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How to deal with difficult family members during the holidays

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If you have an uncle who drinks too much, a cousin who’s recently lost a spouse or a sibling who always makes you lose your temper, it’s important to prepare yourself so that you’ll be ready to defuse the situation. There’s no miracle cure for family drama, but with a little preparation and a lot of deep breaths, you’ll be able to get through Christmas dinner. Here are some scenarios you may encounter.

Excessive drinking
If one of your holiday guests drinks too much, focus on making sure they stay safe. Cut off their access to alcohol and give them plenty of water. Watch them closely for the rest of the evening, and above all, don’t let them drive. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on anyone who you know struggles to set limits for themselves.

Depression and bereavement
Christmas can be a difficult time for people who suffer from depression or for those who’ve lost a loved one. If this applies to one of your guests, don’t minimize their pain or tell them to “cheer up.” Instead, be patient, listen to what they have to say and respect their need to stay quiet or be alone for a few moments.

Family fights
Whether it’s due to politics, childhood resentments or conflicting temperaments, there are some people who just can’t seem to get along. Try to keep bickering relatives apart and the conversation light. If you find yourself getting upset because of a family member, stay calm and count to 10 before saying anything. Step outside or go to the restroom if you need a moment to regain your cool.

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Update your bedroom with new curtains and bedding

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Does your bedroom need an upgrade? Change the look of the room with new curtains and sheets. Here’s how to choose the perfect new linens for your room.

Curtains
When selecting curtains, think about the look you want in the room and then find a fabric that corresponds. Linen and cotton blends are more casual and cheerful, while silk and velvet are refined and regal.

Next, think about the color and pattern you’d like. You can match your curtains to the color of the wall and use pattern and texture to make them stand out. Alternatively, you could hang a multi-colored pattern and make them a focal point.

Bedding
You don’t need to match your bedding to your curtain, but they should coordinate. You can pull a color from the pattern on your curtains or use a contrasting colors. If you’d like to use different patterns for your curtains and bedding, stay in the same color palette.

When buying your sheets, invest in high-quality, natural fabrics. Egyptian cotton is classic and comfortable, while silk feels luxurious and has the added bonus of being gentle on your hair and skin.

By changing the linens in your bedroom, you’ll wake up feeling like you’re somewhere new.

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Families connect at home meetings

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Busy family members can meet up and speak up at special weekly meetings.

According to Aha! Parenting, family meetings help kids to feel more important within the family. They also give everyone the chance to talk about their triumphs, disagreements, schedules, or any other topic of concern that they want to bring to the table. Meanwhile, everyone else has the chance to listen.

Try to schedule the meeting at the same time every week so everyone can plan to be free. Plan a fun snack to lure the reluctant and to keep the mood relaxed.

Be sure everyone in the house is invited — even the little ones.

Adults should plan to discuss schedules, school dates, appointments, holiday plans, and news of the week.

Kids can fill-in the schedules with upcoming events. It’s a good way for parents to iron out transportation plans.

Develop your own strategies for starting the meeting and keeping order.

Consider taking turns offering a prayer or creating a fun ritual like a song or poem that everyone can participate in together.

Some families make a talking stick to pass around so that speakers can speak and nonspeakers won’t interrupt.

Move through the agenda and be on the lookout for any problems that seem to be festering under the surface.

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Nibbling in the garden? Edible flowers abound

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Most anyone who owns a cat can tell you that felines go crazy for flowers. But did you realize that humans also like to nibble on them?

In the popular TV show The Great British Bake Off, contestants have used edible flowers for several seasons.

They look great on cakes, but can be delicious in other ways, too. Perhaps you remember your grandfather sauteing some dandelion leaves in a little olive oil and garlic and serving them with fried eggs, long before it was trendy.

The website The English Garden gave edible flowers a shout-out in an article about new flowering plants for 2019. The post was highlighted by a radiant photo featuring a mix from Thompson and Moran that included calendulas, nasturtiums, dianthus, and violas.

Southern Living Magazine published an article listing the 10 best edible flowers. The list included a bunch of blossoms which taste like cucumbers (and work equally well in salads as in cocktails); hibiscus, whose cranberry-like flavor is great in teas and, again, cocktails; nasturtiums, with a slightly peppery taste much like watercress; and pansies, roses, and violets.

Beware of picking flowers that have been treated with pesticides. If in doubt, wash them in cold water and let dry on a paper towel. And if you are thinking about trying it out, do your research and make sure the flowers you choose are edible — not all of them are.

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Operation clean air: five ways to get rid of indoor air pollution

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Spring cleaning may make you think of washing windows and laundering curtains, but what about the air inside your home? In some residences, the air indoors can be more polluted than the air outside. And unfortunately, dust and dirt can make respiratory issues like asthma worse. Here are five strategies to help you breathe easier.

1. Keep your floors clean: make sure people take their shoes off at the door and to vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This way you’ll reduce allergens and harmful chemicals that can get into your home.

2. Don’t let it get too humid: excess humidity attracts mold, dust mites and other allergens. Use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to keep humidity levels low.

3. Get some houseplants: not only do plants help filter the air in your home, they can also boost your mood. Peace lilies and rubber plants make great air purifiers and are easy to take care of.

4. Have your ducts cleaned: think of air ducts as the lungs of your home; all the air from your heating and cooling systems flow through them. If you can’t remember the last time you had them professionally cleaned, now’s the time.

5. Change your filters: your air conditioner, furnace, dryer and range hood all have filters that should be changed regularly to keep them working efficiently and the air in your home clean.

This spring, breath easier by adding the above five items to your spring cleaning to-do list.

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Tips for greening up cleaning

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Have you ever thought about making an all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, or drain unclogger that didn’t have so many harsh chemicals in it? There are plenty of options to do so that are easy, inexpensive, and — perhaps best of all — that actually work!

Here are some tips for household cleaners:

Vinegar, baking soda, water, and your favorite essential oil can clean almost anything around the house. And some of us never tire of the way the baking soda and the vinegar fizz up when they meet.

Lemons make a great disinfectant and smell great, too. Toss one into the garbage disposal to freshen things up, and you can use a half of a lemon and salt to scrub your wooden cutting board.

Tea Tree oil is considered among many to be an effective antibacterial and antifungal ingredient, and you’ll find it in a host of natural cleaning products.

Try making a homemade laundry detergent with some combination of baking soda, washing soda, castile soap, and your favorite essential oil (like lavender). There are tons of variations online.

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Make sure you’re prepared for a financial emergency

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Even if you have a well-paying job, affordable living costs and few debts, it’s important not to take a good financial situation for granted. Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for a financial emergency:

1. Have an emergency fund. Financial experts recommend creating a savings account with enough money to cover six months’ worth of expenses. That way if disaster strikes, you’re prepared.

2. Have adequate insurance. It’s essential to have renter’s or homeowner’s insurance in case of disaster. It’s also a good idea to get disability insurance, which covers your expenses if you become ill or disabled and can’t work.

3. Make sure to have credit available. In a financial emergency, you may need to bill expenses to your credit cards until you’re able to pay them off. Before financial disaster occurs, however, it’s important to do your best to avoid credit card debt and pay off your outstanding balances as quickly as possible.

4. Plan how to cut expenses quickly. Examine your expenses and identify where you can cut back. In an emergency, gym memberships and TV packages can be cancelled, and money spent on eating out can be reduced or eliminated entirely.

If you prepare for an emergency now, your financial plan won’t be totally derailed if you’re faced with a debilitating illness or injury, unexpected job loss or costly damage to your home.

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Upcoming Events

Mar
25
Mon
all-day 2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
Mar 25 all-day
2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
PURPOSE: We are seeking nominations for someone in need of a good, used vehicle to get back and forth to work, school or medical appointments, who can afford to own a vehicle, but can’t afford[...]
Mar
26
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10:00 am Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
Mar 26 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
March 26th & 28th | Stop in any time between 10am-12pm or 3pm-5pm. Each week we create 5 unique projects that you can choose from. Pieces will be fired and ready for pickup in a[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing with Graphite ... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing with Graphite ... @ Art in the Valley
Mar 26 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing with Graphite Pencils @ Art in the Valley
This four week course (Tuesdays 1:30-4:00 p.m.from March 5 through March 26, 2019) with instructor Elena Maza, will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers, the[...]