Gaze at the heavens inside your home
BlissLights let you create an illusion of starlight in your home or yard.
BlissLights are projectors that create either moving or static pinpoints of laser light in a room or an outdoor space. All you have to do is plug in the projector and point it where you want the stars to appear.
The light is safe enough even for use in children's bedrooms, the company says.
The projectors can be ordered at www.blisslights.com. Prices start at $199.
Veggie prices stable; snacks not so much
This is Food Checkout Week, which occurs every year in February when the average American family has earned enough disposable income to pay for their year's supply of food. By comparison, it takes until April to earn enough money to pay your taxes.
According to a press release from the Utah Farm Bureau, prices for fresh fruits and vegetables have stayed stable, unlike the prices for snack foods and desserts, like ice cream and chips.
Thus, the logic goes, it doesn't cost more to eat healthfully.
"Fruits and vegetables -- along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts -- are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it's in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they're not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar," says Marlene Israelsen, a registered dietitian and clinical assistant professor in the nutrition, dietetics, and food sciences department at Utah State University, in the press release.
"Taking advantage of farmers markets and/or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs by purchasing local, seasonal food directly from the farmer is also a good idea."
Swap grass for 'Edible Front Yard'
Consider the front lawn. We mow it. We feed it. We spend time and money on it. And what do we get back?
Not much, Ivette Soler argues.
Soler, a garden designer and writer, advocates trading swaths of grass for front-yard food gardens. She teaches readers how to do it in "The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden."
Soler isn't talking about planting a typical vegetable garden in front of your house. Instead, she aims for a pleasing landscape that combines both ornamental and edible plants and enhances the home's appearance and value.
She suggests plants that will look good throughout the season, teaches the principles of garden design, and leads readers through the process of removing a lawn and installing and maintaining the garden.
"The Edible Front Yard" is published by Timber Press and sells for $19.95 in softcover.
-- Standard-Examiner wire services
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