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    • Non-Candy Halloween Treats Kids Actually Love

      20 October 2017

      Armies of Moms have puzzled over the years about non-candy Halloween giveaways that will bring a smile to the most discerning little ghosts and goblins.

      The fact is, for most young children, the fun of trick-or-treating door-to-door in costume is more exciting than the treats they happen to collect – and many parents confiscate most of the sweet stuff anyway once it reaches home.  

      A panel of parents brainstorming at a PTA meeting in California came up with a formidable list of stuff that makes a great alternative to candy treats.

      More good ideas can likely be found at your nearby dollar store.

      Food treats:

      Juice boxes – Little trick or treaters can work up a thirst. Be sure to choose no-sugar added juices.

      Fruit cups – Tie a black or orange ribbon around individual cups of applesauce or other cut-up fruit.  

      Granola bars – Kids never get tired of these chewy little treats. Seasonal pumpkin-flavored varieties are available.

      Raisins – Those tiny little boxes of raisins seem to appeal to kids of all ages.

      Baked chips – They may be fairly empty calories, but they‘re a sugarless, kid-friendly treat.

      Non-food treats:

      Slime – little plastic containers of slime are a natural pick for the icky Halloween season.

      Plastic body parts – Little kids are sure to get a kick out of plastic lips, noses, or fingernails.

      Action figures – These or other small toys, such as Hot Wheels cars, are favored by  kids and great for trading.

      Instant tattoos – Wash-off Halloween tattoos are widely available at this time of the year.

      Play-doh – Individual containers of colorful Play-doh are a hit no matter the time of year.

      Bubbles – Another perennial favorite, plastic bottles of magic bubbles are  a treat for most younger kids.

      Stickers – You’ll find vast arrays of popular Halloween-themed stickers at almost any toy, drug or big-box store.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Amazing New Uses for Your Kitchen Gadgets

      20 October 2017

      Love her or hate her, you can’t deny the household magic of Martha Stewart. Before you get sucked into spending your hard-earned disposable dollars on some alluring kitchen gadget, check out Martha’s creative uses for the utensils you already have in your drawers. Life changing!

      A slotted spoon to separate eggs. Tired of eggshells in your cake batter? If your egg-separating skills are less than stellar, try balancing a slotted spoon over a bowl, crack the egg into the spoon and the egg white will simply collect in the bowl below!

      A rolling pin to crush stuff. Use it to quickly pulverize nuts, candy, ice and any other hard substance that needs to be miniaturized fast!

      A box grater for soap. You know those tiny bits of soap that make a mess in your shower when the bar gets too small? Use a cheese grater to make them into a fine powder that can then be formed into a new ball of soap.

      Sieve as splatter guard. Hate how grease splatters everywhere when you’re frying something? Place a sieve over the frying pan and voila - no more mess.

      Tongs as juicer. Want to get more juice out of your lemons and limes? Cut one in half then place it between the arms of a pair of tongs. Press down firmly on the clamps of the tongs and watch the juice flow.

      Cookie cutters as napkin rings. Those cute cookie cutters that only make an appearance once or twice a year can now get some time center stage as napkin rings. Stars, pumpkins, hearts and a variety of other shapes will work well in many dinner settings.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Tips for Stocking and Maintaining Your Medicine Cabinet

      20 October 2017

      Many of us have old bottles and boxes that hang around in our medicine cabinet for years. However, keeping on top of the products in your medicine cabinet can make or break an oncoming bout of flu or fever. Below are a handful of tips from MultiVu for stocking and maintaining your arsenal.

      When in doubt, throw it out. Once you've opened a medication the clock starts ticking on its shelf life. Items like that are usually good for about a year from when they're opened. Regularly check the expiration date on your product.

      Everyday basics. A variety of illnesses are common during the winter months. Basics include good oral hygiene and it's very important and it starts with clean teeth.   

      Must-haves for flu season. No one wants a cold to persist, so don't let it slow you down. Medical studies have shown that zinc gluconate, which is found in lozenges such as Cold-EEZE, shortens the duration of a cold so you can feel better faster.

      Other essentials. While antibiotics are often used to treat cold and flu, they can disrupt your balance of friendly and unfriendly bacteria, creating digestive discomfort. Probiotics are a great medicine cabinet staple because they help balance healthy bacteria levels in your gut and, since 70 percent of your immune system lives in your digestive tract, they support a healthy immune system as well. When choosing a probiotic, look for the dosing information, otherwise known as the CFU count. CFUs refer to the number of good bacteria in the supplement. For example, on the lower end, probiotics with 2 billion CFU can help support everyday digestive health, while additional CFUs on the higher end can help bolster immune support.

      Storing and discarding. Rethink where you keep your medicines. Humidity from steamy showers can expedite the expiry of medication. It's best to keep them in a child-safe, dry, and cool place. And landfill sites and water supplies have become contaminated with discarded medicines. Participating in a community drug take back program or a trip to the pharmacy are the best ways to discard old or unneeded medications.

      Source: MultiVu

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Tire Safety Tips for Winter

      19 October 2017

      (Family Features)--The same temperature you can begin to see your breath - 45 degrees F - is also when the all-season tires on your car can start to lose traction and grip.

      As temperatures drop, drivers should remember that if you can see your breath, you should think about winter tires. Whether you're planning a cross-country trek or simply driving to and from work daily, exposing your vehicle's tires to colder weather could lead to potential trouble on the road.

      Snow and ice may be fun to play in, but they make for dangerous driving conditions. Winter tires are built for cold-weather conditions and deliver improved starting, stopping and steering control in temperatures 45 degrees F and below. The difference is the tread compound of winter tires, which stays soft and pliable in colder temperatures for superior traction. Add the tread design of winter tires with thousands of extra gripping edges and you get as much as a 25-50 percent increase in traction over all-season tires.

      To help stay safe on the road this winter, the experts at Discount Tire recommend following these four tire safety tips:

      1. Get ready now. It is important to replace all four of your vehicle's all-season tires with winter tires if you regularly drive in temperatures 45 degrees F or below, snow or no snow. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber that allows the tires to stay pliable and maintain better contact with the road through winter weather conditions.

      2. Don't forget the wheels. Having a set of wheels specifically for your winter tires can save you money in the long run. Pairing a separate set of wheels with your winter tires can eliminate certain changeover costs and save your everyday wheels from the wear and tear brought on by ice, slush, snow and salt during the winter months.

      3. Know your numbers. Check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure tires are at the appropriate inflation level. Temperature changes affect tire pressure - for every 10 degrees of temperature change, tire air pressure changes one pound per square inch. Low tire pressure can lead to decreased steering and braking control, poor gas mileage, excessive tire wear and the possibility of tire failure. Also don't forget to check your spare tire.

      4. Rotate, rotate, rotate. To help increase tread life and smooth out your ride, rotate your tires every 6,000 miles or sooner if irregular or uneven wear develops.

      Source: Discount Tire

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Homeowner Prevention in the Age of Devastating Wildfires

      19 October 2017

      Fire safety does not always begin in the home; that stove left on accidentally or faulty electric wiring aren't the only fire dangers when it comes to home protection. Wildfires can be equally as devastating and, depending on where you live, a higher threat.

      Experts at the Tree Care Industry Association, Inc. (Treecaretips.org) revealed homeowners can protect their properties in two ways: by designing and maintaining a landscape that discourages fires; and by building with flame-resistant materials.

      Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist at TCIA, offers these tips for landscaping to combat wildfires:
      - If you are in a wildfire-prone area, reduce the amount of potential fuel around your home. Provide enough tree- and shrub-free space between your home and the undeveloped land.

      - All dead branches that hang over your roof should be removed. Leaves, needles and other dead vegetation should not be allowed to build up on the roof or in gutters.

      - In parts of the country where wildfires are rare but still possible, an area of well-irrigated vegetation should extend at least 30 feet from your home on all sides. In high-hazard areas, a clearance of between 50 and 100 feet or more may be necessary – especially on downhill sides of the lot.

      - Further from the house, install low-growing shrubs. When planting trees, space them no closer than 10 feet apart. Beyond 100 feet from the house, dead wood and older trees should be removed or thinned by qualified professionals.

      - The lower limbs of tall shade trees should be pruned 6 feet above the ground. Careful pruning preserves a tree’s appearance, enhances structural integrity and assists in the plant’s ability to resist fire.

      In addition to pruning, Andersen says a professional arborist can recommend fertilization, soil management, disease treatment or pest control measures to promote healthy trees. He suggests that if your area is in a drought or prone to wildfires, hire a tree care professional to assess your landscape and reduce the fuel wildfires need to burn.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.