Boat Safety

Boat Safe

Ensure your boat is ready for the water with this checklist

(eLivingtoday.com) No matter how much experience you have on the water, prepping your boat – and your passengers – before leaving the dock can make for a more enjoyable experience.

To prepare for a safe and comfortable trip, review this pre-departure checklist to ensure your vessel is in good working order and well-stocked for the adventure:

  • Documentation – Have all required documentation for planned activities, including boat registration, fishing permits and boater education cards readily accessible.
  • Float Plan – File a float plan with a responsible party who will remain on land. Provide contact info, explain where you’re going, when you intend to return and what to do in case he or she doesn’t hear from you.
  • Weather Forecast – Always check the forecast before you head out on the water. To regularly monitor any changes, keep a handheld radio onboard.
  • Fuel – Before leaving, check that your fuel level is adequate for the trip and that other fluids, like oil and coolant, are at the proper levels.
  • Batteries – Check to make sure the boat’s battery, as well as battery-operated items like flashlights and handheld radios, are fully charged and operational.
  • Lights – Check to make sure you have properly functioning navigation and instrument lights and pack a flashlight, as well.
  • Life Jackets – Ensure you have at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device per passenger with a minimum of two onboard. If your boat is longer than 16 feet, you’ll also need a throwable device.
  • Anchor – Keep at least one anchor, attached to an anchor line, and at least two fenders for docking onboard.
  • Bilge – Before launching your boat, ensure the bilge is dry, clear of waste and has a properly functioning pump.
  • Fire Extinguisher – Keep a U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher securely mounted in an accessible place.
  • Distress Signals – Store flares and day signals in a dry, accessible location and ensure all passengers onboard know how to use them. Also have a noise-making device, such as an air horn, bell or whistle, capable of producing a 4-second blast audible for at least 1/2 mile readily available.
  • Tools – Keep a basic toolbox onboard with commonly used tools and spare parts like wrenches, screwdrivers, batteries, fuel filters, hull plugs and light bulbs.
  • First-Aid Kit – Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit – and extra sunscreen – in an accessible location in case of accidents.

Find more tips for safely enjoying time on the water at eLivingtoday.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
eLivingtoday.com

Hello, World!

The Raleigh Kids Directory

The Raleigh Kids Directory

The Raleigh Kids Directory is a Family Resource Guide.  The full-color publication caters to busy parents who would like to enroll their children in exciting, educational learning programs that give kids an opportunity to enhance exploration through logical thinking and games.  Featured events include summer camps, hiking, fishing, art, songwriting, sports, karting, coding, STEM programs and more.

Busy moms, we got you covered with professional sitters.  Enjoy shopping at a local boutique or plan your next party or event with custom décor.  The Raleigh Kids Directory make it easy for working moms to find great resources in one publication.

Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

(Family Features) As a parent, instilling healthy eating habits in your children at an early age can aid in proper growth and development. Eating well goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy weight, increasing energy levels and improving moods while also reducing risk of obesity and other chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes later in life.

Set your children on a path to making lifelong nutritious choices with these tips:

Foster independence. Allowing your children to help with shopping and meal prep can aid in them taking ownership of what they’re eating. Start by divvying up easier tasks such as setting the table then work toward creating snacks and meals on their own. These Rainbow Fruit Parfaits are simple for kids to assemble – just set the ingredients out and let them layer – and can serve as a healthful on-the-go breakfast or after-school snack.

Offer balanced options. Children require balanced diets made up of all three major food groups, including fruits and vegetables, for proper development. Looking for the Produce for Kids logo next to nutritional, family-friendly items at the grocery store is an easy way to identify healthy food choices while also supporting local organizations that help children and families in need.

Be a role model. Typically, your children will follow your behaviors, which includes the types of foods they select at mealtimes. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can help ensure your family is getting a complete range of nutrients. For example, a recipe like this Rainbow Buddha Bowl provides a combination of fresh and roasted vegetables that can be customized to meet your family’s tastes. Thinking about how many colors you eat in a day may inspire your kids to do the same, which can foster a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

To find more healthy meal inspiration, including more than 500 registered dietitian- and family-tested recipes, visit produceforkids.com.

Rainbow Fruit Parfaits

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3

  • 1/2       cup sliced strawberries
  • 2          mandarins, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2       cup chopped pineapple
  • 2          kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2       cup blueberries
  • 1/2       cup red seedless grapes
  • 1          cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  1. In parfait glasses, layer strawberries, mandarins, pineapple, kiwis, blueberries and grapes.
  2. Top each fruit parfait with yogurt.

Rainbow Buddha Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Jodi of Create Kids Club on behalf of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1          cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2       small purple cabbage, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1          cup red cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2       cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1          avocado, sliced
  • 4          tablespoons yogurt ranch dressing
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Place sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
  3. Divide cooked quinoa into four bowls. Top with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and avocado.
  4. Drizzle with dressing.
SOURCE:
Produce for Kids

5 Tips to Help Reduce Litter and Protect the Oceans

5 Tips to Help Reduce Litter and Protect the Oceans

(Family Features) The tide of environmental studies showing the harmful effects of litter and mismanaged waste on oceans are seemingly everywhere. For example, 8 million metric tons of plastics wind up in streams, rivers and waterways each year, according to research published in “Science.” 

According to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic product consumption is predicted to double over the next 10 years. With the health of the oceans closely tied to the health of the environment, marine life and humans, making choices that help reduce ocean pollution is one way to make an impact. In fact, research from the Plastic Free July Foundation shows that more than six in 10 people refuse plastic shopping bags, avoid pre-packed fruit and vegetables, pick up litter and avoid buying water in plastic bottles. 

“Mismanaged packaging waste is a threat to our oceans and the overall health of our planet,” said Lynn Bragg, president of the Glass Packaging Institute. “We can all make a difference by changing the type of food and beverage packaging we buy, opting for reusable and refillable containers, following local recycling guidelines and helping keep beaches and waterways clean.”

These tips from the Glass Packaging Institute are just a few ways to contribute:

  1. Think about the packaging you choose. When making a purchase, consider alternatives to plastic like glass or other natural and sustainable packaging. Glass, for example, is made mostly from sand and recycled glass, is reusable, recyclable and does not harm oceans or marine life.
  1. Choose reusable containers. Taking advantage of reusable containers for food and beverages is one way to live a more eco-friendly life. Since only 9 percent of plastic bottles are recycled, according to “National Geographic,” reusable containers can serve as an ideal replacement for bottled water whether at home or on-the-go. Rather than plastic, choose glass or stainless steel, which can hold hot or cold food and beverages, and help protect the contents from any chemicals.
  1. Reduce your single-use footprint. Whenever possible, bring reusable bags and containers to the store. Some foods like cereal, pasta and rice can be purchased from bulk bins and placed in a glass or stainless-steel storage container. To further cut down on plastic waste, consider switching to reusable straws, which are available in glass, stainless steel or bamboo.
  1. Recycle better. Learn what you can and can’t recycle in your community. Certain items like disposable cups, greasy pizza boxes, non-recyclable plastic containers (like those for yogurt) and take-out containers can contaminate entire batches of recycling. About 91 percent of plastic is not recycled and can linger in the environment for hundreds of years, contributing to ocean pollution. Glass containers are 100 percent recyclable; steel and aluminum cans and cardboard are also easily recyclable.
  1. Get involved. Volunteering or donating can help keep local beaches, parks and waterways clean. Getting involved with international and national groups with local chapters are also ways to participate in a local cleanup.

Find out more about the benefits of choosing and reusing glass packaging to help reduce ocean pollution at upgradetoglass.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Glass Packaging Institute

Winter Ready Home

Create a Healthy, Winter-Ready Home

(Family Features) When chilly weather arrives and the days get shorter, chances are good you’ll spend the majority of your days indoors. Before you start your hibernation, it’s a good idea to ensure your home is up to the task. Put your well-being at the top of the list with these ideas to help ensure a health-conscious home that’s ready for the dark days of winter.

Encourage better air quality
When the house is closed up tight to keep out the cold, you may be trapping in some undesirable air pollutants. A well-sealed house may not have the best circulation, and that’s the ideal environment for dust mites and other allergens to accumulate.

A thorough cleaning is the first step toward better air quality. Do a deep vacuuming of all carpets, including under furniture and around baseboards. Be sure to launder linens that aren’t typically part of your regular washing routine, like window treatments and comforters.

You may want to consult a heating and cooling specialist to determine whether your ductwork is due for a cleaning. Especially if your system didn’t get much use through the summer months, there may be a fair bit of dust just waiting to infiltrate your home once the furnace begins to blow.

Be sure to change filters, clean vents and air returns and, if necessary, consider adding an air purifier that helps filter any remaining particles for the best quality air. When opening windows isn’t comfortable during cold winter weather, letting the sunshine in can still help to improve indoor air quality. A study by the University of Oregon’s Biology and the Built Environment Center showed rooms with increased sunlight have fewer viable bacteria.

“Until now, daylighting design has been primarily about visual comfort or circadian health, but now we can say daylighting influences air quality,” said Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, co-director of the BioBE Center and co-author of the study.

Let in light
Natural light plays an important role in overall health, and reduced daylight in the winter months can have a big impact on productivity and sleep, according to a recent survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Velux. For example, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they believe daylight affects their productivity and mood. Light is also an important cue to the body’s circadian clock, and proper exposure to natural light during the day can help support better sleep when darkness falls.

What’s more, sunlight is a natural antidepressant, and there is ample scientific evidence that associates daylight with better health and quality of life, such as improved mood, less fatigue and reduced eyestrain.

It may be tempting to keep the drapes closed when it’s blustery outside to ward off a draft, but with well-sealed windows, there’s no reason to block that all-important natural light. In rooms with ample natural light available, take advantage, especially in the morning when exposure to daylight can benefit your circadian rhythm.

However, not every room is situated to maximize your access to natural light, and that’s when you can get creative. One solution is skylights, which add natural light to virtually any space. An option like a Sun Tunnel Skylight offered by Velux Skylights lends brightness to even the smallest spaces, like a bathroom or hallway. For a larger room, a fresh-air skylight can help address air quality concerns, and some models offer smartphone connectivity to open and close the skylight and even raise or lower blinds with a few quick taps of the finger. Learn more at whyskylights.com.

Keep out the cold
As a child, you were probably warned to bundle up in cooler weather to avoid catching a cold. As an adult, you likely realize that germs, not temperatures, cause illness. However, there is some truth to the old wives’ tales associating cold with getting sick. The viruses that cause colds and the flu thrive in cooler temperatures, for example. This means that, at least indirectly, a cold environment may indeed make you sick.

To ward off a chill in your home, safeguard against drafts around windows and doors. If seasonal weather-proofing is impractical, consider temporary solutions like draft stoppers or mats you can place at the base of doors. Add insulation, if needed, in areas that commonly release a significant amount of heat, such as the attic and garage.

Daylight Makes a Difference
As the days become shorter and colder, the importance of getting enough daylight is even more acute to sleep patterns, mood and productivity. These tips can help you get a better night sleep:

  • Increase your exposure to natural light during the day. Take a lunchtime walk at work or, if you can’t get outside, sit by a window while you eat.
  • Install blackout curtains in your bedroom to block light from street lamps and the moon.
  • Turn your thermostat down in the evenings to create a cooler bedroom to sleep in.
  • Establish a good bedtime routine. For example, read a book instead of spending more time looking at a screen. Blue light from electronic devices mimics daylight and can trick your brain into staying alert.
  • Use red or orange bulbs in kids’ night lights as these are some of the least disruptive to sleep.
SOURCE:
Velux Skylights