Cloth Napkins 
    Many people dig out the cloth napkins for special holidays, but they get washed and tucked away for another year.  Why not make every meal special?
    You  can  find nice  cloth napkins at  discount  stores  especially after holidays.  To help hide small stubborn stains, choose napkins with a pattern. To help justify not ironing them, find 100% cotton or cloth with a noticeable weave.  They seem to release wrinkles easier.  If you have children, consider marking them so everyone has their own.  You can go all out and use embroidery floss or make it easy and grab a fabric marker and make a symbol or initial.
     Once packet of cloth napkins (typically contains 6 - 10) can cost $8 - $15.  I have used one set almost every day for at least five years.  They are now not used for company and near retirement, but that $15 saved me well over $100 and less trash.  Yes, to get a true cost savings, you would need to subtract the cost of laundering, but since I rarely do a special load just for napkins, I consider that cost negligible.
     Make your dinner, whether it is homemade, leftover, or take out, a special one - use cloth napkins - you are worth it!

Lawn Care Safety for Pets and People
     Honestly, even "natural" lawn care practices can cause you, your children, and your pet some amount of harm.  This is particularly true of pets if they ingest grass, yard clippings, or the product itself right after application.  You can still have a luscious, green yard by using the least harmful products and incorporating a few new habits.
    The most important step is to keep your pet and children off of the newly applied yard for the recommended amount of time. This may mean applying product on one part of your yard while keeping your pet and children on an untreated area and then reversing the process.  You can always plan to walk your dog for the day or two after treatment to decrease the potential for harm if a whole yard treatment is your easiest option.
   Suggestions for yard maintenance that should be low impact to your pet and family as well as to the environment include:
  • Soil Test Your Yard
  • Research the Types of Grass that Thrive in your Region
  • Redefine your Definition of a Weed
  • Feed the Soil
   Many states have Cooperative Extension offices that will complete a soil test for you at no or little charge and offer a straightforward summary of the results so you only put what is needed on your yard.
   Researching the best grass for your region is more helpful for those with a dirt patch that they want to fill with grass rather than those over seeding an already established lawn.  Think about how you are planning on using and maintaining the space while you read over the descriptions of available grasses.  You may even decide to plant shrubs or other ground cover that does not require weekly maintenance.
   Some clover is not bad and people do even add dandelion greens to their salads. Depending on the weed, if you catch it when there is only one, pull it out quickly before it goes to seed or snap off the flower heard before it goes to seed.  Much easier to do on a small postage stamp size yard than an acre or hundreds, but it is effective and does not involve chemicals.
   Soil that is full of nutrients lead to a healthy root system for the grass.  If the grass is healthy and full, there will be no room for weed seeds to take hold.  Think about making compost tea.  You can spray it on the yard using an apparatus that attaches to a garden hose, like those used to apply liquid fertilizer.
   For more information, take a look at the lawn sites under  Sites of Interest.

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