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5 Ways to Live Well Through Winter

Each season has it’s own beauty and allure. Winter is a great time for cuddly clothes and rich foods. People tend to spend more time indoors and out of the sun during the fall and winter months, sometimes leading to agitation and depression. While too much sunlight can be damaging, in the right amounts, it lowers blood pressure and provides necessary vitamin D. Water is an essential part of well-being and promotes relaxation and mental harmony. In the summer and spring, more time is spent outdoors and the activities are more water oriented. Winter air is typically less humid, containing less moisture than the warm summer air which is why skin gets dry and cracked. Incorporating more water into your winter lifestyle is great for healthy living and can help beat the “winter blues.” Indoor Fountain An indoor fountain is a winter must. Mild dehydration is common during the winter months as heaters make the air even drier. Humidifiers are commonly used to add water into the air. Fountains are a better option, as they are less likely to cause mold in the house. Fountains moisturize the air at a more natural rate. Fountains can be easily managed indoors using a container fountain kit, which is a great DIY project. Container fountains can be as big or small as you like, and add great ambiance to a home. There are few things more relaxing than a fountain. The splashing and running of water brings tranquility and a bit of nature into the home. Indoor Garden Gardening is a great hobby, but it’s harder to keep it going during the winter once the ponds are shut down, and the plants are pruned and ready for the drop in temperature. Small gardens can be made inside and tended to year round. Indoor bulbs can be used for plants that need more a little more sunlight. You can add a health boost by adding microgreens and herbs to your indoor garden. Herbs need sunlight and will do great on a windowsill that receives a lot. Mint, marjoram, chives, sage, and rosemary are great to grow year round. Microgreens are extremely healthy and are fairly easy to grow. You can put them on salads, or in even in a sandwich for added nutrients. Drink Water An adult should ideally drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Drinking water is even more important during the winter months, as the heaters suck the moisture from the air. While the dehydration may not always be obvious, it can affect anxiety and concentration. Skip the juice and coffee, and drink a full cup of water each morning. We go easily eight hours without water while we sleep, and often do not replenish until lunchtime! The skin is brighter and more youthful when properly hydrated. Water helps detox the body and remove toxins. If you don’t like the taste of water by itself, you can add fresh fruit like apples, lemon, lime, or even mint to add a little bit of flavor. Reusable water bottles are great to have around, as they typically hold more water and remind you to drink. Drinking a glass of water before each meal can help prevent overeating. Exercise It can be hard to get motivated to exercise. It’s even harder when the snow falls, you can’t go for a run, and the streets are too slick to drive to the gym. Sweatpants are socially acceptable, and you generally have a few months to spare before you’ll have to put on a bathing suit. There are a lot of great indoor exercises like yoga that do not require a lot of space or equipment. Yoga is great for mental clarity and peace. You can stretch the body and tone muscle by adding pilates moves. A yoga ball, exercise bands, and ankle weights can help burn more calories. You can find videos online or even use an app on your phone to guide you through the exercise. Just starting with five to ten minutes a day can help create a new routine. Paint with watercolors Creative outlets are important to be well rounded. Art opens the mind, challenging it to think in a different ways. Watercolor paint is fun and the materials are less expensive than oils or acrylic. You can sketch a design beforehand and then fill the page with bright color. Watercolor painting can be hard to make sharp lines, as the colors bleed, but is nice for abstract paintings until you get the hang of it. Compared to other styles of painting and art, watercolors require a touch of gentleness and delicacy. Each stroke is deliberate and requires a little planning. You can mix colors, letting them fade into another creating flowers and other scenes of beautifully vibrant hues. The paint often comes in a tray with a lid, so it’s easier to transport and has less clean up, making it a great indoor option. It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget to take essential “me time” and focus on general health and well being. Life requires a balance of work and play, so the mind can rest and recuperate. Water is a natural healer, especially for the mind. Winter can be a very drying season, so it’s important to incorporate as much water into your life as possible.
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DIY Bird Feeder

Birds bring a yard to life, a blend of nature and beauty with their various personalities, colors, and sounds. They also enjoy munching on bugs, worms, even spiders, and help with pollination. You can watch them for hours, allowing your mind to still, as they flit from one tree to the next, communicating with one another. They induce a state of peace and relaxation, as watching them forces you to live in the moment. It can help ease stress and make your problems seem less monumental, observing how large and intricate the world truly is, while breathing fresh air. An easy way to attract birds and the occasional squirrel into your yard and garden is by adding bird feeders. They’re easy to maintain and easily double as decor. Birdfeeders can be as easy or complex as you would like. They can be made out of almost anything. It can be more cost effective to make a DIY seed, and you can make as little or as much as you need without worrying about it staying fresh. It’s great if you can use organic bird seed. Some pesticides and insecticides can be harmful to birds. Only use unsalted nuts and no sugar added dried fruits. Birds begin nesting in the late winter or early spring and into summer. You can add yarn, fabric strips, or straw into the feeder and they will delightfully use it to make their homes. Birds have a difficult time seeing windows and can be seriously injured if they fly into one. It’s recommended that you keep your birdfeeders at least 30 feet from any windows. Easy DIY Birdseed •sunflower seeds (less mess if you used shelled) •cracked corn •millet (preferable white) •shelled peanuts •dried fruit Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder •plastic bottle •two large wooden spoons •string or a wire Take a big plastic soda bottle and cut two holes across from each other. The holes should be around the size a quarter. Place the end of the spoon through one of the holes and have it come out the other. The bill of the spool will be where the birds stand to eat the seed. Cut two more holes for the other spoon, leaving a few inches in between and allowing the spoons to cross so two birds can feed at once. A string or wire can be used to hang the bottle. If using a string, a hole may need to be cut through the neck of the bottle. Fill the bottle up with seed and watch as the wild birds feast! Hanging Orange Bird Feeder This birdfeeder has a shorter shelf life because real oranges are used, but it looks really pretty hanging from trees. It’s really simple to make, all you need are oranges and string. Cut the orange in half and scoop out the fruit. Poke matching holes on both side of the rind. Tie the yarn to each hole and leave enough string so it can hang from the tree. The orange should make a bowl to hold the birdseed. Tie it at the top, fill it with birdseed, and hang whenever you want! Tea Cup Bird Feeder •teacup with saucer •strong glue •string, chain, or a wooden post Teacups are an underutilized decoration that add a great whimsical, Alice in Wonderland, vibe. There are a few different ways you can make this birdfeeder. You can glue the teacup to the saucer at the bottom, so it is resting upright, or you can have the teacup laying on it’s handle facing upwards. Wait for the glue to dry properly. If the teacup handle is facing upwards, you can easily tie a string to it so it can hang. If it’s glued at the bottom, you can crisscross two pieces of string underneath the saucer and tie them together at the top. If you have a spare post laying around, the saucer can also be glued to the post, which looks really cool if you have more than one! Mason Jar Mason jars can be easily turned into a birdfeeder with the help of a chick feeder. This chick feeder can be ordered online or found at your local tractor and feed store. If it’s fit for a jar, you can simply screw the mason jar on, turn it upside down and have an instant bird feeder. You can add string to hang it or glue it to a post or fence. Toilet Paper Roll or Pinecone A really kid friendly bird feeder involves peanut butter and either a toilet paper roll or a pinecone. Have the kids lightly smear peanut butter over a toilet paper roll or a pinecone and then roll it in a bowl of birdseed. The seed will stick to it very well and the peanut butter is an added treat for the birds. Use string or yarn to hang them, and you’re finished. It’s really easy and doesn’t need a lot of time or preparation. Bird feeders are great fun and can me made by upcycling many everyday household items. You’ll feel like you gained a bunch of new pets as you begin recognizing frequent patrons. Birds often are migratory, so don’t be alarmed if your favorites desert you for a few months. They’ll most likely be back at the same time next year. Bird feeders help in the wintertime as food becomes more scarce as snow falls and trees become more barren. Down the road you can even add a birdbath in case your little friends get thirsty!
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Plants that Flower in Winter

Spring and summer gardens are known for their bright colors and vivacity.  Fall has the beautiful changing leaves.  Winter has bare trees...and snow?  There are many plants that prefer actually prefer the cold weather and will bloom beautiful flowers amidst the falling snowflakes.  There are even a few that will die off in the warm weather and reappear every fall or winter, with very little maintenance.  Plants help bring a pond to life, adding color and fun.  In the fall, before the ground freezes, plant some winter blooming plants around the pond and as the temperatures drop, wait for the flowers to peek under the blanket of snow.  Your pond will look extra beautiful even if it’s shut down until spring.

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New Year’s Water Gardening Resolution

A new year is a fresh start, a chance to reflect and make improvements.  Resolutions are made (and hopefully kept!) as people promise more exercise and healthier lifestyle for the New Year.  This year try adding a water gardening resolution.  Think back to 2016, how was your water clarity?  Were your fish healthy?  How often did you test your water? (more…)
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How to Enjoy Your Pond Through Winter

The goal for a winter pond is to have healthy fish and good water quality, leading to a smooth spring transition.  A pond filled with fish, frogs, and snails requires a little extra care, but adds for even more fun in the spring with tadpoles and baby fish!  Depending on how harsh the climate is and the depth of your pond, you may decide to move everyone inside and close the pond for the winter.  If you do not have fish to worry about, the workload is a bit less and the pond can be shut down until the weather warms up in the spring.  Before the water freezes, don’t forget to add any lights or in-water decorations!  Here are three tips to keep your pond enjoyable throughout winter. (more…)
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DIY Indoor Winter Crafts

  Indoor crafts can help keep the sanity a when blizzard comes through, and a blanket of howling snow prevents you from leaving the house.  Everyone can get a little stir crazy, kids especially.  Kids can make gifts for grandparents or teachers, it’s a win-win.  You can also trick your kids into decorating your house!  Hopefully in the fall you started hoarding all of the Mason jars you could find!  Mason jars are a DIY staple and make everything better.  They immediately add a delightfully rustic and home-style feel. (more…)
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Decorate Your Pond for Winter

Ponds are often overlooked during holiday decorations in the winter, but can really make a yard come to life!  Ice skating is one of the best parts of winter, and if your pond is big enough, you have a free rink in your backyard with just a little bit of work!  There is something magical about the glistening of an icy pond in a sea of snow!  You can decorate whether you keep your pond running or shut it down until spring.   (more…)
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Winter Pond Tips

Winter means different things depending on where you live.  In Florida, it could mean wearing a tank top on Christmas and owning a few sweatshirts, but if you live in Vermont or Montana it could mean blizzards and snowshoes!  Ice is a main concern with water gardening in the winter.  If the surface water will freeze over or even get some ice, winter prep is needed.  Winterizing your pond is crucial for avoiding winter fish kills, ensuring your plants survive, and easing the transition into spring. (more…)
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3 Things You Should Know About Ponds In Cooler Temperatures

There are cold weather people who love big jackets and hot chocolate and there are warm weather people, who enjoy bathing suits and smoothies.  Similar to people, ponds can flourish in any season, but have special needs to succeed in the fluctuating temperatures.  During the warm weather, the main concern is algae blooms, water quality, and oxygen levels.  The three things you should know about ponds in cooler temperatures are the decline of good bacteria, vulnerability of fish, and potential runoff exposure. (more…)
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DIY Pinecone Centerpiece

Pinecones are often seen as nuisances, as anyone who has ever stepped on one while running through a yard barefoot can attest, but are great ingredients for DIY projects.  Pinecones are perfect for fall decorations because they smell wonderful, and are usually readily available as the leaves change.  Pinecones make beautiful and cost-effective centerpieces for the holiday season.  They can be rustic and classic, giving the table an earthy, but effortlessly elegant feel. (more…)
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