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13 Nontoxic Alternatives to Poinsettias

Are you afraid to keep poinsettias around your home during the holidays? I understand the feeling. I have pets that I worry about ingesting the leaves.

Fortunately, poinsettias aren’t nearly as dangerous as once thought. However, they do produce a sap that can cause irritation to your pet if consumed.

Rather than dealing with an unnecessary vet bill, I opted to use other houseplants around my home during the holiday season.

If you’re looking for some non-poisonous alternatives to the poinsettia, you’re in the right place. Here are a few options to keep your home beautiful and safe around the holidays.

1. CHRISTMAS CACTUS

My grandmother had quite the green thumb. When you’d step onto her enclosed back porch, she always displayed her Christmas cactus with pride. For this reason, this poinsettia alternative is first on our list.

A Christmas cactus produces a variety of richly colored blooms. It does best when provided indirect sunlight and will need occasional watering.

Once the plant blooms each year, be sure to repot it so it will return year after year. By providing only a small amount of care, you can have a gorgeous plant around your home.

2. ACHIRA

Achira goes by a variety of names, but they all point back to this gorgeous tropical plant. This is no tiny houseplant. In fact, it can grow to be as tall as eight feet in height.

However, if you have room for it, achira will produce vibrantly colored blooms at the end of its long stems. You can have this beauty in your home and all it requires in return is regular watering sessions and full sunlight.

3. PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID

These orchids are so gorgeous, they almost appear artificial. They have large, deep colored green leaves. From them, a skinny stem protrudes and produces colorful blooms that come in shades of white, pink, orange, and even yellow.

If this interests you, it will also please you to know how easy they are to care for. They need a sunny windowsill with bright light and to be watered approximately one time per week. It’s also wise to fertilize and repot these flowers at certain points in their growth cycle. With minimal care, you can have a gorgeous orchid as décor.

4. RED ROSES

This option is so simple that many people overlook it. Poinsettias naturally draw the eye because of their deep red color.

However, by incorporating red roses in a bouquet, you could easily keep the deep red color around your home without the concern for your pets.

5. AMARYLLIS

You might be shaking your head at this option because amaryllis are known for being poisonous. The good news is they’re mainly toxic in their bulbs. However, we still recommend you use your judgement before adding this flower to your home.

If you choose to use your amaryllis as holiday décor, it’s a gorgeous option as it forms bright red blooms. Plus, amaryllis will come back for many years. If cared for properly, there have been reports of some of these plants lasting for 70 years!

6. BROMELIAD

When I moved out on my own as a young adult, bromeliad was my first houseplant. I loved this flower because of how unique it looked.

This is a low-maintenance plant with plenty of color and character. It will need direct sunlight, humidity, and occasional watering. By providing these basic needs, bromeliad could thrive under your care.

7. PEPEROMIA

Peperomia plants aren’t as brightly colored as some of the other options on this list. This would be more for someone who prefers live décor over the winter months and isn’t as concerned with a pop of color.

If you fit into this category, peperomia might be for you. All you must do to keep this plant thriving is provide indirect lighting, warmer temperatures, and water on occasion. If you need a low-maintenance houseplant, don’t overlook peperomia.

8. SWEDISH IVY

Swedish ivy is another charming houseplant that doesn’t display a ton of color. If you need something to brighten a bland corner, consider growing Swedish ivy in a hanging basket.

This plant does require a bright place in your home. Otherwise, it’s pretty forgiving when it comes to soil conditions. If you’re new to growing plants inside your home, consider starting with this style of ivy.

9. AFRICAN VIOLET

African violets are beautiful little plants. However, they are particular. As much as I love them, I can’t grow them around my home because I have cats. Though this plant is non-toxic to most common pets, the blooms don’t like to be wet.

Therefore, your pets can’t be around the plant and lick the leaves out of curiosity. Instead, African violets should be placed in a sunny window where they’ll receive indirect light. They must also be watered from the bottom. If you can create the right growing space, African violets could make a gorgeous addition to your home.

10. BOSTON FERN

Boston ferns are recognized for their lush green foliage. Though they don’t have brightly colored flowers, the entire plant tends to draw the eye of anyone around it.

If you’d like to incorporate this non-toxic plant around your home, be sure to place it where the fern will receive bright indirect light. Too much sun can scorch the plant’s fronds. 

It also needs to be watered when the soil is dry. When looking for a simple but charming house plant, that’s also safe for your pets, don’t overlook the Boston fern.

11. PRAYER PLANT

Prayer plants are unique in appearance as they have oval, deep green leaves. However, the veins in the leaves come in a variety of colors. If you’d like a simple plant with some pizazz, the prayer plant could be for you.

These plants are non-toxic to most pets. They will need to be grown in an area with temperatures around 70- to 80-degrees Fahrenheit and with indirect lighting. These are generally easy-to-care for plants and could be good for the beginner gardener.

12. POLKA DOT PLANT

I bet you can’t guess how this plant got its name. One look at the leaves gives it away. This plant is known for its dark green leaves that are speckled with color. Polka dot plants don’t mind direct sunlight but can handle a moderately lit area as well.

They also need well-draining soil and should be deeply watered to avoid too much or too little moisture. The main thing with polka dot plants is they are safe if your pets are curious and lightly nibble their leaves. However, if they consume too much, it can make your pet sick. Be sure to use your judgement before bringing this plant into your home.

13. SPIDER PLANT

Our final non-toxic houseplant, to use in the place of poinsettias, is the spider plant. It’s a simple option which provides subtle beauty.

If you’d like to introduce a quaint houseplant into your living space, the spider plant doesn’t require much. It needs bright, indirect lighting and should be consistently moist. If you can provide these growing conditions, the spider plant might be a good fit for you.

This concludes our suggestions for non-toxic alternatives for poinsettias. This list puts a smile on my face, and I hope it does for you as well.

It’s hard not to get down in the mouth when you’re standing in the checkout lines around the holidays, see all the gorgeous poinsettias lined up in the stores, and wish you could have one.

However, you can’t out of fear for your pets. Now, you can turn that frown upside down and pick a non-toxic houseplant, from this list, to decorate your home over the holidays or year-round.

Article by Jennifer Poindexter.

Source: 13 Nontoxic Alternatives to Poinsettias – Gardening Channel

70 Eye-Catching Painted Pumpkins That Will Make a Statement This Halloween

painted pumpkin ideas

3D Painted Pumpkins

Matte spray paint or chalk paint goes a long way to turn a purple pumpkin into a beautiful new hue. We found that using lighter colors shows off the 3D design more.

Directions: Make sure your pumpkin is thoroughly cleaned. Draw a design in pencil on the pumpkin, making it as simple or detailed as you like! Go over pencil lines with puff paint and let dry completely for a few hours. You might want to work in sections if you are creating a larger design. Once the puff paint has dried, mask off the stem of the pumpkin with masking tape and spray a coat of matte spray paint all over the pumpkin, and let dry. Repeat with a second coat if needed. Remove masking tape and enjoy!

painted pumpkin ideas

Painted Faux Bois Pumpkin

For a totally rustic look, imitate the look of wood grains by lightly sketch a faux bois pattern on a pumpkin with a pencil. Then, use a linoleum carving tool to etch out the pattern. Once complete, paint unetched part of the pumpkin with acrylic paint.

pumpkin painting ideas

Seasonal Painted Pumpkin

Paint your pumpkin any color you’d like and use autumnal hues to create branches and leaves, and then spell out the season. The best part is, you can easily keep this up after Halloween is over.

Want more? Click on the link to see 67 more. No, 67 really !

By AMANDA GARRITY Associate Lifestyle Editor and MONIQUE VALERIS Senior Home Editor, Good Housekeeping.

Source: (click here): 70 Best Pumpkin Painting Ideas – Painted Pumpkins for Halloween 2021 (goodhousekeeping.com)

Moderna or J&J, Here’s When You Can Get a Booster

If you got your COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year, you’re likely antsy about getting that booster dose to ensure you have optimal protection from the coronavirus. But right now, only a select group of people who got one vaccine—Pfizer—can do so. It’s been just two and a half weeks since Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky, MD, endorsed the recommendation to offer the Pfizer booster to certain groups of people in the U.S., but for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients, it probably feels like a lifetime. The development left those who were vaccinated with the other two shots wondering when it will be their turn. And now, Anthony Fauci, MD, the White House’s chief medical adviser, has given us a clear timeline for authorization of Moderna and Johnson.& Johnson boosters. Read on to find out exactly when you can roll up your sleeves for another dose of those two vaccines.

Fauci says Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients will be able to get boosters in early November.

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s The Situation Room on Oct. 11, Fauci gave a clear timeline for when those who got the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a booster.

“The advisory committee to the FDA is going to look at that data this week, the 14 and the 15th of October, and then the following week, that kind of regulatory decision will be handed over to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP] at the CDC, and sometime in the first couple of days of November we very likely will get a recommendation from the CDC,” Fauci said.

“In the next few days to a week, we’re going to be hearing more about it,” he added, referring also to the possibility of mixing different vaccines. “Both Moderna and J&J are going to be presenting the data to the FDA for their advisory committee to look at.”

But other experts say the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters could be available a bit sooner.

When it came to Pfizer’s booster, the FDA’s advisory committee met on Sept. 17 to review the pharmaceutical company’s data, then the ACIP met on Sept. 23 to provide its recommendation to the CDC, and the following day, Walensky endorsed it, while also adding two other categories of people who could get a Pfizer booster.

If the path is the same for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, the CDC director could endorse those boosters by Oct. 22 and Oct. 23. “Oct. 14, the FDA advisory committee will start considering Moderna boosters,” Allison Arwady, MD, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, told local news outlet NBC 5 Chicago. “A week or two after that, we should have guidance for people who got Moderna as their first series and similarly J&J probably. … Before the end of October, I would expect that we would have guidance.”

It remains to be seen who will be eligible for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters will likely follow the same timeline recommendations as the Pfizer booster, which is that recipients must wait at least six months after their last dose in order to get a booster. In clinical trials, Moderna tested its boosters on recipients after six months, at which point antibodies “had waned significantly,” the company said in a statement once the booster data was submitted to the FDA.

Johnson & Johnson found in its clinical trials that when given at six months, its booster increased antibodies 12-fold. “A booster of our COVID-19 vaccine increases levels of protection for those who have received our single-shot vaccine to 94 percent,” Mathai Mammen, MD, global head of research and development for Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement. “We look forward to our discussions with the FDA and other health authorities to support their decisions regarding boosters.”

But while that timeline is clear, the same groups of people may not necessarily be eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters as those who can get the Pfizer booster. U.S. adults 65 and older, residents in long-term care facilities, people under 65 with underlying conditions, and people in high-risk occupational and institutional settings (like healthcare workers and prison inmates) are all eligible for the Pfizer booster, but that vaccine’s protection wanes more significantly. A September study from the CDC found that the Moderna vaccine was still 93 percent effective at preventing hospitalization during the Delta surge among adults who weren’t immunocompromised, while Pfizer’s vaccine dropped to 88 percent and Johnson & Johnson to 71 percent.

The Moderna booster will likely be a half-dose.

The Pfizer booster contains the same amount of vaccine as the first two doses in the series, but the dosage of the Moderna booster may be a bit lower. When Moderna submitted its data to the FDA seeking authorization for its booster shot on Sept. 1, it recommended a half-dose of 50 µg. “Our submission is supported by data generated with the 50 µg dose of our COVID-19 vaccine, which shows robust antibody responses against the Delta variant,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement at the time.

The reason behind this, Arwady told NBC 5 Chicago, is that “the Moderna initial series was a little bit higher actually than Pfizer and the booster may be a little bit lower” (0.5 mL per shot of Moderna compared to 0.3 mL per Pfizer dose).

“Moderna’s booster is going to be one-half the strength of the regular Moderna vaccine,” Kevin Most, DO, chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine’s Central DuPage Hospital, told WGN 720 in Chicago. “So now it’s going to be a little bit more of a logistic headache for all the pharmacies, physicians’ offices, and immediate care [clinics].”

 © Provided by Best Life

Source: If You Got Moderna or J&J, Dr. Fauci Says Here’s When You Can Get a Booster (msn.com)

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors Native American history and recognizes the communities of people who are native to American lands. The holiday is observed in 14 states and more than 130 U.S. cities. Originally recognized as Columbus Day, many state and local governments are now reframing the holiday to more accurately reflect the history of Native communities in the U.S., starting with the popular misconception that Christopher Columbus discovered America.

There are 574 federally recognized and 63 state-recognized Native American tribes in the U.S. that span across more than 56 million acres and 326 land reservations. Federally recognized Native American communities are, by law, viewed as their own nations and maintain their own systems of self-government. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a time to reflect on the storied, robust experience of Native people on their own land, from the brutal truths of European infringement to the current fight for civil rights and fair land use.

The Evolution of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Before there was Indigenous Peoples’ Day, there was Columbus Day. Our early school curriculum taught most of us that Christopher Columbus sailed the Atlantic Ocean in the late 1400s and “discovered” what we now know as America. The first Columbus Day celebration was in 1792, 300 years after Columbus arrived. In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Columbus Day a national holiday.

Beginning in 1977, the United Nations began a push to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. Those early discussions about changing the name of the holiday hinged on the historical fact that Native peoples were the first inhabitants of the Americas and that already inhabited land cannot be “discovered.” It took a few decades to pick up steam, but more U.S. states and cities have recently recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day. South Dakota was the first state to recognize it in 1990, and 13 additional states have followed suit since then, with Virginia being the most recent.

How to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day

As more states and local communities recognize the day, the number of celebrations increases each year! Some states dually recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day, both of which are national holidays that require government offices and buildings to close.

In our pandemic world, many celebrations are hosted virtually, including expert discussions hosted by universities and museums. Some cities host marches and parades that include Native dress, music, and traditional ceremonies. Here are a few other ways to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day:

  • Read a book by a Native American author to educate yourself on Native American history and customs.
  • Watch a documentary on the current Native American experience and issues those living on tribal lands face.
  • Research, support, and purchase art by Native American artists.
  • Go outside and rebuild nature in your community, even if it’s just picking up litter or sitting under the shade of a tree.
  • Send financial contributions to organizations like Partnership With Native Americans or Native American Rights Fund.

Written by y SARAH HUNT-BLACKWEL for Everygirl©

Source: Celebrating and Learning on Indigenous Peoples’ Day | The Everygirl

Halloween 

Halloween is celebrated on October 31 each year. The holiday originated as the evening before All Hallow’s Day, but likely has roots that go much further back.

The Halloween practice of children dressing in costume to go trick or treating came from a tradition in Ireland and England. People would dress up on All Hallow’s Eve to avoid being recognized by ghosts. They would also leave a bowl of food outside to appease the spirits. 

A carved pumpkin, also called a Jack O’Lantern, is another popular Halloween tradition. 

Other popular Halloween traditions include bobbing for apples, playing pranks on people, decorating in black and orange, and eating candy apples.

By Beverly Hernandez for ThoughtCo.com©

Source: Halloween Printables: Wordsearch, Crossword Puzzles, and More (thoughtco.com)