by Tara Bard, Contributing Writer
Stress-free wedding dress shopping might seem like a dream, but it is possible to enjoy the experience of shopping for your wedding dress in South Jersey. You can achieve this through planning, patience and maintaining an assertive attitude when necessary.
Map It Out
Some areas have many bridal boutiques in one location. If you’re planning on making the trip to multiple destinations in South Jersey, it’s best to plan out the day and map out the locations. If you want to stick to one town at a time, try:
· Atlantic City
· Cape May
· Cherry Hill and Moorestown
If you’re meeting friends at various bridal salons, provide them with a list of addresses to stay on track. Organize a car pool and ensure that everyone has a GPS or knows how to get to the locations.
Follow the Rules
Each bridal salon has its own rules. Frequent rules include: supervise children, no food or drink and no photos allowed of dresses. Always follow the rules and don’t invite anyone along that may break these rules.
Bridal salon consultants vary, just like salon rules. If you feel uncomfortable, mistreated or misdirected, you’re the customer—and you’re allowed to leave if you don’t feel you’re being treated with respect.
To cut down on stress and make best use of your time, call ahead to make appointments. It is kind to let the salon know how many will come with you and what types of dresses you are looking for.
You may also wish to mention if you or anyone in your bridal party wears a plus size. Prepare everyone for the fact that bridal sizes are much different than actual sizes and that a ‘regular’ size 12 might have difficulty fitting into any sample sizes.
Tip: Holding down a full-time job while planning a wedding is tough. Instead of cramming this important decision into a lunch hour, explain your situation to the salon consultant and mention a particular dress you’d like to try on that isn’t available elsewhere. Most likely, they’ll squeeze you in.
Limit your party size. If possible, limit to the number of people that can fit in one vehicle, especially if you are making multiple trips. Make concessions for older relatives and children who may not be able to make more than a few stops in one day.
It’s best to pick a driver who knows South Jersey well. You’re the bride—let someone else handle the GPS navigation!
Do you have any favorite South Jersey bridal salons or dress shopping experiences? Please share them in the comments!
This post was originally published on Examiner.com.
Easy Plants to Grow in Denver With Kids
Kids can garden, too! It might seem that gardening is too complicated for kids, but that isn't true at all. In fact, kids can be some good horticulturists if given the chance. There are several plants that grow well in Denver and are easy for kids to garden and maintain. Start kids out in gardening with the easiest plants and let them work their way up from there.
Before getting your Denver kids gardening, be sure they have the essential supplies. Suggested gardening supplies include tools, gloves, proper soil and food for the plants, a child-sized wheelbarrow and desired garden decorations. Denver soil is more like clay, so a good organic garden soil is recommended for the best results.
Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers for kids to start out with. They come in various sizes, making them versatile to grow, no matter the size of the garden bed. Sunflowers thrive in the Denver climate, as they can be very hearty.
Portulaca, also known as moss rose, is a fun and interesting plant for the kids to grow. The unique shape and texture of this flower delight kids, as do the colors. Portulaca is a good flower to grow in Denver because it blossoms in the sun.
Vinca are a favorite of my own kids. These were some of the first flowers they planted and they continue to come up each year. Not only are vinca beautiful, but they grow very fast in Denver. Kids can sometimes be a little impatient, so vinca can help in that area. Our vincas bloom almost the entire year in Denver if we keep them in pots and use good soil.
Herbs are very simple to grow in most any climate. They can be grown outdoors or in a window box container. Herbs need good sunlight to grow, which makes them perfect for Denver in the spring and summer. They’ll need to be kept inside during cold weather, however. Another plus is that kids feel special when their parents use the herbs they've grown to make family meals.
Green onions often grow wild in Denver, but if your yard doesn't have any, this is one of the simplest plants for kids to grow. Like the herbs, these can grow outside or in a window box. Give the green onions plenty of water and sunshine for the best results. As with the herbs, kids love it when their plants are used in the family cooking. We like to use them in homemade salsa, chili, and other southwestern dishes.
Free Educational Activities For Houston Kids
Looking for free educational activities for kids in Houston? As a mom to many, who lived and homeschooled in Houston for a while, I discovered lots of great places to go. Here are 5 of the most interesting free educational activities for Houston kids.
The Sam Houston Boat Tour is great free activity for kids in Houston. Operated by the Port of Houston Authority, the free educational tour lasts 90 minutes. While on the tour, kids can observe international cargo vessels that may pass by, as well as the operations at the port terminal. While free, reservations for this Houston activity must be made in advance.
The Health Museum in Houston contains a variety of educational exhibits for children to explore.This interactive science exploration is for all ages. It focuses on the human body, mind, and spirit, encouraging kids to focus on health. On Thursdays, the general admission is free for families from 2pm - 7pm.
At Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, kids can enjoy the education and beauty of nature. Native and cultivated plants thrive in this 300 acre horticultural museum of life. In addition to learning about the plants by observation, Houston kids also can enjoy the educational benefits of observing the animals that live in this park.
Utilize the Kids Workshops at Home Depot to their full advantage. Once per month, the Home Depot locations in Houston offer free workshops for kids, in which they get to learn and build projects that they can use. These educational workshops are not only free of charge, but are a great supplement to homeschool wood shop. They also work as an extracurricular educational activity for Houston kids in both homeschool and traditional school.
Free Crafts for Kids are offered every Saturday from 11am - 3pm at Houston Lakeshore Learning Store locations. Yes, crafts are so much fun for kids. But, did you know that they also have educational value? Craft activities can help kids with focus, creativity, and fine motor skills. These skills all are required to complete other educational activities. Houston kids will enjoy creating fun and educational crafts that they can use to decorate their rooms, give as gifts, wear, and more. A different craft is featured every week.
*I originally published this as The Houston Parenting Examiner (no longer published there).
Free Family Fun in Englewood, CO
Kids bored? Thinking you'll have to spend a ton of money to make them happy? Not so. As an Englewood resident with four kids in tow, I find new (and free) things to do with the kids all the time. Because we are an active family, I've become quite the expert on free family fun in Englewood, CO. Here are some of our family favorites.
Stroll the beautiful walking trails.
Englewood has trails of all sizes suitable for biking, hiking, or even a leisurely walk. My kids and I enjoy these trails often. Shorter trails are good for quick walks or leisurely scenic walks. There are plenty of benches along the trails for relaxing, enjoying he scenery, or even observing the animals. The ducks and other water foul are our favorites. But you also might see other wildlife.
Take the free "art" shuttle.
Ever ridden on the art shuttle bus? It will get you around the entire Englewood Parkway, as well as transport you to area hospitals. It's called the art because of the great sculptures located along the entire route. Interested in the artwork? Great! Much of it's for sale. A portion of the proceeds goes to he city. The art shuttle is funded by the City of Englewood, as well as the Regional Transportation District (RTD). RTD operates the city's main public transit system. Hop on the art for destinations along the parkway - or just hop on board for fun!
Visit Englewood Civic Center.
The Englewood Civic Center is where the library, the courts, and other official business is located. You'll also find free concerts and other events going on in the square. Need to hop on the light rail? Englewood Station is literally seconds from the civic center. There you can jump on the light rail train or hop a city bus. The art bus stops right in the civic center square - or circle, since it's shaped like one.
Enjoy the sidewalk splash fountain.
While located right in the center at the end of Englewood Parkway, this deserves separate attention. A big part of the fun to be had at the Englewood Civic Center is the fountain, if you ask the kids - alright, adults love it too! Just don't lean too close over the holes in the ground surrounding the fountain - you might get a surprise!
Make use of the parks.
Englewood has a good variety of parks to choose from. They're great for walks, family picnics, exercise, and entertainment. Skaters will enjoy Cushing Park, as there is an enclosed skateboard park. This park also has a bridge extending over a beautiful duck pond with a fountain. Belleview Park includes a children's farm and miniature train. Check with the city for a complete listing and amenities.
By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Contributing Writer
Recently, the Bonnie Lynn Pasciuto Haim missing person’s case took a drastic turn, when a skull was found by a construction crew. According to News4Jax.com, the police were dispatched on Dec 14, 2014, to the backyard of the home Bonnie shared with her husband Michael Haim, when the construction crew who was tearing out and old pool and found a skull. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has announced that the skull was in fact human, but they have yet to identify the remains.
According to New4Jax.com, Bonnie Lynn Pasciuto Haim was reported missing on January 6, 1993 and she was subsequently declared dead in 1999. She was a 23 year old wife, mother, and a business woman. She was a native of Jacksonville, FL. and lived in a house on Dolphin Ave. on the River City’s north side. Bonnie had a beautiful smile, which has always captured the hearts of those she love and those who knew her in life.
However, now this smile has captured Jacksonville residents for two decades after being declared missing. This case went cold for over two decades, but not by those who loved and cared about her. According to New4Jax.com, her family has always believed that the husband had killed her, but they have to wait even longer to get closure in this case. She was a beautiful yet vibrant young woman, who loved her son Aaron. He was about three years old when she went missing and was presumed dead.
Many stories have come out about her son possibly seeing the murder of his mom and Michael Haim lost custody of his son. According to News4Jax.com, a civil judgment, was found liable for her death and asked to pay millions to the couple’s son and to Bonnie Haim’s estate. However, Michael Haim now lives in Tennessee and has refused to comment on the latest discovery. The family is looking to get justice for their loved one, who was taken from them over two decades ago. If you have any information about the case, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office or Crimestoppers.
News4Jax.com (2014) Remains Found at Missing Woman’s Home is Human
Retrieved from the World Wide Web on June 27, 2015
Located appropriately, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum is a must-see for sports fan in the Denver area. Visitors to the stadium can view memorabilia involving past, as well as current Colorado players.
Admission is free and free tours can be arranged for this as well. The Hall of Fame is generally open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. during the spring and fall, as well as two hours before Broncos games. It’s open from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the summer. But these hours are subject to change.
Visit the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum for Free:
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
1701 Bryant Street Suite 500
Denver, CO 80204
Free Denver Activities: Bookbabies
On Tuesdays, those with small children ages 0-23 months can enjoy Bookbabies at the Denver Public Library. Bookbabies is a language enrichment program for babies. It is an interactive program for infants to attend along with their parents or caregivers and is filled with language, music, and rhymes for baby to enjoy and learn.
This special program, along with many others, can be enjoyed for free at various Denver Public Library branches. Contact or visit your local branch today for a complete schedule.
Join Bookbabies at the Denver Public Library for Free:
Denver Public Library
10 W. Fourteenth Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
The Stiles African American Heritage Center is what its name states and more. Here you will find cultural artifacts, classrooms, workshops, guided tours, cultural exhibits, memorabilia, research and reading materials, and much more. The center is strong in its belief of celebrating and emphasizing the positive contributions African Americans have made.
In 2001, The Stiles African American Center helped to convince Denver Parks & Recreation to name a park in honor of Madame C.J. Walker. Admission is free. Hours of operation vary and sometimes change. It is best to contact the center at the above listed phone number for hours. Some days are by appointment only.
Visit the Stiles African American Heritage Center for Free:
Stiles African American Heritage Center
2607 Glenarm Place
Denver, CO 80205
Free Denver Activities: U.S. Mint
The U.S. Mint only has two locations, one of which happens to be in Denver. Residents and tourists of Denver can visit the mint and go on a free guided 20 minute tour. This tour covers current as well as historical information on the U.S. Mint.
The mint welcomes solo tourists as well as schools and other groups. All tours are free, however, reservations must be made. For those with disabilities, tours are wheelchair accessible and arrangements can be made in advance for a sign language interpreter.
Visit the U.S. Mint in Denver for free:
(303) 405 - 4761
320 W. Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Englewood is home to many trails for hiking, walking, and biking. Parents and teachers alike can use this great advantage for science lessons. The Englewood trails make a unique educational opportunity for homeschool field trips and even for large classroom groups. No matter the age of the child, there is always something new to learn along the trails.
Collect and examine pond samples. The Englewood walking trails have plenty of water from ponds and creeks to collect as samples for science. The kids can bring along petri dishes and droppers to collect the water. Later on, they can examine the specimen under the microscope. Things to think about: Are the specimen different depending on the area the water is taken from? Does it vary depending on how deep the water is? What did you find?
Track wildlife. Wildlife is abundant along the walking trails in Englewood. Track the animals for a science lesson by looking for clues they leave. This could be paw prints in the sand, feathers, droppings, fur, and even snake skins. Where does each animal like to go? Were you able to find any by following their natural clues? Could you have changed anything for better results? Did you find the expected wildlife or something else?
Collect permitted wildlife remains. So long as its allowed, collect natural items left behind from animals. This could be a petrified insect, rabbit pellets, deer antlers, and more. These can be used for scientific observation. Be sure that you do not harm any animals to gain these items, however. The kids need to know that while it may be alright to collect items left behind naturally, they should respect live animals. Also, be sure they are not taking something that should be left alone. Everyone should wear gloves and collected items should be sealed in containers.
Examine and collect natural items. Fallen leaves are a popular scientific item for kids to collect. Rocks, pine cones, tree bark, and moss are some others. Allow the kids to examine and collect (and examine some more later) these things from nature. Just be careful not to take anything that is not allowed to be removed from the natural area.
Observe wildlife and nature and capture with art, videos, and photos. Have the kids bring along their cameras, camcorders, and even canvas and painting supplies. Observe the nature and wildlife along the Englewood trails. Kids can paint pictures, snap images, and record live scientific footage. Allow them to capture the memories in their preferred method. Not only are the kids doing something creative and fun in the moment. But the evidence will live on and provide an educational experience over and over. These works can even be used to create science movies, albums, slideshows, and more.
*Visit EnglewoodRec.org to discover more about the trails.
**I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
The Mile High City really is a mile high. That's 5,280 feet for those of you wondering. This is generally no problem for locals, but for those traveling to Denver from out of town may need some time to adjust to the high altitude. Staying in Denver can be pretty fun, but make sure you are prepared before heading out to enjoy your fun.
Just slow down and breathe.
When at high altitudes, the air is thinner than at sea level. This can make some people nervous. If this is you, try taking deep breaths and then just relax. There's really not much to get worked up over.
Try some yoga.
It may not be the altitude, but rather anxiety causing you to gasp for air. Yoga can help relax your nerves, and it's a good warm-up exercise to prepare your lungs for the new altitude.
Take a moment to reflect.
While the air is thinner, it is generally not going to be harmful unless you have a serious medical condition that advises against high altitudes. Rest assured, there are plenty of people with heart and respiratory diseases living in Denver with little to no extra effects on their health. That said, there are still some tips that should be followed when staying in a city with a higher altitude than your body is used to.
Drink plenty of water while staying in Denver.
Because of the high altitude and low humidity in Denver, the air is much drier than in some other places. Be sure to stay hydrated. Your body may even automatically signal you to drink twice as much as before while staying in Denver.
Be sure to eat foods rich in potassium.
Potassium can help the body better replenish electrolytes by balancing salt intake. This is your excuse to eat a generous amount of some of your favorite foods, like chocolate and grand-mama's greens. Some foods rich in potassium include avocados, bananas, beets, broccoli, beans, bran, cantaloupe, celery, chocolate, dates, dried fruit, figs, granola, greens, halibut, honeydew melons, oat bran, prunes, papayas, orange juice, potatoes (sweet and regular), raisins, spinach, tomatoes, and tuna.
Reduce your alcohol intake.
At high altitudes, the effects of the alcohol will increase, so keep this in mind when reaching for your favorite adult beverages. While this may sound like a good thing to some people, it can actually be quite dangerous, so be aware of how much you are drinking.
Save strenuous activities for the end of the trip.
Out of breath? Perhaps you forgot to ease your body into that 3K trek you took around town. Start off with lighter exercises in the first few days of your trip if possible. Don't expect to run a marathon the moment you step off your plane.
Pack essential personal care supplies.
Ouch! The higher the altitude, the closer you are to the sun. In fact, in Denver, there is 25% less sun protection than in places with lower elevations. Be sure to wear sunscreen, protect your lips, and wear sunglasses.
Watch the weather.
If the weatherman says it's going to be sunny, you don't want to have on thick clothing while taking a hike. This will only wear you out faster. Always remember to check the weather before dressing and remember that Denver's weather is not predictable by just looking out the window. Watching the report is important because it can change from sunny and hot to pouring rain in an instant. Just ask and most Denverites will agree.
If you cook, remember to use high altitude recipes.
One thing people forget about when cooking in Denver is that some recipes may need to be adjusted for the high altitude. Ever tried to scrape a hardened cookie thinner than the spatula off the baking sheet? Unless you're into that sort of thing, I'd suggest using a high altitude recipe while staying in Denver.
Other high altitude tips:
Denver.org High Altitude Tips
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Hotels & Motels in Denver, CO
The Mile High City (Denver) seems to have something for everyone with its rich and diverse culture. Hotels and motels to suit a variety of lifestyles and budgets abound in Denver. Choose hotels and motels from areas such as the lower downtown (LoDo) district, the historical City Park neighborhood, Capitol Hill and even the business-savvy Denver Tech Center (DTC).
Denver offers a fair taste of family fun, shopping, nightlife, a great view of the mountaintops from many angles and a friendly, inviting atmosphere, all from the comforts of hotels and motels that meet your needs. Depending on what time of year you utilize Denver hotels and motels, you might catch the Denver Arts Festival, the Taste of Colorado, the Shakespeare Festival, the Stock Show or even a holiday parade.
Staying in Capitol Hill hotels and motels will put you right in the center of Denver, where you'll experience a taste of many different cultures and lifestyles. Capitol Hill is home to many interesting shops, eateries and cultural events. Be sure to make reservations for hotels and motels in advance of your visit to ensure your spot, especially near holidays and other special events.
LoDo is downtown Denver's hotspot for a variety of reasons. LoDo features some of the best hotels and motels in Denver that also happen to be a few steps away from fun. Some of the finest dining in Denver can be found near LoDo hotels and motels. Also, a big part of the LoDo experience is shopping. When you've satisfied your taste buds and your inventory, enjoy the well-reputed LoDo nightlife.
City Park hotels and motels offer a stay in a historical part of Denver. Many of the houses and buildings in the City Park area are a big part of Denver's history. The City Park neighborhood also houses the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science and even the Museum of Dolls and Miniatures.
DTC hotels and motels will be an attraction for business-minded individuals. While not just for the career-oriented, DTC is known well by this crowd because of all it offers. There also is great shopping and eating in this busy neighborhood.
Stapleton is a fairly new but busy, family-oriented Denver neighborhood that is still growing. Hotels and motels in this area provide access to great shopping and dining.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Are you homeless? Just need something more affordable to house your family? Looking to buy a forever home, but need a little assistance? No matter the reason you need housing, there is probably a program in or near Englewood that may be able to help you. If you are in need, don't go another day without applying for housing.
Should You Apply for Housing Assistance in Englewood, CO?
If you are even considering applying for this type of assistance, it's possible that you qualify, at least by income. Aside from determining whether you fit income guidelines, there are many other reasons you may want to apply. Perhaps if you scrape by you can find other housing. But if you apply for housing assistance in Englewood, you may be able to qualify for something better, depending on which program you participate in. Are you embarrassed to apply? Don't let that be your reason not to. If you need the help, by all means, ask. If you have children, consider that they may have a bigger space to live in if you qualify and are accepted.
What Qualifications Are Required For Housing Assistance in Englewood?
Qualifications will vary for each program. But all will have income guidelines to meet. Because of this, be sure you have proof of all your income. If you receive any money benefits (SSI, child support, food stamps, etc), you will need proof of that as well. You also will need proof of age and citizenship for each household member (driver's license, birth certificates, social security cards, etc), as well as proof of your current address (lease, bills, etc). Phone and utility bills also may be needed. If you have children, you may also be asked for their immunization records. These are all the basic things you will need to have with you to prove that you qualify. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be asked for other items.
Different Types of Housing Assistance Available in Englewood. CO
When applying for housing assistance in Englewood, remember that there are several types. If you are interested in more than one, you may need to go through a separate application process for each. If you need rental assistance, there are programs that will help you pay your current rent. There also are programs that offer housing in specific units. Some of these are for families, some for those with disabilities, and some for seniors. There is also Section 8, which is a voucher that pays a portion of your rent in your chosen home, provided the landlord accepts this voucher from the state. If you are looking to buy instead of rent, there are also programs that assist those in lower income brackets with purchasing a home.
Where Can I Apply for These Programs?
Some Englewood and Denver housing assistance programs are run by government organizations. Others are offered through private ones. Because of this, you cannot apply to them all in one place. The most common are listed below. Also, many of these organizations work together and if one cannot help you, they may be able to refer you to another. Don't be afraid to ask. One 'no' answer does not mean you don't qualify for something else.
Englewood Housing Authority
3460 S. Sherman Street, Suite 101
Englewood, CO 80113
1544 Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80203
Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation
670 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204
For more listings, such as emergency shelter and other government housing options, check the HUD.gov website
* I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Have you ever been to an ice cream shop that made you want to return numerous times in just one day? If not, you're missing out. Denver has some of the best ice cream shops I've frequented. No matter what area of Denver you are in, there is likely a perfect ice cream shop for you in the mile high city. All of the options below have competitive pricing.
Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
799 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80209
This mom and pop ice cream shop has been in business for years. In fact, I remember getting ice cream there as a child. Whenever I am in the area, I have to stop by. With a very friendly atmosphere and an old-fashioned feel, this is the ideal ice cream shop for those looking for a little nostalgia and a lot of flavor. Bonnie Brae has over 50 flavors. Some of those include Blueberry Cheesecake, Black Walnut, Tiramisu, Bubble Gum, Butter Brickle, Red Raspberry Roll, Pumpkin Pecan, and Gingerspice.
2039 E 13th Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
Located just a few minutes outside of Downtown Denver, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Liks is appropriately named. There is no such thing as only one lick here. You will definitely want more. An award winner, and formerly known as Lickety Split, Liks is a favorite among neighborhood residents. Ask any of them about it and most will tell you the neighborhood would not be the same without it. This ice cream is homemade and many flavors include fresh fruit and/or nuts. If Liks does not have the flavor you desire, let them know. They design their flavors around customer requests and they will even call you when they have your custom-requested flavor in stock. Liks is somewhat of a trendy spot. This is where everyone in the neighborhood (and surrounding areas) goes to hang out, young and old.
1155 S. Havana St. Unit 63
Aurora, CO 80012
Yes, Baskin Robbins is the ice cream store that was known for 31 flavors. The ice cream store, now a large chain, has grown immensely since then and now boasts over 1,000 different flavors. Each one is tasty in its own unique way. The location that seems to be the most popular among Denverites is the one in Aurora on S. Havana st. Aurora is one of the major cities located right outside of Denver. Some of the classic flavors available include Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Pralines N' Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Very Berry Strawberry. Baskin Robbins also supports youth and schools by offering free ice cream prizes for reading programs. They also give out what are called Scooperstar Awards. Baskin Robbins is always busy, but they always seem to handle the orders quickly and are very friendly.
Cold Stone Creamery
697 W Hampden Avenue
Englewood, CO 80110
Cold Stone Creamery in Englewood (just outside of Denver) is often considered a gourmet ice cream shop by locals. At Cold Stone Creamery, you'll see your ice cream custom-blended on a frozen granite stone, using ingredients such as premium ice cream, fresh fruit, and nuts. To some, it may sound odd to blend the ice cream on a frozen slab of stone, but it really does seem to make a difference. Some of the many fine flavors you can experience at Cold Stone are Berry Berry Berry Good, All Lovin' No Oven (one of my personal favorites), Cheesecake Fantasy, Mud Pie Mojo, That's How I Roll, and The Pie Who Loved Me. Cold Stone Creamery generally offers a fun and friendly environment with all different types of patrons.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Houston, Texas' high poverty rates alone are a good reason to teach kids lessons about sustainability. Did you know that 1 in 5 Houston kids are at or below poverty level? Using community gardens to teach children about long-term food sources could help reduce those numbers and children will hone life skills, including knowledge on being healthy and taking care of the environment.
Community Garden vs. Personal Garden
Who says kids need to choose between a community garden or personal garden? There are benefits to both. Community gardens help bring neighborhoods and communities together as a team. This can help foster skills needed in the workplace, as well as be a building block for neighborhood growth. Kids can indeed grow their own personal gardens and should. However, combining both could be the optimal choice.
Need for Sustainability Lessons in Youth
Many of our youth these days know more about electronic gadgets, such as computers and video games, than they do about survival. Sustainability lessons provide skills they can use in the workforce, as well as life in general. By starting kids on the path of sustainability, we are paving the path for a better future. If a major catastrophe were to happen, how would your kids handle it? Do you have the survival and sustainability skills it would take?
Community Growth Through Shared Gardening
Shared gardening provides food for communities, which means that it can help fight hunger in kids. According to a 2010 report from chron.com, hunger rates in Houston area children have increased over 85 percent when compared to just 4 years ago. This also provides opportunity for income. Community gardeners, including kids, can sell their harvests at local farmer's markets and to grocers. These gardens also can be a great source of food supply for local food banks. When dealing with unemployment and hunger issues, community gardens are a simple solution to growth and sustainability. Studies also show that community gardens help reduce crime rate.
Can My Houston Community Afford This?
Grants are often readily available for Houston and other communities who choose to organize and maintain gardens for this purpose. Money should not be a reason for putting off getting a garden started in your neighborhood. In fact, by not participating, your community is likely losing out on potential funds. Urban and community gardens also are preferred as many corporate farms are not sustainable. This is due to soil erosion and the tight packing and caging of animals.
Who Teaches the Kids to Garden?
Volunteers can be called in to help teach the kids about gardening. Also, the neighborhood residents should look to each other for support. This is yet one more benefit. Gardening in a shared space can help bring neighborhoods together, creating closeness in a community. Anyone who knows how to garden can chip in their knowledge to help everyone pull it all together.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Tara Bard, Contributing Writer
The secret's out: Kate Middleton's wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton in the Alexander McQueen tradition. South Jersey brides wishing to emulate the fashionable, critic-favored design have several options for a Kate-inspired dress.
While dresses with long sleeves aren't the norm, here's a bridal fashion secret: boutiques and tailors can adapt most sleeveless dresses to include light sleeves.
Some religious institutions require a bride to wear a modest wedding gown, so this request is not as uncommon as you may think. However, the Duchess of Cambridge has created a trend--so expect to see more dresses with lace sleeves and other embellishments in stock soon.
Did you enjoy the elegant train on Kate's dress? Brides planning an Atlantic City beach wedding should take note of Kate's sister, Pippa. Pippa dutifully performed her maid of honor obligations by minding the train of her sister's dress.
While wedding dresses are cleaned before they are preserved, the maid of honor can prevent dirt and sand from clinging to the bride's dress in excess--especially during a beach wedding--by assisting the bride with her train when she moves.
Are you ready to emulate Kate's look? The following local boutiques can help!
Search for a boutique local to you at NJWedding.com.
This post was originally published on Examiner.com
Houston Dome Project: Are the Environmentalists Right? Can a Geodesic Dome Save the City of Houston?
Recently the Discovery Channel aired an episode of Mega Engineering (video shown below) that mentioned constructing a geodesic dome over the city of Houston. Could this Houston dome project really be the fourth most populated US city's only hope, as some environmental experts urge? As a resident of Houston, I have to admit that I am skeptical of the Houston dome project for a few reasons.
What Does The Dome Need In Order To Work?
The dome must contain a clear material that can fill in all the holes in the frame, act as windows, and be able to withstand very high winds and other forces of nature. However, for a structure large enough to cover even just Downtown Houston, the material would need to be lightweight, but durable at the same time. According to clips shown on the Mega Engineering episode, a material called Texlon ETFE can make that possible, as well as protect the Houston dome from winds of up to 180 MPH.
That wind speed is faster than even the most forceful winds of the strongest category 5 hurricane. This brings experts to the conclusion that in combination with the specially-designed steel structure, the Houston Dome project could be successful. The Texlon ETFE also can hold up to fire and water.
What About Sustainable Life?
That's great that there is a protective solution to hurricanes and other natural disasters that plague Houston, such as flooding. But, how will life be sustained inside this geodesic dome? True, there will be air conditioning (and boy does Houston need that during the summer), but what about growing plant life? How well will it do under the dome?
Outside Air Concerns
What if people in Houston want to actually feel the rain or the sun - you know, the way it feels naturally? What about feeling the warm Houston breeze on my face or picking flowers in a field (or the backyard)? Would the kids and I still be able to do that under a giant geodesic dome? True, there would be entrances and exits, but I wonder how many people would really travel to the other side of town every single day just to get that taste of "outside" air.
Is This Really The Only Way To Save Houston?
Some environmentalists seem to feel that the Houston dome project is the only way to save the city. I'm all for preserving nature. In fact, being Earth-friendly is high on my list of everyday living. But, I want to know how exactly the very nature being potentially saved will thrive inside of a man-made structure instead of being in...well, nature itself. Houston has been referred to as the number one contributor to greenhouse gas, which comes from energy use. Increased emissions of these gases could cause climate change, which is one of the the main reasons these environmentalists say Houston needs saving.
While the dome would just go straight over the buildings and nature located in its designated area, for me it just would not feel the same. Plus, is a large air-conditioned dome even good for the environment? It may save the city from hurricanes and tornadoes, and perhaps even climate change. But, what sort of damages could it potentially cause?
What About Waste?
Since these materials are so strong, what happens to them if this structure gets built and then it's discovered it either doesn't work or it's unwanted? That would be a very large amount of waste being contributed to the Earth. Also, if the entire city is under a dome, where are the greenhouse gases going to go? Will the people, like my asthmatic children, be breathing that in? Are the benefits greater than the risks?
Is Houston Really In Need Of Such Drastic "Saving" Measures?
Perhaps experts have thought of these things and perhaps the geodesic dome could actually work. I have many more questions and am still questioning whether the city of Houston really needs such drastic saving measures as the Houston dome project.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
MORRISON, CO - According to Science Daily, researchers west of Denver, in the town of Morrison, have discovered two rare footprints from a baby dinosaur hatchling. The footprints were discovered near Morrison by researchers at the Morrison Natural History Museum.
Dr. Robert T. Bakker, leading paleontologist and the paleontology curator of the Morrison Natural History Museum, said that these are the first prints ever found to be made of a Stegosaurus baby. The Stegosaurus was said to have been discovered in Morrison in 1877 and is the state fossil for Colorado.
"The tracks are so crisply preserved that I can imagine the sound of tiny feet splashing up water when the baby dinosaurs came to this ancient river to drink and cool down. I still can't get over just how small these footprints are," Dr. Matthew Mossbrucker, the director of the museum, said. Mossbrucker found the tracks.
A 50-cent piece can completely cover the tracks, which shows just how small these tracks are. This means that the tiny newborn stegosaurus babies were about the size of a human baby. The Morrison Natural History Museum has an annual event called "Dinosaur Days", which will feature the stegosaurus tracks found in Morrison. The tracks will stay on permanent display at the museum.
Mossbrucker told Science Daily: "If these dinosaurs were hatching in our modern world instead of 150 million years ago, they would be within sight of Denver's skyscrapers. These infant dinosaur fossils have raised more questions than they have answered. We'll have to keep digging."
Morrison is historically known for its history with dinosaurs. According to FrontRangeLiving.com, it boasts an unusual museum called Dinosaur Ridge. Dinosaur Ridge is essentially a road that runs right through a mountain of rock that is scribed with fossils of dinosaur footprints, fossils, ferns, and much more. This is a history from the time when dinosaurs roamed what are now known as the foothills of Colorado.
There are also many native plants and flowers growing through the cracks. Dinosaur bones can be seen protruding through the solid rocky surface that Earth was once made of. Children are often seen staring in awe at the footprints of mother and baby dinosaurs imprinted into the rocks. Dinosaurs that roamed this ridge lived during the Jurassic period, so you won't see any T-rex remains, but you will see traces of the Iguanodon, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and others that roamed the land during the Jurassic Period.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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