Family |

Easy Kids Crafts: Valentine’s Day Negative Space Hearts

3 minute read

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to teach your kids any number of things: how to show emotion, portion control with candy, and how to get a little artsy.

This craft project involves several fine motor skills that can be easily modified for kids of any age. It’s the perfect way to make a cute card for a friend, grandparent, or just to hang on the fridge to share some love.

The grand reveal of the negative space created by the heart cutouts is a thrill for almost any kid. And, who knows, it may even distract them from the candy hearts for just a bit.

Materials

  • White paper
  • Colored paper of choice
  • Pencil to draw heart outlines
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Festive colored paints – Red, Pink, Purple (whatever you have on hand)

Activity Prep:

This is when the age and ability of the child comes into play. You’re going to need to draw the heart shapes for younger children, but some kids might be able to draw the hearts on their own.

The tried and true way to make a heart is to fold your colored paper in half and then draw half a heart along the folded edge.

Next, either you or your child will cut along the line to reveal your (hopefully) perfectly symmetrical heart. You can make as many as you’d like in varying sizes.

Then, you’ll need to tape down the colored hearts on your white paper. Older kids can help roll tape circles and stick their own hearts down, while toddlers can press the hearts down once the tape is already applied for them.

The more your child is able to do on their own, the more engaged they’ll be in the activity.

Creating the Negative Space Hearts:

Now, it’s time to dip into those paints! Infants can use their fingers to dip and dot the paint, and feel free to let older kids and even toddlers pick their choice of tool, (finger, cotton ball, paint sponge, etc.)

The key is to dot all around the edge of the heart first to make sure the outline will be visible when you’re done.

Once the paint is all around the outline, let them go crazy filling up the rest of the white space. It can be as sparse or as dense as they want. Let them be creative with the colors they use and how many dots they create.

The final step is fun for any age! Once they’ve finished making their fingerprints or dots all around the page, it’s time to peel up the hearts.

Do this slowly so you don’t tear the heart as you peel. You may even consider waiting for the paint to dry slightly so you don’t run the risk of smearing the paint into the heart shape.

Now you can let your little one decide where to display their masterpiece.

Try it on the wall or the fridge, or they can even take it to school or daycare to give to someone special.

Environment | Family |

Need Date Night Ideas? Try Hiking and Stargazing!

2 minute read

date, date night, dating, date ideas

If your traditional date night is becoming a little boring, try these date ideas that get you up and moving! Summer tends to fill up fast with family trips to water parks, sporting events, and even yard work. Before school is out and things get busy, don’t miss the chance for a romantic date night.

Is Date Night Dull?

However, if your date night has gotten a little stale or routine, try something a little more adventurous. In a world of smart phones and streaming TV, who wants to use date night to go stare at another screen? Here are some getaway ideas that take you out of your comfort zone for a night you won’t forget.

Hit the Dusty Trail: Whether on foot, bike, or even a horse, a trip into the woods for a day can help you escape the minutiae of daily life and rediscover your passion and romance! Chances are you’re not too far from a forest preserve or nature center that would be a great getaway. America’s State Parks website even has state-by-state search function!

Look Up: If your hike runs late (provided the park is open after dusk), don’t miss the chance to see the stars. While we have plenty to keep us entertained at ground level nowadays, for centuries, watching the sky was the only show in town. If you’re not sure what to look for, there are a number of mobile apps that can help point your eyes in the right direction – just stay off the work email and social media!

Be Young at Heart: Walk to the ice cream shop, go for a swing at the playground, even ding-dong-ditch the neighbors if you’re up to it! Well, maybe not the last one… but don’t be afraid to act like kids, even when you leave them at home. Studies show that health and relationships improve when we take on the positive, curious attitudes associated with youth.

Healthy Date Night

As the seasons change, the days lengthen and the air warms – revitalize your date night plans as well. Not only is it fun, but it may even reduce stress, improve health, and lead to some exciting adventures.

You can also improve your family’s health and comfort with whole-home air purification!

Healthy Air | Family |

Back-to-School: 5 Tips For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

Back to school means back to germs! It’s that time of year when the kids head back to the classroom, but are they as prepared as they should be to prevent colds, flu, and other illness?  The average American child has six to ten colds a year. That’s reason enough to send them back to the books with copious amounts of hand sanitizer. Germs don’t just live at school though. There are plenty of germs around the house too, but don’t panic. Here are a few tips to keep your family’s health on the right track this back to school season. 

Five Ways to Improve Your Family’s Health

Tackle allergens before they hit

Kids head back to school during a time when ragweed allergies, hay fever, and asthma outbreaks are at high risk. It can be difficult, as parents, to determine if your child has an allergy or has caught an infection. A whole-home air purifier can trap pollen, reduce bacteria in the air, and prevent viruses, which means your child can feel relief and comfort at home…where it matters most.

Sleep easy

During the long summer months, alarm clocks get turned off and bedtimes get shifted. Make sure you get your kids back into the swing of things before the first day of school. Between cozy pillows and plush blankets, beds are attractive places for more than just your little ones. Germs, allergens, and dust mites are found in abundance in the bedroom. Wash your linens regularly and make sure your home doesn’t have high humidity, which is the perfect breeding ground for dust mites.

Sharing is caring

Give your child’s teacher a call and voice any concerns you may have about the upcoming school year. Also, let the teacher know about any health concerns (allergies, asthma, etc.) that your child may have.

Make time for family time

Take time every Sunday to plan out your family’s meals for the week. Having a plan means that you’re less likely to stray or buy fast food as a last ditch effort. This also makes time for family dinners. When it comes to cooking, however, understand the nature of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as potentially harmful gases by a wide array of common household products. Stovetop cooking, especially on older units, may release hundreds VOCs a day, putting you and your family at risk for short- and long-term health problems. Alleviate that risk with an air purifier or whole-home ventilation solution.

Your family’s health starts at home

Having a Healthy Home will help keep your child focused and prepared for the day-to-day occurrences in the classroom. It’s time to make sure the air that your family is breathing every day is clean—so your little ones stay healthy.

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Stand Up for Clean Air

3 minute read

50 Years Later: The Clean Air Act of 1970

50 years ago, Congress signed a landmark bill – The Clean Air Act of 1970. This bill helped reduce air pollution, spurred energy-efficient machines, cars, and helped Americans breathe easier, but there’s still more work to be done. Now, the American Lung Association is asking everyone to join the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative to help make healthy air accessible to everyone.

Stand Up for Clean Air Initiative

The initiative focuses on creating clean air at home, at work, at school, and outdoors. It also focuses on reducing climate change and addressing air quality concerns after a natural disaster. Lastly, people can read about the state of the air in their community in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report.

Its most recent State of the Air report states that nearly half of Americans live with unhealthy air. Most of that unhealthy air is a result of the byproducts of climate change.

“Climate change results in increased levels of wildfire smoke, worsened ozone pollution, more extreme storms and frequent flooding, which leave behind mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Many sources of climate pollution – power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks – also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.” – Harold Wimmer, American Lung Association CEO and President 

Air pollution contributes to premature deaths, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and asthma attacks. Children, older adults, and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable.

Resources to Create Healthy Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality for Workplaces

With its Stand up for Clean Air initiative, the American Lung Association wants to create better indoor air quality. In doing so, the ALA provides several resources to help users advocate for these changes.

Fortunately, the ALA is not only the group advocating for healthy buildings and better indoor air quality.

The TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard has been advocating for healthy buildings for 40 years. Through its advocacy, the school has completed and promoted studies that indicate production declines when employees are in an unhealthy workplace. Workers in these poor conditions type slower, take more sick days, and are generally less productive. Healthy insurance provider Kaiser Permanente estimates that the net result of this absenteeism and poor production costs businesses thousands of dollars per employee.

Indoor Air Quality for Schools

Students in poorly ventilated schools face similar problems. They lack focus, are more likely to get sick, and subsequently are more likely to be absent. This can result in lower performance. The American Lung Association and Environmental Protection Agency have collaborated to create a toolkit to help schools improve their indoor air quality with low-cost initiatives. Benefits include improved academic performance, higher rates of attendance, and healthier children.

Advocate for Clean Air

To join the fight against poor indoor air quality and air pollution, you can visit the American Lung Association and become an advocate.

“Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change and ensuring clean air for all,” Wimmer said. “Our hope is that everyone – from individual citizens to industries, federal and state governments, and companies and brands – recognize that everyone is needed to ensure clean air for all and address an obstacle as unprecedented as climate change. I hope you’ll join us in realizing our vision of a world free of lung disease.” – Harold Wimmer

Please note: Aprilaire is a partner of the American Lung Association. We are a national sponsor of the American Lung Association’s fundraiser Fight for Air Climb FY20.