5 Easy Home Improvement Projects & Upgrades For the Winter

paintIf you’re like most people, you’ve been spending a lot of time indoors lately. Unfortunately, there are several more months of winter to get through before we start seeing signs of spring.

Before you throw your hands up in despair, why not break the monotony by working on your house? After all, you’re stuck inside anyway, and you’re probably searching for something to do that doesn’t involve watching endless reruns of Glee while eating any carb that will stand still. Plus, some home improvement projects will increase your property value, save money on your utility bills, and potentially prevent larger, more expensive issues from developing.

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Dangers of Plastic Food Containers, Water Bottles, and Bisphenol A (BPA)

Do you ever think about all the plastic in your kitchen?

You probably have an entire drawer full of stuff, including reusable plastic containers that you use to store and reheat leftovers. After all, these things are handy. They’re lightweight, they store easily, and they’re cheap.

What’s not to love?

The Dangers of Plastic

What many people don’t think about is that many of their plastic dishes and storage containers are leaching chemicals into their food, especially if they’re using #3 or #7 plastics, or any hard plastic that’s “shatterproof.” These plastics contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that, once ingested, mimics estrogen in our bodies.

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15 Winter Staycation Ideas & Tips – Staying Home for Vacation

winter staycationIf you’re anything like me you’re probably dreaming of sunshine, sandy beaches or just going outside without being assaulted by air so cold it hurts your teeth. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when many people start fantasizing about finally taking that tropical vacation…

The problem? Escaping to the jungle just isn’t in the budget.

If that is your situation, you’re not alone. I’m in the same boat, as are millions of other people. I’d love to jet down to Cocoa Beach for a week of doing nothing but tan. But we’re staying home to save money.

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7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste – Freezing Food and Making Leftover Recipes

food waste garbage canThis scenario probably sounds familiar: You’ve opened the door to your fridge to look for something to eat. What do you see?

A bag of wilted spinach. Several wrinkly apples. A block of cheese that’s blue (when it’s supposed to be orange). And three containers full of mystery leftovers that have been there way too long. So long, in fact, that you’re scared to open them.

This happens all too often at my house, and although I do have a vermicomposting bin to minimize the trash I throw away, the point is that wasting food wastes money. Here are 6 tips for using up leftovers, keeping your food fresh longer, and saving money in the process.

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18 Fun Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids & Adults

Every year, around this time, I start dreaming of warmer climates. Images of sunshine, bare feet, and tropical thunderstorms haunt my daydreams. And I know I’m not the only one.

Whether you battle Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms or just get a mild case of the winter “blahs,” chances are – unless you live in Maui or Miami – you’re not getting outdoors as much as you should.

I for one hate being shut inside with the windows closed, but I also don’t like being cold. So I’ll admit, it’s hard to drag myself out for fresh air and exercise. And here in Michigan (and other northern climates), winter lasts a very long time. So it’s important – for our health and sanity – to find some fun excuses to get outside.

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How to Make Natural Dyes to Dye Fabric & Clothes – 3 Easy Steps to Dyeing Naturally at Home

Natural Plant DyesIt may be hard to fathom, but we didn’t always use chemicals to dye fabrics. For millennia, people used plants, roots and berries to color cotton, muslin, linen, silk and other fabrics.

These days, of course, we can pop into a store and buy an entire rainbow of fabric dye; but it’s actually great fun to dye fabric the old-fashioned way. Not only does it give you a new appreciation for Mother Nature, it’s also a free and fun way to get craft-y and explore your creative side.

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The Importance of Splurging to Avoid Frugal Fatigue – 15 Low-Cost Splurges

Splurging on FlowersIn 2007 and 2008, I went on a major money-saving crusade. I was committed to saving up enough to pay off my house. And I wasn’t going to let any temptation stand in my way.

For months, my husband and I pinched every penny that came our way. We hardly ever went out to eat, we didn’t go to the movies, we rarely went out with friends and we didn’t take any vacations. Sounds like fun, right?

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Vermicomposting How To & Benefits – Why I Have 30,000 Worms Composting Food in My Kitchen

VermicompostingYes, I really do have tens of thousands of worms in my kitchen. And no, I’m not trying to get rid of them. That’s because I’m a die-hard fan of vermicomposting, which is the process of using worms to compost food scraps instead of throwing them in the garbage.

Why, you might be wondering, would I do such a gross, disgusting thing in my own kitchen?

Well, that’s the whole point. Unlike using a regular compost bin, let alone trash cans, vermicomposting isn’t gross or smelly. In fact, you can’t even tell the worms are there. Check out the photo; looks kind of like a side table, right?

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The Power of Random Acts of Kindness and 18 Ways & Ideas for How to Change the World

sunflower blue sky“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
-Sir Winston Churchill

Did you know that there are 13 human behaviors that, when we engage in them regularly, can engender happiness with 92% probability?

According to the Human Thriving Foundation, a non-profit group of doctors and scientists who have spent over 15,000 hours studying the subject, engaging in these behaviors on a regular basis can do far more to make us happy than any drug we can take, or material possession we can buy.

The 13 behaviors fall under the following categories:

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How to Cut Calories to Lose Weight (Without Sacrificing Flavor & Cravings) – 8 Clever & Easy Tricks

eat healthy scaleSo, the winter holidays are finally over with. All those cookies, turkey sandwiches and Christmas cake have been eaten. And now?

Your waistband is feeling a bit tight.

There’s an urban legend that goes around every year which says most people will gain 5 to 10 pounds through the winter holidays. The good news? It’s truly a myth. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most of us gain around one pound.

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