All posts by Dana Williams
In today’s economy, aren’t we all willing to go the extra mile to save ourselves a buck or two? How does saving close to a thousand dollars a year sound to you? Creating an energy efficient home will slash your utility bills by 30%. An added bonus - you will lend a helping hand to improving the world we live in by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The following are some steps you can take to creating a more energy efficient home.
1. Central Air- In the summer, the higher the thermostat setting, the more energy you save. Since most people are out of the house for a good part of the day, make sure to set the thermostat to a higher degree while the house is unoccupied. In the winter months, the opposite holds true. Be sure to lower the temperature for the greater part of the day when nobody will be home.
2. Habits- Simple habits such as making sure to turn off the light switch when exiting a room can end up saving you a nice amount of money. Before leaving your house, make sure to turn off the TV, computer, radio, boom box, light switches etc.
Think Easter, think eggs. Easter eggs can be decorated in many different ways, be it coloring, dyeing or rubber banding. Wondering where the custom of decorating eggs came from? The truth is that nobody really knows.
Before you start decorating your eggs, you can either hard-boil them or blow them.
To make a blown egg, poke a tiny hole at the top and bottom of the egg using a large needle. Push the needle into the egg and break the yoke. Holding the egg over a bowl or a sink, blow into the egg until it is completely emptied out. Whether you boil the eggs or blow them, make sure the egg is 100% dry before starting.
The most popular technique to decorate eggs is by food-coloring. Just combine 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 1/2 tablespoon of food coloring and add some water. Then, ever so gently, add the eggs. The darker you want the eggs to be, the longer you have to leave the eggs in the dye. When you get to the desired shade, remove the eggs and pat it dry.
To add some stripes to the eggs, use rubber bands. Wrap the rubber bands around the eggs, and drop them into the dye. Once you reach the preferred shade, remove them from the dye, pat them dry and take off the rubber bands. Now you can either leave it at that or you can paint the stripes using a different color dye.
If you are more of the natural type and don’t own food coloring, you have no reason to fret. You can dye the eggs with some natural ingredients found in your kitchen. To make red dye, use cranberries. For green, use spinach. For blue, blueberries should do the trick. As for yellow, turmeric will do. Brown, use coffee. Purple, use beets. A second way of creating color naturally is by using different flavor teas.
It’s another one of those mornings- you know the ones when you can’t find anything that you are looking for and time has no intention what-so-ever of waiting for you? You find only one shoe, you never sewed the button back onto your shirt, you can’t find a clean pair of socks, your hem is down etc… According to statistics, your typical individual spends approximately 52 minutes a day trying to find misplaced items. No matter whether your closet is a hole in the wall or a walk-in, an organized closet is the key to starting your day off on the right foot.
Can’t seem to find room in your closet? You have two options: 1) You can organize and rotate your clothing by season. Whatever is not in season, store elsewhere i.e.: underbed storage bins, or 2) Move some of your clothing into a spare room.
Not sure how or where to start? First things first – empty your closet to the bare walls. Then, arrange your clothing, shoes and accessories into piles of good, garbage or give-a-ways. If you find that you have a hard time separating your clothes into these piles, there are professional organizers out there to give you that extra push.
What many people don’t realize is that the color of the paint in your closet makes an enormous difference. The lighter the paint, the airier and more spacious the closet will appear. If you aren’t in the mood of painting, additional lighting can be of help.
For those of you just starting up, it seems simple. Find the piece that meets your specifications, pay for it, and you’re done. Easy enough, huh? Not so fast. Many people have invested tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and installation, only to find out that it doesn’t pass inspection. We put together a list of all you need to know BEFORE you purchase your equipment. If you follow our instructions below, you shouldn’t have a problem passing inspection.
- Before purchasing anything, speak to the local fire department and health inspector. They will be able to tell you all you need to know about restrictions in your kitchen. They may even be able to give you a list of specs that you can compare with before purchasing.
- Stay away from used equipment. You never know who used it before and what happened with it when they did. The extra money you pay for a new item is worth the peace of mind and will avoid potential problems.
- In order to pass inspection, every piece of equipment you purchase for a commercial kitchen needs to have an NSF sticker. This is a small blue sticker that is found on every piece of equipment. Make sure it’s authentic and not a duplicate before purchasing. Without an NSF sticker, you won’t pass inspection and may be fined.
- If you are purchasing from a dealer that is not well known, be sure to check very carefully. The few dollars you save by going to a smaller company may cost you big bucks later on.
- Before purchasing equipment have your electrician and plumber come down to let you know what the kitchen can accommodate. You don’t want to purchase equipment and then have to redo the whole structure of the kitchen.
With President’s Day next Monday, we thought we’d post up some fun facts about our presidents. Feel free to comment with your own trivia or facts related to our presidents!
- JFK is known as the youngest president, but he wasn’t – he was youngest inaugurated president, at age 43. Teddy Roosevelt was 42 when he succeeded assassinated McKinley.
- Franklin Pierce ran an old lady over with his horse while in term and was arrested (the charges were dropped).
- Harry S Truman’s middle name is just S – the S does not stand for anything.
- Although Barack Obama is known as the 44th president, he’s really the 43rd. Grover Cleveland is counted as the 22nd and the 24th president because he served for 2 non-consecutive terms.
- Teddy Roosevelt coined the name "White House". Before that, there was no official name.
- FDR was the first president to ride an airplane. Teddy Roosevelt was the first to ride a car. Andrew Jackson was the first to ride a train.
Anybody who experiences a cold winter knows what it means to wake up in the morning in a hurry, run out to the car, only to find a layer of ice covering the windshield and windows. Well, first things first, you start the car and turn the heat dial onto defrost. Then you remind yourself about your faithful pal, the ice scraper- what a savior! Well, ice scrapers may surprise you with just how very handy and useful they can be - not just in the winter but all year round.
- Trying to clean your windows and leave them streak free? Forget the paper towels. All you have to do is attach an old cotton T-shirt to the top of a scraper and secure it with a rubber band. Spray on the window cleaner and use your new tool in an up-and-down motion to remove all the dirt without leaving any traces, such as white fuzz or lines, behind!
- Don’t know what to do about the ice buildup in your freezer? Say no more to freezer frost build up! An ice scraper is the just what the doctor ordered. It’s the perfect size to remove ice where it builds up in your freezer. The ice scraper even h as an added bonus to it over knives. The plastic won’t scratch the inside of your appliance the way metal does.
- Tile coming loose again? Don’t worry about not having a putty knife. Use your ice scraper when replacing a tile or two- be it in the bathroom, kitchen or anywhere else where tiles can be found. The scraper’s flat surface is perfect for smoothing out any excess grout so that it doesn’t ooze out from the sides of the tiles.
No, candy bars are not included in this list. While sugar will give you that temporary boost, you will still feel worn out and tired throughout the day. Here are 6 foods that will give you that long-term boost.
- Apples - the carbs combined with the natural sugars will give your body the energy it needs. Research has shown that eating an apple for breakfast will give you enough energy to get through the day. Of course, it will not keep you full so be sure to eat other foods with it, like a sandwich or eggs.
- Water - drinking water throughout the day will keep you hydrated and your metabolism running properly, thereby keeping your energy in check.
- Coffee - caffeine will give you an energy boost, but the key is to have in moderation. Too much caffeine won’t do you any good.
- Green Vegetables – broccoli, spinach, asparagus and romaine lettuce are rich in Vitamin C and/or Vitamin B, and are high energy foods.
Thinking about a get-away? Well, February through May and September through November are the ‘off-season’ months. So now would be the best time to plan a vacation. Airfares are lower, hotels are cheaper, car rental rates are down and entrance fees into attractions are less. What can be better than coming home from a vacation with some money still left in the bank without having to compromise on the vacation?
First things first, vacation is a necessity, not a luxury like most people believe. Now that we got that cleared, here are some ideas that can help lower the cost of the vacation without compromising the experience.
- Budgeting throughout the year and setting aside some money each month will end up being a big help financially. Eliminate unnecessary spending such as going out to eat frequently, compare prices when grocery shopping, buy only the necessities and take advantage of the sales.
- Not waiting for the last minute to plan a vacation is a brilliant idea since the closer you wait to book and plan, the higher the rates will be. You want to plan everything from A-Z prior to the vacation, such as the car rental, hotel, attractions, food etc. enough in advance. Do your research. It will save you lots of money and time.
We live in a disposable world. Simple things that can have many uses (such as orange peels) are tossed without a second thought. In trying to be eco-friendly, we came up with a couple of uses for orange peels:
Orange Peel Candles This is a really cute idea for a casual party – plus, the orange peels give off a great scent!
1. Prepare the amount of oranges you want to use. Slice off the top of the orange and scoop out the orange (the same way you would eat a grapefruit).
2. Fill the entire orange with wax. If you don’t want it to burn for that long, you can fill it halfway with water and then wax. You can purchase wax HERE. Simply follow the directions that come with the wax to melt it down. Alternatively, you stick a candle in the orange but it won’t have the same look.
3. Stick a wick in the wax and light the candle – Voila! You’re all set! The orange peel will give off a sweet orange scent and the best thing is, you can reuse the candle holders. Just fill it up with wax again!
The flames of a fire, in a romantic, poetic setting such as a fireplace, campfire, etc., can be beautiful and relaxing. However, if the right precautions are not taken, fire can be dangerous, disastrous and a person’s worst nightmare. It can turn a person’s world up-side-down within seconds. Here are some safety measures that we can take so that this way we can enjoy the beauty of fire.
1. We all know that candles aren’t safe. The problem is that we don’t realize how unsafe jar candles can be. Jar candles seem to give people a sense of security since they are enclosed. What can happen to a mason-jar candle is that the flame super-heats the glass, which possibly will result in the glass exploding. In this case, melted wax oozes out, along with the metal tab that contains the wick, which can then ignite the surface. When this scenario takes place, and it does, homeowners are always shocked because they thought that the jar offered foolproof protection. In reality, any candle that is three quarters of the way melted poses a risk and should be doused and discarded.
2. It may not be on top of our minds, but fires can start in the laundry room- often because of problems with dryer vents. Lint can and does collect in unexpected places. Your best defense is to check, every now and then, where the dryer vent attaches to the back of the appliance and the wall to make sure that it is securely attached. In the event that you find it to be loose, clean away all the lint from around the surrounding area and tighten the clamp using a screwdriver.