3 Ways to Use Less Plastic by @Donna_Fasano

Use Less PlasticIt’s been made pretty clear by now that single-use plastic is bad for our environment and is slowly killing our planet. Everyone can do something—no matter how small—to use less plastic. It’s really very easy. Here are 3 simple ways to get started:

Reusable Grocery Bags

Many countries have banned plastic bags altogether, which has Mother Nature cheering, I’m sure. If you are the crafty-type, try making your own reusable grocery bags. Click here to find written instructions. And click here for a video with instructions. If you are unable to make your own, you can buy them very cheaply. Reusable shopping bags are a GREAT way to use less plastic.

No More Plastic Straws

According to the National Park Service, 500 million drinking straws are used every single day. Every. Single. Day. If you need a visual… that’s enough straws to fill 125 school buses each day. Wow. If we want to use less plastic, we really need to change our habits. Do you really need a straw to drink from a glass? If so, try getting a reusable one made of metal. Some of them are collapsible so you can carry them around with you. They’re not expensive and they make GREAT stocking stuffers for holidays or gifts for birthdays.

Say NO To Single-Use Water Bottles

People throw away one million plastic water bottles every minute. Every. Minute. My family uses stainless steel water bottles. Some come in a bottle shape. Others have wide-mouth openings. Some have a thermal feature that keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. You can go a long way in saving our planet if you stop using single-use plastic water bottles. Choose whatever works best for you.

If everyone around the globe started using the three suggestions listed above, just think how much less plastic would be going into our landfills, our rivers, our oceans. Wow!

I have other suggestions, too. Things like:

  • Glass containers for leftovers
  • Clean with vinegar and water mixed in a reusable bottle
  • Use baking soda as a cleaning abrasive
  • Use cloth cleaning rags rather than paper towels
  • Buy dishwashing powder in a cardboard box
  • Buy bar shampoo that comes in a paper box (I LOVE this stuff!)
  • Switch to bar hand soap rather than liquid soap
  • Repair items when they break rather than pitching them into the trash

Lastly, educate your children and grandchildren. I bought my granddaughter a copy of this rhyming book and we both learned a lot from it.

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Florida: More Than a Beach by @PatriceWilton

When you think of Florida, you envision the beach: cerulean blue skies, sparkling turquoise water, the sight and sound of waves splashing on the sandy shore. There are so many things to do on Florida beaches. Enjoy the sunshine with a good book. Surfing. Dolphin watching. Shell collecting, kayaking, building sandcastles, laughter, and fun. Let’s not forget swimming! Sunny Florida delivers the very best in outdoor living.

Florida is more than a beach

Yes, there are a multitude of things to do on the beach. But Florida has a great many other activities and sights to offer. Like scary alligators at Everglades National Park. Did you know that America’s Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States? And then we have Disney World and Universal Studios. We have the Kennedy Space Center. Then there’s Daytona Speedway, and Busch Gardens. There are museums, art galleries, and wonderful restaurants.

Sunshine 7 days a week?

I have to admit that it’s not all sunshine and roses. We do have downpours like nobody’s business. Did I forget heat? Oh, yea—we have that. And humidity. And hurricanes that hit us every year.

But… do I love living in the Sunshine State? You betcha!

Florida Beaches Horseback Riding

Yesterday I took my granddaughter horseback riding on the beach. We had so much fun, and both of us will do it again. There were two people in charge of us, one went in front the other took the rear. A group of five riders at a time. We walked through a trail first that led us to the beach, and then we were on the white sand feeling the sea breeze in our face, enjoying the sway and feel of this magnificent animal under you. It was a real thrill and adventure for the both of us.

Horseback Riding on the beach

Come on down to Florida and enjoy the beauty of nature and everything else my wonderful state has to offer you.

Learn more about me and my books on my Amazon Author Page.

Laverbread by @KatyWalters07

Laverbread is a seaweed. A traditional and popular food collected for consumption by communities on the Welsh coast. As a child and early teens, I enjoyed meals consisting of freshly gathered cockles and laverbread with newly grown vegetables. Even to this day, my first choice for a meal would be prawns, cockles, and laverbread.

Rhossili Bay Katy Walters

My Welsh family is from the South Gower Peninsula. Rhossili Bay was my playground. The South Gower is a beautiful vista of vast golden sands, high dunes, and soaring cliffs. Within those cliffs are the most ancient prehistoric caves in Britain. One is a 4000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber. Another find was the skeletal remains of The Red Lady of Paviland from the upper palaeolithic era. However, the Red Lady proved to be a male whose bones were dyed in red ochre. As a child, I used to play near that cave.

Childhood Memories

I cherish the memories of living some of my childhood in this incredible coastal area. I remember my grandparents going out at dawn with their cart and horse to gather the cockles. My grandmother would then cook them in a cauldron over an open fireplace. I was at first startled by the whistling noise coming from the black iron cauldron as the cockles cooked. My grandmother told me it was the cockles singing to us. Later I realized it was the air escaping from the shells.

My childhood in Wales was a delight of sea, beaches, climbing towering dunes, and exploring ancient caves with my friends. I was always fascinated to watch the small herds of wild horses racing along the golden sands. I think it shaped my love of history and nature and my love of seafood.  Now, when walking along the promenade, I think of the cockles singing as I buy a pot of them.

How to Eat Laverbread

This is a highly nutritious variety of seaweed. Read more information on Wikipedia by clicking here. It is rich in minerals, vitamins, protein, and very low in calories. It is easy to find on the internet and on Amazon. The seaweed can be cooked fresh or from tins.

Laverbread

Cockles and mussels can be added. It is your choice. Bacon, eggs, and fried bread are an alternative. A little vinegar can be added for taste.

For this recipe, I use the tinned variety. The full recipe to cook laverbread from fresh takes hours!!

You may want to cook cockles and mussels separately or in the same pan. But do be careful not to overcook the laverbread.

As I spend my time writing or dog walking, I use this quick and nifty way to enjoy it.

So have your frying pan ready.

  1. Open the tin of laverbread.
  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and then add the laverbread.
  3. Some people cook the bacon in the same pan, but that is your choice.

Cook the laverbread until it is sizzling and then plate it.

Add fried egg, bacon, and fried bread to your choice.

Now, have lovely glass of red or white wine and enjoy.

Learn more about Katy Walters and her books at her blog.

 

The importance of a Mental Break for me

Like many of you, I normally took a yearly vacation with my family, and of course, the events of last year kept me locked up in my own house. It’s hard to take a much-needed mental break when you are walking the same halls and sitting in the same chairs that you always sit in while working.

If you don’t know me well, you probably aren’t aware that I live and breathe my characters. They are with me all day, all night, no matter what I am doing. I talk through scenes while I’m cleaning, dressing, or cooking. I contemplate plot twists while I drive, and stare at nothing, or while I eat. My mind is usually going a hundred miles an hour, all the time.

In order to shut my mind off and let it relax, I need to put my entire body in another place. At home, I can attempt to stop working, but I’m always just a few steps away from my computer, and the emails, and marketing, and manuscripts that constantly need my attention.

I am so thankful that we were able to get away this year for a much-needed break. Not just for me, but for my husband who works so hard, and my daughter who is off to college very soon. Plus, this year we took our almost five-year-old grandson with us for the first time to Disney. It’s our family’s magic place.

My family in front of the Millenium Falcon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This year for the first time since I started writing, I put my computer away for almost the entire trip, and I focused on myself and my family. I was rather proud of myself. It was only toward the end of the vacation that I got on the computer for a little while in the afternoon, but that was generally when my grandson was resting and we were relaxing at the resort during the rain.

Now after almost two weeks away from the computer, the emails, the marketing, and my sometimes relentless characters, I am ready to come back and jump back in. In fact, on the ride home, I went through 200 pages to edit, and today I will jump back in to get at least another 100 done so I can get this book off to my editor and start writing the last three books required for this year.

After almost two years without a break, I finally feel like I can breathe without all the weight on my shoulders. Now, once I get my daughter off to college, I’ll have a nice quiet house and I can really start blasting out the words!