Hot Fashion Accessories for Summer

With summer fashions hitting the stores and an early warm-up after a cold, blustery winter, women around the country will be looking for ways to freshen up their summer wardrobe without spending too much money. If you have the basics – tees, leggings, shorts and skirts – brighten up your wardrobe with some cool accessories – necklaces, bracelets, earrings and coverups that will take you from day to evening without missing a beat.


Necklaces – necklaces for the season are big, long, colorful, and draping. Many styles in stores and online are featuring mixed media – beads and wood, metal and glass, ceramic and stones. Since this is a seasonal trend, go for dramatic fashion jewelry – less expensive and more pieces to play with. Check out the new SPIN by Mitchell Gross collection on qvc.com for some great examples, like this Two-to-Twist Set of 2 Necklaces ($23.00 plus shipping and handling) in hot colors orange and green, mixed with basics black and white; at 32″ long, layer them, knot them, or wear them long. Another great piece is the Santa Fe Strands Wood Pebble Necklace ($25.00 plus shipping and handling), available in coral or turquoise, which has a layered look without the fuss.

Bracelets – also colorful and chunky, wear one or many for a fresh summertime look. Try this chunky Rachel Zoe Scroll Design Bracelet ($59.50 plus shipping and handling), available in goldtone or silvertone; this high-polished cuff is easy to wear and looks more expensive than it is. For something more colorful, this Susan Graver Bold Colored Link Stretch Bracelet ($17.75 plus shipping and handling) is available in orange, dark blue, light blue, and yellow.

Earrings – long shoulder-dusting earrings continue to be hot for summer, but anything with color will be on-trend. These ISAACMIZRAHILIVE! Colorful Tonal Faceted Bead Cluster Earrings ($16.25 plus shipping and handling) are available in tones of blue, green, and purple, while these SPIN by Mitchell Gross Coin Toss Dangle Earrings ($21.75 plus shipping and handling) are nearly five inches in length and feature neutral tones that will compliment any summer wardrobe.

Coverups – whether they’re used as swimsuit coverups, evening wear over slip dresses, or over a tee and leggings, coverups, wraps, and tunics play a big part in easy, breezy summer fashion. This SPIN by Mitchell Gross Taos Crinkle Caftan with Beaded Detail ($46.68 plus shipping and handling) – available in black, brown, or turquoise – is made of sheer crinkle polyester and looks great paired with a slip dress or over a cami with leggings or a slim skirt; wear it loose or belted. The same collection features the Four Courners Tie Tunic ($39.00 plus shipping and handling) in brown, black, and turquoise, which can be wrapped in numerous ways for many different looks.

Read the article.

Family Room Remodeling

If you’re looking for a home remodeling project that is easy to complete and can be as simple or complicated as you like, then consider remodeling your family room. This is often one of the busiest rooms in the house, being used for entertaining family and friends, doubling as a spare bedroom, perhaps an extra dining area and so on. With some imagination and a little bit of effort, you can give your family room a much-needed lift.

Because your family room is so versatile, it’s a good idea to keep the basic design simple. You don’t want to have to shift large amounts of furniture to set up a camp bed, for example. You also need to think about what functions you want the room to have. If you purely intend to use it as an entertainment room, then you don’t need to allow room for a sofa that can be converted into a bed, for example.

One of the best things about a family room is that there are no set design principles you need to think about. Most bathrooms require certain features, for example, such as a toilet and basin. But a family room can be whatever you want it to be. So you’re not limited by necessary design elements.

Once you have a clear idea how you plan to utilize the space in your family room, then you can work out exactly how much remodeling you want to do. It may be as simple as a fresh coat of paint, which you can easily do yourself. On the other hand, if you want to totally make over the room, including new wiring for a home theater or perhaps shifting existing lighting, then you will probably need to get some professional quotes.

Naturally it’s going to be much cheaper to remodel your family room if you don’t need to use professionals, so your budget may have to dictate how much work you can do at this stage. If you’re struggling for ideas, spend some time browsing DIY sites on the Internet, check out remodeling magazines, or perhaps watch some of the home makeover shows on TV.

It also helps to keep in mind a few basic design principles. For example, light wall colors generally make the room seem bigger, whereas deeper tones make the room more intimate. If you have a large space, consider creating zones in your family room using either partitions or furniture to break up the space. It’s best if these divisions are movable, so that you can open up the space again if you need to.

If you’re keen to remodel your home, but don’t have a lot of experience with handyman tasks, then remodeling your family room is a great place to start. You can make a big difference to the whole feel of your home with minimal effort or handyman skills.

Read the article.

How to Get More Fiber in Your Family’s Diet

We all know that we should have enough fiber in our diet; fiber attracts water and helps to move the food we eat through the digestive tract and out of the body. Without adequate fiber we are more likely to have problems with constipation. Many of us don’t always eat the way we should, for whatever reason. Some folks just don’t have the time to cook, or they don’t have the finances to buy the foods that are good for them.

Precautionary statement: Although most people will benefit from a higher fiber diet, there are some health conditions where a higher fiber diet would not be indicated, such as in gastroparesis, which is a condition in which the stomach doesn’t empty as quickly as it should. Before making any major changes in your eating habits it would be advised to consult your physician. Small children will not require the same amount of fiber as an adult. It is best that you consult your doctor on how much fiber you and your family should consume each day. One of my sources has a list of foods and their fiber content, feel free to look at that source.

How can fiber improve your health?

You and your family can avoid serious health problems by adding enough fiber to your meals. One common problem associated with a lack of fiber is hemorrhoids, which are secondary to constipation. When your child comes to you complaining of a tummy ache, it could be related to being constipated. A lack of fiber in your diet can lead to dry bowel movements, which can cause pain when you are trying to evacuate. Many illnesses start in the gut; it is quite common to have nausea and vomiting when you are constipated also. Sometimes we are tired, and listless. People who suffer from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) suffer with chronic diarrhea and they may also have periods of constipation. People with IBS often find that their symptoms are relieved when they increase the fiber in their diet. Water is just as important as the fiber. It takes both water and fiber to move the digested food along the digestive tract to be eliminated.

By increasing your fiber intake you are also taking care of your heart and blood pressure. Foods such as oatmeal (the real kind, not the instant), barley, and legumes such as black, red, and kidney beans help to keep your cholesterol in check, so that you don’t run as much risk of heart disease and elevated blood pressure. By keeping your blood pressure within normal limits (below 140/90) you will be decreasing your risk of having a stroke.

It’s never too late to make changes to try and turn your health around. By making changes to your diet by adding more fiber and decreasing your fat intake you can also reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Increased fiber moves the digested food out of the digestive tract so that it doesn’t sit in the colon to ferment and cause irritation, which could lead to poor colon health.

One of the great side effects of having more fiber in your diet each day is that you may find you are losing weight without even trying. Fiber makes you feel full and satisfied. High fiber foods have fewer calories than lower fiber foods. If you really want to lose weight, all you really need to do is change how you think about food.

I changed my thinking, and just by changing the way I was eating I lost 31 pounds without dieting. I am just eating

Read the article.

Looking for a a Fun, Free, Outdoor Family Hobby?

Are you looking for a family hobby that is free? How about a family hobby that encourages everyone to get outside for exercise and fresh air? Does your family need more quiet time? Would you love to spend time learning with your kids in a fun way?

We’ve found a family hobby that is for the birds. Actually, it was inspired them and the many ways they have fluttered into our lives and offered us unplanned lessons just for being there with our eyes open.

Bird watching is filled with science lessons as kids explore the habits and habitats of birds, notice the changing seasons and learn to identify and classify birds. It’s fun to bird watch and notice which birds prefer which types of trees and to try to investigate their diets.

Math is fun when you’re counting the number of birds you see at a bird feeder or during a walk. In bird watching, counting really counts! Your family can participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count, each February or The Christmas Count, from December 14 to January 5th, annually. These projects are fun, free and require as little or as much time as you want to dedicate. You can visit www.birdsource.org to participate. There is also an “ebird” program that allows you to enter sightings from anywhere, anytime!

Kids are more likely to read about subjects that are interesting to them. Get kids hooked on bird watching and there is a lot of fun reading out there. Your local library will have many bird watching books. Bird Watcher, published by DK can be enjoyed by all ages. Even young children enjoy the awesome photos and short articles in “Birds and Blooms” magazine and websites such as the www.audobon.org are fun filled and informative too. Interesting art and photos that attract readers usually accompany birding publications.

While kids will learn more about the social habits of birds and other wildlife when watching, they’ll also develop some important social skills of their own like patience and respect. Birds reward those who are willing to be still and quiet. Kids can also learn responsibility as they keep hummingbird feeders, bird feeders or birdbaths maintains and the birds always reward those efforts.

Whether they are sketching the birds they watch, photographing them and making a scrapbook or building and painting birdhouses, bird watching offers lots of opportunities for the whole family to use their creativity.

Does everyone in your family have a favorite sports team? How about a favorite movie character? Does each of you have a favorite pizza? Why not spend some time getting to know the native birds in your area and let each family member discover their favorite bird and become that species biggest fan!

Bird watching is great way to get outside and learn together. Most importantly, bird watching offers a fun opportunity to bond with the others from your nest!

Read the article.

Top Ten Childrens Movies

My list of top ten Classic Children’s Movies:

Mulan: One of my absolute favorite children’s movies. The loyalty, love, respect and courage characterized in this movie are phenomenal. In addition to being funny, entertaining and exemplarily, the movie brings a sense of empowerment and encouragement for females. Mulan’s bond and respectfulness towards her father/family and friends is truly admirable! I thoroughly enjoy watching both Mulan and Mulan II.

The Sound of Music: A wonderful, entertaining movie with excellent and memorable music. As a child, I loved to watch the movie because the story was interesting and I truly loved the music.

Bambi: Bambi was very emotional and serious to me as a child. Even as I child, I admired the characters, the bonds they developed and the loyalty they shared towards each other. The movie is colorful, sweet and fun.

Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins is very entertaining. The music and story line is enjoyable and there are a lot of scenes that one, child or adult, can’t help but to smile about. The songs and scenes are pleasant and memorable.

Shrek: This movie was the first movie to take the princess fantasies to realistic, down to earth level where the princess wasn’t “perfect”. The movie was funny, entertaining and creative. The lesson I got from it was that I should be proud of myself and I should be “me”, not who everyone wants me to be. I really enjoyed this movie and think of it often in terms of the lessons I think it encompasses.

Beauty and the Beast: This is a beautiful, imaginative movie that brings regular household items to life and makes them fun and interesting! The music and scenes are memorable and wonderfully entertaining. The story of the Beast and Belle is romantic and there are many humorous scenes.

ET: In a family of four children, we all watched this movie over and over again. The movie was interesting. The Alien kept us interested; the story was funny and creative; the bonds developed between the children and ET were interesting and admirable. The movie was funny, sad, exciting… all anyone can ever expect from a children’s movie.

Mac & Me: This isn’t a movie I hear about often but loved as a child. This movie, like ET, was funny, sad, exciting, all in one. It was creative and really made an impression on me in terms of treating others fairly and respectfully despite of difference which are beyond anyone’s control. At the end of the movie, the Aliens, Mac and his family, are made US Civilians. It’s a great movie and every entertaining.

The King and I: The King and I was a movie that I enjoyed very much! The children were humorously mischievous and kept the movie interesting and exciting. The romance between the King and the nanny was sweet and the whole idea of a missing parent, etc. is and idea a lot of children can relate to. The changes in the father’s behavior throughout the movie made it emotional as well but the overall feeling of the movie was pleasant, sweet and happy! The music and scenes were wonderfully entertaining and enjoyable!

All Dogs Go To Heaven: This was a great movie that comes to mind often as I and other members of my family have lost our beloved and dear dogs/pets. This movie is funny and sweet. The music and scenes are entertaining and who doesn’t love DOGS!!? Well, anyone that doesn’t will once they see this movie!!

Read the article.

Although Termites Start Life Outdoors, They Might Find Their Way Indoors

Phoenix termites live, nest and breed in areas suitable for providing them with food, shelter and water. They tend to eat a number of different foods, which for them includes leaf litter, soil, dung and wood. They can also make a tidy meal out of paper, fabric and carpets if left to their own devices. These pests live in large colonies, and the workers of the colony have the job, among other activities, of going out to look for food.

This is when the insects travel, and in their travels may come in contact with your Phoenix residence. If this is the case, and you are noticing Phoenix termites in your home or garage or infesting areas outside your home, you will want to call on Phoenix pest and termite control specialist, who will offer advice on the best methods for termite control in Phoenix, and then will begin treatments to control these pesky intruders.

The first step Phoenix pest and termite exterminators will take is to come to your home and perform a thorough inspection of your house, garage and outdoor areas. They are looking for termites and in particular the colony’s nest. The Phoenix termite likes to build a nest in areas such as the interior of dead trees, inside the bark of living trees, in large pieces of wood or underground. Once your termite control provider has located the nest, then he or she can take steps to reduce the colony.

Typically initial Phoenix pest and termite treatments will include a complete flushing out of the pests from your home and garage. This is usually the best method of termite control in Phoenix residences, because it lowers the overall Phoenix termite numbers fairly quickly. Bait is often used that is laced with an insect toxin, and this food is taken back to the nest where it is consumed and the insects then begin to die. After this, regular maintenance is required to keep Phoenix termite populations at bay.

Termite control in Phoenix utilizes maintenance follow-up visits by Phoenix pest and termite exterminators to your home. Inspections of the home and garage will be part of the routine used. Barriers will be erected by Phoenix pest and termite specialists around the perimeter of the house and garage in order to stop termites from entering inside. Trained Phoenix pest and termite exterminators will offer you the best advice for reducing termite numbers in and around your home.

Read the article.

Is Family Outdoor Recreation Facing Legal Harassment?

Now that summertime is here, I am sure you will want to enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors while participating in recreational activities like hiking, fishing and camping. Of course, some of the most popular sites for inexpensive and safe recreation is at state parks. But are state park rangers chasing away the family fun and the families with their zealous show of authority?

Lately, I have realized that there is no freedom even within the confines of the great outdoors. Why? Because responsible adults are being stopped and questioned as if they were low down criminals by park rangers over seemingly pathetic excuses.

For example, one man was stopped today by an old, grouchy-looking ranger at Scioto Trails State Park as his party of seven got into their cars to leave. This man was asked to show identification, explain why his front tag was in the car front window and not attached to the car, apologize for playing “so-called” loud music when entering the park half an hour earlier, and ultimately had to climb into a dumpster to retrieve his empty water bottle. The reason given by the ranger for such interrogation and lectures was that he had seen the young man begin walking the trail with a bottle of water and didn’t see him carry it back out. Fortunately for this young man, he did not litter as he was being accused of doing, but had put the empty bottle into his girlfriend’s bag until she appropriately discarded it.

Another example happened at Pike Lake State Park when a family consisting of two parents and three prepubescent children was skimming rocks across the empty lake surface. A young ranger stopped them and said that they had to stop having old fashioned fun or be fined. The father said he didn’t know and that his family would stop. Then the ranger said that the reason why was that there was going to be a boat dock built there. [uh?] Two summers later, there still hasn’t been any construction.

One family received a fine after driving their car partway into the grass in order to help their disabled, elderly grandmother reach the only free picnic area. Another family received an invitation to leave after being “too loud” at the swimming area. One couple was questioned by a ranger for having their trunk open while sitting in the car. The reason gave by the ranger was that he was on the lookout for people dumping their home trash into a state park dumpster. Luckily, their trunk was open because their teenage children had retrieved the basketball and didn’t shut it before walking off.

This kind of treatment by rangers to visitors is not uncommon, and it is having an impact on family fun. Some say it is not hurting anything for the proper authorities to be overly concerned with the visitors and their movements. But for many people, having their young child watch as a “policeman” harasses them for no apparent reason does hurt their child’s view of them. After all, don’t we teach our children that policemen are there to catch the bad guy? If you are a good, then you have nothing to fear?

This is the reason that some parents of small children reconsider their weekend plans, . The park’s missing profit from those families probably isn’t enough for the park operators to take notice. Possibly, this behavior scares away those that might come in with drugs and alcohol, but this isn’t proven. So who is the real victim of the ranger’s authority? Our most precious resource-

Read the article.

Current Family Court Laws Harm Parents and Children

Father’s Day is June 18th this year and across the United States, Fathers and children will be celebrating their relationship with each other. For my husband, this is a bittersweet celebration with his kids, since they have to be returned to their mother that evening. We won’t see them again until Wednesday.

We follow a set of guidelines, every other weekend for 48 hours, Wednesdays for 3 hours, alternating holidays, and half of Summer break. Indiana is good enough to lay out their minimum guidelines for divorcing parents. Unfortunately, this is no where near enough time.

My husband is a good father. He tries to get involved in school activities, he goes to see performances when he learns about them, he encourages their interests and he tries hard to help mold them into good people. This is a difficult task for a man who sees his kids, on average, 100 days a year. He is only allowed to see his children for the minimum amount allowed by Indiana because their mother, his ex-wife, feels she should not have to “permit” their father to see them.

She tries to stymie him at every turn, twice keeping the children from programs when she learned he was going to attend. When she learned of his plans to remarry, she made it clear that she was not going to allow the children to attend, despite the children being in the wedding. In the end, their father and I kept the date of our wedding a secret from the kids so that they could attend without fear that their mother was going to keep them away. We paid for it later however. She kept the kids from us for five weeks.

At that point, my husband became fed up and decided to stand up for himself, his kids, and his rights. His initial mistake was a matter of being soft-hearted. He backed away from interactions with his ex-wife because he felt it would be easier on the children. When it became obvious that things weren’t easier on the children and he realized that his ex-wife was taking his distance as an opportunity to tell the children lies and misrepresentations of the truth about their father, he knew it was time to take action. He became informed, he retained a lawyer, and he began to take back his relationship with his children.

In today’s society, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. More and more children come from step-families. However, our court system is still geared towards a time when women stayed at home and cared for the children. They receive more time with the children and they receive a hefty sum of cash. My husband has been ordered to pay over 50% of his salary to his ex-wife in “child support”. And, while I think everyone can agree that money is necessary to raise children, should these children eat at restaurants every week while their father can’t afford food or shelter?

In addition, the child support system is a catch 22. In order to make the money necessary to pay child support, fathers are required to forgo time with their children. This, in turn, raises their child support since they spend less time with the children, requiring them to work even more. In the end, the child support system becomes a punishment for non-custodial parents, relegating them to the status of paycheck instead of parent.

Most mothers will read this and gasp to themselves: “I would never be able to give up custody of my children. I could never spend DAYS away from my

Read the article.

Building an Outdoor Pizza Stove

You got to admit pizza is one of those foods that you can’t just turn away from. Everyone has a pizza that gets them excited. If you are a vegetarian or love meat you can have your perfect pizza. Even people that can’t eat cheese order pizza without it. Pizza is the all American food.

So why not build your own outdoor oven? Of course you can’t figure out a great reason now. Now let’s get your hands dirty and get building. When looking for a good place in your yard make sure the surface is flat. One of the best places is a cement block. You can easily lay down a slab to give yourself a flat surface.

You need to find yourself a source of bricks. Most hardware stores will deliver them to your house. When you have them delivered make sure you get them to place them close to your finished project. Don’t forget this part or it will make the job twice as long. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

When you start laying out dimensions remember you just need to be big enough to fit a pizza. A 36 inch base is more than big enough for the job. Stack your bricks in a square pattern and make sure the base is solid. When you get to about two and a half feet tall you need to build the firebox.

Now make a single layer of your brick stacked on their ends on the outside edge of the back wall of the oven. Leave a space of about 4 bricks along that side. This way the smoke will be able to leave your firebox. Now take a piece of sheet metal and cover that wall with it. Cover the sheet metal with another set of bricks. Make sure you stack them lengthwise. Then place another piece of sheet metal across those brings.

Again then cover the sheet metal with bricks. And boom you have your new oven. It wasn’t that hard. Now get your fire started and start cooking that pizza. I’m sure quickly your neighbors will be able to smell the pizza.

Now it takes some time but once built you will be able to cook wonderful pizza year round. If you are looking to be king of the cooks in your friends an outdoor pizza oven is definitely needed. What else are you going to do with all that space?

Read the article.

The Great Outdoors: Family Fun Outdoors

The great outdoors, can hold a different meaning for anyone who thinks about it. It can bring back memories of great fun times with family and friends, or it can bring you back to a time of great solitude and peace. When you think “great outdoors” do your fondest memories take you to a time of childlike simplicities, or maybe the time you planned and trained for the biggest adventure you have experienced to this point in your life?

For most of us “the great outdoors” probably is a combination of both. It can be as simple as our own back yard, or as thrilling as climbing the highest mountain around! There are many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in our country. You can spend a day at a local park picnicking and playing, or you could visit one of many state parks for a time of hiking or fishing. We also have many national parks where you can plan quite a few activities. Whether it is for a day or for many days, I think there are many reasons to get out and enjoy nature. One reason could be for relaxation and peace, another reason could be to challenge yourself to achieve a physical goal. We can also use our great outdoors as an educational experience; this applies no matter what our age might be.

When I think about the many adventures in my life, most of them have involved some kind of outdoor activities. I am very glad that I can say that, because I know that some folks do not get that chance. While there are many memories for me to choose from, I would like to share my memories of an area in Arizona, which is the great state where I live. One of my favorite places to visit is Oak Creek Canyon. While there have been many outings to this place, some of my favorites were when we would take our young daughters for some great family fun. We would of course have to travel some distance to get there, so we would try to enjoy every minute of our time together. Sometimes we would go to a picnic area on the south end of the canyon. There are shaded tables and charcoal grills available to use. There is also a nice grassy area to play tag, or toss a softball around. There are a couple of areas to hike around from this location also.

Another favorite thing to do in Oak Creek Canyon is hunt for blackberries. This is of course limited to the correct time of year. It can be quite a challenge sometimes to beat the crowds. Speaking of crowds the official attraction in Oak Creek Canyon is a place called Slide Rock. This is a natural rock chute that you can slide down in the creek, while very popular, my family and I have never ventured into that part of the canyon.

This leads me to what is probably our favorite activity in Oak Creek Canyon. If you head to the north end of the canyon there are many areas along the creek to hike down and enjoy the kind of peace and beauty that sitting by, or in, a gurgling steam can bring. The sound of the water rustling around the rocks and the wind in the pines has brought many a peaceful moment to our lives. Of course the sound of giggles and laughter from our daughters cannot be beaten.

So if you are looking for a great place to hike, camp, fish, or just relax. I think

Read the article.