Tag: advice

Simple Safety Protocols That Can Protect Hunters

Hunting is big business in North America. In 2017, more than 15 million people hunted in the United States. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that sportsmen and women contribute nearly $9.4 million to the economy every day.

Millions of hunters take to forests and fields every year. Seasoned hunters and novices alike can benefit from revisiting some safety procedures before their first outing this season.


Weather should be a consideration whenever people spend a significant amount of time outdoors. Hunters typically leave before dawn and arrive home after dusk. Hypothermia is a very real risk for hunters who may be out in snow or wet conditions. It’s possible to get hypothermia by overdressing as well. Sweating and then being exposed to dropping temperatures puts people at risk for hypothermia. Hunters should dress in layers with moisture-wicking materials and a water-repellant outer layer. In addition, check the weather forecast before heading out as a last second precautionary measure.

Firearm Safety

Firearm safety is a critical component of safe hunting. Hunters use rifles, shotguns and other firearms. Each gun is different, so hunters need to familiarize themselves with new firearms before using them. The following are some additional firearm safety tips, courtesy of State Farm Insurance and Southern Land Exchange.

· Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.

· Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

· Only point at what you plan to shoot.

· Clearly identify your target and what is beyond it.

· Fire within the zone-of-fire, which is the 45-degree area directly in front of each hunter.

· Firearm chambers should be emptied when guns are not in use.

· Use appropriate ammunition.

· Never modify or alter the gun.

· Never cross a fence, jump a ditch or climb a tree with a loaded gun.

· Never rely on a gun’s safety.

Additional Safety Tips

Hunters should always let others know where they will be when leaving in the morning. If something should happen, people back home can alert authorities if something goes awry. Always check equipment and maintain it properly. Equipment should include gear colored in hunter’s orange. That extends to dogs if they are accompanying hunters on a trip. This makes hunters more visible to other hunters. Also, carry a first aid kit, a charged mobile phone or a satellite phone to maintain contact with others in case of emergencies.

These are just some of the safety protocols that should be followed when hunting. Non-hunters should exercise caution during hunting seasons, particularly when entering forests and areas that hunters frequent.

Road Trip Planning Pointers

Travelers take to the open road for any number of reasons. When traveling on a summer vacation, families may find it’s more affordable to travel by car than to pay for airline tickets for parents and kids. Others take driving vacations because they afford more freedom to move at one’s own pace than air or train travel. Whatever it is that motivates drivers to hit the open road, there’s no denying such trips are more enjoyable when drivers make an effort to plan ahead. With that in mind, travelers can keep these road trip planning pointers in mind.

Choose A Nearby Destination

Driving to a faraway place may conjure romanticized visions of scenic roadways and heartwarming roadside cafés, but that may only appeal to drivers like retirees who have all the time in the world to get from point A to point B. Family travel is often dictated by how long parents can get away from the office, and in such instances shorter tips make more sense than spending days in the car. In addition, driving tends to be the more economical option when travelers are only going short distances. Parents may think driving to a destination that’s a couple of days away from home by car is more economical than flying, but it’s best to crunch the numbers first. The cost of hotels, meals and gas to get there and back may negate the cost savings of driving over flying.

Develop An Itinerary

A trip itinerary does not have to be strictly followed, but it can provide some structure and help ensure drivers get to spend as much time at their desired destination as possible. Identify sights to see and restaurants to visit along the way, which can provide a welcome respite from sitting in the car. Do your best to stick to an itinerary that keeps the car moving toward your ultimate destination.

Read The Room

Who’s going to be in the car also merits ample consideration when planning a road trip. Parents know that young children will need to be accommodated with some in-trip entertainment to make any lengthy road trip more enjoyable for all. But adults also may require some extra creature comforts and accommodations. For example, seniors about to embark on a road trip can identify pitstops along the way where they can use the restroom and even stretch their legs. And if the family pet is coming along, periodic pitstops for Fido to stretch his legs and burn off some energy will be necessary as well.

Ensure You Have Support

Many automotive insurance providers offer roadside assistance to policy holders. Such plans are generally affordable and can provide a safety net for drivers taking road trips. They can be especially helpful when visiting remote locales. If an insurance provider does not offer a desirable roadside assistance plan, consider a membership in an automotive club like AAA.

Planning is a vital component of a successful and memorable road trip, which is something travelers can keep in mind regardless of where they’re going.

Factors To Consider Before Leasing A Car

No two drivers are the same, and that reality is evident when motorists look for a new vehicle. Some drivers may want a flashy sports car, while others hope to get a great deal on a spacious minivan. Drivers also may be looking for different types of deals when visiting a dealership.

Leasing was once a gateway to a new car for millions of drivers. However, the automotive experts at Edmunds note that leases made up 18 percent of transactions involving new vehicles in the middle of 2022. That figure represented a 27 percent decline from a year earlier. That decline could be a byproduct of several variables, including the value of trade-ins. Edmunds notes that the average trade-in value of cars leased in 2020 is 19 percent higher than the predetermined residual value, which means it makes sense for some motorists to purchase their vehicles at the end of a lease rather than turn it in.

Despite the decline in leases, the option to lease can still make sense for some drivers. With that in mind, individuals who are considering leasing can consider these factors to ensure they make the best decision possible.

· Trade-in value: As noted above, the value of trade-ins is very high. However, that value could be vulnerable to considerable fluctuations. The spike in average trade-in values was related to supply-and-demand issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of those issues have lingered, which means the supply of new vehicles is still lagging with some manufacturers. With fewer new vehicles to sell, the value of vehicles coming off a lease could be much higher than the predetermined price lessees would pay to purchase the vehicle outright when their lease expires. Drivers may still prefer leasing to purchasing, but in the current economic climate, it makes sense to determine the market value of a trade-in when their lease is set to expire.

· Budget: Millions of motorists prefer leasing because monthly lease payments on new vehicles tend to be significantly less than it would cost them to purchase the vehicle and finance it through a bank or credit union. And that still holds true, as data from Experian indicates the average monthly payment for a financed vehicle is $667, which is $127 more than the average monthly cost of leasing a car or truck. That’s a considerable cost benefit of leasing, particularly at a time when high inflation has forced millions of households to cut back.

· Maintenance: Another factor to consider before leasing a vehicle is maintenance. Lessees are responsible for maintaining the vehicle during the lease terms, but new vehicles do not typically require the level of upkeep that older vehicles need. Drivers who are considering purchasing a leased vehicle when the lease expires should factor in the costs to maintain the vehicle in the years ahead, particularly if the manufacturer’s warranty is due to expire soon. Substantial maintenance costs could compromise drivers’ budgets, and that’s unlikely to happen if drivers turn in a leased car and begin a new lease.

Auto leases have declined by a considerable margin in recent years. However, such arrangements may still make sense for some drivers.

Turn The Key To Your Next Vacation Rental

Vacation time is included in many full-time professionals’ benefit packages. Too often, however, employees feel that personal time off is a luxury they cannot afford to use. When looking at vacation as a necessity rather than a luxury, workers may be more inclined to start planning time off.

The Harvard Business Review reports that data supports the notion that those who take more than 10 days of vacation are 30 percent more likely to receive a raise. Those who vacation often have greater job satisfaction. The World Health Organization found working 55 hours or more per week was associated with a 35 percent higher risk of stroke and a 17 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease than a standard work week. Studies have found that taking regular vacations may help reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome, which raises an individual’s risk for various diseases.

People have different choices when planning vacations, and that includes a bevy of lodging options. The following is a breakdown of the types of properties vacationers can choose from.

· Rental by owner: Various companies facilitate the relationship between rental owner and renter. These include Airbnb, HomeAway and Vrbo, among others. These properties are stand-alone or in shared buildings. They’re frequently large and feature cooking spaces and multiple bedrooms, and typically do not come with the extra fees that some other vacation accommodations may tack on, such as paid parking.

· Bed and breakfast (B&B): A B&B rental is in a private home or inn. While accommodations may vary, one may get a private bedroom in the residence that may or may not include a private bathroom. B&B accommodations are smaller in scale than hotels, but offer a measure of personalized attention. B&B staff can help plan excursions and give opinions on attractions or restaurants in the area. As the name implies, breakfast is likely included in the stay, but guests may need to ferret out other meals.

· Hotel: A hotel is one of the more familiar vacation rentals that customers may encounter. They traditionally are large buildings that house many rooms. Shared spaces can include restaurants, gyms, pool areas, bars, and conference spaces. Some meals may be included in a hotel stay, like a continental breakfast. Perks may vary depending on the property.

· Motel: Motels are smaller and tend to be less luxurious than hotels. However, they can include basic accommodations that are perfect for short-term stays or breaks from long drives.

· All-inclusive: All-inclusive rentals generally are housed inside resort facilities. One price tends to cover the room, meals, activities, and sometimes even spirits. All-inclusive properties can cater to adults only or families. If the desire is to drop your bags and relax, an all-inclusive resort may be a place to consider.

· Time share: Technically not a rental, a time share, according to Investopedia, is a shared ownership model of vacation real estate. Multiple purchasers own allotments of usage of a property, which means they are allowed to use the property during certain times of the year – typically one-week stays. Those who purchase a time share may be restricted to one hotel or condominium, or those part of a larger company may be able to mix and match stays among a number of different properties for their designated weeks.

Vacation rentals enable people to get away throughout the year, which is good for individuals’ overall health and can even help them be more productive at work.

Prepare For A Family Day At The Fair

County fairs, state fairs and country fairs dot the landscape in late spring, summer and fall, offering fairgoers plenty of attractions and rides to fill warm days and evenings. Families who plan ahead for the festivities may be able to improve their experiences.

Purchase Passes In Advance

Some fairs enable visitors to purchase entry tickets, parking passes and even game vouchers online. There are advantages to doing so, such as bundling discounts. Buying tickets in advance also cuts down on time spent waiting in line.

Devise A Basic Plan

Look over the list of attractions and activities to gauge what you want to get out of the fair. Some fairs post their calendars online. With kids in tow, you’ll likely want to check out any children’s rides or animal exhibits and interactions. Create a generalized plan, but be flexible, especially when going with other families.

Think About Safety

Fairs attract thousands of people and that can lead to confusion if children become separated from their parents. Write your mobile phone number down and put it in your child’s pocket or bag, so he or she doesn’t have to memorize it. Consider finding the tallest attraction at the fair (perhaps the ferris wheel), and make that the meeting point if anyone becomes lost. Snap a photo of youngsters when you arrive so that you’ll have a recent image and know exactly what they are wearing if you need to engage law enforcement. Some parents tell their children to find another parent and ask them to help them contact security.

Time Your Visit

If the fair runs during the week and into the weekend, weekdays are likely to be much less crowded. Also, while not ideal, a cool day or one with a slight drizzle will cut down on crowds and improve the ability to see more things and get on more rides.

Factor In Food

Fair food is an indulgence to enjoy when fairs come around. Rather than go overboard, pick one meal or item that the family will enjoy. Bring a backpack, if permitted, and fill it with bottled water and other light snacks so that you can tame hunger pangs and not bust the budget at the food court.

Understand Game Odds

Fair games are largely designed to earn the event money and not to cash out prizes to all participants. The chances of winning the grand prize, which may be a giant stuffed giraffe, usually are low, so it’s best if children do not become overly concerned with winning a prize. Play the games for fun and memories and not to walk away with the biggest prizes.

In addition to these suggestions, parents can make sure they bring insect repellent and sunscreen to the fair. Dress for comfort and not fashion.

These strategies can help families make the most of the county fair this year.

Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips

There is no denying the relief cool air provides when the temperatures outdoors are particularly steamy. In fact, having a place to cool off is a necessity for those who have succumbed to heat exhaustion or have difficulty regulating their body temperatures.

Even though air conditioning can provide relief, some people are reluctant to turn it on because of the drain on electricity and the subsequent high energy bills that come with it. Certainly running the air conditioning can be costly, but regular maintenance helps a system to work more efficiently. It also enables homeowners to recognize issues that can lead to expensive repairs if left unchecked.

Here are some air conditioning maintenance tips to keep a system in top condition.

Change The Filters

Dirty, clogged filters can cause a system to work harder to cool down rooms, compromising efficiency. Check the HVAC system’s manufacturer recommendation for how frequently to change the filters. Some may benefit from monthly replacement if the air is running constantly.

Consider The MERV Rating

The filter will have a minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, according to This Old House. The higher the number, the better the filtration. But a higher MERV rating requires more energy to pull air through the filter. Therefore, choose a balance of filtration and energy cost requirements.

Maintain The Outdoor Unit

Clean the AC unit with a soft-bristle brush and vacuum the fins at the start of the season and if the unit becomes dirty from weather, pollen and other elements. Bent condenser or evaporator fins can restrict air flow that would normally pass through the air conditioning system. Gently straighten them to improve air flow.

Check and Repair Leaks

Airflow leaks through ductwork and with window AC units can reduce efficiency. Hold an incense stick or another smoldering item to check for leaks. If the smoke blows around, there is leakage. Use foil tape to seal small gaps and duct mastic for large ones. Stuff foam around a window unit and use taping as necessary.

Supplement With A Whole-House Fan

The Family Handyman says an attic-mounted fan pushes hot air out through the attic vents and draws cooler, outside air through open windows and doors. The whole-house fan can be used to draw out most of the hot air before turning on the AC, or as a substitute on cooler days when having the AC on may not be crucial.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

Homeowners may be able to handle various maintenance tasks, or they may want to have an HVAC technician come out and do the following: clean and inspect coils; adjust and replace fan belts; lubricate motors and bearings; inspect controls and safeties, check refrigerant; and determine if the unit is large enough for the home.

Air conditioning systems need routine maintenance to operate efficiently and at the lowest cost possible.

Memorable Ways To Celebrate Dad This Father’s Day

Dads do a lot for their families, and Father’s Day is the perfect time to acknowledge those efforts. The days when dads would receive a colorful necktie for Father’s Day are largely (and, for fathers, thankfully) a relic of the past. Modern Father’s Day celebrations tend to involve more careful planning, and the following are some ways to make this year’s day for dads one to remember.

Take Dad On A Tour Through His Own History

The popularity of genealogy has skyrocketed over the last decade-plus, as various firms have made it easier than ever for individuals to trace their family histories. If Dad counts himself among the millions across the globe interested in their family histories, moms and kids can work together to create a virtual tour through that history. Present the history as a printed book or as a video, sharing interesting things you learned about Dad’s ancestors but also highlighting key moments in his life. This presentation can be accompanied by a subscription to a genealogy service and a tour of some of Dad’s childhood haunts before the family enjoys brunch or dinner in the neighborhood where Dad grew up.

Take To The Great Outdoors

Father’s Day is celebrated in mid-June, making the day a perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors (weather permitting). Plan a day around Dad’s favorite outdoor activity. If Dad is an avid fisherman, book a family outing on a charter boat so Dad can focus on catching fish and not navigating. If Dad loves being in natural settings, camp out the night before Father’s Day so he can wake up to the sound of birds chirping in the crisp morning air. If Dad has a favorite baseball team, take him out to the ballgame so he can soak up some Father’s Day sun.

Book A Private Chef

If Dad has a fascination with food, perhaps nothing can make Father’s Day more memorable than a delicious meal served by a private chef. Private chefs will do all the work, giving moms and kids more time to spend with Dad throughout the day, and then the whole family can enjoy a special meal made by someone whose specialty is crafting delicious dinners. Offerings vary, but many private chefs handle all the cooking and cleaning. Identify Dad’s favorite dish and then look for a chef who specializes in that type of cuisine.

Appeal To Dad’s Inner Adventurer

Some Dads may just want to relax on Father’s Day, while others may prefer a more adventurous celebration. If Dad falls into the latter group, book a fun and adventurous activity the whole family can enjoy together. A kayaking trip, a skydiving session, a round of paintball, or even tickets to a rock concert on Father’s Day weekend can connect Dad with his inner adventurer.

There’s no shortage of ways for families to make this Father’s Day one Dad won’t soon forget.

UV Exposure and Eye Health

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can prove harmful to the skin. UV rays have been linked to the formation of various skin cancers, including the dangerous melanoma. However, UV exposure also can cause issues elsewhere in the body, including the eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says everyone’s eyes are at risk of damage from UV light, regardless of their age or skin pigmentation. But some people are at higher risk. Children are included in the elevated risk group because they often play outside. Some studies also show that people with eye diseases like retinal dystrophy or those who underwent surgery for cataracts may be at higher risk for sun damage.

UV Light and Eye Disease

UV light damages cells in the eyes, particularly in the retina. The Cleveland Clinic says the retina is responsible for capturing light that enters the eye and translates it into the images you see. If the retina becomes damaged, vision can be impaired or even lost. Here are some additional eye diseases associated with UV radiation.

· Photokeratitis: This is the equivalent of a sunburn on the surface of the eye. While it can occur during the summer, the sun reflecting off of snow or light-colored pavement also can contribute to photokeratitis at other times of the year.

· Cataracts: UVB radiation can harm the lens of the eye and damage proteins. Over time, these proteins can clump together to form cataracts.

· Conjunctival Cancer: This is a form of cancer that forms on the surface of the eye, known as the conjunctiva.

· Macular Degeneration: This is the leading cause of vision loss among older people, according to NVision Eye Centers. The macula is the center of the retina. If this area becomes damaged, central vision will be compromised.

Protect Vision

It’s easy to protect the eyes from UV rays. Individuals with blue or green eyes should keep in mind that they are at a high risk of UV damage. However, everyone should take precautions.

Look for sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays, offering 99 to 100 percent protection (or UV400 rating). UVA rays harm central vision, while UVB rays can damage the front of the eye. Sunglasses should be worn when spending time outdoors. Sunglasses are available in all sizes, even for kids. Wraparound styles may protect the eyes and sides of the face.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat also can protect the eyes by filtering harmful light. Select a hat with a broad, dark brim that shades the eyes and reduces glare, advises the National Eye Institute.

Consider the use of UV-blocking contact lenses. Some contact lenses offer UV protection, which can be an added precaution when used with sunglasses.

Another way to avoid UV eye risks is to stay away from tanning booths, mercury vapor lights and some types of halogen or fluorescent lights.

Speak with an eye professional about UV eye damage and other ways to mitigate risk.

Great Gifts For Moms From All Walks Of Life

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show moms how much they’re loved and appreciated. Though many moms may insist they don’t want anything beyond spending the day with their children, gifts are a big part of Mother’s Day.

No two moms are the same, and though standards like flowers and greeting cards will always have a place on Mother’s Day, the following are some gift ideas that can put smiles on the faces of moms from all walks of life.


There’s no end to the gift options for mothers who love to curl up with a good book. Of course, some new books may delight Mom, but gifts that can improve the reading experience also merit consideration. For example, an ergonomic backrest reading pillow can make bedtime reading sessions more comfortable and ensure Mom’s neck and back get ample support as she reads the latest page-turner. A nightstand book holder also can be ideal for moms who can’t seem to keep track of their bookmarks.

Fitness Enthusiast

Some moms simply love to get in a good workout. Shoppers whose mothers or wives love to break a sweat might want to look into home gym equipment, as many fitness enthusiasts transformed part of their homes into exercise areas during the pandemic. If that sounds like the mom on your shopping list, then a suspension training system won’t take up much room but can provide an intense, full-body workout. A new yoga mat, some wireless Bluetooth headphones or a compression stretching mat are some additional gifts that might make exercise-loving moms smile this Mother’s Day.


Moms whose children still live under the same roof may not have much opportunity to travel, but empty nesters and grandmothers might. For such moms, a foldable, hanging travel bag can make it easy and convenient for mom to carry all of her toiletries and access them without taking up what’s often minimal hotel room counter space. For moms who want to document their excursions, a leather travel journal encourages them to note their experiences and gives them something they can revisit for years to come. Of course, some new luggage can make the perfect gift for newly retired moms who can’t wait to start visiting places on their travel bucket lists.


Millions of moms manage to juggle the obligations of family life with a challenging career. Mother’s Day can be a great time to recognize that balancing act. A self-heating coffee mug can ensure Mom’s morning cup o’ joe doesn’t go cold as she traverses her way through a hectic morning routine. Another great gift is a charging mouse pad that can charge all of Mom’s devices even while she’s working. If you want to help Mom remain calm as she navigates her way through a day filled with personal and professional obligations, an essential oils diffuser can create a sense of relaxation on the most hectic of days.

No two moms are the same. Fortunately, great gifts can be found for moms from all walks of life this Mother’s Day.

What Consumers Can Do To Support Local Farmers

Farming has never been a vocation for individuals looking for easy work. Farmers typically work long hours, braving the elements regardless of how unpleasant the weather may be.

All that hard work ensures individuals who live in rural, urban and suburban communities have constant, readily available access to healthy foods. Such devotion merits support, and thankfully there are many things consumers can do to show their appreciation for local farmers.

Buy fresh foods at your local farmers market.

Farmers markets are many foodies’ favorite places, but they aren’t exclusive to individuals with a passion for food. Everyone needs to eat, so why not eat foods grown locally, which are generally more fresh and appetizing than imported fruits and vegetables sold at chain grocery stores? Even individuals who don’t typically eat fresh fruit and vegetables can find something delectable at a local farmers market, where anything from homemade tomato sauces to locally raised fresh beef and pork might be on sale.

Order directly from local farms.

Some farmers have embraced the e-commerce revolution and begun selling the foods they grow to consumers via their own websites. Research local farms and determine if it’s possible to buy directly from them. Farms may offer delivery or pick-up, and consumers can enjoy fresh foods even more knowing that they helped farmers earn higher profits by buying directly from them.

Check labels before buying in local grocery stores.

Packaging labels will indicate where fruits and vegetables came from. When possible, choose items produced by local farmers. This may include fruits, vegetables, meat, pork, or even desserts like pies. Locally produced foods often taste more fresh than items sent from overseas or distant farms, and consumers will feel better knowing they helped to support local farmers.

Spread the word.

Get the word out after a satisfying experience with local farms and farmers. Whether it’s buying food from farms or taking advantage of family days that let kids enjoy a day on the farm, sharing positive experiences via social media or word-of-mouth can be a great way to inspire your neighbors to support local farmers as well.

Consumers can do much to support hardworking local farmers. In addition to feeling good about supporting their rural neighbors, consumers also might feel good when they sit down and enjoy a meal featuring locally grown, fresh foods.