Planning To Move? Donate Your Stuff!

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
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At some point in life, all of use will move at least once. I mean we have to move out of our parents’ house, right? When you do move, deciding what to do with all of your stuff can be a hassle. What do you take? What do you get rid of? We sure do not want to take everything we own with us, because we will just be accumulating more for our new place. Donating your things is a great way to get rid of the things you do not need. You may not need them, but someone else may. But what should you donate? Should you just throw the junk away? That depends greatly on what it is.

You may be moving just across the street, or you may be moving all the way across the country. If you are moving across the country, you do not want to haul more stuff with you than you really need to. You should try to donate as much as possible before asking for help from places like Allied Van Lines. Most people hope to get rid of enough stuff so that they only have to rent one van to move them. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it does not.

It is always good to donate kid’s toys. Toys are something that a lot of parents cannot afford for their kids but really want their kids to have. When you donate toys, you are not only helping out the parent, but you are making a child very happy. Toys, games, bikes, and even game stations are great to donate if you no longer need them. If a parent can pick these things up for free or cheap around the holidays, it will really help them out financially. It will also allow their child to have a wonderful holiday and allow the parent to lose some stress while they watch their child enjoy the “new-to-them” toy. You can also donate household goods and clothes. Anything you are not using can be donated. You will help out lots of people by donating things and it will make you feel great about yourself.

There are many different ways you can donate. You can donate to charities, you can donate to local thrift shops, you can donate to a family that has suffered a tragedy, such as a house fire, or you can donate to local centers in your area that help out families. You can donate to churches! Churches are always helping out families when they are going through tough times. Talk with people in your community and find out where you can lend a hand.

You do not have to wait until you are moving to donate stuff. People need stuff daily. You can donate more than just toys, clothes, and things like that. Donate things that you know people will use every day. Things like toilet paper, paper towels, food, toiletries, used furniture, and all things like this. These types of things will help people out so much. We do not think about these types of items when we think about donations, but these are the products that people need the most. You can even donate your time. Maybe help is needed at a local food pantry, or a local church is offering free daycare for needy families. Lend a hand. Donate an hour or two of your time to help out.

Whether you are moving or not, if you have some extra stuff laying around your house that you no longer need, donate it. Help out a family in need. If you have some extra money this week and you can buy a few toiletries or a few cans of food, do it. It does not cost anything to donate what you have. You never know when a family may really need it. Helping out other families will make you feel great too. You may be the family on the receiving end one day so try to help out whenever you can!

Natural Home Remedies for 3 Common Skin Blemishes

Sometimes, maintaining healthy skin can seem impossible. If you have acne, that bacteria-fighting scrub from the drugstore might dry out your skin, causing itchy and painful redness. If your skin is too dry, a store bought moisturizer might make your skin appear greasy. Finding the perfect product may never happen.

Luckily, there are natural ways to boost your skin’s appearance. Below, we’ve listed some great at-home remedies that can combat common skin blemishes without hurting your skin’s health. As a bonus, these natural methods can be cheaper than serums and soaps produced commercially, so you won’t waste big bucks if they don’t work for your unique skin.

Here are just a few fuss-free natural remedies for common skin ailments and blemishes:

Fighting Acne Naturally

Acne is incredibly common. In fact, 85% of people have experienced acne in some form throughout their life. However, just because acne is common doesn’t mean you want to have it. Pimples are painful, and deep forms like cystic acne can leave scars.

There are many types of acne that all have different causes and symptoms. However, natural skin hygiene habits can combat most forms of this condition. Try this homemade honey-based face wash from Dr. Axe to combat acne-forming bacteria:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 20 small droplets of melaleuca essential oil
  • 2 capsules live probiotics

Leave this mixture on affected areas for two minutes, then wash away with water. Repeat once daily to kill bacteria and reduced inflammation associated with acne!

Reducing the Appearance of Scars at Home

Like acne, scars come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Though we commonly think of scars as long-healed cuts, scars can also come from burns, surgeries, or tissue that was completely removed.

Scars on the face can be particularly troublesome. Even though in 2016 91% of children were vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, many older adults have facial scars left from these types of childhood illness. Scars anywhere on the body can appear darker or lighter than the surrounding skin, and keloid scars form bumps.

Scars are signs that your body has done the work of healing an earlier injury. As such, scars don’t need treatment themselves for you to be in good health. Scars are also unlikely to disappear completely. However, if you’d like to minimize the appearance of a scar, you can try the following natural method:

Aloe Moisturizing

Try taking a leaf of an aloe plant and peeling away the dark outer skin. Then, scoop out and apply the light green/clear gel directly to the scar area. Let the gel rest for half an hour, then rinse with cool water. Repeat twice daily.

Natural Cellulite Treatments

It’s been estimated that 80% to 98% of women have cellulite somewhere on their body. Even though it is common, many women and men alike would prefer their cellulite was less noticeable. Cellulite is associated with the body’s fat storage processes, so many consider diet and exercise to be the best treatment.

However, even individuals with a healthy weight can have cellulite. No matter your size, there are a variety of methods for reducing cellulite. Try eating more seaweed or soaking with seaweed in your bathwater. Seaweed is known for balancing hormones and drawing toxins out of the body. Additionally, dry brushing with a natural bristle brush can improve circulation and exfoliate old skin cells, which may reduce dimpling and improve skin’s overall appearance.

No matter what your skin looks like, all-natural methods can help you save a little money and support your overall health. Before trying expensive and artificial serums for skin conditions that may never go away (like stretch marks, scars, and wrinkles), give these natural, homemade solutions a try.

Is It Time To Revamp Your HVAC System?

 

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
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When you own a home, you have to provide your family with a place to live their greatest moments. The home must be warm and cozy and have an eco-friendly design with high-performance features. The good news is that making upgrades to your home can offer potential savings and create energy-efficient options.

For example, a homeowner can choose between adding insulation to their house or move towards an updated HVAC system. If you’re looking for a way to feel better about your home and conserve energy, then you’ve come to the right place.

Upgrade Your HVAC System To Help Reduce Energy Cost

Deciding to upgrade your heating and cooling system can help you reduce cost and make the home energy efficient. Here are a few options:

Ice-powered Air Conditioning Unit

This unit works by making sure that the water is frozen in a tank overnight. By using electrical energy during the night versus the daytime, a homeowner can have enough cooling during the day and reduce costs for peak hours.

Thermal Air Conditioning Units

These units are different and new to technology, but should take off in the next few years. The systems are supplemented with natural gas and solar energy. They provide more cooling capabilities than the traditional AC units and eliminate electricity costs.

 Heat Pumps

Dual heat pumps provide a great option for comfort. They are a combination of a gas furnace and an electric heat pump. When it gets cold outside, the gas heater will take over until the temperature rises above 35 degrees. Even though the cost is very expensive, purchasing the system itself can last for several years.

Floor Heating

This type of heating will give you the opportunity to experience warmth from the ground up. It will offer you radiant heat versus hot air heating throughout your home. However, it is very important to have the proper amount of insulation in your home so that you can increase energy efficiency by 30%.

Ductless

The majority of homes will have a hidden maze of ductwork underneath. If a particular ductless system is used to deliver conditioned air, then it will typically increase energy efficiency by 40% versus central heating.

However, you may have come across a few homes that are considered “smart homes.” These homes make it easy to move into and can be very convenient. They offer already automated appliances with technological advancements.

For example, you can leave your home and never have to worry about turning off your heating or cooling system. If you forget, then you can make a quick adjustment with your mobile device through an app.

A few other high-tech features would include scroll compressors, variable speed motors, smart control sensors, and dual heat exchangers. However, be advised that it doesn’t matter what system you use if your insulation system is faulty.

Sometimes insulation upgrades are a necessity. It can have a significant impact on your energy cost. By replacing your insulation or increasing it in your home, you will be able to reduce your energy bills. Remember, older homes sometimes lack the proper insulation, interfering with efficiency and savings.

Every type of insulation is different.

Spray foam – You can choose a spray foam type of insulation. The foam will seal gaps in leaks by hardening into a solid.

Fiberglass batts – If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, then you can choose fiberglass batts. They are a cheap type of insulation that can be stapled. When it is installed correctly, it can offer a quick fix.

Reflective barriers -Reflective barriers are usually found in the attic. They are used to reduce heat and cold and offer barriers that reflect the sun rays. This option is only available for homes that are generally in the sun a lot. You could choose this option, but make sure to speak to a representative for more guidance.

The cost of installation can vary depending on the size of your home and the design. An average attic cost can range from $400 to $1800. However, this small investment is a great price to pay if you are concerned about saving energy and reducing costs on your home.

You can also check with your state tax department to see if there are any rebates available for insulation upgrades. However, federal tax credits expired a few years ago. You may still be able to check with your local districts to determine if there are any incentives.

Four Everyday Household Tips to Save Your Money (and the Planet)

Reducing your carbon footprint at home might seem like a confusing hassle, but it can actually be quite simple. Many homeowners think that they have to rebuild their home and upend their lifestyle to help the environment, but there are many smaller steps that can still make a big difference to the planet.

As a bonus, cutting back on your energy use and material waste can not only help save the natural environment, but it can also help you save money in the long run.

Take the following steps to reduce your waste for a greener planet and a greener wallet.

  1. Remember Your Three “R”s
    Reduce, reuse, and recycle as many items as you can. Try to only buy food that comes in packages that can be recycled, or buy produce at farmers markets to reduce food package waste. Buying used clothes, furniture, and even vehicles is also a good way to cut back on energy waste from manufacturing, and will help you save money on needlessly new products.
  2. Get an Energy-Efficiency Audit
    Every home uses energy to stay well-lit and warm– in fact, 45% of the average energy bill is spent on heating, according to the Department of Energy. Scheduling an energy efficiency audit with an energy professional can help you figure out where your home is wasting electricity and heat. The experts will give you recommendations for reducing waste and saving cash on your utility bills.
  3. Invest in Energy-Efficient Features
    After your energy audit, you may realize just how much energy your refrigerator, washing machine, television, and other large appliances expend. Purchasing Energy Star rated products is an investment that will save you money in the long run in terms of quality and reduced energy bills. Even replacing windows with energy-rated panes can reduce consumption — the single-pane windows common in many homes built before the mid-1990s are notorious for releasing heat in the winter, releasing cool air in the summer, and letting in noise year-round. Upgrading household items, from windows and doors to light bulbs and microwaves, is a great and green choice.
  4. Get Chilly
    Though insulating your home will help you stay warm and help reduce heating waste, staying cool can also reduce your carbon footprint. Specifically, use your water heater as little as possible for a cooler planet. Wash clothes in cold water, and even consider taking cooler, shorter showers. Setting a programmable thermostat a few degrees lower will also have a small impact on your day-to-day comfort, but a big influence on your energy waste.

Though reducing your carbon footprint may seem like a waste of time, taking the time to reduce energy waste can actually save you money. Use these steps to live a little more conscientiously to protect your paycheck and the planet from unnecessary consumption.

5 Spooky Fruit and Vegetable Halloween Treats for Healthy Kids

Halloween is my favorite holiday – mostly because it is an anything goes, don’t hold back, get as creative as you want holiday! I have been adding a little spookiness into Eben’s snacks by getting creative with fruits and vegetables. He seems to enjoy these “sweet” treats just as much as a sugary alternative – maybe even more. Read on for 5 spooky fruit and vegetable Halloween treats that I have used as inspiration for celebrating the holiday with my healthy kid.

#1: Jack o’Lantern Fruit Plate
This may be one of the easiest treats in the bunch – simply peel, cut and arrange a selection of organic strawberries, clementines, blueberries and grapes and you have a Halloween treat that is sure to please everyone!

+ Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate
+ via Wholesome Dinner Tonight

#2: Veggie Skeleton
Looking for a fun way to get your child to eat more vegetables this autumn? Look no further than this adorable veggie skeleton. This, along with the Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate would be perfect for your child’s class Halloween Party or your family’s spooky get together!

+ Veggie Skeleton
+ via Feeding Four Little Monkeys

#3: Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
Yum! These goodies are definitely calling my name – I bet the bananas would be even better if they were slightly frozen! These would be great for a kids party – just grab and go.

+ Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
+ via Kid Party Food Ideas

#4: Apple Teeth Treats
While these little yummies might take a little more time to prepare – I bet they are worth all of the compliments you would get at your Halloween party.

+ Apple Teeth Treats
+ via All Recipes

#5: Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
I want to whip up a batch of these yummy sweet potato fries to go with Halloween dinner. Not only does my family love them – but the spook factor will win them over for sure.

+ Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
+ Babble