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Christmas 2017: How to score airfare deals

Only Santa can take reindeer-powered flights at Christmas; everyone else taking to the skies must rely on plane travel. Whether you're flying home for the holidays or heading on a holiday getaway, Christmas airfare deals are probably high on your wish list.To find Christmas airfare deals, refer to KAYAK's 2017 Holiday Hacker Guide and take advice from travel experts. Here are the top 6 ways to get the best holiday airfare deals. Fly on Christmas Eve. If you wait until Christmas Eve to depart, KAYAK data shows you can score some of the best deals. It's sort of surprising, but Kayak also shows really good deals for those who agree to fly on the big day itself, whether arriving or departing.This year's Guide's "When to Book" section showed median airfares to expect based on anticipated arrival and departure dates for the Christmas holiday. The prices are based on last year’s data. A few of the best median airfares are as follows: $351 departing Dec. 20 and returning Dec. 25$354 departing Dec. 21 and returning Dec. 25$358 departing Dec. 23 and returning Dec. 25$346 departing Dec. 24 and returning Dec. 25$359 departing Dec. 24 and returning Dec. 26$234 departing Dec. 25 and returning Dec. 25$338 departing Dec. 25 and returning Dec. 27$352 departing Dec. 25 and returning Dec. 28 Book your flights before expected price increases. You’ve probably found that airfares fluctuate on different dates each time you fly. A general rule of thumb for Christmas airfare deals is to expect fares to increase 21, 14 and again seven days before departure, according to Google Flights.  

Score a great airfare deal to Nordic countries. KAYAK's list of Wallet-Friendly International Flights had Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and Reykjavík at the top. If the cold is cool with you, those great flight prices apply to Christmas airfare deals, too. Plus, late December is a great time to catch holiday festivities in Stockholm or view the northern lights in Oslo. Pick a wallet-friendly North American destination. If you aren't gathering with family for the holidays (intentionally or unintentionally), save some money with one of KAYAK's Top 10 Wallet Friendly North American Flights to a Christmas vacation: Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Calgary or Seattle. Choose a spot that's not trending to spend Christmas or New Year's. Google Flights compared 2016 and 2017 flight searches between June 6 and Sept. 20 and came up with these North American destinations as the top trending for Christmas 2017: Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Lisbon, Bogota, Bangkok, Buenos Aires and Brussels. It may seem counterintuitive, but avoiding those destinations for the Christmas holidays may mean cheaper airfare to the places you do select. If you're flexible with holiday getaway plans, consult the Google Flights Explore Map to find airfare and vacation bargains. Don't save money at the expense of your happy holiday. Some other tactics may be easier on your flight bill, but will put you at higher risk of ruining your holiday, noted the Air Fare Watchdog blog. The travel expert said you could save money on peak holiday travel by taking connecting flights rather than nonstop, "but since winter weather can foul up connections, you're better off splurging for the nonstop."While it's tempting to grab the last seat on an inconvenient flight time closer to the holidays, Air Fare Watchdog also recommended booking early for anyone who won't enjoy the flight at all without their preferred seating. "This is especially true if there are several of you flying together and you don't want to all end up sitting far apart from each other," noted the blog.

7 quotes to jump-start your week

Need a little motivation on Monday morning? We’ve got you covered!

These quotes will make you spring out of bed with a smile on your face.

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RELATED: 7 quotes to give you some much-needed motivation

Have a great week!

Need some wisdom? These 9 quotes will do the trick

When you need advice, it’s best to get it from people who have experienced your situation.

In other words, the past can be a great teacher.

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RELATED: 7 quotes to give you some much-needed motivation

These quotes from yesteryear are chock-full of wisdom.

7 quotes to get you through a rough time

Are you going through a rough time? Do you need a little pick-me-up?

These seven famous quotes are designed to inspire you, even in times when things seem hopeless.

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RELATED: 5 quotes to get you through your day

We hope they move and motivate you!

She transforms a cereal box into an adorable bed for her Elf on the Shelf

Bring your kids’ favorite holiday character to life with this adorable craft.

Your kids already love discovering their Elf on the Shelf in fun places . They’ll love when a miniature bed shows up, too.

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All you need is an empty cereal box and some red and white paper. Be careful to note the difference between a cut line and a fold line, which is dotted, on the templates.

Find the pattern and instructions here.

Every item on this epic breakfast sandwich is cooked in a waffle maker

Believe it or not, you can actually cook an entire breakfast sandwich in a waffle maker. Sounds crazy, but you’ll believe it when you see how easy it is.

When you think about it, a waffle maker is like a tiny griddle, so it can actually cook the eggs and bacon, too.

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RELATED: Bundt pans aren’t just for cake — use one to make an epic breakfast sandwich

There are so many upsides to this method: no extra pans, takes only a few minutes, and you get waffles as bread! Well Done shows us how to make it happen!

Apparently, you can make your own protein powder, and no surprise — it’s much cheaper

Protein powder is one of the most expensive things on a dieter’s grocery list. A regular sized container can run anywhere from $20 to $50. Even if you consider just the price per serving, you still may be paying more than the cost of a daily Starbucks.

Taking a little time to make your own will save a ton of cash. And the best part is, it’ll be custom.

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You can adjust your mixture to suit your tastes and dietary restrictions — make it chocolate, vanilla, vegan, or sugar-free. Mix it up even more with flavors like chocolate raspberry and peppermint vanilla. Plus, it’ll be free of all the extra chemicals and preservatives.

RELATED: These 5 next-level protein shakes are more like healthy milkshakes

Fit Life Creative shares a plant-based recipe, but you can always substitute something else for the protein source. Try whey, pea, or hemp powders, plus whatever flavor add-ins you want.

You will need:
  • ⅓ cup steel cut oats
  • ⅓ cup milled flax seed
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • ⅓ cup red quinoa
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Watch to find out exactly how to make your own protein powder.

17 years in prison have passed, but a lifetime of love awaits

At the age of 17, Kellie was convicted for her involvement in a heinous murder. She was only a senior in high school, and she had to accept the fact that her life would never be the same.

For the next 17 years, Kellie fought for her life within the prison system. She endured physical, mental and sexual abuse throughout her sentence, and sometimes didn’t wish to see the next day. On several occasions, when her freedom seemed too far from reality, she attempted suicide.

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Kellie’s destiny was not to die within the prison walls, and that rang true in 2015, when she was released. She explained that she was shocked she made it out alive.

“When I was released, I was overcome with disbelief. I had served 17 years, and I was still alive. I didn’t think I would have survived prison, but I did. When I accepted the fact that my life had finally started, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know how to live on my own, use a credit card, write a check, use the Internet or a cell phone, and all the  social media sites. It was overwhelming.”

Kellie moved back home with her parents, excited to truly start living. She got a job, learned the importance of good credit, and joined all the popular social media sites. Being the artist that she is, she was initially drawn to Instagram — here is a site that was based around photos, the perfect places to finally show the world her art.

The art pieces she was posting and emotional quotes she was writing immediately caught the eye of DC. He was drawn to her and knew he had to take a shot.

“I kept being drawn to her page. Kellie was so incredibly artistic and was posting just profound, emotional statements. I knew she was something special from the very beginning. I sent her a very simple message with my phone number. I asked her to give me a call, and I was lucky enough to receive a call.”

Kellie and DC talked for hours on the phone. They talked until the late evening, and then into the early morning. They talked about anything and everything. Countless times, their conversations were cut short by their alarms in the background, “waking” them for work. They had an immediate connection, and because of that, Kellie knew she needed to be honest with DC.

“When you have a past like mine, you can’t hide it. When you do try to hide it or you just don’t bring it up, it can really make people mad. Because of that, I really try to be honest in everything that I do. I was honest with DC, and I let him ask me any questions that he had. I didn’t want to be defined by the horrible decisions I made when I was a teenager, and the only way to do that is to be open and honest about where I’ve been and what I’ve done.”

Kellie and DC discussed her past, spent time talking about it, and moved on. DC was open to what Kellie had to say and wanted to move forward with the special connection they had.

They continued their friendship into the holiday season. Kellie’s family traveled from near and far to celebrate her first holiday of freedom.

In the chaos of the family reunion, Kellie was able to convenience her father to get a tattoo to commemorate the passing of her big brother, Chris. When Kellie was 12, Chris tragically died from an AIDS-related brain tumor. Kellie and her father broke away from the full house and went to get the red AIDS ribbon tattooed on their arms. After returning home with their fresh ink, Kellie received a text from DC.

“He wanted me to come over and hang out, but I told him I was just going to hang out with my family. Well, my house started to get a little overwhelming — you have to remember, I wasn’t use to all this attention and all the hugging. For 17 years, I was in a no-touch facility, so it was kind of hard to get touched by everyone. I love my family more than life, but I needed a little breather. I texted DC for his friend’s address, and I ended up joining them for their game night.”

Game night went wonderfully and ended with a date scheduled for the next day. Their first date included a casual dinner followed by a wonderful evening surrounded by the light of the local botanical garden. It went perfectly, and DC just couldn’t get enough of Kellie, so he invited her out the next evening, New Year’s Eve. It would be Kellie’s first New Year’s since prison, and she knew she wanted to spend it with DC.

READ MORE: All of Rare’s heartwarming love stories

The next day, before the date, Kellie chose to go for a casual run. The afternoon took a dark turn when Kellie tripped and broke her femur. DC definitely thought that Kellie was blowing him off, trying to get out of their New Year’s Eve date.

“I though she was just trying to get out of the date, but then I realized that she really had broken her leg. I texted her the entire time, and I told her to call me if she still wanted to go out. She ended up calling me, and I went to pick her up. Her leg was in an immobilizer, but I managed to carry her to my car, and I just carried her the rest of the night.  It was a funny sight, but the night was perfect.”

They continued to date for the next year, and on their one-year anniversary, DC knew he needed to pop the question. Being the hopeless romantic that he is, he scheduled a private helicopter ride for the evening of their anniversary. He made a special point to have the pilot hover over the botanical gardens. While they reminisced about their first date, DC asked Kellie to marry him. She was completely blindsided, but of course she said yes.

Their love has continued to grow ever since their romantic proposal, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Kellie explained that although she has found the love of her life, she still has to fight for her place in society.

“It’s not easy to live with the stigma that I carry around. I can’t be any more sorry for what happened when I was 17; no one can punish myself more that I have. I can’t take it back, but I wish I could. Because of what I did, I can’t find a decent job now that I’m free. I received multiple college degrees in prison, but it really hasn’t helped me to find solid employment. Because I can’t find a job, DC has to work even harder. It’s not fair for him to have to pay for my past, but he does.”

Kellie feels an enormous amount of guilt for her past and her present, but DC doesn’t mind helping her carry that burden.

“Jesus forgives; He was a man of forgiveness. If you put hate out into the work, hate will grow. If you put love out into the world, love will grow.”

Eating healthy diet also good for environment, study finds

Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment.

To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency.

Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water.

After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent. 

Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent.

“The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement

As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein. 

But they say the overall benefits would still be positive. 

“Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”

How – and when – to protect your pipes from freezing

When temperatures fall below freezing, water pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. They can release several hundred gallons of water per hour, resulting in a big – potentially costly – mess in your home.

What causes pipes to burst?

Pipes burst because of the pressure that's exerted when water freezes. It can exceed 2,000 pounds per square inch, so it's no match for metal or plastic pipes, which will burst under this extreme pressure.

Ice particles can also cause problems in your pipes by blocking valves or other areas.

What should you do to protect your pipes?

When temperatures are expected to drop to about 20 degrees, you should take the following steps to keep your pipes from bursting:

  • Leave water dripping or trickling slowly from your faucets. This helps reduce the buildup of pressure inside your pipes. If the water stops dripping, it could mean that ice has formed and is blocking the pipe, providing a good indication that the situation needs close monitoring.
  • Closely monitor all pipes. This is especially important for those located in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls and near electrical outlets, because these have the most exposure to cold temperatures.
  • Learn where your water shutoff valve is located. That way, you'll be able to shut it off in case your pipes burst. If your home is built on a slab, your shutoff valve is probably near your hot water tank. If you have a basement, you'll probably find your shutoff valve there. And if your home is built on a crawl space, the valve will probably be located there, under the front wall of your house. If all else fails, you can also shut the water off at the city water line's covered box near the front of your home.
  • Open cabinets beneath sinks. This is especially helpful if the sink is on an outside wall, because this helps keep the pipes underneath it warmer.
  • Use an insulating dome or similar covering. This can cover and protect outdoor spigots.
  • Check the areas around pipes and hoses that come into your home. Look for signs of daylight or outside air that's getting into your home. Block the holes with insulating foam or caulk.
  • Wrap your pipes. Look for thick foam or fiberglass insulating sleeves, UL-listed heat tape or other insulating products at a home improvement store. Wrap your pipes tightly and secure with acrylic or duct tape, cable ties, or aluminum foil tape or wire every foot or so to make sure it stays secure. Wrapping your pipes isn't expensive, and it can save a great deal of money and aggravation.
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