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Let, us sing and dance the night away, come be merry my friends, it's Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick's Day this mirthful month! The love of the Irish and all the wonderful traditions has woven it's way into the springtime air, so grab something green to wear and join the fun! This month in Welcome Home magazine discover the origins of the famous Irish holiday, Saint Patrick's Day. Wonder how some Mardi Gras tradition got started? We have your answers! Get your garden growing with our helpful Spring Garden Jumpstart and learn how flowers have been given through the ages to celebrate. This and much more awaits you in our pages. So get your "Kiss Me I'm Irish" shirt on, and come read along with us! Please enjoy this issue of the magazine! Have an marvelous March, and as always, Welcome Home!

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Welcome Home! Table of Contents 4

Recipe And Design A tasty recipe and a stylish home design how to.

5 Mardi Gras Traditions Take a trip through the centuries to see how it started. 6

Spring Blooming Flowers What floral beauties will you see this spring?

Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. The advise contained therein is not in anyway intended to substitute for that of trained professionals. Please read responsibly.

In The Kitchen. March Munchies: Rainbow Jello

8

Health and Wellness. Kickboxing - Workouts that pack a punch!

9

All pictures courtesy of sxc.hu or bing.com unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Wikipedia for Random Fact information and aid.

Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor 10

12

Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Who was St. Patrick and why do we celebrate him?

Compost - Is It Just A Load Of Rubbish? So much more than just the leftovers.

16

The History of Flowers How long have flowers been a tradition?

18

Jumpstart The Spring Garden Gardening tips for March and April.

20

Products To Love! Hot trends and technological wonders of tomorrow.

22

City Spotlight Miami, FL - Year round fun in the sun!

24

DIY Project - March

Part Steampunk, part Dr. Seuss - DIY Pipe Lamp.

25

Businesses That Make A Difference FEED Bags: buy a bag and feed a child for a year.

The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.


Recipe and Design Mini Muffulettas

Ingredients 2 (16-oz.) jars mixed pickled vegetables 3/4 cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, chopped 2 tablespoons bottled olive oil-and-vinegar dressing 12 small dinner rolls, cut in half 6 Swiss cheese slices, cut in half 12 thin deli ham slices 12 Genoa salami slices 6 provolone cheese slices, cut in half

Preparation: 1.

2.

3.

Pulse pickled vegetables in food processor 8 to 10 times or until finely chopped. Stir in olives and dressing. Spread 1 heaping tablespoonful pickled vegetable mixture over cut side of each roll bottom. Top each with 1 Swiss cheese slice half, 1 ham slice, 1 salami slice, 1 provolone cheese slice half, and roll tops. Cover with plastic wrap. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve. Note: We tested with Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera pickled vegetables and Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing.

St. Patrick’s Day Cards

Thoughtful handmade cards are just the ticket for St. Patrick’s Day.

Card #1 • Adhesive foam • Shamrock die cuts • Small colored brads • String green cording 1.

2.

Card #2 • Cardstock • Scissors • Small eyelets • Small silver charm • Cord 1.

2. Southern Living SEPTEMBER 2011

Sandwich adhesive foam between two shamrock die cuts and adhere the die cuts to the front panel of the card. Insert small colored brads at each corner and string green cording between the brads to frame the image.

3.

Cut a window in the front panel of a piece of folder card stock and set small eyelets on either side of the opening. Suspend a small silver charm from a length of cord inserted in the holes and tie the ends on the inside of the card to secure. Handwrite or stamp a message below the window to finish.

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.com


Mardi Gras Traditions As settlers from Europe travelled to the new world by the thousands, traditions and customs came with them and became ingrained in the culture and history of a new country.  One custom in particular flourished in the southern reaches of the burgeoning country, Mardi Gras. As far back as the early 18th century, Catholic European settlers were celebrating the same holidays that they had observed in their native countries.  In 1699, a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River not far from where present day New Orleans exists.  In honor of the celebration that he knew was taking place in France on that very day, he named the spot Point du Mardi Gras. As more settlers arrived from France, the customs that they had practiced there slowly began to take shape into what we now know as Mardi Gras.  As popular as Mardi Gras has become in the United States, most people only know half of the Mardi Gras tradition.  While many know that the celebration is related to Lent, what many do not know is that it is also related to Christmas.  Carnival, as the actual season is known, begins on the same date every year.  Only the actual date of Mardi Gras changes.  This date to kick of the Carnival season is January 6.  The date is also referred to as 12th night.  It is the twelfth day of Christmas, the Epiphany and celebrates the day that the three wise men found and worshipped the baby Jesus.  In communities where Carnival is observed, Epiphany marks the beginning of the season and the last day is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras day.  The word Carnival is taken from the Latin and is literally translated as "farewell to the flesh".  The Carnival season is time of merriment and brief season of feasting before the somber time of Lent.  Some experiments have reasoned that the custom actually began as a way to use any meat, eggs and milk before Lent began so that no items were left to waste during the forty day long fasting period.  The traditional Mardi Gras King cake is thought to have been derived from this need to use up perishable items. Today, Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many different fashions.  Some only celebrate on the actual Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, while others take full advantage of the time and attend many luncheons, masked balls and parades.  Parades are generally the highlight for the majority of those who observe Mardi Gras and though Mobile and New Orleans have the biggest and oldest celebrations, many other communities all along the Gulf Coast are forming their own societies.   With so many different celebrations, it should be easy for anyone who desires to attend a parade, to find one they are comfortable attending.  The communities of Orange Beach and Fairhope have recently began holding parades and these are the perfect size to attend for someone who doesn't enjoy large crowds and wants to avoid any of the hard partying that can be seen in the larger cities along the Gulf Coast.

Written by Robbie Tanner. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com


Spring Blooming Flowers Spring is in the air and it's the perfect time to start gardening.  Types of flowers that bloom in early spring are plants like the Iris, Hyacinth, Snowflake, Dutch Crocus, Ghostflower and the Snowdrop.  Azaleas, Apple Blossoms and Anemones or the wind flower are more common spring flowers as well as the Belladonna Lily, the Birds of Paradise and the Allium or Flowering Onion.  These are just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many different types of flowers for spring.   Spring is bursting with color from the purple of the Bluebell to the bright pink of the Boronia and the white with yellow of the Bloodroot which resembles a seven-petal daisy. Colorful garden flowers blossom into their full glory, electrifying gardens with bright pretty colors that can attract birds and butterflies.  Most spring flowers are planted in the fall like the daffodil and the tulip.  Gardeners use this season not only to enjoy the profusion of color that burst forward from the ground but also to infuse the earth with even more plants that blossom later on in the year.  It a great time to plant Lobelia a trailing ground cover blue flower and Nirembergia a white bloom which is also a trailing plant.  Petunias are another great flower to plant in spring and later to watch the blooms all summer long.


Spring flowers are so numerous in varieties that springtime is considered nature's most prolific period.  Watch to appearance of multicolored Zinnias and the yellow flowers, Yellow Anemone, Winter Aconite and Witch Hazel.   The white flowers such as Meadowsweet, Viburnum and the White Rock-Rose also spring forth in the Spring.  Spring flowers cover the whole color spectrum including lavender with the Wax Flower, the pale magenta of the Sweet Crabapple and the pale blue of the Scilla. Spring alights with the multiple colors of the vast varieties of flowers that bloom during the season.  Beautifying the environment and bringing a wonderful fragrance to the area where they flower.  Any garden with spring flowers is benefiting from every new bloom and is lighting up with a fantastic array of bright cheerful tones. planting some of these interesting and fragrant spring flower varieties in your yard this year!

Written by Abby. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com


In The Kitchen

Rainbow Jello You will need: •

• • • •

5 boxes {small} Jello, assorted flavors {I used Grape, Berry Blue, Lemon, Lime and Strawberry} 7 envelopes unflavored gelatin {you will need to buy 2 boxes} Boiling water {6 + 3/4 cups; 5 cups total, 1 cup at a time plus 1 + 3/4 cups} see notes 1 can {14 oz} sweetened condensed milk 1/4 cup cold water

Directions: 1.

2. 3.

In a small bowl combine Grape Jello and 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup boiling water and stir until dissolved. Pour into a 13×9 glass pan and place in fridge for about 20 minutes, until set but not firm In a small bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup boiling water, stir well. In another small bowl, add cold water and sprinkle 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin, set aside for 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup boiling water and stir well. Add to milk mixture and stir.

4.

Add 1 cup of milk mixture to Grape Jello layer, place in fridge to set, about 25 minutes. 5. In a small bowl combine Blue Jello and 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup boiling water and stir until dissolved. Pour over cream mixture and place in fridge for about 20 minutes, until set but not firm 6. Add 1 cup of milk mixture to Blue Jello layer, place in fridge to set, about 25 minutes. 7. In a small bowl combine Lime Jello and 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup boiling water and stir until dissolved. Pour over cream mixture and place in fridge for about 20 minutes, until set but not firm 8. Add 1 cup of milk mixture to Lime Jello layer, place in fridge to set, about 25 minutes. 9. In a small bowl combine Lemon Jello and 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup boiling water and stir until dissolved. Pour over cream mixture and place in fridge for about 20 minutes, until set but not firm 10. Add 1 cup of milk mixture to Lemon Jello layer, place in fridge to set, about 25 minutes. 11. In a small bowl combine Strawberry Jello and 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup boiling water and stir until dissolved. Pour over cream mixture and place in fridge for about 20 minutes, until set but not firm Courtesy of hoosierhomemade.com


Health & Wellness

Kickboxing Kickboxing is defined as a group of martial arts and sports stand-up fight on the basis of kicks and punches, historically developed from Karate, Thai boxing and western boxing. Best known as self-discipline or as a contact sport, kickboxing fitness for general fitness and toning muscles increasing in popularity. Why Kickboxing Fitness can make a difference?Kickboxing may make sense for many of us, because it is the perfect complement to the existing regime of training, you want to change or improve or that you may have reached a plateau. Kickboxing can also help overcome the boredom of the same old workout, so it can help motivate you and help you to follow to get more fitness.kickboxing fitness can help boost metabolism and encourage new and stimulating different muscles. As a kickboxing fitnessKickboxing can use a mixture of powerful exercises and actual full contact fighting. This can help strengthen the body and increase mental strength and help increase strength and muscular endurance. We can not think that way, but kickboxing fitness cardio workout may be very effective, as 500 to 800 calories can be evaluated in kickboxing time because of the intensive nature of learning. With Kickboxing can be a high concentration of a beginner can settle down and start slowly, even if their fitness levels are high enough to start. Fundamentals of Fitness Kickboxing - There are a few basic movements, which Kickboxing: * Strikes are different types, such as KLA, cross, hook, uppercut, a short straight blow with his fist back to punch the flight, cross-cons, pronation, bolo punch, hook and swings and a half and half.* Pinky, how to kick or Kick Push (from disciplines such as Tae Kwon Do), hand punch, punch semicircular, round hit a house or circle hook kick crescent kick, punch, kick back and sweep kick kickboxing fitness.* Knee and elbow strikes right knee, increasing knee, knee catching the snap-kick on the knee, and so on, are also part of the fitness kickboxing procedures.* Defense or defensive maneuvers as an important component of basic kickboxing - sliding, floating and weaving, parade or block, hiding in the melee and so are defensive fitness kickboxing. What is cardio kickboxing? This sport-specific fitness kickboxing, which was designed by Frank Thiboutot and is also known as cardio kickboxing. This is a form of kickboxing equipment on a basis which is specially designed to achieve fitness and use equipment such as weight training, heavy bags and so on. The purpose of aerobic kickboxing is to provide a double benefit for human cardiovascular workout and strength training, which consists of the shocks, blows, blows and moves side to defend itself. Written by Zohiab. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com


Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Every year on 17th March, we celebrate St Patricks Day, donning our greenest garb, marching in Irish parades, eating green clover-shaped foods and quaffing beer, all in the name of a saint. But do you really know who St. Patrick was and why he is celebrated?


This occasion was named after the patron saint of Ireland who was believed to have died on that day sometime in AD 400 and is now buried in Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. The event is clouded by ambiguity, yet we still commemorate it. Not only is it celebrated in Great Britain, it's also honored in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. But do you know the story about Saint Patrick? Did you know he wasn't even born in Ireland? Who Was Saint Patrick? St Patrick was born in Roman Britain in AD 387. At the young age of 16, the patron was captured by a group of enraged Irish raiders who attacked his father's estate, and deported him to Ireland where he remained a captive for six years, working as a slave and a shepherd in complete isolation from other people. At this time, Ireland was a land of paganism and druidism, however, Patrick became a devout Christian. The saint's writings suggest he heard a voice telling him to escape, so he travelled south for 200 miles until he reached the Irish coast where he hopped aboard the ship to Britain. On his return to England, he became a priest, studying under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre in France, to help battle paganism. He was ordained and given the name "Patercius" or "Patritius", which in Latin means "father of his people". Then he returned to Ireland and taught Christianity to the Irish. Initially, Patrick encountered numerous hardships among the pagans, especially the druids. Many of his family members converted to Christianity and bit by bit, the old religion faded and Patrick established the Catholic Church. He baptized, confirmed, and ordained priests, and he erected schools and monasteries. In less than 30 year, he accomplished all these activities, converting the whole island nation of Ireland. Just before he died, he wrote Confessions, wherein he gives a record of his life and mission. Shamrocks: What have they got to do with St Patrick's Day? Saint Patrick wanted to make people understand the doctrine of the Trinity. So, he demonstrated the analogy using a shamrock – the stem symbolized God while the three leaves represented the three beings that make up the divine God:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The shamrock was already a sacred plant in ancient Ireland as it denoted the rebirth of spring. And it's for that very reason we wear green on St Patrick's Day because, of course, shamrocks are green! How We Celebrate St. Patrick's Day The first St Patrick's Day parade took place on March 17th, 1762, by the English military in New York. Then in 1848, a group of New York Irish aid societies combined their parades to form one New York City St Patrick's Day Parade, which consisted of more than 150,000 participants. Irish music and dancing was the name of the game. Other cities also hold annual parades, including San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal, Vancouver, and Sydney. Written by Susie Davids. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com.


Compost - Is It Just A Load Of Rubbish?

To Compost or Not to Compost Well, there's no doubt about it, composting is a good practice that any self-respected gardener should learn to do. But the question really is what materials we could make into a compost and which ones we cannot. We have been told that composting can be done with any organic material. Well, in theory that may be true, however, in real life it may not be always so. There are a several organic materials that should not be included in the compost pile unless you know how to do it properly while there are other materials that should not even be attempted even by the experts. To compost or not to compost, that is indeed the question. And let's see if we can provide the answers. For home composters like you and me, we have a number of materials available inside our own home and even our own backyard. The big, industrial composters have a little advantage over us.  They can compost more materials than us because they have the facilities to divert, mask, or absorb the odor that may come out from composting a lot of organic stuff. We don't have the same luxury. We don't want our neighbors organizing a protest rally against our composting in our own backyard, now do we?


Don't let this worry you though, there are still a lot of materials that we could include in our compost pile. Let's begin with something our front lawn is always dying to dispose off: excess grass. Yep, grass clippings from our lawn can be put   to better use like for the compost file in our backyard. In situations where you have hay instead of grass clippings, that could work as well. Using hay for composting is often practiced by farmers. You will find that farmers are more than willing to dispose of that hay. And when it comes to using hay for composting, be sure to pick the greener ones. Green hay means it still has a lot of nitrogen in it. Others include kitchen wastes such as vegetable peels, fruit rinds, tea bags, eggshells and coffee grounds. These substances contain high levels of nitrogen. Make sure, however, to keep pests away from your kitchen wastes. Some would prefer to prepare a compost bin intended for their kitchen wastes. Others would prefer burying these wastes in eight inches of soil. And because they precisely attract pests, it would be best to stay avoid including scraps of meat, milk products and left over bones. Wood chips, wood shaving, saw dusts, paper, and other wood products are generally good to included in your compost pile. However, be sure to stay away from chemically-treated wood products. Arsenic is one of the highly toxic chemicals that is sometimes used to treat wood. Using sawdust from such treated wood products is a no-no since the chemical will leak into the soil causing more harm than good. Speaking of no-nos, there are other things that you should not include in your compost. Plants that died due to a disease should not be included. There is still a possibility that the disease the caused the death of the plants might infect your future plants. And similarly, human, dog and cat wastes are not uses as composting materials as well precisely because they contain organisms that could cause disease. Such disease might cause people to be sick or might affect your plants. Even though grasses can be used for composting, it would be best to avoid weeds like morning glory, ivy, sheep, and kinds of grasses that could grow in your compost pile. The weeds seeds also can survive the composting pile which can be carried to your new garden. So going back to our earlier question: to compost or not to compost? Composting is something that is ideal for your garden. However, choosing the right materials will determine how successful your compost pile will be.

Top Reasons for Composting Some of us may be hesitant in making and using compost. They find the task of making one troublesome and time consuming. Or they might have false perceptions of smelly compost piles and having such a messy process right in their backyards. While others would prefer buying their fertilizers, soil amendments or conditioners, and mulch from their garden stores to avoid all the hassle of reading about compost and actually making one. Here are my top personal reasons for composting. I only hope that you move your butt out of that chair and begin your own compost pile before you reach number ten. The first reason I find composting highly worthwhile is the fact that the materials used are absolutely free and are readily available. Compare that with the ever rising costs of commercial fertilizers and other gardening products in the market today. All you need is a little extra effort to find the best materials for your compost pile, but otherwise, everything's for free. The second one is that compost provides more nutrients and minerals needed by my plants than commercial organic or synthetic fertilizers. The overall effect of compost is also longer than commercially available fertilizers. It's free and it works better, who wouldn't want that? Plus, if you organize your ingredients just right, you can provide a whole lot more range of nutrients. Another good reason would be the benefits of compost to the soil structure. When applied to the soil, compost can help the soil be more resistant to erosion, improve its retention of water, and in some types of soil (like clay) it can reduce the chance the soil becomes compact. This is also important for farmers since compost can make the soil easier to till conserving time and fuel needed to operate the machines. With the right composting technique, the process can kill those troublesome weeds as well as pests and diseasecausing organisms present in the materials being composted. High temperature composting is the technique I am talking about. Although, this technique is not the backyard variety but rather a more laboratory or industrial type variety, I still find it a good reason why we should make composts. There have been studies which indicate that using compost can suppress the growth of diseases in crops. Other studies also show that crops grown over compost rich soils can resist better pest or insect attacks. Likewise, some news and observations in the field also shows that crops grown using compost bear produce that can be stored longer. If that's not reason enough, I don't know what else you are


looking for. For the environmentalists and conservationists, compost has something for them as well. Using compost together with the soil can build soil carbon which can eventually reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It may take a lot of compost to have a positive effect on the greenhouse gases but that fact is quite useful as well. It is also found out that compost works well as an antidote for soils that are toxic with agricultural chemicals. Compost can balance the levels of soil acidity, and helps farmers to go organic after years of using synthetic agricultural products. These are my top reason for composting. Some of it may not directly benefit my personal needs but having those reasons to cling onto is a good thing to motivate the use of compost. Getting to Know Your Composting Equipment The equipment you use in your composting will help make or break your pursuits of building your compost. If you are really bent on making the most of your composting  goals, a good familiarization of the tools that will help you achieve your goals is very much appropriate. The tools will not necessarily be in the form of objects, because there are also elements of place and space that are in play when it comes to obtaining the optimum performance of your compost. A Good Composting Site: The site of your composting activity is the primary consideration and one of the best tools you need to master before you do any composting activity. The place must be free from obstruction and well capable of obtaining the right temperature needed for your composting. Aside from this, you also need to be thoroughly familiar with the site which you chose for composting. In addition, you also need to be able to access the site frequently as composting requires a lot of monitoring on a frequent basis. Compost Bin: Your compost bin must serve the functions of the particular type of composting you intend to have. If you are up for the industrial level of composting, you may need more than one compost bin to satisfy your objectives. This compost bin needs to be cleaned every once in a while, and must be of the right size depending on the amount of materials you are to put. Be sure that you are able to manage the compost bin you choose, and for beginners, it is often recommended to

start small and then branch out once you get the hang of it or at least get comfortable with what you are working on. Thermometer Composting requires you to maintain a specific temperature. So a thermometer may come in handy for you as you do your daily rounds of inspection on your compost pit. You need to make sure that the thermometer is properly calibrated. Some shops also sell thermometer that is tailored to suit the needs of compost owners, so you can also check these out. The specifically tailored thermometers may prove to give a better advantage for you. Garden Fork: The garden fork has a great variety of uses. In the aspect of composting, it will really help you mix your materials especially if you are dealing with a large composting pit or bin. The garden fork will help you rake in the materials, mix them and test the texture and softness of your compost mix. For a garden rake, you must choose one that is optimum for the size of your composting operations and with a complete manual and warranty so as to maximize its usage. Other Containers: You will not only need a compost bin, but if you are a sucker for combining and categorizing your materials, you may also need additional containers that can help you manage your compost materials. In cases where you need to monitor your Carbon and Nitrogen ratio components in the mix, you have make sure that you are adding the right type of materials to maintain the right temperature, mix and ratio needed. Room for Growth: The spatial aspect of composting involves having more room for growth should you decide to pursue higher levels of composting. Your area must be spacious enough to accommodate your present composting needs, but at the same time, it must be able to hold in expansions, should you decide to increase the capacity of your compost pit. Compost Smells: This and Other Composting Myths Composting is a natural and simple process and yet it has been complicated by machines, fallacies, misinformation, myths, and misunderstandings that came out due to erroneous publications and aggressive commercial marketing approaches. Some of these misinformed facts have been passed around so many times that the general perception has become truth. An example would be the seemingly accepted fact that all compost smells. But before we go into that, let's discuss some other composting myths first.


Myth: Composting requires a lot of work Truth: Composting is a natural process which involves basically the elements of nature doing the job for you. All you need is to gather all the materials, lay it on, and let nature do her job. Composting is a low maintenance activity as well. You only need to turn the compost file every once in a while to keep the air flowing to quicken the decomposition process and that's it. You practically sit and wait for the the compost to finish. Myth: Composting is limited to farms and wide open spaces Truth: On the contrary, people living in urban areas who have no luxury for space can create their own composting bin from a trash can. How much space would that take up? Also, there is another technique which you can use, the so-called vermicomposting which involves the use of red worms in a contained bin where you feed them table scraps. Myth: Composting needs precise measurements Truth: Even though composting ideally would be best achieved with the right combination of greens and browns elements, having the exact measurements is not that necessary. Estimates work just fine. And those neatly piled up layers of composting piles you see in commercials, books, pamphlets and brochures of composting products, those are all for show. You don't need to copy those, composting works the same way as you pile them up haphazardly. Myth: You need specially formulated chemicals as starters or activators Truth: Well, despite the claims of commercially available products that applying them to the compost pile will speed up the process of decomposition, buying them is not really necessary. It is often the practice to just throw in some finished compost into the newly formed compost pile and that itself will serve as the activator to get things started. There's no need to buy those expensive stuff. Myth: Adding yeast will boost the compost's performance Truth: This is not true at all. What you're doing is just wasting your money by adding yeast to the compost pile. Yeast does not do anything to the compost pile and neither does it affect the performance quality of the compost. Myth: Animals are attracted to composting piles Truth: Yes, this to some degree is true. Composting piles do attract the occasional cat, dog or raccoon. Small critters will likely go for open compost piles and for piles that have kitchen scraps like meat, fat, dairy products, bones and pet manure to the pile. Myth: Compost smells Truth: Compost should not smell. If you find bad smelling compost, then the maker did a poor job picking the materials for the compost pile. Other composting myths exist and it would be best to do your research first before accepting them as truth. Enjoy your composting!

Written by Steve Crownly. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com


The  Histor+  Of  Flowers


Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that flowers had significance to people as far back as the Pleistocene epoch. A familial Neanderthal grave discovered in Iraq contained pollen that indicated that flowers had been place in, or on top of the grave. Flowers have always been a symbol of renewal and rebirth for people. The custom of offering flowers to the dead is ancient and common to many cultures. Flowers existed long before man, but man has always appreciated their beauty and imbued then with many symbols. Many spring rituals are celebrated with flowers, which are the traditional symbol for the beginning of a new growing season. Spring in The Netherlands means tulip festivals. Although not originally native to the area, tulips have a special meaning to the Dutch and are celebrated and exchanged as gifts between friends. Both cut flowers and bulbs are prized. In Washington, DC, the capitol of the United States, Japanese cherry blossoms bring tourists each spring. The flowering trees were originally a gift from the government of Japan to the United States. Few gifts have been as prized or celebrated as these lovely trees which renew the gift year after year. In Great Britain, spring is celebrated with May Day and flowers are a big part of the celebration. Easter is celebrated by Christians worldwide with offerings of white lilies. Hyacinths have a special place in Greek mythology, said to have sprung from the mortal wound of the god Apollo's lover. The first evidence of cultivated roses has been found in China and dates back 5000 years. Roses are among the most prized flowers in many cultures and have been grown in many varieties almost all over the world.

The offering of flowers as gifts is as old as man. Flowers and herbs often served as medicines and the gift of certain flowers was intended to heal. Even in today's society, we often send flowers to people who are ill. Some flowers were credited with mystical powers and the gift of these was intended as a blessing, or in some cases, a curse. Flowers and their seeds have been exchanged between rulers and governments as signs of good will throughout history. The scent of certain flowers can evoke powerful memories and emotions in people. The sense of smell is one of the most primitive senses and man has long sought to reproduce the scent of certain flowers. Flowers provide color and beauty as well as pleasing our sense of touch and smell. Poets have compared women to flowers. The English language is full of floral references. Healthy people are said to have roses in their cheeks. Colors are named for flowers because people immediately understand the reference and can identify the color. To say it with flowers is to honor a tradition as old as man. The gift of flowers has a meaning and history that is not matched by any other gift. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a lover, a friend, a teacher or even a co-worker, flowers are traditional and appreciated by people of all cultures. It's possible that flowers were the first gifts exchanged by people. They have been and remain the perfect gift. Written by Robbie Tanner. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com


Jumpstart The Spring Garden Gardening Tips For March and April

Snowdrops stand guard over tiny daffodil buds. Daylight is lingering a bit longer. The snow is receding and the robins are returning. The big thaw has begun. There's no denying the signs. Spring is right around the corner.


If you're like me, you can't wait to get your hands into the soil. While you're holding out for higher temperatures, there's plenty you can do today to jumpstart the spring gardening season.

local area, a day or weekend trip to a flower show might be just what you need. Look for a botanical garden or arboretum with indoor facilities. In my area we have Longwood Gardens. It has year round indoor gardens and the displays are fantastic.

Sow Seeds Indoors Take a trip to your local nursery or home store and buy seeds to start indoors. In March I like to start annual flowers for my pots and containers. Currently, I have Coleus, Zinnias, Impatiens, Petunias and Marigolds germinating. Follow the seed packet instructions and you'll get excellent results. Some plants will take longer than others to bloom or bear fruit, so plan accordingly. This is also a great time for starting culinary herbs and vegetables. If you're looking for something new this year, try moonflower vine or cathedral bells to climb your fence or trellis. Both can be started from seed. If you have children, get them involved. Many children have a natural affinity for gardening. It's a great quality to encourage and nurture in them. Dust Off The Birdhouses I put my birdhouses out in early March. Small birds like chickadees will be actively searching for appropriate homes to raise their families. Mine were up for less than 24 hours before the home tours began. Give Your Garden Tools A Checkup Take your pruning shears and other cutting tools to your local hardware store for cleaning, oiling and a good sharpening. On a warm day you may want to assess your lawnmower. Take it in for servicing or a tune up now-while you can. Many lawnmower repair centers are swamped shortly after the season starts. It's one tool you don't want to be without.

Clean Out Your Beds As soon as the snow has melted and the weather permits, you can clean out your beds. It's a good time to rake and clear your planting areas of dead branches, leaves and debris. I like to mulch as soon as possible in the spring, while there's still plenty of space between the emerging bedding plants. Learn A Landscape Design Software Program There are so many inexpensive landscaping software programs available today, many of them under $50.00US. During the winter months you'll have plenty of time to learn how to operate the system. Create and sample new designs before digging. Take advantage of the overhead and 360 degree views. Many of the programs now offer a 3D walk through feature. It simulates the experience of walking through an actual garden. You can also advance the garden timeline into the future to see what it will look like when the plants and trees mature. It's a wonderful creative tool to beat the winter blues! Call Your Landscaper Now If you're planning to use a professional landscaper this year, make sure to schedule your work as far in advance as possible. When the ground is soft enough for digging, landscapers will be working overtime to keep up with the volume.

Get Inspired

Book Your Garden Tours Now

Order your garden catalogs. Purchase your favorite garden magazines. Here in the northeast, there's nothing like winter time to remind me how valuable my summer garden space is. Create a wish list of new plants, design features and outdoor furniture. With a little planning, you won't be overwhelmed when May rolls around.

Scour the internet for local and regional garden tours. Find out when tickets go on sale and plan ahead. I've often read announcement lists in the newspaper after I've already made other plans. There's nothing like visiting other people's gardens for encouragement and inspiration.

Seek Out Indoor Gardening Events

I hope these suggestions get you motivated to take action. The sooner you get started on your garden plansthe more time you'll have to enjoy the rest of the season. Happy Gardening!

In March there are countless indoor garden, flower and landscaping expos. If you can't find anything in your

Written by John Conti. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com


Products To Love In March Whether you're a beginner looking for a basic guide to plants, garden tools, and techniques or a seasoned gardener searching for new project ideas, you'll find everything you need in this book. It's chock-full of easy-to-follow instructions, with more than 1,200 colorful photographs to show you how to achieve success with your landscape and edible gardens without a lot of fuss. Gardening has never been this simple, or this fun! Please click here for more information.

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Reviewed by Rural Jungle Testing

The worlds tallest leprechaun t shirt. You might be one of those lucky ones. So help people figure that out by wearing this funny tee! Have you tried a Crazy Dog T-shirt yet? Just Wait until you slip on one of these super soft tees. You'll instantly fall in love! Not only are they printed on super soft cotton but the tees fit great too. Try one and you won't go anywhere else! With over 500 designs Crazy Dog is the online destination for your favorite tees. Many of our designs are available in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes and come in a variety of different colors. Check our store to see them all! Please click here for more information.

Want a killer Mardi Gras costume? Have a look at this Beautiful Sequined Feathered Mardi Gras Costume Eye Mask! It comes in Adult Standard Size. Beautifully decorated with sequins, and feathers is fuchsia and black with gold accents. This sequin encrusted eye mask has an elastic band to hold it in place. The feather spray is attached on side with small gold detailing in the center (Eye Mask is approximately 4" x 7"; Feather Spray is approximately 12" x 12") Please click here for more information.


Products To Love In March Spring is right around the corner, and we have the perfect way to celebrate this season early with warmth and renewal! 40 Splendid stems of yellow daffodils are stylishly paired with a rectangular glass vase to create a bouquet that bursts onto the scene with warm intentions and happy wishes. Approximately 13"H. Please click here for more information.

Gardening just got easier with the Gardener by Picnic Time! The Gardener is a folding seat and detachable polyester storage tote all-in-one. The storage tote has two zippered openings, one on the backside and one on the top for easy access from any angle and it conveniently holds 5 metal garden tools on the exterior of the tote so they are readily accessible when you need them. All 5 tools have wooden handles and leatherette straps for hanging. Makes a perfect gift for those who love spending time in their garden. Please click here for more information.

The original FEED bag, conceived by Lauren in her college dorm room after her travels with the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The bag boasts our signature burlap, inspired by bags of food rations Lauren saw being distributed by the WFP, and feeds one student for an entire school year. The bag is reversible, too, since we know there are two sides to every great story. Please click here for more information.


City Spotlight

Miami, FL


Apart from the many tourist stops and luxury hotels, the climate is probably the largest attractive force for tourists. Residents also have very little to complain about as Miami allows for comfort year round. With an average maximum temperature between 75 and 90 degrees, it's never too hot and never too cold. A Miami Residence Living in Miami could not be closer to living in paradise. With a very agreeable climate and the ocean only a short drive away, every day could be beach-day for any resident. If by chance you get tired of beach days, the hustle and bustle of city life in downtown Miami has more to offer than most cities in the U.S. Housing options are varied and luxurious. Everything from small beach apartment or large beach villas to downtown flats or million dollar pent houses. Whether you are a new resident or just visiting Miami, there are many things to do that you should not miss. Here is a list of a few of them: •

Performing Arts – Miami has many distinguished venues for the performing arts that attract visitors from around the world and provide entertainment for those living in the Miami area. Parks – Starting with the Everglades that are just 25 miles away, Miami has many parks and natural landmarks that are sure to make anyone stand in awe of their beauty. Dining Out – Those who living in areas where great places to dine are just around the corner will enjoy Miami's diverse variety of dining locations. Outdoor Fun – Miami and its surrounding areas are filled with several things to do for outdoor fun. From camping and skydiving to hiking or enjoy the water, those who love the outdoors will love living in Miami. Sports – Miami's professional sports are very popular and entertaining. They include Miami Heat Basketball, Dolphins Football, Marlins Baseball, and Panthers Hockey. Shopping – Shopping in Miami is a pleasant activity. There are many stores to choose from and downtown Miami offers an excellent shopping experience. Educational – Miami's many museums attract the serious or educationally inclined. Some include the Gold Coast Rail Road Museum, the Miami Children's Museum, and the Miami Science Museum.

Whether you live in Miami or are just visiting, there are many things to do and see that it could occupy more than just one lifetime. Don't forget that enjoying Miami at anytime of the year is easy as the temperature and activities allow for limitless fun. Written by David Marquiz, courtesy of Articlesbase.com


DIY Project - March

Courtesy of nelliebellie.com For complete Instructions please visit the link provided.


Businesses That Make A Difference

FEED began in 2006 when acclaimed model and activist Lauren Bush designed a bag to benefit the United Nations World Food Programme's

FEED Projects LLC was founded by Lauren Bush and Ellen Gustafson to produce and sell these bags. To date, FEED has been able to raise

(WFP) School Feeding program. She first created the FEED 1 bag, a reversible burlap and organic cotton bag reminiscent of the bags of food

distributed by WFP, to help raise funds and awareness around these school feeding operations. It was stamped with "FEED the children of the world" and the number ‘1’ to signify that each bag feeds one child in school for one year. And in 2007,

enough money through the sale of products to provide over 60 million school meals to children around the world through WFP. Interested? Please visit feedprojects.com


This month's random fact talks about lips, two of them to be exact. Behold the beautiful herald of spring: The tulip! Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants are between 4 inches (10 cm) and 28 inches (71 cm) high. The tulip's large flowers usually bloom on scapes, or stems, that lack bracts. Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes. The generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked on the interior surface near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colors, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue). Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the sixteenth century. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592, and made note of the variations in color. While a faculty member in the school of medicine at the University of Leiden, Clusius planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips. In 1596 and 1598, over a hundred bulbs were stolen from his garden in a single raid Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania. Tulip bulbs became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, or rather, as futures. Around this time, the ceramic tulipiere was devised for the display of cut flowers stem by stem. Vases and bouquets, usually including tulips, often appeared in Dutch still-life painting. To this day, tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called "Dutch tulips." The Netherlands have the world's largest permanent display of tulips at the Keukenhof.

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