5 Tips for 1st Foods for Babies

Ask any parent what he or she remembers most about a child’s first year and you’re likely to hear quite a bit about sleep schedules. However, a baby’s eating schedule is just as important as his or her sleep.

While feeding a baby seems like it should be simple, for some new parents it can be nerve-wracking and lead to plenty of questions, such as: “Should I breastfeed or bottle feed?” “How much should my baby eat?” “When should I start baby food?” “What should my baby’s first foods be?”

To help navigate first-year feeding, consider these tips from the experts at KinderCare.

Let babies eat as much as they need, when they need it.

Be prepared to feed your baby soon after he or she shows signs of hunger, like rooting; sucking on hands, toes, clothes or toys; or reaching for food. Let your baby tell you when he or she is full – like turning away, falling asleep or losing interest in eating. This helps your baby learn to eat when hungry and stop when full, even if it means not eating everything you offer.

Choose a feeding style that meets you and your baby’s needs.

Whether you breastfeed or use a bottle, the important thing is your baby is fed. If you breastfeed, it’s a good idea to express some milk now and again so your baby will take a bottle if someone else needs to feed him or her.

Understand when it’s time to start baby food.

While most babies are introduced to solid foods around 6 months of age, it depends on their individual development. Generally, if your baby can sit up on his or her own, has good neck and head control and shows interest – like reaching for food during mealtimes – it may be appropriate to try solid food.

Focus on exploration.

It’s important to provide your baby with a variety of foods free from added sugars, sodium and artificial ingredients, and let him or her explore rather than focusing on how much is eaten.

“Focus on introducing veggies, proteins, grains and fruit – in that order,” said Courtney Hines, KinderCare’s nutritionist. “Babies are naturally inclined to prefer sweet things so save fruit for last so your baby is more inclined to try other flavors.”

Make the transition gradual and fun.

Hines recommends gradually exposing babies to a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods with varying flavors and textures, and talking with your baby about the taste, feel and look of the foods he or she is trying. Starting with soft foods like mashed potatoes, avocadoes, sweet potatoes, cooked rice and bananas can give you an idea of what your child can handle.

It’s easy to focus on baby food stages, but transitioning to solid foods will take place over time, making it important to continue offering your baby a bottle before mealtimes, in addition to solid food. Once your baby reaches his or her first birthday, talk with your family doctor about transitioning from breast milk or formula to unflavored, whole-fat milk.

It’s important to remember that every baby develops at his or her own pace. Talk with your child’s doctor about the right pace for your baby, and find more tips to navigate your child’s major milestones at kindercare.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
KinderCare

Now’s the Time to Teach At-Home Nutrition

With a lot of parents facing the challenge of keeping housebound kids happy and healthy, this is the perfect time to teach kids the basics of nutrition and eating right.

Consider these simple suggestions from Melanie Marcus, MA, RD, health and nutrition communications manager for Dole Food Company.

  • Healthy Snack Time Taste Tests – Sometimes it feels like kids can snack all day long on easy-to-grab crackers, chips or cookies. Next time they reach into the snack pantry, try incorporating a taste test or food critic activity to encourage something different and more nutritious.
  • Purposeful Playtime – Many households have a play kitchen or some kind of play food. Use this as an opportunity to act out how to create a healthy kitchen with activities like making salad, setting the table, peeling bananas and washing dishes. This can help young children become more independent, learn what to expect and grow into little helpers at family mealtime.
  • Sensory Activity – One idea that can work for school and at home is making a sensory box. Simply place a fruit or two inside a tissue box and have children put their hands inside then try to guess which fruit it is by feeling it.
  • Recipes for Fun – If you’re preparing a meal, it could be a good time to teach children of reading age how to review a recipe. Evaluating ingredients to learn how food transforms from raw to cooked or how a dish is created can help kids learn kitchen skills. For example, try this fun, fruity recipe for Kids with Almond Toast.
  • Food Groups Focus – Get kids involved in making dinner by setting a rule that each food group must be represented. Give them a warmup activity by asking which food groups are found in family favorites like chicken soup, lasagna or meatloaf. Asking kids to guess which ingredients are used in these dishes and identifying which food group each ingredient belongs to can help them understand dietary balance. Find more at-home tips in the free, downloadable Healthy Eating Toolkit from the nonprofit organization Action for Healthy Kids.
  • Reading Time – From food labels to children’s books to cookbooks, there are plenty of reading materials to choose from that reinforce healthy eating habits. Exposing children to fruits and vegetables outside the kitchen is a subtle way to show that nutritious ingredients are part of everyday life.
  • Explain the Bathroom Routine – Make sure to wash hands and explain that this is a way of washing away germs to stay healthy. Also explain why brushing teeth is important by reminding children that food can get stuck in teeth and cause cavities.

Find more kid-friendly recipe ideas at dole.com plus nutritional tips, free printables and other healthy fun on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

“Kids” with Almond Toast

Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 4          slices whole-grain bread
  • 6          tablespoons unsalted almond butter
  • 2          teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1          DOLE®  Banana, peeled
  • 2          Dole Strawberries, trimmed and halved
  • 4          chunks (1 1/2 inches) fresh Dole Tropical Gold Pineapple
  • 2          Dole Blackberries
  • 2          teaspoons toasted flaxseed (optional)
  1. Toast bread slices. Spread with almond butter and drizzle with honey, if desired.
  2. To make “kids”: Cut eight slices and 32 matchsticks from banana. Arrange one strawberry half and one pineapple chunk on two slices toast; arrange remaining strawberry halves and blackberries on  remaining slices. Place one banana slice “head” at top of each piece of fruit and arrange four banana matchsticks around each “kid” for arms and legs. Sprinkle flaxseed along bottom edges of toast under kids’ feet, if desired. (Family Features)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (mother and daughter)

SOURCE:
Dole

3 Quick Tips To Improve Your Finances

Improving your financial status can seem like an uphill battle, however, it is actually fairly simple if you make a few small changes to your daily life. Follow these three tips to make those small changes and turn your financial situation around.

1. Live Within Your Means

What does it actually mean to live within your means? Well, for starters, it means to develop a budget or spending strategy to make sure that you aren’t overspending and depleting your savings. To do this, you must know a few things like how much you make each month and what your recurring expenses are. Knowing what you can and cannot purchase each month is a great way to begin a spending strategy. The next step is to separate wants and needs; this will also help keep your monthly spending to a minimum. Knowing what you need to purchase each month can help you set up a budget to track exactly the amount you need to cover all expenses. Once you’ve started living within your means, the next step is to pay off your debt.

2. Pay Off Credit Card Debt

More people each day sign up for credit cards in the United States. The majority of these individuals have more than one credit card and on average carry a balance on at least one of them. This day and age it’s easy to swipe your credit card for purchases without thinking about how much money you are actually spending.

One of the best ways to pay off your credit card debt is to first start by limiting your spending. As mentioned before, it’s recommended to live within your means. Using your credit card for only emergency purposes is a great way to keep your balance low. However, if you do have a balance, try to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid interest charges. To start, pay over the minimum payment each month—the more money you can allocate to paying off your credit card each month the better. After paying off your credit card debt, the next step is to create a savings plan.

3. Have a Savings Plan

Lastly, having a savings plan is always a good idea regardless of your financial situation. The best way to start saving money is to have a portion of your paycheck deposited into a savings account. If you are curious about how much money to have pulled from your paycheck to be deposited into a savings account, start small, try sending 20 dollars each pay period into your account, it will add up quickly!

The best way to maximize your savings is to do your research on banks before opening a new account. Some banks have different fees associated with their accounts, like a minimum balance and overdraft fees. Find a bank that has accounts with no hidden fees, this way you can maximize your savings, without worrying about charges lowering your account balance.

We hope you find these tips helpful and are able to turn your financial situation

Safety in the Sky

What to know about emergency air ambulance transportation

For many types of medical emergencies, time is a critical factor. The faster a patient receives critical care, the greater the chances for a positive outcome, including a full recovery. However, for people living in remote areas and those who enjoy spending leisure time off the beaten path, time and help aren’t always readily available.

Emergency air medical services can play a vital role in transporting patients who have experienced a medical episode such as a stroke, heart attack, burn- or trauma-related accident including motor vehicle accidents or workplace injuries. In these severe circumstances, patients can benefit from emergency air medical services’ significantly reduced transport times, specialized medical training and advanced equipment.

With the increased closure of rural hospitals, these transports can help patients receive the care they need. Understanding how emergency air medical services work can provide an advantage if a crisis requiring specialized transportation is experienced.

The Decision to Use an Emergency Air Ambulance

Emergency air ambulances are resources typically reserved for times when a patient is facing a life-, limb- or eyesight-threatening emergency and it is in the person’s best interest to receive expedited medical care. A qualified situation typically involves the risk of serious or permanent damage to a patient’s (or unborn child’s) health or bodily function.

If the medical situation meets any of these criteria and the 911 dispatcher determines the patient would benefit from emergency ground or air medical transport, he or she may proactively dispatch an air ambulance along with a ground ambulance. Similarly, when assessing a patient who is critically ill or injured, a first responder or other authorized care professional on the scene will determine the closest and fastest options for getting to advanced medical care. If the condition is particularly serious, air transportation may be the most viable option.

In other situations, physicians or authorized health care professionals operating under strict protocols may make the decision to request an emergency air transport. An example would be when a patient urgently needs a higher level of care and is transported from a community hospital to a larger, better equipped facility such as a trauma center. In fact, these types of interfacility transfers of some of the sickest or most gravely ill patients make up the majority of emergency air ambulance transports.

Payment Options and Insurance Denials

Emergency air medical service payments can vary a great deal. In severe situations, patients cannot be denied access to air transport based on ability to pay. In fact, under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, air ambulances are required to deploy (barring severe weather, maintenance issues or actively transporting another patient) and agree to take flights without any knowledge of the patient’s ability to pay. Any type of insurance that may cover emergency air medical transport services, including health, auto, medical and liability, may be a source of payment. Additionally, for those covered through Medicare Part B, a co-pay and deductible may be all a patient is responsible for paying.

However, insurance companies deny payment for roughly 60% of these emergency transports, claiming they are medically unnecessary. Some air medical service providers, like Global Medical Response, employ a staff of highly trained Patient Advocates that work with patients to appeal these denials on their behalf. They work tirelessly to make sure insurance companies fulfill their responsibility to pay so patients are not left with unexpected bills because of surprise insurance denials, even if it takes months or years to resolve a denied claim. Ultimately, 90% of those denials are overturned after numerous appeals.

In the event insurance still will not pay the claim in full or the patient doesn’t have insurance of any kind, the air medical service provider will work with the patient to find a solution that meets his or her unique financial needs to resolve any remaining balance.

Emergency Air Ambulance Memberships

A membership with an emergency air ambulance provider or group of providers, like AirMedCare Network, guarantees no out-of-pocket costs if transported by the provider covered under a membership program. Memberships typically require a minimal monthly or annual fee. In some instances, corporations purchase memberships to cover employees who work in remote areas or drive through large swaths of rural America.

Other benefits are often unique to the individual providers and can include memberships that are valid across a provider’s full network, allowing for coverage while traveling. In addition, household memberships are available to cover people under one roof as well as undergraduate students. Becoming a member is also a way to support the health care needs of local communities since it helps providers operate in rural areas where having a quick response time to critical medical situations can save lives.

Find more information about emergency air and ground transportation services and membership programs at globalmedicalresponse.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Global Medical Response

7 Steps to Prepare for a Home Remodel

A homeowner’s motivation for taking on a remodeling project can vary greatly, but there’s one universal rule of thumb: home upgrades should add value, function or both. This step-by-step guide can help ensure you get the maximum return on your investment and make the most of your remodel.

Step 1: Identify Reasons for Remodeling

Deciding whether to undertake simple aesthetic changes or a full remodel can be difficult. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out why you are remodeling in the first place, whether it’s to make your new house feel more like home or to update an outdated kitchen.

Step 2: Consider Timing

Many variables can impact the timing of your project, including the climate and exact nature of the job. For example, foundation work is easier when the ground is cold during winter. Spring tends to be busy for the construction industry, so you might pay premium rates for labor and materials, but it’s also the perfect time to get a project done that you can enjoy throughout the summer. Summer months are ideal for indoor projects out of the heat. Also consider factors such as personal or professional obligations, or even an event for which you need the project completed.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

Every home is unique in structure, age, quality and craftsmanship, which all impact the price of a remodel. Since no one can see through walls before demolition, the quote you receive may not be 100% accurate. However, a qualified remodeling company will be forthcoming about potential challenges. Account for these adjustments by planning for a 10% cushion, just in case.

Step 4: Hire the Right Team

To help ensure you find the right company for the job, do your research. Referrals from friends and family are one way to find a remodeler. Resources like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry provide unbiased information that can help you find qualified, certified remodelers in your area. With more than 5,000 member companies, the organization represents professional remodelers who adhere to a strict code of ethics. Many hold certifications in remodeling, kitchen and bath design and lead carpentry.

Step 5: Establish a Written Agreement

Most companies insist on a contract to protect their own interests, but if they don’t, you should. In addition to defining the scope of work and budget, a contract ensures all parties are on the same page with expectations about factors like timing, liability in the event of an accident and other practical matters. Contractors also often provide guarantees of workmanship, so find out what they cover for how long and include this information in your work agreement.

Step 6: Understand the Plan 

Keep the lines of communication open between you, the remodeling contractor and the work crew. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Let them know your family’s schedule and circumstances that may affect their work, such as pets. Make sure to specify the best way to reach you and how often you wish to communicate about your project.

Step 7: Complete the Project

When the remodel is almost finished, walk through the area and note any adjustments that need made while the contractor is still on site. You should also take another look at the contract and confirm you have signed permits, receipts, change orders, lien waivers, warranties and manufacturers’ guides at your disposal.

Find more remodeling advice and contractors in your area at remodelingdoneright.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry

A Spring Cleaning To-Do List

Spring cleaning often lands in a perfect spot on the calendar to serve as an annual reminder of your regular home maintenance to-do list such as changing HVAC and appliance filters, checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and cleaning exterior appliance venting. Keep this checklist from Kidde in mind this spring and find more spring safety information at kidde.com/home-safety. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Kidde

Good-for-You Sweet Treats

While eating healthy and enjoying sweets seldom go hand-in-hand, choosing the right combination of nutritious ingredients can allow for guilt-free indulgences that shirks conventional dieting wisdom. In fact, some eating plans take it a step further by actually encouraging eating big in the evening when you’re naturally hungriest to help achieve your weight loss goals.

For example, “Always Eat After 7 PM,” written by Joel Marion, CISSN, NSCA-CPT, five-time best-selling e-book author and co-founder of the e-commerce supplement company BioTrust Nutrition, debunks popular diet myths and offers an easy-to-follow diet that accelerates fat-burning and allows you to indulge in your most intense cravings by eating the majority of your calories at night. The outlined plan features a 14-day “acceleration phase” designed for rapid results, a “main phase” when you’ll learn which fat-burning foods to eat to achieve your weight loss goals and a “lifestyle phase” to keep the weight off for good.

Conventional wisdom dictates that it’s best to avoid carbs, eat an early dinner and never eat immediately before bed. However, Marion debunks the myths underlying traditional dieting with a simple, highly effective weight loss program allowing readers to enjoy social dinners without restriction, satisfy nighttime hunger with fat-burning sweet and salty pre-bedtime snacks and indulge cravings with strategically timed cheat meals.

With straightforward food lists, easy-to-follow meal plans and recipes for each phase, this can be a simpler, more enjoyable way to lose weight without feeling restricted. Taken directly from the book, these recipes for No Bake Salted Caramel Bars, Cherry Garcia Ice Cream and Fruit Tarts can satisfy that sweet tooth before heading to bed.

Learn more about the diet and book at joelmarion.com.

Editor’s Note: the website link will be active March 16.

 

Fruit Tarts

Recipe courtesy of “Always Eat After 7 PM”

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Servings: 20

Custard:

  • 8          egg yolks
  • 1          cup raw honey
  • 1          tablespoon coconut flour
  • 3          cans (13 2/3 ounces each) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4       teaspoon lemon zest

Sugar Cookie Crust:

  • 1/2       cup coconut oil, plus additional for greasing
  • 1/2       cup palm shortening
  • 1          cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1          teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3          egg yolks
  • 1⁄2       teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1          cup blanched almond flour
  • 1⁄4       cup coconut flour
  • 2          tablespoons arrowroot starch

Toppings:

  • 2          kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1          mango, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/2       cup raspberries
  • 1/2       cup blackberries
  • 1/2       cup blueberries
  • 1/2       cup red grapes
  • 1          cup strawberries, thinly sliced
  • fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  1. To make custard: In saucepan, whisk egg yolks and honey until smooth. Mix in coconut flour.
  2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest; bring to boil then remove from heat.
  3. Pour hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture, stirring while pouring. Over low heat, simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool, continuing to stir occasionally. Once cooled to room temperature, pour into individual custard cups. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes, or until serving.
  5. To make crust: Heat oven to 350° F. Line bottom of pie pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.
  6. In large mixing bowl using electric mixer on high, beat coconut oil and palm shortening 30 seconds. Add coconut palm sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in almond flour, coconut flour and starch. Chill dough in refrigerator 15 minutes.
  7. Press chilled cookie dough into bottom of pie pan and 2 inches up sides. Bake 12 minutes, or until crust is golden and browned on top and edges. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Place cooled crust in refrigerator 30 minutes or overnight before assembling.
  8. To assemble fruit tarts: Spread custard over chilled crust. Decorate top in circular pattern with kiwis, mango strips, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes and strawberries.
  9. Before serving, chill at least 30 minutes or freeze 1 hour to help keep toppings in place.
  10. Remove from freezer and set out at room temperature 20 minutes before slicing. Garnish with mint leaves.

Nutritional information per serving: 192 calories; 14 g fat; 16 g carbohydrates; 61 mg sodium; 2 g fiber; 1 g protein; 9 g sugar.

Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Recipe courtesy of “Always Eat After 7 PM”

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1/4       cup fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4       cup stevia-sweetened dark chocolate bar, chopped
  • 3          overripe frozen bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4       cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  1. Chill cherries and dark chocolate.
  2. In food processor, pulse frozen bananas, milk and salt until smooth, creamy consistency of soft serve is achieved. Stir in cherries and chocolate. Serve immediately or place in freezer-safe container and freeze until serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 165 calories; 7 g fat; 27 g carbohydrates; 134 mg sodium; 6 g fiber; 2 protein; 12 g sugar.

No Bake Salted Caramel Bars

Recipe courtesy of “Always Eat After 7 PM”

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Servings: 30

Cookie Layer:

  • 2 1/2    cups raw pecans
  • 8          pitted dates, soaked in hot water 10 minutes then drained
  • 2          tablespoons blanched almond flour
  • 1          teaspoon coconut flour
  • 1/4       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4       cup granular zero-calorie, natural sweetener
  • 3          tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Caramel Layer:

  • 1/2       cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2       cup granular zero-calorie, natural sweetener
  • 2          tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
  • 2          tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1          pinch sea salt
  • 1          tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda

Chocolate Layer:

  • 2          cups stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
  • 2          tablespoons coconut oil
  • coconut oil
  • 1/3       cup dry roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • coarse sea salt
  1. To make cookie layer: Place large skillet over medium heat. Spread pecans over skillet and toast, stirring often, 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove from heat.
  2. Transfer toasted pecans to food processor and pulse until fine. Add dates, almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, sweetener and coconut oil; pulse until dough forms.
  3. To make caramel layer: In skillet over medium heat, combine coconut palm sugar, sweetener, coconut milk, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla extract; bring to boil. Once boiling, decrease heat to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Remove skillet from heat; whisk in baking soda. Return pan to low heat and cook 2 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Remove caramel from heat and let cool and thicken 5 minutes.
  6. To make chocolate layer: In double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir until mixture is smooth then remove from heat.
  7. To assemble salted caramel bars: Line bottom and sides of 9-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over sides. Lightly rub parchment paper with coconut oil.
  8. Press cookie dough into bottom of pan to create even layer. Place in freezer 5 minutes to harden.
  9. Pour caramel over cookie layer and spread to coat evenly. Place in freezer 5 minutes. Pour chocolate over caramel and spread to cover evenly. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts and coarse salt. Place in freezer 10 minutes until chocolate sets.
  10. Use overhanging parchment paper to ease set mixture out of pan. Transfer to cutting board and slice into bite-size bars.

Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories; 15 g fat; 15 g carbohydrates; 56 mg sodium; 4 g fiber; 2 g protein; 4 g sugar. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Promote A Book

Supplement Meals with a Nutritious Addition

Adding nutrition to meals is all about the ingredients you include. The next time you’re looking to add nutrients to your recipes, consider adding an ingredient like pecans, The Original Supernut, which are versatile and easy to add to meals and snacks.

Visit americanpecan.com for more nutritional information and recipe ideas. (Family Features)


SOURCE:
American Pecan Council

Hall Wines Comes to Guana Island for Spring Wine Program

Celebrated California Wine Brand Owned by Craig & Kathryn Hall to Collaborate on Gastronomic Program in the British Virgin Islands from May 5-7, 2020

Guana Island, the award-winning resort in the British Virgin Islands, is collaborating with renowned California wine brand, HALL Wines, to offer a three-day Spring Wine Program from May 5-7, 2020.  The program will bring some of HALL’s most celebrated vintages as well as its Director of Winemaking, Megan Gunderson, to Guana for a dynamic program for travelers and food- and wine-lovers alike.

The HALL team will work closely with Guana’s Executive Chef, Kael Mendoza, to prepare a program celebrating the flavors of the California wines alongside the island’s natural bounty. Director of Winemaking for HALL Wines, Megan Gunderson, will work with Chef Mendoza to create special menu pairings inspired by the flavors of Guana. She will also personally pour wines from across the HALL Family Wine brands portfolio including HALL, WALT and BACA Wines, and be available to chat with guests about the brand’s extensive West Coast vineyards, and the winemaking process.

Chef Mendoza will be creating new menus for the program, pulling as many ingredients as possible from the Guana Island orchard, including fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables and microgreens. The four-acre orchard has been recently expanded to include three new greenhouses and is home to tropical fruits such as breadfruit, soursop, and papaya as well as more exotic items such as lemongrass and pomegranate. The culinary team also sources fresh fish from the waters surrounding Guana, including grouper, yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi.

The three-day program will kick off with a Beach BBQ pairing Caribbean-inspired flavors with WALT Wines, known for single vineyard Pinot Noirs, complemented by live music from a local band. The following day, Gunderson and Guana General Managers Vernon Daniel and Jason du Plessis will host a formal al fresco dinner, offering tastes of some of the most celebrated bottles from the HALL wine collection, including the bold Cabernets for which they’re known. Gunderson will be on-hand to personally discuss each vintage, guiding guests through an educational and flavorful evening. The program will conclude the following day, with a guided tour of the orchard and an invitation to try some lesser-known vintages, matching HALL Wines with just-picked produce and tropical fruits that are only found in the Caribbean.

HALL and WALT Wines offered during the immersive experience will be available to order throughout the program, and each guest will receive a copy of Craig and Kathryn Hall’s New York Times Bestseller, A Perfect Score, upon arrival. As with all meals at Guana, the meals and activities prepared as part of the Spring Wine Program will be included in the cost of a room. Rates at Guana start at $720 per night. Images here courtesy of Jacqueline Marque.

For reservations or more information on the Spring Wine Program at Guana, please visit https://www.guana.com/wineprogram/ or by calling (800) 544.8262.

ABOUT GUANA ISLAND

With 850-acres of undisturbed natural beauty in the heart of the British Virgin Islands,  Guana Island is private, family-owned island resort for the discerning traveler. The island is home to seven pristine beaches and miles of tropical forest, mountains and dramatic flora and fauna. Named for an iguana-shaped rock outcropping on the South side of the island, Guana Island offers fine dining, a distinctly social atmosphere and world-class accommodations. With acres of privacy per guest (no more than 35 guests at any given time), and no marina or public facilities of any kind, Guana Island has come to exemplify the best in laid-back luxury. For more information or reservations, visit www.guana.com or call (800) 544-8262.

ABOUT HALL FAMILY WINES

HALL Family Wines produces high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel under the HALL, WALT and BACA brand monikers. Owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall, the family-owned winery produces artisan wines that express the unique and diverse character of the wine country’s soils and climates through meticulous attention to detail in the vineyards and throughout the winemaking process.  The family’s luxury wine portfolio, led by Winemaker Megan Gunderson sources fruit from some of the most prominent vineyards up and down the West Coast and includes eleven Estate vineyards– Sacrashe, Bergfeld, Hardester, T Bar T Ranch, Atlas Peak, Rainin, Dellar-Freidkin, Cook, Bob’s Ranch, Clos Pepe and The Corners. The HALL St. Helena winery was the first LEED® Gold Certified Winery in the State of California in 2009 and earned another LEED® Gold certification for its high-tech production facility and Tasting Room in 2014. Since the inception of HALL in 1995, the three luxury wine brands have earned over 600 ratings of 90 points or above from the industries top critics, including five 100-point scores from the industry’s most notable wine critics.

Visit www.hallwines.comwww.waltwines.comwww.bacawines.com for more information, or call 707-967-2626.

How to Find the Right Mower for You

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or looking for an upgrade, deciding what lawn mower to purchase deserves careful consideration. Similar to day-to-day life, new technology over the last five years, specifically in the gas mower industry, is making it easier to maintain your lawn.

If you’re in the market for a new mower, consider these tips to find the perfect tool to match your needs.

Yard Size

Looking at the size of your yard is the first step in determining the best mower for your needs. Walk-behind mowers work well for yards that are 1/2 acre or less, but for yards 1-3-acres or larger, a zero-turn rider (ZTR) or riding mower may be appropriate.

Terrain

A small, flat yard may only require a walk-behind mower. If your yard is sloped or hilly, you may prefer a self-propelled mower rather than one you have to push. A walk-behind mower with big back wheels is easier to maneuver across rough terrain. Riding mowers and ZTRs can handle varied terrain, although some handle better on slopes than others.

Engine

Engines are one of the most important factors affecting a mower’s performance, so purchasing one with a quality engine is essential. For example, Briggs & Stratton engines can be found on several brands of lawn mowers, including eight of the top 10 walk-behind brands. As a global leader in gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment, these engines power mowers ranging from small walk-behinds to large ZTRs and riding mowers.

Special Features

While certain features may add to the cost of lawn mowers, many provide functions worth considering. One popular option is a mulching blade, which returns finely cut grass pieces to the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Another common choice is a bagging attachment, which is a grass-catching bag that can be affixed to the side or back of the mower to collect grass clippings.

Technology to Get the Job Done

Explore high-tech features that make mowing more manageable with these insights from professional home improvement contractor Jason Cameron, host of DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes.”

Avoid disturbing the neighbors. If finding time to mow means you might be inconveniencing your neighbors, a mower designed to operate quietly may be what you need. To take advantage of weekend mornings without bothering others, look into modern models, some of which even feature technology to make the mower quieter than the average gas mower.

Skip oil changes. Seasonal maintenance can help keep your mower in top condition, and new innovations allow you to skip the messiest part: oil changes. Some mowers, specifically those with Briggs & Stratton’s No Oil Changes technology, are built with the intent that you never have to change the oil; you can simply check the level at the beginning of the season and add what you need.

Get an assist starting the engine. You can forget the days when starting a mower was a hassle; many of today’s gas-powered mowers feature the starting reliability of lithium-ion battery technology, so you can unleash the power of gas with the push of a button.

Save space in the garage. If storage is a challenge in your garage, look for a compact model with Briggs & Stratton’s Mow N’ Stow technology, which makes storage easy. This patented design allows owners to fold the mower and store it upright without fuel or oil leaks, saving you up to 70% of the storage space in your garage or shed.

Explore more ways to put technology to work in your yard at briggsandstratton.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Briggs & Stratton