Need A Family Dinner Idea? Get Some Pork On Your Fork! 

In our fast-moving society, families across the country are losing the ability to sit together and have a chance to really connect with one another through conversation.  With classes, sports, jobs, and workouts, each family member may be operating on their own program for the majority of the day— which turns into a majority of the week, and so the vicious cycle continues.  Having a family dinner together is a great way to create a familial connection on a daily basis, which cultivates the closeness and bond that we all long for with those we love most.  

So how does a family on the go stop dead in their tracks for a meal together? One way to get all those agents of chaos to fall in line for dinner time is to make sure that the meal you all share is as delicious as much as it is nutritious.  There are so many delicious meal ideas that are quick, convenient, and centered around one of the most versatile and widely available meats on the market today…Pork!  

Pork is a red meat that is derived from pigs, and it’s the most commonly consumed red meat worldwide.  It is high-protein meat that is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids that all play a huge role in overall health.  Lean pork (that is trimmed of visible fat) is nutrient-dense, satisfying, and good for you. Pork cuts like that of tenderloin, loin chops, and sirloin roast are made from lean cuts and are more healthy than chicken.  

Flavorful and inexpensive, pork is the underrated, jack-of-all-meats that works in all kinds of dishes— from “Taco Tuesday” to “Stir Fry-day,” it couldn’t be easier to be the culinary dynamo your family has always wanted you to be, and create fresh dinner ideas with all of the different types of pork cuts at your fingertips.  Here are 3 quick and easy ways to get a little bit more pork on your fork, and spread more joy around your family’s dinner table.

PULLED PORK TACOS

We all love the taste of pulled pork tacos.  Having a taco bar with some delicious pulled pork in the spotlight will have your family coming back to the table time and time again.  With a recipe that is as simple as it is delicious, your family won’t be able to say no to taco night!

HOT ‘N’ SPICY PORK NOODLES

Standard spaghetti and meat sauce is always a crowd-pleaser, but….snooze.  Try, instead, a savory asian twist on a family favorite to create a bowl of goodness that is way more exciting and just as easy to throw together.  Sometimes, all it takes it an innovative, spicy pork twist on a classic red sauce to create to bring the family together week after week.

Pork Salad Wraps

For those who are more health-conscious, and looking for a healthier way to serve the ones they love, look no further than a fresh lettuce wrap stuffed with savory pork tenderloin!  What better way to take the “bad rap” away from salad than by creating a finger-lickin’ fresh way to get some veggies on the table for your family. No one will bat an eye at the fresh veggies they’re scarfing, as long as the pork is juicy, savory, and as delicious as family dinner should be.

Although none of us can keep life from charging us at what seems like warp-speed, all of us can make the choice to slow down, connect with one another, and create the connection we all long for over the pork we all share with our fork.

 

Family Healthcare: Choosing the Right Primary Care Doctor 

A comprehensive healthcare plan is something that every person needs. When you are younger you may need it for a pregnancy or for basic procedures such as dental checkups and annual health physicals. However, as you grow older, its importance grows, too. 

Deciding on the Right Plan 

Most employers present an extensive healthcare package that contains an abundance of information regarding several different companies and plan options. This in itself can be overwhelming, especially if you are uncertain as to what your needs going forward may be. In order to make a decision that benefits you, a good approach may be to write down what you would like to have in your healthcare plan, such as the ability to continue to see your current doctor and to have the ability to go out of network to see a specialist. Another important aspect is the deductible. Some plans may cost less, however, they will more than likely have a much higher deductible for procedures like surgery, emergency room visits and prescriptions. 

Finding the Right Doctor 

If you don’t currently have a primary care provider, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. One way to narrow the search is to check their credentials and their rate of client satisfaction, which you can usually find on the doctor’s website. Another thing to look for is how they protect their client’s personal information. Today, unlike just a generation earlier, hackers are constantly looking at small businesses as their payday for a wealth of personal information they can use. When you are in the healthcare industry it’s a requirement by law that you take specific necessary steps to protect your patient’s private information. A doctor’s office that is HIPAA HITECH compliant is doing everything they can to achieve that goal. Trusting your healthcare provider is more than liking the doctor, it means keeping your private health information safe; not breached, not for sale, and not available for product development. 

Convenience

The workday today can begin at 8:00 A.M. or 2:00 P.M. There is no one-size-fits-all for office hours anymore. Selecting a doctor’s office that understands that not everyone can make it to their office prior to 4 or 5:00 P.M. is important. Many doctors today have a more flexible schedule wherein they have at least one evening where they remain open until 8 or 9:00 P.M. and some even have hours on Saturday. Additionally, you should find a doctor within your local area. It makes it convenient for regular visits and, if you or your child becomes very sick, you can get there in short order. 

Cater to Their Clients

Not all doctors put their focus on their clients’ needs ahead of their own wallets. You may find a doctor within your location and one that accepts your insurance; however, they might be lacking in customer service. For instance, some doctors, in order to make more money, schedule several appointments for the same time slot. You walk into the doctor’s office and see a room full of people seated and waiting and suddenly find out that they all have the same scheduled appointment. This can cost you valuable time and, if you took time off from work, it means you’ll spend the entire day in the office versus at home getting rest.

A Formal Meeting

While liking your doctor isn’t the most important issue if they provide quality care, it helps. When you like a person you are more apt to strike up a conversation which, in many cases, can include things that trouble you either emotionally or physically. So, in the end, it can help you maintain better health.

Healthcare is something every person in your family needs. Throughout your lifetime you will, from time to time, have difficult decisions to make when it comes to healthcare. Finding a qualified physician with excellent credentials, a superb reputation and protections in place to preserve the integrity of your personal information are key factors you should weigh carefully before making your final decision.

Top Home Improvements You Probably Shouldn’t Do Yourself

Thanks to home improvement reality shows and blogs DIY has caught on everywhere. Homeowners are learning just how easy and cost-effective it can be to complete home maintenance and repairs on their own. While it can seem like a win-win (maintain your asset and save money), that’s not the case for all home improvement projects. 

If you were to do a quick online search of DIY mistakes or disasters, you’d find a ton of stories of homeowners who attempted to complete projects on their own that backfired big time. It ended up costing them more money to have a professional come out and fix what they damaged while also taking care of the original repair. 

Not to discourage you from doing your own home repairs and improvements, but there are some things that really should not be done without professional assistance. How do you know which projects are safe and which you should hire a contractor? Check out this list below: 

Electrical Projects

Electricity is dangerous to anyone that doesn’t have adequate education and training. You should never try to work with electrical wiring on your own. You run the risk of getting electrocuted or starting a house fire. As electrical wiring runs throughout the home, you should hire an electrician when doing everything from installing a ceiling fan to a kitchen or bathroom remodel. You can visit sites like PacmanElectric.com to find certified electricians servicing your area. 

Significant Structural Changes

You don’t know how many DIY disaster stories there are from homeowners who tried to make structural changes on their own. They suddenly decide that they want an open-concept kitchen and knock down a wall. Only the wall they knocked down happens to be load-bearing which causes a ton of mess. 

There’s more to a wall than meets the eye. Behind many of them, you can find everything from plumbing to electrical wires. If it is also a wall that serves to support the weight of the property, removing it can result in significant structural damage. So, any time you want to tear down a wall, it is best to at least hire a contractor to advise you on whether or not tearing it down would cause an issue. 

Roof Repairs

Cleaning your gutters is one thing, but trying to install a roof, repair damage, or any other roofing repair without assistance is an accident waiting to happen. Without the proper safety gear and equipment, you increase your chances of falling and getting seriously hurt. Not to mention, if you damage the roof while trying to repair it, it will most certainly cause other issues around the house like leaks and water damage. It is a safer bet to hire a roofing contractor to maintain and repair your roof for you. 

Tree Removal

Dead trees can become a serious issue for homeowners fairly quickly. They need to be properly removed to prevent them from falling and causing damage to your property, your neighbor’s property, or hurt someone passing by. While it might seem simple enough to grab a chainsaw and begin hacking away, cutting trees is a lot more complex than you think. Cutting the wrong way could lead to property damage or injury. It is best to contact an arborist or landscaping company to have them come and cut the tree safely for you. 

Other Factors to Consider

These aren’t the only home improvement projects you probably shouldn’t complete on your own. Before deciding to do any project yourself, consider these factors: 

  • Knowledge – how much do you know about what you’re trying to accomplish? If you don’t have much comprehension on the topic, chances are you shouldn’t be doing it yourself. 
  • Tools – While some home repairs and maintenance projects require nothing more than a hammer and a few nails, there are others that require more advanced tools and equipment. If you cannot afford or do not have these tools readily available, you do not want to complete the job yourself. 
  • Permits – Each locality has its own rules and regulations as it pertains to getting home improvement projects permitted. These permits are to ensure that the work is done up to code and also means that your work will be evaluated by a city or county inspector. Unless you want the headache of going through all the red tape, it is probably best to hire a contractor to ensure the work is done appropriately. 

No one is against saving a few bucks while also maintaining your property, but it is important to play it safe. Trying to complete a home improvement project that you’re not skilled enough in or is very risky can cause you more harm than good. If you’re not sure you should be completing it on your own, it is best to start searching for the best-qualified contractor to get it done for you. 

3 Common Natural Threats to Your Home’s Safety and Stability

Nature is a powerful force and without a lot of maintenance and care, it can quickly have a serious effect on the structural stability and safety of your home. From extreme weather to tiny insects, there are countless natural threats that can affect your property’s safety and value.

Keeping on top of these potential issues can be challenging and time-consuming, which is why being aware of the warning signs is so important. To help you monitor the natural threats to your home, here are some of the most common problems you might come across.

Squirrels

Squirrels are one of the most common rodents in the world and whilst not commonly considered dangerous, they do actually pose a threat to your property. As very active and successful climbers, squirrels are excellent at getting into high spaces which can result in them accessing your attic through the eaves of your roof. Once inside, squirrels often build nests in these attic spaces and aren’t afraid to chew through your property during their time there.

Particularly important is the threat of squirrels chewing through pipes and wires. Damaged pipes can quickly lead to expensive leaks and water damage, whilst the live wires can pose a serious electrical or fire hazard.

If you begin to hear scratching, rolling or skittering in your roof, there is a high likelihood that it could be a squirrel nest. Be sure to investigate if you hear anything suspicious, particularly during the early morning, and investigate your options for getting the rodents to leave.

Woodworm

Woodworm is an incredibly common natural occurrence but few people realise exactly what it can do to your property if left unchecked. Woodworm is actually the name given to the larvae of multiple species of wood-boring beetle. These insects burrow into timber and lay their eggs within; when the larvae hatch, they chew through the wood to grow until they are ready to exit as fully grown beetles, after which they bore out of the wood and leave small exit holes as evidence.

These exit holes are the most common woodworm infestation identifier but there are actually a few different signs of woodworm that you can look out for. This is particularly important because the exit holes only become visible after the infestation has done its damage.

Stopping woodworm is important because whilst small in size, the larvae are great in number and weaken the timber that they infest and chew through. For small furniture items, this might not be a huge problem, but woodworm infestations can also destroy wooden structural supports and beams, causing serious damage to your property. With that in mind, if you suspect you have a woodworm problem, be sure to get an expert opinion to confirm your suspicions.

Plants and Trees

Plants are easily one of the most powerful forces that can damage your home. Given enough time, tree roots and wall climbing plants like ivy can disrupt property foundations as well as wall strength and stability.

The good news is that the process of tree and plant growth is fairly slow, meaning that you can usually catch the start of the problem and fix it before it gets too serious. The common fixes are simply cutting back the plants or roots and sometimes, creating a barrier to prevent the problem from happening again. However, prevention is better than cure, so be sure to keep an eye on what type of trees are near your house and what plants are growing nearby.

These three natural threats are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can damage and affect your property. The most important point to remember is to stay aware of your surroundings and question anything about your home that doesn’t look quite right. The smallest issue can grow into a major problem if left for too long.

Friday Favorites Linky Party – Week 503

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The Elephant Organics Review

Disclosure: I received free products to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own.

I love matching clothes for mom and child!  Last year I got the cutest set of Christmas pajamas for Thaxton and me.  Today I’m happy to share some mommy and me pajamas that you can wear year round!  These are from The Elephant Organics!   The Elepants Organics has cute clothes, pajamas, and accessories for newborns, adults, and every age in between.   They have a wide variety of cute fabrics and prints with many items available in each print.  And they have collections for boys, girls, and gender neutral. [Read more…]

How to buy the right type of international medical insurance

If you are taking your family abroad for a holiday or on a trip to see relatives you really need to buy travel insurance. Most of the time, things will go well and you will not need to use it.

But, despite this fact, buying it is never a waste of time. Without the right type of international medical insurance should someone fall sick the bill can potentially run into tens of thousands.

Coverage for your medical bills

The cost of treatment alone can be very high. Healthcare costs vary, but they are never cheap. Even in India, which has one of the lowest-cost healthcare services in the world, a broken ankle could easily set you back $7,000. You would also need to add the cost of drugs, crutches and outpatient visits to that amount. In other parts of the world, you would pay an awful lot more to fix a badly broken ankle.

So, it is wise to buy a policy that provides sufficient coverage for your medical bills. It is also important to check if there is an excess. If there is make sure that you understand how much it is.

The types of treatments covered

Look at the small print to see what kinds of treatments are covered by your policy. For example, if a brain injury is suspected you would want to be able to have a scan rather than just an x-ray because that is all your policy covers.

Transport to the medical facility

Not all policies cover transportation to the medical facility. It is never wise to assume that this bill will a small one. Even in well-developed countries like the UK, you may have to be flown to a specialist hospital to receive treatment for something like a broken back. If you have not bought the right type of international medical coverage you will have to pay that bill. Again, that bill can easily run into tens of thousands.

Repatriation coverage

Should you, or a member of your travel party, be so ill that they cannot return home without a medical professional you will again be facing a huge bill. As you can see here, the cost of medical evacuation is currently running at between $25,000 and $250,000. So, again, it is very important to make sure that your policy provides adequate coverage for this eventuality.

Expenses for other members of your party

Often, someone will need to stay with you to take care of your immediate needs. Again, this can work out expensive. You will have to find the cash to pay for their accommodation, food, travel expenses and new tickets to get home. All costs that the right international medical insurance policy will cover.

The activities that are included in your policy

You also need to be sure that your medical travel insurance policy will kick in regardless of how you get injured or fall sick. The last thing you need is to break your leg on a hike only to find that an injury sustained while hiking is not covered. For some policies, the list of activities that are not is a ridiculously long one. So, always check the small print before actually buying your policy.

The above is not a comprehensive list of what you need to consider when buying international medical insurance. Just the most important things, so, before buying please take the time to do a bit more research.

6 Ways Your Home Could Be Affecting Your Health And How To Combat This

Where you live has a profound affect on both your mental and physical well being, and even small details can make a big difference. In this article we outline 6 ways that your home can cause problems to your health and the easy improvements you can make that’ll bring about big, beneficial changes to your whole life.

Mold Can Lead To Serious Health Issues

A type of fungus that often grows in damp and musty conditions, mold can lead to serious health problems if it isn’t treated quickly. You need to clean the affected area to get rid of the mold, then prevent its return by finding the root cause of the problem and fixing it. Often mold is caused by poor insulation, or condensation as a result of ineffective ventilation, so work with a contractor to identify and rectify the issue before it causes you serious health problems.

Dust Isn’t Just Unsightly

As well as being a sign that your home hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly in a while, dust can also cause respiratory problems and lead to allergies. These health problems are easily avoided by dusting your home regularly and using a high-quality vacuum cleaner to dispose of any dirt as quickly as possible.

Pests Can Be More Than Just Annoying

Not only do unwanted visitors cause a disturbance, but they can also lead to serious health problems including rashes, allergies and respiratory problems, as well as potentially spreading diseases such as salmonella. The most effective way to rid your home of pests is to collaborate with an expert pest control service like Aswatona Pest Control, whose talented team can eliminate any trace of pests and leave your home fresh and clean.

Uneven Flooring Is A Trip Hazard

Having uneven floors and dangerous staircases can lead to falls, which could potentially lead to a serious injury. To avoid this, make sure that any bumps on the ground are removed and that any lifting carpet or flooring is fixed so that you can walk around your home safely.

House Plants Aren’t Just Decorative Some house plants can lead to skin rashes, respiratory problems and even be poisonous, so you need to make sure that you check that your plants are non-toxic and safe. If you notice any change in your health when you’re around your plants then consider moving them to a place you don’t spend a lot of time in, or even getting rid of them altogether.

Damp Is Never A Good Thing

If your home gets damp then this could not only lead to more serious problems like mold, but on its own it could cause breathing problems, fungus on your skin and even other issues like a loss of appetite and poor mental health. Being damp can seriously affect your health and also damage the structure of your home, so find and fix any damp patches before they worsen and cause you health issues.

Friday Favorites Linky Party – Week 502

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

Jennifer at Busy Being JenniferTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! [Read more…]

3 Ways to Control Pharaoh Ants in the Home

Monomorium pharaonis, or Pharaoh ants, are thought to be natives of Egypt, but they have spread all over the world, including to North America. Measuring just 2 millimeters, these ants are brown or yellowish in color. Although originally a tropical species, Pharaoh ants are highly adaptive to climate and temperature variations. They can even survive in American homes in winter if the central heating is on. As a loving and caring parent, you’ll want to get rid of this all-season nuisance pest.

Pharaoh ants live in colonies and they follow the social order of polygyny. Often, there are several queens in a single colony, so their population multiplies rapidly. When a colony becomes overpopulated, it gets fragmented into bud colonies, thus increasing their presence inside a home. Colonies can be anywhere including electricity pipes and ducts, small holes, or even cracks in walls and floors. Pharaoh ants can also damage silk, rayon, and rubber products, as they feed on almost everything sweet with sufficient protein content.

What is the biggest threat from Pharaoh ants?

These ants do not pose any major threat themselves except for mild stings. However, Pharaoh ants can transmit many illnesses and diseases as they are transporters of several pathogens. These include Streptococcus, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Pharaoh ants must be eliminated from modern homes to keep the family healthy and happy. However, keeping your home ant-free is a big challenge.

Why is it difficult to eradicate Pharaoh ants?

There are two major challenges in ant control. First, ants are very tiny and agile, and can easily escape or hide inside holes and cracks if attacked. Second, Pharaoh ants also have the unique gift of sensing insecticides and will abandon colonies before any harm comes to them.

What then are some effective ways of controlling pharaoh ants? Here are three options.

Ant-baiting

These ants have a terrific sweet tooth, so the smartest way to destroy them is by preparing poisonous baits mixed with honey, crushed sugar, or any other sweet solvent. Boric acid and baking soda are two effective household bait ingredients. These baits should be placed strategically and particularly in and around cracks and openings so that the ants can easily access them. Quite often, ant workers carry food to their queens so this method is also effective in killing the queens and thus controlling the population.

Capping holes, openings, and cracks

These are the gateways for Pharaoh ants that facilitate their entry and exit in homes. By sealing them, you can restrict their movement successfully. The challenge here is to spot and seal all possible points of entry, as many of them may be out of reach or simply go unspotted.

Spraying pesticides

If the ant infestation remains unmanageable even after trying the previous methods, you can try spraying pesticides. This should be the last resort because the average homeowner might struggle choosing the right pesticide for the job, as well as finding one that was safe. Using the pesticide both correctly and effectively might also be a challenge to a layperson.

Pharaoh ants are both smart and elusive. Controlling them is an expert’s job, so the best way to do it is by involving professionals. When it comes to the health and safety of your family, you would not want to take chances, right?