Welcome All

I love to DIY and so do my sisters, we don’t always have time but we make it a day when we do! Lots of friends and family are surprised when they find out how easy some projects are to do. And the supplies will run you less than you think. These days everyone wants to be more aware of what they are putting on their body as much as what goes into their body. Depending on what you want to try food, beauty, or home decor here are a few things you might like. I am also going to share the different apps and links I come across that maybe others are interested in.

Homemade Cat Treats Recipe

Finally found a recipe for cat treats that is simple and my cats loves so I assume delicious! It’s great also because if you use an airtight container you can store up to two weeks. Make sure to look for no salt, skinless, boneless salmon preferable in water so your kitty has fresh healthy treats. And if you are looking for more pet recipes check out http://www.thecookierookie.com:

Ingredients

10 oz canned salmon undrained***no salt

1 egg beaten

2 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Pulse 10 ounces of undrained, canned salmon in a food processor to chop as finely as possible.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine salmon, 1 egg (beaten), and 2 cups whole wheat flour until dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add up to 1/3 cup water. If it’s is too wet or sticky, add a bit more flour. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  4. Roll dough on a floured surface until about 1/4-inch thick. Use a 3/4-inch cookie cutter in the shape of your choice to create your treats.
  5. Place treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. When they’re slightly browned and crunchy, they’re done.
  6. Allow to cool before serving.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Smoky Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans & Corn

Looking for a great salad for these summer barbeques, sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn with some pickled red onions sounds delicious. Head over to your favorite Framers market to pick up all fresh ingredients and have a few friends or family come over to enjoy. Make sure to share with all the vegans friends too they just need to leave out the cheese!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Arrange the grilled sweet potato rounds on a platter and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the chipotle dressing.
  2. Evenly scatter the mango salsa, black beans, corn, cheese, onions, serrano, and cilantro on top.
  3. Drizzle with more chipotle dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small food processor, combine the oil, lime juice, chipotle, honey, garlic, cumin, salt, and several grinds of pepper. Pulse until combined.
  • See the above blog post for serving suggestions.

Mango Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 medium ripe mangos
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • ½ jalapeño, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

Instructions

  • Peel and dice the mangos according to this method.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the mango, onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño, and salt. Chill until ready to use.

Grain-Free Nutty For Nut Bones Dog Biscuits

I love being a proud dog mom too, so when I find a treat recipe for my fur pets I will try it out! Dog biscuits are great and you can sometime frost with peanut butter also for an extra treat. http://www.prouddogmom.com has this great nutty treat to share and if your pets like it check out her book also with more recipes:

Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes 

http://www.amazon.com/Proud-Dog-Chef-Tail-Wagging-Recipes

INGREDIENTS  

  • 2 cups super-fine almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter ***no salt
  • 1/2 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine almond flour, coconut flour, ground flaxseeds, and ground ginger. Whisk together.
  3. Add peanut butter and water. Mix together.
  4. Knead mixture until it forms a dough ball.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll dough ball out to approximately 1/4 inch thick and use a cookie cutter to stamp out biscuits.
  6. Bake in 350º oven for 18-20 minutes. They should come out crunchy!

NOTES

Since this recipe is loaded with healthy fats, the dough will be a bit greasy. That’s why, when rolling out this dough, I like to cover my dough ball with a piece of parchment paper and then use a rolling pin to flatten.

Quench Soap Store & Youtube Channel

If you love buying artisan soaps from the framers market, stores, or making yourself you need to check out this store and youtube channel. Quench has a variety of vegan hemp products for sale soaps, bath bombs, scrubs etc. Well the owner of Quench takes it one step further she started her youtube page (see below link). She not only speaks about how to make the soap yourself but also insight to the business side incase you want to start your own brand! Check out her page I posted this one because wedding season is here so making soap favors is a great idea:

SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHn16Fz9jBtabSxLwvv7O1Q

Check out her story below:

OUR STORY

Why Hemp Oil?

We started out by adding hemp oil to our lemon shandy soap and quickly noticed something: these soaps felt DIFFERENT. Creamier and smoother, these particular hemp soaps felt luxurious in our shower. And after the shower? Even better. We couldn’t deny how much softer and more quenched our skin felt. And our customers noticed too: our lemon shandy soap quickly became a best-seller. A decision had to be made and it was pretty easy: add hemp oil to ALL our products. 

Some known properties of hemp oil:

  • Won’t clog skin’s pores.
  • Known to balance out skin and reduce oiliness, dryness, and irritation.
  • Contains vitamins fatty acids that benefit skin health.

Try our products and FEEL the difference for yourself.

Smaller Batches = Better Quality

Here, at Quench, we handcraft products that feel, look and smell out-of-this-world amazing. Every bar of soap, bath bomb, body butter, and lip balm has been handcrafted, hand-poured and hand-pressed in small batches from our home in Midland, Ontario, providing an experience that’s uniquely special for every customer.

A luxurious treat for the eyes, nose AND skin

Most soap companies prefer to keep their soaps and bath bombs as simple and as easily to replicate as possible in order to produce them in larger batches quickly. Not here: our focus is to provide a product whose design will take your breath away. No two soaps or bath bombs are exactly the same. Our beautiful products aren’t just pretty: they’re formulated with skin-loving ingredients that work to retain your skin’s natural oils once you step out of your tub.

Making beautiful soap the old-fashioned way

“Your soap looks like fudge” is our most common comment we hear. Why? Because we make our soaps using the cold-process method that allows us to design, pour, and sculpt our soaps in our signature “peaked” design. We love the delight our soaps bring to people because it reminds us how truly unique our products are.

Shower, Bath and Beyond! We got you covered

Quench handcrafts wonderful body butters, sugar scrubs, bath bombs and lip balms with the same high standard as our soaps. Every product is formulated to provide the same luxurious experience.

Raising the bar on bath time

Once you go handmade, you never go back: let us take care of you in a way those big box guys never can.

We are proudly:

         

Pickled Red Onions

Want something to add some spice to sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, or any other food. If you love onions raw or grilled, here is a new twist. Check out this easy recipe from http://www.loveandlemons.com

Ingredients

  • 2 small red onions
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

optional

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the onions (it’s helpful to use a mandoline), and divide the onions between 2 (16-ounce) jars or 3 (10-ounce) jars.
  2. Place the garlic and peppercorns in each jar.
  3. Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 1 minute. Let cool and pour over the onions. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then store the onions in the fridge.
  5. Your pickled onions will be ready to eat once they’re bright pink and tender – about 1 hour for very thinly sliced onions, or overnight for thicker sliced onions.
  6. Once you make them, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

6 Ways Dogs Can Benefit From Coconut Oil

There is always coconut oil at my house either for baking or using on spa treatments, it’s not too expensive and smell great. Best part is you can use it for yourself and also on the furkids, check out the link from http://www.thepennyhoarder.com for great tips:

Coconut oil for dogs is a common way that pet parents can introduce health and wellness to their pets—both because it’s an affordable shelf staple they typically already have at home and because it has an abundance of health benefits for dogs.

How can you use coconut oil to boost your dog’s health and wellness?

Below, we explore six great ways to improve your dog’s health and quality of life using coconut oil.

The Science Behind Coconut Oil for Dogs

While not every veterinarian agrees on the health benefits of coconut oil for our canine friends, the science definitely leans in favor of usage, especially when moderated. While coconut oil is not a cure-all, many scientists and vets in the community argue that coconut oil for dogs can:

  • Make them smell better.
  • Do wonders for a dog’s skin conditions, including dry or itchy skin, hot spots and even bites or stings.
  • Give dogs a glossier coat.
  • Help with coughing and hairballs.
  • Aid in digestion thanks to the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short). Some vets even say the medium chain triglycerides of medium-chain fatty acids like coconut oil can boost brain energy and cognitive function as your dog enters its senior years.
  • Help with bones and joints, even soothing the effects of arthritis.
  • Support metabolic function.
  • Fight off viruses, fungi and bacteria via coconut oil’s lauric acid.

Coconut oil alone cannot ward off every dog’s skin conditions or any virus your dog is exposed to, and it likely only helps ease the pain of arthritis but does not prevent it altogether.

Think of coconut oil as a good supplement, not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, especially the essential fatty acids that must be included in your dog’s diet.

Wait, Essential Fatty Acids?

The word “fat” often carries hurtful, negative connotations in our society, but when it comes to your diet — and your dog’s diet — fats serve an important purpose. Good saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, for example, are a fuel source for us, giving us the energy we need to go about our days.

The lauric acid of coconut oil is considered an antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial acid. Coconut oil also contains important unsaturated fats (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) with known benefits.

6 Ways to Use Coconut Oil to Boost Your Dog’s Health

Is coconut oil good for your dog? It can be. The benefits of coconut oil are varied. But how do you best introduce coconut oil into your dog’s routine? Here are six unique ways to use coconut oil to improve your dog’s health and wellness:

1. Use With Food to Improve a Wealth of Skin Issues

Ingesting coconut oil is its most basic use and likely its most effective. If your dog likes the taste, it can be a good addition to a meal to help with itchy skin, flaky skin, rashes, nutrient absorption, digestion, joint pain and more. Just plop a small amount directly into your dog’s food bowl at feeding time. Many pet parents recommend using small amounts of the oil as dog treats.

How much coconut oil to use

Remember: Everything in moderation. When adding coconut oil to your dog’s meal, start with a very small amount and up the dosage gradually (or risk upsetting your dog’s tummy and potentially ruining your carpet). Your dog’s vet can likely supply a recommendation based on your pup’s breed and weight.

PRO TIP

A good rule of thumb is roughly a quarter teaspoon for a small dog (think Yorkies) up to 1 tablespoon for a big dog (like a Great Dane).

2. Cover Up the Taste of Meds

If coconut oil proves popular as a treat or at dinnertime, it can be an effective way to disguise your dog’s medicines. Given coconut oil’s unique texture (kind of like peanut butter—and thus a good replacement for peanut butter), it can be easy to hide a pill in. Your dog will come to love medicine time!

A man brushes a dog's teeth.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

3. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Coconut oil offers antimicrobial properties that make it a good substitute for doggy toothpaste, especially for dogs that aren’t a fan of the flavor of the over-the-counter paste. (It’s also much cheaper.) Use your finger or a commercial dog toothbrush (or even a child’s toothbrush) to rub the oil directly on your canine’s canines once or twice a week.

4. Apply Coconut Oil to Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

The benefits of coconut oil extend beyond oral use cases. It’s been shown that coconut oil improves your dog’s coat and skin when applied properly.Warning: Rubbing coconut oil into your dog’s skin and coat can be a little messy, but many dog owners swear by it. You might want to put an old beach towel under your pup.

If your dog has flaky, itchy or dry skin, apply some coconut oil directly to the problematic area. You can even rub the oil into your hands and give your pooch a full-body massage (dogs have such a rough life, eh?) to spread the oil around the fur and skin.

This can be particularly helpful in response to an allergic reaction. Make sure to follow up with a visit to the vet to determine the source of the reaction.

And of course, don’t be surprised if you find your dog licking itself a little more than usual. Just monitor to ensure it doesn’t eat too much.

5. Use it as a Defense Against Fleas and Ticks

Not only does coconut oil serve as a moisturizer for your dog, but it can also be a natural flea repellant.

But a caveat: As someone who has tried natural at-home flea and tick repellant recipes, I find the over-the-counter stuff to be more effective. I advise relying on coconut oil as an added repellant, not the sole repellant, or else you might welcome fleas into your home and put your dog at a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease.

6. Promote Healing of Wounds

Finally, you can use coconut oil on the skin to help heal wounds, as it has natural antibiotic properties. Veterinarians have specifically found coconut oil good for cracked paw pads, cuts from rough play at the dog park or even self-inflicted wounds by dogs who nibble at itchy paws during allergy season.

Happy 4th of July

Whatever activities you have planned or have not planned yet have a Happy 4th of July celebrating, here are a few ideas from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com:

12 Fun Fourth of July Activities That Will Make You Feel Extra Patriotic

1 Bake some patriotic desserts.

fourth of july cupcake with sparkler
SOURCE: JAMIE GRILLGETTY IMAGES

You can’t celebrate America’s birthday without some red, white, and blue desserts! After baking some of the best cupcakes, brownies, and 4th of July cakes, the whole family can join in on the festive decorating — or even compete in a friendly bake-off.

RELATED: 30 Festive 4th of July Cupcakes to Celebrate America’s Birthday in Style

2 Have a backyard movie night.

movie night at back yard
SOURCE: M_A_Y_AGETTY IMAGES

Level up your standard movie night by setting up a screening — and some cozy seating — right out on your lawn, then picking out an All-American movie that’s perfect for the holiday. Don’t forget the popcorn!

RELATED: The 25 Best Patriotic 4th of July Movies to Watch This Holiday

3 Go camping in your backyard.

family fun around a campfire with s'mores
SOURCE: RYANJLANEGETTY IMAGES

It’s not a 4th of July celebration without a campfire and some s’mores! If you can’t make it to a real campsite this year, try a little backyard camping instead — just set up a tent (along with a great cookout, of course), and cap off the night with some scary stories around the fire.

SHOP TENTS

4 Have a game night.

dice falling onto snakes and ladders board
SOURCE: RAFE SWANGETTY IMAGES

Looking for something that’s fun for the whole family? Organize a game night with some of the best board games — and if you want to make it on theme with the holiday, try out some special patriotic games (like 4th of July bingo or some American-themed trivia).

5 Have a jam session.

grandfather teaching grandson playing guitar
SOURCE: WESTEND61GETTY IMAGES

It’s no party without great music, so get some sing-a-long tunes going with your favorite patriotic songs on the guitar (or even just on the speakers). Belting out “Party in the U.S.A.” is a must, obviously!

RELATED: 15 Patriotic Fourth of July Songs You Need to Add to Your Playlist

6 Get a backyard barbecue going.

bucket with beer and hotdogs grilling in backyard
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Fire up the grill for some great eats! Hot dogs and burgers are essential, of course, but don’t forget the tasty apps (and some festive drinks to cool off in the heat).

RELATED: 59 Easy 4th of July Recipes Your Family Will Devour

7 Get crafty with the kids.

fourth of july flower pot craft
SOURCE: LOLLY JANE

What better way to keep the little ones occupied than with a fun holiday craft? Plus, these easy-to-make flower pots double as a great 4th of July decor!

Get the tutorial at Lolly Jane »

8 Have a backyard picnic.

picnic setup with food and drinks on grass
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

It’s obvious that spending the 4th of July outdoors is ideal, so why not bring food and drinks right to your backyard? You’ll appreciate the sunshine and get a good meal in, too.

SHOP PICNIC BASKETS

9 Make a splash in the pool.

girl sitting in a pool float in swimming pool
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Celebrate the fourth while sitting in a pool float with a drink in hand! It’s the perfect way to spend a sunny day with the whole family.

RELATED: 15 Ultimate Swimming Pool Games to Play This Summer

10 Get active outdoors.

child riding patriotic bicycle with american flag
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Go for a hike, a long walk, or even a family bike ride this Independence Day. Bonus points if you all have red, white, or blue bikes!

11 Light up some sparklers.

girl holding sparklers with american flag draped over shoulder
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

If you can’t make it to a fireworks show this year, light it up with some sparklers — they’re like a much safer, hand-held version of fireworks! Plus, they make for a fantastic photo op (especially if you have some fun, festive 4th of July nails to match).

SHOP SPARKLERS

12 See the fireworks.

fourth of july fireworks over water
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Of course, you might still be able to enjoy some fireworks safely from your home this year — in which case, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy (and practice good fireworks safety)!

SHOP OUTDOOR BLANKETS

RELATED: Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe This 4th of July

12 Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

4th of July time to get ready to barbeque, have friends and family over to watch fireworks! Whatever your plans are either at home or going somewhere just a reminder. One set of family memebers does not look forward to celebrating this day at all. Sadly our fur kids dread this day every year or any celebration involving fireworks. Check out the safey tips from http://www.aspcapetinsurance.com to keep your fur kids safe not only from fireworks but other dangers lurking:

Cookouts are for Hot Dogs, Not… Dogs

Pet parents are often focused on the more obvious seasonal pet safety issues, like fireworks, but Fourth of July dog safety tips do not end there. Many pet parents may overlook the backyard BBQ, a particularly dangerous Fourth of July activity for pets.

If you plan to have your pooch in the backyard when you fire up the grill with your friends and family, keep these hidden hazards in mind:

The Grill

The danger is not just from heat and smoke. In fact, a grill can be dangerous before it’s even lit–lighter fluid and matches are hazardous for your pet. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) Animal Poison Control Center points out that many matches contain chlorates. If your pup eats them, it can damage blood cells and cause breathing problems or, in the worst cases, kidney disease.

Lighter fluid, on the other hand, is an irritant. And if it can irritate the skin on the outside, it can irritate sensitive organs on the inside too. If a pet ingests lighter fluid, it can cause significant tummy irritation, central nervous system depression, and other issues should they vomit. Even inhalation of the fumes can cause breathing problems.

Alcoholic Beverages

A cocktail or beer can be a festive and relaxing way to enjoy the holiday, but that drink is a potential poison for your dog. If left low enough, a pet looking to quench their thirst could get into your beverage. Alcoholic intoxication in pets can result in weakness, depression, coma, respiratory failure, and even death. This is true even for beer, so keep the cold ones out of reach!

People Food

Pets need a consistent diet. Changes can cause messy tummy troubles. Certain foods that commonly accompany celebrations, like chocolate, onions, and avocados, can be toxic to your four-legged friend. Resist the urge to give them any BBQ scraps, even for the “special occasion.” Beyond the Fourth of July, we’ve got a list of 16 things you should definitely never feed your pet.

Other Outdoor Independence Day Dangers

The Fourth of July occurs as summer is in full swing. There are several seasonal concerns you should take into account if you’re planning to be out with your pooch.

Heat

Your canine companion has to work hard to maintain body temperature. They do this by panting and through specialized sweat glands on the pads of their feet. The best way to keep them cool is to keep them out of the sun and well hydrated. Make sure you always have water on hand for your dog and keep water bowls from direct sunlight.

Water

If you’re planning a day at the beach or lake, know your dog’s swimming ability. Not all breeds are natural swimmers. Even frolicking in the waves could be hazardous. When pooches ingest saltwater through too much exposure, it can lead to electrolyte imbalances and possible seizures. If you’re on a boat, it’s recommended that your dog have a personal flotation device too.

Sun

Dog fur does a pretty good job of protecting their skin from the sun, but shorthaired breeds can still be susceptible to skin damage. Sunscreen can help you protect your pup from UV rays, but make sure you choose one made specifically for dogs. Some ingredients in human sunscreen, like zinc oxide, are toxic to canines, largely leading to unpleasantness like vomiting.

Bugs

Insects that are annoying or harmful to humans are annoying and harmful to pets as well. In fact, mosquitos can carry diseases that dogs and cats are more likely to contract than humans. The biggest risk from mosquitos for pooches is heartworms. Mosquitos carrying heartworms are found everywhere in the U.S., and exposure is fairly common. But preventive measures are very easy to come by. Using a regular heartworm preventive can save your pooch’s life.

Another risk, while rare, can affect both cats and dogs. Eastern equine encephalitis virus, known as EEEV, is also carried by mosquitos, which makes controlling the pests all the more important.

When controlling pests, keep in mind that citronella can be harmful to pets. Citronella fume inhalation can cause pneumonia, and citronella ingestion can lead to nervous system disorders. The same goes for insect repellants. So only use repellant made specifically for pets. Also, be particularly cautious of repellents containing DEET. And if you’re using those repellants on yourself, make sure you keep the dog kisses to a minimum.

People Playthings

The summer is full of cool recreational toys that make the warmer days more fun. Of course, you know your four-legged friend likes to play, too. However, plastic toys that aren’t made for pets can get damaged and ingested, causing trouble in your pet’s system.

The biggie on the Fourth of July is glow jewelry that, if chewed on and broken open, can be incredibly toxic to your dog or cat. Please resist the urge to get them glowing for the holiday.

Consider the Great Indoors

While your feline friends should always be inside, pups are full of energy and like a romp in the great outdoors. The problem with being outside at any time during the Fourth of July, aside from the dangers or hazards listed above, is that the crashes and bangs aren’t only reserved for after dark.

The loud chaos surrounding our favorite patriotic celebration can lead nervous pets to escape, break leads and run away to find shelter. The Fourth of July holiday is notorious for being the top time of year for lost and runaway pets.

Because of this, many veterinarians suggest keeping your dog inside at all times (minus potty breaks, of course) during the holiday. Not just at night when the fireworks are the loudest. If your cat is allowed outdoors, it would be good to bring them in as well. The indoors will most likely be the safest and most comfortable place for your pets.

Even if they’re inside and chipped, all pets should have secure collars and ID tags. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Fourth Fireworks and Your Four-legged Friends

The biggest highlight of the Fourth of July holiday is a visual treat for you, but not for your dog or cat. Even if you haven’t noticed a noise phobia in your pet pal, extreme sensitivity to sound can develop with age.

Even if your dog hasn’t been traditionally frightened of fireworks, staying home is probably the best option for your pet, and you can help them stay calm by making sure their environment is just right. If you are still thinking, “My dog is scared of fireworks, how can I help?” Check out some of our recommended items that can help alleviate your pet’s anxiety this firecracker season.

Familiar Spaces

To help your puppy or kitty stay comfy, keep them in a cool, familiar escape-proof room or their crate.

Distractions

Consider offering a special pet-friendly treat or new toy that can help distract your pet from the loud booms.

White Noise

The static sound that you find between radio channels is a perfect example of white noise, which works well to drown out outside noise. You can get white noise from fans, too. Make sure to close windows and draw curtains and blinds to add an extra layer of sound-proofing.

In the end, if you can go without watching fireworks yourself, your pet would probably appreciate your companionship during this stressful time. Nothing helps more than some kindness and lots of TLC.

Check out this handy infographic and send it along to any pet parents you think could benefit.

Take the Fear Out of Fireworks: Keep Comfortable, Get a Workout, Divert Attention, Drown it Out

The 6 Best Language Learning Apps to Get You Talking

Do you love traveling but hate when you can’t communicate? Maybe you like watching foreign films but hate trying to keep up with subtitles? Or you just love hearing other languages spoken. Whichever your excuse is here are 6 apps to learn a new language on your own pace and not having to pay a instructor. Apps go from free to a monthly premium plan:

Best Language Learning Apps

Check out our list of language learning apps below and be on your merry way to becoming bilingual and beyond.

1. Drops: Play with Your Words

Don’t want to commit hours to learning a new language? Drops has got you covered. In around five minutes a day, you can get on your phone or mobile device and go through the language learning app’s bite-sized tutorials to learn short phrases and new vocabulary. Drops helps you remember your new language using mnemonic images by pairing the word with an image, then it’s spoken and spelled out to you.

You can choose from over 35 languages — the usual suspects like German and Spanish are available. There are also some unique finds such as Ainu, the language spoken by elders on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and Icelandic. Those who want to learn now to read and write in a new language can use their companion app, Scripts.

You can use the app for free, though you’ll only be able to access one lesson a day. Premium plans start at $8.49 per month, $5 per month if you pay annually, or grab the lifetime deal at $149.99.

2. Babbel: Language for Life

This popular app models itself after much like what you’d see when attending a foreign language class. The lessons move gradually onto more difficult concepts, starting from translations, then variations of the words or phrases you learned. You’ll also learn other aspects of the language, such as whether it’s formal or informal usage.

The app also provides audio so you can hear the words benign used in everyday conversations and allow you to repeat them for further learning. The lessons are about 15 minutes long and you can track your progress along the way.

There is a free version of Babbel, but you are limited in what you can learn. Subscriptions cost $13.95 a month, $29.85 for three months, $50.70 for six months, or $83.40 per year.

3. Memrise: The Fastest Way to Learn a Language

The occasional language learner will like Memrise, since you don’t have to commit to daily lessons — dip in and out when you wish. The app uses native speakers who speak different words and phrases, helping you learn how it’s used in the real world. You’ll receive a translation of the words or phrases which you can then repeat until you are fluent.

The fun part about Memrise is that you’ll earn points for correct answers — set goals to earn a certain point each day, or publish it on a leaderboard alongside other language learners to motivate you. So far, there are 22 languages, including the most popular languages plus Mongolian and Swedish.

You can use the free version which gives you access to a few free lessons daily. The paid version costs $8.99 per month, $90 per year, or lifetime access for $139.99.

4. Duolingo: The Best New Way to Learn a Language

Like some of the apps on this list, Duolingo teaches you languages based on game-like short lessons. You can progress to more difficult concepts when you pass certain labels, but the app can bring you back down if you’re not reviewing consistently.

Overall, the mobile app is user friendly, providing features such as the number of days in a row you’ve practiced, and how many days you need to reach your goals. You can also access short audio stories called Duolingo Stories to test your comprehension skills. If you want to learn more than one language, you can — though you may not want to overwhelm yourself.

Duolingo is free to use and you can sync with your computer and mobile devices to learn 18 languages. Duolingo Plus, their premium version, costs $6.99 per month and features no ads, the ability to review your mistakes and test out of a level.

5. HelloTalk: Talk to the World

HelloTalk allows users to choose from more than 100 languages by connecting them to native speakers. To learn, you’ll work with the native language speaker and exchange video clips, texts, voice calls and recordings. It’s great if you want a more social aspect and to learn from someone who speaks the language you want to master.

Other features of HelloTalk include grammar and syntax correction and quick-tap translations. You can use this language learning app for free, but the premium version will set you back $4.99 a week, $8.99 a month, or $49.99 a year. Benefits include no ads, the ability to learn multiple languages at once, and chat up to 25 times per day.

6. Lirica: Learn Languages with the Power Of Music

The premise behind newbie Lirica is that you can learn a new language using music. How fun is that? Especially when Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Usher are your teachers.

The British app gives you vocabulary and grammar lessons based on popular songs from artists from around the world. It also aims to teach you about different cultures where the language is spoken.

Currently, there’s only three language options — English, Spanish, and German — but the app claims it’s rolling out more languages soon. You can try the app for free, but to access all the content, you’ll need to pay $4.99 per month after the free seven-day trial.

There’s a lot of language learning apps to choose from. If you’re not sure where you start, download one and use the free version and stick with the one you like best.

SHRIMP AND AVOCADO SALAD

Summer time yummy lunch idea that are fresh and delicious, with a nice cocktail enjoying the sun in your back yard. Thanks to http://www.eatwell101.com for this great recipe:

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

1. Toss shrimp with melted butter in a bowl until well-coated.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to the skillet in a single layer, searing for a minute or until it starts to become pink around the edges, then flip and cook until shrimp are cooked through, less than a minute.

3. Transfer shrimp to a shallow plate and allow cooling while you prepare the other ingredients.

4. Add all other ingredients (avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro) to a large mixing bowl. drizzle with olive oil and lime juice and toss to mix everything together.

5. Add cooked shrimp and give a quick stir to mix together. Season the shrimp avocado salad with more salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!

TIPS FOR THE SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD

This shrimp avocado salad recipe can be made in under 20 minutes, it really doesn’t take much doing to prepare a fresh batch — a quickly-prepared protein (such as shrimp) is one of the essential parts of composing a salad like this.

  • You can serve this shrimp avocado salad as an appetizer or light meal. You can put this over slices of toasted bread to make it more substantial.
  • If making this for a party, you can easily double or triple the recipe. Just cook shrimp in batches to not overcrowd the pan.
  • To make ahead, combine all the ingredients except for the avocado and cilantro and keep this refrigerated, then add them just before serving the shrimp avocado salad.

WHAT SHRIMP SHOULD I USE FOR THE SALAD?

  • Frozen shrimp is okay for this recipe but try as much as possible to buy wild-caught shrimp. Fresh wild-caught shrimp tends to have better flavor. You can use the shrimp with the tails on or off. Large shrimp (jumbo, colossal, extra large, whatever the name named… with a caliber of 16-20) will do best because they are meaty and juicy.
  • Make sure not to crowd the shrimp in the skillet, otherwise, moisture will form and shrimp won’t sear properly. You’ll end up with steamed rubbery shrimp.