If you want your family to eat healthy without heading to the grocery store three or four times a week, consider keeping organically grown produce on their plates with foods that you have grown yourself. Homegrown, organic produce is more delicious and nutritious than the produce you can find at the store. In order to get the most from your garden, you may wish to implement positive and creative gardening tips.


Start your planting early and end it late in the season. Using tunnels and cold frames will allow you to stretch the growing season in your area. You can start your spring planting season earlier, and use row covers in the fall to protect late crops from deer and frost.


Growing high-value crops means planting the produce that would cost you the most to purchase at the produce stand. Mother Earth News states that value can also refer to flavor temptations, which can mean making room for your favorite herbs and tomatoes. Consider, too, other foods that you didn’t grow last year, and see if you can save money by growing them at home this year.


Choosing the crops that have grown well for you year after year just makes good sense. Repeat the successes you have had in the past. If they are not favorites with your family, trade for foods that someone else grows that your family does like. If you have better luck with carrots than with beets, for example, keep your beet planting small and plant as many carrots as your family will eat. If your neighbors are also growers, arrange to trade veggies so that everyone will have what they like.


Growing crops that you can freeze or store makes good sense for your year-round, healthy diet. Early raspberries and strawberries that are ready in June can be stashed in the freezer, and ready for snacking or meals, while you turn your attention to veggies. Plant the foods that grow most easily, so that you can supply your family table year round.


Source:


http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-tips-zm0z11zsto.aspx


When the nice weather arrives in the summer, it’s always nice to be able to head out to the yard to enjoy the relaxingly warm evenings. The kinds of lights you illuminate your environment with will set the mood for such treasured evenings, so be strategic with your selection of outdoor and patio lighting.


Below are some possibilities to consider when reflecting upon what is most fitting for you and your family:


1. Sconce light fixtures. Mounted to a wall, these ornate lamps tend to take on a vertical shape and direct light upward. Because of their decorative nature, sconces can be used to spruce up a doorway but should not be the sole source of brightness available on the porch.


2. String lighting. String lights effectively deliver a gentle glow that carries a fantastical air. They can be used to bedazzle tree branches, fences and, of course, Christmas trees. More importantly, many of these LED lights are solar-powered, making them cordless and ecofriendly. While white tinting adds a subtle touch of charm, string lights come in a variety of colors to help ring in the holidays.


3. Recessed lighting. Recessed lights are simple, sleek and can be tucked into the roofed patio of a modern home. Part of the charm is that they are inserted into the ceiling rather than protrude outward. Recessed lighting has dimmer switches that allow you to control the intensity so you can balance visibility with “setting the mood.”


4. Traditional Lanterns. More rustic than the other lighting options on this list, lanterns can be positioned as centerpieces or along pathways to add an enthralling charm to the nighttime darkness. Often manufactured with color glass, metal and candles, they should be used for their aesthetic properties more than as a light source. If you have young children in the household, it may be wise to find versions that utilize light bulbs instead of traditional fire.

5. Motion sensor flood lights. These lights are practical for numerous reasons; they will automatically turn on when people are stepping forth into your home’s vicinity to light their way and alert you to their presence. The only downside is that motion sensor flood lights can be a bit costly.


6. Pendant light. Beautiful and versatile, they are fixtures that hang down from the ceiling. Coming in diverse shapes and hues, pendant lights often double as works of art and can be a contemporary alternative to a classic chandelier.


7. Glow in the dark yard decorations. To make your garden a nighttime feast for the eyes, beautify your flower beds and yard with glow in the dark garden accessories. Especially appealing for children, Taylor Gifts has lighted LED spinners, glowing animal figurines and more!


Go ahead and make your yard and porch inviting to guests. With a bit of vision and only minimal funds, you can make your home both safe and pleasant.


When summer finally arrives and the family is going inside and out for playtime or barbeques, it always seems that bugs follow you inside. You can get rid of that problem with the Magic Mesh door. It keeps the fresh air flowing and the bugs outside.


The Magic Mesh door is hands-free, so you can carry dishes of your favorite foods outdoors for parties or inside when the dishes are empty, without needing an extra hand. 18 magnets form the center of the door, and it will open at the center with just a slight push. Then it will close by itself, behind you, keeping the pests outside.


This screen installs in just minutes with adhesive and Velcro®. Allowing the cool air in will help to keep your energy costs lower. Taylor Gifts says that you can use Magic Mesh over single or double sliding doors. With magnets and plastic, two 18” panels will fit a 36” door.


The Magic Mesh door is handy for those who have children. They can come in and out without letting bugs inside your house. The magnets make it easy to get through the door, and you can hear your child just outside, so it provides peace of mind, too.


During the evening hours when the air is comfortable but bugs are plentiful, the Magic Mesh will be handy to have. It is so easy to install, and then you can enjoy the evening air inside your home without putting up with the evening pests. Your dog can go in and out as he pleases, too.


If you have unusually sized doors, you can still be creative and put up a Magic Mesh door on your home. Not all doors are the same size, but the Magic Mesh is designed to fit typical door sizes.


Source:


http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/magic_mesh/36824

Spring is the season in which nature starts to “warm up” for summer’s big act, teasing us in the meantime with cherry blossoms, friendly breezes and fresh buds on the trees. Of course, we all become wildly excited for the end of winter; suddenly, people are out and about on the sidewalks and smiles are plentiful.


Welcome spring with open arms and a readied garden. Playing around in the dirt is a gratifying way of spending a weekend afternoon. Taylor Gifts’ garden accessories and hoses will make the process both easier and more fruitful. Plus, you’ll light up as you see flowers poke through the soil. To learn what plants to nurture this time of the year, consider the following:


1. Peruvian Lily. These flowers only require a little amount of care and are absolutely beautiful. Originating in South America, they are perennials that feature uniquely speckled insides.


2. Dianthus. These old-fashioned favorite flowers provide bright colors along with a noteworthy, pleasant fragrance. This purple-pinkish bloom is accompanied by lusciously green leaves, adding a gorgeous contrast to your garden. There are various plants that fall into the category of “dianthus”; some breeds will last years, while others have a lesser life span.


3. Gardenia. If you are looking for an elegant, perfect flower to plant in your garden with an incredible scent that anyone will be able to enjoy, gardenia’s may be the best addition to your garden. Though the plant often resembles a small shrub more than a traditional flower, it has plenty of white blooms to enchant those passing by your garden.


4. Nicotiana. These are also very elegant flowers and are absolutely gorgeous to admire. They are best when planted outside your bedroom window, as their scent is stronger throughout the night and can naturally provide your home with a calming aroma. Yes, it is associated with cigarettes, but the plant itself does not threaten your health to plant it inside your garden your home.


5. Phlox. This type of flower grows in full clusters of candy-colored shades and can fluctuate in heights; some species climb to be four feet tall! They can come in a wide variety of hues like baby blue, lilac, blush and reds. The phox’s incredible scent is most evident on a warm, sunny day.


6. Roses. Of course, roses are one of the best plants to plant in the springtime because they tend to be deemed America’s favorite flower. Their colors range from pure white to deep red and the scent is intoxicating. A perennial, a healthy form of this plant can live for years. Be aware that they often have prickles on the stem that may jab young children who may reach for the bloom.


7. Sweet pea. Sweet peas are known as one of the most pleasant smelling flowers of all time. Their vines can grow between four to six feet tall, and it comes in a myriad of rich pigments. It responds well to sunlight and, if properly cared for, can last you a lifetime.


8. Lily-of-the-valley. This plant is perhaps one of the easier ones to take care of and, conveniently, it need minimal light. The lily-of-the-valley can spread aggressively (especially in moist conditions), so consider positioning it near physical barriers like pavement. Be mindful that this white or pink bulb can be poisonous to small animals that might be inclined to take a mouthful.


9. Lilac. The lilac flowers are favored among millions of people around the world because of their vivacious scent and easy upkeep. As long as they are not completely in the shade, they will never disappoint you; they’re durable and require little attention, though be careful of excessive powdery mildew damaging the appearance. An added bonus is that lilacs attract butterflies!


10. Lavender. Lavender flowers are not only known for their beautiful appearance, they are known for their scrumptious scent. Many aromatherapy products even harness its aroma for its relaxing properties. Made up of dozens of different subspecies, lavender can be cultivated in both gardens and flower beds.


This list is plenty to take your yard and turn it into a flower heaven that you can enjoy day in and day out! Soon, you can take out your patio furniture and enjoy nature’s wonder as your precious blooms surround you.


There are numerous flowers and vegetables that are best planted in April. At least two types of flowers will bloom well when planted in cool weather.


Roses may be transplanted when you can work the ground, in the early days of April. If you purchase bare-root roses, they will do best if you plant them as soon as you get them home.


Pansies are hardy and can overcome late spring frost. They like cool weather and seem to thrive better in cool weather than they do when it becomes much warmer.


Vegetables including peas, lettuce and cabbage grow well in cooler temperatures. Onions need a long season for growing, so they are also often planted early in the spring.


Radishes are a cooler season crop, as well. They can be planted as soon as the ground may be broken. High temperatures will lead to flowering, and the roots may become soft.


Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli do well in cool seasons. Iowa State University says that they will grow best in mild temperatures between 60F and 70F. Mid-April is a good time to plant cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli in many areas.


Kale, spinach and lettuce do not do well in hot weather, so they prosper when planted in the cool temperatures of early April.


Onion plants, sets and seeds are usually planted as soon as you can work the ground in late March or early in April.


Snap, snow and garden peas are also best planted as soon as you can work the ground. The crops will mature in 60 or 70 days.


You can sow carrots from the early spring days until early August. Sowing the seeds in early or mid-April will give you an early crop.


Potatoes, as long as they have been certified to be disease free, may be planted when the ground is workable in April.


Taking advantage of the early spring days gives you a head start on your planting. Early planting may bring out hungry critters, so be sure you have the proper equipment to keep them at bay.


Source:


http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2003/3-21-2003/earlyplant.html

Congratulations! You’re thinking about welcoming a new member into your household in the form of an adorable pet. Depending on the kind of animal you are adopting, there are different levels of preparation that needed to create a safe environment. Smaller animals such as hamsters or gerbils are simply need a quality cage or holding pen. However, since dogs and cats are often free to roam across every surface of your home (whether you like it or not), it’s important that you make sure your entire house is safe and sound for your new furry friend.


Puppy or kitten proof your house


If you are bringing an animal into your home that chews on things, likes to hide, is not housebroken or has no knowledge of right or wrong, brace yourself for the occasional mess or two (or five). Make sure your give your new furry friend a place where they can feel at home. Typically, new puppy or kitten owners can enclose a small area in a room where they spend plenty of time and can keep a close eye on their new friend to make sure they are following the rules. Never allow your new puppy or kitten to wander freely around the home as nothing good can ever come out of it. The next time you walk into your kitchen, do not be surprised if you find a little accident waiting to be cleaned up by you. It’s important to have the proper pet cleanup products readily available for your pooch or kitty, and consider having multiple litter boxes or pet potty patches scattered throughout the house to determine where he or she would prefer to “go.” Cats can be picky about where they “do their business” so, if your new feline friend is not responding to its current box, experiment with multiple makes to see which ones tickle his or her fancy.


Be prepared for some messes


Bringing a new puppy or kitten into your house means that you realize some of your personal belongings may be damaged. Blinds, curtains, shoes, socks, furniture, pillows, and anything else your new friend can get their claws or teeth on could be ruined beyond fixing. To minimize the potential damage, take preemptive steps to make sure your favorite items are out of reach. Pups are especially fond of chewing on footwear, so make sure no sneakers are left lying about the floor with a shoe rack or organizer. Animals are also naturally attracted to dangling items, so it might be wise to move any suspended scarves or jewelry to either a horizontal storage unit or the interior of your closet. To protect your more precious furniture items (at least temporarily), purchase a pet parade couch pet bed that you can easily place on top to shield your couch or chair from dog hairs or accidents.


Protect your new pet’s health


Just like you wouldn’t want to leave harmful chemicals in reach of a small child, you should take the same measures with your dog. Move potentially harmful cleaning substances from beneath the sink to higher shelves or find a way of latching ones that are more easily accessible. Additionally, tape down any electrical cords they might be tempted to chew on. Take a look around your home and consider whether your determined kitty or pooch might be able scale to new heights to reach things like the deadly bowl of chocolate; what looks like a counter chair to you might look like a ladder to your resourceful four-legged pal. Similarly, what may look like a waste basket to you may look like a smelly buffet of flavors to your pet, so make sure all trashcans are tall and not easy to knock over so your dog doesn’t end up eating something he or she shouldn’t. Finally, make sure that you don’t have any poisonous plants within easy reach like lilies, mums and poinsettias. Don’t forget, this goes for your garden as well.


Make your new pet feel right at home in his or her new environment with lots of love, hugs and, of course, home pet products from Taylor Gifts.


Easy Tips to Prevent Messes While Entertaining Guests


It can be overwhelming at times when you are preparing to entertain guests, so if you can learn some tips and tricks for avoiding messes, you’ll be able to actually enjoy the experience rather than secretly fretting about potential spills. When the evening gets late and the last friend finally heads home, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours putting your living environment back in order. With the mindset of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” we’ve provided some handy tips to help you circumvent messy situations.


1) Have enough trash cans scattered throughout the home. Your loved ones probably aren’t intending to be slobs but, if they’re mid-conversation and aren’t sure where to toss the party cup in their hand, they are likely to set it down on a table and forget about it entirely. Therefore, make sure that you have plenty of trash cans scattered throughout the post populated areas in order to subtly prompt guests to clean up after themselves. We offer plenty of compact recycling and trash cans that are attractive and subtly; find one with a lid in order to tastefully conceal the insides and prevent odors from wafting.


2) Buy extra coasters. Yes, spills happen. However, when the gathering has ended and you’re wiping one surface after the next, it is those pesky rings that will require the most work. By having a generous amount of coasters like these readily available, you can do your part to safeguard your glass and wood surfaces.


3) Make sure the floors are clear and there is plenty of room to walk. Many hosts fret over whether there is enough seats to accommodate attendees, but you should also be considering whether there is plentiful amounts of open space for movement. Many falls and spilled drinks can be attributed to bumping into items or, worse, tripping over junk on the ground. Therefore, remove all stray shoes from the environment with a shoe organizer and consider securing any corners of rugs with double-sided tape. Another common cause of tumbles is poor lighting, so make sure that troublesome areas like the stairs to the bathroom or the outside are well-lit. Remember, even though you know where the light switch is, your guests won’t have the same innate knowledge. Solar powered Christmas lights are a fantastic to brighten up your yard for increased safety and beauty, regardless of the current season.


4) Stop muddy feet at the door. One of the most common mistakes is also one of the easiest to remedy. You never know when rain or a sprinkler system will make the ground somewhat muddy, so be prepared with a welcome matt that will enable visitors to wipe away the unwelcomed debris from their feet.


5) Be careful with your food selection. As you’re preparing your grocery shopping list for the shindig, be mindful of how potentially messy the various foods may be. For example, fondue will undoubtedly be a hoot, but don’t be surprised if the table below receives a generous amount of dribbled cheese. Avoid items that easily crumble or will lead to greasy fingers. Avoid watery salsas in favor of thicker, less “drippy” toppings like guacamole. To do your part to prevent soiled hands from brushing against your curtains or couch, stick tooth picks in finger foods.


Parties are supposed to be fun for everyone involved, especially you. Therefore, take preventative steps to preventing messes so your mind can be focused on the moment rather than the future clean-up.


Taylor Gifts is all about nurturing the young, creative minds of today so they can yield the fantastical creations of tomorrow. After all, ingenious (and delicious) inventions like the Bacon Bowl and Vegetti were once pipedreams before patience and hard work made them a reality. Therefore, Taylor Gifts is pleased to announce the inaugural Taylor Gifts $1000 Academic Scholarship!


There are just a few requirements to keep in mind before the real fun begins:


* To enter the scholarship contest you must be a freshman, sophomore or junior currently enrolled in a university within the United States.
* The Taylor Gifts $1000 Academic Scholarship is also open to high school seniors in the United States.
* One essay submission per student.
* Each essay must be 750-800 words. No more, no less.
* Okay, so now that you’ve committed these requirements to memory, let’s take a look at the prompts you can choose from for your submission:


1. If you could create a device to better mankind’s quality of life, what would it be? Who would use it most?
2. Who do you consider to be history’s greatest entrepreneur or inventor? Why?
3. Do you consider yourself unconventional? When has it paid off?
4. Has there been a time in your life when you’ve felt guided by an entrepreneurial spirit? Did you act on it and take the initiative to achieve your goal? Explain.


Choose one and answer it with all you’ve got in 750-800 words. Muster up your creativity and problem-solving skills to potentially earn this $1,000 scholarship!


When you’ve completed the masterpiece, please submit it to scholarship@taylorgifts.com . Entries must be submitted by no later than midnight on 6/15/2014. Otherwise they will not be taken into consideration. Do not forget to include your first name, last name and the name of your institution before submitting the document.


Here’s how the winner will be chosen:


First, the top twelve semi-finalists of the Taylor Gifts essay competition will be picked by a select panel of judges. These judges will consider creativity, style, grammar, spelling, concision and how well the student has stuck to the topic they picked. Once they’re chosen, online voting will begin.


This means that the ultimate winner will be determined by you, the public. An online voting system will be established so friends and strangers alike can cast a ballot for the essay that inspired them.


Scholarship Payout Details


The scholarship will be paid to the school of the selected recipient in a one-time amount of $1,000.00. The scholarship funds will be made payable to the winning student’s university by Taylor Gifts’ CEO, Francis Ruthkosky, sent specifically to the Financial Aid Office and placed in the student’s account.


Before the scholarship can be officially awarded, the winning student must provide Taylor Gifts with:


* Written proof of enrollment at an accredited university, college or institution within the United States.
* The address of the school’s Financial Aid Office.
* His or her student ID number.
* If you are selected as the winner, please send this information to:


Attn: Scholarship Coordinator


Taylor Gifts

600 Cedar Hollow Rd

Paoli, PA 19301


Please do not hesitate to contact scholarship@taylorgifts.com if you have any other questions regarding this opportunity.


As the cold grip of winter releases its hold on the country, you’ll enjoy spending more time outdoors. Warmer weather beckons you outdoors, and tending a garden is a perfect reason to spend time outside.


A garden beautifies the area around your home and gives it more curb appeal. It gives you a stress-free place to relax and let the troubles of the day fade away. If you want your garden to prosper, there are some spring and summer tools and equipment that will help.


A wheelbarrow is helpful for transporting soil and plants with less effort. You can find them in light-duty to heavy-duty models, depending on how much hauling you do in your garden area.


Shovels are essential for all gardeners. They allow you to dig up weeds, plant or relocate plants and turn soil.
Kneepads are helpful if you tend your garden kneeling down. Dense foam relieves any discomfort. If you have trouble kneeling for long periods of time, you can use a gardening seat, instead.


You can cultivate, shape and trim many plants with hand pruners. If you have larger plants, you can select pruners of greater size. Hand trowels are a lot like shovels, except that they are sized to fit the hand. They help you dig in small areas of soil like container gardens and flowerpots. If you need a small hole for planting flowers or bulbs, a hand trowel is the tool of choice.


Garden hoses are essential if your garden isn’t getting enough rain. It makes things a lot easier for gardeners who have large expanses of gardens or landscaping. A sprayer attachment will allow you to change the amount of water you’re using. A battery powered sprayer will let you get to places your hose might not be able to reach.


If you have young plants, hosing them to water them may be too hard on the new plants. For these, it’s helpful to use a watering can. In this way, the water won’t hit the tender leaves and buds as hard.


This winter has been extreme in almost all areas. All of the freezing temperatures, along with wind, snow and sleet take their toll on your house, garage and yard or acreage. Using simple maintenance tips, you will be able to return your home to proper condition, so it will look better this spring.


It’s hard this winter to believe that spring is on its way. As the weather finally begins to warm up and the ice and snow start to thaw, there are things you can to do help your home and yard recover from the winter past.


Use a shovel to make paths so that water can run off your property and into a storm drain or the street. This will make it easier to walk to your door on those late season cold nights when water in your driveway freezes back up.


Once it’s fairly safe to assume that the snow and ice are gone for the season, clean up excess salt or kitty litter on your sidewalks and driveway. If the freezing and thawing of the ground has left your driveway with potholes such as those found on many roads, patch them before someone trips in them.


Check your roof for loose shingles. Strong winds and heavy snow are quite capable of damaging shingles. When it is safe to go up on your roof, check for missing or damaged shingles. If you don’t feel comfortable checking your roof yourself, contact an inspector who will identify and correct any problem areas.


Cleaning up the lawn after a rough winter will be easier if you thoroughly raked your leaves in the fall. Otherwise, your grass may be suffering from “snow mold”. You’ll want to rake your lawn in the spring anyway, to remove any build-up of thatch. This will allow your lawn to green up sooner, and frame your spring-cleaned house nicely. If your lawn needs a little extra help, throwing down some grass seed will help.