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Paw-some Presents to Gift Your Fur Babies This Christmas Season

 

Holiday gift ideas for furry friends

The holiday season is meant for spending time with your friends and family, including those of the four-legged variety. Whether you have a dog, cat, fish or other small pet, Christmas can serve as the perfect time to show your affection by showering him or her with thoughtful gifts.

When searching for the right gift for your furry friend, consider his or her likes and dislikes when it comes to treats, toys, and bedding, among other things, and look for gifts that align with favorite hobbies, such as fetch or taking walks, or things that can be easily personalized like leashes, beds and food bowls. Check with your local pet store, such as PetSmart, and inquire about some of its seasonal bestsellers like bedding or sweaters, for example, or recommendations for gifts that might be most appropriate for your dog or cat’s breed.

Optimal Comfort for Your Furry Friend

cozy Merry & Bright Tree Hut BedMake the holidays special, and extra comfortable, for your pet this season and beyond by giving him or her a warm place to rest with this cozy Merry & Bright Tree Hut Bed. The festive hut-style pet bed, which comes in the form of a colorful Christmas tree, provides plenty of seasonal cheer and features a removable pillow that can easily be washed or used as a separate resting spot.

 

Warm, Stylish Pet Attire

Top Paw Red Buffalo Checkered Fleece pet sweaterKeep your pet warm when the weather turns cold, and do so in style, with this Top Paw Red Buffalo Checkered Fleece pet sweater. Available in sizes to fit large and small dogs alike, the hooded fleece slips on and off easily and offers optimal comfort, warmth and fashion with a fabric fastener strap at the neck to ensure it stays in place.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for something wearable, playful or maybe a little of both, you can find more gift ideas for the four-legged loved ones in your life at petsmart.com.

Top 4 Ways to Share the Holidays with Your Pet

The holiday season is filled with traditions, seasonal meals and festivities.

With busy calendars, it can be easy to get caught up with a long to-do list when the true joy of the season is in creating meaningful memories with loved ones, including pets.

It can be easier than you think to share the season with your furry companions simply by incorporating them into your regular holiday activities. Consider these tips to include your pet this holiday and find more ways to indulge your pup at cesar.com.

1Enjoy the Season with a Stroll

Enjoy the Holiday Season with a Stroll with Your Pet Dog
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Many families brave winter weather to take in the holiday lights and decorations around their neighborhoods. Taking a stroll with family and friends can be a joy for not just you, but also your pup. Bundle up and soak in the season, and make sure your pet is ready to brave the weather with any necessary accessories.

 

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Easy Tips to Help Get Inspired to Giving Back this Holiday Season

African American Family Walking in Winter Snow During Holiday Season

 

For many, the holiday season sparks the spirit of giving – not only among family and friends, but to those living in need and the organizations working to help them.

If you’re committed to helping improve the lives of others in your community, it may mean thinking long-term.

After the lights come down and the New Year’s ball drops, the programs and services provided by most nonprofits and cause-based organizations continue to run year-round. Their ability to help those they serve not only relies on meeting a single season’s fundraising goals but also on the ongoing commitments from donors who provide the financial stability they need to plan and grow. These five tips can help your gifts provide long-term benefits for the causes you support:

 

Make a personal connection. Hand-deliver your donation to a local chapter and introduce yourself as a supporter. Even consider bringing your kids to inspire generations of giving. Inquire about how you can make the greatest impact and learn about ongoing events and opportunities to get involved.

Spread your contribution over time. If a strict monthly budget has you concerned about breaking the bank, consider signing up for a recurring donation to benefit those served by an organization like The Salvation Army throughout the year. A $25 monthly gift can feed 126 people over the course of one year or provide 11 nights of shelter for those in need in your community.

Young African American Girl Excited About Eating Healthy School LunchIntroduce co-workers to the cause. Many businesses support employees’ volunteer efforts and match contributions, which makes it easy for you to become a champion for cause-related work in your community. Gathering colleagues who share your passion for a cause is a team-building activity that allows you to build personal connections with people you might not have a chance to interact with regularly otherwise. Sharing the load also means you can take turns volunteering, attending events or making contributions for a larger overall impact than you could make on your own.

Give the gift of giving. Rather than giving material goods, consider a meaningful contribution in your gift recipient’s honor. Or share an experience to benefit the cause: spend date night volunteering or gift someone tickets to a nonprofit organization’s performance or gala event.

Pay it forward with younger generations. Introducing kids to the joy of giving can pay dividends for decades to come. Teach the little ones in your life about the big impact they can make by letting them get hands-on. Kids delight in getting to donate loose change, by dropping it in an iconic red kettle, for example (this year, you can even donate through Apple Pay or Google Pay) and you can take advantage of their interest by explaining the impact of their donation. An average of 82 cents of every $1 donated to The Salvation Army goes directly to help neighbors who need it most.

Donations to nonprofit organizations are tax-exempt no matter when they are contributed during the year.

Learn more about giving opportunities all year long by joining the Fight for Good at SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Refreshing for Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options

Refresh Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options

Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices.

However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed children consume an unhealthy amount of added sugar every day. Researchers found nearly all of the toddlers in their study ate an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar daily – the equivalent of a candy bar. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“Small children have small stomachs,” said Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, which care for more than 165,000 children around the country every day. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar. When children consume lots of sugar, their palates get used to overly sweet flavors. They may not accept other, less sugary flavors or learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fresh fruit.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the consumption of added sugar for children under the age of 2. Children ages 2-18 should aim for less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.

For families that want to cut down on the amount of added sugar in their diets, Hines recommends cooking more at home, relying less on processed, packaged foods and serving only water or milk for beverages.

Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.

Dip Smart

Herbs, spices, citrus and fresh fruit add flavor without relying on the added sugars found in many popular sauces and dips. Consider making your own low-sugar alternatives at home so your family can still enjoy favorite flavors like these:

  • Ranch Dressing – In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, buttermilk, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper for a kid-tested, nutritionist-approved take on a favorite dip. Serve over salad or as vegetable dip.
  • Honey Mustard – Popular on a variety of sandwiches and as a dip or salad dressing, combining plain yogurt with milk, honey and regular or Dijon mustard can create a more family-friendly version.
  • Teriyaki Sauce – Perfect for serving with healthier options like lo mein, chicken wraps or fried rice, a homemade version can be created using water, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and cornstarch slurry.

Swap Out Syrup

Pancakes are a popular breakfast option at KinderCare centers and in many homes, but even the healthiest whole-grain pancake becomes a plateful of sugar if it’s doused in syrup. Hines recommends these toppings that are sweet and savory without the added sugar:

  • Nut butter or seed butter (such as peanut, almond or sun) and banana slices
  • Warm fruit compote (mix of warmed berries)
  • Applesauce (no-sugar-added variety) and cinnamon
  • Nut butter swirled into plain yogurt; mix in 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract to add a sweet flavor

Snack Sweet

Opting for less added sugar doesn’t mean avoiding sweet snacks altogether. These alternatives can still help satisfy those cravings:

  • Applesauce with baked cinnamon pita triangles for dipping
  • Toast topped with nut or seed butter, smashed banana and sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Frozen fruit smoothies
  • Plain yogurt topped with granola, nuts, seeds or fruit
  • Apple slices with nut or seed butter

For more ideas to introduce your children to healthy habits from a young age, visit kindercare.com.

EDOBIO: The Japanese Ancient Beauty Ritual

EDOBIO Beauty Products

EDOBIO is an all-natural skincare brand that focuses on basic and minimalistic beauty routines.

Tracing back to its Japanese roots, the name EDOBIO encapsulates the company’s inspiration from the “Edo” period, along with the biotechnology techniques used to develop each product line.

The History Of EDOBIO

Ukiyo-e paintings in ancient Japanese culture traditionally display women with glowing skin. These historical block prints were a popular expression of art within this time, influencing the standard of beauty for hundreds of years.

The gorgeous complexions of these Japanese beauties came from the natural skincare ingredients that emerged during the Edo period.

EDOBIO has brought back these simplistic routines, transforming them into modern-day solutions for many common skin problems.

The EDOBIO Standard

The EDOBIO brand focuses on creating new things that are useful for the world. Through inspiration from techniques that have been effective for hundreds of years, each product conforms to a specific set of standards.

EDOBIO strives to be open and transparent with every product sold, giving customers valuable insight into how they are created and what ingredients are used in the process. Staying true to the brand’s roots and inspiration, each item is made with detail in Japan.

Friendly to both people and the environment, EDOBIO commits to both plant-based ingredients and innovative techniques that positively disrupt the world of skincare.

Due to the fully natural ingredients that are used in the formula of each soap, EDOBIO products maintain their quality and safety without the need for preservatives and other unnatural elements.

EDOBIO Products

Ukiyoe Soaps

The Ukiyoe Soap collection is available in three varieties: Hana, Hane, and Neko. Using premium natural ingredients, along with specially developed BiProGE Lactic Acid Bacteria, this is a mild soap that is gentle on the skin while still providing effective results.

This particular soap also comes in a travel size, wrapped in clear packaging instead of the artful boxes used for full-sized Ukiyoe bars.

Moisturizing Souffle Soaps

The Moisturizing Souffle Soap collection consists of the proprietary BiProGE Lactic Acid Bacteria as a main ingredient. This particular soap acts as a deep-cleaning agent for all skin types, leaving behind a soft moisturized finish.

Thoughtful Gifts

EDOBIO offers customers the opportunity to bring traditional Japanese cultural elements into the home with special gift sets. These include soap dishes with printed art, a foaming net, and a bar of Ukiyoe soap, all within a unique collectible package.

Carefully Selected Ingredients

EDOBIO is passionate about skin that is healthy on the inside and out. The ingredients used across each family of skincare products provide glowing results that go deeper than the surface.

BiProGE is an original ingredient, made of lactic acid bacteria and yeast, that is active and present in all EDOBIO products. This natural yet simple element combats dryness and blemishes to create immaculate results.

Olive fruit oil is a substance that is similar in texture to human skin. This ingredient is incorporated in EDOBIO soaps as a moisturizing agent that also works to regenerate skin cells.

Contributing to the moisturizing properties of EDOBIO products, honey is a desirable ingredient due to the vitamins and minerals that it contains, as well as its ability to blend with the skin flawlessly.

Explore EDOBIO Products at www.edobio.com

Recipe: Arugula Salad with Steakhouse Pork Tenderloin

Recipe: Arugula Salad with Steakhouse Pork Tenderloin | Family Life Tips

Arugula Salad with Steakhouse Pork Tenderloin

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 Smithfield Steakhouse Seasoned Pork Tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups arugula or fresh spinach, washed
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Fuji or other sweet red apple, cored and thinly sliced into half moons
  • salt (optional)
  • pepper (optional)
  • blue cheese salad dressing
  1. Season pork medallions with chopped rosemary. In skillet over medium heat, heat oil until hot.
  2. In skillet, cook meat 3-4 minutes per side until medallions are browned and internal temperature reaches 145 F. (Check the internal temperature of meat using a meat thermometer) Remove pork from pan and let stand 3 minutes.
  3. In bowl, toss arugula, onion and apples; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Divide salad into four portions and arrange pork on top of greens. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

Top 4 Ways Pets Improve Overall Well-Being

Top 4 Ways Pets Improve Overall Well-Being

4 Ways Pets Improve Overall Well-Being

 

Self-care is an important piece of maintaining a happy and healthy life, and adopting a pet can be a beneficial way to improve overall well-being in a number of ways.

From reducing loneliness to keeping people more active, the perks of pet ownership can be felt both physically and emotionally, and are nearly impossible to quantify. Plus, adopting a pet can be a feel-good experience, because you’re not only getting a new best friend, you’re helping an animal in need find a loving forever home.

Consider some of these ways adopting a pet can improve overall well-being. For more information on the benefits of pet adoption, visit Pedigree.com.

1Pets Increase Physical Activity

Pets Increase Physical Activity
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Adopting a pet offers owners a chance to improve daily exercise habits. From taking walks and playing in the yard to having a new partner for hikes and visits to the park, dog owners have numerous opportunities to be active with their four-legged friends. Cats also need playtime each day, providing cat owners with a designated time to get active while bonding with their pets.

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How-to Crafting Idea: Create Spooky Halloween Soup Cans

Spooky Halloween Soup Can Craft

Halloween Spooky Cans

Get the kids involved with Halloween decorations this year with these easy-to-make “spooky cans” resembling a bat, Frankenstein and a mummy.

For more craft ideas, visit our Crafting Section.

1Spooky Bat

Spooky Soup Can Bat Halloween Craft Idea
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  • 1          soup can
  • 1          paint brush
  • 1          bottle black acrylic paint
  • 1          white fabric marker
  • 1          black foam sheet
  • scissors
  • 1          white foam sheet
  • 1-2       hot glue sticks
  • 1          hot glue gun
  • 2          googly eyes
  1. Remove label from soup can.
  2. Using paint brush, paint soup can with black paint. Let dry. Apply more coats, if needed, drying between each coat.
  3. Using white fabric marker, draw bat wings and bat ears on black foam sheet. Using scissors, cut out bat wings and bat ears. Set aside.
  4. Using scissors, cut two small triangles from white foam sheet for bat fangs.
  5. Load hot glue stick into gun and allow to heat up. Apply glue on large edge of bat wing and press onto soup can. Repeat with second wing. Apply hot glue to bottoms of bat ears and apply to front inside of soup can. Apply hot glue to bottoms of bat fangs, turn upside down with points toward bottom and press onto soup can. Apply hot glue to backs of googly eyes and press onto soup can.

 

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Recipe: Last Minute Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Recipe: Last Minute Pulled Pork Sandwiches | Family Life Tips Magazine

A Flavorful Family Sandwich That Makes a Great Meal

If your family struggles to make meal time happen, try creating kid-friendly recipes that bring everyone together at the table. For example, these Pulled Pork Sandwiches from “Family Table by Robert Irvine” can help you incorporate assistance from your kids to nourish both mind and body while committing to the efforts of the National Family Meals Movement, created by the Food Marketing Institute Foundation, to reap the benefits of enjoying more meals together at home.

Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches | Family Life Tips MagazineLast Minute Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • 1 1/2    pounds pork shoulder
  • 2-3       whole cloves
  • 2          tablespoons smoked paprika or smoky spice rub
  • 1          red onion, sliced thin
  • 1          cup water
  • 6          ounces barbecue sauce
  1. Stud pork with cloves and rub with seasoning blend.
  2. Place roast in slow cooker and top with onions. Cover pork with water and slow cook 8-10 hours.
  3. Remove pork, discard cloves then drain fat and water. Allow pork to cool then shred by hand or with fork.
  4. Return meat to pot and add barbecue sauce. Heat 1-2 hours. Serve alone or on roll.

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