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Cheryl Posner

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Winterize Your Family

Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to prepare your home, car, and kids. Make sure you load up on ingredients for winter meals and plenty of hot cocoa. Let’s look at a few tips to make winter easier for you and your family.

Keep the Heat In

Winter gets cold, so make sure your heater is in top working order. Schedule a professional maintenance check and avoid costly breakdowns later in the season. It’s also a good time to change out your air filter. A fresh filter ensures that your HVAC system traps the dust and irritants that cause runny noses and coughs.

The south side of your home gets the most sun in the winter, so open the drapes or blinds on that side. At night, close all drapes and blinds to insulate against the cold window glass. Don’t leave kitchen or bath exhaust fans running for extended periods of time. Turn them off when you’re done. Check your vents and make sure nothing like furniture, carpeting, or drapes is blocking the warm air coming into the room.

Stock Essential Supplies

Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients to make soups and stews. There’s nothing like a hot meal to warm the body on a chilly day. Use spices, herbs, and root vegetables to flavor your winter recipes. While you’re at it, stock up on the supplies you need in case a winter storm downs the power lines.

Some food items to keep on hand include bottled water, peanut butter, canned juices, crackers, bread, and baby food if you have a young child. Also, carrots, squash, apples, raisins, and nuts stay fresh a long time. Keep apples in the fridge for up to a month. Other items important during electrical outages include:

  • Diapers
  • Pet food
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Extra blankets
  • Jugs of water
  • Salt and sand to spread on driveways and sidewalks
  • Medication supplies to last several days
  • First-aid kit
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio and clock
  • Cellphone

Keep emergency supplies in your car too in case you get stranded. Check your antifreeze levels, battery, and tires. Always carry jumper cables, small shovels, an ice scraper, and flares in your car.

Bundle up in Layers

Winter means warm clothes, and nothing keeps you warmer better than layers. Make sure your children wear several layers, like t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets, during cold snaps. A good rule for youngsters is to add one more layer than you wear yourself. Keep plenty of hats, gloves, and scarves on hand for bundling up. If you live in an area that expects snow, make sure your family members all have snow boots.

Before the first snowfall, buy a sled. The plastic ones are inexpensive and offer hours of fun for kids and adults. Also, keep plenty of board games on hand and extra batteries for electronic games in anticipation of days when staying indoors is your only choice. Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you’re shivering, it’s time to go in.

Follow these tips, and remember to bundle up and stay safe this winter.

A How-To on Harvesting Rainwater for Your Household Needs

It is an indisputable fact that water is one of the most essential natural resources we have. Without water, there would literally be no life—not only for us human beings but also for all other living things on this planet, especially animals and plants. But this life-giving resource is not unlimited, and with droughts becoming a more common natural phenomenon throughout the world because of climate change, it has become imperative for us that we learn how to conserve water.

There are many ways on how you can do this. For one, you and your family members can start being more mindful of how you use water in your household. You can turn off taps when they’re not in use, and you can fix leaks as they’re also a source of wasted water. If you have plans of harvesting rainwater for your household, here are some tips that can help you out:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to designate a catchment area.
  • One of the most common areas that will allow you to collect rainwater right away is your roof, and it is also the most easily adapted, thanks to convenient features like gutters. To get the biggest quantity of collected rainwater, it is best to choose a downspout that’s located directly beneath an especially steep part of the roof. If you’d like to keep your water colllection system discreet, make sure to choose a spot that’s hidden from view.
  • You can also look for places where water collects in a natural manner during times of a downpour. Don’t just limit yourself to your gutters; you can use any surface that’s shaped like a slope. One effective way of spotting these areas is to go out after a downpour and inspect the outside of your house for areas where puddles and shallow pools have formed. These spots can serve as good catchment areas.
  • When it rains, a good amount of rainwater is lost due to seepage. To prevent this, you can pave the open catchment areas around your home such as pools and streams. This will keep the water from seeping into the ground and also from being tainted by surface contaminants.
  1. You will also need to find ways to channel the runoff.
  • Your home’s gutters are already an excellent means to channel excess runoff, and all you’ll have to do is to set out a few containers beneath them to catch what they collect. For most homes that are of an average size, gutters with dimensions of 5 × 3 inches will be appropriate. If you have a larger home, 6 × 4 gutters will do.
  • If you’ve opted for a catchment area other than your roof, you will need to set up a conveyance system that reroute the water you’ve collected to where it will actually be stored. You can make this happen through the use of pipes or PVC tubes. Remember to set up your conveyance system with enough slope in order to allow the rainwater to flow.
  • It is best if you set up your storage and conveyance system close to where you intend to use it. For instance, if you plan to use the water you’ve collected to water your garden, it is ideal to keep your conveyance and storage system to the side of your home that’s nearest your yard or garden. It will be more convenient that way.

  1. The next step is to set up a collection system.
  • Make sure you set up containers that can collect rainwater at a high capacity. While plastic barrels are the most common type, there are specially designed containers that have built-in features like spigots and filtration screens. Rain Water Tanks have a wide variety of quality rainwater collection containers that your household can benefit from.
  • One way of ensuring better water pressure and encourage flow is to elevate the barrels. The extra height will allow easier and better flow from the spigot. Also, raising your containers can make it easier on you to position a watering can or bucket underneath it.
  1. Finally, install a filtering system to ensure that the water you’ve collected is healthy for use and is free from any pollutants.
  • Make sure you keep your containers covered at all times so as to keep out mosquitos and reduce exposure to pollutants and bacteria. Also, make it a habit to drain and clean your containers every once in a while for sanitary purposes.

Harvesting rainwater can do much more for your household than what you’ve expected. Aside from giving you and your family a backup water supply in times of drought, it can also greatly reduce your monthly water consumption and bills. Think about how much your household can save each month when you apply this concept in your household.

5 Signs Your Child Is Gifted

Not all gifted children are alike in their giftedness – that’s one point at the top that bears mentioning. While difficult to generalize, a gifted child is usually recognized as one whose intellectual ability is significantly higher than the average for their age group. But the similarities stop there. One gifted child might be socially awkward and withdrawn, while another might be charismatic and socially fluent. One might excel at sports, while another struggles with basic physical tasks. In short, there are a wide variety of gifted children.

And it’s not always easy being gifted, either. The increased demands for perfectionism can weigh heavily on a child whose only error – they might think – was being more intellectually inclined than others. That’s why if you have been searching for a child psychologist to assess your child for giftedness, it’s good, as well, to talk to them about how to match their curriculum and programming properly to their level of ability. Intellectual curiosity and passion can be a great benefit to a child’s wellbeing, if respected and handled correctly.

Assessment by a psychologist is important when dealing with a gifted child; relying on school evaluation alone can be tricky, as they may under-identify for reasons like lack of attention or organizational skills. With that in mind, here is a list of 5 signs (by no means comprehensive, but a good starting point) for telling if your child might be gifted. If your child meets some or all of these criteria, look into getting a gifted assessment from a psychologist.

Complex Vocabulary

Does your child like to participate in adult conversation, perhaps at your dinner parties where subjects like science or politics come up? Their precociousness might seem precious to everyone at the table, but under their actions and vocabulary lay a deep desire to connect with more complex issues. If their vocabulary and reading comprehension are higher than average, and if their sentence structures more complex, pay attention, as they might be asking for a more challenging curriculum.

Following Long Instructions

The ability to internalize and follow long instructions is an indicator of giftedness. For instance, if you were to ask them, “go in that store, ask where the cereal aisle is, pick the cereal with the lowest calorie count per serving, take it to the checkout, pay for it with this bill and ask for the change back in quarters”… that’s a long, multi-step instruction! The ability to follow that shows great memory and comprehension.

Memory

If your child can easily recall conversations, or things they saw and learned, they could be gifted. Memory underpins a lot of other intellectual capacities, like scientific knowledge and vocabulary.

A Passion For Learning

Does your child have a long concentration span? Do they take evident delight in learning new things and exploring new topics? An unusually robust intellectual curiosity is certainly an indicator of giftedness, and should be followed up with assessment by a psychologist.

Emotional Sensitivity

Finally, emotional sensitivity, often coupled with a strong sense of ethics and a great capacity for empathy, could indicate giftedness. An appreciation of natural beauty and art is also something to look out for, and to nurture.

Again, if you think your child might benefit from the gifted identification, or if you just want to ensure that your child’s curriculum and learning are matching their intellectual needs, visit a psychologist for an assessment.

IG Sleep Intro

Though wine is a favorite drink for our afternoons and evenings, many people turn to coffee to get themselves started in the morning. If you’re worried about this as a dietary habit, rest easy! A cup of coffee (300 to 400 milligrams) is associated with health benefits like improved concentration even a longer life span. But much like wine, you’ve got to be careful not to overdo it. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, and weight gain, and it’s associated with higher mortality rates. With some dietary management, though, you can enjoy caffeine without damaging your quality of life.

We love coffee, but we also love sleep. If you want to be a healthy coffee drinker, start with a “last call” for caffeine at least six hours before bed. Note that this includes coffee and foods with caffeine, like candy bars and ice cream. Also do your best to stick to 8-ounce servings of coffee in the morning.

In addition to using coffee to wake up in the morning, try getting some natural sunlight as soon as possible. Your body balances its sleep cycle based on the patterns of the sun rising and falling, and you can help set your own internal clock by getting some sun after you wake up. You should also be mindful of your indoor air quality. Clogged filters can increase indoor air pollution and cause problems like restlessness and apnea. Take care of your HVAC system to manage your indoor air quality, and follow the other tips listed above to enjoy better sleep. Take a look at the infographic below to learn more.