Thursday, April 3, 2014

Foods to Prevent Your Arteries from Clogging


Like any plumbing system, your arteries can get clogged up. When you have high blood pressure, inflammation causes cholesterol to stick to the walls of your blood vessels, forming a plaque. The following foods are powerful enough to prevent this dangerous clogging.
Kiwi and Cantaloupe
These antioxidant-rich foods work by reducing toxic LDL cholesterol, which is formed by a rusting process in your arteries. They can help stop the “rust” in its tracks and even prevent it from spreading. Eat 1 cup of cantaloupe or 1 kiwi a day to unclog your arteries.
Despite being a source of cholesterol, shrimp can be helpful for your heart. They contain taurine, an amino acid, which acts like plastic wrap so fats can’t cross the intestinal wall and get into your arteries. Try having 5 medium-sized steamed or grilled shrimp twice a week. Be sure to avoid the cocktail sauces.

Red-Skinned Grapes and Cranberry Juice
These foods strain the fat out your arteries. Instead of having fat build up in your blood vessels, these foods improve your cells' ability to absorb the fat and use it for energy production. Drink a glass of cranberry juice three times a week or eat 1 cup of grapes per day to unclog your arteries.
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Reasons Lemon Juice Is a Superfood


  • Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.

  • Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.
  • Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight, new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.
  • Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.
  • Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, the combination of lemon juice and cornstarch can help relieve some of the sting.
  • Aids in digestion: Even Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.
  • Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.
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5 Germiest Places You're Not Cleaning


It's easy for bacteria and food particles to get trapped in the crevasses of sponges, creating ideal conditions for bacteria to breed. Moist, dark — what else could bacteria ask for?!
What to do: Try antibacterial sponges and dish soaps to limit the lesser of bacteria evils — but neither are very effective at controlling the spread of big name baddies like E. Coli and Salmonella . Be extra safe by disinfecting sponges at least once a week by soaking in a bleach solution for 5 minutes, or microwaving on high for two minutes. (The microwave method has even been shown to kill 99 percent of bacteria!)
Kitchen Buttons, Knobs, and Handles
Taking something from the fridge, grabbing spices from the cabinet, preheating the oven, zapping something in the microwave — a lot goes into cooking a meal, including any bacteria from that raw chicken or unwashed produce.
What to do: To minimize the risk, some experts recommend using a disinfectant on any frequently used kitchen surfaces several times a day, especially before and after preparing a meal. Keep it carefree by keeping antibacterial wipes right on the counter for easy access.
Cutting Boards
With all the ingredients flying around that kitchen, it's hard to keep designated cutting boards for each type of food. (Fresh veggies tossed on a board right after a raw steak probably isn't such a good idea). But this hotbed for cross-contamination is essential to keep clean. Scientists debate whether wood or plastic makes for a better board: Plastic boards seem safer and easier to clean (because they're not porous), but once they're scored from repeated slicing, it's hard to clean the microscopic grooves. Wood sucks bacteria down into its core, but researchers disagree about whether bacteria ever resurface; one study noted that heavily used wooden boards were more problematic than new ones.
What to do: Keep plastic boards clean by regularly running through the dishwasher (or washing with near-boiling water if the dishwasher isn't an option). Consider microwaving wooden ones to get the bad guys out. (But be careful — some folks have managed to catch their cutting boards on fire.) Let both boards air-dry completely before storing to minimize potential bacteria growth. But since the research is really mixed, just be sure to replace heavily nicked boards regularly.
Drip Coffee Maker
Even though coffee itself has some antimicrobial properties, coffee makers still need to be cleaned. Most home coffee makers don’t get hot enough to kill anything growing in the wet, dark environment of the water reservoir or the machine’s internal piping.
What to do: Running a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar through the machine once a month may help inhibit the growth of mold and some bacteria. Let half the mixture run through the machine, then switch it off for an hour before finishing the cycle. And don’t forget to deep-clean the carafe!
Pillows aren’t just packed with feathers — turns out they can also be home to several types of allergy-inflaming fungi. (Ick.) And all those hours spent sweating, shedding skin, and drooling like a sheepdog also create ideal conditions for dust mites, another potential allergy trigger.
What to do: In addition to regularly laundering bedding (specific instructions below), anti-allergen covers can help protect pillows from outside germs getting in and keep the sneezy stuff (down, anyone?) inside.

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Make Your Own Carpet Cleaner for a Steam Cleaner


You will need:
–Warm Water
–2 Gallon Pitcher
–Distilled White Vinegar
–Bleach-free liquid dish soap
–Essential Oils (optional)
What to do:
  1. In 2-Gallon Pitcher, mix 1 gallon of warm water with 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1/4 cup of bleach-free liquid dish soap.  Optionally you can add a few drops of essential oils to give carpet fresh scent.
  2. Pour mixture into the cleaning solution reservoir of your carpet cleaning machine.
  3. Be sure to pre-treat any stains.
  4. Clean carpets as normal.
This option allows you to get a great clean for your carpets for a fraction of the cost you would pay for carpet cleaner.  It can allow you to clean more often for less!
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6 Speed Cleaning Tips


1. Move in a circle around the rooms. Make a pact to not come back to finish something. This will only slow you down. Do things thoroughly the first time. This includes dishes.  This should be done the night before, if need be.
2. To avoid spending precious time (and elbow grease!) scrubbing stuck on food in the kitchen,mix simple white vinegar and equal parts dish soap together. Gently shake. Spray on your stuck on food areas and allow to sit while you work on the counter, appliances, and the rest of the dishes. When you make you come back, the mess should wipe right up!
3. Get yourself a tub, preferably with a handle that you can set all of your cleaning supplies in. Wearing an apron also helps so you can place sponges, old toothbrushes and wipes in your pocket. Doing this allows you to not waste time going to and from your cleaning supply storage area and instead, allows you to carry everything you need with you.
4. One of the best tips for speed cleaning is to clean as you go throughout your day so when it comes times to do some deeper cleaning, it isn’t much at all. This is as simple as whipping up spills as they happen while cooking, putting items back as soon as you are done with them and sweeping after meals or other times when messes are bound to be made.
5. Have a daily timed decluttering session. Set a timer for 10 – 15 minutes and have everyone pick up as much clutter as they can in that time. It is amazing how much can be picked up in 10 minutes! Doing this sometime before dinner will greatly reduce the amount of cleaning that has to be done before bed time.
6. Have labeled bins for each room in your house, including children’s bedrooms. Set the out in a neutral area in your home and as you go through each room, place items that belong somewhere else in the appropriate container. When you are done cleaning and straightening up, place each bin in the appropriate room. This will keep you from making several trips to each room to put things away as well as allow other family members, especially younger children, put their items away in an organized manner.
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4 Ways to Save $100 Per Year


DVDs & CD’s

Not all libraries offer free DVD rentals, but if your library does, take advantage of it! Our kids especially love checking out old TV series to watch during movie time each day. We also have enjoyed checking out music CD’s from the library, too.
I can’t even begin to fathom the money we’ve saved by checking out DVDs from the library over the years instead of renting or buying them!

Kid’s Toys

Many libraries have kid’s play areas — with puzzles or other toys that children can play with. It’s a great place to take your children on cold winter days that doesn’t cost any money (and mom can bring some books home, too!). All for free.


Check your library to see what their audiobook collection is like. Many have a pretty extensive collection — and some even offer audiobooks you can download for a time period.

Local Attraction Memberships

Some libraries offer memberships to local attractions (zoos, museums, etc.) that you can “check out”. If your library offers this, it’s a great way to visit local attractions and have some family fun — without spending a dime!

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Awesome Money Saving Tips for Families


Sign Up for Customer Rewards Programs
Signing up for customer rewards programs is free and full of benefits.  I sign up for all that are available, even if I don't shop at the store too often.  I created an email just for my rewards and coupon related mail.  I check it just before shopping at certain stores to print coupons, compare deals, etc.  This has saved us so much money!  An example- Michaels Craft Store- if you sign up for their coupon emails, they will email you 50% coupons often.  Then, just before going to purchase something from there you can check for the latest coupon offers, print them out,  AND SAVE!

Use items like baking soda and vinegar to clean
Cleaning products are expensive.  Why buy them when you can make them?  There are so many simple homemade cleaning recipes.  You can make your own bleach or use baking soda to clean- here are 62 different ways to use baking soda.  You can also make your own floor cleaner..... and the list goes on.  

Not using it?  Unplug it!  We started doing this a bit ago and noticed a slight decrease in our electric bill.  This slight decrease adds up to huge savings over time!  Unplug the coffee pot, toaster, blender, and more after each use unless it is programmed cause then you will lose your settings

Make Your own Gifts
There are tons of gifts you can make for family and friends instead of buying them.  These gifts are more personal and hold more meaning too- all while saving money!  Here are some toys we have made for the girls that would make great gifts for children.f
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5 Tips for Beginning Gardeners


1.  Grow What You Eat

Rule #1 – If you (or your family) won’t eat it, don’t grow it.  If you’ve got limited space and time, focus on the fruits or vegetables that your family enjoys the most.  It’s no accident that the most popular produce item grown in backyard gardens is the tomato.  The taste a homegrown tomato is worlds apart from tomato shipped green from a thousand miles away to your grocery store.  Other garden crops might not be quite as dramatic in their taste differences, but you will notice a difference.  Some foods store better than others, too, so give some thought to storage crops.

2. Be Prepared to Spend Time in Your Garden

There’s an old saying that says, “The best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow.”  If you’re not prepared to make time in your schedule to tend to your plants, you may be betting off hitting the farmer’s market, or sticking with extremely low maintenance items like sprouts or herbs.  Depending on the size of your plantings, time requirements may range from a few minutes per day to a full time job.

3.  Start Small, Scale Up

A small, well-tended garden can produce as much or more than a large, poorly tended garden. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and give up if you get overextended.  Pick your favorites, estimate the amount of time and space you have available, and go from there.  Ask others who garden in your area how much time they spend in their gardens, and that should give you a ballpark figure for the time your garden may require.

4.  Test Your Soil

A basic home soil test kit can be found online or at most hardware stores for around $10, or you can contact your local cooperative extension office.  “The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network.  … These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes.”  See more about using a soil test kit in “Soil Testing – Why I Use Worm Castings“.
Most garden crops prefer soil with a pH around 7 (neutral), although some like conditions that are slightly acidic (potatoes, for instance) or slightly alkaline (brassicas).  Balanced nutrient levels are also important, as is the presence of organic matter.  Ideally, most plants prefer a deep, well-drained, fertile soil rich in organic matter.  Each year I add a combination of different types of organic matter.  I have also added rock powders, used cover crops, weed tea, and other fertility boosters.  In general, I work to improve the soil, not just to feed the plant.  For information on some truly innovative gardening techniques, check out page 2 of the article “How to Grow (Lots of) Tomatoes Organically“.

5.  Find a Good Seed Source

Sometimes, you get what you pay for, sometimes not.  When I first started gardening, I used some of the same companies my mom used to order from, and I tried some new ones that seemed to offer great deals, like Burgess.  I don’t order from any of those companies any more.  My favorite seed sources can be found in the article, “My Favorite Seed Sources, Seed Storage and Germination“.  Dave’s Garden Watch Dog is a great place to check out a company before you order from them.
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