A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

Some Fun Ways to Avoid Fall Allergies at the Pumpkin Patch this Season
A trip to the local pumpkin patch can be a lot of fun, but for allergy sufferers it can also be a minefield of triggers. The good news is that there are plenty of things to do in the pumpkin patch that won’t make you sneeze. Here are some ideas:

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Gear Up for Fall Hikes

Prepare for More Than Just Seasonal Allergies This Hiking Season

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If your seasonal allergies flare up in fall, keep your property weed and brush free. Also try to sweep up fallen leaves before they have a chance to accumulate in piles. This will help to prevent mold from developing.

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Fall is the ideal time to go for a hike – the temperatures are cooler and the colors are beautiful. Here are some tips to keep in mind before you hit the trail.

Layer Up

It’s can be difficult to gauge how much clothing you’ll need so make sure to layer up. Avoid cotton as your base – rather go with wicking synthetics or wool, which will help keep you dry. Next, a fleece and finally, take a light weatherproof jacket along to ensure that you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

Bring Enough Water

Exercise can make you thirsty, no matter what the weather, so be sure to carry enough water. Depending on the length of your hike, consider a bottle which is difficult to damage, or a backpack-type hydration reservoir.

Plan Your Hike

If you have allergies, it makes sense to choose a route and time that will minimize your exposure to allergens. If you’re allergic to pollen, days with high pollen counts. If mold makes you sneeze, choose a dry, arid location rather than the woods, which can be wet and moldy. Sites like Alltrails.com and localhikes.com help you find suitable hikes across the U.S. For some other great outdoor and hiking ideas, check out this article on creating some new outdoor family traditions.

Find the Right Boots (or Shoes)

If you’re trying on new hiking shoes, wear the socks that you plan to hike in; go shopping near the end of the day when your feet are more likely to be swollen; and walk around the store – at varying speeds. If you feel any pinches or hot spots where you might get blisters, try another pair.

Build Up Stamina

Take a few weeks before hiking season to build up your endurance in the gym. A stair stepping machine, treadmill, elliptical trainer, cardiovascular circuit workout or spin class will help increase your fitness levels. When you’re using the machines, vary the level and incline for maximum effect.

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Perk Up Your Outdoor Space

You’ve created an outdoor space with plenty of shade, furniture you love, and even an outdoor kitchen. Now what will you add to provide yourself and your guests maximum refreshment in the summer months? Make the most out of your outdoor living area by using these ideas to make it even more guest-friendly.

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When the summer is over, make sure to wipe clean all your patio accessories, including pillows and rugs, and store them in a dry area to avoid mold and mildew buildup until you pull them out next season.

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  1. Choose a theme

    Even the most neutral outdoor space can be transformed using some small but powerful accessories. Just choose a décor theme, from Zen to Moroccan to Tuscan, and pick up the lanterns, pillows, and ceramic pots that will complete the look. Shop your own house for candlesticks, vases and dishes that you can give new life in the great outdoors.

  2. Create a “refreshment station”

    Make the space feel luxurious by adding an outdoor refrigerator and/or a freezer (extra credit: keep it filled with juice popsicles). If you don’t want to add appliances, put in a side table that can hold an ice bucket and glasses.

  3. Add a patio mister

    A mist of cool air around a hot deck isn’t just a luxury for Las Vegas casinos. On hot summer days, a mister that you hang yourself around your patio roof can decrease the temperature by up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Find DIY kits at most hardware stores.

  4. Pops of color

    Inexpensively pull together the look of your outdoor living space with splashes of bright color. Add weather- and fade-resistant pillows, a funky outdoor rug that can be hosed off, and coordinating candles. Limit the color scheme to three or four colors – including flowers and candles – for the most pulled-together look.

  5. Add some night-blooming flowers

    Add mystery and magic to your outdoor space after dark by planting a “moon garden,” or night blooming garden, around its edges. Fragrant blooms like Evening Primrose, Angel’s Trumpet and Night Blooming Cereus open up after the sun goes down.

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Try These New Water Sports

The hottest days of summer are exactly when you’ll want to head to your local river, lake, ocean – or just the pool – to cool off. Bonus for allergy sufferers: Research suggests that pollen levels are lower around open bodies of water. Instead of your tried-and-true water sports, mix it up this summer by trying some activities you might not even have heard of. You don’t need to be a pro – just get a group of friends together who are willing to try something new.

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Consider an ocean vacation for refreshing summer relief from allergies. Some coastal locales have better-than-average pollen levels. Ocean breezes can help clear the air of allergens.

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  1. Waboba ballgame

    A craze that took off in Sweden, Waboba is a ballgame played in knee- to waist-high water using a special ball that bounces and floats. Pass the ball between team members without losing the ball to the other team. Find rules at Waboba.com.

  2. Stand-up paddleboarding

    With only a stand up paddleboard, a paddle and a lifejacket, you can play on any body of water – from ocean to lakes and rivers – without relying on waves. Start on calm water, and consider getting your bearings from a kneeling position before graduating to rowing yourself standing up. Gear shops post helpful videos of stand up paddle boarding. Want some advanced balancing fun? Try standup paddleboard yoga!

  3. Underwater hockey

    Imagine taking hockey beneath the surface of the water – and adding a dimension. Two teams of six face off in six to eight feet of water, swimming and diving to shoot a weighted puck into the goal – just like soccer or ice hockey – but with water above you. It’s a fast-paced, frustrating and fun exercise in teamwork.

  4. Skimboarding

    Think of a smaller surfboard without fins. Skimboarding is like skateboarding on shallow waters – originated around the beaches of Laguna in Southern California by lifeguards looking for an easier way to get across the beaches. Ask about renting one at a local board shop; though it has evolved into a wave sport, you can stick to the wash of waves without catching breaks.

  5. Stage a modern pentathlon

    Ancient Greeks combined five games – discus throwing, javelin, long jump, foot race and wrestling; the winner showed the optimum mix of strength, skill and endurance. Get creative with your friends and combine your own mix of five water sports for your own fun take on the pentathlon. Make it as challenging (swim endurance) or as silly (bobbing for apples) as you’d like.

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The Great American Campout

Now is the perfect time to forge some community ties and enjoy the great summer weather by staging The Great American Campout. Gather your friends and neighbors together in a park or campground and let the fun begin. Pack the night with games and goodies, and don’t leave home without a checklist of items to bring. Here are some ideas both fun and practical for staging an overnight party in the great outdoors.

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Outdoor camping at night is one of the best times for seasonal allergy sufferers to get outdoors, since pollen counts are generally lower. Make sure to air out your tent in advance, cleaning up any mold. And look for camping areas with trees that aren’t heavy pollen-shedders, and away from open meadows that might be troublesome for ragweed allergy sufferers.

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  1. Tent Pitching Contest

    Don’t make this set-up step drudgery; hold a tent pitching contest. The game starts with two or more teams with properly packed tents. The first team to set up their tent wins the first prize of the night. Make things fun – and more complicated – by adding blindfolds, or letting one team member keep his vision to give instructions to his teammates.

  2. Campfire Tips

    Make sure campfires are allowed where you are, then build one or more small campfires (a roaring bonfire isn’t necessary – and can be dangerous). Make sure the fires are a good distance from tents, and keep buckets of water or sand nearby to extinguish flames. Ask a musician friend to bring a guitar and haul out all the oldie-but-goody campfire songs, ghost stories and tall tales you can remember from camp as a kid.

  3. Get Creative with S’mores

    Everyone loves the classic graham cracker, chocolate and toasty marshmallow combo, but for those who want to get a little creative with their s’mores, bring add-ins like peanut butter, bananas, chocolate spread, or veer away from the traditional chocolate with caramel or coconut-filled chocolate.

  4. Midnight Scavenger Hunt

    Keep the fun going all night with a midnight scavenger hunt (or earlier if little kids are involved). Set the ground rules, create teams of adults with kids for safety, and make the clues as easy or difficult as you’d like. Before the campout, pack kits with all the necessities: a bag for collecting items, notebook and pen, and a list of items they must find and collect. Award the prize for the team with the most points. If little kids are playing, make sure everyone – not just winners – gets a treat.

  5. Campfire Breakfast

    All you need is a skillet and the campfire for a great camp breakfast – but bring extra grills if you’re feeding a large group. Eggs, bacon, sausage and pancakes are the standards, but you can mix things up by frying everything and handing out tortillas for breakfast tacos; pre-stuff prepared biscuit dough with cheese, bacon and scrambled eggs to cook on the skillet later, or make one giant apple pancake in a skillet to divide up.

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Throw a May Party

May is a banner month for outdoor parties. May Day, The Kentucky Derby, the United Nations’ World Day for Cultural Diversity, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Cinco de Mayo and Armed Forces Day all happen during this month. In other words, there’s an excuse to throw a party all month long. Here are some original party ideas for celebrating outdoors this month.

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Create an Outdoor Family Tradition

Starting a meaningful family tradition is one great way to teach kids about the environment. Volunteering and exploring the great outdoors are just two ideas you might consider.

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Cuddling Up In Cold Weather

It might be cold outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate. Wherever you live, there’s something to do with your honey in the great outdoors. The trick: tap into your inner child.

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Winter Running and Hiking

We asked Kyle Larson, a marathoner, winter runner, and owner of Endurance House East, a sport store in Madison, WI, how to stay safe and warm in colder weather:

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Yoga Poses for Beginners

Not sure what to expect when you’re starting out with yoga? Try these poses first: they’ll get you ready for any basic class. Remember, your yoga teacher can help guide you into the right position—yoga should be relaxing, not intimidating.
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