions, look for one who has experience with green homes. Some may have attended certification programs on green real estate, while others simply have experience based on previous home sales and the community in general.

As you conduct interviews to find the right real estate agent for you, ask about prior experience, the kinds of homes on the market, and recommendations the agent may have for you.  Read the entire article.

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Free Entrance to National Parks & Public Lands


Free Entrance to National Parks & Public Lands in 2013

If it's free, it's for me—and YOU! Experience the beauty of America's national parks and public lands this year for free! On the days specified below, entrance fees will be waived for the following national parks and public lands.

April 22-26: National Park Week

National Park Service

June 8: Great Outdoors Day

US Forest Service

August 25: National Park Service Birthday

National Park Service

September 28: National Public Lands Day

National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Forest Service

October 13: National Wildlife Refuge Day

Fish & Wildlife Service

November 9-11: Veterans Day Weekend

National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Forest Service
As noted above, many free entrance days apply beyond just the national parks. There are fee-free days at several federal public lands, including those managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, theBureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Saving money doesn't just stop here! During fee-free days, many park partners will also offer discounts, saving you money on food, lodging, tours and souvenirs. Your wallet will thank you!
Did you know that 258 of America's 398 National Parks NEVER charge an entrance fee? Make your own fee-free days at parks near you any day of the year.
To find nearby parks, use the free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app, or search our public lands database
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Get Rid of Mold Growth with Natural Materials


As many people know, mold is pretty ubiquitous: It can be found on last week’s loaf of bread or discovered in an old container way back in the fridge containing some mystery food. It can often be found along the lower edges of your shower and in your garage.

Mold doesn’t need much to take hold -- just a little moisture and some food. Throw in some warmth and a little time and those countless unseen spores will start to grow and reproduce.

Many people suffer ill effects from exposure to mold, so keeping it at bay is always a good idea. There are many ways to curtail mold’s growth and spread; mold cleanup can range from full-scale warfare using a host of toxic chemicals to a gentler, more common sense approach using natural materials.  Read the entire article.

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8 Great Benefits of Onions


Never mind the tears they bring on—onions are an ace ally in your fight against disease. A prized member of the lily family, they lavish you with health benefits while adding oodles of taste to your food. A quick glimpse at their incredible health benefits:  Read the entire article.

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Financial Lessons Learned From Parents' Divorce


When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why my parents couldn’t get along. Neither one of them was mean or evil; they didn’t cheat on each other. They had jobs, loved me, supported my interests and activities, and they didn’t seem that different from my friends’ parents. Well, except for the arguing. It got really nasty toward the end of their marriage. There is absolutely nothing positive or healthy for a child of any age who has to live in a house with two yelling parents.

I tried to avoid them when they were angry at each other, but it was hard not to listen to them even from down the hall with my door closed. What was the No. 1 thing they would always fight about? Money.

Their finances were terrible. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned just how bad they were with money. Even though both my parents worked full time, they had low-paying jobs and a staggering amount of debt.

I’m convinced that my parents’ radically different views on money were main reasons they were incompatible as a couple. My mom loved to spend money that she didn’t have. She probably had about 20 different credit cards.

My dad was pretty much the complete opposite. He was extremely frugal and did everything he could to save money by fixing things around the house on his own. He always found ways to reuse things, hated shopping, and could stretch a dollar in so many different ways. Every time he tried to talk to her about bills and budgeting, she’d try to brush off the ugly stuff and then they’d both end up blowing up.

Here are 10 things I want to share with you that my parents inadvertently taught me about love, work and money.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Creative Ways To Use Branches, Twigs, and Sticks


If you’re into creative repurposing, and you enjoy the nature-inspired decor that seems to be all the rage these days, check the following list for a few ideas on how you might re-use discarded tree branches.  Read the entire article.

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10 Uses for an Old Rake Head


There was a time long ago that when a shovel or rake handle broke, you went to the hardware store, bought a new handle and installed it into the old rake head.

Years later, in a more prosperous time when a rake handle broke, people simply bought a new rake and the broken rake sat in the garage and collected spider webs. But that was yesterday; today “green” is popular.

Flooring contractors are installing reclaimed barnwood floors. As a result new design styles have emerged, such as Industrial Chic, in which furniture is created from discarded industrial materials. In accordance with the current trend, let’s explore 10 uses for that old abandoned rake head gathering dust in the garage.

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Hardware Storage: DIY Tips and Hints

It's the little things that make us happy, right? Not when those little things are screws, nuts, bolts and other pieces of hardware that get stuck in a drawer somewhere never to be found again. 

We've come up with a great collection of tips for how to store hardware so you can actually find what you need. Happiness indeed!

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

25 Ways to Reuse Junk Mail


If you’re watching the junk mail stack up, try some of these junk mail crafts!  Of course, the best way to reduce the impact from all of that junk mail is to stop getting it in the first place. There are a few ways that you can curb the junk mail:

Contact the catalog directly - there should be a number or website somewhere on the catalog, and you may be able to opt out by contacting the company

Catalog Choice – this company offers free and paid services to help you stop the flow of junk mail

Stop the Red Plum Catalog – for some reason, it’s extra tough to opt out of those annoying offers from Red Plum. David Quilty at The Good Human tells you how to opt out of the Red Plum mailing list.

Stop Credit Card Offers – credit card offers come in like crazy this time of year, and you can opt out of all pre-screened credit card offers here.

Direct Marketers Association – Tell the DMA to stop sending you junk mail!

The trouble is, even if you opt out now, it can take anywhere from weeks to months for them to “process” your request. That seems like a terribly long time to keep flooding your mailbox with unwanted offers, so until your requests get…processed…don’t get mad, get crafty! Check out the list of 25 ways to reuse junk mail!

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Outdoor Play Important For Children

The great outdoors is closer than you think.  Your child is one in a million .. Make Them One of 10 Million!

All children should experience the simple pleasures and lasting benefits of spending time outside. Join National Wildlife Federation's mission to get 10 million kids outside for their health & happiness!

The great outdoors is great for kids! Kids today spend an average of 7 hours a day in front of screens and only 30 minutes outside playing. Studies show outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.

Fast Facts About Outdoor Time and Children (Source:

• Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)

• Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). (Kaiser Family Foundation)

• In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. (Children & Nature Network, 2008)

• Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)

• Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)

• The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. (Wells and Lekies, 2006)

Watch the video and take the pledge to be out there on your patio, in your backyard, neighborhood, and beyond!

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NutraSweet & Equal: Leukemia & Lymphoma

The Most Comprehensive Study to Date on Aspartame 

This study tracks over two million person-years giving it a huge pile of data to generate results from. 

Researchers prospectively analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for a 22-year period. A total of 77,218 women and 47,810 men were included in the analysis, for a total of 2,278,396 person-years of data. 

It is not just the sample size of this study that makes it impressive, it is also the thoroughness with which aspartame intake was assessed in comparison to previous studies. Over the course of the study, every two years, participants were given a detailed dietary questionnaire, and their diets were reassessed every four years. 

Shockingly, previous studies done on aspartame who revealed no link between aspartame and cancer in humans, only assessed participants’ aspartame intake at one point in time. This poses a major weakness in the accuracy of preview studies. 

The combined results of this new study showed that just one 12-fl oz. can (355 ml) of diet soda daily leads to: 

• 42% higher leukemia risk in men and women (pooled analysis)
• 102% higher multiple myeloma risk (in men only)
• 31% higher non-Hodgkin  lymphoma risk (in men only)

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"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28