5 Tips To Help Your Lawn Prepare For Next Season

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grassCool temperatures, light rainfalls and beautiful autumn leaves signal that fall is nearly here. These same signs tell lawns that fall has come and winter is on the way, too. End the season with a bang by rejuvenating the lawn and prepping for the cooler season ahead.

Early autumn is the best time to repair damage, browning or dead spots, fertilize and improve the yard. Follow these five tips from experts at The Espoma Organic Company to have a greener, lusher and healthier than ever yard next spring.

Help The Lawn Hang On All Winter Long

1. Know How to Mow. Continue mowing as needed throughout the fall months. Keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots.

2. Rake it up. Remove fallen leaves as soon as possible. Leaves that haven’t been cleaned up tend to become a soggy mess that can suffocate grass and breed diseases. Either rake or use a lawnmower with a collection bag to keep on top of the leaves. Compost leaves to use as mulch in the spring.

3. Agree to Reseed. If the entire lawn looks dry and brown, overseed the whole thing. If only certain areas look bare, reseed only those spots. First, perform a soil test and improve if needed. Then cut grass lower than normal and remove clippings. Level, rake soil smooth and spread Espoma Organic Lawn Starter. With a broadcast spreader, apply a seed that best suits your region and weather. Finally, water.

4. Prepare with Care. Get the lawn ready for the cooler weather ahead by fortifying it with nutrients. Fertilize now with Espoma’s organic fall winterizer. A fall feeding will promote growth, increase winter hardiness and helps lawns recover from drought. Apply organic fall winterizer to a dry lawn after seeding and mowing. Use a drop or broadcast spreader and be certain to overlap slightly to prevent striping. For best results, water lightly after the application if rain is not expected within 24 hours.

5. Fido First. Always use organic products. Harsher, chemical lawn products can be eaten, ingested or passed on to pets (and brought into the home). This exposure has been linked with a higher risk of canine cancer. Keep pets alive longer by making sure their paws are safe by using organic lawn products.

The Espoma Company has been the pioneer in natural gardening solutions since 1929. Espoma provides an extensive selection of natural products that work in harmony with nature and are safe for people, pets and the planet. The company produces more than 100 products to cover the nutritional needs of plants and to grow beautiful lawns and gardens. Visit espoma.com for more information and tips about organic lawn care.

10 Helpful Tips To Prepare Your Child With Autism For School

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By Pamela Bryson-Weaver, R.D.H, author of Living autism day.by.day

schoolbusWith the school opening looming up ahead, the idea of transitioning your child with autism can prove to be daunting. Starting school can be a difficult time even for normal kids, more so with a child who has limited cognitive, social, and other developmental skills. Like normal kids, children on the spectrum also feel the same excitement and anxiety. This change can be difficult for them— the scenery, the people, their responsibility as students, co-existing with others, and so on. This often leads to sudden (and somehow negative) changes in behavior.

By now, you must have already looked into a number of schools in your area and have found the right one for your child. To gear your child for the so-called “first day high,” try looking into these helpful tips and see if any of these can work with his or her level of ASD.

1. Try creating a social story to go along with the preparation. Pictures and video presentation prove to be effective channels to show them what school is like, how to go with the usual morning/afternoon routine, and other school activities.

2. Create creatively the list of daily activities he or she will have to take from waking up to brushing, walking/riding to school, entering the classroom, and so on. If possible, try to ask the school administration if it is okay for you and your child to look around.

3. Prepare a calendar complete with pictures. Indicate lunch with the picture of the school cafeteria or toilet time with the comfort room or playtime with a picture of the school playground with children playing.

4. Before school officially starts, ask if it is okay for your child to meet his or her new teacher. Let the teacher and the school’s guidance counselor know about certain “obsessions” that your child may have. Often, visiting school ahead of time and meeting the people he or she will encounter head-on can ease their way into transition.

5. Communicate, communicate. Whatever your child’s ASD level, it is imperative that you ask about what he or she feels. Engage him or her in the whole process. His or her feelings should come first and foremost on this journey. Make him or her feel secured and assured, that school is a safe haven. Instill happy thoughts in meeting new friends. He or she may be socially challenged, but this does not negate the thought of feeling the same level of excitement in meeting new acquaintances.

6. Reassure your child that school is his or her second home. While “Mommy” or “Daddy” help resolves problems for him at home, he or she now has an extra set of helping hands with “teacher” (be specific with the name of the teacher to make him familiar) around.

7. Try to check if there are kids in the neighborhood who will be going on the same classes with your child. Sometimes, letting them connect to others before school starts can greatly eliminate unforeseen circumstances during transition.

8. Make sure to find out what after-school activities can your child join. Some sports activities are excellent activities for children with ASDs.

9. Include your child’s therapist on this process. It is imperative that you are fully guided on every endeavor you pursue to ensure zero meltdown.

10. Be extra attentive. Some kids on the spectrum have a hard time coping with these sudden changes. Make sure to prioritize your child’s welfare before anything else.

Each child with Autism Spectrum Disorder has a different way of dealing with changes in their environment. These tips may prove to be effective to others but, in everything else, you alone know what works best for him or her.

– Pamela Bryson-Weaver is the author of Living autism day.by.day: Daily Reflections & Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage, being published in October by Freedom Abound, Inc. October is Autism Awareness Month in Canada (Bryson-Weaver lives in New Brunswick). Autism Awareness Month in the U.S. Is April. Since her son was diagnosed with autism 15 years ago, Bryson-Weaver has become an advocate, speaker and activist for children with special needs, children who are close to heart. Learn more at livingautismnow.com.

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5 Ways To Prepare Your Bedroom For The Colder Months

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By Aubrey Madrona

bedroomFall has now passed, and that means gusts of wind and dry, chilly weather as we move into the winter months. In weather like this, curling up in your bedroom with a hot beverage and a good book (or a good movie) is practically a must. But failing to adequately prepare your personal haven for the season can result in some cold, lonely nights—emphasis on the cold.

Here are 5 ways to prepare your bedroom for the cold months ahead:

1. Lay a strong foundation. Flooring that’s adaptable to extreme weather changes is always ideal. Durable stone tiles are perfect as both summer and winter flooring because, contrary to the popular belief that stone flooring is cold, stone tiles can actually trap heat effectively once they are warmed through with under-floor heating.

2. Bring on the rugs. A nice, soft rug instantly ups the coziness level of a room, and has the added advantage of keeping your feet toasty. Go for multiple smaller rugs, so you can put them away when warmer weather rolls around. Faux fur rugs are lovely to look at, and are very comfortable to walk on.

3. Cover up. Invest in a thick, fluffy duvet or comforter for your bed, which guarantees instant warmth and comfort. Feather or down comforters are especially cozy, and silk is perfect for those who are allergic to feathers. You can also opt for synthetic fibers, which are hypoallergenic and provide as much warmth. Duvets have tog ratings, which tell you how warm the duvet is. A tog rating of 12 and above is ideal for winter conditions. In lieu of a duvet, try an electric blanket or place a hot water bag between the comforter and the sheets to warm up your bed.

home4. Change your sheets. Typical cotton sheets can be too thin for cold weather, so opt for brushed cotton, jersey knit, or flannel sheets. To visually warm up your bed, get them in vibrant colors like red, orange, and fuchsia. Adding lavender scent to your sheets also helps you to sleep better and makes your room cozier.

5. Seal up the windows. Insulating your windows with rubber seals goes a long way toward keeping you warm, as small openings can cause cold air to enter your room, resulting in unwanted air conditioning. While you’re at it, give your windows a thorough cleaning as well so you can appreciate the beautiful scenery outside when you wake up in the morning.

Open your windows for a few hours during the day to get some fresh air, and let as much sunlight into your room as possible to warm the floor and brighten the area. Don’t forget to close them once you’re ready to snuggle up, though. You can also invest in a pair of fuzzy slippers, and keep a thick robe on hand so that you don’t get cold right away when you get out of bed. Properly prepping your bedroom for the cold can make it so comfy, you won’t be hit by the winter blahs.

– As a social media specialist in the vast online universe, Aubrey Madrona is always up and about disseminating information, spreading news, and delivering opinions one Share Button at a time. When @aubiiiii is not busy formulating 140-character ideas in her head, she’s busy studying Interior Design and blogging on Marble Mosaics blog.