How Do MicroWater Filters Work?

Many people rely heavily on water softeners in their homes. But if you are an active outdoor enthusiast, you may have come across microfilters for water and you may be wondering how they work. I decided to put together this guide so you know what actually happens inside a water microfilter that allows you to purify safe drinking water.

A water filter designed for use in nature generally consists of three separate parts: an input hose, a central chamber containing the filter, and an output hose or attachment. First, the input is placed in a water source. Generally, it is recommended to use flowing water to minimize sediment or biomass that might be in the water. Most input hoses have some sort of basic filter to minimize sediment uptake though, so it is actually possible to filter pond water or even puddle water! More information on microfiltration can be found on Wikipedia.

The central chamber of the water microfilter is where most of the action is. Most water microfilters generate the force to push water into the filter by a handle or lever. Pumping this (generally about once per second) pushes water into the filter, resulting in water purification rates of about 1-2 quarts/minute. Other water microfilters, particularly larger camping filters such as the Katadyn Base Camp Microfilter, use gravity instead of a handle to pass water across the filter.

How Do Water Filters Work?

The filter in the central chamber of the water microfilter generally come in two styles and contain two elements. The actual filter itself is either glass-fiber or ceramic. These are developed in such a way that the pore size is generally about 0.2 to 0.4 microns maximum. This allows water to easily pass through, while bacteria (which are about 0.5 microns wide) and protozoa (about 1-2 microns wide) are prevented from entering the filter.

This ceramic or glass-fiber element also collects a certain amount of sediment from passing through the filter and might need to be cleaned regularly (especially after hiking or traveling) according to the manufacturers instructions. Typically this involves cleaning the outside or through special “backflow” setting that removes it.


It should also be noted that most glass-fiber filter elements can filter only about 200-500 gallons of water while ceramic filter elements can filter 13,000 gallons over its lifetime. Since replacement glass-filter elements are about half the cost of a new filter, microfilters with ceramic filter elements such as the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter often end up being a better investment over the long term.

After the water passes through the ceramic or glass filter, most microfilters have a charcoal element that is either user replaceable or embedded in the filter itself. This charcoal serves to do three things: it can remove unpleasant tastes from the water, removes unpleasant odors, and removes dangerous chemicals that may be found in the water (such as DDT, a dangerous insecticide that is still used in some developing countries).

Once water is free of sediment, bacteria, protists, chemicals, odors, and tastes, it then passes out of the filter through an output hose or attachment. This allows the water to be placed in a container or water bottle for drinking or cooking. Certain models also directly attach to a water bottle for ease of transfer and is a convenient feature to look for.

Our View of the Best Water Microfilter

Hopefully this guide has given you some insight into how do water filters work. If you are looking for a quality water filter, I recommend looking at the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter. This is a small, well constructed water microfilter with a ceramic filter.

Thanks to Water Softener Authority for additional information.

coffee grinder

Grind And Brew Coffee Makers The Entire Family Will Love

In their search for the perfect cup of coffee, many coffee enthusiasts turn to grind and brew coffee makers. These are coffee makers which have a built in grinder, allowing for the freshest grind possible. Coffee beans start to lose their flavor immediately after being ground, so these grind and brew coffee makers provide a way to brew immediately after grinding.

coffeeAlthough there are many different models on the market today, the concept is fairly standard across all brands. When you are ready to brew a pot of coffee, you fill the reservoir with water, add the beans and press one button. The machine grinds the beans and then immediately begins to push hot water through them to start the brewing process.

coffee 2In addition to the ability to capture the flavor of the beans immediately after grinding, these grind and brew coffee machines have other advantages as well. For one, they save space on the counter as you no longer need both a coffee pot and a grinder. Also, they tend to be less messy as you no longer have to grind the beans in one device and then transfer them over to another device. In addition, there is the pure convenience of having one machine do everything. This comes in handy especially first thing in the morning when all you really want is a hot cup of coffee. The last thing most of us want to do when we first wake up is make a lot of noise and mess with a coffee grinder. The grind and brew coffee makers tend to be much smoother and quieter than stand alone grinders.

Even with all the benefits listed above, most coffee purists will agree that flavor is the main reason for selecting a burr grind & brew coffee maker. If you truly want the freshest cup of coffee possible, this is as close as you can get to actually growing and picking the beans yourself.


Air Squats – What Muscles do they Work?

Why I like body-weight exercise for optimum fitness.

Now more than ever, Americans like me are trying to save precious time and hard earned money how ever possible. Fitness is vital to maintaining good physical and mental health. But how much time and money to spend on maintaining fitness is of course, a big consideration.

The time and money spent traveling to a fitness center make working out at home an attractive option. With body-weight exercise, you can get a great strength training and cardiovascular workout with no equipment other than your own body.

What type of exercise do you prefer?

Strength training, cardiovascular training, and stretching are are important for overall fitness. People of varying body types and personalities tend to favor exercise that fall in to only one of these categories. Avid runners, for instance, tend to do only perfunctory stretching prior to running and little to no strength training at all. Dedicated yoga enthusiasts believe that strength training and breathing exercise are already incorporated into their daily routine. Weightlifters often use cardiovascular training and stretching as a warm up and cool down before and after strength training, but not as a large part of their overall workout.

Want to kill two birds with one stone?

body-weight-squatsCertain types of low impact aerobic training can be effective for killing two birds with one stone. By doing strength training exercises without weights for an extended period of time, the heart rate can be elevated to an aerobic training level for a sustained time period. In this way, a cardiovascular workout can be achieved while specific muscle groups are being targeted. This type of strength training falls into the category of bodyweight exercise.

My favorite exercise? The air squat.

What is the air squat? It’s the same as doing squats with weights, but instead of holding a bar with your hands, you raise them in front of you at an acute angle with palms facing downward. Hold your arms in this position throughout the squatting movement, relaxing your arms at your sides in between repetitions.

As a petite woman with a pear shaped body type, I like to concentrate my strength training efforts on my hips, thighs and buttocks as much as possible. The air squat is perfect for this. In addition to my regular bodyweight exercise training regimen, I build up strength with sporadic sets of air squats throughout the day. I set goals for the amount of air squats I will do each day and make sure I get them done throughout the day.

Don’t forget to stretch.

Yogi say that you are only as young and fit as your spine is flexible. There are a plethora of yoga books, dvd’s, and classes to experiment with. Take the time to incorporate stretching into your workout routine. Even a short yoga session a couple of times a week can make a huge difference in how you look and feel. Achieving greater flexibility while releasing tension from your muscles and joints can really put a spring in your step.

Healthy food, good for heart health.  Almonds in white bowl on wooden old rustic table background

Are Almonds Good For You?

Many of us enjoy a handful of almonds as a quick snack, but are almonds good for you? People throughout the ages have believed this to be the case and began cultivating them more than 4000 years ago. Even though almonds are widely considered to be the healthiest nut available, did you know that they are not actually nuts at all? Almonds are part of the drupe family, which includes fleshy fruits that have a hard inner shell with a seed locked inside. Cherries and peaches are other common examples of drupes. Still, we won’t hold that against it when snack time comes. So, why are almonds good for you?

Nutrition and Calories in Almonds

The nutritional benefits of almonds alone warrant adding a handful or two to your daily diet. Below you will find a nutritional breakdown for one ounce of almonds.

Calories 161
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 0mg
Total Carbohydrates 6g
Fiber 3g
Sugar 1g
Protein 6g
Vitamin E 37%
Riboflavin 17%
Calcium 7%
Magnesium 19%
Phosphorus 14%
Potassium 22%
Zinc 22%
Copper 54%
Manganese 123%

You may notice from our chart here that almonds are fairly high in fats, in particular monounsaturated fats. During the 1980s and 1990s people developed a severe fat phobia, believing that the root of all obesity was dietary fat. This is far from the truth, and part of the reason why obesity rates have skyrocketed since then. Just remember that fat is not only a necessary part of the diet, but many fats, in particular those found in almonds, are actually good for you!

Almond Health Benefits

The health benefits of almonds have been studied fairly extensively throughout the years, and anecdotally for the thousands of years that they have been a staple of the human diet. Here are just a few of the many ways that almonds may benefit your health.

Heart Health

Studies have found that people who regularly consume almonds show an increase in HDL cholesterol levels, also known as the good cholesterol, while at the same time displaying a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, or the bad cholesterol. This is an important consideration for people who are at risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. This is thought to be due to the healthy fats, high fiber, and lack of starch found in almonds.


Studies have found that subjects with type 2 diabetes who consumed almonds along with their meals experienced a smaller rise in blood sugar and insulin levels than subjects who just had their meal. This is generally attributed to the high levels of fiber in combination with protein and healthy fat. The high levels of antioxidants contained in almonds also help to clean up the free radicals produced by the body, and are thought to help ward off further damage.

Weight Loss

There are a few things about almonds that makes them the ideal snack for people who want to lose weight. First, they are packed with fiber, and high-fiber foods expand in the stomach, physically filling us up and making us less hungry. Second, the monounsaturated fats in almonds send satiety signals to the brain, telling it that you have had enough to eat and don’t need to feel hungry. Finally, the blood sugar regulation we spoke of in relation to diabetes helps to prevent blood sugar crashes and spikes in appetite, which can lead to overeating.

Can You Eat Too Many Almonds?

healthy almonds 2Despite the wide and varied benefits of eating almonds, it is important to remember that any food, no matter how healthy it may be, still needs to be consumed in moderation. Despite all the good nutrition packed away in almonds, all those good fats, proteins, and fiber are still relatively high in calories.

Most organizations agree that you should eat about 1.5 ounces, or about 30 almonds per day in order to get the maximum health benefits. Just keep in mind that this equals about 240 calories and almond calories are still calories, so adjust your diet accordingly if you are on any sort of calorie-restricted diet.

So, what are almonds good for when it comes to a healthy diet? They are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins E and B2, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. Their very high protein content helps to control appetite and stabilize blood sugar levels. They are full of monounsaturated fats, which are good for the heart and overall cardiovascular system. Best of all, their convenient size makes them perfect for healthy snacking. Just don’t eat them all at once. All that goodness also comes with a lot of calories. To sum up: are almonds good for you? Very much so.

stainless steel cookware

Why I Love Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

Stainless steel is perhaps the most preferred type of cookware by consumers and professional chefs. It can be seen in many households all over the world. Stainless steel is an alloy that is made of two metals – steel and chromium. There are instances wherein nickel is also combined with the two. It is the best stainless steel cookware sets that usually have nickel as part of its alloy. The chromium helps in preventing the formation of rust while nickel works with the metal to increase the cookware’s resistance to corrosion.

One of the reasons why a lot of consumers prefer to use stainless steel cooking pans is because it is made of a non-reactive material. This means that it will not affect the flavor of the food you are cooking. Because it does not react to food that has heavy alkaline or acidic content, it will also not affect its appearance. This is in contrast to cookware made of aluminum and cast iron. Cookware sets made of these materials react with food that has high alkaline or acidic content.

tips-for-cooking-with-stainless-steel-cookwareStainless steel cookware sets are quite durable. In fact, it is considered to be much tougher than other cooking pans. It does not rust or chip easily and it is also scratch resistant. This means is that can be used for a long time as long as it is taken care of properly which should be easy to do.

It is very easy to clean stainless steel cooking pans. You simply need soap and water to maintain it. It is also safe to place it in a dishwasher. By cleaning your cookware after every use, you will be able to keep it looking new for quite some time.

With all its advantages over other types of cookware, stainless steel is one of the best priced cookware sets in the market. The price of stainless steel cookware depends on its brand name – the more popular it is, the higher its price is. However, it is advisable to invest in high quality cookware sets if you would like to be able to use it for a long time. There are a lot of reviews in magazines and websites that you can refer to in deciding what brand to get. Because stainless steel cookware is not a good conductor of heat, consider buying ones that has copper or aluminum base – both of which are very efficient heat conductors.


The Truth Behind Maple Syrup Health Benefits

Did you know that besides being delicious, maple syrup is also beneficial to your body? While it may seem unhealthy to some, pouring maple syrup over your pancakes and waffles me be a good thing. There are various studies that suggest this type of syrup can be beneficial to a person’s health in many ways. Here are the reasons why you should include maple syrup in your diet.

Researchers at the University Rhode Island learned that maple syrup is rich in antioxidant compounds which help prevent certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. It is ironic that this natural sweetener can prevent a disease such as diabetes which is caused by insulin resistance. It contains phenolics which can inhibit two carbohydrate hydrolizing enzymes which are important in managing Type 2 diabetes by balancing blood sugar levels.

Maple syrup is also good for the heart. Besides acting as an antioxidant, zinc also helps slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Zinc is also important in the proper function of endothelial cells which helps prevent damage caused by LDL cholesterol on the heart. Endothelial membranes are more prone to injury if it is low in zinc. If you are not familiar with these terms (and most of you probably are not unless you are well-versed in medicine), endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels. The study also suggested that individuals who are deficient in manganese will benefit from maple syrup as it is rich in the said mineral. Lack of manganese can lower the level of HDL or “good” cholesterol in the body.

One of the reasons why maple syrup is good for you is because it is rich in essential nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium and potassium. Zinc and manganese are known to be important in having a strong immune system. There are many types of immune cells that depend on zinc to function properly. This is true particularly for kids. There are various studies which reveal that deficiency in zinc can have an effect on an individual’s immunity and this includes the number of white blood cells. The study showed that zinc supplementation helps in getting the immune system’s condition back to normal. Besides protecting you from colds and viruses, zinc is also good for the reproductive health. Manganese on the other hand helps the body reduce inflammation, promote healing and is an immunostimulant.

maple syrup pancakes 2Maple syrup has a lot of benefits particularly for men. Because zinc is more concentrated in the prostate than in any other human tissue, low levels of zinc in the prostate can increase a man’s risk for cancer. The mineral is considered as important not only in preventing prostate cancer but also in treating it. Zinc is used by medical experts to reduce the size of the prostate. When it comes to a man’s reproductive health, manganese can be beneficial as it is involved in the production of sex hormones.

If you have problems with your digestion, you may want to increase your consumption of maple syrup. This is because it settles digestion issues and helps people have regular bowel movement. You should consider replacing the sugar in your food and baking recipes with maple syrup. You will notice that the usual gas and bloating you experience after consuming processed sweeteners will be reduced. When you replace sugar with maple syrup, you should reduce the amount in the recipe by about half a cup as the syrup is much sweeter than sugar. It is also ideal to use pure maple syrup which you can buy from different food or health stores in your area or online.


The Secret to the Successful Dinner Party

Dinner parties are terrifying for most people. After all, most of us have never thrown more than one or two in our entire culinary lifetimes, if ever. While it is true that there are many things that can potentially go wrong, the good news is that the vast majority of them can be nullified with a little simple planning. Whether you are planning a night of healthy cooking for your yoga class or spaghetti and fried catfish for your bowling team, there is no reason to think you can’t throw a successful dinner party. To that end, here are a few tips to help make your dinner party a success.

Find Out About Allergies First Whenever you serve a group of five or more people, odds are that you will run into at least one food allergy, if not more. There is nothing worse than putting hours of work into creating a beautiful meal, only to find out at the last minute that one of your guests can’t eat garlic or that the shrimp cocktail you prepared might send someone to the hospital.

The best way to avoid this is to contact every guest before you plan your meal to determine whether or not they have any food allergies or special preferences. Taking a few minutes to make the phone call may seem inconvenient, but you’ll be grateful that you don’t have to prepare a special meal at the last minute or have to stop the dinner party to call 9-1-1.


Cook Ahead Dinner parties are social occasions, so it goes without saying that most of your time should be spent socializing and spending time with your guests. You simply cannot do this if you spend all your time in the kitchen.

Now, since most of us don’t have servants to do the work for us, the solution is to cook as much food ahead of time as possible and either reheat the dishes at service time or prepare dishes intended to be served cold. There are countless appetizers that go wonderfully from fridge to dining room, but good choices for main courses are stews and braises, since they generally don’t require any last-minute prep or attention.

Cook More Than You Need Next, it is important that you cook more than you need. In the event that your guests are especially hungry or someone brings a last-minute guest, you need to make sure that there is still plenty of food to go around.

A good rule of thumb regarding this is to prepare three to five more portions of each dish than you have guests. Unless you are cooking for a very large group, this is usually enough to satisfy any requests for seconds and any unexpected guests without having to deal with a mountain of leftovers in the event that neither of these happen. Dealing with a few leftover chicken breasts is a small price to pay compared to the prospect of running out of food.

If You Expect Your Guests To Bring Something, Tell Them Now, you may be throwing a pot luck or other occasion where guests are expected to bring something, whether it is a bottle of wine, a side dish, a loaf of bread, or anything else. In order to avoid embarrassment on everybody’s parts, if you need someone to bring something to your dinner party, you absolutely have to spell it out up front. This avoids any confusion and ensures that people who have not attended this sort of occasion know what is expected of them.

Throwing a dinner party can be a terrifying prospect, especially if it is your first time or if you are cooking for more people than you are accustomed. Just take a deep breath, plan ahead as much as you can, and address any potential problems well ahead of the date and you will have little to worry about.

A Brief Guide to the Best Space Heaters

A space heater is used for warming up a room. It works in a way that the thermostat is not turned up to assist in warming the house. The space heater is usually in portable sizes and can be used from anywhere, in the absence of any flammable material. These heaters can be used as supplement sources of heat and they help in reducing the homes overall heating bill. In this case, the electricity bill will slightly increase when these types of heaters are used, but it is deemed better off in electricity savings compared to other types of heaters and the most efficient space heater will not demand too much in the way of additional electricity compared to alternative forms of heating.

On the other hand, heaters come in different types, which include convection, radiant and combination heaters. The heaters prices range from the heater type. While buying a space heater, it is therefore advisable to have an idea about where the space heater is to be used. Choose the type of heater to suits the cold situation in your home.

For fast room heating, a radiant space heater is the best in this case. In this connection, if one needs to warm an entire room, a convection heater is preferred in most cases. For a heater that is to be used on a daily basis, the combination heaters are a good way to go. In the end the best space heater option will depend largely upon your individual circumstances.

Before purchasing a space heater, the amount of heat to be generated is another factor that should be considered. This is because majority of the heaters consume power between 600 and 1500watts. In this case, the higher the wattage, the higher the power consumption will be. Consequently, the higher the electricity bill you incur.

Convection Heaters

convection heating example

This type of a space heater comes in a variety of unique designs and it is used for the house warming purpose. It works by producing hot air that warms the house by rising up and causing the cooler air to lower towards the floor, being a good source of proper heat circulation in a room. In this case, the water and oil filled heaters are the mostly used due to their efficiency and they are warm to the touch.

Radiant Heaters

radiant heater

This type of space heater is used in mainly warming up people but not the air. This space heater works by providing warmth to the people sitting in front of the heater, and they do so in a convenient manner. If one prefers faster heating, this heater will be the best choice. However, there are certain dangers that limit the use of this heater. The heater can be a fire threat to the people and animals, especially when used near highly flammable or combustible items. To sum it up, it is always advisable to take care and exercise caution when using these heaters close to flammable items.

More recently infrared heaters have been developed which operate at much lower ambient temperatures. The way in which infrared heaters do this is fascinating.

Combination Heaters

This type of heater works in a way that it serves the purpose of both the radiant and convention heaters. This type of space heater uses a fan in heat distribution in a room but is on the other hand not efficient as compared to the other heater types. They are efficient when used in homes.

Active Summer Break Ideas

Life is often a blur of activity. The result is that often your teenage kids get to their holiday time and you realise that you have nothing planned for the entire summer break. This doesn’t sound a major problem, after all there are plenty of screens that your kids can sit in front of all day, and not be a problem at all. However if you want your kids to lead a full and active life then you really should encourage them to get outside and enjoy some super outdoor activities.

What sort of things can they do however. Well there are plenty of organised activity days that you can locate in the local area but you can also look for much more specific activities that they can do either by themselves, or with their siblings. The great benefit of doing things alone is that they tend to get a better quality of tuition if it’s something that they need tuition with and that they’re not bored because the vast majority of the group with whom they with are not that good.

They were in a layout some options that you might consider your teenage kids to do during that important summer break.


It’s well-known that teenagers just love to ride horses. There is something very special about the relationship that someone has with horse, and this is particularly true when they share that relationship through riding out. This is an excellent activity for your children to do, and one which they will thoroughly enjoy in the process.

Obviously, when they first try out horseriding they will need tuition. Selection of the right sort of tuition your child is quite important. Often stables will allow children to ride out but not allow them to trot or canter or do any of the other skills that are necessary to command a horse by themselves. So when choosing make sure that you look for that will genuinely teach your children.

supStand-up paddle boarding

Stand-up paddle boarding is a relatively new sport. In fact it’s difficult to call it sport since there is relatively little competition in it. However it is a wonderful activity to undertake if you are staying near water of any substance. Paddle boards are large surfboard type vehicles that the children can stand on and paddle to their hearts content. It allows them to explore new areas, to play, to surf on.

Although paddle boarding looks serene and relatively easy to do, it is in fact quite difficult to master. However kids will be kids and the learning process is almost certain to be a great deal of fun. Kids love splashing in and out of the water and riding on a paddle board is a perfect opportunity to do that.

hot-air-ballooningHot air ballooning

Although more of a one-off type experience than the more traditional horseriding or waterside activities there is no question that hot air balloon is something that your children will absolutely love from beginning to end. The experience of flying in a hot air balloon giving them a fantastically different view of the world in which they live can be with them for the rest of their lives and is something that you should definitely consider, cost permitting.
Hot air ballooning ride can be especially memorable if you are staying somewhere that has beautiful scenery. Places that spring to mind would be the Grand Canyon, or wildlife on safari in South Africa. However of course such places aren’t always accessible to most families.

Hopefully, these three examples will give you some idea of the sorts of outdoor activities that you can arrange your children to do during the long summer break. It is easy, and often a genuine waste of opportunity, if you take the easy way out and allow them to just sit in the house meet up with their friends or play games on the computer. The time that you have with your children is often shorter than you would like in retrospect so our recommendation is to take full advantage of having them with you when you can.

Interesting Afternoon Craft Ideas

If you’re looking around for craft projects that you might undertake that look great but don’t take long to complete then look no further. We outline here a number of projects that you might easily be able to achieve in an afternoon of productive effort. These projects are fun, often very simple and yet can improve the look of a drab corner or empty area of a room.

Attractive Craft Art (with a Kitchen Theme)

craft-artThis is very straightforward and requires only an old piece of wood, with the bark on the back and sides if possible, but if not then don’t worry. Some pins, some colored thread and a marker pen or paint. We found this on A Beautiful Mess.

The idea is to make a design on the wood, just an outline is perfectly fine, knock in the pins to the surface of the wood and use the colored thread to criss-cross the pins creating a 3D web pattern. The end result can look great and will certainly go well on a sideboard or with other craft projects.

Scarecrow Hat Wreath

scarecrow-wreathThis is a super fun project, that the kids will enjoy too. It is easy to do and does not matter if the end result is a bit messy and flaky, in many ways that is the whole point. It would be great to do as a project in a run up to a harvest festival of some sort. The full tutorial is over at Always the Holidays.

You will need however an old gardening hat or old straw hat of some sort as the basic canvas upon which the wreath is built. Pick some autumnal flowers, get hold of some straw and a bit of string and some craft eyes in order to make a face on the hat.

The project will generate a lot of laughs both in the creation of it and the end result.

Gorgeous Painted Stool

From Hellolidy, this idea to upgrade an old stool to make an attractive feature for any room is super. It is also extremely easy.

painted-stoolAll you really need is an old wooden stool that you have no further need for. The painting is done in two stages.

Before even getting out your paintbrush however you should sand the stool down with a light sandpaper. This has two benefits, it gets rid of any dirt and grime and creates a clean surface for the paint to adhere to. Once sanding is complete wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust then paint the stool with a base coat of white eggshell.

Once dry, use masking tape to creat the patterns on the top and the legs and then paint the contrasting color coat. Remove the masking tape before the paint dries and then use a varnish to finish, Looks great!