Believe it or not, its not too late to start winterizing your home. A lot of people don’t even think about winterizing until after the holidays. Once you take down your holiday decoration and put them back into storage you are clutter free and ready to begin.
If you had decorative lights on the outside of the house, you’ll probably need a ladder to take them down. So, while the ladder is upright, check out your gutters and make sure to remove any debris that may have gathered there.
If you haven’t checked your furnace or home heater, do that now. You don’t want to have a problem with your heater in mid winter. Take a few minutes to clean out your heating ducts so the hot air flows without restrictions. Make sure that there is nothing blocking air/heat vents.
Check your doors and windows, check to see if there is any cold air coming in under or around the door or window frame. If so, apply weatherstripping to the doors and caulk the windows to prevent the cold air from entering. Not only can the cold air come in, but the hot air will escape and that will cost you money.
Tune up your snow blower, just in case, and replace your rakes with shovels. Check around the whole house and seal any cracks that may find, don’t let cold air in or hot air out. Reverse your ceiling fan rotation. Your fan should run counter-clockwise in summer and clockwise in winter so that the warmer air is pushed downward. Heat rises.
Prepare an emergency kit in case it is needed. Always have extra water, some flash lights, candles and canned goods on hand in the event of snow storms or weather related power failures or black outs. Choose canned goods that are nutritious, like soup, canned meats and potatoes and vegetables, and don’t forget to have a hand operated (not electric) can opener on hand.
I hope this information was helpful. I’ll be back with more tips and tricks for keeping your home in good shape. Until then, take care.
In my first post of the new year I mentioned that I was starting series of helpful posts and that I would probably throw in a couple of craft posts for good measure, well I am about to give you one more topic to read, “recipes.”
Here in the East it is starting to get a little frosty, and I know it will get much colder in the coming months. So, I have a great recipe for Beef Barley Soup that I thought I would share with you. This is a soup that eats like a stew. I guess it gets thick from the barley. All I know is that it is mouth watering good. I hope you enjoy it.
- 1 ½ lb of stew beef (cut in bite size chunks)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup of parsley
- 2 quarts of beef broth or water
- ¾ cup of barley
- 2 cups cut up carrots
- 1 cup cut up celery
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 quart can of crushed tomatoes
- a pinch of fresh basil
- one clove of garlic (or more according to your taste)
Take a soup pot or dutch oven and fill it with the beef broth or water. Add beef, salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaf and the vegetables (carrots, celery, onion). Cook on low for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender. Add barley and simmer another hour until barley is soft. Remove the bay leaf and serve. This is great all by itself or with a loaf of crusty bread. Just right for a winter night.
A well maintained home consists of numerous things from basic or general repairs to winterizing, decorating, cleaning and organizing. All of these chores are necessary to keep your home healthy.
Start the new year out right by creating, and trying to stick to, a monthly budget. It will be hard at first, but with a little bit of practice you’ll see that it will help in the long run. Clipping coupons, no you don’t have to do this as a part-time job, just a few at first and you won’t believe the feeling you’ll get from saving a few dollars on your grocery bill. There are many online coupon sites where you can print out the coupons. Just to name a few: coupon suzy, coupon mom, coupon clipper, coupon cabin. Do a Google search to find more.
It’s January and we know what that means. White Sales. Check your newspapers, or online, and see who is running the best “white sales” in your area. You’d be surprised at some of the deals being offered.
I don’t know about the area you live in, but where I live, there has been an up-cropping of reasonably priced grocery stores, with produce departments where I save a bunch of money weekly. Stores like Bottom Dollar Food, Redners Warehouse Markets, Safeway and Pathmark, all run weekly specials. I think one is always trying to outdo the other with sales and that’s fine with me. It means I save more.
Take one room at a time and de-clutter your entire house. Once you rid a room of clutter, you will be amazed at how quickly you can clean through that room. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Ask for help if you need it. Invite a few family members or friends over to help and fix a small dinner, with plenty of wine, for them, just to show your appreciation. A big pot of spaghetti and a tossed salad is easy to make and always a winner.
After de-cluttering and cleaning, you are now ready to take on other aspects of maintaining your home and I’ll be back soon with another segment in this series. Until then, take care.
2012, I can’t believe it. I have a feeling the this is going to be a great year. I know that a lot of people are skeptical about this year, but things have really been blown out of proportion.
So, the Mayan calendar ended, so what. The Mayans never predicted the end of the world, just the end as we know it. In my opinion it means that the little guy will have as many opportunities as the great big conglomerates. I hear a lot about what we can expect in 2012 and I say just live your life, keep peace and love in your heart and you should be fine.
It’s time to set thing right and to help heal Mother Earth. That’s what I get out of this whole 2012 thing.
We have been abusing our planet a whole lot. I never realized how much until I stopped and really thought about it. Now, I try to do my part. You can too. Start by recycling.
Anyway, you’ve seen all of the ads claiming “New Year, New You.” Let’s concentrate on that in this brand new year. I don’t mean going on diets. Getting healthy doesn’t necessarily mean dieting. It means eating right and at least starting a small exercise program like taking a walk. Start this year out with the mantra “love yourself,” even if you do need to change some things in your life. Start slowly, with small goals and you will get there.
Next, now that the holidays are over, when putting away all of your decorations, weed out the junk and toss it. Start the new year by getting organized. You’ll feel much better without the clutter. Once you get things in place, where they belong, you can begin to move forward.
I’ll be back soon with another post in the series. Stay tuned.
Wow, what a crazy year I just had this past year. I can’t believe that the holidays have come and gone. 2011 flashed by me in the blink of an eye. I know it’s been said that as we age, time goes by quicker, but give me a break. <smile> I didn’t think that I was that old, but ….
I am going to be starting a series of posts to help those of you, who live in the part of the country that experiences winter and all of it’s dreariness, survive the duldrums. I’ll try to boost some spirits with DIY things to do around the house and maybe throw in a couple of crafts to keep the hands busy while we wait for spring.
I wait every year for the holidays starting in October. I love them all, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I have one more, or many a few more, holiday to add to my agenda this year. We haven’t had time this year yet, but I plan to be celebrating Hanukkah and a few other Jewish holidays in 2012.
On October 29, 2011 my youngest son married a beautiful Jewish girl in a ceremony that was full of tradition and love. I couldn’t be happier for him and her. I’ve also gained a sizable circle of new Jewish family and friends. What a great year 2011 was for me and my family. Let’s hope that 2012 is as good.
But I must say that after the holidays slide into the past I wait patiently for spring. I not a big fan of cold weather, so I look forward to spring and the awakening of Mother Earth to the new growth and freshness that is spring.
Well, that’s my news in a nutshell. I’ll be back in a couple of days with the first post of the new series. Until then, stay warm and keep the love flowing.
Happy New Year!
Do you know what’s in your medicine cabinet? When was the last time you checked the expiration dates on any medications that you have? I can’t say that I ever thought about it before, but I took the time recently to to do just that and I was surprised to find that so many of my over the counter medications were expired. I don’t mean recently expired, I’m talking being expired for some time.
Aspirin, for use as a painkiller and a fever reducer. Although it is not wise to give aspirin to children, you should still keep some on hand for when it is needed.
Ibuprofen like Advil and Motrin and naproxen like Aleve and Naprosyn are also effective painkillers for adults and children over 12 years.
Decongestans and over the counter cold medicine is another must. Cough syrup for adults and children are sometimes needed in the middle of the night, so keep those handy. The same thing goes for antihistamines and allergy medications.
Keeping antacids tablets, calamine lotion, antihistamine cream and cortisone creams available is smart.
Bandaids, bandages, gauze pads and medical tape should be in every medicine cabinet. As well as an oral thermometer, toothpaste, floss and a spare toothbrush.
We don’t always think about things like medicine cabinets and what should be in them. Don’t be unprepared and make sure to check for any expired medications which can make you sick, and replace them with brand new supplies. You’ll be glad that you did. Make it a point to check your medicine cabinet regularly.
Take care. I’ll talk to you soon!
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for ways to save money. I have put together a small list here that I hope will help you to save a few cents.
Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff from the store. You can make small crafty gifts or some goodies in a jar which can consist of anything from soup to cookie mix. Follow me on this blog and I’ll show you how to make some great crafts to give as gifts.
Think about the thirty day rule. When you are considering making a large purchase, think it over for 30 days and then if you still want it shop around and make sure to get the best deal
Don’t buy unnecessary item when food shopping. Make a list of the items that you need and stick to it. You can save a bundle that way.
When you are planning to get together with family and friends, invite them to your house instead of going out. What we have in our family is a monthly game night. This is a great way to spend time with children and grandchildren. My grandchildren play right along with the adults.
Cut back on convenience and prepackaged foods. Instead, make easy casseroles or stews. They are nutritious and cost less to make than buying the pre-made items. Make extra and have leftovers one night a week.
Turn those light off when you leave a room. Better yet, use CLF(Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs. They use about 25% less electricity than a regular incandescent bulb.
Install a programmable thermostat. They can save anywhere from 10 to 20% on your electricity bill.
Clean the filter in your house heater semi-annually to cut down on your oil or gas bill.
And last, but not least, shop early for holiday gifts. I know for a fact that items, especially toys, cost as much as 1-2 dollars more after Thanksgiving.
I will be bringing you more money saving tips in the weeks to come.
Take care. I’ll talk to you soon!
We all know that plants are perfect for our homes. From a decorating standpoint to the healthful benefits. Plants remove indoor air pollutants caused by regular household activity like something as simple as using a house heater. Plants can be used to bring beauty to every room in your home.
In the bath: Place an African violet on the tank top of your commode. Hang a spider plant from a corner or in a window.
In the bedroom: placing a fragrant plant like an azalea or a rose plant on your night table will also give you pleasant dreams.
In the living room: Place an English ivy plant in a brass container and place it on the mantle or a curio cabinet. Placing plants on end or coffee tables in unusual containers such as baskets or an old Victorian shoe makes the room interesting and entertaining.
In the dining room: Shop around at some flea markets or garage sales for an old bird cage. Placing a trailing ivy plant in the cage looks beautiful.
Indoor plants need lots of TLC, so make sure to create a routine of watering and weeding dead leaves from the plant to keep it healthy. Feed your plants a multi-purpose plant food like Miracle-Gro every two weeks and watch them flourish and grow.
When you decorate your home with live plants the benefits can be plentiful.
Take care. I’ll talk to you soon!
As many of you know, I am a crafter. I have been working with crafts for years. You will have seen more than a few craft posts here, when I’m not blogging about household info and DIY’s.
I wanted to write this quick post to let you know that I have decided to offer a free copy of one of my craft ebooks to my readers. It is a pretty large file and it will take some time to download, especially if you are using Safari. If, however, you use Firefox you will receive it in a few minutes.
I am offering the ebook to any one who wants it. I hope you enjoy reading and completing some of the crafts in the book. The crafts that I chose for that book are easy to do and take little time. If you have any questions, or need help with a specific craft, please let me know. I’ll help you any way I can.
Here is the link. http://bit.ly/nQ3HvM
If you’re like me then you hate to clean the bathroom. It used to be too much of a hassle until I found a few short cuts to help.
Toilet Bowl: If you find that commercial toilet cleaners are too expensive then there is a cheaper way to get a spotless toilet bowl. Just put a cup of vinegar in the bowl and swish it with your toilet brush.
Hard Water: To get water stains off of the bottom of your tub, use a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Don’t use this on fiberglass as the baking soda could scratch but on porcelain and cast iron tubs it is great! If you have a fiberglass tub try a Mr. Clean eraser and a lot of elbow grease.
Chrome Fixtures: You can clean chrome fixtures by rubbing on a bit of vinegar and then drying and buffing with a clean cloth. If you don’t have any vinegar on hand you can clean your chrome in the bathroom using rubbing alcohol in the same manner.
Shower Heads:To clean your shower head place some vinegar in a baggie and place the shower head inside. If you don’t want to unscrew the head, just use a rubber band to hold the baggie on the head. Leave it sit overnight and you have a clean, unclogged shower head.
Shower Curtain Liners: If you have mildew on your shower curtain liner and it never seems to get clean in the washing machine, try this. Fill the tub with about 2-3 inches of water and ½ of liquid bleach. Remove the liner from the curtain bar and drop it into the tub. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and rinse. Hang it back on the curtain bar and let it dry before putting the curtain back on. All of the mildew will be gone. It not only cleans, but deodorizes too.
Take care. I’ll talk to you soon!