Saturday, September 24, 2016

10 Dirty Mom Jobs

What dawned on me today leading me to sit and type away in my pajama’s (it’s noon), hair greased back in a pony, glasses still on because I am too tired to put on my contacts, having eaten three Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast, butt tired because I was up all night with a constantly throwing up child… is that being a Mom can be a really dirty disgusting job that I don’t think I knew anything about before found myself knee deep in all sorts of bodily fluids that didn’t even belong to me!

I knew about the piles of dishes, loads of laundry, meal making demands of being a Mom. I knew I needed a chauffeurs licence, to change diapers, to rock crying children, to kiss boo-boo’s and to stop sibling fights. I knew I would need to teach manners, help with homework, read bedtime stories, play make believe and I Spy. I knew I would need to deal with picky eaters, temper tantrums, and the constant demands of “I want… I want… I want.” Not that I knew how to deal with any of these things when I first became a Mom, but I at least knew to anticipate them.

What I hadn’t expected, however, were the following 10 Dirty Mom Jobs I would need to embrace when loving and caring for my children. I have also allotted a Dirty Mom Score to each job on a scale of 1-10. I have taken into account how gross the job can be, the number of times the job can occur, the ability it has to multiply into more work for you and the nuisance it is to your routine.

1. The Snot Cleaning Mom

This one is not too bad… but in case you have never thought about it… babies and toddlers do not know how to “blow” into a tissue. In fact when my kids understood how to do this it felt like a milestone had been reached. Up until then, however, it was my job to clean up their snot. And kids always have snot. Whether its because they are teething, have a little cold, the weather is changing, there are allergens around… whatever… the product called Boogie Wipes was invented for a reason. Let’s not even get into the poking a prodding that happens when they are dry stuck boogies you just have to get out or else they can’t breathe!

And sometimes no matter how prepared you would like to be, there is no tissue around for you to use. So you either use your kids clothes, your clothes or your hand to clean up the job. Gross but true. What else do you want me to do? Let my kids boogers slide so far down that they could lick them up? Ekkkk. Yes, that has happened too.

Dirty Mom Score: 3

2. The Breastfeeding/Formula Mom

Now you may disagree… but I have breastfed and used formula at some point while feeding my babies and there are aspects of both options that gross me out. For the Formula Mom: the smell of milk that slipped down your babies chin and curdled under their neck rolls always grossed me out. Another one was finding old milk bottles that somehow you missed seeing under the crib or car seat that need cleaning. Yuck. As for the Breastfeeding Mom: leaky boobs… need I say more. Okay I will. Needing to change because you’ve leaked out of your breast pad and have wet rings around the nipple area of your shirt. Or seeing the white film that has developed inside your bra throughout the day because you slowly leaked here and there. Or waking up in a puddle of milk because you fell asleep on your stomach and your milky boobs were being pushed to the point of expression. All these things grossed me out. But someone has to feed the baby and that someone is Mom.

Dirty Mom Score: 3

3. The Learning-To-Eat Messy Toddler Cleaning Mom

We’ve all been around someone’s kid who is just going to town on their dinner. Yummy. “I love how you are eating all your food!” The problem is they do not eat all their food. Plus they don’t know how to feed themselves and when they become toddlers they demand to feed themselves. So begins the half a year when you have to silently cringe while outwardly applaud your toddler who happily tries, by trial and error, to learn how to eat.

Food gets everywhere… seriously everywhere. On them, on the highchair, on the floor, on the wall… I mean there is no avoiding it. Then they get to loudly signal “all done” and now the real work for you begins: the clean up job! Wipes, wipes, wipes galore… scrub the highchair, wall and floor… a new outfit or maybe two and your baby is good as new… until they eat again!

Dirty Mom Score: 4

4. The Fetching Items Out of the Toilet Mom

I have been lucky that most of the times this has happened it has been an accident. None of my kids have found joy in playing in or near the toilet (thankfully)… but occasionally things have wound up in there either way. What kinds of things? A race car, the Super Why highlighter, a special scrunchy and my brush are items I can remember. Anytime you are faced with having to fish items out of the toilet it is gross. Even if it is a clean toilet and you get creative, no one wants to have to pull items out and deal with rinsing and disinfecting them! Who has been lucky enough to take care of that job? Mom.

Dirty Mom Score: 4-6 (depending on the cleanliness of your toilets at the time and the frequency this occurs)

5. The Tossing Out Dying Leftovers from the Fridge Mom

Have you ever accidentally left food (typically leftovers) in your nice Tupperware containers or fancy Pyrex bowls for days and days… okay maybe a week (or two)? It was surely an accident… although you did see them in there you just didn’t feel like eating leftovers and so you left them alone. Then you knew they probably weren’t leftovers worthy of eating, but you didn’t have time to deal with tossing them right then and there, so you let them be again. Now you really need the space in the fridge or the bowl for some new leftover… so you reach in, grab the container and open it forgetting how long it has sat neglected in the fridge only to be met with a gruesome site and even worse stench of moldy dying leftovers. Ewwww. Close that lid as fast as you can woman!

You contemplate leaving the closed container outside and having your husband deal with it (but the last time that happened you forgot to tell him about it and the container got warm and even more gooey to deal with and then you got an earful from your husband about how this could possibly have stayed in the fridge for so long). Okay so you have to take it outside to dispose of it in its own trash bag, tie it as quickly as possible and chuck it in the outdoor trash running away from it as fast as you can. You can rinse it out later once the smell has been blown away by the breeze.

Dirty Mom Score: 5

6. The Potty Training Mom

If you have only thought about potty training in terms of needing to teach your child to let you know when they have to go, then you are in for a BIG surprise to learn that potty training is far more extensive than that. In fact that is only the first step (I was shocked this was a multi-step process at first too). After they figure out that their body is telling them they have to go, they then have to be able to hold it long enough to make to a bathroom.

The number of accidents that happen between this step and the next step varies per child… but not once is it fun to sop up pee-pee or poo-poo that was intended for a toilet. Now once they are able to make it to the bathroom in time, you are pulling down their pants for them and helping them get on the toilet for a long time. They aren’t necessarily coordinated or tall enough for those activities yet (at least mine weren’t when they got to this stage a little before 2.5 years old).

By the time they are 3-4 they can probably get to the bathroom, pull down there pants, climb up to sit in the toilet and maybe you let them wipe when they go pee-pee. I have not been brave enough to let them wipe #2 at this age. Their arms are just not long enough to do the job right! So you get one of two things if you let them try: poop on their hands and a mound of toilet paper in the toilet from their trying to wipe well or poop in their underpants from not wiping well enough. Uggghhh disgusting either way. So I wipe for them to avoid that drama and I get to hear, “Mooooommm. I’m doooooonnee.” Between 4-5 year old (they have to learn before Kindergarten right?) they somehow master going to the bathroom alone and taking care of their business themselves. Now this mastery may only be during the day time… don’t get me started on Night Time Potty Training which leads me to the next Dirty Mom job…

Dirty Mom Score: 5-6 (depending on the amount of accidents and trauma that occurred during this stage).

7. The Changing Pee-Pee Sheets Mom (aka. Night Time Potty Training Mom)

Bah! I thought we mastered potty training?! Oh wait… what?! There are another 12 hours in the day of a child’s life when they are asleep and they need to figure out how to get up out of bed, get down the hall, and proceed to do normal potty duties (pull down your pants, get on the toilet, wipe and flush) all the while half asleep and potentially in the dark?! Grrr. It’s like starting a whole knew potty training cycle. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I personally ended up leaving diapers on my kids at night longer than most might (3-4 Years Old)… but I tried the alternative and it stinks! No literally… bed sheets full of pee stink. You know if your kid wet the bed as soon as you open their door in the morning. The faint mist of urine fills their room. Plus, you now have the added bonus of having to wash an extra load of laundry and make another bed (or if you are lazy or just about had it with this whole potty training business you might simply lay a towel over the peed area and let them sleep on that… guilty! ). Boo that! So we waited until we had to deal with night time potty training once they were older. It helped! What worked for us was limiting drinks at night, making them go potty before they went to bed (7-8pm) and then waking them up to go potty when we went to bed (9:30-10:30pm). That pretty much worked once their bladder was a little more mature… but of course I still get the occasional duty of changing my kids pee-pee sheets.

Dirty Mom Score: 5-6 (depending on the amount of accidents and trauma that occurred during this stage).

8. The Blow-Out Cleaning Mom

Most of us know before having children that as a Mom you will have to change more than your fair share of the poopy diapers. Just makes sense… you are home and it has to get done. But I don’t think I ever knew about the dreaded Blow-Out. You know when your kid’s poop leaves the confines of their diaper… and it seeps out through the bottom all over their clothes or worse up their back.

Bleg! The kicker is when this happens places where you are not prepared to deal with this kind of mess… like at church, the mall, a friends house who doesn’t have children, etc. Or when it happens and they have been sitting in their car seat, or in their crib, or wandering around leaving poop smears where ever they go until you catch it. Then when you proceed to clean them, there is a little dance that ensues as you try to remove their outfit without getting them full of more poop (especially if you have to pull off a onesie over their head… oh yeah the thought of accidentally getting the poop on their head or in their hair is terrifying). You wish you could just throw your kid in the shower and the outfit away… but sometimes that isn’t always feasible. Needless to say have an extra outfit on hand and wipes stashed in your car. Wipes are your best friend when loving on children. Note: If blow-outs are happening regularly it may be time to get bigger sized diapers for your kid.

9. The Diarrhea Turned Diaper Rash Changing Mom

This is another one that involves poop… but it is very different than changing a regular diaper or a blow-out. One word: diarrhea. It may not blow-out, but it is every bit as gross to clean and typically remains constant throughout the time your child is experiencing these symptoms. The hard thing is you have to be on it… you have to change your kid quick. Otherwise the nature of the diarrhea and its acidity will eat away at your poor baby’s bottom making it red, raw and given enough frequency can actually make an open sore. Worst ever! When it gets to this stage (and it can get there quickly) a new problem arises: you can’t simply wipe them with a wipe! The wipe actually stings their open sore and they are in a ton of pain typically screaming at the top of their lungs trying to wriggle away from you. The only option that wont hurt them is simply using water. I typically strip and rinse my baby in the shower. Yes unfortunately it’s a production, but it works and doesn’t hurt them. Now you can dry them, re-diaper them and dress them so that within about a half-hour you can do it again.

Dirty Mom Score: 7

10. The Vomit Cleaning Mom

Can I just tell you that this may be the worst of all the dirty jobs a Mom has to take care of?! Your darling child has some sort of stomach bug… that you will later hunt down and kill whoever infected your child with this awful disgusting mess that now has to unfold in your house. It’s not bad enough that you have to witness the heartbreak of your little one who can’t help but spill their inside’s out on their beds, your carpet, bathroom floor… everywhere other than the trash can you have left for them to use or the toilet where you could at least flush the yuck away. And of course your kids are crying and saying, “I don’t want to throw up any more Mommy,” and you would give anything to take that awful pain away from them so you don’t have to see there little bodies suffer.

Aside from the anguish this brings you, you now have to strip whatever has been puked on and find some way to rinse it off because you can’t throw chunks in the wash (we have literally taken bedding off and rinsed it outside with a hose before… because I couldn’t stand to do it in the house). Or you have to clean it up by hand if it is on your floor (hopefully not carpet… but of course it is) and then scrub down and disinfect everything… usually in the middle of the night… at least in my experience it’s almost always, Always, ALWAYS in the middle of the night! Which makes you such a nice person in the morning (but that is another story). And do I need to mention the smell? It’s strong enough to make you want to hurl but you have to suck it up and deal as the Mommy. You may as well own stock in Lysol and Purell for the amount of disinfection you’ll want to do. Meanwhile your cleaning efforts are proven futile because the second you looked away from your child to start cleaning up the mess they have yet again thrown up on something else, somewhere else in your house. Terrific. Let’s do that again!

The bigger tragedy that can almost always go down is that if you don’t clean and disinfect properly… if you don’t keep an eye on what your child touches like a hawk… if you don’t stop them from sharing things with other members of your family… then someone else can fall victim to the stomach bug and all bets are off to the amount of gross laundry and cleaning that will need to happen.

Dirty Mom Score: 10

To be clear… this list is NOT meant to say “Woe, Is Me” as a Mom… if anything it should be a stress relieving comedic moment between you and all other Mom’s busy cleaning up crap just like you… literally. Be proud to be a Mother… no one is equipped or will want to do these jobs for your family but YOU. Please do not lose heart over the seemingly menial tasks that consume most of your day. It may seem like nobody notices the countless hours you spend cleaning up even the dirtiest of jobs that you didn’t even make … but let me tell you that God does. He notices. He smiles and laughs and cries over the tasks you face with you. He knows what it’s like to have come in service of others and not be appreciated. He died at the hands of the very people he came to save.

If you are feeling like “Woe, Is Me,” I encourage you to cry out to God and search his Word. Ask Him for help understanding and appreciating your God given role as a Mother. Most of all ask Him to comfort you… don’t mope to your husband or girlfriends… laugh and rejoice with those people about your chaos… let God’s shoulder be the one you cry on because only He can truly strengthen you when you are home alone with your children.

Please share your own Dirty Mom stories too. I would love to laugh with you about them!

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10 DIY USB Flash Drive Projects

With the inexpensive USB flash drives that are now available, some geeks are getting extra crafty with DIY modification projects that are sure to turn some heads. It’s easier than you might think to toss aside the boring plastic casing that most flash drives come with in favor of something more unique. Most of these projects don’t require much in the way of special tools or tech know how, and there are links below with walk-throughs available for anyone feeling up to trying out an USB flash drive mod of their own.

Torn USB Cable Drive

Go covert with your USB flash drive with this DIY modification that masks the device as a regular USB cable that’s been torn in half.

Pink Eraser USB Drive

Probably the most popular DIY flash drive mod, this one looks pretty fun. Simply slice and hollow out a pink desk eraser and insert the USB drive. This fits back together for a complete rubber casing that will help protect the drive if it gets knocked around.

USB PEZ Dispenser Drive

Get your camp on by taking your favorite PEZ dispenser and turning it into a custom flash drive. This DIY project isn’t quite as easy, but there is a solid step-by-step guide available if you’re up a little challenge.

Toy Car USB Drive

Fashioning a metal toy car into an USB flash drive results in a pretty slick looking mod. For most cars, you’ll be able to pull this one off with just an X-acto knife, glue gun and maybe a small drill.

“Thumb” Drive

This one is pretty hoaky, but so are some nerds. If you can get your hands on one of those fake hands that are sold in costume and novelty shops, you can make a flash drive casing out of the rubber thumb.

Lego Block USB Drive

A simple but cool looking flash drive can be made out of a Lego without much effort, although it can be a little tricky getting the drive to fit. This is a pretty popular DIY project, so there’s plenty advise out there on getting it right.

Lighter USB Drive

One of the only things I miss about smoking was having an excuse to carry around a cool looking lighter. With a little time in the shop, problem solved. There are instructions out there for these flash drive mods for lighters ranging from Zippos to Bics.

Wooden USB Drive

Easily the most elegant DIY flash drives that I have seen have been made by artisans with a knack for bringing out the natural beauty of wood.

Altoids USB Drive

Those little tins for Altoids Smalls and Strips can easily be converted into a custom flash drive case that looks pretty fresh.

Lipstick USB Drive

An empty lipstick case is the ideal size to conceal a USB flash drive and looks like a pretty easy DIY project.

Sources:

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10 Decorating Ideas to Add Pizzazz to Your Home

Eye-catching decorating ideas not only change a room with a few easy steps, they give it that extra Pizzazz, like a person who’s fun to be around. And it’s not a question of money at all. The best decorating ideas are like a simple recipe: a dash of imagination, a pinch of spunk, and a couple of hours on the weekend. Chances are you already have everything you need to turn these decorating ideas into your dream home.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #1. ENTRYWAY SPLENDOR

Don’t let a narrow entryway dictate your decorating ideas. If there’s no room for a stunning cadenza make your own breathtaking foyer shelf. Hunt for old floor boards in the garage or a wide plank of wood no one is using. Stain it a beautiful hue, then attach it to the wall with decorative shelf brackets. Add a few decorating ideas of your own, a mirror, flower vase, exotic key bowl, whatever strikes your fancy.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #2. KITCHEN ART CENTER

Why leave kitchen cabinets all drab and boring when you can use decorating ideas to turn them into art centers. Paint the panels of lower cabinets with Rust Oleum chalkboard paint, for fun ways to display kids art. And be sure to paint one top panel to create a stylish kitchen menu.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #3. FRONT DOOR PIZZAZZ

Just because you don’t live in a mansion doesn’t mean a few decorating ideas can’t turn your front door into a spunky focal point. All you need is a bucket of paint. Now paint the insides of your door panels, and the door frame. And if this decorating idea really charms you, repeat the pattern on the outside of your door as well. This checkered decorating idea is stunning, and if your door doesn’t have panels yet just follow these instructions to making door panels.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #4. AIRY WINDOW TREATMENT

It’s incredibly easy to make a chic window treatment. Best of all, you can use a sheet that you already have a t home. Just measure the width of your window and cut 2X4 down to size (or glue a few broom sticks with industrial tape). Then wrap one end of the sheet over the stick, and suspend it inside your window frame. Glue or sew ribbons on the right and left, both inside and out, to tie up the sheet in the day. It’s a decorating idea that lets sunshine through your airy window treatment.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #5. WALLPAPER ATTITUDE

Don’t settle for plain painted walls. Add a little pizzazz with a simple decorating idea for your contrast wall. Wallpaper it with a stylish pattern that suits the colors of your room. Or add wall stickers that mimic murals like trees, butterflies and flowers.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #6. ROOMS WITH A VIEW

Don’t let the number of windows in a room dictate your decorating ideas. Add faux windows on blank walls to give every room magnificent views of your choice. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to make a fake window, then choose seasonal posters to display behind it, and complete the decorating illusion with fake sunlight. Just follow these step-by-step instructions.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #7. COUNTRY CHARM BRACKETS

Decorating ideas can even add architectural style. Just add decorative shelf or wall brackets in the corners of doorless entryways. Suddenly the drab dining room entry will have architectural flare and character.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #8. INSTANT BOUQUETS

Spend your money on flowers, not vases. Then use fun decorating ideas to turn ordinary drinking glasses to stunning bouquet holders. Wrap clothe ribbons around glasses, or place colored pebbles on the bottom. And save even more money by displaying tree branches in a tall glass with a lemon inside for a spot of snazzy color.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #9. SHABBY CHIC JEWELERY

Don’t hide your custom jewelry in a box. Put it on display with a few chic decorating ideas. Use a 3-tiered tray to display your chains and beads. Place rings in tiny saucers. And place some chicken wire in a frame, then spray paint with Rust Oleum crackled finish for displaying earrings and pendants.

Decorating Ideas for Home Pizzazz: #10. MAKE YOUR OWN METAL ART

Why not turn candle holders into metal wall art using a few imaginative decorating ideas? Create a circle of light over a fireplace, or an illuminated garland over doorways and around picture frames. And if your candle holders are old or in too many colors, just spray paint them with Rust Oleum metal paints, then follow these tips to making your own metal wall art.

For more decorating ideas to add pizzazz to your home, discover 10 wall decor ideas you can make yourself, as well as 15 home decorating styles to spark your imagination.

Source:

Some of the ideas in this article were inspired by the wonderful magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Creative Collection, Fall/Winter Issue 2009.

Tags:10 Decorating Ideas to Add Pizzazz to Your Home

10 Easy Steps to Creating Professional-Looking Letterhead in Office 2007

SOHO business owners want to present a professional image, but don’t want to find themselves bulk ordering tens of thousands of sheets of letterhead and second pages. It’s expensive, and inconvenient to store all that paper.

The following is a short tutorial on how to create letterhead in Office 2007 that looks great, and presents as if it had prepared by professional support staff. Start with a new blank document.

Step One

Insert a 2 column, 1 row table. The left hand box will accommodate your addressees information. Type “Addressee Information” in this box, so you will be able to easily find it later, when the gridlines are gone! In the right hand box, click “Insert Date” from the Insert tab. Now, each time you use your template, it will have the correct date.

Step Two

Below this table, hit enter to create a space, and insert a second table, also 2 columns wide and 1 row in length. Type “Attention” in the left hand box, and drag the line at the centre over until it is just to the right of the word “Attention”.

Step Three

If you want a reference box, hit enter to create another space, then insert a 3 column table with as many rows as you will typically need. Bear in mind that if you make it two rows deep and need three when you go to type your letter, you only have to tab, at the end of the last row, and Word will create a new row for you, automatically.

Step Four

If you want a line separating the address etc from the body of the letter, hit the “minus” or the “equals” button three times, and then hit enter.

Step Five

Hit enter again and then click on the “Page Layout” tab. Click “Breaks” and then click on “Continuous”.

Step Six

Now hit enter several times, and create your signature line. Then click enter as many times as it takes to create a second page in your document.

It doesn’t look like much yet, so let’s go back to the “Insert” tab and click on “Header”. You can put anything you want in the header. Play with fonts and sizes, add color, or insert a logo. It’s up to you.

Step Seven

If you want your header to appear on every page, you can stop playing with the header now. But if you only want to show your letterhead on the first page click “Next Section” in Navigation. It will take you to the header on the second page that you created. Now you will see a link under Navigation that says “Link to Previous” Click this to turn it off. Your “letterhead” will now appear only on page one.

Step Eight

Okay, now the footer. Go to the footer on page two and open it. Again, click the link to turn off the “Link to Previous”. Choose a footer that you want from the style menu, and close the footer. Word will now know not to print a page number on the first page, and to start numbering (at 2) on the second page.

Backspace from the last point where your cursor sits in the document, to reduce it to a single page document. You don’t want two pages printing, when you write a one page letter!

Step Nine

Lastly, we will clean up the tables. Highlight the entire table, and turn the gridlines off, using the grid icon in the “paragraph” tab. Do this with each table you created.

Step Ten

Click the Office button in the top left corner and choose “Save As”. You can now save your document as a Word Template (Letterhead) which will become the basis for all of your subsequent letter templates.

There. You’ve just created fully customized letterhead that you can have access to on your desktop, notebook, or tablet.

Tags:10 Easy Steps to Creating Professional-Looking Letterhead in Office 2007

10 Easy Steps to Creating a Record/Vinyl Album Bowl

This project can easily be created using records from popular artists, or cheap thrift store finds. This is also a great way to use scratched, or damaged records that no longer play.

1. Before beginning, it’s important to find several old records. The first few times that you try to melt the record into a bowl shape, you might find that you don’t like the look. If you plan on using popular recording artists, you might want to start with something else until you get the hang of things.

2. Now its time to gather the rest of your materials, beyond the record itself.

-2 oven safe bowls

-pot holders

-a brick, or something else heavy that will fit inside your bowls

-cookie sheet

3. The point of this project is to melt the record, and that requires the correct temperature. Too hot and your record will melt all over, but if the oven is too low it will take far too long to melt the record. The best temperature is between 150-175 Fahrenheit.

4. Lay out your smaller bowl onto the cookie sheet upside down, then place your record directly on top of it. As soon as the oven reaches the temperature, place everything inside the oven.

5. The most important step is to keep your eyes on this project every time it is in the oven. If you wait too long to remove it from the oven, the record will melt all over the cookie sheet, and the project will be ruined. You’re looking for the record to just begin softening, and after a few minutes it should begin molding onto the bowl.

6. Once the record begins melting, remove it from the oven and place the second bowl on top of the record. Then put everything back into the oven for another 1-2 minutes. This will force the record to form to the shape of the two bowls.

7. Remove everything from the oven and turn the bowls over. This time place your brick, or heavy object into the center and press down firmly.

8. After a few minutes, remove the brick and separate the bowls from the record. If the record sticks to the bowls, place it back in the oven for one minute so it will soften again.

9. Before doing this step, make sure you are still wearing your oven mitts as the record will be very hot. This is the point where you can smooth out any imperfections in the vinyl, and if desired, make a wave shape by softly pushing on the edges of the record.

10. The last step is to simply let the record cool down. It should only take 15-30 minutes for the record to cool completely, and its shape to set in. Now you have a great looking bowl that anyone would love to have in their house.

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10 Easy Tips for Removing Old Kitchen Faucets

Replacing an old kitchen faucet can make your kitchen look newer, increase the value of your house (slightly), and can help you save money. Old kitchen faucets have a tendency to leak over time, which can cost a homeowner hundreds of dollars over the life of the faucet due to water cost. Removing an old kitchen faucet is an easy DIY project that almost anyone can do. This article will provide 10 tips for helping make the process easier.

1. Shut off the water valves

Before proceeding to disconnect anything you will want to shut off the water valves, which will help prevent any water damage and flooding of the kitchen. On newer model houses, the valve will be located under the sink, but for older homes, you may have to shut the entire water supply to the house before starting the project.

2. Turn the faucet on

After turning off the water supply line you will want to turn the faucet on to remove any water that is left in the unit. Typically the amount of water left in the faucet is minimal, if a lot of water comes out then you have not turned off the valves entirely.

3. Installing new water valves

If your sink does not have shut off valve located directly under it you may want to install new water valves so that you have the convenience of shutting off just the water supply to the sink for future projects. Almost any hardware store sells the materials necessary for this job.

4. Materials

Check the fitting with your kitchen faucet before starting the project. Having the right tools handy when starting the project will make the job much easier and less stressful.

5. Check the hours of your local hardware store

Having worked for an ACE Hardware for multiple years I have helped customers replace their sink faucets on a regular basis, and these customers came back almost every 1-2 hours for new parts or tools for the job. I recommend starting the project early and making sure your local hardware store is open for the duration of the project.

6. Disconnect all attached pieces of the faucet set up

Pieces such as the sprayer, water supply lines, valves, and all other attached pieces of the faucet set up need to be disconnected before continuing the project.

7. Bring in all disconnected pieces to your hardware store!

Bring in all the pieces of your faucet set up to your local hardware store and ask for help determining the materials you will need to replace the unit. By bringing the faucet into the store, it will reduce the amount of trips to the store for materials during the project.

8. Get comfortable

Lying under a sink to do the majority of the work will no doubt hurt your back and stress the rest of your body. Use whatever means you can to get comfortable while under the sink, including using a blanket to cushion your back.

9. Stick to brand name faucets

Readers digest (www.rd.com) suggests using name brand faucets instead of generic ones because they will have easier to find parts. I agree with their recommendation because name brands typically supply many of the replacement parts that hardware stores get. Generic parts are still sold, but do not always offer a quick fix for future repairs.

10. Follow the instructions when installing a new faucet

Installing a new faucet is very easy; the directions are included in almost every faucet set up. Do not try to “wing it” when it comes to installing the new faucet, it is very frustrating to remove the entire set up again.

Sources:

Personal experience- worked for a local hardware store doing multiple plumbing projects n the process

Looking for a good step-by-step instructional article? Use this readers digest article for replacing a kitchen faucet: http://ift.tt/2dj3pKC

Tags:10 Easy Tips for Removing Old Kitchen Faucets

10 Easy Ways to Create More Money in Your Life

1. Stop buying $4.00 coffees when $1.20 coffees are rated as better. Why wouldn’t you buy a large coffee from McDonald’s for almost three dollars cheaper than Star bucks. The coffee from McDonald’s is internationally rated better than Start bucks and there is no need to spend that much extra on a cup of coffee. It is wasteful and expensive on your life.

2. Car Pool to work. Normally we all have two or three other people that live near us that we could car pool with. It saves gas, it creates less traffic on the roads and ends up saving time. With the rising cost of gas these days it is a very simple way to keep more of the money you earn. It will also help you connect further with co-workers.

3. Bicycle anywhere you can. If riding a bike around town is a possibility for you it will save gas, create less traffic, and provide you with much needed exercise. This is much less damage to our environment than driving a car and is almost as convenient. Most people that start a cycling commitment end up very happy with their decision. Many communities are starting cycling paths to ease on the traffic flow and damage to the environment.

4. Stop Smoking Cigarettes. If you are a smoker this always sounds like do-gooder talk. I used to heavily smoke and quitting changed my life dramatically. The first thing it did was save me a bunch of money as buying packs of cigarettes every single day added up to a small fortune every year. The second thing it did was allow me to breathe and smell, and taste better. Their is more to it than that. Since quitting I did not feel as sick as I felt before and it has reduced my doctors visits to none.

5. Get proper rest. When we are tired we tend to be lazy and make mistakes. It is said that One in ten traffic accidents is sleep-related, and up to 20% of drivers fall asleep at the wheel. Your productivity at work will definitely be affected by a lack of sleep which in turn affects your ability to increase you own value and make more money. Long-term sleeplessness also causes hazards to your physical body and can heighten stressful situations.

6. Network with your friends, family, clubs, or church to let them know what you need. There is nothing more wasteful than spending money on something you could get for free by donation or barter. Our poverty is directly linked to our inability to have second-hand/used items and keeping up with the Joneses next store. If we want to keep more money in our life we have to understand how to creatively acquire our needs by spending the least possible amount of money.

7. Make up menus ahead of time and shop for volume discounts. The more detailed your plan the more likely you will be able to achieve your plan. If you go to the store with no plan for what to buy you will end up buying a lot more than what you were not planning to buy. Make up specific menus for every day/every meal and then determine what to buy to ensure the least possible amount of money spent. We buy too much stuff because we have no real plan. Write a plan and stick to your plan.

8. Don’t ever shop at convenience food stores such as the local corner store or gas mini-mart. The three-shaver pack you could buy at the dollar store for one dollar will cost you $4.59 at a local mini-mart. The price of convenience is poverty. Our American convenience is the source of our poverty. We have to get beyond strictly convenient things if we ever want to grow our wealth. Your financial future will depend on what type of action you take to stop the bleeding in your checking account.

9. Have potlucks rather than dinner parties. This is one easy way to quickly curb your spending and continue your social life with interest. Force your friends to prepare their own unique dishes to bring to your get togethers. This will force each to value your time and money more and to be creative in preparing for the get togethers. I always find themes helpful in guiding our friends towards specific kinds of dishes. Pasta dishes and appetizers normally are the cheapest.

10. Pick hobbies that don’t cost a lot of money. If you get into golfing do you run right out and buy a four hundred dollar set of clubs? Pick hobbies that are cheap and easy to do with what is available to you. If you must get into a hobby that requires equipment get creative. Borrow or rent equipment or barter for trade. My wife and I have always been into boating. For years we have debated buying a boat trying to convince ourselves why spend money to rent one when we could spend the same kind of money to buy one. If we buy one on credit it would cost $100-400 per month for years depending on the kind of boat. Normally when people make large purchases they use the items for the first few months extensively and then start to slow down their use or stop using it altogether. If we can rent a boat for the day for three hundred dollars and we don’t do it that often it makes far more sense to rent without the cost of storage and maintenance tacked on over the years than to buy. Anytime we are interested in boating we just rent a boat. This way we are not still paying on a large item that we never use anymore and there is no time invested in maintaining this expensive hobby.

Tags:10 Easy Ways to Create More Money in Your Life

10 Easy DIY Home Decor and Accessory Tips Under $10

Want to freshen up your home decor easily and inexpensively? Here are ten decor accessories under $10 that will add zest and utility to any home decor theme. As Lady Greenwise, I always recommend second hand shopping to reduce landfill fodder.

throw pillows: I confess to an obsession with throw pillows. Not only do throw pillows dress up any decor, they are functional. My home furnishings get a lot of use and throw pillows make chairs and couches more comfortable. Do worry too much about matching throw pillows, but do buy two matching if you find a good bargain. I’ve never paid more than a few dollars for a throw pillow. Want to repurpose old throw pillows to match bedding? Use extra pillowcases that come with sheet sets.

window swags and valances: Skip the fussy cornice boards. Drape sheets artistically to look like valances. Hang a flower garland or artificial ivy swag. Wal-mart sells garlands of flowers that can be hung from curtain swag hooks. My favorite swag? Artificial grape vines with bunches of plastic grapes. $5 each at Wal-Mart. Multiple strands of Christmas bead garlands or Mardi Gras beads cut into garlands look great too. Throw in some lace or ribbon for a totally glam effect.

curtain a doorway: My decor tastes run to Victorians and those decor divas curtained every little niche, alcove, window and crevice they could find. They even curtained photo graphs. Family Dollar, Wal-Mart and Dollar General sell 5 piece curtain sets with valance, two panels and tie-backs for under $10. The neat thing about these sets is that they are made in one piece. Can’t find a pattern or color you like? Look in the fabric shower curtains. For a buck or two more, grab some pretty shower curtain hooks.

plants: I just found huge boston fern at a farmer’s market for $9. At Wal-Mart, I picked up a gilt scrolled plant stand. You might choose a jade, rubber, aspidistra, small Norfolk Island pine or indoor tree also. Hang a string of holiday lights for a pretty fantasy flair.

holiday lights: Speaking of holiday lights, who says that they are only for holidays? My daughter did her room in blue and silver. Dad hung strings of purple holiday lights. The effect was charming and cheap: $1 for a string of 50 lights at post-holiday sales.

coffee table books: We are bibliophiles so there are books on every available space in our home. Coffee table books are large, attractive books filled with beautiful pictures. My favorites are Wonders of the World and Ancient Maps, both from Barnes and Noble publishers. I think we paid $4 and $5 respectively. Vintage books make great decor as well as nice reading material.

garden statues: Resin statues are less expensive and generally more versatile than the old concrete. I bring my cherubs indoor during winter and fill their bird watering bowl with flower garlands. Our son won a rooster statue at a holiday work party. ‘Chanticleer’ gives our living room a fun, funky look.

For more on home decor, visit my blog at http://ift.tt/2dj3RJ3. For more on green living, visit http://ift.tt/2ctlGyZ.

Tags:10 Easy DIY Home Decor and Accessory Tips Under $10

10 Easy Steps to Keep Your PC Healthy with Windows XP

In return, we can get a high level stability of our PC performance for years and we can keep our data safely.

Windows XP has a facility called “file system” which is also known as NTFS. It has a function as data storage management inside a hard disk. With scheduler facility, we can make a schedule to automatically delete unused files and give more capacity to our hard disk.

These are the 10 easy steps you need to do:

Step 1

Open folder of [My Computer] and then right click on the icon of hard disk. A menu will show up and Click on [Sharing and Security] from the menu. A dialog box of property will pop up, click on [General] tab then click on [Disk Cleanup] button which will show us the list of files can be deleted. Give a tick sign on the box besides “Temporary Files” and click [OK] to proceed.

Step 2
Click on [Tools] tab besides [General] tab and click the [Check Now] button under the menu of “Error-Checking”. It will execute the system to check whether any error and cleaning up the hard disk. Clear out the tick sign on the box to avoid the system automatically repair any error found so the system will inform you first before taking any further action.

Step 3
Click on [Defragment Now] button and then click on

Step 4
XP has a facility of automatic scheduler. Before using the facility, we need to setup an account of “computer administrator”. Click [Start] – [Control Panel] then click [User Accounts]. The next window, choose “computer administrator” and then enter a password.

Step 5
Before we are going further, make sure the time and date on your computer is correct to assure the scheduler executes the schedule as specified date and time.

Open [Control Panel], Click [Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options], then choose [Change the date and time]. If the date and time already correct, click on [Time Zone] tab and choose your time zone.
Click [OK] and back to Control Panel

Step 6
Choose [Performance and Maintenance] and click on [Scheduled Tasks] on the very bottom part of the box. Double Click on “Add Scheduled Task” to start Scheduled Task Wizard. Click [Next], then choose “Disk Cleanup”. Click [Next] and choose ‘Weekly’ option, and [Next]. Arrange the time to begin and how many time a week including the exact day. Click [Next] and enter the administrator password that has been created on step 4

Step 7
Click on [Next] and choose [Settings] tab. You can stop the task if it takes too long. Limit the time around 30-45 minutes top. You also can arrange it to execute the task when your PC is not active in certain period of time

Step 8
With this task scheduler, Defragment can also be arranged with the same way.

Another way to do it, point your cursor to empty area and right click the mouse, choose [Scheduled Task]. Write a name on [New Task] and press [Enter]. Right click on that name and choose [Properties] to show the new task box

Step 9
On [Task] tab on the “Run” box, write “c:windowssystem32defrag.exe c:”. Click [Next] and enter password. click on [Schedule] tab, arrange the time to start.

Step 10
If you want to stop the schedule, open the Task Scheduler as mentioned in step 6, click on

Tags:10 Easy Steps to Keep Your PC Healthy with Windows XP

10 Easy Steps to Survive an Apocalypse

1. Get Prepared Now. Get provisions, non-perishables, tools, and other resources. Concoct an exit strategy. Have your plan ready, and executable at a moment’s notice. DO NOT count on any modern convenience. What happens if an EMP goes off? Are you gonna be left in the dark, or will you survive?

2. Assemble your Apocalypse Team! Even Superman needed a team. You’re not from Krypton. And studies have shown that groups of 3-4 people are more likely to survive an Apocalypse than any other number of people loitering about, hoping for the best. Make sure everyone in your Apocalypse Team, or Adventuring Party, as the case may be, is on the same page, same plan, and equal provisions. Split the tools up between the others. After all, what good is your team when you become the pack mule?

3. Get the Hell Out of Dodge! When it finally does go down, execute your exit plan, making sure to flay any poor victims on your way out. Fewer human mouths means higher likelihood that agriculture will work for you! Besides, try adding 4 or 10,000 of your closest, extremely agitated neighbors into your exit strategy and then recalculate your odds at surviving the new world order. My money is on the cockroaches.

4. Shelter. Build one or set up your tent. Earlier on, when things are more chaotic, you should opt for flexibility over comfort. Make sure it is well insulated, for any possible Ice Ages, and on high enough ground to avoid flash floods and tsunamis, but low enough to allow mobility in the event of volcanic or seismic activity. No need to prematurely become a fossil for the next age of sentient beings to walk the earth, be it a new breed of man or those damn dirty apes.

5. Water! Find a source of water, hopefully you weren’t swept away in it, and always boil or purify before drinking, to prevent any parasites. You’re helping you survive, not those microscopic stowaways. Any addtional passengers, other than the ones covered in number 10, will significantly lower anyones chances for survival, as seen by the equation in number 3.

6. Fire! Keep warm. Boil water. Lift spirits. Ward off predators so you’re not their dinner. Cook your former neighbors so you remain at the top of the food chain.

7. Get Food. Establish fishing, gathering, hunting, or find any survivors. People are a terrific source of all the nutrients that you need! And depending on your climate, you can going clubbing… baby seals.

8. Strategize. Take things one step, one objective, one mission at a time. Attacking any other Apocalypse Parties for resources or territory? Break it down into easy steps, and commence the raid.

9. Day Trip Back to What Was Once Civilization. Gather more resources, news, and potential work horses. If the nation you live in is managing to put the pieces of society back together, make a decision. Annex your claim and reign over your new kingdom until death or rejoin the aftermath and go back to being a number. Choose wisely, Mr. Anderson.

10. Repopulate. Maintain Alpha status by taking more wives than your neighbors and enjoy!

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10 Easy Ways to Go Green

We can thank some pioneers in the environmentalist movement for raising the awareness, but what does the average person do now?

Starting to “go green” can seem a bit daunting if you’re new to it. Some areas of this country aren’t completely on board yet, so it can be a bit difficult. But, anyone can start with just a few simple changes. Here are 10 easy ways to green up your life.

1. Change your lightbulbs. Instead of using standard light bulbs, change them out for the compact fluorescent bulbs. They last longer and use less energy. Not only are they good for the environment, they are good for your wallet.

2. Don’t buy products that are individually wrapped. Those little juice boxes are so convenient for your little ones, but so bad for the environment. Why not buy the large bottles and fill their sippy cups instead?

3. Buy products with recycled packaging. More and more companies are doing it these days, so it makes this one much easier. Check for the recycle symbol. Everyone has heard by now the buzz about going green. It has taken many years, but I think we are all starting to understand the importance of it. It’s not just the latest trend or another fad, this is the future of our world. n the package.

4. Don’t use plastic utensils. Try to keep a set of “real” utensils (the non-disposable kind) with you or where you normally eat. Your locker, car, purse or briefcase are all good places. A little soap and water and you’ve got clean utensils again, plus you’ve kept more plastic out of the landfills.

5. Walk instead of drive whenever possible. For shorter distances, it just makes more sense to walk. You save the gas, the wear and tear on your vehicle, plus you eliminate emissions in the environment. It makes for a good workout, too.

6. Create a compost pile. If you have a yard, this is a great way to eliminate more garbage from your home to the landfill. Find an out of the way spot in your yard. Every day, take your kitchen scraps (egg shells, fruits or veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc) and put them in your compost pile. You’ll need to mix them in with some dirt. Keep adding to it, and every week or so you’ll need to turn the pile. Just take a shovel and dig in to get more air to the pile as it decomposes. Within weeks you will have a wonderful, rich compost to put in your gardens and flowerbeds, that otherwise would have been in the landfill.

7. Buy organic and grow organic. Organic fruits and veggies are grown without the use of chemicals – no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The reason to go organic is two-fold. First, it is not good for you. The chemicals build up in your liver and can cause many toxic conditions. Second, it is not good for the environment. When it is used on plants, it is leeched from the plants into the soil, and as a result, into the water system. As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t want it on your food or your lawn.

8. Conserve water. It’s better for your budget and the environment. Try turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth instead of letting in run. Take showers instead of baths. Don’t take 30 minute showers, either. This is just as wasteful. Save rainwater when you can to water your garden.

9. Conserve energy. This is easily done. Caulk around windows in your home. Make sure there is proper weatherstripping around your doors. Keep your thermostat at a constant level. This can give you big savings on your energy bills, too.

10. Recycle. Items that can be recycled include plastic bottles, plastic bags, paper, aluminum, and other metals, just to name a few. A lot of cities have curbside pickup for these. Others, like mine, have drop off centers that your can bring them to. If your community doesn’t have one, urge your city council to implement one.

Tags:10 Easy Ways to Go Green

10 Dreamy Ideas for Girls' Bedrooms

My favorite ideas for girls’ bedrooms are all about creating a dreamy, girly world that’s just a little spunky. At the same time, I’m not big on spending a fortune to decorate a girls’ bedroom that will need to be redecorated in a few years as the little girl turns into a little lady. So you’ll find that my ideas for girls’ bedrooms are always sensibly affordable. I hope you have fun with them together.

#1. Color Ideas

The best color Ideas for girls’ bedrooms pair what’s known as complimentary colors: reds and blues, yellows and purples, or pink and greens. You can use any shade in each color group, and milky shades will give the room a dreamy veneer (for example, lilac instead of purple).

#2. Wall Painting Ideas

There are two painting ideas for girls’ bedrooms that I love best. You can paint the back wall in a darker color and all the other walls in a pale version of the little girl’s favorite color. Or you can paint the top half of the walls in one color and the bottom in the second color-then add chair rail molding or (cheaper) base molding where the colors meet.

#3. Bed and Bookcase Ideas

Of all decorating ideas for girls’ bedrooms, this is the easiest. Try positioning the bed at an angle in a corner. Immediately the room will look and feel different. You can then position a small triangular bookcase or corner shelf behind the bed for storing the little girl’s favorite books.

#4. Nightstand Ideas

The prettiest ideas for girls’ bedrooms center on color harmony, so if your nightstand is different in color or material from the bed, consider giving it a makeover. First paint it in water-based primer to help the paint stick, then paint the nightstand to match the room. Have fun by painting the drawers one color and the nightstand another. Or decorate the drawers with pretty stickers.

#5. Bedside Lampshade Ideas

The best lampshade ideas for girls’ bedrooms turn a simple bedside lamp into a beautiful focal point. Start by dyeing the lampshade to match the room. I recommend RIT dye, which you’ll find at craft stores. And while you’re there, look for iron-on cloth decorations, then decorate the lampshade with them. Finally pick up some beaded tassel fringe and glue it around the bottom of the lampshade.

#6. Bedding Ideas

Bedding ideas for girls’ bedrooms can cost a small fortune, if you’re going to buy everything new. Consider sewing bedding covers for your existing pillows and duvet–sewing cases is easy. At a fabric store select two enchanting fabrics to match your girl’s bedroom decor. Look also for any decorative patches that you can sew on the duvet case. Or cut flowers from one fabric and sew them on the other.

#7. Wall Art Ideas

Wall decorating ideas for girls’ bedrooms are loveliest when they express the soul of the girl living in the room. Create framed art by spray painting cheap craft store frames, then let the girl choose a calendar she loves and frame the prints. To decorate walls with what looks like paintings, buy wall stickers online, like flowers, butterflies, animals, or look for a wall mural, which is a cloth wallpaper image that looks like a wall painting. Finally, hang ballet shoes from the wall, mount trophies on mantle shelves, or display art the girl herself made in frames she decorates by hand using stamps.

#8. Ceiling Decorating Ideas

Ceiling decorating Ideas for girls bedrooms focus on suspending decorative items above to balance the beauty below. I love colorful lanterns hung in a corner. You can hang a whimsical wind chimes, or suspend silk butterflies on fishing wire. You can also craft a simple mosquito net over the bed. Just screw a toggle hook in the ceiling above the headboard, then fold net fabric in half and hang it over the bed. If the fabric is very long, catch it with toggle hooks at the side of the bed.

#9. Floor Decorating Ideas

Floor decorating ideas for girls bedrooms should be beautiful, comfy and useful. For a rug, I prefer something comfy in simple patterns and colors. You can also look for sets of large decorative baskets at a craft store and decorate a corner of the room with functional storage space.

#10. Dresser and Mirror Ideas

Create a dresser from cheap cube bookcase. Use the same fabric you used for the bed to create little curtains over each cube. Buy long wood dowels at a home improvement store. Cut them to equal the width of each cube. Sew little curtains and slip them on each dowel, then glue the dowel over each cube. For the mirror, look for something cheap then glue base molding around its edges to increase the mirror’s beauty and size. You can spray paint and decorate the molding first to match this lovely girls’ bedroom.

More of My Decorating Ideas

10 Soothing Blue Bedroom Decorating Ideas

10 Cheap Nursery Decorating Ideas

10 Cheap & Easy Bedroom Decorating Ideas

Tags:10 Dreamy Ideas for Girls’ Bedrooms

10 Easy and Affordable Beauty Tips

Saving money doesn’t have to cramp your style. It’s a myth that you have to spend a lot to look beautiful. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself looking your best without breaking your budget, and many low-priced items work just as well as an expensive product that charges you for hype and packaging. Here are some of the simplest and easiest budget beauty tricks to get you started.

1. Skip the pricey makeup remover.

Baby shampoo is an effective alternative for gently removing eye makeup without causing irritation. A big bottle of No More Tears costs much less than a jar of makeup remover, and will last you a lot longer.

2. Revive your old nail polish.

If you’ve got a favorite shade of nail polish that’s thickened with age, don’t toss it. You can restore it by putting a few drops of nail polish remover in the bottle and gently rolling the bottle to mix it in (avoid shaking nail polish, which causes bubbles).

3. Buy multi-purpose products.

Some solid cream blushes work great as a lip color when applied with a lip brush. You can also get foundation or bronzer that doubles as a moisturizer, which saves you some time too.

4. Brighten your smile using baking soda.

This is much cheaper than using whitening kits or treatments, but be careful. Using baking soda on your teeth daily isn’t recommended because it’s mildly abrasive and may damage your teeth’s enamel with overuse.

5. Drink plenty of water.

This is the easiest beauty secret of all. Being properly hydrated keeps your skin healthy and flushes impurities out of your body. It’s a natural moisturizer that works from the inside out. Replace soft drinks with water. You’ll take in fewer calories, and cutting down on caffeine can help with dry skin as well.

6. Stretch your shampoo.

Shampooing your hair every day actually strips it of important nutrients and dries it out, which tells your body to put your scalp’s oil production into overdrive. Keep your hair healthy and balanced by only shampooing every other day.

7. Plump your lips naturally.

Many expensive lip-plumping products use cinnamon as their main ingredient. You can buy cinnamon oil for much less at a natural food store, and get the same results by applying a small dab to your lips.

8. Use a basic bar.

Skip the bottled body wash and use bar soap instead. It’s cheaper, lasts much longer, and the packaging produces less waste, so it’s good for your wallet and for the environment.

9. Extend your lipstick’s life.

If you have several lipsticks that are almost empty or that you’re just tired of, you can cut off the stubs and melt them together in the microwave to create new shades. Pour the results in a small tin and apply it like lip balm or with a lip brush.

10. Olive oil isn’t just for cooking.

Olive oil is a natural moisturizer and makes your skin smooth and soft. A few drops dabbed on a cotton ball will help flaky spots on your face. Rubbing olive oil on your feet and putting cheap cotton socks on before you go to sleep rejuvenates dry, rough, and cracking feet.

The money you save with these kinds of tricks really adds up, and a smile and confidence from knowing you’ve saved so much is one of the best accessories of all.

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10 Edible Gift Ideas for Foodies

Foodies are people who thoroughly enjoy food and appreciate not only the flavor, but the process, time, and ingredients that go into preparing each meal. Perhaps you have a foodie, or at least some who aspires to be one, on your holiday shopping list this year. For your shopping convenience, I have assembled a list of edible gourmet gift ideas from across the country for the foodie in your life. Bon App├ętit!

1. Wheat Montana is a family-owned operation run by Montana wheat farmers. Their products are available across the nation. You can also find wheat, several other whole grains, and milled flours on their online store. Try one of their wheat products, like their bread machine mixes. Available in Cowboy White, Honey Wheat, and Sundried Tomato, all these mixes require are butter and water to make a two-pound loaf of freshly baked bread. ($3.29-3.50; www.wheatmontana.com)

2. Indulge someone’s sweet tooth with a cookie mix from Beverly’s Cookie Fixin’s. Assembled and shipped from Texas, these mixes, in such delectable flavors as Double Chocolate Cherry and Hawaiian Gold will simplify dessert for your gift recipient. ($7.95-15.95; http://ift.tt/2dj2auN)

3. When you’re chilled through from bitter winter weather, nothing quite thaws you out like a bowl of hot soup. Give the foodie on your list a hearty taste of the Northeast with one of Plentiful Pantry’s soup mixes. Choose one of nine flavors, like Chicken and Dumplings or Cheesy Enchilada, or customize your gift with the Six Pack of Savory Soups. ($5.95 for one, $32.12 for six; http://ift.tt/2ctlAY6)

4. Many new apple varieties are now being offered by Wisconsin apple growers. Check out Kickapoo Orchard’s selection. They have your classic Red Delicious and Granny Smith, as well as over 40 more varieties, like the crispy Empire and the sweet Honeycrisp. Availability varies, but check their Variety List for apples that will be ready for holiday shipment. Order apple packs before December 12th. ($16-55; http://ift.tt/2dj2Jot)

5. Warm your gift recipient to the very tips of his or her toes with Gourmet Hot Cocoa from Moonstruck Chocolate Company. Available in a traditional American or piquant Mexican blend, these rich cocoa mixes come packaged in elegant one-pound containers. 20 Moonstruck Marshmallows will perfectly complement either cocoa. ($9.95; http://ift.tt/LWfY4F)

6. The coffee-loving foodie on your list would adore a gift from the highly-rated Hawaiian Kona producers, Moki’s Farm. They offer a medium and dark roast, either ground or in whole bean form. Their coffees are touted to be mild, but not overly so. Packages of ground or whole bean cost between $12 and $56, depending on size. (www.mokisfarm.com)

7. Washington
wineries are emerging as some of the most elite in the country. For the perfect accompaniment to your foodie’s favorite steak or pasta dish, try the award-winning 2002 Syrah from Maryhill Winery. ($18; http://ift.tt/1hwd3UO) Lighter dishes will be well-balanced by the 2004 Columbia Valley Chardonnay from Woodward Canyon. ($36; http://ift.tt/1fHnuhQ)

8. For foodies who enjoy a little kick to their meals, try Sweet Cajun Fire hot sauce. This tangy condiment is thicker than typical hot sauce, providing the extra spiciness and flavor of jalapeno and cayenne peppers. ($5.25; www.purecajun.com)

9. Check out Tuxedo Chili’s for another spicy gift option in the form of their salsa gift boxes. You can choose from the mild, medium, or hot versions to best suit your gift recipient’s tastes. Each gift box includes two salsas, a spice or hot sauce, and a bag of pita chips. You can also customize your gift with your choice of salsas, spices, and hot sauces. ($19.99; www.tuxedochilis.com)

10. Give someone a taste of Alaska with one or a selection of Alaskan Native-Made Jams and Jellies. These wildberry preserves are available in 13 unique flavors, from lingonberry jam to salmonberry jelly. The jams and jellies come in several sizes and gift packs. Individual jars range from $2.15 to $5.90, and gift sets from $15.95 to $39.95. (http://ift.tt/2ctl0JN)

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10 Elementary Back to School Supplies Parents Forget

The kids are heading back to school and supply lists are circulating in many stores. While most parents remember common back to school supplies for elementary like pencils, paper, backpacks, and scissors, there are at least 10 elementary back to school supplies parents forget.

Extra Shoe Laces – Elementary children can tear up a pair of shoes in only a few weeks. The first shoe part to break are laces, so keeping extra laces on hand is essential to repairing broken and frayed shoe laces instantly.

Brown Paper Bags – How many times has your elementary school child forgotten their lunch box at school? Brown paper bags are an inexpensive way to pack lunch without having to replace a forgotten school lunch bag.

Umbrella – There is nothing worse than standing at the bus stop in the rain. Children need umbrellas that are small and capable of attaching to their backpack in an instant.

Extra Backpack – No child likes to come home without their backpack in tow, but forgetting a backpack on the school bus or in the classroom is common. Having an extra, inexpensive backpack on hand allows the child to carry supplies, homework, and lunch to school until they can grab their every day backpack.

After School Snacks – Children burn more calories the first few weeks of school then they did the entire summer. When making a list of elementary back to school supplies parents forget, snacks are one of the most important. Snacks should be healthy, high fiber foods that help replenish energy burned during the day.

Printer with Copy Function – Homework for elementary students often involves worksheets sent home by teachers. Sometimes, attention issues can mean making simple mistakes on worksheet homework. A printer with copy function allows a parent to print off a second or third worksheet so children can complete homework correctly for class.

ID Bracelet with Phone Number – Younger children and children who have recently moved may have trouble remembering their phone number for a while. An ID bracelet with a contact number engraved on the underside can be an effective safety net in case of emergency.

Hooded Sweat Jacket – For some reason, children love to take off their winter coat on the bus. At times, this means forgetting that jacket leaving them with no coat for the next school day. Having a hooded sweat jacket with zipper on hand is perfect for those cool or cold days when the jacket just didn’t make it home.

Duplicate School Supplies – Many supplies on the main back to school list will be sent to school. Parents need to have many of these supplies at home for elementary students to complete homework. Crayons, pencils, paper, and pencil sharpeners are always great to have around.

Chore Chart – With school comes far less time to complete chores. Children need chores to learn responsibility, even when it seems like they have no extra time. A chore chart can help teach effective time management and responsibility to elementary school children.

Parents can pick up elementary back to school supplies, but there will always be some things school systems just don’t list. Having these items on hand when school starts is a great way to relieve some of the stress associated with raising an elementary school child.

Tags:10 Elementary Back to School Supplies Parents Forget

10 Essential Garden Tools for Successful Gardening

Whether it is a home garden or a community garden you cannot do without proper garden tools. Garden tools are essential for carrying out many jobs in the garden smoothly, jobs such as cutting grass, trim trees and shrubs, plant flowers, remove trees, dig the soil, water plants etc. There are certain tools necessary to have a healthy and well looked after garden. Although there are many tools available in gardening stores we will consider the 10 essential garden tools that every garden needs:

Garden tools 1: A trowel.

The first essential item on your list should be a trowel that is well made. Whether it is container garden or a large bed a trowel is necessary to get your seedlings and plants into the soil easily.

Garden tools 2: A hoe.

A hoe with a long handle helps a gardener handle difficult tasks easily. It is used to keep out weeds from your garden. This is accomplished by using the hoe to remove weeds when they start to grow. Careful use of the hoe will help in removing weeds without damaging the roots of your plants. Hoe heads come in many shapes and sizes and you can make your choice.

Garden tools 3: A hand fork or cultivator.

Hand forks are ideal for loosening the soil and cleaning up the beds. It helps to cultivate the soil, work amendment into your soil, and chop up any clumps. A hand fork is absolutely essential in beds that are closely planted. It cuts the compacted hard soil smoothly and is also very useful for aerating, cleaning the moss and thatching. Flower beds and vegetable plots can be easily prepared by using a hand fork or cultivator.

Garden tools 4: Hand pruners or pruning shears.

It is wise to invest in a pair of good quality pruning shears or secateurs as they are known. These come in various types and sizes depending on the type of job. They are useful for pruning branches of small diameters.
These are very useful for trimming bushes and shrubs. Trimming regularly will make your shrubs bushy and in the desired shape and size. They are very useful for rose plants that require regular pruning. Also fruit and other trees in your garden will need pruning.

Garden tools 5: A watering can and nozzles.

A watering can with a nozzle that creates a fine spray of water is essential for gently watering seedlings and sprouting seeds, over a large area, without washing them away. Choose one with long nozzles.

Garden tools 6: A spading fork.

A spading fork or gardening fork, is a wonderful garden tool necessary for transplanting and aerating. You can also use it to split grasses and perennials. In fact you cannot divide and dig perennials without using a heavy duty spading fork. It can also be beneficially used as a mulch fork, manure fork, and for sorting hay.

Garden tools 7: Shovels and spades.

Shovels and spades come in many different sizes and shapes. The hand hold also comes in shapes like a “T” or a “D”. These are necessary for planting trees, shrubs, moving the soil, breaking the soil and many other jobs. Spades are very useful for turning the soil and a shovel will help in picking up dug out soil and disposable
items from your garden. Their blades should be sharp in order to accomplish the jobs easily.

Garden tools 8: A wheelbarrow.

Again wheelbarrows also come in different sizes and shapes and you have a wide variety to choose from. You cannot do without one especially if your garden is of decent size. With it you can carry almost anything and everything. Whether it is for hauling soil, transporting dirt and cement or for transporting common gardening items like compost, plants, mulch, tools or hoses, you will find the wheelbarrow extremely handy. Without a wheelbarrow you will have to make frequent trips back and forth around the garden which is really exhausting.

Garden tools 9: Gardening gloves.

Even if you like the feel of soil it is imprudent to work in the garden without proper gloves. Gardening gloves also come in a lot of varieties and materials. The type you choose will depend on the type of work involved. Leather gloves are good but you cannot use them when handling water or liquid chemicals. Thus you may need more than one type of glove. .Make sure that the pair fits you snugly or you may have to deal with blisters. Also make sure they are prick proof when you are handling rose bushes or other thorny plants. The simple fact is that you must choose wisely.

Garden tools 10: Garden hose.

You can’t do gardening without water. You will need a good quality garden hose if you don’t want to get exhausted transporting a lot of water. In fact it is the easiest way to transport lots of water quickly and effortlessly. The best hoses for this purpose are those having 3 or 4 ply thickness and come with brass fittings. Coiled type of hoses need less storage space. They may be a bit more expensive but they are easier to store and transport. You can also use drip irrigation or soaker hoses if you don’t have the time to water the plants yourself.

Tags:10 Essential Garden Tools for Successful Gardening

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