Fall Activity Ideas

There are many fun activities to do in the fall. Try some of these ideas with your children:

  • Start a leaf collection
  • Make a wreath with preserved fall leaves
  • Press leaves
  • Visit an apple orchard
  • Learn about Johnny Appleseed
  • Visit a fire station (October is Fire Prevention Month)
  • Visit a farm
  • Go to a pumpkin patch
  • Roast marshmallows or make s’mores around a campfire
  • Learn about how animals that hibernate begin getting ready for winter
  • Start a nature study
  • Go camping
  • Bake together (Try an apple or pumpkin pie since both are associated with autumn.)

Source: Beverly Hernandez for Fall Wordsearch, Vocabulary, Crossword, and More (thoughtco.com)

Here’s How To Get Rid of Ants

a person sitting on the grass

No matter where you live, ants are always uninvited houseguests that somehow manage to keep showing up. A few ants here and there is frustrating, but an entire colony can transfer bacteria, contaminate your food, and even bite, if you’re unlucky enough to have a Fire or Harvester ant infestation. Although they’re most common in the summer, ants can pop up at any time — especially if your counter frequently has crumbs or spills on it. Fortunately, this is a common problem and hence there are plenty of natural and chemical remedies for ants.

Here, we’ve included a guide to both natural and chemical methods of how to get rid of ants in the kitchen and anywhere else. Natural might be a better route to take if you’re worried about pets or kids breathing in toxins, but chemical-based formulas or commercial bait often work more quickly and effectively. Just make sure they don’t get into any of food or dishes you cook with if you’re using them in the kitchen.

There are even a few DIY methods you can employ if you run out of your particular ant remover during an infestation. One common home remedy is citrus. Bitter or sour ingredients keep ants away, so consider adding lemon peels to ant hot spots, or squeeze some juice in the area. Orange will also work. You can also make a lemon-based cleaner, or purchase one — we’ve included a few in our round-up.

Here’s how to get rid of ants and all the chaos they can cause in your home with the very best remedies on the market right now.

1. TERRO Indoor Liquid Ant Killer Baits

These pre-filled ant baits come in a pack of six, using borax to swiftly attract and kill ants. The sugary liquid works to disrupt the ant’s digestive system, but before it’s killed, it has time to return to the colony and share the mixture with them. Consider placing them around baseboards or on counters, but be sure to clean these surfaces of crumbs or any other sources of food before placing your bait station there. If you’re looking to avoid spray pesticides, these non-intrusive traps get to work immediately.

2. Raid Ant & Roach Killer Fragrance-Free Spray

If you’re looking for an aerosol-based way to get rid of ants, Raid offers a foolproof remedy that’s helped millions get rid of those pesky pests. This value pack comes with two cans and is completely fragrance-free, so you don’t have to worry about any lingering scents in your home. With a single spray, its unique formula doesn’t just kill on contact — it keeps being effective for up to four weeks, and also works on roaches, crickets and household spiders.

3. Eliminator Ant, Flea & Tick Killer Plus Granules

Another popular way to take care of ants staying past their welcome? Granules. This ant, flea and tick killer uses small grains that you scatter around your home’s perimeter, both indoors and outdoors on your lawn or to protect your garden. You can do this manually or with a handheld broadcast spreader. Just one bag can cover a whopping 16,000 square feet, so if you don’t want to waste money on restocking, Eliminator’s option is an affordable investment for value-minded folks.

4. Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer

If fire ants are more of an issue than sugar ants in your home, go for this treatment, which can take care of up to 164 mounds with just one bottle. Just sprinkle the formula over the mound and watch it start working within an hour — no water required. This solution is ideal if your ant issue is mostly outdoors or surrounding ornamental plants, but if you’re an apartment dweller, it also works if you place it around your doors, baseboards, or balcony doors.

5. Syngenta Optigard Ant Bait Gel

Besides sprays and granulated beads, a gel is an effective method of getting rid of ants. This Syngenta gel bait comes in the form of a tube with a plunger, using a potent active ingredient to take care of all ant species indoors and outdoors. The thickness of the gel works to stick onto countertop edges, under ceilings, and more. One buyer says, “After squeezing out drops in a bunch of spots we saw an almost total drop in ant sightings.”

6. Aunt Fannie’s Ant Remedy

Wondering how to get rid of ants without toxic compounds? Consider Aunt Fannie’s sprayable Ant Remedy, which kills ants on contact without any overwhelming chemical smells. For this reason, more buyers feel safe using this product in their kitchen or around pets and children. Others use it to get ants out of their bird feeder without harming the birds. However, it’s worth noting that a customer mentions, “It does leave oil on any surface once it dries so it does need to be cleaned up afterward instead of spray and go.”

7. Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil Spray

Many DIY’er place drops of peppermint essential oil around their house, since mint is a natural deterrent for ants. This Might Mint formula is still all-natural, but comes in the form of an easy-to-use spray bottle rather than leaving oily little drops all over your home. All of the bug-fighting ingredients are derived from plants, with the star being a 4% peppermint oil solution. Unlike diluted or manufactured synthetic oils, this product comes straight from the farmer, so you can rest easy.

8. Heinz Distilled White Vinegar

White vinegar both kills and repels ants naturally. This affordable method involves either creating a diluted vinegar solution mixed with water or using straight vinegar if you can handle the scent. Create a spray solution or wipe directly on a damp cloth. You can also use this naturally bacteria-fighting solution to clean your countertops and floors, which can help keep ants away for the foreseeable future. Don’t worry — after vinegar dries, the scent becomes unnoticeable for most people.

Article by Naima Karp. Photo credit: Home Depot.

Source: Don’t Let Pests Ant-Agonize You — Here’s How To Get Rid of Ants (msn.com)

This Popular Juice Will Reduce Inflammation In Your Body

Usually, when we think of juice, we’re mostly reminded of the added sugars, empty calories, and overall negative effects it can have on our bodies. Next to soda, many popular drinks—like cold-pressed juices and tomato juice—have even landed a spot on our list of the unhealthiest drinks on the planet. But, what if we told you there’s a popular juice that seems to have an exception?

According to Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition Group and member of our medical expert board, says drinking tart cherry juice can help to reduce inflammation in your body.

Though inflammation isn’t always a bad thing as it can be “the body’s natural response to protect itself against harm”, according to Harvard Health, when the body becomes overly inflamed it can be a problem.

There are many foods that you can eat that can help to decrease excess inflammation in the body, but when it comes to drinks that decrease inflammation tart cherry juice should be your go-to.

This juice may not be something already stocked in your fridge like popular orange or apple juices, but Moskovitz says it’s time to add tart cherry juice to your cart next time you’re in the grocery store.

“Made from sour cherries, this deep-red beverage also comes in capsule form and is rich in anthocyanins: a compound with high antioxidant activity that can help fight inflammation, reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, and promote better sleep,” says Moskovitz.

Not only does tart cherry juice help with reducing inflammation in the body, but according to Moskovitz, there is another significant benefit to drinking this beverage. “Studies also link tart cherry juice to protecting the body against infections,” says Moskovitz.

Along with reducing inflammation, you now have yet another reason to stock up on tart cherry juice as soon as possible. If you don’t think you can down a glass of tart cherry juice to reduce your inflammation, opting for the capsule form could be the better move for you.

Article by Rachel Linder for Eatthis,notthat.com

Source: This Popular Juice Will Reduce Inflammation In Your Body (msn.com)

MEN: Doing This One Thing in a Conversation Makes You More Attractive.

Scouring your closet for an outfit. Obsessing over your grooming or hair. Perfecting your witty banter. For as long as dating has been a social ritual, people have worked tirelessly at improving their odds in the search for love. But according to a study, there’s one surprising thing you can do in a conversation that might make you instantly more attractive. Read on to see what habit might be giving you a leg up while searching for romance.

In a study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America on Aug. 31, a team of researchers recorded the voices of 42 subjects while they performed various vocal exercises. Then, separate groups of people listened to the tapes and ranked each for attractiveness.

The result: Mumbling in a conversation can make men more attractive to women.

The team believes that the findings could uphold previous research on “sexual dimorphism,” which describes a big characteristic difference between biological sexes that can cue attractiveness. They theorize that the brain may interpret mumbling or less coherent speech as an inherently “masculine” quality, making it more attractive to the opposite sex due to evolutionary developments.

From a sexual selection standpoint, males with traits that are slightly more masculine than average are typically preferred, which in this context would make males with less clear speech more attractive.

Go figure !

Article by  ZACHARY MAC. Photo credit: iStock.

Source: Mumbling in a Conversation Makes You More Attractive, Study Says (bestlifeonline.com)

Never Accept a Friend Request Before Checking These 3 Things

Facebook recommends investigating three things before accepting a friend request.

Robert Traynham, head of public affairs at Facebook, told Today that so far in 2021 Facebook has removed almost 1.3 billion fake accounts. The company says they’re constantly working to find ways to protect their users from scammers, but as is the case with most things in life, nothing is foolproof. However, the social media company says there are steps that you can take to protect yourself as well.

Facebook told Today that you should investigate new friend requests or direct messages before engaging by checking three things in particular: your shared connections, that they’re not a duplicate profile, and that they’re active users. The social media company suggests “comparing your shared connections and who their friends are on the platform.” Additionally, you should make sure you’re not already friends with a similar account that already exists because this likely means the new page is an imposter.

And lastly, Facebook recommends looking to see if the account has any recent posts. Check their timeline, their interaction with other accounts, and who or what they’ve tagged. People tend to interact with friends on Facebook—after all, that’s what social media is for. If the account doesn’t have any activity with others, that’s suspicious.

Article by Allie Hogan for BestLife

Source: Never Accept a Friend Request Before Checking These 3 Things, Expert Warns (msn.com)

11 Best Emotional Support Dogs

What is an emotional support dog?

Emotional support animals (ESA) provide comfort and attention and can be any species from the animal kingdom. We’re most familiar with dogs as being the primary animal to fill this role. When people care for their dog, whether feeding, grooming, or walking, it creates a sense of purpose and can distract attention away from the things causing anxiety and other mental health issues. And while dogs can’t offer advice, they are excellent listeners (or at least appear to be)—and that’s a tremendous help for those who want to talk it out without being judged. Whether they’re a cute small dog breed or a lovable large one, they all add up to the most loyal and affectionate dog breeds you could ever ask for.

Service dogs vs. emotional support dogs

The waters can get kind of muddy when determining the difference between a service and emotional support dog. The American Disabilities Act states, “A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

Service dogs are trained to do specific tasks for the person with a disability. For example, a seeing eye dog helps people who are blind or have visual impairments travel safely, and a psychiatric service dog helps people with psychiatric episodes. The dog can remind a person to take their medicine or turn on lights and do safety checks for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. A service dog is virtually allowed anywhere the public is permitted.

Emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are not considered service animals under ADA because they don’t have special training to perform specific tasks that assist people with disabilities. Emotional support dogs provide their human with love and companionship. By definition, they aren’t considered pets, though they live with their human and typically live a pet’s life. Therapy dogs are usually seen in hospitals and nursing rooms. They offer a pleasant distraction by lavishing affection and cuddling service to patients and clients who could use some encouragement. When the dogs are done “working,” they go home with their handler and are treated as pets.

Can emotional support dogs really make a difference?

Dog lovers inherently understand that dogs make people feel better. When we pet a dog, it brings a smile to our faces, our blood pressure goes down, and stress and anxiety fade into the background even during a chance encounter.

Even so, it’s validating to know that some studies show companion dogs can decrease anxiety and depression and improve overall mental health. A 2018 review published in BMC Psychiatry included 17 studies that featured measurable evidence relating to the ups and downs of pet ownership, how people connect with pets, the multiple ways companion animals help mental health conditions, and the psychological impact of losing a companion animal. In a nutshell, the review found pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions.

A more recent study conducted at the University of Toledo showed people who adopted companion animals experienced reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Though more research is needed, so far, studies point to companion animals as being a beneficial partner in human health and well-being.

What makes a good emotional support dog breed?

“The most important aspect to consider is the connection between the dog and the owner,” says Angela Logsdon-Hoover, ABCDT, a certified dog trainer and canine behaviorist, and regional technician director with VCA Animal Hospitals.

In her experience, the person’s current dog is the best fit for the person who needs an ESA. “The dog already has a strong bond and the dog likely already naturally picks up on the owner’s stress response to triggers and can offer calm, comfort, and security,” says Logsdon-Hoover. If a person doesn’t have a dog, the connection factor is equally important when looking for an emotional support dog. Additionally, the dog should already have good doggy manners at home, in public, and with other people and dogs. If not, you can learn together with basic obedience training.

Ideally, emotional support dogs are tuned into their human and react accordingly to what their person says or does, whether that’s with a celebratory dance, cuddling on the couch, or crying when they’re having a tough time.

Emotional support dog breeds

Calm dog breeds with easy-going personalities and loyal dog breeds who will never leave your side are naturally suited for emotional support dogs. With that in mind, our experts shared some of their favorites. Note that this is by no means an exclusive list. Any breed—or mixed breed for that matter, has the potential to be an excellent emotional support dog.a person holding a dog© Page Light Studios/Getty Images

1. Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Cavaliers were initially created to be companions dogs, so their genetics run deep as warm-hearted comforters. They are undeniably cute, well-mannered, and petite in size, making them great apartment dogs. “For people who want the companionship of their emotional support dog in a metropolitan area, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a good pick for a canine friend,” says Stacy Chocznski Johnson, DVM, and veterinary expert for Pumpkin. They love adults, children, and animals and are “irresistible to pet on a city street,” says Dr. Chocznki Johnson. They could act as an ice breaker and help socially awkward situations and reassure or console you when you’re back at home.

a dog lying on a bed© Jessica Peterson/Getty Images

2. Labrador retriever

As one of the most popular dog breeds in the country, it’s no shocker the loveable Labrador retriever is also a top-notch emotional support dog. As temperament goes, they’re happy, laid-back, and nothing seems to bother them much. They are trustworthy, dependable, and always there to lick your face—or your ice cream cone. “This breed is super food motivated,” says Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer, and Pet Lifestyle Expert with Rover. Because of this, it’s easy to train them and teach them helpful tasks, such as laying beside you, resting their head on you, or providing deep pressure therapy, which is used to help reduce anxiety. It can be brought about by hugging, weighted blankets, and yes, by brushing a dog or a dog laying across your body, Ellis explains.

a woman holding a dog© fotografixx/Getty Images

3. Corgi

“Corgis are happy, playful, easy-going dogs, making them a great choice for an emotional support dog,” says Dr. Chocznski Johnson. “Watching a Corgi play can bring entertainment and joy to anyone. Seeing them zip around with their short legs and rotund hind ends can easily bring a smile to your face.” And you can have your pick of two types of Corgis—the Cardigan Welsh Corgi or the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The Cardigan is slightly larger and has a fox-like bushy tail and the Pembroke, a docked tail. They do share similar temperaments—fun-loving, playful, clever, and affectionate with a touch of boldness. After all, they are classified as herding dogs and have a strong instinct to protect their human.

To see all 11 breeds, click on the link below.

11 Best Emotional Support Dogs (microsoftnewskids.com)

Article by Lisa Marie Conklin for Readers Digest©

Photo credit: © AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

60 Percent of Virus Experts Wouldn’t Do These 6 Things Right Now

The summer of 2021 wasn’t exactly what many of us hoped it would be. Weeks of climbing vaccination rates and declining COVID cases in the spring had many of envisioning a summer of increased freedoms like eating in restaurants, traveling without worry, and gathering with friends and family for long overdue milestone celebrations. But soon, those statistics turned in the opposite directions as the Delta variant took hold; instead, it was case numbers that started climbing and vaccination rates slowing down. Recently many of us have been left to consider once again if activities we thought were safe truly are amid the current Delta surge.

To get some insight on that, in August, STAT News contacted nearly 30 epidemiologists, immunologists, and other infectious disease experts across the U.S. to ask them what they thought was low risk and what they’d stay away from as Delta cases continued to climb. While there were a couple activities the majority of them deemed to be relatively safe—like getting a haircut and attending a large outdoor event—there were six things the virus experts largely said they wouldn’t do right now, especially without a mask. Read on to find out what they are.

6 Go on a non-essential international trip

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 59 percent (16 of 27)Carlos del Rio, MD, a professor of epidemiology and global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, told STAT that he has visited his mother in Mexico twice since the pandemic started, but he wouldn’t make the trip now. “I am very careful when I travel,” he wrote to the news outlet via email. “At this point I am not going [to Mexico]. May go later in the year.” Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, and William Hanage, PhD, an epidemiologist in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, both said they wouldn’t travel internationally at the moment out of fear of getting stuck should restrictions change.

5 Go to an indoor wedding or other religious service

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 59 percent (16 of 27)

When asking the virus experts whether or not they would go to an indoor wedding or religious service, STAT specified that it would be a gathering where they did not know the vaccination status of the other attendees, which seemed to move the experts in the “no” direction. Saskia Popescu, PhD, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor in George Mason University’s biodefense program, said even with a mask, she wouldn’t go to a wedding. Emergency physician Uché Blackstock, MD, founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, said she’d skip any large gatherings at this point, even those taking place outdoor.

4 Eat indoors in a restaurant

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 67 percent (18 of 27)

According to STAT’s findings, eating indoors was a complex issue for many of the expert respondents. Six said they would eat inside or would do so during off hours, and three more said they would dine inside but would wear a mask when they weren’t eating or drinking. Saad B. Omer, PhD, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, said he would eat indoors if the restaurant required proof of vaccination. But many agreed with epidemiologist John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, that they’d “prioritize eating outside where possible.”

3 Go to a movie theater

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 81 percent (22 of 27)

While Shweta Bansal, PhD, an associate professor of biology at Georgetown University, called this activity “non-essential” and said she wouldn’t do it at the moment, Hanage and Florian Krammer, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said they would go to the movies but would wear a mask.

2 Send an vaccinated teen to school without a mask

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 89 percent (24 of 27)

Most virus experts said they’d only send a vaccinated teen to school if masks were required, but there were some complex answers to that question, STAT reported.

On one end of the spectrum was Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, who said he’d specifically have a vaccinated teen wear an N95, noting that cloth face masks don’t protect against a variant as contagious as Delta.

On the other end of the spectrum was Ellen Foxman, MD, an immunologist at Yale University. She said she would send a vaccinated teen to a school without a mask mandate in certain situations. “If the school required all students and staff to be vaccinated, I would have no problem whatsoever with no masks,” she said, noting she’d be more inclined to do so if there was a low COVID transmission rate in the area and if there was no one of high risk in her household.

1 Send an unvaccinated child to school without a mask

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 100 percent (27 of 27)

When asked if they would send an unvaccinated child to school without a mask, the virus experts were unanimous. “NO!!! As a parent and a pediatrician, that is a terrible idea,” Andrew Pavia, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah, wrote to STAT. Del Rio said he’d take his unvaccinated child out of any school that didn’t have a mask mandate and Paul Offit, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, simply replied: “Lord, no.”

Article and photo by Best Life

Source: 60 Percent of Virus Experts Wouldn’t Do These 6 Things Right Now, Data Shows (msn.com)