Don't Drive Yourself Crazy

You are caught in traffic, and you’re late for an appointment. Just then, a tailgater rubs you the wrong way. “He’s way too close,” you think, as your pulse quickens. Then a lane hopper swerves in front of you and nearly runs you off the road. You grip the steering wheel tighter in a desperate attempt to maintain composure.

At that moment, anger seizes the wheel. You mutter to yourself under your breath, honk your horn and maneuver 3,000 pounds of metal like a race car driver.

Maybe you won’t be stopped by the police, but you will arrive at your destination angry and not ready for your appointment.

Experts agree that distraction coupled with heightened emotions contributes heavily to driver error, which causes a large percentage of accidents in the US.

Safety experts emphasize that while you can’t control someone else’s behavior, you can control your own. Below are several tips and strategies to defuse your tensions:

*Give yourself a moment to regain your composure. Breathe deeply, count to 10 or think serene thoughts.

*Consider potential consequences such as a ticket, a collision or higher insurance premiums

*Listen to soothing music.

*If emotion overwhelms you, pull over to a safe area. Get out of the car and walk around. Don’t get back on the road until you have calmed down.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

These tips are courtesy of Cousino Restoration

Learn more at The Red Cross

6 Reasons to Start a Garden

Get out your gardening tools and stock up on seeds. Growing your own food provides fresh ingredients for your meals, but you’ll soon see other benefits of home gardens that you may not have expected. Here are six ways to make the most of growing your own vegetables:

1. Control your crops

Growing your own produce lets you control what ends up on your family’s table. You decide what fertilizer, water and pest control to use, as well as whether to grow organic.

2. Live the ‘fresh is best’ lifestyle

Nothing beats the flavor-and-nutrient-packed power of fresh-picked fruits and vegetables. Once harvested, produce begins to lose moisture and nutrients. At the grocery store, the freshness of your vegetables is largely out of your control. But when you’ve grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can know exactly when they’ve been picked and how fresh they are.

3. Make your yard inviting

A vegetable and fruit garden can add life, color and beauty to your backyard. The smell of ripening strawberries and the sight of crisp cucumbers are a warm invitation to people and pollinators alike. Plants that sport beautiful flowers to encourage pollination—like beans, peas and fruit trees—can really make a splash in your backyard. Plus, the insects they attract will likely pollinate other plants as well, making your whole garden grow faster.

4. Cut down on your grocery budget

One of the biggest advantages of growing your own food is that it can save you money. The price of a pack of seeds is almost equivalent to what you would pay for a single vegetable or fruit at the store. It may even cost less when you factor in the money spent on the gas used to drive to the supermarket. Plus, you can grow organic vegetables for a fraction of what they retail for in store. When taking food costs into consideration, gardening can become an appealing option to cut back on your grocery bill.

5. Make gardening a family hobby

Gardening is a fun, family-friendly activity that allows kids to get their hands dirty and learn where their food comes from. From planting seedlings to building salads together, starting a vegetable garden is a great way to get your family off the couch and onto their feet.

6. Make your health a priority

There’s one important nutrient gardening can give you before you even take a bite of your produce: vitamin D. The sun’s rays promote vitamin D production, which is vital to our health. Tending a backyard garden for about 30 minutes daily can promote better sleep and positive energy. Just rremember the sunscreen.

Now that you see the benefits of starting a vegetable and fruit garden, learn how to plant one in 10 simple steps.

(This article is courtesy of


Chemical-Free Lawn Care

Did you know that the average family yard can have more chemicals acre for acre than the average farmland?  Lawn and garden chemical fertilizers and weed control products are the main culprit.  While it's convenient to have a lawn service treat your grass periodically throughout the season, over time what is the health affect on your family and pets who come in daily contact with those chemicals.

You can decrease the toxicity of your lawn by not using the nitrogen-rich, fast-releasing fertilizers.  In its place, use a mulching lawn mower so that your soil is fed by the clippings.  In addition, applying compost once or twice a year also helps keep your lawn's soil healthy, and a thick, healthy lawn will choke out weeds over time.  Raking the larger bare spots and applying grass seed is also helpful.  Seeds need to be kept moist by rains or daily watering until the grass seed sprouts and the roots are well-forming.  Spring and Fall are the best times for seeding as we get many good soaking rains which will cut down on hand watering.

There are organic lawn care products you can apply yourself that work well.  Some of the most common yard weeds in our area are crabgrass and dandelions.  Both of these weeds thrive in poor and compacted soil.  Aerating your lawn is helpful, as well as testing your soil's PH, and using lime or sulfur to adjust it.  In the case of dandelions, your soil most likely has a calcium imbalance.  Corn-gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that is best applied in early Spring.

Dandelions have many herbal health benefits so you might want to dig them up rather than kill them.  When I was young, my grandma used the flowers to make wine, and the leaves were used in a wilted salad with bacon, onion and a vinegar dressing.  Dandelions are rich in Vitamin A, C, iron, and calcium.  It is a great detoxifier, and is often used for liver, kidney, and urinary tract and digestive issues, as well as skin ailments such as eczema, achne and ringworm.



Vitamin C for Colds and Flu

We're once again in the middle of the cold and flu season here in Northwest Ohio.  There are many supplements you can take to boost your immune system, thereby helping you fight off all the bugs going around.  Vitamin C is one of those supplements, and possibly the best source of vitamin C is Camu-Camu, the natural vitamin C plant.

Camu-Camu (Myrciaria dubia) is the name of the bush that grows in the Amazonian rain forest of Peru.  It's orange-colored fruit is about the size of a lemon and has a higher recorded source of natural vitamin C than any other known plant on earth.  As a comparison of forms of vitamin C,  oranges provide 500-4,000 ppm vitamin c, acerola provides 16,000 to 172,000 ppm vitamin c, and camu-camu provides 30 times more vitamin C than oranges.  In general, people who previously used synthetic forms of vitamin C found that they could use far less camu-camu (100 to 200 mg daily). 

The camu-camu fruit has a range of other health-promoting properties.  In addition to strengthening your immune system, it also helps maintain skin, eye and gum health, formation of white blood cells,  support for the brain, lymph glands, heart and lungs, and has energizing and mood-lifting benefits.  The plant provides antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-viral, anti-pain, emollient and nutritive properties.  It has been found helpful in putting Shingles into remission, and some users found it helps stop cold sores very quickly, sometimes in just one day.

Besides being a great source of vitamin C, camu-camu also provides natural beta-carotene, calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, thiamin and the amino acids, valine, leucine and serine. 





Natural remedies for mosquito bites

With our wetter than normal weather, we seem to have an even bigger crop of mosquitos than usual this year.  They seem to hang at the door just waiting to get into the house and feast on us.  If you're like me and looking for natural remedies to soothe those bites, here are some home remedies to try:

  • inside of a banana peel
  • heated spoon placed on bite
  • apple cider vinegar
  • aloe vera
  • ice cubes
  • tea bags, moistened
  • tea-tree essential oil
  • baking soda and water or witch hazel paste
  • peppermint poultice or peppermint toothpaste
  • amonia
  • lime or lemon juice
  • slice of onion
  • salt and water paste
  • deodorant

I haven't tried all of these, but personally the heated spoon works the longest of all I have used.  Vinegar and aloe vera also work well for awhile, and after doing this research, I'm going to try the banana peel as it's based on old chinese medicine and said to work well on  the itch, swelling and redness and keeps the itch from coming back while speeding healing.  Good luck in your search for the best remedy.


Tips for working outdoors in the heat

Strenuous work outdoors on a hot, humid day can quickly take its toll on the body.  In addition to the heat absorbed from the sun, muscles will generate heat as they flex.  This added heat will help raise the body's temperature even higher.  It takes about 15 days for the average person to become acclimated to the hot weather.  Start with smaller jobs for brief periods early in the season, then work up to larger tasks. 

It's also important to wear the right clothes.  Long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and especially a wide-brimmed hat will protect you from the sun's intense rays, as more than 50% of the body's heat is absorbed or dissipated through the head.  Cotton fabrics are cooler than synthetics as they allow more air circulation between the fibers.  Dark fabrics block the sun's rays better than light ones, but they absorb more heat, so it's better to wear light-colored fabrics. 

Drink about 16 ounces of fluids 2 hours before starting work, and continue drinking as you feel thirsty.  Avoid ice-cold fluids when you're hot;  they can shock the stomach muscles and cause heat cramps.

Listen to your body.  Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.  Heat exhaustion starts with extreme thirst, then progresses into nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headaches and heat cramps.  If left unchecked, it will lead to heatstroke.

The Dirty Dozen Fruits and Vegetables

According to the USDA, there is a growing trend by consumers towards eating organic fruits and vegetable .

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly two thirds of the produce tested by the US Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues.   In these tests, pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested, even after they were washed, and in some instances, peeled.  Key findings from these tests include:

  • 99% of apples, 98% of peaches, and 97% of nectarines sampled tested positive for at least 1 pesticide residue.
  • A single grape and a sweet bell pepper contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas, and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides  a piece.

If you can't find or afford an all-organic diet, you can lessen your exposure to these dangerous pesticides by choosing wisely when shopping for fruits and vegetables.  They also suggest that if you can't afford anything organic, cooking them first dimishes the pesticides levels.  The EWG publishes a Dirty Dozen list each year to help consumers in our choices of fruits and vegetables.  Here is the 2015 list:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Snap Peas (imported)
  • Potatoes

Plus 2 more that don't fit all the EWG criteria, but are frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides, so they recommend limiting your consumption of these:

  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale, collard Greens and other leafy greens

The Clean 15 fruits and Vegetables which do not need to be organic:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwis
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potatoes