Gardening Therapy


Being around greenery may help you cope better with the stress of everyday life or even a trauma or illness.

The latest research on the use of gardens and gardening as therapy has been so positive that a new “branch” of therapy has emerged. “Horticultural therapy” involves a trained therapist who works with people on gardening-related activities tied to treatment goals and improved quality of life.

Whether you tend to your own garden or greenhouse, or take advantage of a horticultural therapist, you can reap the benefits of gardening health, which may help:

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Want to “Play House?”

Tyson and Tyson and Audrey Leavitt build playhouses. And not just your typical nailed-to-a-tree backyard boards. Real playhouses. Fantastical playhouses. Charmed Playhouses, as their business name suggests.

They’re each partial to certain projects–Audrey loves the fairytale cottages (“They’re exactly what I would have loved to play in as a child!”) and Tyson gets nostalgic about the pirate ship playhouses.

Then Tyson, with help from family and crew members, is in charge of actually building the structures. Audrey is in charge of decorating the interiors. “It’s fun to find tiny treasures to fit our theme, that the kids will love,” she said.

LDS Living Magazine

Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?

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Laptops and organizer apps make pen and paper seem antique, but handwriting appears to focus classroom attention and boost learning in a way that typing notes on a keyboard does not, new studies suggest.

Students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer, researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles found. Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.

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Home Inspection Checklist


If you find a house that seems like it has possibilities, do your own initial home inspection, inside and out, before making an offer. Your intention now is to be alert for obvious deficiencies. Assuming you’re not looking for a fixer-upper, too many of these may be a reason to eliminate this house from further consideration.

Note: This is not meant to replace a professional home inspection. Once you make an offer on a house, you’ll want a licensed home inspector to go over it with a magnifying glass.

Here are some things to look for in your initial inspection:

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Kids Helping Mom and Dad With the Mortgage

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After years of getting help from mom and dad, some adult children are returning the favor and buying their parents a house.

Not all lenders will allow adult children to co-sign for their parents on jumbo loans-those that exceed $417,000 in most areas and $625,500 in some high-priced places, says John Walsh, CEO of Milford, Conn.-based Total Mortgage. However, enough lenders allow it that most children who want to help home-buying parents, whether working or retired, should be able to co-borrow, Mr. Walsh says.

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How Much Should We Exercise?

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Exercise has had a Goldilocks problem, with experts debating just how much exercise is too little, too much or just the right amount to improve health and longevity.

New, impressively large-scale studies provide some clarity, suggesting that the ideal dose of exercise for a long life is a bit more than many of us currently believe we should get, but less than many of us might expect. The studies also found that prolonged or intense exercise is unlikely to be harmful and could add years to people’s lives.

These new studies, both of which were published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine, helpfully tackle those questions. Read more