Should you reward your kids?
There are a number of conflicting philosophies and ideas regarding whether or not the practice of rewarding children for good conduct is beneficial. Some people contend that it’s an effective way of shaping your children’s behavior, while others argue that it amounts to little more than bribery.
Arguments for rewarding kids
One reason rewards work is that they encourage kids to practice a behavior until it becomes a habit. Reward systems also teach children that privileges are earned. Additionally, they offer them tangible proof that their actions are noticed and worthwhile.
Arguments against rewarding kids
Some studies indicate that when people are rewarded for good conduct, they actually do that thing less. This may be because rewarding an action communicates that it’s undesirable, not worth doing for itself and that it needs to be incentivized.
If this is a concern for you, consider pointing out the results of your children’s behavior. For example, eating broccoli makes you strong and healthy and sharing with your little sister makes her happy.
As with most parenting dilemmas, there’s no one right answer. If you do choose to use rewards, consider implementing a token economy system where children can earn points towards something they’ll look forward to, such as a fun experience or extra privileges at home. Once the learned behavior becomes a habit, you can phase out the rewards in favor of praise and acknowledgement.
Discover your garden’s personality: DIY soil test for acidity or alkalinity
Curious about your garden’s soil and how it might influence your plant choices? Well, whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a novice, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. Let’s conduct a simple DIY test to determine the acidity or alkalinity of your soil.
Commercial soil test kits are out there, and they’re wonderfully accurate. But let’s say you’re impatient and just can’t wait for one to arrive in the mail. There’s a quick and straightforward test you can do with basic household items.
All you’ll need are two tablespoons of soil, half a cup of vinegar, distilled water, and half a cup of baking soda. Let’s dive into the how-to, courtesy of Almanac.com.
First up, place those two tablespoons of soil in a bowl and add that half cup of vinegar. Do you see fizzing? Congratulations! You’ve got yourself alkaline soil. If you didn’t see any fizz, it’s not a big deal. Move on to the next test.
Take another two tablespoons of soil and moisten it with some distilled water. Add half a cup of baking soda. If you see fizzing this time, it means your soil is acidic.
In the event that you don’t see any fizzing with either of the tests, you’ve got yourself neutral pH soil – the Goldilocks of soils, if you will.
Knowing your soil’s pH can help you create the optimal growing environment for your plants. Acidic soil? No problem! You can counter it with ground limestone. Alkaline soil? You can treat it with ground sulfur.
So, there you have it, folks. You’re just a bit of fizzing away from knowing your soil better and making your garden the most enviable on the block. And remember, the journey of a thousand gardens begins with a single soil test!
3 strategies for gardening with allergies
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? If gardening exacerbates your symptoms to the point that you’re considering giving up your hobby, just know that there are solutions. Following these tips may allow you to enjoy growing flowers and plants again this summer.
1. Choose the right time to do your work. Avoid gardening on hot, dry days, as these conditions are conducive to high pollen levels. Plan your gardening sessions by checking the current pollen index in your area. When it’s low, get outside!
2. Choose hypoallergenic plants. Some plants are much less allergenic than others, especially those pollinated by insects rather than wind. Ferns, hostas, azaleas, and rhododendrons are a few varieties you may want to try out in your garden.
3. Wear protective clothing and accessories. Even if the pollen index is low, make sure you still wear a mask, gloves, goggles with side shields, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself.
Looking for trees or flowering plants to brighten up your yard? Inquire about allergy-friendly species. Happy gardening!
Deck trends in 2023
Warmer days are around the corner. Are you dreaming of renovating or decorating your deck? Here are five trends that may inspire you.
1. Indoor furniture. Outdoor furniture is becoming increasingly similar to what you’d find in your home. The main difference is its ability to withstand the elements.
2. Fun textiles. Decorate with various fabrics and textiles, using cushions, rugs, sunshades, throws, and hammocks to optimize your comfort.
3. Plants, plants, plants. Bring your deck to life with greenery. Choose hardy plants that will beautify your yard — and make you feel like you’re on a tropical holiday.
4. Eco-responsible materials. Recycled and environmentally sustainable fabrics, wood, and other building materials are definitely in this year.
5. Modular furniture. Many garden furniture retailers sell sofas and tables that you can configure in multiple ways, so you can readily adapt your deck to your needs and desires.
Finally, neutral colors, like gray, black, and brown, remain a winning choice for outdoor materials and furniture. Add personality to your deck with accessories like lanterns and LED lights.
5 popular walkway materials
Are you thinking of creating a walkway to add elegance to your property? Here are five materials to consider.
1. Interlocking pavers. Available in a variety of designs, interlocking pavers provide a contemporary look. They’re durable and require little maintenance unless the surface is particularly porous.
2. Natural stone. Natural stone is robust and gives your yard a rustic look. Remember that the stone slabs must be carefully installed to ensure they lie flat and don’t create a tripping hazard.
3. Mulch. Wood chips and bark are ideal for creating an organic-looking walkway. However, you must reapply the mulch yearly to maintain a neat look.
4. Crushed materials. Crushed stone, concrete, and brick are some of the most popular options. Make sure the size or shape of the aggregate isn’t too bulky, making it uncomfortable to walk on.
5. Wood planks. A wooden walkway with closely spaced planks is esthetically pleasing. It’s also ideal for wheelchair accessibility.
Before installing your walkway, you must carefully prepare the surface. Remove a layer of turf, raise the middle slightly to facilitate rainwater runoff, and apply the required underlay, like geotextile fabric, rock dust, or sand.
For professional results, hire a local landscaping company to complete your walkway.
Embellish your yard with striking conifers
Do you want to add plants to your yard to make it more attractive? Flowers are an obvious choice, but conifers can add striking contrast. Whether you choose standard size, bushy or dwarf, here are some of the advantages of planting evergreens:
• They shelter your home from cold winds, reducing your heating costs
• They attract pretty birds to nest or take refuge
• Many species can be pruned into elegant shapes like cubes, spheres, and cones
• Unlike deciduous trees, which lose their foliage in winter, conifers retain their beautiful color and volume all year
• Planting several conifers together can increase privacy in your yard and block out sound
• Many types of conifers are edible and have medicinal properties
Cedars, spruces, false cypresses, junipers, and pines — visit your local nursery to find the ideal conifers to enhance your landscaping.
Tantalizing tales of yesteryears: Unraveling a lifetime through Words
There’s a familiar refrain that often echoes around family gatherings: “If only we’d asked Dad about that…”. There’s an inevitable longing for the tales untold and the sagas left unwritten. It is your mission, noble patriarch or matriarch, to gift future generations with the essence of your journey. A grand novel or an Academy Award-winning screenplay isn’t necessary, a simple account from the heart will do. Or perhaps, you might even venture into a heartfelt video memoir. After all, your chronicles don’t have to unfold in a sweeping epic but can gently unveil themselves as bite-sized anecdotes.
Let’s plunge into the realm of yesteryears with these thoughtful themes that may ignite your memory and creativity:
- Familial Tapestry: Embark on a nostalgic journey through the lanes of your childhood, your kin, the elders who bestowed wisdom, and the siblings who partook in your earliest adventures. Paint the colors of your lineage, the laughter that rang through your house, the frightful instances that brought you closer. Remember those traditions that evolved over time? Yes, they’re important too!
- Professional Chronicles: Unearth the gems from your career journey. Relive those moments of triumph, and grapple once again with the challenges that led to growth. Unfurl your aspirations and lessons learned along the way.
- Chronicles of the Heart: Travel back to the time when Cupid struck for the first time. What stirred within you? Recall your relationships, the lessons they imparted, and the mirror they held up to your own self.
- Voyages and Ventures: Travel isn’t always about exotic vacations, sometimes, it’s about unexpected detours or even life-changing relocations. Recall those road trips, no matter how brief, each journey has a story.
- Wisdom Well Earned: Unravel your philosophy and life lessons – the ones learned through joyous victories and the ones that came wearing the cloak of challenges. What advice would you bequeath to the young ones today?
Wind: 5mph SW
UV index: 9