Travel and outdoors product reviews and trips


Please check the following outdoor and safety catagories for useful tips on various subjects:

Airline/Flying, Birds, Boating, Camping, Discount Rentals, Eating Healthy, Fire Safety, Fishing, Fishing Safety, Hazardous Waste, Hiking, Holidays/Holiday Safety Tip, Hunting, Poisonous Plant Tips, Recycling Tips, Security Tips, Skin Health, Water/Swimming, Travel Tips, Winter Storm Tips, Water Safety Tips, Walking, Weather, Web Sites for Useful Information, Winter Safety & Much More

NEWS

Winter Storm Tips to Protect Your Home

Camping & Education Foundation Guides Parents on How to Choose the Right Summer Camp for Their Children 

Zika Virus - Travel Safety & Other Travel Tips

How to Survive A Fall Through the Ice from the U.S. Swim School Association

Safe, Stylish Travel Items for the Jet-Setting Toddler

Etiquette Tips When Flying from Expert Jacqueline Whitmore

Travel Safety Tips from Jarrett Arthur

Travel Tips for Folks Over Fifty

Fire Safety Tips

Out of Town for the Holidays? Check Out These 10 Tips to Childproof Your Home Away from Home by Louie Delaware

Valentine's Day Tips for Couples

Over the River and Through the Woods: 10 Safety Tips for Flying with Children Over the Holidays

AIRLINE/FLYING

Etiquette Tips When Flying from Expert Jacqueline Whitmore

Air rage incidents are increasing over everything from delays and cancellations due to winter weather to seat reclining issues and intoxicated passengers. Even JetBlue recently launched a series of etiquette videos for passengers.

Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, who is also a former flight attendant, offers the following tips to make the skies more friendly and your flights less stressful:

-          Prepare ahead of time. Research the rules of your particular airline to find out what luggage requirements they have. If you plan to leave from a busy airport, give yourself enough time to go through security and make it to your gate — even if there are long lines. Prior planning will help relieve stress.

-          Don’t pack more than you can lift. The number one pet peeve of flight attendants is passengers who bring carry-on luggage too heavy for them to lift. Don’t expect the flight attendant to lift your bag into the overhead bin. If you pack it, you stack it. Or flight attendants will check it for you.

-          Check before you recline. Airline seats recline to allow passengers to sleep and relax, but it may cause discomfort for the person behind you. If you intend to recline your seat, do it gently or better yet, turn around and make sure you don’t inconvenience the person behind you. Raise your seat during mealtime so the person behind you can enjoy his or her meal.

-          Be respectful of those around you. Airplane seating is tight and interaction with your seatmates is inevitable. Keep the volume of your headphones at an appropriate level and lower the light on your electronic devices so you don’t disturb or distract the person next to you. Many people are sensitive to strong scents including garlic and onions so be mindful of what you eat on the plane.

-          Allow those in front of you to disembark first. Rather than grab your luggage and make a run for the door, follow protocol. If you need to make a connection or know you’ll be in a rush, try to arrange to be seated near the front of the plane.

-          Hold your tongue. If you have a complaint about another passenger, don't take matters into your own hands and don’t demand that the plane land at the nearest airport. Alert the flight attendant.

-          Parents, be prepared. When babies cry uncontrollably in flight it’s probably because their ears hurt from the air pressure. It’s a good idea for parents to be prepared with a bottle or a pacifier or something to make their children swallow and relieve ear pressure.

-          Smells travel. Parents should not wait until the plane takes off to change their baby’s diaper. Change your child’s diaper in the lavatory – not on the tray table.

BIRDS

Caring for injured birds

Should you find an injured bird, the National Audubon Society suggests getting in touch with wildlife rehabilitation centers. The New Jersey Division of Fish, and Wildlife can direct you to a licensed rehabilitator in your area; call 609-292-6685 or 908-735-8793. The Raptor Trust in Millington, New Jersey (908-647-2353), also provides aid to injured birds. If a bird is knocked unconscious after flying into a window, the Society advises to “keep the bird quiet and allow it to rest in a dark place. Once recovered, it can be released, but if unable to fly, its suffering should be ended.       

Should a nest fall from a tree, return it as near as possible to the original location. A nestling can be reintroduced to the nest, from which it came, but there’s a risk of dislodging others and there’s a possibility that the parents had purposely rejected the nestling. Fledglings (those with feathers) can be placed on a branch out of the way of predators.

Caring & Feeding Birds

Taking care of birds is, indeed, a lark because what they need is basically what we need: food, water, shelter, and habitat. During winter they depend on seed that people supply, so it’s important not to stop feeding them before April 1 when they can obtain food from natural sources.

Different species prefer different seeds, but thanks to experiments conducted a few years back by Dr. Geis at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we know more about their preferences. At bird shops throughout New Jersey, various mixes are sold, such as one containing black-oil sunflower seed, striped sunflower, white proso millet, and split peanuts, which appeals to many species. Wherever you buy seed, it’s important to check the contents because lots of brands contain weed and empty seed. It should be cleaned so that twigs, empty seed, and weed seed are eliminated before it’s packaged so nothing is wasted and won’t sprout weeds if it falls to the ground.

So, what will you keep the seed in to make it easy for the birds to come and dine?   Most feeders run from $10 to $199 depending on the size, shape, and whether it’s squirrel proof or squirrel resistant, but be forewarned: Squirrels will eventually figure out how to get into the most elaborate feeder. You can’t prevent them from getting food that falls to the ground so be prepared to let them get their share from ground feeders, but put straight sunflower seed into one feeder that has baffles, and keep it on a pole that’s 10-12 feet away from the house, trees or anything overhead to keep the birds safe from predators and squirrels.

Local libraries and bookstores have excellent books on how to build feeders and tips on feeding, such as how to string peanuts, popcorn, or stale donuts together onto a length of fish line; using a jar hung horizontally as a feeder or a plastic soda bottle bottom. Birds love treats like walnuts and pecans on the half-shell, will devour the inside of any discarded orange or grapefruit rinds, and nuthatches, woodpeckers, and chickadees welcome suet.

Birds seeking sheltered areas for protection from the cold, wind, and rain favor evergreens and shrubs, but even a discarded Christmas tree will help. If you have an old tree stump, train ivy to grow around it so they can find shelter and later use it as a nesting site. Or, purchase a roost, which costs from $20-60 based on size and material. One can accommodate several birds, is commonly used by screech owls, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, bluebirds, and flickers, and those made of cedar warm up quickly from the sun’s rays.

Water is necessary for bathing and preening their feathers. Nothing can beat the sight of these warm-blooded animals scooping up water and splashing it over their backs, flapping their wings every which way. Be certain to set a birdbath near protective shrubbery; since they can’t fly when they’re wet, this enables them to quickly escape to safety in case there’s a cat or other ground predator nearby. If you own a cat that prowls outside, attach a bell onto its collar so the birds have prior warning or set up a large mesh chicken wire fence around the feeding station.

Bird baths can be as simple as placing a pie plate filled with water in a sunny spot each morning, or as elaborate as building a pond and keeping an electric heater in it to keep the water from freezing. In any case, the water shouldn’t be deeper than 3 inches in the center. If the surface is smooth, add pebbles or some sand so the birds have a firm grip.

Feeding birds may sometimes attract rodents, pigeons, squirrels, and other undesirable wildlife. Should you have excessive trouble, don’t worry. Contact an Animal Damage Control company (check the Yellow Pages for a listing) of licensed specialists in live trapping and removal and techniques that prevent wildlife damage.

New Jersey’s hot line and nature centers for birders

The New Jersey Audubon Society (790 Ewing Avenue, Franklin Lakes; 201-891-1211), which fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic, protects New Jersey’s birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, including endangered and threatened species, promotes preservation of the state’s valuable natural habitats and disseminates information through publications and education programs. It also maintains a 24-hour hot-line to alert birders of rare or local sightings of interest (Northern area; 908-766-2661; Cape May area; 609-884-2626); and runs several staffed nature centers where visitors are free to observe birds at feeding stations or in their natural habitats via marked trails.

         Many of New Jersey’s nature centers, listed below, feature regularly scheduled programs and carry bird identification books, binoculars, scopes, feeders, and other items for bird-watchers:

Lorrimer Sanctuary (Bergen County) 790 Ewing Avenue, Franklin Lakes; 201-891-2185

Weis Ecology Center (Passaic County, 150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood; 201-835-2160

Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuaries (Somerset County) 11 Hardscrabble Road, Bernardsville; 908-766-5787. Register for the December programs to learn all about seed preferences of birds and how to build feeders.

Owl Haven (Monmouth County Englishtown-Freehold Road, Tennent; 908-780-7007

Rancocas Nature Center (Burlington County) 794 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly; 609-261-2495 alerts birders to rare or local sightings of interest.

Other hot spots for bird viewing include the Pequest Trout Hatchery & Natural Resource Education Center (605 Pequest Road, Oxford; 908-637-4125; the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham; 201-635-6629 and the adjacent Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge; Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (Off Route 9 South, Oceanville; 609-652-1665; Lord Stirling Park (190 Lord Stirling Road, Basking Ridge; 908-766-2489; and Hacklebarney State Park (Long Valley off Route 24 in Chester; 908-879-5677).  

BOATING TIPS

Belly Boating

From Woo Daves, the 2000 Bassmaster Classic® Champion: There may not be a better way to get in close to good fishing that everybody else
misses than by using a belly boat. It’s called belly boating because your boat is a flotation ring that goes around you and suspends you like a bobber. Flippers on both feet propel you around shorelines on lakes and ponds or you can bob along in the moving waters of rivers and streams. When I was growing up, we just used truck inner tubes and wore bib overalls to hold our tackle. Today there are all types
of belly boats on the market. You can use swim fins to propel you but you will always be going backwards. A better way is to use kickers that allow you to move quietly forward with your eyes to the front looking for fish cover and movement. For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

Let's Go Canoeing

From Larry Whiteley, host of the award-winning Outdoor World® Radio: Summer is a great time to go canoeing, but here are some things to remember before you go.

Take plenty of sunscreen and wear a hat.

Wear old tennis shoes instead of sandals. Sandals offer little protection from sun and rocks.

For your own sake, wear a life jacket.

Don’t bring anything you aren’t prepared to lose. Even the best floaters tip their
canoes occasionally. Pack the canoe with weight low and centered.

Freeze bottles of water and use them for ice in your coolers.

A good river map will point out interesting features along the way.

Use dry bags for anything you don’t want to get wet.

Lastly, pick up your trash and others trash and take it with you.

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

Fishing & Boating at the Magic Kingdom

There are lots of waterways that surround the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World® in Orlando, Florida. The official Disney record largemouth bass is 14 pounds 6 ounces and it is not unusual to pull in a few 10 pounders. While big bass are caught frequently, almost any angler can count on catches in the 3 to 5 pound range with smaller and bigger bass thrown in for fun. You can also catch big crappie. Prime times include February, March and April, just after the spawn and then again in September, October, and November when the water cools down. No private boats are allowed and only guided fishing trips are permitted except in the canals around Fort Wilderness RV Resort and Campground.

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

Ten Tips From BoatU.S. For Getting the Most From a Tank of Gas

With boaters facing record high fuel prices this summer Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has a few tips that could help stretch their fuel dollars:

1. Leave the extra ‘junk’ home: Don’t load the boat up with weight you don’t need. Do a little spring cleaning - unused equipment that has been collecting mildew in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.

2. Water weight: At 8.33 pounds per gallon, why keep the water in the tank topped off if you’re only going out for the afternoon?

3. Tune her up: An engine tune-up is an excellent investment and should easily pay for itself over the summer.

4. Tune your prop: If your boat goes 30 mph with a like-new prop and only 27 mph with a prop that’s dinged and out of pitch, that’s a 10% loss in fuel economy, or, you’re wasting one out of every ten gallons you put in your tank.

5. Paint the boat’s bottom: When boating in salt or brackish waters a fouled bottom is like a dull knife. It takes a lot more fuel to push your boat through the water.

6. Keep the boat in trim: Using trim tabs or distributing weight evenly will help move your boat through the water with less effort – and less fuel.

7. Go with the flow: Consult tide tables and try to travel with the tide whenever possible.

8. Install a fuel flow meter: A fuel flow meter is like a heart monitor; when consumption starts to rise, it’s an early warning that something is amiss. A fuel flow meter also allows you to select a comfortable cruising speed that optimizes the amount of fuel being consumed.

9. Do the math: If you don’t want to spring for a fuel flow meter (about $300), you can calculate your fuel mileage by dividing distance traveled by gallons at fill-up. Using your logbook, you can then approximate fuel flow using average speeds and time underway.

10. Get a discount: Many of the 885 BoatU.S. Cooperating Marinas around the country offer up to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. To get the discount all you have to do is to show your BoatU.S. membership card. If you aren’t already a member, join online now for a special rate of $19.00 by going to BoatUS.com/membership or call 800-395-2628.

BoatU.S is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 650,000 members with a wide array of consumer services including a group-rate marine insurance program that insures nearly a quarter million boats; the largest fleet of more than 500 towing assistance vessels; discounts on fuel, slips, and repairs at over 885 Cooperating Marinas; boat financing; and a subscription to BoatU.S. Magazine, the most widely read boating publication in the U.S. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

Winterizing Your Boat - the Right Way

The Boat Owners Association of The United States has reviewed its insurance claim files and reports the following six most common mistakes made when winterizing a boat:

1. Failure to drain the engine block: Surprisingly, it's the balmy states of California, Florida, Texas, Alabama and Georgia where boaters are most likely to have freeze-related damage to engine blocks - and it routinely occurs to boats stored ashore. Water retains heat longer than air so boats left in the slip are less susceptible to sudden freezing.

2. Failure to drain water from sea strainer: Like an engine, the seawater strainer must be winterized or residual water could freeze and rupture the watertight seal. Sometimes you don't know it's damaged until spring launching and water begins to trickle in.

3. Failure to close seacocks: For boats left in the water, leaving seacocks open over the winter is like going on extended vacation without locking the house. If a thru-hull cannot be closed the vessel must be stored ashore - the sole exception are cockpit drains. Heavy snow loads can also force your boat under, allowing water to enter through hulls normally well above the water line.

4. Clogged petcocks: Engine cooling system petcocks clogged by rust or other debris can prevent water from fully draining. If it's plugged, try using a coat hanger to clear the blockage or use the engine's intake hose to flush anti-freeze through the system.

5. Leaving open boats in the water over winter: Boats with large open cockpits or low freeboard can easily go under by accumulated snow. Always store them ashore.

6. Using bimini covers as winter storage covers: A cover that protects the crew from the sun does a lousy job protecting the boat from freezing rain and snow. Unlike a bonafide winter cover, biminis tend to rip apart and age prematurely by the effects of winter weather.

BoatU.S. - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 670,000 members with a wide array of consumer services including a group-rate marine insurance program that insures nearly a quarter million boats; the largest fleet of more than 500 towing assistance vessels; discounts on fuel, slips, and repairs at over 835 Cooperating Marinas; boat financing; and a subscription to BoatU.S. Magazine, the most widely read boating publication in the U.S. For membership information visit http://www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

For a free copy of the BoatU.S. Winterizing Guide full of tips to help you prepare your vessel for the winter, go to BoatUS.com/Seaworthy and click on "Winterizing Your Boat," or call 800-283-2883.

CAMPING TIPS

Camping & Education Foundation Guides Parents on How to Choose the Right Summer Camp for Their Children 

Parents have to make decisions that will affect their children’s lives for years to come every day. From what school to send them to, to something more basic like what to serve at mealtime, the choices are endless and they only multiply, as kids get older. One decision that can be a difficult one to make is sending kids to summer camp. Parents have to worry about the camp’s reputation, if it encompasses activities that interest their children and most importantly if the experience will help children grow and learn new skills. 

Here are some suggestions from the Camping & Education Foundation:

Match Age with Activity – Look for a camp that will challenge your child as he or she grows and that offers varying levels of activities. Children can start off as campers, they can learn new skills as they get older and eventually take on a leadership role as a camp counselor.

Stretch Boundaries – A camp that offers activities that pique your child’s interest should be considered when researching options, but avoid choosing a camp that does not give your child a chance to try new things and learn. A well-balanced camp experience should be a top priority, one where children have the freedom to do what they enjoy and the chance to branch outside of their comfort zone.

Disconnect from Technology – It is a well-known fact that children spend too much time staring at screens today. Many summer camps do not allow children to bring cell phones or have access to computers and video games while at camp. While at first children can feel isolated, by the end of camp they will have had free time to enjoy nature, discover them selves and make new friends without the influence of technology.

Consider Nutrition – Mystery meat, pizza and nachos are called to mind when many people think about stereotypical camp food. But, many camps offer healthy meal choices filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Plus, if your child has a special diet do not be surprised that you can find summer camps that cater to gluten-free and other allergy/special dietary requirements 

Talk to Alumni – Quality summer camps will have dozens of parents and children willing to sing its praises. As part of your research process, ask camp directors if there are parents in your area you can speak with to learn more about what they thought of the camp and their children’s experience.

Start with a Test Drive – If you or your child is nervous about heading to summer camp for the first time, test the waters. Sign up for a short session to start and if your child enjoys the experience, plan for a longer, more immersing experience next summer.

About The Camping and Education Foundation

The Camping and Education Foundation’s mission is to develop young men and women in body and spirit through wilderness experiences that celebrate a love of the outdoors. This mission is as strong today as it was ninety-two years ago when Camp Kooch-i-ching first opened its doors to young men on Deer Island and for the past twelve years that Camp Ogichi Daa Kwe has been open for young women. For more information, visit: www.campingedu.org.

DISCOUNT RENTALS

Airbnb--

lists more than 7000 New York City apartments, studios and lofts available by the night, or the week - usually offered by homeowners who want to earn money while they're away.

EATING HEALTHY

sugardown® Announces Top 10 Ways to Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels at Thanksgiving & the Holiday Season

The holidays can be challenging when it comes to eating healthy, but with a little creativity, it can be done. The manufacturers of sugardown® offer these 10 tips to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels at Thanksgiving.

1. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, rather than starve yourself in anticipation of a big dinner.

2. Choose healthy appetizers. Deviled eggs, grilled asparagus wrapped with ham, assorted nuts, and hummus with celery stalks are all good choices.

3. Choose healthy substitutes. Make mock mashed potatoes using steamed cauliflower instead of potatoes. Mash with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, roasted garlic, and fresh herbs.

4. Make bread-free stuffing. Substitute chopped vegetables like parsnips, mushrooms, and carrots for croutons, along with onions and garlic.

5. Skip the canned cranberries. Make your own cranberry relish using fresh or frozen cranberries, sugar substitute, and grated orange zest.

6. Enjoy the white meat of the turkey, but leave behind the dark meat and skin.

7. Instead of pie, have a small portion of dark chocolate. It is one of the best sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been shown to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels and insulin.

8. Take a walk after dinner. Exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity. This means the cells are better able to use any available insulin, a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. Exercise also helps cells to take up sugar and use it for energy, whether or not insulin is available, so there is less sugar in the blood.

9. Resist the temptation to overeat. Before your meal, drink two glasses of water or a small glass of tomato juice. This can help you feel fuller faster.

10. Take sugardown® up to 20 minutes prior to your meal to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

The main ingredient in sugardown® is made from naturally occurring plant-based mannans (galactomannans) that when combined with a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, have the ability to regulate digestive enzymes which in turn promotes healthy digestion, optimal sugar absorption and supports healthy glucose levels throughout the day.

sugardown® is available in a bottle of 60 tablets or a convenient 10-tablet tube. For more information, visit sugardown® on Facebook. To order, visit www.sugardown.com.

FIRE SAFETY TIPS

ENVIRO-LOG Offers Safety Tips to Help You Avoid Outdoor Cooking Accidents

As the days grow longer and the weather warms, activities are moving outdoors, including cooking. To keep those meals from going up in smoke, or worse, Enviro-Log®, Inc., a leader in eco-friendly products for home heating and outdoor activities, offers safety tips to help you avoid outdoor cooking accidents.

Grilling has become more popular than ever. The number of barbecue grills and smokers shipped to North American stores increased 41 percent from 1992 to more than 14 million units in 2012, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA). With an increasing number of people using grills, many of whom may be inexperienced, there’s a greater risk for accidents that can result in serious injury or property damage.

“Cooking outdoors has its risks, but they can be reduced by taking the right precautions and following safety procedures,” said Ross McRoy, president of Enviro-Log. “We urge people not to wait until after an accident has already happened to think about grilling safety. Please consider the following safety tips to help you avoid outdoor cooking accidents.”

Safety first. Never leave your grill or fire unattended and be sure to keep children and pets away from the fire and cooking area. Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.

Read the Manual.  Not all grills are the same. Always read instruction manuals and consult the manufacturer about the proper use of your grill, firepit, or chiminea before use.

Select the proper location. The National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) said grills are the cause of 3,600 structure fires every year. Grills, fire pits, and chimineas should only be used outdoors and never in a trailer, tent, house, garage, covered porch or any enclosed area. They should be positioned at least 10 feet away from your house. In addition to creating a fire hazard, operating a grill, firepit or chiminea in an enclosed area can lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide.

Stay out of the wind. Never operate your grill, firepit or chiminea in high winds. High winds can significantly increase the risk of flames spreading to nearby structures including your home.

Charcoal grills.  Never add lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids to a charcoal grill that has been lit. Doing so can result in flare ups that can travel several feet. Consider alternative firestarter products that offer a preselected start that can easily be extinguished. Always let your charcoal cool completely before moving your grill or leaving it unattended. When you are finished grilling, douse the coals or soak them in water before disposing them in a metal container.

Propane and natural gas grills.  The NFPA reported that five out of every six grill fires involve gas grills. To reduce the risk, always check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the regulator to your propane tank. Never attach or disconnect a propane tank, or move or alter gas fittings when the grill is in operation or is hot. Never use a propane tank if it contains bulges, dents, gouges, corrosion, rust or other forms of visual external damage. Clean and perform general maintenance on your propane or natural gas grill twice a year. Always turn off the gas at the source (tank or supply line) prior to inspecting parts. Visually inspect hoses for abrasion, wear and leaks before each use. When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent a flash-off from gas build-up. Almost a third of gas grill injuries happen when the grill is being lit, according to the NFPA. Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking. If the gas grill does not ignite on the first try, HPBA advises waiting five minutes for the gas to clear before trying again.

Campfires.  The U.S. Forest Service recommends using existing firepits and fire rings at campsites. Always follow your campsite fire guidelines. Never build a fire in hazardous, windy, or dry conditions, and keep campfires at least 15 feet away from tents, shrubs, trees (and low-hanging branches) and other flammable objects. Have a bucket of water and shovel nearby. Never cut branches from live trees, and only use material that is approved for use by your campsite. When finished with a campfire, be sure it is fully extinguished before abandoning it. Dousing it with water is preferred, but dirt and sand can also be used to mix up the embers until they are cooled.

For additional information on outdoor cooking and fire safety, please visit the following resources:
· www.nfpa.org – National Fire Protection Association Web site
· www.fs.fed.us – United States Forest Service Web site

About Enviro-Log, Inc. 
Enviro-Log® is an eco-friendly, consumer products and recycling company headquartered in Fitzgerald, Ga. Enviro-Log is the largest waxed cardboard recycler in North America and the third largest producer of manufactured firelogs in the U.S. Its firelogs are made of 100 percent recycled materials and burn cleaner than wood while providing 50 percent more heat per pound.  Enviro-Log Firelogs can be purchased at select national retail locations including Home Depot, Kmart, Lowes, True Value, Rite Aid, Sears, Whole Foods, Walmart, Shaw’s, select Ace Hardware, Stop & Shop, Giant Foods, Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, Weis Markets, Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Blain’s Farm & Fleet and many regional retailers throughout the U.S. Enviro-Log Firelogs are also available in Canada at Lowe’s, Walmart, Target and Canadian Tire locations. Made from 100 percent recycled eco-friendly wax, Enviro-Log Firestarters offer an alternative to kindling, petroleum-based starter blocks, lighter fluids, and ethanol-based gels. Enviro-Log Firestarters are available at select retail locations throughout the United States, including Ace Hardware, Lowe’s Home Improvement stores nationwide, Rite Aid, The Home Depot (Eastern Regions) and many regional grocery and hardware retailers such as Weis Markets, Stop & Shop, Giant Foods, and Blain’s Farm & Fleet. More information on Enviro-Log can be found at www.enviro-log.net or by calling (866)343-6847. Retailers can also send an email to sales@enviro-log.net. You can also follow Enviro-Log on Facebook® at www.Facebook.com/Envirolog, or Twitter at twitter.com/EnviroLogFire for tips and product giveaways.

Enviro-Log is a registered trademark of Enviro-Log, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are properties of their respective companies.

FISHING TIPS

Kayak Fishing

Fishing from a kayak is rapidly gaining popularity for freshwater fishermen on lakes, ponds, and rivers. One of the main advantages is the low cost. Fishing kayaks are available for almost any budget. Their light weight and small size also make them easily able to be transport from one place to another and make them very maneuverable. They glide silently across the water with each paddle stroke and don’t scare the fish. Fishing kayaks are available in several models including sit- in, sit on top, peddle drive, and even those you can stand up on to paddle and fish.
You can add accessories like rod holders, fishfinders, anchors, and more to help add to the experience of kayak fishing. The added bonus is the great exercise you get from the paddling and hauling in all the fish you will catch.

From Larry Whiteley, host of the award-winning Outdoor World Radio show, For more tips, log onto basspro.com and click on News & Tips

Rocks & Stumps

When you’re out bass fishing, a single rock or stump jutting out of the water might not get you too excited but you just never know when you might find a bass or two resting there as they travel from a feeding area to major cover. I like to cast a crankbait just beyond the rock or stump and then run it back as close as I can get to them. You can also throw a plastic worm or lizard or grub up real close and drift it deep. Twitch it back to you real slow. Try sneaking up on the rock or stump by cutting your motor and drifting up to it or trolling quietly up to it. Now drop your bait down and jig it. If there are any bass there, they won’t be able to resist it.
Stumps are always better than rocks because their roots provide cover for bass and baitfish.

From Jerry Martin, member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team and a former fishing guide who still loves to fish, For more tips, log onto basspro.com and click on News & Tips

Crappie Points

Winter crappie often hold on points sloping toward bottom channels. Among the best lures for fishing these areas are small, deep diving, baitfish- imitating crankbaits. It’s difficult to keep crankbaits at favored depths and still move them slow enough to entice lethargic crappie. Using a neutral buoyancy or sinking crankbait eliminates these problems. Use light line, 4 to 6 pound test, crank the lure down to the proper depth and then slowly crawl it across the bottom, retrieving the lure from shallow water to deep, or working across the point toward the deepest side. Crank your lure hard and fast for several turns to get it near the bottom before slowing to an effective pace. If possible, bump the lure against stumps, logs, boulders, etc., to elicit strikes.

From Jimmy Houston, host of Jimmy Houston Outdoors. For more tips, log onto basspro.com and click on News & Tips

Catchable Bass

In early spring, catchable bass may be scattered most anywhere in a lake. The highest percentage of the most catchable bass though can be expected to be found along the northern shoreline where the sun beats the longest each day.
The percentage is even higher in isolated back waters along the northern shoreline where water warms faster yet. Remember, the warmer the water, the more active the fish. If an early season lure like a 1⁄4 ounce white single spin doesn’t produce, try panfish baits like small jigs and in-line spinners. Day in and day out, the single most productive presentation for early spring bass is to stop retrieving your lure and let it sit. A tube bait works great for this as does a jig and pig or jig and grub. Any small soft plastic bait that doesn’t have a lot of built-in action will up your odds of catching early bass.

From Edwin Evers, member of the Bass Pro Shops® National Fishing Team, For more tips, log onto basspro.com and click on News & Tips

Different Types of Lures

Experiment with different types of lures. On some days, fish may like a prop bait instead of a popper, or a buzzbait more than a stickbait. Keep trying a variety until you find what they want. Change types, skirt lengths, prop or blade configurations, sizes, and colors. Keep a follow-up outfit handy. When a fish strikes but misses your topwater, try another cast with the bait. If nothing happens, quickly reel in, put down your topwater outfit, and switch to one with a slow-sinking bait like a plastic
worm or tube. Chances are the new offering will produce a hookup. Around solitary cover, fish a topwater bait as slowly as your patience will allow. In such a circumstance, the longer a surface lure rests motionless, the more likely that a nearby fish will become aroused or irritated enough to strike it.

From Rick Clunn - the only 4-time Bassmaster Classic Champion. For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

 Boat-less fishing:

Did you know you don’t need a boat to fish? According to the South Dakota Department of Tourism, shore anglers can experience success just like boat anglers and, in many cases, better! Tips include:

Game fish:

Many saltwater, predator game fish cruise drop-offs when migrating to different areas and water temperatures. Texas coastal angler Larry Bozka suggests that salt anglers use what he calls “the 25 percent rule.” According to Bozka, a 25-drop, whether it is an offshore drop from 40 feet to 30 feet or an inshore drop from 24 to 18 inches, attracts predator fish.  Though shallower, such drop-offs on the inshore flats are no less dramatic, and Bozka, a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, advises to fish these areas where cruising game fish are prevalent.

Bait-Hunting Tips for Kids:

Some young anglers may call natural baits “icky,” but believe it or not, many young anglers really like to collect them for fishing. Ron Tussel, host of The Outdoor Channel’s “The Pennsylvania Sportsman,” gets his kids involved in a fast and inexpensive way to catch natural baits in a moving-water stream. Using a section from an old window screen, Tussel fashions bait net by attaching two ends of the screen to two straight sticks. A member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, Tussel says kids love it when the net starts to collect natural bait like crawfish and hellgrammites.  “Soon,” he says, “ the kids will start catching their own fish, and there is no better way to get them hooked on the outdoors.”  

Fishing Wisdom:

Bodie McDowell, the dean of outdoor writers and a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, has three bits of fishing wisdom:

1) Fish generally move into the current, so make sure your lure doesn’t surprise them from behind

2) Keep your rod tip in the water to prevent fish jumps (and hook tosses).

3) In colder waters during spring and fall, be sure to fish over dark bottom areas as they hold more heat than sandy areas.

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

Catching Pike:

Northern pike often tuck into the edge of weed lines so they can ambush baitfish that swim by. Minnesota outdoor writer Ron Schara of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team likes to throw spinner bait parallel to the weed line and well beyond the ambush point. He notes, “Expect a strike when the lure approaches the pike‚s favorite hiding spot.”

Using a Field Guide:

A fishing or hunting trip with a youngster can also be a teaching moment on the wonders of nature. At his outdoor seminars, Larry Bozka of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team tells adults to bring along pocket field guides so both the child and the adult can correctly identify fish, animals, wildlife tracks, plants, insects, birds and vegetation. “ It will help make for a successful and engaging expedition,” notes Buzka.

Sometimes Icky Is Good!

Some young anglers may call natural baits icky, but believe it or not, many of them really like to collect this type of bait for fishing. Ron Tussel of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team teaches kids how to catch natural baits in a stream by fastening a bait net using a section from an old window screen and attaches two ends to two straight sticks. Tussel, host of TVs Pennsylvania Sportsman, says "kids love it when the screen starts to collect natural baits like crawfish and hellgrammites."

Teach Conservation With a Camera

Keeping your child's attention on a fishing or hunting trip is a perennial issue. Larry Bozka of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team suggests that one way is to slightly change the subject. "Hand the youngster an inexpensive digital camera and make him or her the official photographer for the trip. Shooting pictures helps the young sportsman or sportswoman get re-engaged in the outdoors and feel creative and appreciated, too."

Make Fishing a Thinking Sport

Ron Schara of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team advises, "To keep young kids interested in sport fishing, you should make fishing a thinking sport as well as a doing sport, and an intellectual pursuit as well as a physical pursuit. The host of the TV series, "Backroads with Ron and Raven," recommends "that you tell youngsters real fish stories. Tell them where different fish live and how they act, especially what they like to eat and how they find their food."

Worms. Bobber. Action.

"You need insurance to get a kid started fishing. You want a fish? Buy juicy worms that you can suspend under a bobber." This is the word from world bass champion Woo Daves of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. Another word of advice from Woo: "Don't make little ones fish if the fish aren't biting. If they want to play or go home, that's okay. There'll be another day.".

Bluegills + Snacks = Success

Ron Schara, the host of TVs "Backroads with Ron and Raven," has a formula for introducing youngsters to fishing. The formula is A, an easy-to-use rod and reel; B, a safe dock with lots of bluegills swimming below, and C, lots of snacks for the young angler as well as the fish. Schara, a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, also recommends that "you keep the session short, which is appropriate for the short attention span of most youngsters."

FISHING SAFETY

-- Careful Casting Habits:

Each type of fishing utilizes its own technique, but there should always be lots of open space behind you when casting. For example, fly casters need approximately 30 feet behind them, and bait casters need clear side space depending on which hand they're casting with.

-- Snagging An Object Nearby:

If you accidentally catch a nearby tree, bush or root, do not snap the hook free to avoid cutting the line and losing the hook. The snapback action could possibly hook you or someone standing nearby.

-- Removing A Hook Stuck in You:

It's best to seek medical help as soon as possible. As a last resort, cut off the hook's eyelet and push the hook forward through the skin until its point and barb are exposed. Then cut off the curved end of the hook and gently pull the now straightened hook through the opening.

-- Cuts from Fish Spines:

Getting ripped by a fish spine can cause injury, especially from catfish, bullhead and walleye. To avoid problems, study up how to identify different species of fish in your area. Also use a hook extractor, wire cutter, or needlenose pliers, or sturdy gloves to prevent this from happening.

-- Parasites in Fish:

Any fish eaten raw can prove harmful due to parasites. For this reason, it's wise to cook your fish thoroughly.

-- Fishing With Children:

Children have to be old enough to concentrate on what they're doing in order to fish safely. Tell them what to expect; and that they can't keep a fish if it isn't up to a certain size according to fishing rules of your state. Never leave a child alone even for a minute because they could drown if not supervised closely.

-- Clean Up:

Even if you didn't drop anything where you're fishing, if you see litter nearby, clean it up to serve as an example to the next person -- and to have a clean spot for fishing while you're there.

-- Live Bait or Not:

Don't use live bait if you're planning to release your catch. Fish tend to swallow those hooks, which can then lodge in their stomachs. And, if you're planning on releasing caught fish, handle them as little as possible, and remove the hook while the fish is still in the water, gently cradling it and gliding it back and forth to move water through its gills so it can breathe. You can release it when you see normal gill movement.

What You Need For A Fishing Trip:

-- Fishing license:

Check your state's regulations. Some may allow children under 16 or adults over 70 to fish without a permit.

-- Hook extractor:

wire cutter, or needlenose pliers.

-- Net

-- Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses

-- Personal flotation device if fishing from a boat.

-- Proper shoes or boots.

-- Drinking water

-- First-aid kit.

-- Cellular phone for outgoing emergency calls

-- Radio -- so you can monitor weather reports

More fishing tips -----

Kids and Cameras

With all the fast-paced entertainment options available to youngsters today it can sometimes prove difficult to hold their attention on a fishing trip. Texas pro Larry Bozka says one of the best ways around that dilemma is to hand your child a camera and get them engaged. Bozka, a member of the ProGear by Wrangler Outdoor Advisory Team, says the young outdoor lover can return home and brag not only about catching and releasing a fish, but about the great pictures he/she took.

Grunts and Rattles

Grunts and subtle antler rattling works well for calling deer in the fall pre-rut. According to whitetail expert Mark Kayser, co-host of television's North American Hunter you've got to call the bucks in a consistent manner to be most successful. By calling every 15 minutes you can effectively broadcast a message anytime during the deer season, says Kayser, a member of the ProGear by Wrangler Outdoor Advisory Team.

Schooling Bass

Schooling bass aren't the biggest bass in the water, but what they lack in size they make up with slashing attacks and dogged fights. Bodie McDowell, who served as a press observer at BASS Classics for more than two decades, reports that pros usually make long casts with a vibrating lure for these rambunctious schoolies. McDowell, a member of the ProGear by Wrangler Outdoor Advisory Board, says the pros always watch for birds diving on small baitfish and favor the water where creeks empty into a lake or river.

Game fish

Many saltwater, predator game fish cruise drop-offs when migrating to different areas and water temperatures. Texas coastal angler Larry Bozka suggests that salt anglers use what he calls “the 25 percent rule.” According to Bozka, a 25-drop, whether it is an offshore drop from 40 feet to 30 feet or an inshore drop from 24 to 18 inches, attracts predator fish.  Though shallower, such drop-offs on the inshore flats are no less dramatic, and Bozka, a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, advises to fish these areas where cruising game fish are prevalent.

Fishing Wisdom

Bodie McDowell, the dean of outdoor writers and a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, has three bits of fishing wisdom:

1) Fish generally move into the current, so make sure your lure doesn’t surprise them from behind

2) Keep your rod tip in the water to prevent fish jumps (and hook tosses).

3) In colder waters during spring and fall, be sure to fish over dark bottom areas as they hold more heat than sandy areas.

Catching lots of Pike

Northern pike often tuck into the edge of weed lines so they can ambush baitfish that swim by. Minnesota outdoor writer Ron Schara of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team likes to throw spinner bait parallel to the weed line and well beyond the ambush point. He notes, “Expect a strike when the lure approaches the pike‚s favorite hiding spot.”

Field Guide

A fishing or hunting trip with a youngster can also be a teaching moment on the wonders of nature. At his outdoor seminars, Larry Bozka of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team tells adults to bring along pocket field guides so both the child and the adult can correctly identify fish, animals, wildlife tracks, plants, insects, birds and vegetation. “ It will help make for a successful and engaging expedition,” notes Buzka.

Wrangler® ProGear˙ Fishing Tips

Bodie's Fishing Tips

Bodie McDowell, dean of outdoor writers and a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, suggests that "after you cast a floater lure, go ahead and pour yourself a cup of coffee. If fish were spooked by the splash of the lure, they'll return when things quiet down. Fish the intersection of either-or spots like shallow and deep, dark and light, clear and dingy, warm and cool, and shadow and light. If you note a patch of calm water surrounded by rougher water, fish it. That's water upwelling from a major depth change or an underwater spring and fish will be congregate there for comfort and food availability."

Chisel that Ice, Angler

Outdoor TV host and journalist Ron Schara recommends that ice fishermen use what he calls the "chisel rule" when checking out the thickness of fresh ice on a lake. "Use an ice chisel to pop a hole every 15 feet or so. Three inches or more of ice will normally stop a heavy chisel and that tells you it‚s safe to drill your fishing hole." Schara, who lives in the land of 10,000 lakes, is host of television's Backroads with Ron & Raven and a long time pro on the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. Another bit of advice from Ron: 'I always keep a couple pairs of portable ice cleats in my winter tackle box. Slip the cleats over your boots and you‚ll have plenty of traction, even on the slickest ice."

Fish "Wood" for Crappies

When it comes to taking slab-sided crappies in the snow belt, the prime time is just after ice out. Ron Tussel of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team advises anglers to focus on one natural feature -- wood. "From beaver caches to brush piles and dock pilings, wood attracts the early spring heat from the sun. Zooplankton respond to the warmth of the sun which, in turn, attracts minnows. And when there are minnows, crappies will not be far behind. So find the wood. Fish the wood. And, by the way, have a great dinner."

Enemies: Sand, Surf

Surf fishing is great fun and highly productive. If you've been there and done that you also know that the sand and surf is sheer torture on fishing tackle. Here's a tip from Texas Coastal Angler Larry Bozka of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. Bozka takes two five-foot lengths of 2-inch PVC pipe which he drives into the beach sand. They become his rod holders, keeping his rods generally free of the sand and salt. Nevertheless, says Bozka, when fishing is over be sure to give your reels a freshwater bath and a light coat of lubrication."

Lip Balm Fishing Bonus

When fishing temperatures drop below freezing, fish open water using spinning reels because the smaller guides on plug casting reels tend to freeze up. Minnesotan Ron Schara of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team says you can apply a bit of lip balm to the rod guides to help keep them free of ice. "Don't forget to dress warmly and with layers. It's cold out there on the water."

HAZARDOUS WASTE

Batteries

We all use batteries in our homes, and most of those will be the regular alkaline batteries purchased at the grocery or hardware store. These batteries can be thrown away in the garbage once used, but it is suggested that if you have the ability to recycle them you do so. But should you have different batteries in your home, like rechargeable batteries, automotive batteries, or lithium, lithium ion or zinc air, these should definitely be recycled through a proper facility as the contents inside the batteries are toxic and harmful to humans, animals and the environment. Please note that Lowe's, Home Depot and many hardware stores (like ACE) also collect certain batteries).

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Touted as a great way to save energy, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) became popular in the mid-2000s and they continue to be a top choice for American households. But while these bulbs provide energy and money saving opportunities for homeowners, they do contain mercury, which is known to be a potent developmental neurotoxin. Because of the mercury in the bulbs, it's best to not put them in the garbage, as they can end up in landfills (or end up outside landfills) and contaminate the environment. Recycle CFLs at your local hardware store (the larger retailers have places to put used bulbs) or contact your local jurisdiction to find out the best way of recycling your used CFLs. Should a CFL break in your home, wear gloves to pick it up, and contact your local hazardous waste disposal company to ask for information on disposing of the broken bulb. (Again, Home Depot & Lowe's may accept CFLs).

Corrosives

Many household cleaners are considered corrosives, which means they can cause skin damage or corrode metal. Because of this, there should be caution when using them and when they are discarded. Yes, some corrosives are used in drains, but that doesn't mean you should pour corrosives down the drain to get rid of them. If you need to dispose of corrosives, it's best to bring them to a place that will dispose of household hazardous waste for you, and be sure to wear gloves and protective eye wear whenever handling corrosives. (ALWAYS use eye protection).

Pesticides and Herbicides

If you have a yard, it's likely you've used a pesticide or herbicide before. While these chemicals can come in handy when battling weeds or common yard pests (bugs and other insects), they are generally very toxic to humans and animals (especially pets!). When handling pesticides and herbicides, make sure you protect your eyes, face, arms and hands with gloves and a mask or goggles, and should you need to dispose of these chemicals it is best to bring them to a hazardous waste drop-off site. Whatever you do, don't put these items in the garbage or dump them into a drain or onto the street.

Electronic Waste

We don't often thinkof old electronics as waste, but that old computer or outdated television that's been sitting in your garage for a few years is definitely waste. Electronic waste (also known as e-waste) can come in many forms: cell phones, computers, televisions, VHS and DVD players, and anything else that is an electronic. While we may be inclined to just throw these items into the garbage can, many of these items contain hazardous materials within them, like lead or mercury, and they require special recycling. Should the materials in them get into the ground or find their way into a water system, it would be detrimental to the local environment. You can do a general Internet search to find companies that are more than willing to take any old electronics you might have in your home.

Aerosols

Aerosol cans come in many shapes and sizes, and whether they contain oil for greasing baking pans or WD-40, cans that are full or partially full have the ability to explode if punctured or exposed to heat. Empty aerosol cans can be put in the garbage, as long as they are indeed empty of contents, but if they are not, it's best to take cans to a household hazardous waste drop-off point, especially if they contain chemicals or anything flammable in them.

Automotive Products

If you have a garage and a car, it's likely you might have some automotive products; you might even have some if you have yard equipment like a lawn mower or a blower. Automotive products (fuel, oil and other fluids) can be highly flammable, and all of them are not safe to dispose of in a garbage can or in an outdoor drain. Because of their designations as hazardous materials, these fluids should be taken to a hazardous waste facility when being disposed of to ensure that they're being properly taken care of.

HIKING TIPS

HOLIDAYS/HOLIDAY, SAFETY TIPS

If You're In An Accident ---

courtesy of Dr. Travis Utter at Halifax Injury Physicians in Florida:

===An immediate trip to the ER is warranted if someone is unconscious, has a life threatening injury or feels they've broken something in their body. If an ER visit isn't required, yet you want to see a medical professional immediately, to to an Urgent Care Center for an evaluation. You'll get similar care as in the ER and, it will be a fraction of the cost.

==If you prefer, you can call on a private physician or group of physicians who work extensively with those who have been in car accidents. Often these types of practices will rspond to your request for critical evaluation immediately. The key is to create a medical record to track the history of your injury from Occurrence to cure. You also will need the medical record if you seek financial compensation.

===You must see a physician within 14 days, which would include an emergency room doctor ofr urgent care doctor or your own doctor. It is always advisable to see your own docgtor as soon as possible. Crisis-oriented facilities are designed to handle immeiate or critical situations and they will take X-rays and CTs or for more injuuries an MRI is the more comprehensive test.

===In Florida, you have 14 days in which to be examined by a physician in order to maintain your legel right to file an insurance claim for your injuries, but the actual claim against the at-fault driver does not have to be filed for a few years. (Check the law in New Jersey to see if the 14 days apply)

===In the immediate hours and early days following the accident, and until you see your doctor, limit your physical activity to avoid exacerbating possible ligament or disc damage among other complications. Once you're in a physician's care, he or she will direct you further. Relaxing will also ameliorate the shock a body experiences from a traumatic accident.

===Take advantage of your down time to rest and ice down those areas of your body that are obviously swollen or sprained up to 72 hours after the accident before switching to heat. An Epsom salt bath is also soothing while helping to heal. If uncomfortable, try taking 800 mgs of Ibuprofen up to 3x daily. These actions will help decrease swellig and inflammation to make you a little more comfortable but you syill need to seek proper professional care to diagnose, treat and help you to rehabilitate your injuries.

===After you have seen your doctor and have received a treatment plan. Follow it. If you're going to have long-term back care and are advised to avoid certain activity, you might have a day when you feel good enoiugh to spend a couple of hours bowling or mowing the lawn, etc. Don't. You could set yourself back on the road to healing by ignoring medical advice.

Out of Town for the Holidays? Check Out These 10 Tips to Childproof Your Home Away from Home by Louie Delaware

If you're like many Americans, you'll be traveling away from home to spend the holidays with loved ones. Louie Delaware, the Home Safety Guru®, shares 10 things you should do to make sure that your hotel or guest room is safe for the youngest members of your family.

Spending the holidays with loved ones is an unbreakable tradition for millions of American families. Often, decking the halls together requires overnight stays in a hotel room or with a relative. If you have young children, it's important to make sure that your home away from home is a safe place to sleep and celebrate.

"Hotel rooms aren't childproofed to the same degree as your own home-and Grandma's house can be even worse!" says home safety expert Louie Delaware, author of The Home Safety Guru's® Definitive Guide on How to Childproof Your Home: Making Your Home Safe and Secure for Little Ones (Blue Indigo Publishing, 2013, $9.99. "From electrical outlets to windows, unstable furniture, small objects, hot water, and more, there are a hundred and one things that can be dangerous in little hands."

Fortunately, says Delaware, being aware of potential hazards and how they can be circumvented before you pack your bags is the best defense.

"Most accidents happen not because parents aren't responsible or attentive to their children, but simply because they haven't considered the accidents that can happen in unfamiliar places," he comments.

Here, Delaware shares 10 things you can do to ensure that the "happy" isn't taken out of your holidays by an unforeseen mishap:

Ask for help. Don't approach home-away-from-home childproofing on your own if you don't have to! Inquire ahead of time to see if you can get help. According to Delaware, some hotels offer permanently childproofed rooms, and others will perform this service ahead of time if requested.

"Grandma or Aunt Sue might also be able to perform a few key tasks ahead of time if you send a list of concerns," he points out. "Your loved ones care about your child's well-being too, and odds are, they'd be happy to install a few child-resistant outlet covers, for instance, or make sure breakables, medications, vitamins, and the like are stored out of reach."

Don't leave things to chance-BYOCG. Bring Your Own Childproofing Goods, that is. "Even if you're traveling to an environment that you expect to be relatively safe, it's always a good idea to bring items like outlet plug inserts, safe non-incandescent night lights, Velcro® cord wraps, bathtub mats, and the like to help make your room safer," Delaware says.

·And don't forget your duct tape! Duct tape isn't useful only for quick home-improvement fixes around the house-it can also be a childproofing magic bullet.

"Duct tape can be used to create barriers that are difficult for a young child to get past," Delaware points out. "And if you employ a little creativity, items like windows, unstable televisions, toilet seat covers, drawers, cabinets, shower doors, etc. can be easily 'locked.' You can even use duct tape with a rolled up towel to pad the corners of tables."

Figure out a safe floor plan. As long as it's not bolted into the floor, move any furniture that you feel might pose a risk. Hotel employees and/or relatives will probably be happy to lend a hand.

"Specifically, move furniture away from windows and the edges of balconies," Delaware instructs. "Move chairs that children could use to climb onto something higher. And check for any furniture that may be a tipping hazard. Often, simply turning a piece around so that the drawers are facing a wall can reduce its chances of falling over and can deny little climbers a handhold."

Get down on your child's level. While childproofing your own home, you probably toured each room on hands and knees, inspecting each nook and cranny for hazards at your child's eye-and-hand level. Do the same in hotel rooms and in relatives' guest rooms.

"Look for small items left on the floor or in drawers, sharp metal objects protruding down from the bottoms of tables and beds, plastic bags left by previous guests, drawer or cabinet knobs that can come off, and rubber door stop caps," Delaware recommends. "All of these can be hazardous. And remember, if you're unsure about something, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you can imagine it, your child can probably accomplish it."

Don't let the bedbugs bite. If you'll be requesting or borrowing a crib or portable playpen during your holiday travels, inspect it thoroughly prior to use.

"Of course you'll want to make sure that the crib or playpen is clean, and that it's sturdy and safe," Delaware comments. "If it's not, ask for a different one. Also make certain that cribs meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission's safety standards (e.g., slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, no drop-down panels, etc.). And don't use any pillows in the crib or playpen."

Babyproof the bathroom. In general, it's a good idea to keep bathroom doors securely closed when this room is not in use. "But just to be on the safe side, put all hazardous items on a high shelf and disconnect blow dryers and coffee makers," Delaware suggests. "If you're at a relative's home, ask if there's a way to remove hazardous cleaning agents and/or lock cabinets and drawers. That duct tape you packed (right?) can really come in handy here!"

Don't get into hot water. Many hotels (and some private homes as well) have their water set much higher than 120° F because of the number of people taking showers or baths at the same time. However, higher water temperatures can scald or burn small children.

"The best thing to do is closely monitor the water while the tub is being filled," Delaware says. "You can even bring your own thermometer with you to check the water if you'd like. Once the tub is fully filled, swirled to even out any hot spots, and at a safe temperature, then put your baby in the tub. And don't ever leave your child unattended in the bathroom-even when washing hands or brushing teeth."

Enjoy the view-safely! Hotel rooms often feature balconies. And especially if they're older, these balconies might be unsafe for children to explore. "Watch out for widely spaced bars or horizontal rungs that could be used as a ladder," Delaware warns. "You may be able to work with your hotel to put up a barrier of some sort. But if in doubt, don't allow your child to have access to the area. Keep the balcony's door locked at all times.

"Even if you don't have a balcony in your room, pay special attention to windows," Delaware continues. "It's a good idea to loop and tie up any longer window blind cords."

Bring your own entertainment. It's when kids are left to their own devices that they're most likely to get into trouble. That's why Delaware suggests bringing plenty of toys, books, videos, etc. to keep your youngsters entertained. "New toys are especially fascinating for little hands-so you may want to consider handing out a few holiday gifts early," he says.

"Your trip to spend the holidays with loved ones should be a fun event, not spoiled by an unforeseen incident," concludes Delaware. "To make sure this time of year stays joyful, do a little bit of proactive work-it can go a long way toward keeping your child safe and your holiday stay less stressful!"

Valentine's Day Tips for Couples

Is dinner and a movie not your ideal Valentine’s Day? Try something fun and different this year with an outdoorsy twist on your date night!

Here’s a list of fun date ideas for the couple that loves to spend time both outside and with each other:

1. Take a hike with your loved one on a new trail this Valentine’s Day. All Trails  helps you find hiking trails around the globe and provides reviews and photos! We suggest making a day out of it by bringing along a picnic and stopping to enjoy a meal and each other’s company. Looking for a more romantic picnic than your typical PB&J? Coghlan’s Folding Stove allows you to cook a meal on the go! This stove folds up to 6.5”x6.5” for easy carrying!

2. Spend some one-on-one time camp out for the weekend at a campsite near you! Don’t have the time to commit to a big trip? Create a camp-style set up in your backyard with a fire and S’mores! Coghlan’s Camper’s S’mores Grill, a utensil that holds your graham crackers in place over the fire, makes the perfectly toasted treat. Take your S’mores to the next level with these fun recipes! Taking the time to plan a cute date like this, even at home, shows that you care!

3. You may camp and hike regularly, but try putting a spin on things by spending a romantic evening cozying up in a teepee after your long day of being outdoors! Colorado Yurt allows you to search for campgrounds featuring this fun sleeping style around the country!

4. Too cold for hiking or camping where you live? Take your valentine ice-skating! This date is perfect for a newer relationship, as it gives you the perfect chance to hold hands while you skate and chat. Make sure you’re properly dressed for indoor or outdoor skating with Nobis’ premium jacket line featuring mid-weight, core outerwear and non-insulated jackets. Warm up afterwards with some hot cocoa!

Think outside the box on Valentine’s Day, and surprise your loved one with an active and outdoorsy date!

Over the River and Through the Woods: 10 Safety Tips for Flying with Children Over the Holidays

If you'll be flying with a small child over the holidays, you're probably dreading how stressful air travel can be-but you may not be aware of the safety risks it can pose. Louie Delaware, the Home Safety Guru®, points out 10 things you should be aware of before heading to the airport.

And, if you're like many American families, you're gearing up to go "over the river and through the woods" in order to spend the holidays with loved ones. But instead of taking a horse and sleigh, your modern-day family will be strapping into an airplane and perhaps a rental car after that. As any parent can tell you, that's not exactly a recipe for peace on your corner of the earth and goodwill to your infant, toddler, or small child!

Yes, fighting the holiday crowds, navigating security checkpoints, hauling luggage, and getting everyone to and from the correct gates in one piece is enough to give any parent the "Bah, Humbugs"·but safety expert Louie Delaware urges you to not lose sight of your child's well-being in the midst of your holiday travel hassle.

"Especially if, like most families, you don't travel often-or if this is your youngster's first time flying-you may not be aware of potential safety concerns until after an accident has already happened," says Delaware, author of The Home Safety Guru's® Definitive Guide on How to Childproof Your Home: Making Your Home Safe and Secure for Little Ones (Blue Indigo Publishing, 2013, $9.99, "Fortunately, knowing what to expect, inspect, and ask for before the big travel day can keep your little ones secure once you board the plane-and can help ensure that an unforeseen incident doesn't add to your travel stress."

If your family will be flying to this year's holiday gathering, read on for 10 safety considerations to keep in mind:

Get the best seats. On an airplane, not all seat assignments are created equal, especially if you're traveling with an infant or small child. When making your reservation, you may want to inquire about bulkhead seating for your family. Bulkhead seating is found behind partitions in airplanes. These partitions often separate business class from economy, or contain galleys or lavatories-meaning that you'll be sitting behind a wall, not a row of seats. (Be aware, though, that some bulkhead seating is located beside emergency exits, and that children are prohibited from sitting in these rows.)

"The added space of bulkhead seating will make it easier and safer for you to get out of your seat with your child," Delaware points out. "It will also be easier for you to manage food, beverages, toys, or other activities once you reach a safe flying altitude. And finally, you won't have to worry about being cramped by reclined seat backs·or about your child kicking them!

"One last piece of advice: While it may sound obvious, double-check that you and your family are all seated on the same row," Delaware adds. "You may have to pay extra for this 'privilege,' as some airlines are now reserving aisle and window seats for passengers who are willing to pay an extra fee."

Be first in line. Especially if you aren't a frequent flier, you may not be familiar with early boarding, an option that many airlines offer to families traveling with younger children.

"When you get to the gate, ask the attendant if early boarding is offered, and if the answer is yes, take advantage of it!" says Delaware. "When you're trying to wrangle an excited, curious, nervous, upset, and/or sleepy child, as well as your carry-ons, having a few extra minutes to get settled into an empty plane can be a godsend. Most importantly, this time will allow you to check and double-check that your child is securely fastened into his or her seat."

Make sure that your car seat works as a carry-on. Don't assume that just because your car seat contains a baby, you'll be able to carry it onto a plane with no problems. If your car seat doesn't have the designation "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft"-which many models don't-your airline may prevent you from using it.

"For the best fit in aircrafts, use approved car seats that are less than 16 inches wide," Delaware recommends. "Follow the manufacturer's instructions to make certain that the car seat is properly installed using the airplane seat belt."

Reserve lap-sitting for visits to Santa· If your child is under two years of age, you might find it very tempting to simply hold him or her on your lap for the duration of your flight if the airline allows this option-after all, you'll save the cost of an entire plane ticket by doing so! However, says Delaware, it's much safer and easier for everyone (including your child!) to have their own seat.

"First, you won't have to hold a hot, squirmy little human on your lap for hours at a time in an already cramped space," he comments. "But much more importantly, unless you have Herculean strength and lightning-fast reflexes, it can be very difficult, or even physically impossible, to catch and hold a child during severe turbulence, which can come out of nowhere." Or, use an infant or toddler travel vest. If you do choose to have your infant or toddler (up to 24 months old) sit on your lap, consider purchasing a device that will keep both of you more secure and comfortable. Delaware recommends the Baby B'Air Flight Vest.

"This vest slips over the child's head, has chest and crotch straps, and is equipped with a loop that slips into your own lap belt," he explains. "It's made in two different sizes: for infants aged six weeks to one year, and for toddlers from approximately one to two years old. Retailing for around $30, a Baby B'Air Flight Vest is a small investment to make for your child's safety-and to help reduce your own stress."

For older children, use a customized seat belt· Many parents don't realize that children who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds can easily slip out from under their lap belts if sitting alone. Fortunately, an Aviation Child Safety Device (ACSD) can protect your child from bumps and jolts while still ensuring his or her comfort.

"I recommend purchasing the CARES Safety Harness from Kids Fly Safe-it's the only ACSD that has been approved by the FAA," Delaware says. "This harness system installs very easily by attaching around the back of the seat and works in tandem with the lap belt. Weighing less than one pound, it's much easier to carry than a car seat and is still affordable at $74.95." And, don't rely on airlines for a boost. You might be used to relying on booster seats in your car, at your dining room table, etc. And you may even have heard stories from friends who were able to use boosters on airplanes. But Delaware recommends you check in with the particular airline on which you'll be traveling before hauling a booster seat to the airport.

"Many airlines won't allow you to use booster seats in flight," he says. "Again, though, I prefer using an ACSD strap-it's much easier to transport than a booster seat and keeps your child safer."

Follow directions-even if they do go against your instincts. We're all familiar with the pre-flight safety instructions that instruct adults to put their own oxygen masks on before helping children. As a parent, though, your instinct might be to assist your child the moment masks drop from above, regardless of your own safety.

"Listen to the flight attendant's instructions and put your own mask on first in the unlikely event that their use is required," urges Delaware. "What the pre-flight safety instructions don't tell you is that if there is a sudden loss of cabin pressure, you could lose consciousness within 15 to 20 seconds without oxygen. If you don't get your mask on within that time frame, you'll be unable to help your child."

Stick with renting vehicles:· In other words, don't rent car or booster seats. Avoid borrowing them from friends or family members, too. "Always bring and use your own car seat or booster seat if you are planning on renting a car at your destination," Delaware instructs. "Rental car companies frequently run out of these items during busy travel seasons. And if seats are available, you may not be happy with their condition. Don't count on your family or friends to have a proper seat, either. When it comes to your child's safety, a seat you know and trust is best-plus, your child will travel better in something that's familiar and make sure seats are installed properly. If you are planning on renting a vehicle, chances are it won't be the same make and model as your family's automobile. Pay close attention when installing your car seat to ensure that it is secure. Even a quality seat can put your child at risk if it is installed in an improper way," Delaware comments. "This mistake can be easy to make in an unfamiliar vehicle."

About the Author:

Louie Delaware, The Home Safety Guru®, is the author of The Home Safety Guru's® Definitive Guide on How to Childproof Your Home: Making Your Home Safe and Secure for Little Ones. He is a Licensed General Contractor, an Advanced Certified Professional Childproofer®, a Certified Aging In Place Specialist®, and a Certified Radon Mitigator, along with other safety certifications.

An accessible one-stop resource for parents, Delaware's book points out potential in-home safety hazards, identifies childproof workarounds and devices, and explains (with text and photographs) how to install them.

To learn more, please visit Louie online at www.thehomesafetyguru.com.

About the Book:

The Home Safety Guru's® Definitive Guide on How to Childproof Your Home: Making Your Home Safe and Secure for Little Ones (Blue Indigo Publishing, 2013, $9.99

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY - NOT CHUBBY!!! --Finally - A Healthy Gift Idea for the Entire Family!!!

Show your family and friends how much you love them! Mom, Dad, kids - have fun losing weight together - get in shape for the New Year with The Fit Kids System! (www.fitkidssystem.com). Recently featured on the Dr. Phil Show, The Fit Kids System was developed by Tulane University's Dr. Gerald Sanders Berenson, M.D., one of the nation's most well-respected cardiovascular experts with more than 50 years of award-winning research and experience and Salt Lake City businessman Brandon Church.  

The Fit Kids System is a comprehensive program to teach kids (and the entire family) how to live a fit and healthy life through nutrition & lifestyle changes.   The program is simple to use and families can begin to implement it within just one hour of receiving the kit in the mail!

"The holiday season can seem like a five week smorgasbord and, for anyone not interested in bulging waistlines, this holiday obstacle course of high-fat foods, alcohol, and calories can seem insurmountable," says Dr. Berenson, "but with some simple preparation, many of us can make it through the holiday season, perhaps a few pounds lighter than we were before!"

Dr. Berenson shares his 10 great tips for staying fit through the holidays!

1. Avoid dieting during the holidays. Set a goal of trying to maintain your present weight. That way, you have a realistic goal. You allow yourself to indulge here and there, but you don't go over the edge.

2. Pace, don't race. Pay attention to how quickly you eat and exactly what you eat and drink. Savor the flavor by eating slowly and choosing your food carefully. Live in the moment and enjoy the present.

3. Remember that alcohol and beverages are packed with calories. Choose light beer and wine over mixed drinks. A holiday-sized mixed drink can have as many as 500 calories or more. If you drink these beverages, don't forget to add the calories you drink into your daily calorie intake.

4. Offer to bring a favorite low-calorie dish to holiday parties. This way you know there will be at least one "safe" item available. Stand far away from buffets so you're not tempted to nibble constantly. Focus on the people and event rather than the food.

5. Continue to get in regular exercise at least 45minutes each day. Exercise will help keep extra calories away, but it also can reduce the stress of social events and family get-togethers.

6. Don't go to a party or event on an empty stomach. Before going out, snack on protein, like chicken or cottage cheese. Protein satisfies and helps you eat less. Some people have the idea that if they skip lunch, or don't eat all day, they can eat more later. Skipping meals means you're hungry, and your chances of overeating later are much higher.

7. Keep an eye on your portion sizes. In the heat of celebration, portion sizes can be excessive. Instead of eating a large amount of food, try to eat a large variety of foods. Focus on eating vegetables first.

8. Don't let a hectic holiday schedule force you to eat fast food. Prepare and freeze several quick, healthy meals. That way, you have an option other than high-fat, fast-food meals. Never leave your house without baggies of fresh vegetables or a piece of fruit.

9. Use low-calorie and fat-free sauces/dressings. Pack the table with flavorful vegetable dishes using salsa for dipping or seasonings for flavor. Try making reduced-fat versions of your family's favorite traditional dishes.

10. Make decisions about what you're going to eat before you are in front of the food. Weight management is all about moderation and making healthy decisions. Eat only what you love and so every calorie you eat will be enjoyed. Stop eating before you are full and don't allow yourself to get too hungry.

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

It's usually dark when it's time to go treat or treating. By following these tips offered by the Home Safety Council, you'll be assured of a fun, safe time:

Only permit trick-or-treating at the homes of friends and neighbors you know well.

When purchasing costumes and accessories, buy only those marked "flame retardant" or "flame resistant".

Avoid costumes made of long, flowing material and accessories that can move or blow over open flames.

Choose costumes that are light, bright and clearly visible. Apply reflective tape to the front and back of costumes to help motorists see your child.

Avoid costumes that block your child’s vision and increase the risk of a fall.

Be sure that costume accessories, such as knives and swords, are made of soft, flexible material.

To keep vision clear, consider using face paint instead of a mask.

Give your child a flashlight to light the way and signal drivers of his or her presence.

Never carry candles, torches or other open flames as part of a costume.

Examine all treats thoroughly before allowing children to eat them.

Throw away open treats, those not in their original wrapping and homemade goodies from unknown sources.

Slice open fruit to check for foreign objects.

Contact the Poison Control Center Hotline if you believe your child has consumed anything hazardous. The national hotline number is 1-800-222-1222. Notify local police of any suspicious candy.

Young children should never help carve a pumpkin. As an alternative, decorate pumpkins with markers, paint or stickers.

When hosting trick-or-treaters at your home, keep these safety tips in mind:

Do not use candles when decorating porches to prevent costumes from catching fire.

Light jack-o-lanterns with small flashlights instead of candles.

Provide bright walkway and porch lighting to help prevent falls.

Offer treats wrapped in their original packages.

If you decorate your home with candles, keep them well away from crepe paper, leaves and other flammable objects. Extinguish all candles when leaving the room.

Visit homes where outside lights have been left on.

For more Halloween tips, check web sites:

www.redcross.org/article

www.thefamily corner.com

www.keepkidshealthy.com

HUNTING TIPS

Before you Go Into the Deer Woods

From Jim Ryan, member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team: Here are some “minor details” that you need to remember before you head to the deer woods.

Avoid eating foods such as garlic and onions during season.

Store your hunting clothing in unscented bags along with items that contain the natural scent of your hunting area.

Don’t wear your hunting clothes in the cabin, campsite, or in the car on your way out. Change them when you arrive, thereby avoiding smoke, exhaust, or food odors.

Use a tightly sealed urine bottle for nature’s call.

Wear rubber-bottomed boots; they hold less human scent than leather-bottomed footwear.

If you can, stop scouting about a month before the season opener so your human scent doesn’t buildup in the area you will be hunting.

Be aware of your silhouette when on the stand. Make sure a tree or brush is at your back to break up your outline. Twigs and branches could deflect an arrow.

Double check your shooting lanes.

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

SCOUT BACK ROADS

From Bob Foulkrod, co-host of Outdoor World® Television: In late summer and early fall it pays to scout back roads. The object is to get familiar
again with your favorite hunting areas and to explore new roads and trails. Nothing is so frustrating as finding that the tire track road to your favorite duck blind is
no longer open to you because somebody else owns the farm it runs through. Finding a new route on opening day will cost valuable hunting time. Private land you used to hunt for deer could now be public land open to anyone. It’s also a good time to locate campsites and it gives you an opportunity to meet with private landowners and gain permission for future hunts. Weekend hunting trips are too valuable to waste. Scout the back roads ahead of time.

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

FALL MIGRATION

From Larry Whiteley, host of the internationally syndicated Outdoor World Radio: Fall migration makes your feeding stations even more important. They are not only
feeding the regulars but they are also helping out all of the species that are moving
through, giving them the extra energy they need to make the journey. Because of the variety, it is important to offer all the kinds of foods that appeal to as many species as possible. In addition, creating the greatest variety of habitats on your property will make it attractive to birds flying over and needing a place to rest and feed. For backyard bird watchers, fall is the climax of the year. There are more birds about
than any other time. So enjoy your fall birds and keep those feeders filled.

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

DOVE HUNTING TIPS

Tips from Basspro.com: Dove hunting doesn’t take a great deal of planning. Finding where they roost, feed, drink, and pick up gravel are things you should know. Drive around the countryside
looking for doves. It is easy to be fooled by small groups of birds sitting on power lines. These birds are just resting while going from one place to another. Watch the surrounding area for more birds. Note the direction they come and go. These birds should lead you to fields where more doves are feeding or trees where birds are roosting. Don’t waste your time looking for dove in grassy pastures. Grain fields left standing or recently cut are excellent dove areas and especially if there is water
nearby and gravel roads. Allen Treadwell is a member of the RedHead Pro
Hunting Team

DEER HUNTING TIPS

From Jerry Martin, co-host of Outdoor World Television: Try wearing a pair of amber shooting glasses when hunting on dull days. The glasses will aid in spotting movement, from cottontails to whitetails,
by increasing contrast and brightening the woods. Old socks are great for slipping
over the stocks of your guns. They will prevent scratches during storage, when in gun racks, or when traveling. Remember that farmland whitetails and mule deer quickly become accustomed to the smell of cow feces. Although not very appealing, step in some on your way to the stand and it will aid in masking your scent. Overuse of favorite deer stands is one of the most common mistakes deer hunters make but it is an easy trap to fall into. You worked hard locating and setting up a can’t miss ambush site. You go there today, tomorrow, the next day, the next week, and pretty soon there’s not much deer sign around. Jerry Martin is co-host of
Outdoor World Television seen on The Outdoor Channel

For more information check web site www.basspro.com’

FINDING FALL TURKEYS

From Walter Parrott co-host of Outdoor World Television: When fall weather is nice, flocks of turkeys often roost on hardwood ridges near crop fields. On windy mornings, look and listen for turkeys on the leeward sides of hills or in the heads of hollows. Hit the woods plenty early, post yourself near a roost area, and listen for hens tree yelping and clucking. On a warm morning a tom might cut loose a half-hearted gobble. Jakes might purr aggressively. You can hear flock talk and the thump, thump, thump of turkeys flying down. Set up between a flock and a food source like acorns, a corn field, a pasture filled with grasshoppers, etc. A gang heading for breakfast might not come to your calls, but a curious turkey or two might peel off and stray into shooting range.

Downwind Hunting:

Woo Daves is a world champion bass angler, but did you know that he’s an accomplished hunter as well? Woo tells his friends to remember that the wind can either be their best friend, or their worst enemy. Woo, a member of Wrangler ProGrear Outdoor Advisory Team, advises, “Not letting your target get a whiff of you. Always approach your hunting from downwind.

Turkey Hunting Tips:

Outdoor journalist Mark Kayser, a member of the Wranger ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, has a good tip if you attend a turkey-calling competition. “Be sure to take note of the realistic tones and cadences used, but be conservative in your presentation. Don‚t mimic the loud and contentious calling style.  Less is best when you want to bring a gobbler into white-of-the-eye range. Calling too much risks having a gobbler stop and wait for the turned-on hen to arrive.”

Deer Rattle Music:

Down in the Lone Star state, buck hunters have refined the art of antler rattling, according to Larry Bozka of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. Bozka reports that since deer antlers dry out over time, some Texas hunters soak antlers in water the night before the hunt to get just the right sound.  Others apply linseed oil instead and swear that the sound this technique produces is more realistic. Many also insist that turning the antlers in the same direction before clacking them together creates a more consistent sound. And almost all agree that you should wear gloves to protect your hands from getting pierced by a sharp antler point.

Small Game for Small Hunters

Ask almost any big game hunter and he or she will tell you they started hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels as a kid. And that's one of the keys to the growth of the sport, according to Texas sportsman Larry Bozka, a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. "Small game hunting is more affordable," he notes. "There's more chance of success and it instills the same skills the young hunter will need for big game hunting."

Paper-Plate Targets

"If you're aiming to introduce a child to the sports of shooting and hunting, you can't beat paper-plate targets for BB and pellet gun practice," according to Ron Tussel of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. Tussel recommends "setting them twenty feet away. To give the young sportsman that satisfying "ping" sound, dress up the paper plate targets with some metal or foil silhouettes." Tussel is producer and host of television's "Pennsylvania Sportsman."

Wrangler® ProGear˙ Hunting Tips

 Heel Walking for Deer

To avoid making noise while stalking deer, walk on your heels as much as possible and avoid lowering the forward half of your foot. That's the motion that makes the most noise, typically," says Larry Bozka of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team.

Calling Winter Coyotes

When calling coyotes in subzero weather, use a mixture of distress and confidence calls. That's the word from national hunting writer Mark Kayser of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team. Kayser starts with a coyote greeting howl, which is a mellow, drawn-out howl that tells other coyotes, "I'm here." Then he switches to a range of howls, barks, yips and whines to communicate. Kayser does not make a barking sound because that represents a warning. About 5 to 10 minutes after making the initial calls, Kayser begins a series of prey-in-distress calls, favoring the dying cottontail and jackrabbit in distress calls.

Sootless Camp Cooking

Here's a tip for keeping the soot off of the bottom of your campsite cooking pans. Ron Schara of Minneapolis, a member of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team, says "simply rub in a small amount of dish soap on the outside of any pan that goes over your campfire. When it's time to clean up, the soot will wash right off your pots and pans."

Active Moon -- Active Deer

Bowhunters looking for a big buck will do well to plan their hunts during the rise or fall of the moon. An active moon usually means active deer. Here's why: "the big bucks will be on the move when they are seeking does," says Pennsylvania Sportsman Ron Tussel of the Wrangler ProGear Outdoor Advisory Team.  They are most likely seeking does three or four days on either side of the second full moon after the autumnal equinox when the female deer's reproductive cycle is peaking

POISONOUS PLANT & SAFETY TIPS

Poison Ivy

Year-round, poison ivy can affect anyone - and the outcome will be oozing, itchy blisters. This plant contains the chemical 'urushiol,' and it is in an oil-form throughout this three-leafed plant. Almost everyone is allergic to it. For me, the allergy developed when I was older and it effects me with a passion.

When you're walking in the woods - or even in your garden - remember the phrase: Leaves of three, let it be! Learn how to recognize it and educate your family and friends. It grows as a woody vine and/or low shrub with compound leaves made up of three bright green pointed leaflets, but it changes to a beautiful red color each fall. The oil (urushiol) can be released even if you slightly brush against it or touch it. If you know you've touched it, as soon as possible, remove and wash all your clothig - for the oil can stay active for months. And as soon as possible, shower and flush your skin with large amounts of plain water. I made the mistake of soaping myself up but that only spread the oil. It only takes a few minutes for the oil to sink into your skin, so it's important to flush it off immediately.

I tried over-the-counter poison ivy products said to shield the skin from this oil - or to remove it after being in contact, but it didn't work and was quite expensive for something that didn't help at all.

If within 48 hours you break out in a rash, I've learned that merely putting wet compresses over the area(s) helps a lot. But, if the rash is spreading rapidly and causes unbelievable itching, get to your doctor for medicine to help. Do not scratch or the blisters will spread - but even though you look and feel terrible, it isn't contagious to anyone else.

How to keep bugs, blisters and cuts and scrapes from spoiling your fun!

The first rule of first aid, according to company representatives at web site www.adventuremedicalkits.com "is to be prepared. Carry a good first aid kit and follow these tips for prevention and treatment of common problems" ----

Stop Bugs! A bite or sting can make anyone miserable especially a small child. Cover up. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and shoes and socks. Tuck cuffs into socks. Wear light colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue.
Use insect repellent even if going outdoors for a short period. DEET-based products protect against both mosquitoes and ticks, and natural products, such as Natrapel®, are proven effective against mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus are most active in the hours between dusk and dawn.

Tick patrol. Check each other for ticks at least every 4 hours. Avoid insect infested
areas, if possible.

Treatment. To remove a tick: Use tweezers to grasp it as close to the surface of the skin as possible; try not to damage the body. Apply steady upward traction to remove the tick. Do not twist.

Mosquito bites and bee stings: Treat mosquito bites and bee, wasp or hornet stings with After Bite®, After Bite® Kids or After Bite® Xtra to prevent swelling and relieve stinging.

To remove a honey bee’s stinger: Remove the stinger and venom sack as quickly as possible. This can be done with your fingers. Apply ice cold water and treat with After Bite® Extra to relieve pain and reduce swelling. In case of minor allergic
reactions - including hives (red raised skin welts) and itching without wheezing or breathing problems, adults can take 25 to 50 mg of antihistamines (diphenhydramine). For severe allergic reactions - including difficulty breathing or wheezing epinephrine needs to be administered as quickly as possible.

Feet First: Blisters can add a heavy load to your hiking or backpacking trip. Just as with bites and stings, the best defense is a good offense.

Prevention:• Be sure shoes or boots fit properly. Tight shoes cause pressure sores; loose shoes cause friction blisters.
• Break in new boots gradually before any long hikes.
• Wear a thin liner sock under a heavier sock. Friction will occur between the socks instead of between the boot and the foot.
• Keep feet dry.
• Before hiking, apply moleskin to areas where blisters commonly occur.
• Treat hot spots immediately. A hot spot is an area where skin is red and irritated but has not yet blistered.

Treatment: £U For hot spots: Cut an oval-shaped hole slightly larger than the hot spot in a rectangular piece of moleskin. Center the hole over the hot spot and secure with tape or knit dressing. Be sure no sticky surfaces touch irritated skin. For small, intact blisters: Do not puncture or drain. Apply a piece of moleskin or molefoam
with a doughnut style hole cut out slightly largerthan the blister over the site. Secure with tape.

Unkind Cuts: Aside from being painful, cuts and scrapes can become infected or leave scars. While there’s no real prevention other than general safety and common sense, proper treatment can ease the pain and speed the healing process.

Here are the three steps for treating most minor cuts and scrapes:

1. Clean. Water used with pressure is safest and most effective. Use a syringe with an 18 or 19 gauge plastic catheter tip attached or fill a plastic baggie full of water, poke a pin hole in the bottom corner and squeeze the bag to create a stream of water. Squirt the wound to fl ush out germs and debris without harming tissue.
2. Protect. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment.
3. Dress. Place a nonadherent dressing over the wound and place an absorbent gauze dressing over that. Hold both in place with a conforming roller bandage.

RECYCLING TIPS

Have too many CDs, DVDs, Books and Video Games?

Secondspin.com -- will buy your used CDs, DVDs and video games.

Cash4books.net -- will buy textbooks published after 2010 and other newer books.

Powells.com -- Will buy fiction and nonfiction books that were published earlier.

Cash4cartridgesusa.com -- Will send you a check for between 50 cents and $4.25 for certain brands of used cartridges, including Brother, Canon, Dell and more. No purchase is required.

SKIN TIPS

Skin exams can dramatically increase survival rates

Important tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation: Recent research shows that when detected early, the survival rate for patients with melanoma is nearly 99%. However, the research also shows that survival rates may be as low as 15 percent if the disease is not detected in its early stages. Regular skin checks are a simple and easy way to catch skin cancer before it is too late.
"After the summer, when people might have experienced sun damage, is a good time to visit a dermatologist to get a skin exam," says Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Most people don't realize that an annual visit to a dermatologist should be a part of their regular health routine - just like getting a yearly physical."
In addition to an annual professional total-body skin examination, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly skin self-exams. Studies have shown that the majority of melanomas are spotted by patients. In fact, they may detect melanoma more than twice as often as physicians do. Research has shown that skin self-exams can lead to 42 percent fewer deaths. Combined with a yearly skin exam by a doctor, a self-exam is the best way to detect the early warning signs of skin cancer. The key is to look for any new growths or skin changes. Here's how:

Gather a bright light; a full-length mirror; a hand mirror; two chairs or stools and a blow-dryer.

1. Examine head and face, using one or both mirrors. Use a blow-dryer to inspect scalp.
2. Check hands, front and back, including nails. In a full-length mirror examine elbows, arms and underarms.
3. Focus on neck, chest, and torso. Women: check under breasts.
4. With back to mirror, use a hand mirror to inspect back of neck, shoulders, upper arms, back, buttocks, legs.
5. Sitting down on one chair with leg propped up on the other, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, and nails. Use hand mirror to examine genitals.

The warning signs:

A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multi-colored
A mole, birthmark, beauty mark or any brown spot that:
changes color
increases in size or thickness
changes in texture
is irregular in outline
is bigger than 6 mm (1/4 inch), the size of pencil eraser
appears after age 21
A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed
An open sore that does not heal within three week


Remember to be mindful of time spent in the sun, make sure to use an SPF 15 sunscreen or higher every day and follow The Skin Cancer Foundation's other prevention tips at www.skincancer.org or call 1-800-SKIN-490.

The first organization in the U.S. that committed itself to educating the public and medical professionals about sun safety, The Skin Cancer Foundation is still the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research.

TRAVEL TIPS

Deals on Travel

LastMinuteTravel.com -- Search by destination, star rating, room type, and amenities from more than 15,000 hotels in 1,500 cities. ou won't know the name of the hotel until after you book.

HotelToNight.com -- This app gives information on last-minute deals, and same-day prices are lowered after 3 p.m. Bookings are nonrefundable.

HomeAway.com -- Search for a home to rent in 190 countries. Over 1 million listings.

AirFareWatchdog.com -- the list of flight deals might be shorter here than other sites, but real people are vetting them and guiding you on how to get them.

Wyndhamvacationrentals.com -- July is Wyndam's National Vacation Rental Month, meaning there are discounted stays and other benefits.

Five summer travel tips from hospitality expert Sandy Chen, associate professor at Ohio University's Patton College of Education

1. Book accommodation with economy hotel chains. “By doing so, you not only get more value out of the money you pay for the room since these hotels normally offer free breakfast, WIFI, swimming pools and gym facilities, but you also accumulate loyalty points with these hotel chains, which you can use in the future for free or discounted rooms,” said Chen. “If you use a credit card that rewards ‘cash back upon purchases,’ you could save more for future use.”

2. Book accommodation one or two days before you check into a hotel. Chen explained, “Unlike the airline industry where you can receive low airfare if you book way ahead of time, the hotel industry plays the other way around. Studies on revenue management show that customers normally can get good deals with hotel room rates if they wait until the last minute. But make sure you do reserve a hotel room via phone or website before checking into the hotel. Normally the walk-in rates (without reservation) are the highest rates you could get. However, in the peak season, this might be somewhat risky since sometimes all your favorite hotel rooms could be sold out due to special events. This might mean you would not get the right hotel room in the right location.”

3. Check three major reservation outlets to compare rates and special offers. “Sometimes, travel reservations sites, including the hotel’s website, the hotel’s reservation staff at its physical location, and an online booking website like Expedia.com, offer different rates. When they do offer same rates, they might have different bonus offers, such as government rates, veteran discounts, and loyalty rewards,” advised Chen.

4. Book accommodation in suburban areas instead of urban areas. “Booking hotel accommodations in the suburbs, instead of urban areas, could mean saving several hundred dollars on one trip,” said Chen. “For instance, a hotel room in downtown Washington D. C. is much more expensive than one in the suburb Rockville, Maryland, which is only 35 minutes away by car to the capital city and may offer free shuttle service to and from the city and nearby areas.”

5. Consult customer reviews on hotels if you are interested in booking. “Websites, such as TripAdvisor and Expedia, have customer ratings of hotel facilities and service quality. Many of them give detailed descriptions of hotel experiences, which can help you decide the right hotel in which to stay,” said Chen.

Chen's contact: chens5@ohio.edu.

Zika Virus - Travel Safety

Zika Virus has caused concern for many travelers. The single-stranded RNA is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of a mosquito (Aedes species). Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, and headache. Only about one out of five infected becomes ill. Pregnant women, regardless of their trimester, should take extra caution when considering where they’re traveling to, as the virus can cause birth defects. Here are some tips to prevent getting infected when traveling:

Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness and follow the directions for use.

If you have a baby or child:

Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.

Adults:

Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.

If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.

Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

Know Before You Go: Taking a Bleisure Trip  

Bleisure trips are business trips that include extended time for leisure. More and more business travelers are choosing to add leisure into their trips and are bringing along family and friends. According to a 2014 survey by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, sixty percent of travelers were considering adding a leisure component to their business trip. Going on a bleisure trip has many benefits to the business traveler, such as being able to utilize some of the costs for the work trip, the opportunity to explore a place they would not have otherwise considered, and having their family accompany them on the trip.

Although bleisure trips can be rewarding, there are some tricky parts to consider. Here are just some of the things to think about before going on a bleisure trip:

Make sure you know your company’s policy on dinner expenses if your spouse or non-coworkers are dining with you.
Make sure you know your company’s policy on spouses participating in company events for dinners.
Make sure your spouse or companion is self-sufficient enough to enjoy the parts of the trip when you’re working.
Make sure you won’t be jealous that your companion is self-sufficient and enjoying him or herself during the times that you are working.
Make sure your non-work schedule accommodates last-minute changes in work plans.
Make sure you and your spouse talk ahead of time and agree on what will happen when you get upgraded and they don’t… VERY IMPORTANT.
Have an honest conversation about who gets to use the Gogo Inflight… also VERY IMPORTANT.
Don’t party too hard now that your peeps are with you. You still have to work tomorrow.

Safe, Stylish Travel Items for the Jet-Setting Toddler

Traveling with tots can mean packing enough items to last a lifetime, but if you pack the right essentials, it will not only save you time, but will also save you the headache of lugging too much unnecessary gear with you on a trip. While it’s important to choose the safest items for your child, it’s equally important to choose high-quality gear that will keep them safe for years to come.

To help parents decide on the best, high-end, travel items to pack on their next getaway, below are some of the top travel essentials from Diono that will not only lighten a parent’s load, but will also keep their child safe, happy, and stylish on their next family trip:

Rainier Convertible+Booster Car Seat
Families with babies can experience peace of mind with this safe, luxurious, versatile car seat. The latest innovation from Diono, the Rainier is the ultimate car seat that wraps a child in luxury from birth until their tween years. Typically, parents must buy at least two (or three) car seats and boosters as their baby develops, but the Rainer grows with your child — all the while keeping your little one safe with a five-point harness and extra deep sidewalls, providing enhanced impact protection

Cozy Coupe®Doorway Jumper
Give baby hours of bouncing play and promote healthy activity with the Little Tikes by Diono Cozy Coupe Doorway Jumper. Features a removable play dashboard with music, horn, mirror and a fun key to keep baby entertained. Straps are adjustable in height to accommodate a growing baby and the spring cover keep fingers safe. Easily attaches to any door frame and packs neatly so you can keep baby entertained no matter where you are.

Monterey High Back Booster
Overprotective in all the right ways, the Diono Monterey is a full-featured, expandable high-back booster seat designed to fit growing children 30 lb. to 120 lb. The adjustable head rest and deep, aluminum-reinforced sides are lined with energy absorbing EPS foam for side impact protection, and reinforced seat bottom provides extra lap belt safety. Retractable, dual cup holders are extra-deep and angled to keep drinks upright. Can also be used as a backless booster, and packs flat for easy travel and storage.

For more information, contact Diono at 1.855.463.4666

Travel Tips For Folks Over 50 from the NRA

Seniors are travelling more now than ever before, whether it's to visit grandchildren, go hunting and fishing, or to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip overseas. However, even if you're in tip-top shape, the physical changes that come with age present new challenges and obstacles--not to mention the hassles of modern travel, the extra security, the hidden fees, and so on. Here are some tips from the NRA to make travel easier, more fun, and more safe after age 50:

1. Don't trust Over-the-Counter Drugs Overseas. They're like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're going to get. So always carry these basic OTC drugs with you when you travel:

Antacids -- Cough and Cold medicine -- Antihistamines -- Anti-diarrheal --Hydrocortisone Cream -- Insect repellent -- Sunscreen -- Motion sickness medicine

2. If You're Going to a Sunny Locale ... be sure to ask your doctor if any of your prescription medicines cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Many do.

3. Create A Simple "Medical Information Form" To Carry In Your Wallet Or With Your Passport. Your form should include:

Your name, address, and phone number

Friends and relatives who should be contacted in an emergency

Personal physician contact

Dentist contact

Current medications (both prescription and OTC)

Known drug and food allergies

Name and number of medical insurance company

4: Tip: Ask Friends Who Recently Visited Your Destination what they wished they had taken with them. Facebook works great for this.

5. Remember: Medicare will NOT cover you outside of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

6. Don't Forget: Even in the United States, Medicare and most insurance plans only pay to get you to the nearest hospital, no matter how inadequate that hospital might be. If you need to be evacuated to a more appropriate facility, it's at your expense. Many NRA members carry their EA+ Card just in case.

7. Take More Prescription Medicine Than You Think You'll Need. An extra week's worth is a good rule of thumb.

8. Ask Your Doctor for Duplicate Prescriptions in case your pills are lost or stolen.

9. Put your Pills in Your Carry-On, not your checked luggage. You're much less likely to lose them that way.

10. Adjust Your Schedule of Prescription Medicine To Account for Time Zones. An easy way to to this is to carry an extra watch and keep it set to "home time."

11. If You're Susceptible to Motion Sickness, the best location in a boat is amidships, the best location in an airplane is over the wing.

12. The 7 Top Triggers of Traveler's Diarrhea: Custards, pastries and other desserts - Raw vegetables, cold platters and crudites - Raw eggs or unpasteurized cheeses - Tap water and ice cubes made of tap water - Leafy green vegetables - Raw shellfish - raw meat

14. Sunscreen Secret: Shake the bottle well before applying because the active ingredient is suspended in a neutral lotion.

15. World's Strongest Sunscreens are made with one of these two ingredients -- Americalne or Dermoplast.

16. Bug Bites and Bee Stings: Applying meat tenderizer (like Accent) is one of the best ways to reduce pain and swelling.

17. Sunstroke Secret: Eat bananas, tomatoes, and oranges which re rich in electrolytes to avoid dangerous dehydration.

18. Never Wear New Shoes, or especially hiking boots, on vacation. Take a few weeks to break them in first unless you want blisters.

19. If You Take Nitro For Your Heart, make sure the pills or patches are fresh. They lose their potency over time.

20. If You Take Insulin, carry a prescription for your syringes. Many states and counteies will not sell them to you over the counter. If you can't get syringes where you are, contact EA+ for help.

5 Inspiring Travel Shows

While popular travel shows hosted by the likes of Rick Steves, Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain prove to be favorites with home viewers, there are a number of travel shows out that are capable of igniting a serious case of wanderlust even in the most seasoned traveler. If you are interested in finding a travel show that offers something a little different from what you are used to, then take a look at the selection of inspiring travel shows below. For information on the following shows and other travel programming, you can visit www.saveontvdirect.com/.

Explore22

This web-only travel series is youth-oriented and highlights a side of travel that most people never think about. Explore22 showcases opportunities for travelers to help struggling communities on travels across the globe. Past episodes covered things like a trip to Peru to build a school and an earthquake relief trip to Haiti. Initial episodes of the show are available for free viewing.

Departures'

For three seasons now, this travel show put the focus on a simple premise - "the revelations of two travelers who strive to find themselves and new perspectives." The two travelers, Justin and Scott, travel only with a single cameraman, Andre. Working as a team, the three of them have traveled all over the globe doing things like feeding hyenas in Ethiopia and climbing up an active volcano in Papua New Guinea. The entire Departures' series airs as reruns on Halogen TV, but interested viewers can find all three seasons on the team's online shop.

By Any Means

Fans of local transport will enjoy the By Any Means series from host Charley Boorman. The premise of the show is that Boorman travels from point to point and attempts to do so only using public transportation options. In fact, he avoids airplanes if at all possible. What makes this show so interesting is that it gives viewers a glimpse of cultures not seen from the windows of a tour bus, rental car or cruise ship. Season one saw Boorman navigating from Ireland to Australia. For season two, it was from Australia to Japan. This program can be found on DVD in the United Kingdom or on Amazon UK.

Long Way Round

This motorbike travelogue features Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor and chronicles their travels from 2004. The program shows their adventures from the 20,000 mile trip as well as the unique places that they visited along the way. As if that is not enough excitement, the two teamed up again in 2007 for a similar trip and titled it Long Way Down. DVDs for both trips are available online and from Netflix.

Madventures

This entertaining travel show focuses on two Finnish guys who travel completely alone. They do not have any sort of crew and produce the content for the show completely on their own. Their adventures take them to exotic and unique locations around the world. And there is no shortage of adventurous eating on this show where some of the things consumed include human placenta and monkey brains. Viewers can find DVDs of the show in the Madventures online shop.

The National Headache Foundation suggests the following tips to ease travel headaches:

As winter takes a stronger hold, more Americans will book air fares and pack up the SUV as they travel across the country to escape the cold or just the cabin fever. However, preparing for vacations and traveling can also produce an added amount of stress and tension -- two key triggers in the onset of headaches.

Over 45 million Americans experience chronic, recurring headaches. Based on a recent on-line survey conducted by the National Headache Foundation (NHF) (web site www.headaches.org), 68 percent of respondents said they experience headaches more frequently when traveling.

To avoid headaches:

Maintain your normal sleeping and waking patterns – Seventy-three percent of NHF survey respondents attributed the disruption of sleep schedules while traveling as a major cause of their headaches. Late-night visits and early morning tours can lead to headaches by tempting you to stay up past your bedtime and wake up earlier than usual. Try to go to sleep and awaken the same time as you usually do, even on weekends. 

Plan in advance- Sixty-six percent of survey respondents stated that stress was a contributing factor to their travel headaches. A well-planned trip can ease the stress of traveling. Be prepared for extra long lines and wait times at the airport and arrive at least two hours before your scheduled departure. If you plan to travel by car, plot your course and make hotel reservations in advance. It is also advisable to bring medication in a carry-on bag, as opposed to checked luggage, but be sure to follow Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines about liquids, gels and aerosols.

Discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider – Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents stated that do not talk to their healthcare provider about adjusting medications based on their travel plans. If you are flying long distances, ask your healthcare provider about your dosage schedule. Some medications should be adjusted for high altitudes, lack of activity and different climates.

Don’t skip or delay meals- An empty stomach could trigger a headache. Carry snacks with you, sixty-nine percent of survey respondents reported the lack of available food as a travel inconvenience that has negatively impacted their headache condition. 

If you are experiencing headache pain that affects your life, make an appointment with your healthcare provider specifically to discuss your headache problem and seek accurate diagnosis and treatment.

The National Headache Foundation, founded in 1970, is a non-profit organization which exists to enhance the healthcare of headache sufferers. It is a source of help to sufferers’ families, physicians who treat headache sufferers, allied healthcare professionals and to the public. The NHF accomplishes its mission by providing educational and informational resources, supporting headache research and advocating for the understanding of headache as a legitimate neurobiological disease.

On a separate note, if you are doing a family road trip it would be a great idea to make sure you have comprehensive car insurance. In the event of an accident, it is best to be covered, as medical bills can become extremely overwhelming very quickly.

TRIP PLANNING

Before Your Trip Check the following:

---- Notify credit card companies to expect charges from your destinations

---- Arrange to have a medical/dental checkup

---- Buy Travelers Checks, or can you use ATMs overseas?

---- Arrange for a trustworthy person to take care of your pet and plants

---- Give your itinerary to family/friends with a number to call in case of an emergency.

---- Take your family/friends phone numbers with you in case of an emergency

---- Suspend newsapers and mail

---- Put valuables in a secure place

----Take your insurance cards along in case you need medical help.

Things To Take With you ---

---- Valid passport/visas

---- Vaid Driver's or International Driver's license

---- Tickets: air/bus/coach/train/ship

---- Doctor's prescriptions

---- Photocopies of documents

---- Credit/debit cards

---- Cash/foreign currency

---- List of credit card numbers with Emergency Numbers to call if lost

---- List of U.S. Embassies overseas

---- Maps, guides, language books

---- List of important numbers at home

---- Toiletries/medicines/vitamins/sun block/insect repellent/hand sanitizer

---- Glasses/contacts/reading and sunglasses

---- Pre-addressed labels for postcards home

---- Phone cards/cell phone with international access

---- Camera/memory cards/batteries/film

---- Electrical adapter

---- Clothes suitable for climate at destinations

On the day you leave . . . .

---- Turn refrigerator down/off

---- Turn water heater to 'vacation' setting

---- Unplug appliances/electronic equipment

---- Lock all doors and windows

---- Turn off all lights/heat/air conditioning

---- Close blinds/curtains on ground level

---- Set answering machine

---- Set alarm

Securing Your House While on Vacation

It's important to make your hme look occupied while away so that it won't be burglarized. How?

Arrange for a friend or neighbor - or even a house sitter - to check the house once a day, water the plants on a given schedule, feed the pet(s). Give that person a copy of your itinerary and contact numbers, your cell phone number, and the police station's number in case they see or feel something is wrong.

Ask the post office to hold your mail or ask a neighbor to take it in and to watch for any packages or circulars left at the front door. Cancel your newspaper delivery.

Make arrangements for snow removal so the house will look occupied. I always invite a neighbor to park his/her car in my driveway which indicates someone is home.

Make certain all windows and doors are locked and, if you have an alarm, set it. The police, if notified that you're away, will make daily checks.

Lights: Set some lights on timers to make it look as though there is movement in the house. Exterior lights are very effective as well.

Keep a radio on a timer so if a burglar stands at your door and listens, he or she will think you're home listening to it.

Locks: The back door should have a high security lock and a strong door frame. Short screws can be replaced with 3 1/2-inch wood screws to reinforce the strike plate on the door which will make it difficult for a criminal to kick it in.

The first place burglars go to is the master bedroom where poep0le usually keep their guns, money or jewelry. Storing these articles in a bank safe is a good idea and any weapons in a gun safe. Or, place small items in a coffee can, paint it black and attach to floor joists overhead in the basement.

Leave shades, drapes, blinds as you normally do, but closed in the back of the house so no one can look in.

Thermostat: In cold weather, you can turn the heat down to about 58-60 degrees. Set your thermostat fan from "auto" to "Run" or to "on" to keep the flow of warm air even and continuious. Also, you can keep cabinet doors open surrounding pipes in the kitchen and bathroom and keep interior doors open.

Water: Turn off the main valve. If well water, turn off the pump. Also make certain that outside spigots have been turned off by shutting off the inside valve and draining them from outside.

Appliances and Fixtures: If you leave the main water valve open, turn off non-essential, water-dependent fixtures like toilets, ice makers, washing machines and dishwashers to help prevent a leak if a h ose or fitting fails.

Also unplug or power down non-essential electronics like TVs, computer monitors, toasters, coffee pots, etc. to save money on electricity.

Arrange for your house-sitter or neighbor to take out your garbage pails on the assigned day for pick-up.

SECURITY TIPS

United States Customs & border Protection Reminds Us to:

How to Speed Through CBP Processing

Summer is one of the busiest international travel times in the U.S. and with the start of the travel season this Memorial Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers of some important tips. With increasing passenger volumes due to a nine percent increase in travel and tourism since February 2011, there are things returning U.S. citizens or residents, and international visitors can do to help speed their processing.

Trusted Traveler Programs

First and foremost, please ensure you have an approved travel document. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older to present a valid, acceptable travel document, such as a passport, a U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES), permanent resident card or an enhanced driver’s license that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. by land or sea. U.S. and Canadian citizens under age 16 may present a birth certificate or alternative proof of citizenship when entering by land or sea. All travelers must have a valid passport book for international air travel.

One of the easiest ways to speed your crossing through a land border port is to obtain a radio frequency identification enabled travel document such as a U.S. passport card, border crossing card or permanent resident card issued after 2008, enhanced driver’s license/enhanced identification card or trusted traveler card. There are dedicated Ready Lanes at more than 20 land border crossing locations throughout the nation, specifically designated for travelers with RFID-enabled cards which will expedite entry and make crossing at a land port of entry more efficient.

The NEXUS and SENTRI programs are also available for frequent border crossers to facilitate faster processing at land ports of entry. Pre-approved, low risk travelers can use dedicated lanes to speed through land border crossings, saving time for travelers while freeing up officers to focus on those travelers we know less about and may pose more of a risk.

At U.S. airports, the fastest and easiest way to securely speed through CBP processing is to become a member of Global Entry. This trusted traveler program allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers the ability to by-pass traditional CBP processing and to use self-service kiosks, located at 25 airports in the U.S.  Travelers who use the Global Entry kiosks experience reduced average wait times of 70 percent versus travelers going through traditional passport inspection, and more than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry are processed in under five minutes. The program is available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals, and Canadian citizens and residents through membership in the NEXUS program. Additionally, citizens of the Netherlands may use the program under a special reciprocal arrangement that links Global Entry with the Dutch Privium program in Amsterdam.

Travel Requirements for Visa Waiver Visitors to the U.S.

All nationals or citizens of the 36 Visa Waiver Program countries are required to have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, prior to boarding when traveling by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and once approved, generally will be valid for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. CBP recommends ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.

Travel Checklist

Have all the required travel documents for the country you are visiting, as well as identification for re-entry to the United States. Passports are required for air travel. Visit www.travel.state.gov for country-specific information.

For citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries, make sure that you have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before boarding. For those traveling on a visa, have a completed I-94 form when approaching CBP processing.

Have a completed Customs Declaration form (6059b) upon reaching CBP processing. Declare everything you are bringing from abroad, even if you bought it in a duty-free shop. Know that things bought abroad for personal use or as gifts may be eligible for duty exemptions. If you are bringing them back for resale, they are not.

Know the difference between prohibited merchandise (which is forbidden by law to enter the U.S.) and restricted merchandise (items needing special permit to be allowed into the U.S.). For more information, please visit the Restricted/Prohibited section of the CBP website.

Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and/or firewood into the United States without first checking whether they are permitted. For more information, please visit the Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States section of the CBP website.

Build additional time into trips during busy travel seasons and understand that CBP must conduct a thorough inspection of the nearly one million travelers entering the country each day.

Understand that CBP officers can inspect you and your personal belongings without a warrant. This may include your luggage, vehicle, and personal searches and is meant to enforce our laws as well as protect legitimate travelers.

Monitor border wait times for various ports of entry. Travelers are encouraged to plan their trips during periods of lighter traffic or to use an alternate, less heavily traveled port of entry. For more information, travelers can find up to date wait time information on the CBP website.

If you are a frequent international traveler and haven’t already become a member of a trusted traveler program, sign up now. For more information, please visit the Trusted Traveler section of the CBP website.

Familiarize yourself with the "Know Before You Go" brochure or section of www.CBP.gov.

–CBP– 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terriost weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

WINTER STORM TIPS

How To Prepare Your Home For A Winter Storm

14 essentials for riding out winter storms safely, plus, what to do when the power goes out.
By Lee Wallender for Fix.com

Fierce winter storms can cause havoc. But there is no reason they should completely overturn your life and endanger your well-being. Making preparations ahead of time can keep you and your family warm, healthy, and safe.

Secure And Prepare Your Home, Exterior, And Personal Property

Think of your home as a ship on the verge of sailing into bad weather. You need to clear hazards that are in close proximity and “batten down the hatches”for upcoming winter storms by securing openings against water, wind, and other inclement weather.

Trim or Remove Trees

Trees are responsible for the majority of damage to homes and personal property during winter storms. Your homeowner’s insurance may not protect you in the event of fallen limbs or trees. According to insurance company Allstate, your homeowner’s insurance probably will not cover a fallen tree if the tree exhibited prior signs of rot or instability.

Trimming: Trimming is far less expensive than full removal. Crews can thin out the branches to reduce the “sail effect” when those high winter winds blow. Trimming can also can balance out the tree’s load and keep one side from being heavier than the other, a condition that may topple the tree.

Removing: Tree removal can entail a significant cost, especially in dense, metro areas where mobility is limited. The average cost to remove a large tree hovers in the $1,500 range, not including debris removal. Many communities require that you apply for a tree removal permit or at least put in a written notification. In many cases, the permit or notice must be accompanied by an arborist’s report stating that removal is required.

Check Roof and Flashing Stability

High winds can loosen roof shingles. Walk your roof and inspect it carefully. Shingles that are obviously loose should be replaced by a qualified roofer.

The condition of the flashing—the metal sleeves around the chimney and other roof protrusions—is more difficult to visually determine. Have a contractor or roofer inspect these areas.

Promote Drainage Away from House

When storms hit, massive amounts of water are directed at your house over a short period of time. Re-grade the soil around your house so it declines away from the foundation.

Clean and Repair Gutters and Downspouts

One source of water damage to foundations and basements is downspouts that force water straight into the ground. This can be easily and cheaply fixed by adding plastic downspout drainage lines that deposit the water away from the house. Fix or replace gutters in the summer. Clean gutters in the early fall, as soon as all the leaves are off the trees.

Purchase Ice Melt

In areas prone to freezing weather, walkways and driveways can become dangerously icy. Purchase ice melt in early fall (it may not be in stock in stores earlier than that). Calcium chloride is better than rock salt because it is less damaging to hardscaping and surrounding plants.

Remove Air Conditioners

By the end of summer, window unit air conditioners are no longer needed. A/C units are weak points for water intrusion. Even if there is a tight seal between the unit and the window, water can still enter through the back of the unit. Remove them and stow them away.

Remove Screens and Install Storm Windows

Depending on your climate, you can likely keep the windows open for a month or two past summer’s end. Eventually, though, it is good practice to remove the screens, wash them down, and store them until the following summer. Exterior retrofit storm windows can protect your windows against light debris impact and wind-blown rain, snow, and sleet.

Clean Chimneys for Wood-burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning fireplaces build up creosote, an oily black substance that can cause chimneys to internally ignite. Hiring a chimney sweep is the most effective way to rid your flue of creosote. However, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) endorses one product, Joseph Enterprise’s Creosote Sweeping Log, as being acceptable for do-it-yourself creosote cleaning.
Prepare Your Home’s Interior and Yourself

Dealing with exterior issues during the summer, when the weather is fair, gives you more time and leeway to tackle interior areas as winter approaches.

Tune-Up Your Heating System

Bringing in a technician to conduct a furnace “tune-up” is like your biannual dentist’s visit for teeth cleaning: you can miss it sometimes, but it is highly recommended that you do every year.

The greatest value in doing the tune-up before winter storms is that you can accomplish it on your own terms. If you wait until your furnace dies during a storm, you will be at the mercy of overtasked HVAC companies, their tight schedules, and their often-inflated pricing.

Learn How to Shut Off the Water Main and Gas

Quick—Do you know where your water main and gas shut-off valves are located? If you cannot answer this question off the top of your head, you need to find out now.

Water main valves are typically located within the house on the perimeter, facing the street. Gas valves are located outside the house near the gas meter. Most gas and water shut-off valves require a special tool that costs less than $15.

Install Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is your protection against fumbling around in the dark when the power goes out. Available for less than $20, these lights stay plugged into outlets so they are always charging. When power to the outlet is cut off, they automatically turn on. Mr. Beams ReadyBright is a popular brand of emergency house lighting. However, cheaper generic versions are available at most hardware and department stores.

Create a Family Emergency Plan

Creating a family emergency plan is as simple as printing and filling out a form that is available at the FEMA website. This plan lists phone numbers, addresses, and medical information for all family members. Because both power and cell phone reception can go down in storms, it is valuable to have all this information available in hard-copy form.

When the Power Goes Out

With winter storms come power outages. Even large, highly reliable power systems, such as California’s Pacific Gas & Electric company, report that customers may expect one power outage per year on average. Make sure you know how you will address these five key concerns when the power goes out:

Heating

Whole-house heating is difficult during a power outage. Even fireplaces will heat only one room. Do not light barbecues or propane heaters indoors; doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, look for propane heaters that are rated as indoor-safe or bundle up with blankets and coats.

Lighting

Battery powered lights are always safest. However, candles and hurricane-style kerosene lamps can also be used indoors.

Food and Water

As soon as you lose power, begin filling all available containers with tap water. Cooking pans and even sinks can be filled up. If the municipal water source stops flowing, this will be your water for daily use. Canned foods and dry food that does not require cooking are best for long power outages.

Refrigeration

You can keep food cool longer by shifting easily spoiled food from the refrigerator (eggs, greens, meat, seafood, etc.) to the freezer. Once you have made the transition, avoid opening the freezer door if possible.

Entertainment

If the power outage continues for days, you will need entertainment that does not depend on electricity. Cards, books, and games are just a few of the activities people tend to turn to when the electricity has failed.
=============================================================

Preparing an Emergency Kit

The FEMA Basic Disaster Supplies Kit consists of the following items:

Water: One gallon per person per day
Food: Enough for each person for three days; canned, dried, and freeze-dried food have the longest shelf lives
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
Flashlight and batteries
First-aid kit
Whistle
Dust mask
Toilet paper, wet wipes, garbage bags, and ties
Manual can opener
Paper maps
Solar charger for phones
==================================================
Preparing for a winter storm is usually far easier than most people expect, and it pays off huge dividends in the event of a crippling storm.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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WALKING SAFELY TIPS

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety suggests the following tips for walking safely:

-- Wear bright-colored clothing, especially at night. If necessary, attach a piece of reflective material to your clothing or handbag.

-- Walk on sidewalks or paths and always cross at the corner, within marked crosswalks.

-- Do not try to cross mid-block or between parked cars.

-- Look left, right and left again before crossing and be on the lookout for turning vehicles.

-- Continue to look for vehicles while crossing.

-- Make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a vehicle.

-- Learn the proper use of "Walk/Don't Walk" signals and obey them.

-- Use the buddy system. Walk and cross with others when possible.

-- If at all possible, do not walk at night or during bad weather such as rain, snow or ice.

To contact the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, call 800-422-3750 or go to web site www.njsaferoads.com

WATER/SWIMMING SAFETY TIPS

For Swimmers

Swimmer's ear can affect you even if you don't go into the water! When it's hot and humid, skin infections can often develop within the ear canal, and most problems are caused by too much wax. If yuo have a wax buildup, moisture from swimming, or even from the air, can get into the skin tissue and cause infection. To prevent this from happening, never try to clean your ears with a sharp instrument or clean them with cotton swabs. This removes too much wax. Symptoms of a problem include blockage in the ear, a full feeling, pain, or discharge. If this is happening, see your physician immediately. It's also a good idea to have your doctor check your ears once in a while so if there's a wax buildup, he/she can remove it. Always wear ear plugs when swimming or, if water should get in to the canal, drug stores have numerous over-the-counter ear drop products that will cure the problem.

How to Survive A Fall Through the Ice

The United States Swim School Association has Provided the following tips if you ever fall through ice -- Learn how to get out of the water in the event of falling through breaking ice:

It is never a good idea to walk onto a frozen lake without following the proper protocols and knowing how long it takes and what temperature must be hit for that body of water to freeze. Each year, it’s estimated that nearly 8,000 people die from drowning. Even though ice may appear safe, some areas can be thinner than others. Unfortunately, when venturing onto ice, not everyone has a friend nearby or carries an item such as an ice pick to help them out of the water. The United States Swim School Association, the leading swim school organization in the country, has created a list of what to do if you fall through ice.

Falling Through Thin Ice – What to do.

Brace Yourself: This may be difficult to do at first but due to the immediate change in body temperature and shock from the cold water, the body’s immediate reaction is going to be to gasp for air and hyperventilate. Breathing in the freezing water increases the chances of drowning.

Keep Calm: Do not flail your arms; this will release more body heat. The body loses 32 times more heat in cold water than in cold air. Panicking will do nothing, keep your head above the water, grab onto the ice in the direction you came from. This ice should be strong enough to help you out of the water.

Do Not Undress Winter Clothes: Keep winter clothing on while in the water, it will not drag you down. It will help keep in body heat and any air inside the clothing will help you float.

Get Horizontal: Once you’ve gotten most of your upper body out of the water, kick your legs as strongly as possible in hopes of getting yourself out of the water and onto the ice. 

Roll Onto The Ice: Do not stand up, roll over the ice once you’re out to help prevent more cracks in the ice and from falling in again. Always stay off ice that’s only 3 inches thick or less.

Retrace Your Steps: Once out and far enough away from the hole, trace your footsteps back to safety. Take it slow because your body is still dealing with the affects of the freezing water.

Throw, Don’t Go: Never enter the water to rescue someone. If someone is there to help you it is safer for that person to throw a lifesaving device, branch, coat, or rope into the water, wait until you grab hold and then tow you to safety. Otherwise you could both end up in the water.

Get Warm: Once out of the water seek medical attention to bring body temperature back to normal.

To find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, or for details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization visit web site http://www.usswimschools.org.

About US Swim School Association

US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org

Celebrate the Holidays Safely While on Vacation

The United States Swim School Association provides tips for water safety during holiday vacations

For families traveling over the holidays, delayed flights, bad weather and heavy traffic are not the only concerns that need to be front of mind. For most children, the last time they were swimming was several months ago and skills can get rusty. Trips to relatives' homes in warm climates and hotels with pools can create a situation where children could be at a higher risk for getting into a situation where drowning is possible. 

Holiday Vacation Water Safety Tips

·       Create a verbal cue that must be given by an adult before any kids can enter the pool.

·       Gather the adults of your extended family if cousins and relatives are swimming together and create an agreed upon set of pool rules before the kids are allowed into the water.

·       Select a parent to be the designated “water watcher”. This adult should not be drinking alcohol while children are in or near water.

·       Take time to familiarize your children with the pool they will be swimming in, i.e. where the shallow and deep ends are, where stairs to get in and out are located, where they can and cannot swim.

·       If visiting a hotel with an indoor waterpark, do not rely on lifeguards to constantly monitor your children. You cannot be sure how experienced a lifeguard is and should never assume. It might take a new guard time to notice an unsafe situation in a crowded pool and you need to be ready to react first if your child needs help.

·       Do not use water wings or pool floats as a substitution for supervision if your child is not a strong swimmer.

·       Cold weather destinations are not a guarantee of safety. Children still need to be watched around water that appears frozen and should not be allowed to walk on frozen ponds, lakes, creeks or other bodies of water because it could easily crack and trap a child under the ice.

·       Always go with children to the hotel pool. Do not let them swim unsupervised. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you are on vacation from being a responsible parent.

·       If you have a pool at home be sure to take precautions before traveling. Secure fences, gates, door locks and covers so an accident does not occur while you are away.

To find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, or for details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization visit www.usswimschools.org

About US Swim School Association

US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org.

Safe Boating - If You are alone, with friends, or with children:

Never overload your boat by exceeding its weight capacity.

Move around in the boat carefully. This is a chief cause of boating accidents. Always move slowly; keep your center of gravity low; and grip something solid as you move.

Always wear your personal protection device (PFD) even if you are an excellent swimmer. Each passenger in your boat should also wear one.

Develop safe boating practices by taking a U.S. Coast Guard course.

Keep clear of big ships and watch for their lights. Look at the ship's sidelights, not at the masthead. If one sidelight is seen, you aren't in the path of the ship, and it will also guide you as to which way to move to get clear. If both sidelights are in view, it's dangerous -- for you are moving directly towards the ship's path!

Learn whistle signals. One signal used is four or more short blasts which means danger. When hearing this signal, immeiately check to see if it's for you. If so, move out of the way quickly.

Use a safe place to anchor. Never tie onto a buoy which is unsafe and illegal.

Make certain you are visible. Keep your navigation lights on at night and unobsecured by sails or flags.

Watch for other boats, especially at night and during foggy weather.

Kids' Safety While Boating

NRS has been outfitting paddlesports enthusiasts with the best in boats, boating apparel and accessories for the past 35 years. Thanks to information from NRS e-News, the following are positive ways to ensure kids' safety while boating. For more information, check the NRS web site at www.nrsweb.com:

Boating with kids helps instill a love of nature and teaches valuable outdoor skills. It’s one of life’s greatest joys. With that pleasure comes an awesome responsibility – keeping them safe. Kids are curious, spontaneous and carefree. They don’t give much thought to their safety so it’s up to you to do that for them. They can learn safety practices but that takes time and it takes vigilance on your part to make sure they’re doing the right things.

---- Life Jackets

This is the most important safety gear for any boater, but especially for kids. PFDs designed for young people are sized by weight range instead of the chest measurements used in adult models. Kid’s growing bodies are so variable – one 60-pounder may be a tall, skinny beanpole, while another may be short and stocky. Chose a PFD that fits their body well. It’s unsafe to choose one with a sloppy fit that they’ll “grow into." They’ll probably need several different sizes over the years. Don’t skimp on this; it’s a wise investment in their safety.

Snug all the adjustment points, starting with the lowest one and working up. Then check for the proper fit by picking the child up by the shoulders of the jacket. If the fit is right, the child’s chin and ears won’t slip through. Some jackets come with leg straps that help prevent ride-up. We’ve put together the Kids PFD Reference Guide to help in finding the best jacket for your youngster. When you’ve gotten a good fitting life jacket, make sure they wear it! Insist they have it on any time they’re on the water or playing around the shore. You can’t watch them every minute and it only takes that long for them to get into trouble.

----Apparel Protection

Young bodies get cold. Protect them with layers appropriate for the conditions. Synthetic fabrics are best, avoid cotton. More and more outdoor apparel pieces are being sized for kids. You can find wetsuits, base layers and waterproof outer layers that will fit them. Same for helmets, insulated footwear and gloves. And don’t forget warm hats, the head is a major source of heat loss.

----Sun Protection

We know now that over-exposure to the sun’s harmful rays in childhood can lead to skin cancer in later years. Apply water-resistant sunscreen early and often. Many outdoor apparel pieces now come in a weave that gives excellent sun protection. Look for garments that have an SPF or UPF rating of 30 or higher.

Brimmed hats offer good shielding for face and ears. If they’re wearing a ball cap style of hat, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of ears. Also, good quality sunglasses protect the eyes from the dangerous glare that comes off the water.

----Critter Care

The outdoors has all kinds of stinging, biting insects and animals. Teach children to watch where they walk and put their hands. In areas with poisonous snakes, extra care needs to be taken to educate kids on how to avoid encounters with these dangerous reptiles. Insect repellents can keep the bugs at bay. Choose ones made for kids’ sensitive skin. It’s a good idea to pack a children’s antihistamine in your medical kit in case of adverse reactions to bug bites or bee stings. If your child has a bad reaction, consult your doctor for future treatments.

If poison ivy/oak grows where you boat, teach them how to recognize it. If they do come in contact, wash quickly with soapy water. Remember that if pets run through the plants, kids can pick up the oils from their fur.

----Boating Dos and Don’ts

Explain to your child what to do in case of accident or upset while on the water. Going over possible scenarios will build their confidence and help them react correctly to an emergency. When planning to take your children on a stretch of water, think of the worst things that could happen. Can you and your children handle those worst-case emergencies? If the answer is no, choose different water to boat. Exposing them to situations they can’t handle is unsafe and can lead to bad experiences that will set back their outdoor education.

Never tie a child into a boat; in the event of an upset they’ll be trapped. In a raft have them sit next to an adult who can hold onto them or help them hold on through any rapids. If they’re in their own kayak or inflatable kayak, have them stay close to other experienced boaters and upstream of a rescue boat in moving river waters. Make sure they wear a helmet.

A great training tool for river boaters is to find a Class I stretch of water without any dangers below. Make a “game” out of having them float through the gentle waves on their backs, feet downstream. Practice tossing them the throw rope and pulling them to shore. They’ll have a blast while you’re teaching them valuable skills.

----Have Fun

Boating’s a great family activity and it’s fun! Make it safe for your kids and you’ll be preparing them for a lifetime love of the outdoors.

Check out the Kids Gear page for great choices on outfitting your young boaters, as well as a huge variety of boating accessories at web site www.nrsweb.com.

WINTER SAFETY/WEATHER TIPS

Enviro-Log Offers Safety Tips for Extreme Winter Weather

Important ways to help you protect your family members in difficult situations

Enviro-Log®, Inc., a leader in eco-friendly products for home heating and outdoor activities, urges households to prepare for extreme winter weather by following important safety tips that can help protect family members.

"Every family should be prepared for extreme winter weather which could result in loss of power and utilities at home for an extended period of time or becoming stranded in your vehicle along the roadside," said Ross McRoy, president of Enviro-Log, Inc. "It is important to make sure all family members know what to do in these situations and have access to emergency kits stored in homes and vehicles in times of need. Too often people don't think about preparing until after the situation has occurred and they underestimate how long it will take for help to arrive."

McRoy stresses some key essentials to make difficult situations more manageable.

--Have an emergency kit in your house. 

-- At least one gallon of water per person per day for at least 10 days, for drinking and sanitation

-- 10 day supply minimum of non-perishable food and a manual can opener

-- A battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries

-- A flashlight and extra batteries

-- A lighter, flint or waterproof matches for starting fires

-- Candles

-- Manufactured firelogs* or firewood to be used for home heating and cooking (*only brands approved for cooking)

-- A first-aid kit

-- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

-- A laminated area map and compass

-- A cell phone with an extra battery

-- A hand-crank light with solar charger and cell phone charger adapter

-- A land-line phone that operates without electrical power

-- Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities

-- Water, food and supplies for your pets

-- Supply of critical medicines and prescriptions


Carry a survival kit in your vehicle.

-- A first-aid kit

-- Thermal blankets or sleeping bags

-- A cell phone with an extra battery

-- A hand-crank light with solar charger and cell phone charger adapter

-- A windshield scraper with snow brush

-- Flashlight with batteries

-- Extra winter clothes including shoes, hats, gloves and hand warmers

-- Survival knife

-- Compact shovel

-- Traction aids (bag of sand or cat litter) and tow chain

-- Emergency flares

-- Jumper cables

-- Non-perishable food and bottled water

-- A laminated road map

-- A transportable non-restrictive heat source such as manufactured firelogs (firewood cannot be transported by law in some locations)

-- A non-liquid firestarter and waterproof matches

-- Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities, who might be travelling with you

-- Water and supplies for any pets travelling with you

McRoy also encourages families to use extra caution and follow proper safety guidelines when operating portable generators. McRoy recommends Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines on proper generator use, which can be found at: www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_generator_safety.pdf

For additional information on preparing for extreme winter weather, please visit:

· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/guide.asp

· Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) -- www.ready.gov/winter-weather

· Red Cross - www.redcross.org/

About Enviro-Log, Inc. 

Enviro-Log® is an eco-friendly, consumer products and recycling company headquartered in Fitzgerald, Ga. Enviro-Log is the largest waxed cardboard recycler in North America and the third largest producer of manufactured firelogs in the U.S. Its firelogs are made of 100 percent recycled materials and burn cleaner than wood while providing 50 percent more heat per pound.  Enviro-Log Firelogs can be purchased at select national retail locations including Home Depot, Kmart, Lowes, True Value, Rite Aid, Sears, Whole Foods, Walmart, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Shaw's, select Ace Hardware, Stop & Shop, Giant Foods, Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, Weis Markets, Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Blain's Farm & Fleet and many regional retailers throughout the U.S. Enviro-Log Firelogs are also available in Canada at Lowe's, Walmart, Target and Canadian Tire locations. Made from 100 percent recycled eco-friendly wax, Enviro-Log Firestarters offer an alternative to kindling, petroleum-based starter blocks, lighter fluids, and ethanol-based gels.

Enviro-Log Firestarters are available at select retail locations throughout the United States, including Ace Hardware, Lowe's Home Improvement stores nationwide, Rite Aid, The Home Depot (Northeast Region) and many regional grocery and hardware retailers such as Weis Markets, Stop & Shop, Giant Foods, and Blain's Farm & Fleet. More information on Enviro-Log can be found at www.enviro-log.net or by calling (866)343-6847.

Companies Fight "Seasonal Absence Syndrome" with Cold-Weather Wellness Tips --

Corporate wellness programs are urging employees to stay healthy when the weather turns cold; employers hope to stop cold and flu germs at the door

Facts:
· Cold-weather months typically bring a 46 percent spike in illness-related
employee absences, according to the DOL.

· Influenza is actually covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
under some circumstances, which can result in longer absences.

· Working parents have it tough: Children are absent a total of 22 million school days each year due to the common cold (about 3 days each), according to the CDC. And 17 percent of employees say they save their sick days for their children, according to ComPsych.

Corporate wellness programs are offering employees simple reminders for maintaining health as cold weather ˆ and "cold season" ˆ sets in:

· Hit the gym, even when the mercury hits zero. It's much harder to get out of a warm bed and get to the gym when it's dark and cold out. Resist the tendency to hibernate, make an "appointment" with yourself to exercise and consider using a light box to help you wake up, if a morning work out is your preference.

· Catch some rays. The sun can improve your mood by increasing serotonin levels which also increases energy. Again, resist the temptation to hibernate, put on a coat and take a walk during your lunch break. And spend time outdoors on weekends.

· Hydrate your body and your office. Drink plenty of water and use a humidifier if necessary. Heating systems at home and at work can dry out the air and your sinuses making you more susceptible to germs.

· Wash your hands. Think of all the doorknobs and desktops you touch in a day. It's a no brainer but worth repeating that frequent hand washing can lessen the likelihood of getting sick.

· Wash your **children's** hands. Parents especially should wash hands frequently, and consider keeping sanitizing wipes in the car and around the house to slow down the spread of cold germs if your child becomes sick.

· Get some shut-eye. Sleep deprivation is one of the easiest ways to weaken one's immune system. By getting enough sleep, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting sick.

· Manage your stress. Take a step back and think about what stresses you. What can you modify, improve or avoid, especially when it comes to holidaystressors? Can you change the way you respond to stress? Journaling, cutting back on commitments, taking time to relax and exercising your sense of humor are ways to cope.

· Stock up on fruits and veggies. Nutritious foods help fortify your immune system. Taking multi-vitamins and minerals, not just vitamin C, also assist your natural germ-fighting powers.

From Heatmax:

When winter comes around, the makers of HotHands warmers, offer the following tips for making outdoor recreation a safer, more enjoyable experience.

They are:

If you're going sledding, skiing, or hiking outdoors, you need to plan ahead. Many people head out without checking the weather forecast and end up underdressed for conditions. Anyone who spends time outdoors should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and how to treat it. Hypothermia is actually the #1 killer of outdoor enthusiasts.

There are three levels or stages of hypothermia. Mild hypothermia, which almost everyone has experienced, involves shivering and loss of complex motor functions, such as tying on a fishing lure. Moderate hypothermia includes possible irrational behavior, violent shivering, slurred speech, and loss of motor functions like tying shoelaces. The person also can have a 'don't care' attitude. When a person has severe hypothermia, which is immediately life threatening, they shiver in waves, can't walk and they also have pale rigid skin, dilated pupils and a slow pulse. The treatment differs somewhat for each level, but re-warming the person is critical. Most people are unaware of the fact that the majority of cases of hypothermia occur at temperatures from 30° to 50° F so it's not just bitter cold that can bring it on.

Being wet greatly increases your risk. Bring rain gear or a change of clothing if getting wet is a possibility. Windy conditions also increase heat loss, so dress accordingly.

HotHands are a great way to add extra warmth to your next outing. A company spokesperson, Jeff Manning, notes, "Our chemical activated warmers are safe and biodegradable and are priced to make it easy to stock up and have plenty on hand. We also make a line of watch caps and fleece accessories such as a balaclava, neck gaiter, headband, mittens, and 3-in-1 muff that are designed to hold our HotHands 2 warmers. All of these items can help you maintain your body temperature in critical areas like your head and other extremities, where you lose heat the fastest. The warmers and accessories really work great for times when you are out in the cold but can't move around much, like ice fishing or tree stand hunting. It is a good idea to take along snacks that are high in carbs or protein to help keep your 'inner furnace' working. Be sure and stay away from alcoholic beverages, as these actually increase heat loss."

For more information about Hothands or the company's other products, call toll free, 1-800-432-8629, or check web site www.heatmax.com.

WEB SITES FOR INFORMATION

Caving

www.cavern.com

The National Caves Assoication will give you state-by-state information on Ameerica's best subterranean adventure destinations, including links and contact phone numbers for each cave. You can also take a virtual tour of the NCAs caverns of the month.

Clutter Control

Dispose of the books you no longer need by donating them to a veteran's home, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, donation web sites such as booksforsoldiers.com or the Intrnational Book Project (intlbookproject.org) which sends textbooks, encyclopedias, and other reference books to needy schools, libraries, orphenages, and the Peace Corps. or checking the below web sites:

BookCrossing.com: This site registers books in its database and leaves it at train stations, hotels, coffee shops or other spots where it may find a new reader. You write the web site and the book crossing ID number inside the front cover. When a reader picks it up, he/she can log on and report it's been found. A bit strange, but supposedly, this works out fine --- you get rid of a book that's been taking up space, and someone gets a book to read for free!

Cash4Books.net: Sell your books online to this Oregon firm. All that's necessary to receive payment - if the books are sold - is to type in the ISBN number which is the 10- to 13-digit number on the back cover or on the copyright page. They specialize in non-fiction, text books and professional and technical books. You'll receive a free pre-paid mailing label. The company will pay you with a check or through PayPal.

Craigs.list: I've sold a few books on this web site. The good thing is you don't have to wrap and mail books if the customer lives near by. And, you'll know within a few days if you have a customer. No fee charged to sell - or buy.

eBay: Post the titles you want to sell, complete with the condition of each book.

Powells.com: Based in Portland, Oregon, type in your ISBN number, print out a pre-paid mailing label, and you'll receive credit at this store to purchase new books online through its web site.

History

Library of Congress materials: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ammemhome.html - The U.S. Library of Congress provides "a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from morethan 100 historical collections."

Farmers Almanac: http://farmersalmanac.com - Farmers Almanac. The online version of this eclectic collection of features and information.

World history: http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/a.html - Over 2000 files covering 3000 years of world history.

Agents, editors and publishers: http://everyonewhosanyone.com - A portal of links to agents, editors and publishers in the U.S., Canada and the UK

Flowers & Gardening

Wildflowers: www.wildflower.org : Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin. It's devoted to preserving our national heritage of native plants. Here you'll find comprehensive resources aimed at home gardeners and landscape professionals. Click "Explore Plants" to access the Native Plant Information Network which contains 16,000 images and detailed data on 6,000 native species. Search by such criteria as bloom time and color.

Maps

www.mapsonus.com Type in a road or town, and the site gives you a map of the area that's zoomable for miles in any direction. Or, plug in two addresses and get a plotted route between them down to the last turn, with printable directions and detailed maps.

On-line Maps: MyTopo.com - provides online maps, including the U.S. Forest Service Single Edition Maps, plus aerial photos for over 30 states.

Aerial Photos and More: http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/: Type an address, zip code, longitude and latitude or just click on a map of the United States and you'll get aerial photos or topographic maps. Great for potential homebuyers and includes a wealth of demographical information, such as population, average income, unemployment rates, crime rates and commute times to local business centers.

Directions to Directories: http://www.mapquest.com/ - Mapquest is a great site for explorers who choose to travel by car. Type in your starting point and destination addresses, and Mapquest responds with detailed directions, alternate routes, mileage and a map. The "Find it" feature lets you enter a business name or category and the city or town. Once you select and copy the address of the business, paste it into the address bar of the "Find a Business Near an Address" page and it will sort all the nearby hotels or businesses by distance.

Outdoor Recreation Maps Nationwide: www.dto.com - Discover the Outdoors has a great map feature for hunters and anglers. Click the "Where to Hunt" button near the top of the main page. Next, you'll see a map of the U.S. from which you can choose a state or region. The "Species Locator" button lets you select any game animal and then will give you range maps, guides and outfitters, links to local fish and game departments and hunting regulations. The locator map has the same features for saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, camping and shooting.

Every Trail Map in the World: http://www.skimaps.com/ - Finding the perfect ski destination can be tough. If you want to get the trail maps, along with terrain and condition summaries, check out this site. Every country with skiing has its own index of resorts. Each resort has a rundown on lodging, grooming, ticket prices, travel, daycare, lessons and dining. A list of the more popular areas have several trail maps posted that can give you a better idea of what the mountain is like. The site also would be useful for stories for which you need the logistics of a mountain, such as vertical drop, average snowfall, acres of terrain or snow reports.

Pets, Pet Supplies, Animal Information

PetSmart.com - information for all pets and pet supplies.

Drsfostersmith.com - Discounted vet-selected supplies and information on various animal-related topics

Phones

www.phonescoop.com - If you're looking for a new phone, this site, Phone Scoop, features detailed information of mobile phones so you can compare up to 20 phones based on over 60 attributes. The 'phone finder' tool will help choose the right one for your needs. Just select the features you want, download new ringtones for your cell phone, read the latest wireless news, check the listed questions, or use the quick-search option. The site also addresses market and industry news, articles on various mobile phone topics and a glossery of terms.

Trails

www.discoverytrail.org The endpoints are in Delaware and northern California, and this is the first coast-to-coast hiking, biking and horse-riding trail. This web site provides regional trail descriptions, contacts, points of interest and a photo gallery.

Travel

www.traveldocs.com Plan ahead by visiting travel Document Systems for information on any country's geography, cultural history, economy and government. Also the latest political climate, existing travel advisories and vaccination and visa requirements.

Travel Tips for Folks Over 50 (from a Senior's Guide to healthy Travel by Donald L. Sullivan).

1. Don't trust Over-the-Counter Drugs Overseas: You never know what you're going to get so carry the following basic OTC drugs with you when you travel -- Antacids, Anti-diarrheal; Sunscreen; Cough-and-Cold Medicine; Hydrocortisone cream; Motion sickness medicine; Antihistamines; Insect Repellent.

2. If You're Going to a Sunny Locale: Be sure to ask your doctor if any of your prescription medicines cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Many do.

3. Create A Simple "Medical Information Form" to Carry in Your Wallet or With Your Passport: The form should include - Your name, address and phone number; friends and relatives who should be contacted in an emergency; personal physician contact; dentist contact; current medications (both prescription and OTC); known drug and food allergies; name and number of medical insurance company.

4. TIP: Ask Friends Who Recently Visited Your Destination what they wished they had taken with them.

5. Remember: Medicare may not cover you while outside of the United States, Canada or Mexico.

6. Take More Prescription Medicine Than You Think You'll Need: An extra week's worth is a good rule of thumb.

7. Ask Your Doctor for Duplicate Prescriptions - in case your pills are lost or stolen.

8. Put Your Pills in Your Carry-on: Not your checked luggage. You're much less likely to lose them that way.

9. Adjust Your Schedule of Prescription Medicine To Account for Time Zones: An easy way to do this is to carry an extra watch or dual watch and keep it set to home time.

10. If You're Susceptible to Motion Sickness: The best location in a boat is amidships while the best location in an airplane is over the wing.

11. The 7 Top Triggers of Traveler's Diarrhea: Custards, pastires and other desserts; raw vegetables, cold platters and crudites; raw eggs or unpasteurized cheeses; tap water and ice cubes made from tap water; leafy green vegetables; raw shellfish; raw meat.

12. World's Best Medicine for Traveler's Diarrhea: Imodium AD

13. Sunscreen Secret: Shake the bottle well before applying. The active ingredient is suspended in a neutral lotion.

14. World's Strongest Sunscreens - Are made from one of these two ingredients - Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

15. Bug Bites and Bee Stings: Applying meat tenderizer (like Accent) is one of the best ways to reduce pain and swelling.

16. Sunstroke Secret: Eat bananas, tomatoes, and oranges which are rich in electrolytes to avoid dangerous dehydration.

17. Never Wear New Shoes: Especially hiking boots, on vacation. Take a few weeks to break them in first unless you want blisters.

18. If You Take Nitro For Your Heart: Make sure the pills or patches are fresh. They lose their potency over time.

19. If You Take Insulin: Carry a prescription for your syringes. Many states and countries will not sell them to you over the counter.

Travel Safety Tips from Jarrett Arthur

When overseas:

-Be wary of using credit cards at Internet cafes. These are hot spots for credit and identity theft.

-Check the certificates of the instructors before going on excursions particularly those in the ocean or that take you far from your hotel or ship.

-Learn to read signs and say important phrases in the native language. “Stop”, “Help”, and “Emergency” are all good to know. Signs in foreign languages are not always intuitive. A good travel guidebook should have some of these listed.

-Notify your bank and credit card agencies of the regions where you’ll be traveling.

About Jarrett Arthur:
Jarrett Arthur’s passion is helping others transform through self-defense training and education, with a particular focus on women, mothers and children. One of the highest ranking female Krav Maga black belts in the U.S., Jarrett comes armed with years of teaching experience and has taught hundreds of men, women, and children over the course of her 10 year career. Jarrett has been featured as an expert on national television shows including Ellen, Access Hollywood and Good Day LA, as well as in numerous publications including Fitness Magazine and The New York Times.

Weather

www.weather.com/travel and www.weather.com/driving Whether you're traveling by air or automobile, check either of these two web sites to learn the status of incoming flights for all major domestic carriers and the top 100 U.S. airports. You'll find the departure and arrival time, aircraft type, and weather conditions. Or, for a road trip, you'll find out if the road conditions are foggy, windy, or rainy, as well as a list of scenic drives, attractions, and camping facilities along the way.

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