Retirement Isn’t What it Used To Be…

AMAC: Many seniors who can’t afford to retire are joining America’s ‘nomadic workforce’

AMAC: Many seniors who can’t afford to retire are joining America’s ‘nomadic workforce’
WASHINGTON, DC, Mar 16 – A big part of the American Dream is the promise of an easier lifestyle in retirement, but “too many older Americans are living a vagabond existence in a retirement nightmare,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Weber says that many would-be retirees dream of a life on the open road. “They fantasize about finally purchasing that RV they’ve always wanted and the prospect of driving off on cross country road trips. And, yes, there are those who manage to save enough for retirement and are well able to afford their fantasy. And then there are those who travel across America’s highways and byways in used campers—not for enjoyment, but to survive. There are tens of thousands of them, all part of what has come to be known as America’s nomadic workforce.”
The Great Recession that began in 2008 set the stage for this new lifestyle, according to Weber. “There are numerous rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of people who labored long and hard only to lose their savings in the recession and its aftermath. Now they are on the road in search of seasonal jobs as a means to make ends meet.”
The ‘nomadic workforce’ has grown so large that new online and offline recruitment services have been established to offer far-flung opportunities for mobile seniors to earn a living. CoolWorks.com, for example, lists seasonal “careers” in locations throughout the U.S. Snagajob.com is another service founded in the 21st Century to serve the needs of the nomadic workforce as is Backdoorjobs.com.
And, perhaps more to the point, mega-retailer, Amazon created a division called CamperForce some ten years ago. “It’s what you might call a full-service seasonal employment agency offering ‘opportunities’ for RV’ers throughout the U.S., particularly during Amazon’s busiest time of the year, the months prior to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” says Weber. And, he adds, “it is important to note that CamperForce was established with senior citizens in mind, people in their 60s and 70s.  In fact, CamperForce recruiter Kelly Calmes boasts “we’ve had folks in their eighties who do a phenomenal job for us.

Chowline: Why Is Corned Beef Pink?

Today’s corned beef is now brined or cured using a salt water or sodium nitrite mixture, which fixes the pigment in the meat and causes it to be pink in color…………………….

Since corned beef is pink, how do you know if it’s fully cooked? And why is it pink anyway?

Corned beef is a brined, tougher cut of meat that can be either the brisket, rump or round that many Americans traditionally like to eat on St. Patrick’s Day along with cabbage.

Corned beef got its name from the corning or curing process that was historically used to preserve meat before modern refrigeration. The beef cuts were dry-cured in coarse pellets of salt that were typically the size of a kernel of corn. The pellets were rubbed into the meat to keep it from spoiling. Hence the name “corned” beef.

Today’s corned beef is now brined or cured using a salt water or sodium nitrite mixture, which fixes the pigment in the meat and causes it to be pink in color.

That’s why corned beef remains pink after cooking, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. While many people think the color pink means that beef is not fully cooked, it’s important to note that this is not the case with corned beef.

However, because corned beef is a tougher cut of meat, it does take longer to fully cook. Corned beef is safe to eat once its internal temperature has reached at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and has stood for about 20 minutes after removing it from heat, USDA recommends.

If you purchase corned beef, it can be safely stored in a refrigerator for up to 7 days past its sell-by date. If your package has a use-by date, the meat can be stored unopened in the refrigerator until that date, USDA recommends.

Corned beef can be safely cooked several ways, USDA says, including:

  • In the oven set at 350 degrees, with the brisket fat-side up. The meat should be slightly covered with about 1 inch of water, with the container covered throughout the cooking time. Allow about 1 hour per pound.
  • On the stove with the brisket fat-side up in a large pot covered with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, allowing about 1 hour per pound. Vegetables may be added during the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking.
  • In a slow cooker. If you plan to use vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, put them in the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Add about enough water to cover the meat and cook on the high setting for the first hour of cooking. Then cook for 10 to 12 hours on the low setting or 5 to 6 hours on high. Cabbage wedges may be added on top of the brisket during the last 3 hours of cooking.
  • In a microwave oven, allowing 20 to 30 minutes ofcooking time per pound. Place brisket in a large casserole dish and add enough water to cover the meat. Cover with a lid or vented plastic wrap and microwave on medium-low for half the estimated time. Turn the meat over and rotate the dish. Microwave on high for the remainder of time or until fork tender. Vegetables may be added during the final 30 minutes of cooking.

Leftover corned beef should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and can be eaten safely for up to 4 days. Frozen leftover corned beef can safely be eaten for up to 3 months, USDA says. To reheat leftover corned beef, the meat should be brought up to 165 degrees before eating.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected].

Make a Lasting Difference

When looking for opportunities to make an impact on the lives of others, selecting a cause to support can be an overwhelming task with so many options to choose from………………..

(Family Features) Whether you’re considering ways to give to deserving causes or looking for the perfect gift for a loved one for a special occasion, remember that not every gift is a tangible item. In fact, some of the best gifts are those you can’t touch at all, but those that make the world a better place.

Socially motivated gifts, of your own accord or on behalf of someone else, are much more than a one-time present. They have the potential to make a significant impact on lives or to further the work of a cause-based organization.

Consider these giving options to make a lasting impact:

Retirement plans: Because retirement plans are taxed differently than most assets, they may actually become a tax liability. Naming a nonprofit organization as a beneficiary of your retirement account can be an attractive option for leaving a legacy and reducing income, and possibly estate taxes, for loved ones. A tax-exempt organization may be eligible to receive the full amount, bypassing income taxes. This means, for example, that a $100,000 IRA can be worth the full $100,000.

Life insurance plans: A gift of life insurance is an affordable way to make a significant gift while also enjoying tax savings during your lifetime. Benefits include the ability to give a significant gift at a fraction of the value; tax savings that can be immediately realized; a reduction in the final taxes of your estate and the ability to pass gifts outside of your estate.

Gifts of real estate: You may decide that the greatest gift you can make is to leave your home or other property to a charitable organization. This kind of gift is ideal for someone who intends to continue living in his or her home or property through their lifetime, but still make a charitable gift. You can leave this generous gift by signing an agreement with an organization about maintaining the property so you can use it throughout your lifetime. You may even receive a tax deduction for your gift.

Gifts of stock: Stocks, bonds and mutual funds that have appreciated in value are among the best ways to gift a nonprofit organization. You may receive a charitable income tax deduction for the full market value of the stock (up to a maximum of 30 percent of your adjusted gross income) and avoid paying the capital gains tax on any increase in the value of the stock.

Gifts of cash: This type of gift is simple and eligible for an immediate charitable tax credit. Although many organizations allow you to specify how you would like the funds to be used, an unrestricted monetary donation allows the organization to allocate your contribution into the project or area that needs funds most.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

If you designate a gift on someone’s behalf, be sure to share a card or a note with the honoree letting them know about the contribution. Particularly if it’s a cause close to the heart, it’s sure to be just as gratefully received, if not more so, as any trinket you might buy.

Find more ideas for gifts that make a lasting difference at eLivingToday.com.

4 Ways to Make an Impact on Children

When looking for opportunities to make an impact on the lives of others, selecting a cause to support can be an overwhelming task with so many options to choose from. However, considering opportunities that can change the lives of kids is one way to make a lasting impact for generations to come.

Helping children early on can change the trajectory of their lives, set them up for success and empower them to achieve their dreams. This is especially important for kids living in poverty who are not guaranteed access to things like medical care and quality educations. According to global humanitarian organization Children International, nearly half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day and 1 in 5 kids in the United States lives in poverty.

Consider these ideas to make an impact on children in need now and well into the future:

Become a mentor or coach. A positive role model can make a life-changing difference for a child from disadvantaged circumstances. As a mentor or a coach, you can help children explore and nurture their unique talents and guide them toward a successful future.

Volunteer at a local school. Families increasingly rely on two incomes to support their households, which means parents are less available to lend their time to their children’s classrooms or schools. At the same time, public school funding is shrinking. As a volunteer, you can help fill these gaps and contribute to bettering the learning opportunities for children in your community.

Sponsor a child. You may be surprised to learn how far a monetary donation can go. For example, Children International supporters can join a monthly giving program and sponsor a child in poverty for $32 per month. Your donation establishes a connection with an individual child who receives access to life-changing benefits like medical care, educational support and life-skills training. The institution is a CharityWatch top-rated organization that serves 250,000 children in 10 countries. If a reoccurring donation is not right for you, the organization also accepts one-time donations. Learn more at children.org.

Donate new or used items. Service organizations such as shelters generally operate on tight budgets and rely on contributions from the community. Gently used items in good condition such as children’s clothing of all sizes and warm bedding are generally welcome.

 

SOURCE:
eLivingToday.com 

Pistachio Cake

WATCH THE VIDEO. This looks yummy………………

This delicious Pistachio Cake will be a hit at your next get together.  Simple to make and your guests will devour it in minutes.  For more recipes go to www.culinary.net.

Pistachio Cake

  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 cup Club Soda
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Frosting

  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 carton frozen whipped topping, thawed.
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray non-stick spray into bundt pan.
  2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, club soda and canola oil into a large bowl.  Beat mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add in walnuts and stir.
  3. Transfer mix to prepared bundt pan.
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  5. Cool in pan 10 minutes before transferring to plate.
  6. For Frosting: Combine pudding mix and milk in large bowl.  Beat mixture on low for 1 minute.
  7. Fold in thawed whipped topping.
  8. Spread over cake.
  9. Refrigerate until serving.

SOURCE:
Culinary.net

How to Get the Best Deals Online

Retailers have become quite sophisticated at monitoring shoppers’ habits and behaviors, and while it may feel a little invasive, it can pay off to your advantage…………

(Family Features) There are obvious benefits to shopping online. You can skip the lines and congested parking lots all while taking your time and enjoying the comfort of shopping in your pajamas. One of the biggest draws, however, is the potential money savings.

Learn how to make the most of your online shopping and nab the best digital deals with these tips:

Subscribe to email lists. In the past, most people avoided email lists like the plague. However, email subscribers get some of the best deals that retailers offer, so if you can tolerate a few more messages in your inbox, it’s a good way to stay in-the-know about sales and promotions.

Combine membership benefits. Many member-based programs are expanding their partnerships with other retailers to offer enhanced benefits. Keeping tabs on the latest offers can ensure you’re maximizing your membership. One example is Woot.com, which features daily deals on items ranging from top tech gadgets to kitchen gizmos to sporting goods, and now offers free shipping for Amazon Prime members. Visit woot.com/prime to learn more.

Seek out discount codes. Whether you subscribe to a site that aggregates codes, rely on a browser extension or even do a manual search, wait to confirm an order until first checking to see if there are any discount codes available. Some retailers make it easier than others by having a code tool built into their checkout screen, but even if they don’t, it can be worth the extra time to verify the current offers.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Check in on daily deals. Many online retailers specialize in daily deals and site-wide offers, which you can explore by visiting the individual sites or, in some cases, registering for notifications. Be aware that many of these deals are available for a limited time and in limited quantities, such as on Woot.com, which launches new deals every 30 minutes on select days. It’s to your advantage to understand how often your favorite sites post new deals and the flash sales they offer. Some of the best ways to stay connected are by subscribing to the site’s newsletter or following the site’s social media channels.

Use your shopping cart. Retailers have become quite sophisticated at monitoring shoppers’ habits and behaviors, and while it may feel a little invasive, it can pay off to your advantage. For example, if you place items in your shopping cart then close out of your browser, it’s possible you’ll receive an email within the next day or two with an offer to incentivize you to complete your purchase.

Take advantage of free shipping. If your purchase isn’t time-sensitive or you have some flexibility, take advantage of free shipping offers. Look for sites that provide free shipping for shoppers, or those that don’t offer free shipping every day but regularly run free shipping promotions. Check shipping thresholds to see when free shipping becomes available (often based on the price of the order) and consider combining purchases to take advantage of free shipping offers.

Once you have a few tricks in place, scoring savings online can be more lucrative and easier than old-school coupon clipping. Combine that with the convenience of shopping from home and you’ve got one smart deal.

 

SOURCE:
Woot!

5 Ways to Refresh Your Home for Spring

A spring refresh is about more than just decluttering and cleaning, it’s about giving new life to your home……………….

(Family Features) Spring is a time for renewal and awakenings. It’s also the perfect time to take your cues from Mother Nature and devise a plan to reduce and reimagine your way to a refreshing, updated home you can fully enjoy once more.

Reorganize cluttered areas
If a room (or rooms) in your house are in disarray, start by reorganizing those often-used spaces to give them a like-new look and feel. Begin by removing everything from the room – including the furniture, if you’re able – and separate your belongings into boxes or piles based on what you plan to put back in the room, move to another location and throw away or donate. Once you’ve cleaned the space, resituate the necessary furniture then place items you’re keeping back in their places in tidy fashion so they’re easy to locate.

Eliminate the extras
While you’re freshening up the house, it’s the perfect time to purge unwanted and unused items, but remember that items in good condition can actually do good for those in need. By donating clothing, electronics, furniture, household goods and vehicles to be sold in The Salvation Army Family and Thrift Stores, you can help transform lives in your local community. A good rule of thumb: if you haven’t used it in the last year and it doesn’t have special sentimental value, it’s probably time to let it go.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Get rid of grime
A whole season’s worth of dirt and dust accumulates during the cold winter months. A deep clean inside and out can restore your home to its former glory. Inside, take time to launder all of your linens, including curtains, rugs and bedding. Move furniture to vacuum behind and below, and don’t overlook dust and dirt magnets like mirrors, light fixtures and the insides of cabinets, especially higher shelves that see infrequent use. Outdoors, hose off or power-wash surfaces like windows, siding, decks and concrete to restore a crisp, clean appearance.

Revise for real life
If there’s an area of your home that isn’t quite working for your lifestyle, spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to make a change. That may mean reconfiguring furniture for a more functional living room or converting an underused guest room into a useful craft or project space. Take time to consider what changes will make the space more practical, and even sketch out some possibilities on paper to fine-tune your ideas before you get to work.

Discover new decor
A spring refresh is about more than just decluttering and cleaning, it’s about giving new life to your home with new decor, accessories and artwork. One affordable option: seek out unexpected treasures by shopping for great bargains at thrift stores. The proceeds from the sale of items found at shops like The Salvation Army Thrift and Family Stores go to help those in need, and it’s one simple way to update your decor without spending a fortune.

Visit SATruck.org to schedule a donation pick-up or find a thrift store near you.

 

SOURCE:
Salvation Army

Chowline: Wash Your Hands When Using Your Smartphone or Tablet While Cooking

To avoid foodborne illness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that you wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds…………………

I often watch video recipes on my smartphone while cooking. I always wash my hands before I start cooking, but it’s never occurred to me to wash them again each time I touch my phone. Can that make me sick?

YES!

I don’t want to totally gross you out, but the average smartphone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat.

In fact, the average person touches their smartphone 2,617 times a day, according to a study by dscout, a Chicago-based research firm.

Because people often take their phones with them everywhere, including into the potty, various microbes are transferred when the phones are touched. Some of those microbes can survive for up to 16 months, according to research published in 2006 in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Research has also shown that smartphones and tablets can harbor bacteria such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, and even Escherichia coli or E. coli. Staphylococcus aureus is particularly harmful considering it is a bacterium that is growing increasingly impervious to antibiotics and has emerged as a top killer of hospitalized patients, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.

So, if you are using your phone or tablet to watch cooking demonstrations or look up recipes while cooking, you really should wash your hands each time you touch your device.

“Consumers play an important role in the safety of the food they eat and are the last line of defense for preventing foodborne disease, because safe, in-home preparation and consumption practices can reduce the risk of illness,” according to a food safety study in the Journal of Food Protection.

However, the study found that 40 percent of people say they don’t wash their hands after using a device, like a smartphone or tablet, while cooking.

Another study, co-authored by Sanja Ilic, food safety specialist for Ohio State University Extension in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), found that most consumers don’t pay much attention to clean hands between handling exposed foods and touching unsanitary electronic devices, body parts or hair, and surfaces.

That can lead to foodborne illnesses, including norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, and is the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks. It’s estimated that the average person will get norovirus five times during his or her lifetime, according to a report in Food Safety News.

To avoid foodborne illness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that you wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds:

  • before and after handling food
  • after using the bathroom
  • after changing a diaper
  • after handling pets
  • after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
  • after handling raw eggs, meat, poultry, or fish

And remember to wash your hands each time you touch your smartphone or tablet while cooking!

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Throw a Shamrockin’ St. Patrick’s Day Party

With Irish Classics and Green-Tinted Treats…………….

(Family Features) It doesn’t take the Luck o’ the Irish to throw a great St. Patrick’s Day party. These tips and recipes will help you throw a festive celebration you’ll enjoy as much as your guests — including make-ahead corned beef and a minty-green cookie recipe both adults and little leprechauns will love.


For more St. Patrick’s Day recipes, check out www.McCormick.com and visit McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.“We’ve developed recipes that make the tastes of Ireland easy to create — from a simple Irish Soda Bread to a classic corned beef and cabbage recipe that can be made in a slow cooker,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. “And don’t forget the treats! Our Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect ending to a perfectly green party.”

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1–1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Green Food Color
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, food color and peppermint extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Drop by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake 10–12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Savory Irish Cheese Soda Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Caraway Seed
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Red Pepper, Ground
  • 1/2 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and seasonings in large bowl. Stir in cheese. Set aside. Mix eggs and buttermilk in medium bowl. Add to dry ingredients; stir until well blended. Spread in lightly grease 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Bake 30–40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Tip: Make muffins instead of bread. Prepare dough as directed and divide among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake 20–25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

  • 8 small red potatoes
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 corned beef brisket (4 pounds), rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Mixed Pickling Spice
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
  1. Place potatoes, carrots and onion in slow cooker. Place corned beef brisket over vegetables. Sprinkle with pickling spice and minced garlic. Add enough water (about 8 cups) to just cover meat. Cover.
  2. Cook 7 hours on high. Add cabbage. Cover. Cook 1–2 hours on high or until cabbage is tender-crisp.
  3. Remove corned beef brisket to serving platter. Slice thinly across grain. Serve with vegetables.

Tip: For best results, do not remove cover while cooking in slow cooker.

SOURCE:
McCormick & Company, Inc.

Kickstart Healthy Habits

Exercise is one of your strongest weapons against illness. A regular routine that gets your blood pumping is good for overall health and your immune system………..

(Family Features) When it seems that everyone around you is feeling under the weather, you can be your own best line of defense against getting sick. Help ward off sickness for yourself and your family with these self-care tips that help promote healthy habits and fight off illness.

Eat right. A diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables can give your body the immunity-boosting nutrients it needs to function properly. Avoid excess, empty calories and instead aim for meals that deliver a healthy balance of all food groups.

Wash, wash, wash. Kids and bacteria go hand-in-hand, literally. Kids’ hands are everywhere, including some surfaces that may be more susceptible to bacteria. Hand-washing is a simple way to encourage healthy habits all year round, and Softsoap Liquid Hand Soaps make it easy to gently wash away bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand-washing is an important step to help avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. You can find more hand-washing tips and information by visiting CDC.gov/handwashing.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Get up and move. Exercise is one of your strongest weapons against illness. A regular routine that gets your blood pumping is good for overall health and your immune system. It can help flush toxins and keep your body in top condition.

Just say no. When it comes to protecting yourself and your family, give yourself permission to draw hard lines about spending time with those who aren’t feeling well. Reschedule play dates or other events that might unnecessarily expose your family to germs.

Rest up. When your sleep schedule is off, so is your whole system, and that makes you more susceptible to illness. Everyone’s precise sleep requirements are different; you’ll know you’re getting enough if you feel rested when you wake up. If you’re not, and more overnight rest isn’t realistic, look for ways to sneak in some extra rest time during the day.

Enjoy the outdoors. Even when it’s cooler than you’d like, brief time outdoors can do plenty to lift your spirits and, in turn, your overall well-being. The fresh air and vitamin D from a bright, sunny day are free and easy ways to give your body a boost and help ward off illness.

Kickstart your healthy habits by visiting Softsoap.com .

 

SOURCE:
Softsoap

4 Bedroom Upgrades that Won’t Break the Bank

You don’t have to rush and upgrade your entire bedroom all at one time. To ensure you’re getting the best value, look for deals on specific items throughout the year…………………..

(Family Features) Upgrading your bedroom might sound like a daunting task. You may assume it costs an arm and a leg, takes months and requires professionals to complete. However, upgrading your bedroom doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank, or your back. Investing in a few quality upgrades to some bedroom essentials can make your life less stressful and more cost- and energy-effective.

Whether you’ve moved to a new space, or just want a fresh look and feel, these are four unique, functional additions you can make to your bedroom.

Smart Lighting
Lighting makes the difference between a cozy, inviting escape and a cold, fluorescently lit room. You can upgrade your traditional bedroom with high-tech, smart lightbulbs, which can save you money in the long-run due to their energy efficiency. These lightbulbs are often dimmable, feature Wi-Fi capability and can be controlled from a central hub, like your phone, via manufacturer or third-party apps.

Adjustable Base
An adjustable base can help take your sleep to new heights. Today, adjustable bases come in a variety of designs and sizes, and are usually discrete and sturdy. If you suffer from neck pain or back pain, sleeping in a reclined position in an adjustable bed can help decrease the pressure on your spine by creating an angle between your thighs and trunk, according to Healthline. Bases are easily customizable, usually via remote, so you can find your favorite bed position, whether you’re sleeping, reading or lounging. Learn more about adjustable bases at mattressfirm.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Blackout Curtains
The right curtains can help pull together the look of a room, change the perceived size, impact the lighting, reduce noise and even help with temperature control, especially if you have older windows. There are a variety of size and color options to choose from at different price points, so you can spend less time adjusting your thermostat and more time enjoying your sleep space.

Self-Adhesive Wallpaper
Self-adhesive wallpaper is one way to upgrade your entire bedroom. There are trendy, customizable options available that are easy to install. The right wall color can bring together the aesthetic of a room, and peel-and-stick wallpaper can provide it without the mess and fumes of traditional wall paint. Self-adhesive wallpaper can be applied to any flat surface, so you’re not just limited to walls, and if you change your mind, it’s removable and residue-free.

Remember, you don’t have to rush and upgrade your entire bedroom all at one time. To ensure you’re getting the best value, look for deals on specific items throughout the year and rely on retailers such as Mattress Firm that can help stretch your budget, offering you more for less.

 

SOURCE:
Mattress Firm

Chowline: How to Get Kids to Adopt Healthier Eating Habits

You should limit sugar in your child’s diet. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 to 18 eat fewer than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day………………

I saw a recent report that says that childhood obesity is still on the rise, and that has me really worried. What can I do to help my child eat healthier?

You are right. According to a new report released this week, the number of children in the United States between the ages of 2 to 19 who are obese reached 18.5 percent in 2015 and 2016. That’s an increase from 14 percent in 1999, according to the study that appears in the February issue of the Pediatrics journal.

Researchers studied data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination survey to come up with their findings. They also found that the percentage of children ages 2 to 5 who are obese hit nearly 14 percent during the same time period. That’s an increase from 9 percent in 1999.

So what can you do if you are a parent or caregiver of a child and want to get them to eat healthier?

You can first make sure that you serve them balanced meals and snacks that offer a variety of nutrient-rich foods, advises the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can also eat meals together as a family, which helps to improve nutrition and promote healthy weight for children, the organization says.

Other tips the academy offers include:

  • Avoid pressuring or forcing children to eat, and allow them to signal when they are full.
  • Offer a healthy variety of foods from different cultures.
  • Cook more meals at home.
  • Take children to the grocery story when you shop for food and teach them information on food groups including grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and proteins.
  • Have children plant a garden with you and learn about how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Let kids help in the kitchen during meal preparation.
  • Have healthy snacks easily available to children, including kid-sized cut up fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid watching television while eating.
  • Older children can be taught to read and use the Nutrition Facts labels on food to understand what they are eating.
  • Model what you want your children to eat. If you eat healthier foods, they can learn to develop healthy eating habits as well.
  • Encourage children to drink more water and milk.

Additionally, you should limit sugar in your child’s diet. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 to 18 eat fewer than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day. That amount is equivalent to about 100 calories or 25 grams. It’s important to note that added sugars are any sugars — including table sugar, fructose and honey — either used in processing and preparing foods or beverages, added to foods at the table, or eaten separately.

The American Heart Association also estimates that calories needed by children range from 1,000 a day for a sedentary 2-year-old to 2,400 for an active 14- to 18-year-old girl and 3,200 for an active 16- to 18-year-old boy.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected].

photo credit: Thinkstock

Your Cat’s Scratch Has Met Its Match

Why cats scratch and how to safely stop it………………………………..

(Family Features) Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.

It’s a normal human response to be angry or frustrated about damage inflicted by cats’ scratching, but equally normal is a cat’s need to scratch. Cat scratching is a behavior that fulfills both physical and emotional needs. Cats scratch to stretch their bodies, maintain their hunting and climbing skills, groom their claws and mark their territory, showing they’re in a safe space.

However, these behaviors cats exhibit to establish a safe living space can be anything but pleasant for their human companions. This can lead frustrated owners to take drastic measures to modify behavior, but those decisions can be risky, especially when it comes to a permanent and potentially harmful practice like declawing.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Many pet owners believe that declawing their cats is a harmless and quick fix for unwanted scratching, similar to trimming one’s nails. However, if a declawing procedure were performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

“Not only does the practice cause pain, it removes an important self-defense tool and the surgery itself poses risks related to anesthesia and infection,” said Dr. Valarie V. Tynes, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, licensed veterinarian and veterinary services specialist at Ceva Animal Health. “All of this can lead to behavioral issues that may be worse than a shredded couch.”

Declawing is an irreversible measure to address a normal behavioral issue in cats. Declawed cats may be less likely to use a litter box, more likely to bite and the disruption of the natural scratching behavior can cause lasting physiological problems.

That sentiment is echoed by national organizations such as the American Association for Feline Practitioners, which deems the practice of declawing an ethically controversial procedure that is not medically necessary in most instances. In fact, declawing cats is now illegal in several U.S. cities.

Find alternatives to declawing, and cat-scratching solutions, at savethecouches.com.

5 Humane Alternatives to Declawing

There are numerous safe and painless alternatives to declawing, including these ideas from the pet behavior experts at Ceva Animal Health:

1. Routinely trim nails. Regular nail care is an important part of general care and hygiene for your cat, but it can also help prevent scratching damage by eliminating the sharp, destructive claw tips. Properly trimmed nails are less likely to snag or split, and cats with well-trimmed nails are less likely to resort to scratching as part of their own self-grooming rituals.

2. Create scratch-friendly zones. Keeping cats from scratching areas you don’t want them to bother is far more likely if you provide areas where they can scratch at will, such as scratching pads and posts. Pair these scratching areas with a product such as Feliscratch by Feliway, which is clinically proven to prevent destructive scratching by redirecting cats to scratch in the right place. Cats are attracted to the drug-free, naturally derived product and will feel compelled to scratch where it’s applied, leaving that chair or couch alone.

“Cat owners can now have damage-free home decor without putting their cats through the stress and potential physical harm of the painful declawing procedure,” Tynes said.

3. Reinforce off-limits areas. Cats are highly tactile, so applying textured materials like double-sided sticky tape or rough, crinkly aluminum foil to areas you don’t want scratched can be an effective deterrent.

4. Consult a behaviorist. Not all cases have easy answers, but an expert with experience in animal behavior can provide guidance based specifically on your cat’s personality and circumstances to help create a custom solution.

5. Eliminate negative reinforcements. Avoid punishing your cat for undesirable behavior. This includes shouting, spraying with water or swatting your cat. Punishment can increase stress and anxiety. It can make the problem worse and may even make your cat afraid of you.

DIY Scratching Post

Designating a spot for your cat to safely scratch is one of the most effective ways to minimize damage to your possessions. A homemade scratching post is a quick and easy project.

1. Cut foot-long length of 4-by-4-inch wood and a 1-foot square piece of plywood. The exact sizes can vary, but these are good starting points that you can adjust up or down, depending on your space.

2. Sand away splinters and rough edges.

3. Add a sturdy fabric wrap or paint to lend aesthetic appeal to the plywood base.

4. Wrap the post tightly with heavy-gauge rope or carpet scraps (or both), securing tightly with glue and reinforcing with a staple gun.

5. Securely attach the post to the base using a long bolt.

6. Place the post in an area your cat enjoys spending time, and consider adding a pheromone therapy spray to attract your cat to the post.

SOURCE:
Ceva Animal Health