Here what Success Really Looks Like.

Image

Office Guy Cartoons©

There’s so much that we don’t see when people succeed. To be the best, are you willing to commit and do the hard stuff day in, day out?

Source: @OfficeGuyToons

The One Sweet Food To Eat for a Longer Life

Eating healthy and working out isn’t just meant for losing weight. In fact, these are important aspects of keeping your body healthy and happy for a longer life, and who wouldn’t want to add a few years onto their life? While a generic nutritious diet and workout regime will help with adding those years, there are a few foods you can focus on that will actually help boost your chances of living a longer life. One of the most popular—and one of the sweetest—foods you can eat include berries! Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are full of antioxidants that have anti-aging properties that have been scientifically proven to give you a few more years.

a bowl of food on a table: oatmeal

© Provided by Eat This, Not That! oatmeal

Here’s why you should be adding berries regularly to your meal plan for a longer life, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Why eating berries lead to a longer life

First, let’s look at why antioxidants are important. According to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of AmericaAntioxidants help to protect your cells against free radicals, which is where the development of chronic diseases can develop such as cancer or heart disease. Typically these free radicals cause oxidative stress in your body, which can damage those important cells and cause some of these diseases, as well as Alzheimer’s, asthma, hypertension, arthritis, and more. Including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet is an important way to continue to neutralize those free radicals and lower your risk. Fruits and vegetables are certainly on the list, as well as other dark chocolate, mushrooms, and walnuts.

So does this mean any of these antioxidant-rich foods can lead to a longer life? They certainly do help! However, in a study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistryberries and pomegranates were specifically chosen over 25 antioxidant-rich foods as one of the best sources of antioxidant intake for your body. Berries are an easy source of antioxidants to get into your meal plan, especially because they are tasty toppings in some of your favorite breakfast foods—like oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies.

Is there one type of berry that’s considered the best?

If you had to compare the antioxidant levels of berries, you would be shocked to know that blueberries would be considered the best berry to eat in terms of antioxidant levels and longevity. A study published by the Journal of Nutrition showed how blueberries were able to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels for obese people by 27% in an 8-week span! This is due to the polyphenols in blueberries which are particularly helpful for cardiovascular health. These polyphenols have also been proven in the journal Nutrients to limit the effects of the aging of your cells.

Regardless of the type of berries you love to eat, berries include a high amount of fiber compared to other fruits and they are a great source of vitamin C for your day. Eating a cup of mixed berries is a great way to ensure your body is getting the vitamins and nutrients it needs to live a longer life.

Article by Kiersten Hickman for EatThis,NotThat

Source: The One Sweet Food To Eat for a Longer Life (msn.com)

50 SUPER EASY DRY CREEK LANDSCAPING IDEAS

BY CANDACE OSMOND for The Backyard Boss

As an avid do-it-myselfer, I tend to look at things and and immediately think, “I can do that.” Not everyone works that way and prefers to hire a professional to complete tasks around their house like gardening or constructing a display based on some dry creek bed ideas. But if you’re anything like me, you can take a picture on Pinterest and not only copy it but make it better.

Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration and this list of dry creek bed landscaping images is sure to succeed. Have a look-see and start planning your dry river bed landscaping ideas for this weekend.

BACKYARD HAVEN

For the go-getter in all of us, this dry creek bed landscaping idea covers the whole darn yard. Everything from rock beds, mulch mounds, gravel pits, and even a cute bridge to join two areas, this idea is certainly a big project but definitely doable.

A LUSH BED OF ROCKS AND PLANTS

Baxters garden
Source: Gardening for You

This dry creek bed design is a lot of lusciousness in a small area and shows how, with a bit of creativity, you can turn a narrow outdoor space into an oasis. A simple rock path lined with larger stones and thick greenery lead the way to a quaint seating area where you can enjoy your hard work with a drink in hand.

A SIMPLE STACK

Dry Waterfall

It really doesn’t get any easy than this. Gather up a collection of large, jagged stones and place them stacked underneath or in front of one of the eaves trough drains around your house. It’ll filter the water coming down and help guide it away from your house with style.

A MORE NATURAL BED

This landscaping idea is best pulled off in a larger area. If you have a big, empty backyard or some land you can use, then by all means, have at it. By using plants that are commonly found in nature rather than from a nursery, you can achieve this nature-inspired dry creek bed. Take it one step further and use plants that are native to your environment.

Make it yourself!

SLANTED DRY RIVER BED

By designing and forming your dry river bed on a slant such as this, you make the gorgeous feature visible from just about anywhere in the outdoor area. And if you’re going to put in the hard work of creating a beauty like this one you may as well show it off.

Click below to see more ideas:

50 Super Easy Dry Creek Landscaping Ideas (backyardboss.net)

Study Skills for English Beginners

Hero Images/Getty Images

By Kenneth Beare Updated February 06, 2018

Learning any language takes practice – lots of practice! Often, it’s difficult to know what you should practice. Should you watch a video? Perhaps, it would be a good idea to do a few quizzes. Of course, you should try to speak English with your friends. All of these are great ideas, but it’s also important to build a routine. A routine will help you make studying English a habit. That’s the best way to improve your English!

Make Learning a Habit

It’s important to be exposed to many different areas every day. However, you shouldn’t try to study too many different subjects. These suggestions take a short listening and reading as the basis for daily practice. You are trying to learn many new things, so don’t try to learn too much in any one area too quickly!

Listen – 10 Minutes

There are a number of beginning level listening selections that you can use on this site. Books written for children are also a great idea. Here are some suggestions for free children’s books that you can listen to on your computer:

Read – 10 Minutes

Choose a subject you like to read about and read for fun. You can find beginning level reading here on the site. These sites also offer ‘easy’ English reading selections.

Simple English News
Easy English Times

Improve your Vocabulary – 5 Minutes

Take five minutes to write down all the new words you find in your listening and reading exercises. Keep a notebook, and write in the translation in your native language.

Grammar – 5 – 10 Minutes

Think about what you are studying in English class (if you are taking it). Or, if you are studying by yourself, take out your grammar book and find one grammar point to review. You can also use the beginner grammar resources at this site. Take a quick look at the grammar and then think about the listening and your reading. Did you hear or read these forms? How were they used?

Speaking – 5 Minutes

It is very important to move your mouth and speak! Even if you only speak to yourself. Take five minutes and speak out loud (not silently). Try to quickly summarize what you listened to and what you read. Can you do it? Of course, it’s better if you can do this with a friend. Find a friend and study together a few times a week. You can practice together.

That’s it! Approximately thirty minutes a day, every day – or at least four times a week! If you continue to do this, you will be surprised at how quickly your English improves!

Of course, there are much more ways to improve your English. However, make a habit of doing these simple exercises at least four times a week. When you have questions come to this site and use the beginning English resources, or use your grammar book. Watch a video online, try to use English in every way you can – even if the language is too difficult.

Source: Study Skills For English Language Beginners (thoughtco.com)

Fast Growing Privacy Trees

If you’re looking for quick privacy and shade, check out this list of fast growing privacy trees. These trees will grow quickly and won’t take decades to provide shelter as well as keep the neighbors from spying on you. So what do you plant that’ll grow quickly to give you some privacy as well as shade?

There are so many types of beautiful trees that can make your landscaping amazing. But if you are particularly looking for shade or privacy, what you want are fast growing privacy trees. Some of these include varieties such as River Birch, Green Giant Arborvitae, and even Weeping Willows. Check out the whole list below.

Not all of these are evergreen, but you will get privacy in the spring/summer and even into fall when people tend to be outside more.

River Birch

Privacy Trees - River Birch

I am still in awe of how fast these grow.  River birches are beautiful trees and they have the most interesting bark that looks like it’s shedding or peeling.  We planted three river birch trees in the side of our yard and they were tiny. 

River Birch Facts

  • Deciduous (loses the leaves in the fall)
  • Can grow 40-70 feet tall
  • Beautiful peeling bark
  • Loves moist soil areas
  • Grows 1.5-3 feet per year
  • Zones 4-9

Green Giant Arborvitae

Fast Growing Privacy Trees - Green Giant Arborvitae

Another stunner and this one is evergreen – meaning you’ll have the beautiful green color year-round.  This one can grow up to 3 feet per year. 

We planted three of these that were around 2 feet tall and in 3 years they are about 12-15 feet tall.  Give them room when you plant – it can spread out between 12 and 20 feet.  They have a beautiful cone shape – like a pretty Christmas tree.

Green Giant Facts

  • Evergreen (stays green year-round)
  • Can grow 3 feet per year
  • Zones 3 through 7 or 8
  • Grows 30-40 feet
  • Drought tolerant

Weeping Willow Tree

Weeping Willow

One of my most favorite trees, the weeping willow tree is stunning.  It’s drooping “weeping” limbs/leaves are gorgeous.  Make sure you have plenty of room and beware you won’t get much grass growing under or around the willow. 

Keep it away from your septic lines, because the roots can potentially damage your lines.   It can get between 30-40 feet tall and wide. 

hey aren’t evergreen, however,  they are one of the first to get their leaves in the spring and one of the last to lose them in the fall/winter.

Also – weeping willows are not ideal if planted next to sidewalks. It’s far too droopy and will block the path without constant trimming.

Weeping Willow Facts

  • Deciduous
  • Invasive shallow roots so don’t plant next to sidewalks or septic lines
  • Can grow 30-40 feet tall and wide so give them plenty of room
  • Grows up to 2 feet or more per year
  • Zones 6-8

Tulip Tree

Fast growing privacy trees - tulip poplar

This is another one that’s growing faster than I imagined.  Tulip trees, also known as tulip poplars, can grow between 70-100 feet tall.  They have a beautiful cone shape with dark green leaves and turn a beautiful golden-yellow color in the fall before they lose their leaves. 

It’s not evergreen, but definitely worth planting if you’re looking for some fast shade.  Give it plenty of room because it’s one of the fastest-growing and largest trees in North America.

Tulip Poplar Facts

  • Mature height of 70-100 feet
  • Is actually a member of the Magnolia family of trees
  • Zones 4-9
  • Deciduous

Red Maple

red maple

Red Maples are stunning trees with fiery red leaves in the spring.  They can grow up to 3 feet per year, so not quite as fast growing as some of the other trees on the list, but still impressive. 

And what a visual show these are!  Give them plenty of room to grow and they can live for over 50 years.  

Red Maple Facts

  • Zones 3-10
  • Can grow up to 3 feet per year
  • Averages 40-50 feet tall
  • Deciduous
  • Can tolerate moist or dry soils
  • Don’t plant next to sidewalks or driveways due to a shallow root system

Source: Fast Growing Privacy Trees (createandfind.com)

April Writing Prompts

New York builders​

Picture

Persuasive task:
This is how buildings were made in the past. 
Is this a safe way to build skyscrapers?
Compare it to the way skyscrapers are built today.
Which is the best option?
Convince your audience to take on your opinion.

Narrative task:
Write a story to discuss how these men ended up here.
Is it safe?
What happens when they need to get off the steel bar?
How did they get there?
Why are they there?

Mystery Cave

Picture

Persuasive task:
Try and convince someone to either go into or to not go into the mystery cave. 
What adventures or dangers might await them?
What should/shouldn’t they?

Narrative:
Write a narrative story about this cave.
Where does this cave lead to?
Where is it located?
Why would someone enter it?
What are they looking for?
What happens once your character goes inside?
What adventures/ dangers might await those who enter the cave?

Ladder in the sky

Picture

Write a narrative story using this image as your prompt.

Think about it
Where does this ladder lead?
Who is climbing the ladder?
What is at the top of the ladder?
Why was the ladder created?
Does the character climb the ladder?
Does something climb down from the ladder?
How did the character find the ladder?
What is special about the field the ladder is in?
Who does the character meet at the top of the ladder?

Dangerous road sign

Picture

Write a narrative story to using this image as your prompt.

Think about it
Will you write a narrative from point of view of the travellers or the monster?
Where does this road lead?
What is the dangers on this road?
How does that affect people who drive on the road?
What is the monsters feelings about people driving on the road.

Spy Mouse

Picture

Write a narrative story to using this image as your prompt.

Think about it
What is this mouses story?
Why it it there?
What happened to lead it to this moment?
Who does the mouse work for?
Why does the mouse need the cheese?
Does it safely steal/ retrieve the cheese?
What is the problem in this story?
Who is the villain?
Who is the hero?

Giant dog

Picture

Write a narrative story to using this image as your prompt.

Think about it
Why is the dog so large?
Is the dog being friendly or aggressive?
How does the person feel?
What caused the dog to be so big?
​What caused the person to be so small?

Clever prompt ideas from Two Teachers One Blog

Source: 20 Writing prompts to engage your students in their writing – Two Teachers One Blog (weebly.com)

Fruit Infused Water Recipes

These fruit infused water recipes will show you how to make fruit flavored water at home. Therefore, solving the problem of how to drink more water when you don’t like it. Then, you can stay hydrated all day while saving money and improving your health.

I know I should be drinking more water.  Even during the summer, I have a hard time drinking plain water.  I don’t know why.  Unless I’ve just worked out or been outside in the heat, water is not normally the first drink I choose.  I like juice, Gatorade, and fizzy juice drinks, but I know I shouldn’t drink those all of the time.  I wanted to know how to drink more water when you don’t like the taste of plain water.  To help solve this problem, I’ve been making fruit infused water at home to help me drink more water every day.

how-to-drink-more-water-every-day-fruit-infused-water-1024x682-1351865

HOW TO DRINK MORE WATER EVERY DAY

I know of many people that don’t like the taste of plain water.   So, they want to find easy ways to drink more water ever day.  Because of this, I’ve been experimenting with different fruits and herbs.  I have been having fun making fruit infused water recipes at home.  If you want to try making your own fruit infused water, then start with different combinations of fruit for your flavored water (bananas don’t work so well).  In addition, you can add a variety of spices and herbs.

HOW TO MAKE FRUIT FLAVORED WATER AT HOME

First, to make your fruit infused water recipes, you’ll need some jars. I bought a bunch of Mason jars online that I use to make my fruity water.  On Amazon, there’s a deal on this 9 pack of Ball Wide-Mouth Mason Jars with Lids and Bands.

WHAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE GOOD TO PUT IN WATER?

Start experimenting with your favorite fruits and veggies. Yes, vegetables make good infused water too.   Some of the best fruits and vegetables for making infused water are lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, and carrots.

PREPARING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FOR FLAVORED WATER RECIPES

Before you use the fruits and vegetables, be sure they are thoroughly cleaned.   Wash your fruits and veggies before cutting them because cut foods can lose more vitamins and minerals during soaking and cleaning.

HOW TO ADD FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TO WATER

To make your infused water, you will want some type of containers for brewing and storage.   I like to make and store my flavored water in Mason jars.  Although, there are also infuser water bottles and infuser water pitchers that make the process a little easier.

INFUSER WATER BOTTLES AND INFUSER WATER PITCHERS

In these infuser water bottles and infuser pitchers, there are compartments to keep the fruit separate from the water.  Because of this, it is easier to remove the fruit and fruit particles after use.  Now, they even make fruit infuser sport water bottles you can take with you along to workouts.

HOW LONG SHOULD INFUSED WATER SIT?

Infuse your water anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.  After your water has been infused, removed the fruits and vegetables.  Then, store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for 3-7 days.

For best results, drink your infused water within about a day or two.

If you would like some examples of fruit infused water, then here are a few of my fruit and vegetable combinations.

healthy-flavored-water-at-home-fruit-water-jars-6119971

Strawberries and Lime infused water.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Lime infused water.

Cherries, Strawberries, and Lemons infused water.

MORE FRUITY WATER RECIPES

fruit-infused-water-recipes-1024x678-7390469

For more, check out these recipes for fruit infused water.

  • DIY Fruit Infused Water Recipes For Weight Loss on Femnique
  • 12 Fruit-Infused Water Combos To Keep You Hydrated All Summer from Rodale’s Organic Life
  • Fruit-Infused Water – 6 ways! From berries, to citrus, to cucumber and herbs on She Uncovered
  • Detox Water: Top 24 clean recipes to boost your metabolism from Lean Jumpstart
  • 6 simple delicious infused water recipes from Earth 911

Source: Fruit Infused Water Recipes – Make Fruit Flavored Water at Home – Rachel K. Belkin

5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

Stone and gravel front walkway to home
Image: Megan West, Interior Stylist
No need for fancy DIY skills, a lot of money, or a ton of time to pull off 

It’s your yard — yours to do with as you wish. And while that’s great, that doesn’t mean you have to be one of those people who spend every spare moment in their yard, sprucing it up. 

But, still, your landscaping could use a little something. But something easy. 

Here are five totally doable projects that your budget will barely notice, but your neighbors definitely will:

#1 Add Some (Tough) Edging

Rigid flowerbed edging
Image: Paul Gerritsen/Shutterstock

Tell your grass who’s boss with edging that can stand up to even the crabbiest of all crabgrasses. 

But don’t make the mistake that many homeowners make of buying the flexible plastic stuff, thinking it will be easier to install. It’ll look cheap and amateurish from day one.

Worse, it won’t last. And before you know it, you won’t be able to tell where your garden bed ends and your “lawn” begins.

Instead buy the more rigid, tough stuff in either fiberglass, aluminum, or steel.

Tips on installing edging:

  • Lay out a hose in the pattern you want.
  • Sprinkle flour or powdered chalk to mark the hose pattern.
  • Use a lawn edger (or spade) to make an incision for the edging.
  • Tap the edging into the incision with a rubber mallet.

The cost? Mostly your time, and up to $2.50 a square foot for the edging.

#2 Create a Focal Point with a Berm

Berm built in front yard
Image: Jon Jenks-Bauer

A berm is a mound of gently sloping earth, often created to help with drainage. You can also build them to create “island beds,” a focal point of textures and colors that are so much more interesting than plain ol’ green grass. 

Plus, they’ll give you privacy — and diffuse street noises. What’s not to like about that? Especially if you live in a more urban area.

For most yards, berms should max out at 2-feet high because of the space needed to properly build one.

They need a ratio of 4-6 feet of width for every foot of height. That’s at least 8 feet for a typical 2-foot-high berm. So be sure you have the room, or decrease the height of your berm.

Popular berm plantings include:

  • Flowering bushes, such as azaleas
  • Evergreens, such as blue spruce 
  • Perennials such as periwinkle
  • Tall, swaying prairie grasses
  • Lots of mulch to keep weeds away

Save on Soil

Soil costs a whole lot less in bulk — $20 / cubic yard vs. almost $70 for the same amount in bags from a big-box store. Even with a delivery fee, you’ll come out ahead.

The cost? Usually less than $300, depending on how big you make it, how much soil you need to buy to get to your desired height, and which plants you choose.

#3 Make a Flagstone Wall

Aim to build a wall no more than 12 inches tall, and it becomes a super simple DIY project — no mortar needed at all! 

Rock wall around raised flower bed
Image: Stranded in Cleveland

How to build an easy flagstone wall:

  • Dig a trench a couple of inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the flagstones.
  • Fill with pea gravel and/or sand and tamp to make level.
  • Lay out the flagstones to see their shapes and sizes.
  • Stack the smaller stones first.
  • Save the largest, prettiest flagstones for the top layer.
  • Backfill with gravel.

Choose a stone of consistent thickness. Flagstone might be limestone, sandstone, shale — any rock that splits into slabs. 

The cost? About $300 for stones and sand (a ton of 2-inch-thick stone is enough for a wall 10 feet long and 12 inches high).

#4 Install a Path with Flagstone or Gravel

There’s something romantic, charming, and simply welcoming about a meandering pathway to your front door or back garden — which means it has super-huge impact when it comes to your home’s curb appeal. 

You can use flagstone, pea gravel, decomposed or crushed granite, even poured concrete (although that’s not easy to DIY). 

A few tips for building a pathway:

  • Allow 3 feet of width for clearance.
  • Create curves rather than straight lines for a pleasing effect.
  • Remove sod at least 3 to 4 inches deep to keep grass from coming back.
  • If you live in an area with heavy rains, opt for large, heavy stones.

The cost? Anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks to upwards of $500 depending on the material you use, with decomposed granite being the least expensive, and flagstone (also the easiest of the bunch to install) the costliest. 

#5 Build a Tree Surround

Stone tree surround
Image: Clean Green Landscape

Installing a masonry surround for a tree is a twofer project: It looks great, and it means you’ve got less to mow. Come to think of it, it’s a threefer. It can work as extra seating when you have your lawn party, too! 

All it takes is digging a circular trench, adding some sand, and installing brick, cement blocks, or stone. Just go for whatever look you like best. 

The trickiest part is getting an even circle around the tree. Here’s how: 

  1. Tie a rope around the tree, making a loop big enough so that when you pull it taut against the tree, the outer edge of the loop is right where you want the surround to be. 
  2. Set your spade inside the loop with the handle plumb — straight up and down. Now, as you move around the tree, the loop of rope keeps the spade exactly the same distance from the base of the tree, creating a nice circle.

Then build the tree surround:

  • Dig out a circular trench about 8 inches deep and 6 inches wide. 
  • Add a layer of sand. 
  • Set bricks at an angle for a saw-tooth effect or lay them end-to-end.
  • Fill the surround with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

The cost? Super cheap. You can do it for less than $25 with commonly available pavers and stones. 

Source: Easy Landscaping | Easy Maintenance Landscaping | Yard Tips (houselogic.com)