Saturday, May 25, 2013

Handy Plumbing Tips and Tricks

From Family Handyman

To save you time, money and headaches down the road, we collected our favorite tips and tricks for solving common household plumbing problems. Most of these tips make use of things that cost less than $20 and these tips could save you an expensive service call.

Stop sink-sprayer hang-ups

Silence creaking pipes

Quiet loud sinks

Drain vacuum

Pipe orienteering

Bucket flush

Next best thing to X-ray vision

Empty the trap

Inside view

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The Nutritious Benefits of Beans

From MealTime.org

Beans are called a 'super food' for good reason.  Everyone knows that they are an excellent source of protein and fiber, but did you know that they are also a good source of thiamin, iron, folate and potassium?

Studies note that beans are also a great source of antioxidants; the darker bean's color, the more antioxidants they have. A recent study released under the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey concluded that adults and children who regularly eat beans weigh approximately seven pounds less than those who do not.

Since high-fiber diets have been proven to help reduce body weight, it makes sense that fiber-packed, beans help contribute to smaller waistlines.  Here's some recipes!


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Make Your Own Garden Art

From Birds and Blooms

Have a ball recycling odds and ends for a DIY work of art.

Garden spheres can be decorated with an endless combination of bits and pieces: broken china, crockery, ceramic pots, rocks of all kinds, tile, glass, mirrors and more. Anything durable you can adhere to a form can be used to personalize them.

Once you get the basic idea, youʼll want to make lots of these with all kinds of materials. Let your creativity roll!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Two Days Only! 50% Off Stixated for Appetite Control


Nature's Sunshine Products

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Since its announcement we've seen thousands of people enjoy the benefits of this unique and inspired new weight management product.

Because we're confident that you will really enjoy it, we offer this amazing one-time-only deal to you. Purchase your sample of Stixated on May 23-24 at half price, and see for yourself how this product will become a favorite.

Stixated is designed to satisfy you between meals, promote a feeling of sustained fullness and help you consume fewer calories.

Try STIXATED today, feel great and be an inspiration to others.
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Stixated™ is a delicious berry-flavored drink mix formulated to help you consume fewer calories throughout the day. 

It contains Garcinia cambogia, one of the most widely researched and clinically supported weight-management supplement ingredients. The hydroxycitric acid in garcinia produces an immediate sense of fullness. 

Stixated also contains chromium picolinate. In studies, women taking 1,000 mcg of chromium picolinate daily consumed 25% fewer calories compared to an 8% reduction of calories in the placebo group. 

NSP's fiber blend provides 3 g of fiber per serving and helps promote satiety, the feeling that tells you to stop eating.

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Customer Comment
This new drink rocks the planet! It’s very sweet and tastes like red kool-aid! Finally, a drink I like besides VitaLemon! Wahoooooooo! Deeeelish! Robin S.


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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Puppy FAQs


From Dr. Jane Bicks

At Life’s Abundance, we’re celebrating puppyhood. This is partly because we just launched our brand new Large Breed Puppy Food, but mostly because WE LOVE PUPPIES.

Dr. Jane is tackling some frequently asked questions when it comes to baby dogs. Dr. Jane applies her considerable talent and demonstrates her insider’s knowledge in the review of just a handful of commonly posed queries, like …

Why does my puppy have hiccups?
What sorts of vaccinations does my puppy need?
How common a medical problem are worms?

Do what’s best for your pups, now and in the future, by reading the latest post from Dr. Jane now.

DIY Repair Tips Save You Money

From Family Handyman

There are some household repairs that are so simple that even the pros feel bad about charging for them (really!). Many of these plumbing, heating, electrical, air conditioning, and appliance repairs are simple things that homeowners overlook.

Other solutions in this collection are less obvious, but all of these repairs can save you a big chunk of change the next time something goes wrong.

Low water pressure at the faucet?

Your toilet's not a garbage can

Got a leak?

No hot water?

Refrigerator not cooling?

No flame at the gas burners?

Electric stove burner not heating?

An electrical outlet doesn't work

Not getting enough heat?

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15 Ways to Upcycle Pillowcases

From Care2.com

My favorite pillowcase crafts work with the design of the pillowcase. You’ve got that wide seam around the opening and all of the sturdy, serged side seams, and often instead of cutting apart the whole pillowcase, you can make those already-stitched parts work for you.

You’ll see some of this in the selected projects on the next few pages.   Read the entire article.



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Saturday, May 11, 2013

12 Surprising Uses for Garlic

From Care2.com

There’s so much more to garlic than cooking and vampire slaying. From treating cold sores and athlete’s foot to repelling mosquitoes and repairing glass, click through for some clever ways to use garlic.  Read the entire article.

If you don't want to work with fresh garlic, it's also available as garlic oil gel caps, high-potency odor-controlled tablets, and powdered garlic capsules.


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How to Build a Self-watering Planter System

If you like fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden but don't think you can have a garden of your own, this is the project for you. The Family Handyman editor, Elisa Bernick shows you how to build a sub irrigated planter (also called a self-watering planter) that will allow you to grow your veggies without having to water continually.  You can take that summer vacation and all will be well when you return.  Watch the how-to video now ...


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The Facts About Poop


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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bringing Home a New Puppy


So, you’ve decided to adopt a puppy … great idea. Now what?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, you should definitely check out the newest episode of Pet Talk with Dr. Sarah.

Accompanied by a cuddly fur-ball of cuteness, our staff veterinarian will share her insights and helpful tips to get you and your family up-to-speed on the ins-and-outs of welcoming a new puppy into your home.

Sarah covers all the basics, from what products your new puppy will need to be comfortable, how to make your house safe from curious, ground-level eyes, tips on communication (the cornerstone of training), ideas about diet and health, and much more, all covered in this short video. Watch the latest episode of Pet Talk now!

10 Affordable Date Ideas

Are you looking for affordable date ideas so that you and your spouse can go out from time to time without needing to climb your way out of debt afterward?

Here are some suggestions that can help, and maybe they’ll get you thinking of some other possibilities.  Read now ...


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High Pesticide Levels Found in Celestial Seasonings Teas


Well, here we go again.  Another "natural" food company hitting the dirt.

Tests showed high pesticide levels in 91% of Celestial Seasoning samples.  Ten (10) out of eleven (11) tested were found to contain dangerously high pesticides.  Read the entire article.


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

RECALL: Many Brands of Pet Food



by Jay P. Margedant
President, Flint River Ranch

We've had a lot of calls & emails of concern about the recall by Natura ™ (bought by Proctor & Gamble the other year) products and what's happening in this industry.

Obviously, there is still a lot of fear in the pet community about origin of ingredients, bacteria and salmonella, in particular.  For those who don't know, Natura ™ has issued a recall last week on their product line(s) due to salmonella contamination.   

This recall affects all of their product lines (EVO, Innova, Karma, Healthwise and California Natural) with an up expiration date going up to March 24th, 2014. They want it all discarded.

I don't know if Natura's issue is just with chicken-based products.  I believe that they are pulling a lot of products so that they get every product that could present a contamination issue.  Their goal is to insure pets don't get sick, and the purchasers of their products don't either.

Bacteria; in slight amounts, can actually be handled by a healthy pet fairly well as pets hold food in an acidic gut for a good period of time before it gets passed into the rest of the digestive tract.  Bacteria will be destroyed by digestive acids in the stomach and not cause a specified risk to a healthy pet.  Humans on the other hand digest food quicker than pets, constantly put our fingers to our faces & mouth and we'll get sicker from the residual salmonella that is still viable when it gets into our digestive tract.

Now, I'm not saying that this recall isn't necessary, or that we should be content with salmonella in our pets' products and not be reactive.  Quite the contrary, we should all be vigilant about bacteria around our food preparation area and the proper handling of all pet food products and treats.

Flint River Ranch has been active in insuring that all of our products are provided from certified sources and we test ingredients and monitor all aspects of our production and maintain its cleanliness.  To date, Flint River Ranch has not been part of any recall and we continue to try our best to make sure that we don't ever have an issue like this happen (we don't wish this issue on any manufacture, much less their customers).

I guess it's the nice part of being one of the "little guys"; we're not trying to jam a million pounds of products out into the market.  We focus on small batches of established, holistic formulas.  We're not trying to be all things to every possible customers.  We focus on the quality of our ingredients and foods, not on how much we could produce.

In all, manufactures do not want you to get sick from handling their products, which is the main reason for these recalls; to prevent human illness from handling these products.  No illnesses have been reported; either human or animal, with this current Natura™ recall, yet the public frustrations at continued recalls is apparent.

Related Article:


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Safe Handling Tips for Pet Products



by Jay P. Margedant

In the 17 years that I’ve been in this business, I’ve met all types of pet owners. But one thing that continues to amaze me is how casually people store and handle pet food. Pet food, treats, bones and chews are “food” items. Just because we aren’t the ones eating it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t handle it as a perishable item. You wouldn’t leave baby formula out, so why do some folks handle pet food so carelessly?

I would like us to all remember some of these issues the next time we feed our pets:

• Some companies add flavoring in the form of fats to their treats. Fats attract bacteria, dirt, bugs and the like. Some of this fat can get on your hands as you handle their food/treats. Wash with soap and hot water each and every time you handle your pets’ products to eliminate the possibility of passing the fats to other surfaces or to your face & mouth. Washing your hands after handling your pets’ food and treats will also insure that if there is a bacteria issue, you’ll eliminate risk by keeping your hands clean.

• Wash your pets’ food bowls. I’m amazed at how many folks just add more food to their pets’ bowls. Food bowls need to be cleaned & dry each time you use them. You wouldn’t use the same plate again without cleaning it, would you? Same with your pets’ dishes.

• Wash your pets’ water bowl out daily, too. Allow to be clean and dry before using again. Flint River Ranch has always suggested the use of filtered water too. Cats and small dogs could benefit from the use of distilled water; they just don’t need the chemicals from our city water.

• Wash your pets’ toys. Many toys will have extended life from a good cleaning every couple of days, and you’ll get rid of the salvia and dirt from when you pet last used it. Plush toys can be inspected, mended (if your dogs are like mine) and then washed like towels. I’ve found that they hold up pretty well and also when machine dried you’ll eliminate any bugs that may have found their way into the toy.

• Rubber chews, plastic throws and tug toys can be added into the dish washer and ran through a cycle.  We actually do this once a week along with their bowls so everything gets a really good sanitary cleaning. I would suggest that you monitor the heat setting to insure that nothing gets scorched with extra heating. I actually just turn off any heat settings and let them dry normally.

• Pet bedding and rugs. Best way to keep fleas and bugs down is to regularly vacuum and wash your pets bedding often.

• If you use canned food, store any extra in the refrigerator with a tight seal. 15 seconds in the microwave and/or some hot water will easily refresh it for the next meal (take it out of the metal can if you nuke it).

• Storage of dry foods; Flint River Ranch has always advocated keeping your pets food in the bag it comes in, rolled down and clipped shut. Keep the bag in a temperature constant, cool, dark room. I keep mine pets food in the pantry floor. When the bag is empty, throw it out.

• If you use a container for your pets’ food, insure that it is a “food safe” container. If possible, keep the food in the original bag and keep it in the container. Our bags are meant to keep your pets food safe, dry and stable until empty. Never add new food onto of old; you must completely use all of the food up, clean and allow the container to dry before adding more food into it. (which is why we suggest keeping the food in its original bag) It may still be the same formula, but never add new product into old.

Bones, Toobles and Bully Sticks all have a naturally higher amount of fat in them. Definitely clean your hands after handling them, and I suggest feeding these products outside so that your dog doesn’t leave a lot of crumbs around.

• Antlers are generally some of the cleanest treats available. However, it is good to pick them up after a few days, clean them under some running water and allow them to dry again before giving back to your dog. As with bones and other hard treats, properly supervise your dog as they are chewing on them to stop overly vigorous chewing. Dogs have harder teeth than we do, but if too vigorous they could cause some chipping or damage.

• Here’s one that a lot of us don’t think about but washing your pets paws before they come inside. If you keep your pet in a fenced-in area, the possibility that they can walk inside with gunk and germs on their paws is there. Not to mention the normal household kitty who has a litter box in your house. Wiping their paws off as they come out of their box will go a long way to controlling the dirt and bacteria that they are walking around in as they use their box.

None of this is really new and we don’t need to panic, but I hope this is a good refresher about safe handling practices concerning our pets and the items in their lives. Is salmonella an issue in our world? Sure, not just in pet food but in our own products that we come in contact with every day. But it can be dealt with by continued practice of safe food handling and including our pets’ products. And by insuring that we never, ever touch anything that we might put into our mouths until after we have cleaned our hands and any surface that our pets’ products may have touched.

 Keeping their world and ours clean is the most important practice we all need to adhere to. And when in doubt, clean it!


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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