Green Up Your Summer Barbecue

If you haven’t fired up your barbecue yet this year, it’s almost certain you will this holiday weekend. Nearly 60 million Americans turn their grills on during the summer every year. Barbecues are one of the best ways to get friends and family together for a great day of food and fun and to spend time together. It probably hasn’t occurred to you, but do you know how to make your barbecue greener? The following are some tips on how to make your summer barbecues a little more environmentally friendly.

  • Instead of using a charcoal grill, try using a gas or electric grill. Yes, charcoal grills give you the desired “smoky” flavour, but did you know it emits carbon monoxide and soot? If you can’t live without that charcoal grill, the stores do sell eco-friendly coals now. Lumped charcoal is made with hard wood, so it leaves less ash than briquettes. There are some charcoals that are FSC-Certified.
  • Instead of using paper plates and utensils, use your own dishes. If you’d rather not do that, try finding biodegradable dinnerware. Manufacturers are beginning to make more eco-friendly products because the people are demanding it. They are also more pleasing to look at. Americans throw away more than 25 billion Styrofoam cups each year.
  • Biodegradable garbage bags are also very easy to find. Most people don’t buy them because they think they are too expensive, but they really don’t cost much more than regular garbage bags. And it really is worth the few more cents for environmentally friendly products.
  • Use a designated recycling bag or bin for paper, plastic, glass, etc. And make sure everyone knows which one is which.
  • Instead of paper napkins, try using cloth. They are environmentally friendly and after the barbecue, you can put them in the laundry and you can use them for another barbecue.
  • Barbecues always seemed to be all about the meat. Try serving green food. Serve some vegetables and make veggie burgers instead of hamburger, or veggie dogs. You can serve them as an alternative as some people don’t care much for that kind of “meat” Most stores now sell organic, free-range and grass-fed meat. You can also try the farmer’s market. Those are popping up everywhere. And for desert, find a local bakery. Keep business in your community.
  • You can even serve your guests green drinks. Have pitchers of tap water instead of individual bottled water. Serve 2 litres of soda instead of cans. When serving alcoholic beverages, try finding local breweries, if you have those available. If you don’t, the local liquor store will work just as well. But try to find packaging that is a post-consumer product. Most are these days.

Hopefully these few tips will help you to have a green summer. Your friends may take the cue and do the same for their next barbecue. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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Free and Fun Summer Activities

Well, it’s summertime again; the kids are out of school and everyone is excited for summer vacation with friends and family. There are so many ways to enjoy your summer that are free or don’t cost you a fortune. There are a lot of free packages, you just have to know where to look. One of the best vacations you can share with your family is spending time in nature; it’s kind of like an adventure trip. Many families spend the summer at their favourite outdoor spots and it’s always worth the time you get to spend with them.

You can take your family to a nearby beach or lake or park. You can have a picnic and come up with some really fun activities to help you enjoy your time together. If you are willing to spend a little bit of money, you can travel a bit farther from home and go hiking or camping where you can enjoy an entire weekend with family and friends.

In the age of digital cameras, and with the ability to upload photos to your computer, taking pictures of your summer adventures is totally free of cost. There are so many things in this great wide world you can take pictures of, from birds to flowers to streams and lakes to anything else you can think of.

If you would rather spend your summer months close to, or at home, you can do some baking, cooking, barbecuing and experimenting with different recipes. You may even want to try out new flavours of cold beverages and share them with your neighbours for a nice relaxing evening. It’s free to get to know the people who live around you and you could make some great new friends.

Some people think summer is boring, but those people haven’t been using their imaginations. You can find so many things to do that are free and fun. Ask your family what they would like to do or where they would like to go. If it’s free or low-cost, the entire family can enjoy something fun during the summer to make it less boring. When you use your imagination to make your time off fun, you will end up having a very memorable summer.

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What to do for Fourth of July

Fireworks and grilling out are usually the thing to do for the Fourth of July holiday. Yet what are some other great ideas for this summer holiday?

Fourth of July traditions

The history of the American flag, watermelon, ice cream, cookouts, pop bottle rockets, clothespin pinwheels, annual bike parades, balloon fireworks, neighborhood parties… These are just a few of this summertime holiday’s traditions. Learn about them and recreate your own.

Show off your patriotism.  

See how red, white, and blue you can get. If you look in the store displays at the mall, you’ll find many inspirations on how to display our patriotism. Home interior stores dress their bed and bath in the colors of the flag. Home decorations abound throughout stores such as Pottery Barn and Pier One Imports.

Gift shops and card shops such as Hallmark give many ideas for a patriotic holiday with cards, balloons, gifts, and fun trinkets that are perfect for the celebration. You can even dig through your closet to find clothing that will show off your firework celebration spirit by putting together an outfit that would make Uncle Sam proud.

Read about the history of the U.S.A. 

Learn something new about the U.S. history. Grab a book from Barnes or Borders. They’re on sale now in celebration of Independence Day. There are some great biographies on the founding fathers and the country’s leaders.

Learn a thing or two from loved ones

The best way to learn about a country, its history, and the true reason for celebrating is to talk to those you know (especially your loved ones) who have lived through it. A grandparent or an older friend or neighbor can share their experiences. Walking down memory lane and discussing how things were “back in the day” will bring back memories and reasons why you celebrate the Fourth of July.

Happy fireworks and barbecue day, everyone. And remember the true reason for celebrating this holiday.

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The Montreal Children’s Hospital is a very special place

No one likes it when a child is sick. When children are ill and not feeling well, it affects many of us and many different ways. Physically, emotionally, financially are just a few of the ways that we are affect and the most important way we are affected is that our children do not feel good. When our dearest of all little people need medical care, we need extra care and help as adults, parents, neighbors, and friends.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) offers not only the medical attention that is so crucial but their doctors, nurses and staff are the extended family that is needed at such an important time. The entire staff at MCH see themselves as the extended family, the neighbor, who understands what it’s like when a child is not well.

Whether the children are infants or teenagers, the MCH staff knows that it is their responsibility and honor to  offer the best treatment in the most family, kid-friendly environment possible. With their gentle touch, MCH also provides the most effective and ground-breaking medical care to help children get better and stay healthier. They also provide preventative measures to guard against health issues and injuries.

Be sure to learn more about the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the many, many great works that they do in caring for our children.

Posted in Health and Fitness, Montreal Children's Hospital, Philanthropy | Leave a comment

Is the economy getting better or not?

It seems that people around the world log on to the Internet, watch t.v., listen to the radio and podcasts, and engage in communication find out if the economy is getting better or not. Many grab on to any hope and sign that things are picking up. The mass media will announce even a tiny fraction of signs of economic improvement yet what you read online is not in line with what is shown on t.v.

Then in regional, local, and private circles there are similar talks that seem to contradict one another, just like you’d find on cable tv or on the Internet. Yes, it’s getting better. No, it’s not. Maybe it is and maybe it’s not. And so the guessing game continues.

The reality is the news that you hear of – the price of gas and oil has decreased, there’s a small percentage of decreased unemployment, and so on – is not always the full picture. Surprise, surprise. So gas has gone down by a few pennies and everyone is cheering. Reality is that gas prices still have a long way to go back down to where it was before the economy crisis hit. Most likely, it will never decrease to that price again. And so we are happy just to see it going down at all. But that is not a true sign of the economy getting better.

There are talks about why isn’t the economy better now that the cost of gas is down? Well, first of all, the decrease in fuel cost is because of the release of emergency gas reserves by President Obama. Tapping into what normally is saved for emergency situations such as hurricanes may give us a temporary sigh of relief but it’s not going to keep the price of gas down in the long term. It’s not going to create the jobs that are required to put people back to work and get income. It’s not true productivity.

Reporting unemployment rates that aren’t accurate and reporting any slight miniscule increase in real estate sales may be able to fool some people and create some hope but it’s not really providing a solution.

Going after the rich, taxing retirement money, decreasing welfare programs, printing more money, coming up with new bills to tax more, and so on may provide some cheerleading and encouragement. Yet none of these steps are providing what really needs to happen to improve the economy.

Therefore, is the economy getting better? NO. We’ve got a long way to go before the economy will get better. Productivity has to happen before the economy can get better.

Our world is facing an economic crisis that is as close, if not greater, than the Great Depression. Things will get better but for now, it is my belief that much has to happen before the economy does pick up.

Having stated this, if you are positioning yourself right, you can survive and maybe even come out ahead during such a time. Many have made it through and a few have come out even better. So there is hope. During economic and financial crises, fortunes have been made.

Note:  The content at this website and blog site is do not provide investment, financial, or tax advice and should not be used to make any investment decisions.

Posted in Business, Economy, Entrepreneur, General Rants, Investing, Money | Leave a comment

Why do we get stuck in a rut?

People are often stuck in a rut in one area or another in life. Even the best of the best people you know who are on top of things and are movers and shakers in the world will be found stuck in some area or another. For example, Mr. Entrepreneur of the World could be stuck in that he can’t quit smoking. Or Ms. Fashionista Traveller may be stuck in the rut that is what she calls her social a life, a social life that takes top priority over other things. Then are those who get stuck in many areas of their lives, too many to mention.

Why do we get stuck in a rut? What causes most of us to be S.T.U.C.K. like gum to a shoe, duct tape adhesive to a car seat, and codependent relationships to those involved?

Here are some top reasons why we get stuck:

Fear of change

As explained in a previous blog, change (whether good or bad) is uncomfortable and even scary for many people. They would rather stay stuck then make changes and face changes even if being stuck hinders them.

Fear of what they don’t know

People are often afraid of what they don’t know. And until they do whatever it is that they don’t know much about, they will continue to fear it. It’s like being afraid of fear itself. For example, a person can be afraid of flying yet she has hardly ever flown. But her fear of flying disappears the more she flies because it is now something that she has become familiar with.

People are afraid to make mistakes

Making mistakes and having to face the consequences is another reason why people allow themselves to be stuck. Perhaps if they mess up, others will make fun of them or judge them. If they don’t succeed then they may feel insecure or appear to be inadequate. Afraid of messing up and making mistakes keep many stuck in a rut .

Afraid to do things alone

How often have you heard children say, “Go with me. Try this with me. Come with me”? Well, adults are the same way. We like to do things in groups or with another person. Not many enjoy being alone or doing things alone. So the reason for being in rut can be due to not having someone else to join you.


Insecurities on any level (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual will cause people to make the choices that keep them stuck to what they’ve always known and what they’ve always done.

There you have it, a few of the top reasons why we get stuck in a rut. Now in closing, I’d like to leave you with this:  Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing what you’ve always done and getting the same results as you’ve always gotten.

So if you’re stuck in a rut, it’s time to make the choice and take the action that are necessary to get unstuck.

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Is working online for me a good idea?

The thoughts of working online, having your own website, and/or blogging from the home sounds like great ideas. No or very little upfront costs, no or very low overhead, reduction in gas prices and the costs of commuting, fewer laundry and dry cleaning bills, and the list of advantages go on and on.

Yet many people ask themselves the question, “Is working online for me? Is this something that I can do? Is it something that I want to do?” And these are very good things to consider before you take the plunge and go full speed ahead.

It is recommended that working online be done in your spare time, on a part time business. If using the Internet is a dream and a thought of yours, it is recommended that you get started right away. Try creating a blog by using Word Press or Blogger, post some reviews on products you have used, and/or comment on others’ YouTube videos. Start by just doing it, Nike.

But if you’re seriously thinking about quitting your current job or taking on full time online work, it is best to consider some of the following tips and suggestions before diving head first into online work.

If the learning curve is too great, don’t quit your day job

If you’re not too familiar with using the computer, the Internet, and are not able to type that well.

If you don’t have the basic required equipment, make sure you do before you start

There are some people who don’t have a computer or laptop or even Internet and conduct their online work at the library or at school. This is perfectly fine especially on a part time basis. Yet it is not recommended for those who expect to work online full time or those who want a considerable amount of income to start working online unless the necessary equipment has been acquired. A laptop or computer or mobile device and Internet connection are the basics must have’s. Once again, if you can get your work completed without owning these and can get access to a friend’s or public usage, then that is excellent.

If you’re not self motivated, this type of work is not for you

If you’re not a go getter and need someone to prompt you to wake up or get to work, then this type of work is not for you. If you get distracted easily by, for example, your favorite t.v. show or like to do things on the spur of the moment, having an online business is not for you. If you need someone to guide and lead you, then you’d better reconsider.

If you can’t or don’t want to invest lots of time, then working online may not be for you

You’ve heard the stories of how someone only works a few hours per week and are making full time income using the Internet. You see those types of ads on the computer all the time. You may even know someone who is doing just that. Yet reality is that using the computer and the Internet to make money takes lots of time, persistence, patience, and plain hard work.

Now that you’ve read about a few things to consider when asking yourself the question, “Is working online for me?”, refer back to the many blogs that explain why working online may be a great idea.

Best wishes!


Posted in Business, Economy, Entrepreneur, Internet, Social Networking | Leave a comment