Check Out These Surprising Health Benefits of Autumn’s Favorite Crop, Apples!

Apples are some of the most delicious types of fall produce, but they’re also packed with vitamins and nutrients that do your body some good. If you needed another reason to justify that second (or third) piece of apple pie, you’ll love this list of the many health benefits of apples.

  1. Cardiovascular health. The beneficial phytonutrients found in apples function as antioxidants and decrease the oxidation of cell membranes in the cardiovascular system. Quercetin, which is found mainly in the apple’s skin, is its main phytonutrient, but apples also contain chlorogenic acid, kaempferol and myricetin.
  2. Blood sugar regulation. The polyphenols in apples are also thought to help regulate blood sugar because they influence digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, reduce glucose absorption and stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  3. Cancer prevention. Amazingly, apples have also been shown to prevent several types of cancers. They are even the only fruit or vegetable that’s been shown to prevent lung cancer.
  4. Asthma treatment. If you suffer from asthma, you may want to reach for an apple before your inhaler from now on. Apples contain a number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients that work wonders on human lungs and have even been shown to decrease asthma symptoms.

What's New and Beneficial About Apples [The World’s Healthiest Foods]
5 Health Benefits of an Apple [Eating Well]
10 Reasons to Eat an Apple a Day [Care2]

How to Decorate Your Home at Windsor at Meadow Hills Using Fall’s Favorite Crop, Apples!

You’ve likely tried many different apple recipes during the fall season, but have you ever thought of using everyone’s favorite autumn fruit to decorate your home, as well? Here are just three great DIY projects that show you how to decorate for fall using apples.

Apple Votive Fall Centerpiece []
The next time you have a dinner party or a holiday meal, create a unique centerpiece using apple votives. Simply carve a hole for a tea light using a melon baller, then place the whole thing in a bed of moss.

Apple Stamps for Autumn Greeting Cards []
Instead of decorating with apples themselves, use them to create fall-themed stamps for greeting cards and other decorations. If you have kids, this is one that the whole family can do together.

Bobbing Apple Votives []
Create a fall decoration that’s not only reserved for special occasions with this bowl filled with floating apples. Tuck votive candles into the tops of your apples, and then add fragrant chestnuts to the water to fill in the gaps. When you light the candles, they’ll give off a truly wonderful autumn scent.

Fresh Cilantro Is Celebrated in These Seriously Yummy Recipes

Flavorful cilantro is a staple herb in many Southwestern and Mexican dishes, but it also complements a number of other types of foods as well. From butters to desserts, there are a whole slew of creative new recipes that incorporate the unique taste of cilantro. Here are three out-of-the-ordinary recipes for cilantro lovers!

Tropical Cilantro Smoothie [The Kitchn]
Though it may seem unusual, the flavors of tropical fruits pair very well with cilantro. This cool and refreshing smoothie blends pineapple, banana, and orange juice with a whole cup of cilantro, creating a summery taste that also contains a number of beneficial nutrients to make you feel energized and healthy.

Avocado Cilantro Sherbet [Martha Stewart]
Avocado is an unlikely addition to a cool sherbet, but then again, so is cilantro. Both ingredients are surprisingly delicious when combined with lime juice and whole milk in this fresh and tart dessert.

Cilantro Herb Butter [Simply Recipes]
Whether you spread it on bread or use it to flavor chicken, this cilantro herb butter is a great multipurpose way to add cilantro to any dish. The combination of cilantro and lime give it a classic Southwestern flavor, but the buttery texture is something completely unique. Best of all, this recipe takes just four ingredients and a few minutes to make.

Breathe New Life Into Your Bedroom’s Decor With These Simple Tips

Your bedroom should be a place of rest and relaxation, but in your effort to keep things understated and minimal, you might make the décor seem a bit boring. Here are some ways to breathe new life into an outdated bedroom—while still getting a good night’s sleep.

  1. Switch out your side tables. One of the most affordable ways to update your bedroom is by switching the side tables with something unique. Opt for slim shelves mounted right to the wall if your room is small, or go for something larger than a nightstand, such as a full-sized desk, if you have the space to spare.
  2. Add a duvet cover. If you want to change your bedding without investing in an entirely new set, cover your existing comforter with an affordable duvet in a bold, fun print or spa-like white.
  3. Add a headboard. If your current bed doesn’t have a headboard, create one using a large painting, a rectangular tapestry or even an antique door.
  4. Put some art on the walls. Many people forget about decorating the walls in the bedroom, but it can make all the difference. Frame some black and white family photos or even pretty vintage wallpaper squares in colors that match your décor.
  5. Switch the window treatments. Brighten up a bedroom with sheer curtains—it may even help you get out of bed in the morning.

5 Decorating Ideas for Bedrooms [Real Simple]
5 Small Ways to Give Your Bedroom a Big Boost [Oprah]
Freshen Your Bedroom with Low-Cost Updates [Better Homes & Gardens]

Boo! Read About the History of the Jack-o’-Lantern

Carving pumpkins is a beloved tradition in most households, but this history of the jack-o’-lantern dates back much farther than just your own family’s Halloween festivities. Here are a few interesting points about the history of the spooky, silly jack-o’-lantern.

  • The name “jack-o’-lantern” is derived from a 17th century British term that described a man carrying a lantern, usually a night watchman. Townspeople began to call the mysterious lights that they often saw over the wetlands "jack-o’-lanterns" because they thought that they were ghosts or spirits.
  • Irish tradition also uses the term jack-o’-lantern in a story about Stingy Jack, a man who was forced to wander the earth for all eternity with only the light from a dull ember.
  • In some parts of Great Britain, it became customary for children to carry jack-o’-lanterns door-to-door on All Saints Day to represent the souls of deceased relatives.
  • Irish immigrants brought the tradition of the jack-o’-lantern with them to the United States, and they soon began to use the more readily available pumpkin instead of the turnip.
  • Pumpkin carving and the jack-o’-lantern didn’t become a part of Halloween tradition until the late 19th century, almost 200 years after it was initially invented.

History of the Jack-O’-Lantern [History Channel]
What’s the Origin of Jack-O’-Lanterns? [Mental Floss]
Why Do We Carve Pumpkins on Halloween? [About News]

Put a Bounty of Basil to Good Use With These Three Recipes

Is your windowsill herb garden threatening to take over the whole room? Do you have an abundance of basil just waiting to be muddled, chopped or shredded? It can be difficult to incorporate basil into more than just your standard recipes, but these inspiring dishes will help.

Basil Oil [Food Network]
Infuse all of your dinners with the sweet taste of basil when you cook with this simple, flavorful basil oil recipe. Simply add a handful of basil leaves to one cup of olive oil, then puree in a blender until the whole mixture is smooth. Simmer in a saucepan for three minutes, strain, and store the finished product in an air-tight container for up to one week’s worth of basil-flavored meals.

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad [Food Network]
Lemon and basil go together like peanut butter and jelly, and this recipe further proves that. Lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh basil create a perfect marinade for a summer pasta salad filled with plum tomatoes and farfalle noodles.

Lemon Basil Custard Pie with Red Berries [Martha Stewart]
If you’ve never tried basil in a dessert before, you’re in for a real treat with this tangy pie. The inside is made up of a basil-infused custard, a buttery crust lines the edges and fresh berries add a burst of fruity flavor on top.

School Organization

We wanted to share a few organizational tips and tricks to make the school mornings a little easier!

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Afraid of Heights? These Tips Can Help You Overcome Your Fear!

Avoiding roller coasters or mountain peaks may not seem very difficult, but when your fear of heights starts to affect areas in your everyday life, it can become a hindrance. Here are some simple ways to eliminate your fear of heights—or at least learn to manage it.

  1. Think logically. Your fear of heights is likely so engrained in your mind that you don’t even consider it anymore. In order to overcome this fear, you need to think logically about it. Tell yourself how unlikely it is that a skyscraper or a longstanding bridge would ever collapse. If it helps, research statistics about the likelihood of the events that you fear actually happening. Once you realize how slim the chances are, you’ll start to take the edge off of your phobia.
  2. Relax. It’s easy to work yourself up before encountering heights, and that’s when you usually lose your nerve. By relaxing your mind, taking a few deep breaths, and willing yourself not to get upset, you can start to feel more rational about heights.
  3. Face your fear. The only real way to overcome a fear of heights is to face it. Don’t immediately run to the top of the nearest skyscraper, however; start gradually, like at a small bridge in your neighborhood. By slowly encountering heights you’ll become more used to them, and over time you won’t feel the need to panic.

How to Overcome Your Worst Fears [Lifehacker]
How to Overcome a Fear of Heights [wikiHow]
Overcoming Fear [Essential Life Skills]

3 Health Benefits of Strength Training Exercises

Even if you don’t plan on bulking up or competing in weight lifting competitions any time soon, strength training is a crucial part of any exercise regimen. Here are three great reasons to incorporate weight training into your workouts.

  1. It promotes strong bones. Weakening bones is a concern that all people have to face as they age. The stress that strength training puts on your bones increases their density and prevents osteoporosis, keeping you strong and healthy as years pass.
  2. It helps to control your weight. While you might relate weight loss with intense cardiovascular workouts, strength training is just as important if you want to lose weight. Gaining muscle increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn calories more efficiently.
  3. It gives you more energy. Like all workouts, strength training increases your stamina and helps you to stay alert and focused. After a few weeks of regular weight lifting or body weight exercises, you’ll notice that you feel more energized throughout the day. Some scientific studies even show that years of regular strength training exercises help to sharpen your focus and keep your mind attentive as you age.

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier [Mayo Clinic]
7 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine [Everyday Health]
Benefits of Strength Training [Body Building]

You’re Sure to Love These Marvelously Minty Recipes

Mint adds a special flavor to anything that you add it to, whether you muddle a bit in your favorite cocktail or use it to bring a bit of cool zest to marinated vegetables. Mint is also a very easy herb to raise in an herb garden, so it’s convenient to always have on hand. Here are just a few unique mint recipes that you’re sure to love.

Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca [Simply Recipes]
This traditional Mexican fruit drink blends the cool, refreshing flavors of cucumber, lime, and mint into a juicy beverage that’s ideal for a hot summer day. Though the combination may seem strange, you’ll become a believer as soon as you take the first sip of this flavorful drink.

Zucchini, Mint and Yogurt Spread [The Kitchn]
Middle Eastern dips, like hummus and baba ganoush, taste wonderful on warm pita bread, but they can be a bit hearty for a simple snack. This zucchini and yogurt spread offers a much lighter texture, but the addition of mint and lemon brings out an intense flavor that’s just as delicious.

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls [AllRecipes]
Instead of ordering in the usual fried spring rolls from your local takeout spot, try these Vietnamese spring rolls for a healthier take on your favorite side dish. Thin rice wrappers hold the fresh veggies together, while Thai basil and mint leaves provide a bold, complex taste.

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