Camping With Hammocks

Hammocks provide a place to relax no matter where you may be. Sleeping under the stars in a hammock makes for the ultimate in camping beds. The dip of the design coupled with the slight movement of a hammock creates comfort that is unsurpassed.

Choosing a Hammock for Camping

The hammock you purchase for camping will depend on your camping style.

If you are an avid backpacker, you probably count grams and will want the lightest possible hammock. There are hammocks that are suitable for camping and weigh less than a pound. If you plan to camp out of your vehicle, the weight of your hammock won’t be as much of an issue.

There are hammocks that are designed specifically for camping. They are constructed to withstand weather, are durable, and easy to clean. A trained salesperson can help you choose the best one for you and the area you plan to visit.

Be sure to check the length of a hammock and the amount of weight it will support. There are ultra-light hammocks that will are as long as seven feet and hold up to 350 pounds.

Accessories

There are certain accessories that go along with hammocks and camping. These include:

  • Bug Netting – If you are going to be camping where there is the potential for mosquitoes, flies, spiders, or other insects, you will want to have bug netting. The netting for hammocks goes over you like a tent to keep bugs from landing on you.
  • Tarp or Tarpaulin – A hammock tarp will protect you from rain and other elements.
  • Suspension Straps – If you plan to suspend your hammock from a tree you will need suspension straps and hardware. You will find a variety of suspension systems that are available for hammocks. Popular systems for campers are those that a constructed to protect trees.
  • Hammock Stand – If you are camping out of your vehicle at a campsite, you may choose to use a stand versus suspending from trees.
  • Quilts – Most campers who sleep in hammocks don’t use a sleeping bag. Many prefer quilts. Due to the suspension of a hammock, you are exposed to airflow from above and below. Down quilts both under and above your body will help keep you comfortable in cool temperatures.

If you enjoy camping and have never tried it with a hammock, it’s worth giving it a shot! Hammocks and their accessories are lightweight and easy to pack, making them perfect for a camping trip. They fold up nicely for backpacking and take up minimal space in a vehicle.

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Three Ways To Show Your Appreciation To A Member Of The Armed Forces

Whether you have a family member who has served in the military or just want to do something to honor veterans or families of fallen soldiers, there are some great ideas that you will want to keep in mind. There are plenty of creative things that you can do in order to thank these military people for their service and letting them know that you care. With this in mind, consider these three ideas for honoring a military person. 

Help Out Those Who Were Injured

Society consistently pays homage to those who were killed in service, but a large number of soldiers come back from combat with injuries that may change their lives forever. For instance, more than 48,000 people came home from Iraq with injuries. If you want to show that you care, there are a number of organizations that you can join and support, either with your time or money, in order to assist those soldiers. Chances are good that you live near somebody who was injured in combat. Taking time out of your day to help them with things like yard work, or just to stop by and show that you care, may go a long way. 

Consider The Little Gestures

Even if you don’t go out of your way to volunteer, small gestures can go a long way. For instance, many people take the step of giving up their seat for a soldier or paying the tab for a soldier when out at a dining establishment. You can also take the time to buy some flowers and place it on the grave of a fallen soldier on Veteran’s Day, or just because. These small gestures are typically greatly appreciated by either the soldier or the family of a soldier. 

Buy A Custom Military Plaque

If you know a soldier that has returned home from deployment, or who received an award or promotion in rank, you can help them out by purchasing a plaque with their name, the reason for the presentation and their credentials. There are many companies that sell military plaques, such as The Trophy Case, and some companies make them with a host of different materials and with finely engraved letters and numbers. This can serve as an excellent keepsake for any military member that you present it to. 

Consider these three ideas and use them in order to show the military person in your life that you appreciate their effort and service. 

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Unconventional Methods For Quitting Smoking

It’s often been said that quitting smoking is one of the most dramatically positive goals you can give yourself for improving your health if you’re a smoker. There are some surprising approaches available now to make this easier.

Fast Benefits from Quitting

Despite the difficulties inherent with quitting, such as cravings and headaches, getting off of cigarettes is enormously beneficial in the end. This is due to the reduction of risks such as heart disease.

In fact, a recent study has shown that those who quit smoking have their risk of heart disease return to normal in just 15 years. This effect isn’t as dramatic if you smoke a pack a day for more than 32 years, but it does seem to be the case in all other situations. The trick is finding edges that can help you get over the barriers to quitting.

Use Social Media

Despite a lot of the hype around social media being potentially dangerous in various ways, studies have come out recently proving that using social media has surprising benefits. One of these is that those who are on social media sites such as Facebook have an easier time kicking their smoking habit.

The study looked at specific apps on Facebook that used social pressure to help users quit. After three months of using apps that had this approach, a full 32% of the smokers who tried it were able to quit. This is over twice as effective as common other approaches such as support gained through phone lines.

It’s easy to forget, but social pressure is a powerful force for changing behavior, and showing the world your attempts to quit is starting to look like a surprisingly effective method for those desperate for the health benefits.  

E-Cigarettes

It’s not often that people advocate trying to quit one drug habit by picking up another, but there’s some evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are a surprising exception. According to Addiction Journal, those who try to quit smoking without using a professional succeed 60% more of the time if they try e-cigarettes than they do when they don’t use e-cigarettes as an aid.

E-cigarettes like those from Vapoligy allow you to modulate the amount of nicotine in the vapor you breathe in, which can be a useful mechanism for weaning yourself off of the drug. This way, instead of trying to quit “cold turkey” you can slowly go down without losing the feeling of smoking, which is one of the factors that leads to craving cigarettes and failing to quit in the first place.  

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How To Display Your Family Treasures In Frames

Have you been going down memory lane and finding treasures that you want to display? Perhaps you have been looking at family picture albums, or you have been looking at old jewelry and other treasures. A perfect way to keep them safe and to display them is by placing them in special frames. Here are some ideas for you to make your display unique and lovely.

Pictures – A lovely way to display old pictures is to place them in frames of different shapes and sizes. Oval frames mixed with round, square and rectangular ones just add interest to a grouping. Select a vintage look for the frames. If they’re going in a formal setting, consider gold or deep brown for the frames. If they’re going in an informal setting, consider rustic wood, which would be charming.

Clothing – If you have a pair of your grandmother’s gloves or your grandfather’s bow tie, you are indeed lucky! Handkerchiefs, scarves, even baby bonnets are adorable when they are framed correctly. And, if you want to do a collage of different items of clothing, your custom framer will be able to group them in an artistic way. Consider using old-fashioned wallpaper as the background for these items.

Memorabilia – What better way to save things like letters, old recipes, awards and other certificates than by placing them in a frame? A darling touch is to pair a recipe with the picture of the person who wrote it and frame them together. The same goes for any other documents, as this personalizes the items that are being framed. Coordinate matting and frames to bring the pieces together.

Collectibles – Did somebody in your past save thimbles, spoons, or other collectibles? A perfect way to display them would be to place them in a shadow box frame. Even old wooden spools look adorable in a shadow box. Military badges, pins, earrings and other pieces of jewelry are other objects that would look nice in a shadow box. Even though they would look beautiful hanging on the wall, consider placing them on a coffee table or another table where they will become part of a display.

Gifts – Imagine how nice it would be for your family members to receive a valued piece of family history. Whether it is an old wedding invitation, a baby announcement, or a special letter, giving a framed family treasure will always be a sweet and appropriate gift for any occasion.

Contact a professional custom framing company, like Hoosier Highlander, today, and enjoy going down memory lane as you decide how you will frame objects from the past. 

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Selecting The Best Costume For Your Baby

If you will have an infant or smaller baby around Halloween time, you will most likely want to dress them up for the occasion. Picking out a costume is a fun task, but it should be done with your baby’s safety in mind. Here are a few tips to help you select a costume that your baby will be able to wear without injury or discomfort.

Selecting Material

When picking a costume for a baby, select a material that is soft and appropriate for the weather temperatures where you live. Smaller babies like the feeling of swaddling, so selecting a costume where they are wrapped tightly can give them the feeling of security. Look for a warm flannel sleeping bag costume so your baby’s legs are contained in the same area, helping to keep them warm. 

Breathable cotton material works best in warmer climates, as it is very comfortable and not restrictive in any way. Materials like lace or wool are itchy and irritating to a baby’s skin; it is best not to use them in a costume. Elastic can restrict blood flow, so it should be avoided completely.

Thinking About Convenience

When selecting a costume, think about the hassle of diaper changing. You will not want to deal with several layers of clothing to need to take off when changing your baby’s diaper, as your baby can become very agitated each time you go through the motions. Opting for a simple outfit with a single zipper works best. It can be easily removed and put back on without trouble. It will also be a comfortable outfit for your baby to wear when they fall asleep, as there are no attachments or embellishments getting in the way when your baby wants to rest.

Keeping It Simple

Stay away from buttons, clasps or strings when selecting your baby’s costume. These will pose as hazards if they happen to fall off of the costume. A simple pull-on outfit or zip-up costume works best for a baby, saving you from watching to make sure they aren’t pulling at buttons or eye-hooks. 

When selecting a head-piece, as many costumes have, pick either a costume with an attached hood or a separate hat. Look for a hat that is not restrictive and that is removed easily. Do not tie a hat on to your baby’s head, as this is very dangerous. A hat in a light material will keep your baby looking cute without harm.

For great infant costume ideas, contact a company like Easley’s Fun Shop.

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Grow Gorgeous Tomatoes With These 4 Smart Tips

Tomatoes can be a tricky crop for inexperienced gardeners. While some crops seem to grow easily under almost any circumstances, many varieties of tomatoes seem to require conditions to come together in just the right way, which can be intimidating if you’re unsure of your green thumb. Whether you’ve had tomato trouble in the past, or you just want to get it right the first time, these tips can help you harvest a terrific and tasty tomato crop.

Choose a Variety of Seeds

There are a great number of varieties of tomatoes, and you’ll increase your chances of a healthy crop if you don’t stick with just one. Some varieties will do better in your area than others. Vagaries in the weather may harm some varieties while strengthening others. If you’re trying to establish a tomato crop for the first time, choosing several different varieties increases your chances of ending up with something to show for your efforts. If you’re lucky, you’ll wind up with several tomato flavors to choose from.

Choose Companion Plants Wisely

Research the likely enemies of tomato plants and choose companion plants to combat the threats. For example, if you plant basil underneath the tomatoes, white flies will be attracted to the basil and leave your tomatoes alone. Worried about aphids? Plant garlic along with the tomatoes to ward them off.

Stake Them High

Getting your tomatoes off of the ground helps to protect them from picking up diseases, and it keeps them clean and pretty. What’s more, they’ll be easier to spray, monitor, and harvest when they’re off the ground. The simplest way to support your tomatoes off the ground is with metal stakes from a site like www.brendamichaelsburiedtreasures.com. Just drive the stake into the ground and tie the plant to it.

You can damage the roots if you’re not careful, so install the stakes when you’re transplanting the tomatoes. For best results, use metal stakes that are at least six to eight feet high and two to four feet apart. At the end of the season, just pull them up and put them away.

Prune Judiciously

Do you see non-fruiting branches on your plants? It’s in the best interest of your crop to remove these when you see them. You want the nutrients and energy that your tomato plants are taking in to go toward producing large, juicy fruit. Non-fruiting branches drain off those nutrients. Prune them away and watch your tomatoes blossom.

No one can guarantee that you’ll have a perfect tomato crop. However, following these tips will significantly increase your chances of bringing in tasty tomatoes this season.

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Provide Cool Bird Houses & The Birds Will Follow!

One of the first signs of spring is the welcome return of all the birds that flew away to spend winter in a warmer climate. If you are a backyard bird enthusiast who enjoys spending hours observing your colorful feathered friends, you know that making them feel welcome will increase your viewing pleasure over the coming summer.

One easy way to encourage birds to nest, incubate and rear their young in your yard is to supply them with bird houses and appropriate, readily-available nesting materials:

What Birds Want from Bird Houses

Whether ordering really cool bird houses online or building one of your own design, always consider the following needs:

  • The bird house must be durable and able to resist wind and rain
  • The interior should have some type of drainage holes to allow any rain that blows in to drain away easily
  • Perches should be omitted to make the birdhouse less accessible to predators
  • The interior should be easily accessed for cleaning each fall after the birds have moved away
  • It should be properly sized and situated according to the needs of the particular bird species it is meant to house

Nesting Materials

While most birds are very good at collecting their own nesting materials, offering them a supply of the ones they like can increase the chances of having them nest where you will be able to observe them easily. The following list will help you know what to provide:

  • Small, dry twigs and pine needles
  • Loose animal and human hair, cut into six inch strands (never include hair or fur that has been treated with chemicals or flea repellants)
  • Snake skins that have been shed
  • Bits of moss and fluff from weeds or plants (like cattails or pampas grass)
  • Fine straw and dry grass clippings (never include these if your lawn is treated with chemicals or weed killers)
  • Spider webs
  • Bits of fabric, thread clippings and shreds of cardboard
  • A small muddy area where birds can easily collect mud to help “glue” the nest together

Encourage nesting birds to help themselves to this nest-building buffet by placing small caches of these materials at several heights throughout the backyard. Place handfuls among dense tree branches, in hollow spots of tree trunks, at ground level around the roots, place some around the yard in clay pots or put some into mesh onion bags and hang the filled bags from trees or on the fence.

Making Nesting Birds Feel Safe

In addition to supplying attractive bird houses and suitable nesting materials, nesting birds will be more apt to choose your yard if the threat from predators is reduced. Promote a safe environment for them by keeping dogs and cats out of the yard. In addition to domesticated pets, squirrels, rodents and snakes also like to feast upon the eggs and young of wild birds, so be vigilant in keeping these pests away from your yard during the nesting season.

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