Indoor allergens can cause problems for your family year-round. Chronic sinus inflammation, skin issues, or even behavioral problems can often be attributed to allergies, and the symptoms can interfere with the quality of your sleep and your daily life. If you want to control your symptoms without the side effects of medication, you’ll need to eliminate the source of the problem. Here are the most likely culprits and some tips for combatting them.
Dust and Dust Mites
Image via Flickr by tinafranklindg
One of the most common, and often overlooked, sources of allergy symptoms is probably collecting around your baseboards and on top of your window frames. Dust is made up of minuscule bits of plants, dirt, fibers, insects, skin, and other matter, any one of which could be triggering your allergies. Dust mites are tiny creatures that thrive in dust, and their droppings are the most common source of asthma and allergy symptoms. They love dead human skin flakes and humidity and tend to settle in your bedding and rugs.
The biggest step to combat dust in your home is encasing your mattress and pillows in dust-proof covers. Keep dust down by washing your bedding regularly and vacuuming rugs thoroughly with a HEPA vacuum. Have your ducts professionally cleaned to remove any dust mite nests lurking there, treat your drapes and upholstery with a dust mite treatment, and install a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture content in your indoor air.
Contrary to popular belief, pet dander is not animal hair, but a protein that comes from the pet’s saliva. It’s a sticky substance that coats the hair and can also cling to people’s clothing and shoes, so dander is often present even in homes without pets.
If you are allergic to your best friend, there are some ways to minimize your suffering. Keep pets out of your bedroom and restrict them to rooms without carpeting if possible. Bathe your pets often and wash your hands after touching them. If you can’t keep your animals off your upholstered furniture, at least give them towels to lie on and wash those frequently.
Preventing mold is mostly a matter of controlling moisture in your home. Repair leaks promptly, waterproof your basement if necessary, and keep your gutters in good repair. Fix any ventilation issues that cause moisture to collect in your bathrooms or kitchen. Encourage airflow throughout your home by opening doors and installing ceiling fans as needed. If your home is prone to mold or mildew issues, a dehumidifier would be a good investment.
Like dust mites, the real problem with cockroaches is the droppings, which contain a protein that is a common allergen. If you choose not to use chemicals to control cockroaches, you can discourage them by sealing up cracks in walls, cabinets, doors, and cupboards. Take your trash out often and keep the kitchen floor clean of crumbs and spills that might feed them.
Controlling allergens in your home can feel daunting at first, but once you’ve tackled a few initial tasks, the maintenance work will be fairly simple.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. For most people, this is a universal gathering place where friends and family come together several times a day. A space that’s both functional and welcoming will draw everyone in and give them a warm place to eat, work, socialize, and share. The right DIY projects can transform your standard kitchen into something really special. Consider these intriguing options.
Peel and Stick Tile Backsplash
Image via Flickr by B*2
Updating your backsplash will instantly add color and interest to your kitchen. Thanks to handy peel and stick tiles, you can add a DIY backsplash with minimal time and effort. Just measure your space and cut the peel and stick tiles to fit. Remove the backing and lay the tiles gently against the wall. Don’t press until you’re sure of the placement, as these forgivable tiles allow you to remove and reposition them twice if needed.
Once your tiles are firmly in place, finish the project by squeezing grout on a float and applying it to the backsplash in a diagonal motion. Push grout into the joints, moving first in one direction then in the opposite diagonal. Wipe the area down with a sponge and you’re finished!
Rolling Bar Cart
Homeowners who love to entertain will adore the idea of a handy rolling bar cart. You can build a bar cart to your personal specifications using lengths of lumber for vertical supports and laminated pine panels for shelves. Easily customizable, you can build your cart to fit in any nook or corner, no matter the size.
A slatted shelf will create grooves that nestle wine bottles. Hardware like hooks, glass holders, and cabinet pulls will help you store everything from wine glasses to dish towels. Rolling casters on the bottom make the cart a movable fixture so you can take the party to the porch, living room, or elsewhere in the house.
Bright and Cheerful Shelving
Shelving is a functional necessity in your kitchen, but it can also make a bold statement about your style. Put your dinnerware on display by replacing solid cabinet doors with glass paneled ones, or removing the doors altogether. Brighten up your shelves by applying wallpaper to the back or the cabinet, painting the interior, or sticking patterned washi tape to the front of the shelves, or any combination of the three.
You can make the items inside your bright cabinet a bit more eye-catching as well. Use porcelain paint to turn mugs and dishes into works of art. Use chalkboard paint or a chalkboard label on snack and spice jars for a charming touch that also boosts your organization. Your everyday items can become a cheerful and homey display with these easy tricks.
The kitchen has a natural allure that draws people in to this gathering place. Whether it’s the promise of good company or the warm spicy smell of a mouth-watering dinner that draws you in, it’s almost impossible to resist the pull. Give your kitchen a fun, festive atmosphere in any season with these attractive updates.
Children’s toys are expensive. Between holidays and birthdays the cost of toys can get pretty high. Children learn through play but this does not mean that a parent has to spend a fortune purchasing toys. There are some ways to save money on toys even popular toys.
Make Your Own Toys
There are many items around the household that can be used to make toys. A puppet can be made from some old socks and loose bu?ons. Paper towel rolls can be used to build a castle or to make an airplane. There are a number of household items that can be used to make toys. Not only will this save money butit will give the child a chance to express their creativity.
Use Coupons and Promo Codes
Coupons are a great way to save money. You can take advantage of coupon search engines like Mamma.com. It’s a deal website which allows you to search for coupons on all of your favorite online retailers. A great habit to get into when shopping for your kids is to look for a coupon before making any purchase online.
Purchase Used Toys
There are a number of used toys that can be purchased online or at a thrift store. They are much less expensive than brand new toys. Many toys can be wiped down with a rag and sanitized before the child plays with them. There are many online stores where a parent can find used toys for cheap.
A person can set up toys swap groups with friend or form a group for parents in the area. Children may become bored with their toys and enjoy something new to play with. Children may outgrow the toys before they wear out as well. Switching toys will allow children the chance to experience new things without costing the parents money. It is also a great way to get children to socialize with others.
Sell Old Toys
Once the child outgrows and toy and it is still in good condition it can be sold. The toy can be sold at a yard sale or even online. The money that is made from these toys can be used towards the purchase of new toys.
These are just some of the ways that a parent can save money on toys. Toys are expensive but they are for more than just entertainment. The child can use these toys for mental growth and development. These “tips will help a parent save money on toys without their child missing out on the play
Composting, or using organic waste as fertilizer instead of sending it to the landfill, is a huge benefit and a natural way to improve our environment. Instead of burning trash or sending it to the many landfills that cause toxic waste, it is much more beneficial to use it as fertilizer in a garden or planting/forest area.
Why the waste?
Up to one-fourth of all landfill waste could have been used for compost or put back into the soil. This is huge to think about how a natural solution can help the earth we live on and can save the health of many in our world. Putting the organic waste back into the soil will help create nutrient rich soil and it also greatly improves the production of edible plants and food to eat.
The infamous problem of the greenhouse gases could be greatly reduced through composting. Landfills are one of the leading causes of the problem of toxic methane gases which erode at our air and cause health problems for many.
A healthier and more natural alternative to burning trash, which creates toxic air:
- The composting of organic materials will allow for better air quality.
- Fertilizer also acts as a natural pesticide, thereby drastically cutting the harmful effects of chemical pesticides which are deadly.
Less soil erosion
- This is crucial, as a huge amount of the earth’s soil has been dried of all vital nutrients. What this leads to is our water sources becoming polluted, so this sheds light on how important it is to have good soil, as this leads to a healthy water source which is vital to life.
Making your own compost bin with style
Now that you know the crucial, life-giving reasons for transferring your trash to compost, let’s explore how to make your own compost bin! While it may take a little effort, there are options and the results will more than make up for your time.
It can be simple or complex; you can even make your compost bin from recycled and re-useable materials for an even greener approach to this natural solution!
Different Style Bins for Every Need
- Plastic Container Option for those interested in smaller sized compost bin or to test it out
- You can use a plastic storage container for your compost bin if you are not ready to commit to a full sized compost bin. This is an easy project that will give you a compost bin to use in a very short time. The bin needs a lid and if it is possible, you can use two lids to prevent the liquid from spilling out that could be used to add nutrients to the soil.
- Prepare the bin by drilling holes in it.
There needs to be air circulating to help the waste decompose at a more rapid rate. They can be any size as long as they are 1-2 inches apart. Drill the holes on all sides, as well as on the bottom and on the lid itself too.
- Choose a convenient spot for your compost bin
This is a smaller sized bin, so you can choose where it best fits with your purposes and preferences. If you don’t have an outside garden area, you can put it on your patio, porch or balcony. You can put it right outside your kitchen door if space allows or near your vegetable garden so that as you weed and trim, you can throw the waste right in. If you want it out of the way and out of sight, the garage or storage shed may be the right place.
- Wire Mesh Only Bin
All you need is what the title says! Roll up your wire mesh bin and use wooden stakes for its shape. Use string ties or wire to connect the ends together.
- Enclosed Wooden Compost Bin
David Gleason’s elegant handmade style is one sure to please any craftsman or craftswoman. With classic red cedar, this bin looks sharp and also is highly functional. A simple frame design allows for space for air to be evenly distributed throughout the unit. The other hardware you will need includes gate hinges and deck screws.
Two separate containers will be needed to make this bin. Make sure the single lid has enough spacing between each slat for the water to go through. Reinforce the wooden slat with an additional slat to be sure the weight is evenly distributed. Finally, use a cord or chain to secure the bin if you’d prefer an easier way to connect the lid with the frame.
How to use and maintain your new bin!
- Start using and filling the bin
Think of your bin as a regular compost pile. You can throw in leaves, weeds, egg shells or fruit and vegetable peels. You can also add weeds from the garden or coffee grounds or tea bags or grass clippings after mowing the lawn.
- Check and maintain the bin
Be sure not to let the bin get out of control. Every couple of days or so, you can check it and give it a quick shake to ensure it is getting enough air. If the waste inside is too moist or wet and starts to cause an odor, you can simply add dry grass clippings, leaves, weeds or dry shredded newspaper. If it becomes too dry, you can add fruit or vegetable remains or a spray bottle to add a little moisture. Balance out the dry and moist things added to the bin for a simple method of upkeep.
Using your bin for harvest
The best way to get the nutrient rich soil you are after is to run the contents through a compost sifter. This will prevent large pieces from getting in the way and can be removed from the finished compost and placed back into the bin. Once the compost is refined and crumbly, it will appear dark and can be used to add the much needed nutrients to the soil in your planting area outside.
The reasons for choosing to compost and send organic waste back to the soil are apparent and crucial; this is a life-altering decision as it can save lives and create a safer, healthier and greener earth for us all. There are a variety of options for every preference and style to create what works for you! Now that you have chosen the best bin and know the steps to create what works for you and how to maintain it, it’s time to get started to a greener world and it begins with this first step!
This is a collaborative post with Go Green
Tossing and turning every night is no fun. Not only is not being able to sleep super frustrating but knowing just how tired you’ll be the next day can really stress you out. So there is no wonder that so many of us are continually looking for ways to improve our sleep. And, like in many other aspects of our lives, natural and organic solutions are always best. Here are our best natural solutions for a good night’s sleep.
Essential oils have many different uses. One of their most common properties is making it easier to drop off at night. One of the best oils for this is lavender. Simply pour a couple of drops of lavender oil onto a tissue and place it under your pillow. The scent will relax your body and mind, and you will be asleep in no time. You could also try lighting a lavender scented candle in your living room for a couple of hours before you head up to bed. Check out the best essential oils from Bioaire Lifestyle Singapore.
Calcium And Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium are two of the best minerals to aid sleep. Taking a daily supplement of each should make it easier for your body and brain to switch off at night. If you take them together, they will be even more effective. Both minerals help to decrease our levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can keep us awake. There are also many other health benefits of taking these supplements. For example, magnesium is important for a healthy heart.
Most of you will know that hops is the main ingredient in beer. But did you also know that it can help improve your sleep patterns? There has long been plenty of anecdotal evidence that hops can help to promote a good night’s sleep. But recent scientific studies have started to back up these claims. The flowers have a mild sedative in them which is great for those suffering from sleep and anxiety problems.
Yoga And Meditation
Gentle stretches before bed can help you unwind before bed. Make sure you do gentle Yoga, though. Some of the more energizing forms, such as Ashtanga may, in fact, wake you up. Stick to a gentle form of Yoga instead. If you follow this up with ten minutes of meditation, you will find it even easier to fall asleep. Those who haven’t tried meditation before should start with mindfulness thought and breathing techniques.
Green tea contains L-theanine. This is an amino acid which helps our body calm down and also encourages a deeper sleep throughout the night. You can buy special brands of green tea that have been fortified with extra L-theanine to help those who suffer from insomnia.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to unwind thoroughly before you go to bed. Combine this with one of the above tips, and you will find that you sleep a lot better than you used to!
Sugar-Free Summer of Delicious
Sweeten up your outdoor celebrations with SweetLeaf®
Gilbert, Ariz. (June 16, 2016) – The sun is shining, and temperatures are rising. Summer is right around the corner, and many people are pulling their grills out and prepping for the start of barbecue season.
SweetLeaf® Stevia Sweetener is celebrating the season of fun in the sun with a few special mocktail/cocktail recipes sure to complement summer barbecues everywhere, with or without alcohol. Plus, with plenty of recipes on their website, SweetLeaf is the ideal source for tasty, award-winning, guilt-free treats all summer long.
Blood Orange Spritzer
1 tsp. Stirrings® Blood Orange Bitters (non-alcoholic)
1/4 tsp. SweetLeaf Stevia Sweetener
6 oz. sparkling mineral water or seltzer
Place SweetLeaf in the bottom of a champagne flute. Add bitters. Pour in water or seltzer and mix well. Add ice and serve.
Chocolate Strawberry Cooler
2 strawberries, sliced
8 oz. sparkling water
6 drops SweetLeaf® Liquid Stevia Chocolate Sweet Drops™
Place strawberries in 10-oz. glass. Fill with ice and sparkling water. Add Chocolate Sweet Drops and stir.
SweetLeaf offers a versatile line of better-for-you sweeteners made from stevia leaf extract. The stevia leaf is sweeter than sugar, and SweetLeaf uses a water extraction process to ensure the best-tasting products possible. SweetLeaf brings sweetness to the table in a variety of sweetening options to suit every palate. SweetLeaf Stevia and Organic Stevia Sweeteners are available in shakers and packets for sweetening at the kitchen table, or anywhere, with no artificial ingredients, calories, or carbs. Sweet Drops™ liquid stevia sweeteners are an award-winning and flavorful way to add a delicious accent to foods, beverages, and recipes without adding calories or sugars. Water Drops™ turn still or sparkling water into a tasty beverage, taking water from boring to wow!*
More sugar free drink recipes are available online, at www.SweetLeaf.com and on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sweetleafstevia.
*Adequate hydration is shown to improve body and brain functions, and promotes beautiful skin.