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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

11 Plants
That Repel Mosquitoes
11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
The days are finally getting longer, the snow is (slowly!) beginning to melt, and spring officially arrives in just a few days! While the prospect of warmer weather has us all a bit giddy, we can’t forget the unwelcome intruders that tag along with the sunny summer weather.

Yes, we are talking about mosquitoes, and everybody knows that they can be a huge nuisance. However, using chemical products to keep them away is not on the top of everyone’s wish list.

Read on for some ideas of plants
that repel mosquitoes – naturally!

7 Plants That Repel Insects 
Chances are, you’ve heard of this one before- it’s one of the most common ingredients in most mosquito repellents. Strange enough though, many people don’t even know that citronella is actually a plant! Citronella is a beautiful perennial clumping grass that emits a strong aroma. That aroma masks other scents, and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to things located around it. The citronella plant has a much stronger aroma than other mosquito repellents that contain citronella, so it is a great choice. Citronella is very easy to grow, and can get to be a very tall 5 or 6 feet high! You can grow citronella in pots and place it around a porch or patio, or you can plant it directly in a yard or garden bed. It’s a great choice for repelling mosquitoes naturally.

Lemon Balm
7 Plants That Repel Insects 
Another great choice for a mosquito repelling plant is lemon balm. A member of the mint family, the plant also known as horsemint and beebalm is a very easy plant for beginning gardeners to grow- even if you don’t have a green thumb! Lemon Balm is a very hardy plant, it resists drought, and it grows well even in shade. It is a very fast growing and sometimes aggressive plant, so you might want to contain it to a pot, where you can move it to wherever you like to ensure that it doesn’t take over your garden! An added bonus? You can dry the leaves and use them to make a delicious herbal tea!

7 Plants That Repel Insects
Your feline friends will be happy to know that catnip is a great mosquito deterrent! In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents. It is a very easy plant to grow, and if you have cats in the house, they will surely be happy to have it around. However, be careful not to plant catnip in with other flowers, veggies, or herbs if you have cats around your garden. They will surely roll around in the catnip and smash everything nearby!

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
A bright, hardy annual plant, marigolds are a great choice for repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive. The flowers themselves are beautiful and can make a great border or addition to any flower bed! Try placing them around borders of your home, and mosquitoes might not want to cross over!

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
Calling all cooks! Want a double whammy when it comes to mosquito protection? Plant some basil! Not only will you have a quick and easy mosquito repellent, you will also have a delicious fresh herb on hand to add to all of your favorite recipes! There are many different varieties of basil around, so feel free to experiment and find the ones that you like best. Many expert gardeners recommend trying lemon basil or cinnamon basil to deter insects.

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
You probably know that lavender is a gorgeous purple flowering plant with a soothing, calming scent. But, did you know that it is also a natural mosquito repellent? Grow it indoors near a sunny window, or outside in your garden or flower bed to keep the bugs away. While you’re at it, make a delicious herbal tea, or use lavender to fill your home with a wonderful calming aroma.

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
Most bugs despise the smell and taste of peppermint, so planting it around your home is a great way to keep them from dropping by uninvited! Plus, if you do happen to get bitten, peppermint leaves rubbed directly onto the skin make a great itch relief treatment! Added bonus for the wonderful minty smell that makes a delicious addition to food and beverages!

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
Unfortunately for all of us who love Italian food, studies have shown that EATING garlic does not repel mosquitoes. (Unless, however, you were to eat a HUGE amount!) However, having garlic around DOES! Make sure to add some garlic to your flower bed or vegetable garden for added protection!

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
The adorable pennyroyal flower is a natural deterrent for mosquitoes! Make sure to plant some around your flowerbeds! Pennyroyal plants also make great groundcovers, and they attract a plethora of beautiful butterflies. Some people even use pennyroyal to flavor certain fish dishes. As you can see, this plant has plenty of benefits!

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
Rosemary is a beautiful flowering plant that is often used to flavor lamb or fish dishes, but did you know that it is also a natural mosquito repellent? It’s perfect to add to your herb garden or flowerbed to keep bugs away, and it even attracts butterflies!
Plus you can simply snip a few springs off every time you need to add extra flavor to your lamb or steak!

11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes 
This beautiful flowering plant is a great choice for mosquito repellent. When planted in a hanging container, the colorful blooms will cascade over the side of the pot, providing a beautiful visual piece as well as a very useful bug repellent!
As you can see, there are many different plants out there that can help to keep bugs away! Next time you reach for the chemical bug spray, take a minute and think again, and choose something more natural!


March 13, 2014

African Woman Plays Guitar Non-Traditional Manner

African Woman
Plays Guitar
In A Slightly Non-Traditional Manner

Utterly Breathtaking Guitar Performance
The Lady With Fingers That DANCE!

This African woman plays a strangely tuned guitar
in a language that we can all understand.

Simply Beautiful!

Acoustic Guitar:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Great Protein Sources That Aren't Meat

5 Great Protein Sources
That Aren't Meat

By Corrie Pikul
Posted: 07/22/2014

You know you can easily meet your daily protein requirements with a steak or a platter of sashimi, but you can get the essential nutrient from these lesser-expected foods, as well.

1. The Best for Dieters
nuts protein
What They Are: Nuts and seeds

How Much Protein You Get: Almonds and pistachios have about 5–7 grams per ounce; macadamias and hazelnuts have 2–3 grams per ounce.

Why They're Great: Packed with protein as well as healthy monosaturated fat and fiber, nuts are surprisingly filling. This could be why studies keep finding a relationship between eating nuts and dropping pounds. In one, people who ate 70 almonds a day (in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet) lost 18 percent of their body weight.

One More Thing: The average 150-pound woman needs 60–100 grams of protein a day, says Lauren Schmitt, RD, founder of Healthy Eating & Training. Instead of trying to get all of your protein in your entrées, eat smaller amounts throughout the day, to better regulate your mood, hunger and blood sugar levels, Schmitt says. Sprinkle nuts on foods like cereal, oatmeal, salads and fruit.

2. The Best All-Purpose Alternative to Chicken
soy beans for protein
What It Is: Soy

How Much Protein You Get: One half-cup of soybeans has (are you ready for this?) about 34 grams of protein (in comparison, a half-cup of chicken has about 17 grams). In tofu form, a half-cup of soy has about 10 grams.

Why It's Great: Soybeans are the only plant food that are considered a "complete protein," which means they provide all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for good health, says Sumner Brooks, RDN, founder of Not on a Diet. There's a reason vegetarians love soy: Tofu can rival chicken in stir-frys, and tempeh (which is compressed soy) is a ground-beef doppelganger in chili and sauces. Try roasted soybeans with pumpkin seeds for a convenient, filling, high-protein snack.


One More Thing: Processed soy foods, like veggie burgers or soy dogs, are often made with soy protein isolate (SPI). While you are getting protein, this means that you're not getting soy's other nutrients or its soluble fiber, explains Brooks (and because of the way the protein is isolated, you could be getting other unnatural chemicals instead).

3. The Best Treat
yogurt for protein
What It Is: Dairy

How Much Protein You Get: A cup of milk has about 8 grams, an ounce of cheese has 6–7 grams, yogurt has 4–6 grams (per 6-ounce serving), Greek yogurt and kefir have 15–20 grams.

Why It's Great: Dairy foods are a high-quality protein food, and a little goes a long way toward meeting your amino acid and protein requirements. Greek yogurt and kefir are veritable protein powerhouses, and a serving has as much protein as a serving of lean meat.

One More Thing: Brooks says clients who talk about giving up dairy and replacing milk with nut milk are shocked to hear that almond milk is so diluted from the source of the whole nut that the liquid has little to no protein.

4. The Best for Antioxidants
beans for protein
What They Are: Beans

How Much Protein You Get: A cup of cooked beans generally has between 12–16 grams.

Why They're Great: They're low in fat and high in insoluble as well as soluble fiber, which help promote a healthy digestive tract, lower blood cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of some types of cancer. A growing body of research suggests that eating beans, as well as fish, chicken or nuts in place of red meat can lower the risk of several diseases and premature death. Eat a mix of colors to get different types of heath-promoting, free-radical-fighting antioxidants.

One More Thing: Beans are considered "incomplete," because they're missing essential amino acids, explains Schmitt. Pair them with whole grains that have complementary amino acids as well as extra protein. Good combos: Lentils and quinoa, black beans and brown rice, hummus and whole wheat pita.

5. The Best Choice for Those Who Work Out a Lot
eggs for protein
What They Are: Eggs

How Much Protein You Get: One large egg has 6 grams of protein (about 12 percent of the recommended daily value).

Why They're Great: Eggs are another perfect, complete protein, with all the amino acids your body needs, says Schmitt. What's more, they contain vitamin B12, which is involved in processes like fat breakdown, muscle contraction and promoting a healthy metabolism.

One More Thing: Most of an egg's protein is found in the white, but don't toss the yolks, says Schmitt. That's where you'll find vitamins A, B12 and D, as well as calcium, folate and omega-3s. (And you know that eating an egg a day won't have any ill effects on your cholesterol level.)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Genius Ways To Cool Your Home w/o AC

Genius Ways To Cool Your Home
Without Air Conditioning

For the average household, summertime leads to higher energy bills as people crank up the air conditioning in their homes in order to combat rising temperatures outdoors. Unfortunately, families with a tight budget may find themselves forced to choose between in-home comfort or having to make sacrifices in other financial areas. Also, with the modern emphasis on green living and conservation, more and more individuals are likely to say “no” to AC and bear the heat in order to reduce their footprint.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were other options? 
What if we could cool our homes without spending a fortune on the electric bill or damaging our environment?

Actually, we can.
Here are the top 10 most effective ways
to cool your home without air conditioning.

1. Ceiling Fans
Probably the most common alternative to central air conditioning is the use of ceiling fans. If you don’t already have them installed in your home, you may want to consider putting a ceiling fan in every room – or at least all of the rooms that see frequent use. Of course, you want to make sure to get a fan that is big enough to cool the space where you plan to install it. Measure your room or rooms before you go shopping as most ceiling fans will have maximum room dimensions listed on the outside of the packaging. Finally, be certain that your fans are spinning in the correct direction. (Most fans have a directional switch.) Remember that hot air accumulates in high places. During cooler months, you want your ceiling fan to push hot air down and away from the ceiling in order to help heat your living space. In summer, the fan blades should pull air toward the ceiling so as to circulate, but avoid pushing more hot air down into a room.

2. Upgrade Your Window Treatments

While the initial investment for outfitting your home with energy-efficient window treatments is fairly lofty, you can expect to see a huge difference in temperature immediately upon installing them. The best choices for reflecting the sun’s heat are cloth roller, accordion, or Roman shades. For those with an eye for the all-natural, look for organic cotton or wool (which is flame-resistant) curtains or shades. Another option is woven bamboo, a wonderful renewable resource that makes for beautiful Roman or roller shades. Choose coverings equipped with a white outer lining for maximum heat-deflection.
Even if you find that you can’t afford to cover all of the windows in your home, just do one room or even one or two windows at a time. Start with the hottest room (usually the ones with west-facing windows or those that get the most afternoon sun) and work your way to rooms that are naturally cooler due to vegetation or orientation.

3. Plant Some Trees
This solution won’t offer immediate results, but over time can have a dramatic cooling effect. Plant trees around your house to shade walls from the suns heat. Choose trees that grow around 1 – 2 feet per year and make sure to feed and water your saplings appropriately so they can reach their maximum potential. Just remember not to plant new trees too close to your home as spreading roots can damage foundations. Expect the roots of your tree to reach to the same diameter as the upper growth (usually listed on the label) and plan ahead to allow enough room. If you aren’t sure how to pick a tree or if you’re concerned that you may have a ‘brown thumb’, most home improvement stores and nurseries have experts on staff who can take you through the process step-by-step. Also, check out this article for a list of trees that offer great shade without becoming pests.
Alternately, you can grow potted trees or other plants indoors for a less dramatic but more immediate cooling effect. The micro-climate formed by a roomful of potted plants actually lowers air temperature as it improves air quality. Position ‘part-sun’ potted plants in front of windows to trap more heat and help shade a room.

4. Grow Some Vines
For those who lack the time, patience, or funding to plant shade trees, the plant kingdom offers another option – climbing vines. Fast-growing, hardy, and sporting thousands of tiny solar panels (aka leaves), a mature climber can lower the temperature of an outer wall by as much as 50%. The best part? These plants require almost no maintenance. Read more about selecting and growing vines in this article from the Clemson Extension.
If you’re adverse to the idea of a plant growing up the side of your house, you could alternately put up a high trellis and train your climbing vine to grow up this structure instead.

5. Put Up Awnings
A great alternative to indoor window treatments or planting trees are awnings. These handy outdoor shades come in a variety of styles, seemingly endless patterns and colors, and can even be made retractable. For more information on choosing the right awning, read this helpful guide by Better Homes and Gardens.

6. Window Film
Another cost-efficient way to beat the heat is to cover your windows with heat-deflecting window film. These coverings are far less expensive that cloth or woven shades and while they can be difficult to install on your own, two people working together can get the job done fairly easily.
7. Seal Up Air Leaks
Doors and windows with old or damaged seals can be the source of a lot of discomfort in the summertime (as well as in the colder months!) You can usually feel the leaks in doors and windows even if you can’t see them – you walk by and a hot draft of air hits you out of nowhere. Don’t put off closing up these leaks! Grab a caulk gun and a tube or two of sealant, make sure the seam is clean, then go to work. For help in choosing the appropriate caulk for the job, read this guide. To fix air leaks under doors and windows where sealant isn’t an option, first check the weatherstripping – another easy do-it-yourself fix. For larger gaps, you can also purchase or make your own draft dodger.

8. Let in Cool Air
If you know the outdoor temperature is going to drop once the sun goes down, open up a window or two in every room. If your windows are the kind that open from the top down as well as from the bottom up, try opening both ends. As cool air flows in through the bottom crack, heat that has accumulated around the ceiling will be pushed out the top. Also, leave as many interior doors open as you can. This will promote better air circulation throughout your home and help to cool down overheated humans and pets as the breeze flows through the house. Just remember to close all open windows before the temperature climbs again the next day!

9. Mind Your Heat Sources
Try to minimize use of your stove or oven. Make certain that your dryer is properly connected to the output vent and run the machine on low heat whenever possible. Alternately, try installing a clothes line and dry your laundry outdoors to conserve even more on energy and bring down your utility bills. Also, if you haven’t already switched all of your old incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents or light-emitting diodes, summer is the time to do it. Incandescent light bulbs give off a tremendous amount of heat while CFL’s and LED’s are cooler, last longer, and use a lot less energy.

10. Portable Cooling Device
At some point in your life, you’ve probably seen people walking around out in the summer heat with a tiny battery-operated fan attached to a spray bottle full of water. You can make something similar in your home that does the same trick without the constant need to spritz water on your face. Just fill up two bottles with water, pop them in the freezer, and wait. Once they’re frozen, set one of the bottles between yourself and the business end of a small fan and let the cold air soothe away the summer heat. When the first bottle thaws, swap it out for the spare. Want to cool the air in your whole house this way? No problem! All you need is one fan and two bottles per room.
MM:  Let me just go put something on. 
I’ll go into the kitchen and get dressed
Richard Sherman: The kitchen? 
MM:  Yes, when it’s hot like this - you know what I do?  
            I keep my undies in the icebox.

How to Keep Your House
(and Body)
Cool This Summer

Without Energy-Sucking Air Conditioners


It’s that time! The days are getting hotter and hotter, and we’re all sweating our ways through the days (in many parts of the U.S., anyway). But hotter temperatures doesn’t have to equate to a higher electricity bill (or wasted precious energy) due to a constantly-running air conditioner (if you have one). 
Follow these tips for some energy-saving ideas for keeping your house cool sans air conditioning, whether you have one or not:

1. Seal Any Drafts
It’s important to keep cool air in when you do get some flowing, so make sure any and all drafts in your house or apartment are sealed tight. Check around windows and doors. Equip yourself with some draft-plugging materials and get to plugging!

2. Switch Your Lightbulbs
Replace any incandescent lightbulbs for CFL or LED in your house or apartment. This will save you energy from the get-go, and, as a bonus, both CFL and LED bulbs give off less heat than the other types.

3. When The Sun Goes Down, Open Up
If you encounter a cool night or some cooler breezes after a summer storm, crack the windows to let that fresh, cool air flow through whenever possible. Then, before the temperatures warm up again, seal everything closed tight again.

4. Keep The Sun Out
Yes, sunlight is great for us — but get your fill outside in the summer months. Keep your shades drawn during the days if you’re trying to keep the a.c. off, as sunlight can create much more heat than you’d even imagine in your house! 
Brighten things up with some houseplants and soft indoor lighting (from CFL or LED lights).

5. Go Raw!

Summer is a great time to transition to more raw foods as it is, but if you’re trying to keep your indoors settings cool, keep that stove and oven off as much as possible. If you must cook, opt for small appliance use, like rice cookers.

6. Fire Up the Fans
If need be, use your indoor fans, or grab a few tabletop ones. Even though you’ll be using some energy, it’s still less so than a central AC unit or even a window AC unit. According to “Mr. Electricity,” a 2.5 ton central AC system uses 3500 watt-hours per one hour of continuous use. A window AC uses 900 watt-hours. A ceiling fan on high uses just 75 watt-hours in comparison! Do the math there and note that you can run several fans and still use less than you might with the a.c. running!

7. Drink Up
There’s really no time than summertime to up your fluid intake. Drinking more cooling, hydrating beverages, like fresh green smoothies and big glasses of ice water, will not only keep your body fueled right in these hot months, but will also keep your body temperature lower, thus helping to eliminate the need for more cool air around you. Try hydrating more before reverting to blasting that AC!

What are your favorite ways to keep your house and body cool in the sweltering summer months? 

Erin Trauth

Cuddling in summer looks like this,
especially if your AC’s broken.