6 New Things To Try This Fall

1154833112559_autumn_sinvitationii2476flad001Today begins my favorite season of the entire year! There is nothing like the season of fall. The turn of leaves, the cool, crisp air, football games, costumes, Thanksgiving, and the list could go on and on. Autumn brings a renewed sense of focus and excitement, with school starting and the hot days of Summer disappearing. So here are some new things that you can try this fall to make it memorable and fun for you and your family.

1. Go for walks together-Get outside for winter hibernation and enjoy the changing colors of the trees.
2. Go see a football game-An essential American experience. Nothing beats the smell of hotdogs and BBQ, and the visual potpourri of a football game and all its excitement. A great family outing.
3. Paint pumpkins together-Go to a local store or pumpkin patch and pick out that perfect pumpkin. Take it home and enjoy carving or painting fun or scary faces for Halloween.
4. Play in the leaves-As the leaves fall and pile up in your yard, look at it not as a chore but a chance to have fun and play in the crisp, crunchy leaves.
5. Have Thanksgiving Dinner with family-Fall Holidays are a chance to reconnect with family. Don’t miss the opportunity to create memories and bonds around the Thanksgiving table.
6. Serve those who are homeless and cold-As you enjoy all of the wonderful parts to the fall season, don’t forget about those who are without a home or family. Bring the homeless hot chocolate or warm blankets to keep them warm through the winter.

Even if you’ve done this things before, all of these activities are great things to do in the season of fall. Enjoy the outdoors, the sights, sounds and smells, and connect with your family and help those in need.

Stay tuned on hackalife for some great fall projects and tips on how to save money and enjoy life to its fullest!

5 Tips For Getting Patio Furniture Winterized

812948_94717934As the weather gets cooler its time to think about putting your patio furniture away. You still probably have a few weeks of intermixed good weather, so don’t put them away too soon but be prepared by mid October to spend a day or two getting them ready for storage.

1. Clean off accumulate grime. Wash off any dirt which has built up over the summer and fall with soapy water and a sponge then rinse the furniture and let it dry thoroughly. It’s best to do this on a fine and if possible, windy day so that the furniture can dry off easily. Power wash wicker with a gentle spray to remove the dirt from loose weave.

2. Clean cushions and pads. If possible machine wash the cushions and pads from the chairs. You can also sponge clean them if the care instructions prefer you don’t machine wash them. Always store you cushions and pads indoors, in a place that is not damp, which could cause mildew problems.

3. Bring umbrellas indoors. Clean your umbrella on a nice day and leave to dry outside and then bring indoors.

4. Patio furniture storage. Move what you can indoors and for those items that stay outdoors, make sure they are completely covered with all weather coverings.

5. Check your furniture regularly. If you do have some furniture that will be staying outside make sure and check on it regularly. Its a good idea to brush snow and remove ice from your stored furniture, so that the weight of either don’t cause damage.

Tip From HackALife: Give Your Own Kids Flouride!

superstock_1555r-33033I was talking with a teacher yesterday who said that her school district is initiating a new program in their school district for elementary kids. Each day the teacher is to administer flouride pills to each student who’s parents consent to this program. That’s right, teachers are now brushing kids teeth for them. So now, not only are teachers asked to teach classrooms that are too full, be the behavioral, social, and educational guide for kids, discipline them when there parents don’t at home, but they also have to help them with dental care? At least students won’t be missing school home with ‘dental problems’.

In our fast-paced society, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that many parents send their kids to school and hope that in twelve years they turn out to be good people, hoping that they are ‘raised right’ at school, with no intention of raising the kids themselves. While hopefully most of you are actively involved in your kids’ lives, here are three ways you can find out more about what they’re doing at school.

1. Ask them questions: When your child comes home from school or you come home from work, sit down with them, share a healthy snack, and ask them about their day. Don’t just ask in passing and accept ‘fine’ as an adequate answer, give your child time to share what they learned that day and hear about what they went through and what they learned.
2. Help them with their homework: One of the most dreaded fears of a parent is being stumped on their children’s homework, but its the thought that counts. Taking time to work with your child gives them insights into what they are learning, let’s the know that you care about their education, and gives you a chance to motivate and encourage them when they ‘get it’.
3. Go to conferences and school events: If you never enter into your child’s world at ‘school’ there can be a disconnect for your child when it comes to home and school. Walking your kid to school, seeing their classroom at conference time or open house, and being a part of special school events, gives your child a chance to show you their world at school. Sharing those things with you makes the comfortable to open up more and more about what they are learning and experiencing.

Oh, and one more thing, give your kids flouride pills so that teachers can be teachers and not dental hygienists!

Humane Animal Control-Remembering Mr. Mole

mole_3aA year ago today I wrote a post about humanely hunting Mr. Mole. As fall nears and you’ve finally gotten your garden and lawn looking just the way you want it, you may have already dealt with rodents and pests. But as the weather turns, more and more animals are trying to come inside to your nice, warm living rooms. Spiders and bugs are migrating into our house and my wife is not pleased. I am also keeping an eye out for mice and rats in our garage, just in case the turning whether drives them into seek shelter. But should we destroy these animals for seeking shelter? I would suggest not. Schools and large buildings can often experience bigger issues with animals indoors than homes do. Here are some recommendations on how to humanely handle animals in schools:

Effective, humane methods of rodent control do not target the animals themselves but instead target the conditions that attract the animals to certain areas. Taking away their sources of food and shelter is the only sure way to deter these animals. Killing them will only cause others to move into the newly formed “vacancy.” The problem of rodent intrusion is largely preventable by maintaining clean, sanitary conditions and plugging holes or cracks where mice or rats might enter a building. Here are a few simple tips that your school’s staff can follow to prevent rodent infestations:

  • Deter rodents from places that can’t be mouse- or rat-proofed with a mixture of salad oil, garlic, horseradish, and cayenne pepper. Let this sit for four days, then strain it into a spray bottle and spray it on the desired area. Cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil work well, as do moth balls.
  • Keep counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets free of crumbs or food droppings.
  • Keep piles of wood, bushes, and other plants about 1.5 feet away from the school in order to allow a clearing between them and the building.
  • Restrict rodents’ access to other sources of food, such as birdfeeders, pet food, garden seed, and fertilizers.
  • Seal holes larger than 0.25 inch in diameter, cracks in the walls and floors, and spaces around doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures.
  • Store all food and garbage in well-sealed containers made of materials that can’t be gnawed through, such as metal, ceramic, or glass.

If traps are needed to remove mice or rats, humane box-type traps are available from humane societies and hardware stores and at PETACatalog.com.

3 Back To School Tips

image003As the first week for many across our country comes to a close, the first few nervous days are over. But as the weekend comes and next Monday hits, the reality that school will be here for a while will sink in. Here are some tips to get over the summer jet lag and propel yourself into a successful year.

1. Be adventurous: When it comes to meeting new people and learning new things, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Trying new things and branching out into new experiences provides you with a rich and healthy education and experience. Sit next to someone new in the cafeteria, sign of for an extra curricular activity. Don’t be afraid to step out into the unknown.

2. Be healthy: Gone are the days when you can sleep in until 11, or stay up until 2. Make sure you are going to be early enough to get at least 8 hours of sleep. I’m a big fan of high schools bringing in nap time as an important after lunch period, but it doesn’t look like it’ll happen this year, so make sure you get good rest during the week. Eat a good healthy breakfast and drink lots of water during the day, you’ll be healthier (and get more bathroom breaks too)!

3. Stay on top of your homework: You are starting the new school year with a clean slate. Now is the time to be proactive and develop good work habits that will sustain you through the rest of the year. Don’t allow yourself to get behind on homework or you’ll spend all year catching up. Finish homework early on in the day so you can enjoy your evenings at home.

If you will committ yourself to these things, you will experience a great year of school! Other back to school tips? Let us know about your tips in the comments section below!

A Real Leader

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

mother-theresaLeadership is one of the most sought after, yet elusive, attributes in life, sports and business. There are different leadership styles, personalities and positions. Leaders hold an important key to the movement and success of whatever it is they have been called to lead.

I think back to the different coaches that I have had in my life, leaders in the game of football, and how they have employed different leadership styles and tactics in order to breed success in their players and team. What I found is this: the most successful leaders, were men and women who inspired within me the desire to be successful. They did so, not be yelling or forcing me into performance, but by modeling and serving those they were in charge of leading.

Some leaders use fear as their motivator, threatening, yelling or attempting to scare employees or players into action. But their yelling turns to noise and their fear turns to dust when they lose the respect of those they are to lead. But those who lead with other’s best interest in the forefront, those leaders that serve the people they are responsible for earn the respect and loyalty of those around them. These types of leaders have people they will actually follow them, not out of fear or coercion, but ought of love and loyalty.

Each of us is a leader in some facet of our lives, whether its in business, sports, family or some other area. I would suggest and challenge each of us to consider how we might serve those we are leading and then watch and see the respect and support that is gained by these selfless service.

7 Ways to Cure Those Butterflies in Your Stomach

273179_6525Do you get nervous when you are going to do something new? Starting school, first day of work, or learning how to do a new task can all cause a persons stomach to become all tied in knots. If you are that kind of person who’s stomach seems to become its own personal barometer for what you are feeling and butterflies take up residence in your stomach more often than not – then here is some helpful ways to cure those butterflies.

  1. Deep Breaths – On your way to the meeting or new situation, breath deep, sit back, relax and clear your mind of anything that will take you away from your deep breathing and just breath. In and out, just breath.
  2. Eat Healthy – Keep your mind producing its own natural feel good chemicals by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grain foods, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine and exercising regularly.
  3. Relax – Practicing relaxation techniques, meditation or even taking time for a regular walk on the beach can all help to reduce stress levels and facilitate a feeling of calm – helping us to wind down and relax.
  4. Try Herbs – These herbs might help to alleviate some of those anxious feelings: bugleweed, chamomile, feverfew, lemon balm, mullein and skullcap. These herbs will help to calm an upset stomach: catnip, chamomile, fennel, peppermint and willow bark.
  5. Be Prepared – There is no worse feeling than to know that you are not ready for your presentation. This is where the standard saying “Practice, Practice, Practice” comes in. Being prepared will help you recover better if you do make a mistake.
  6. Yoga – The asanas in yoga are what cleanses the neurons, which in turn allow the nervous system to react carefully to stress.
  7. Meditation – The benefits of meditation are manifold. When practicing meditation, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, and you sweat less.

Anit-Aging Skin Care Help

1039791_85503515Do you have age spots that seem to get darker by the day? Buffy or dark circles under your eyes that don’t seem to go away? Winkles that seem to be getting worse even though you use anti-aging creams? Do you have questions about what the best treatment for your aging face is? Each part of our body and each beauty concern we have needs different care, along with the fact that each persons skin ages differently. Below are some helpful tips to help you get a hold on your aging face and slow down the process.

Wear sunscreen! If you do only one thing for your skin this would be your best bet.

Bags under the eyes – This might be a clue that you are not getting enough sleep. If your eyes look different with different activities you may want to take note of what might be causing it. Drinking alcohol before bed may be a factor.

Dark circles under the eyes – If it is caused from a deficiency of vitamin K try using a cream with vitamin K and retinol, they significantly reduce the puffiness and discoloration in most patients.

Age Spots on your face and neck – Age spots and freckles don’t appear overnight so getting them to fade wont happen overnight either. Your best bet is to use Hydroquinone cream for lightening skin discolorations. Another more expensive option is an intense pulsed light laser, costs about $200 a visit.

Neck Wrinkles – The cheapest bet would be to use the same anti-aging treatment you use on your face, this will definitely slow down the aging process. To tighten and smooth sagginess on the neck, dermatologists often recommend a Thermage treatment, which uses radio frequency to heat the skin but costs about $2,500 a treatment.

10 Helpful Ways to Save Money

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  1. Cancel the Newspaper – If you get the newspaper for the coupons, consider getting the Sunday paper only and save about $10 each month.
  2. Turn off the AC or Heat (depending on the season) – This can actually save you upwards of $70 each month in the peak of the season.
  3. Stop buying Lottery Tickets – Lottery tickets if bought on a weekly basis can really cause damage to your checking account.
  4. Start renting movies – Movie theater tickets are around $10 per person making a night out at the movies a big expense. Renting a movie is around $4 and only $1 if you use Redbox.
  5. Try Camping – Instead of staying at hotels, try camping, its great for bringing families closer together in both sense of the word.
  6. Learn to Bake – If you commonly buy cookies, cakes or pies, try making your own and save on the high prices of baked goodies at the grocery store. You will find homemade tastes better too!
  7. Make your own coffee – Stop those daily trips to Starbucks or coffee shop of choice and start making your coffee at home. The savings will astound you – $70 a month for latte, $30 for drip.
  8. Disconnect your land line – If you already use a cell phone and your land line usage is pretty low, try disconnecting your land line and using only your cell phone.
  9. Ride your bike or carpool whenever possible – Its not always the most convenient way to get around but it will save on gas and long term expenses for your car.
  10. Cook at home – Not only does this save money but it is much better for helping you maintain a healthy weight too.

Instructables – Back to School Help

1184079_14265133If you have never visited Instructables, you are missing out. Instructables is a web-based documentation platform where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others. You have to create a free account to post a new Instructable or to comment on someone-else’s Instructable.

So whats great about Instructables is that you can pretty much find anything you are looking for. If you are looking for back to school help, look no further. Instructables has got what you need.

Paperbag Book Cover – Save money and use a paperbag to cover your books. You can make the cover your own by decorating it with stickers and colored pens. If you don’t happen to have any tape you can try this version too –  No Tape Book Cover.

Recycled Juice Pouch Lunch Bag – This is an easy to make lunch bag, especially if you use those little capri sun juice pouches.

Duct Tape School Folder – A folder made completely from duct tape. What could be better?

How to Customize a Binder – Pick up a binder at your nearest goodwill and customize it with a bandana or your favorite material.

Pencil Tube/Holder – A pencil tube made out of a mailing tube – how cool is that?

Flash Drive Safety Case – Easy to make safety case made from an Altoids tin.