Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Household Hints Vinegar is useful for many cleaning projects, but do not use on hardwood floors – it will damage them. The more soap, the better – not true! Too much soap residue on carpets makes the dirt stick to them more. Pour Coca-Cola into your blackened or rusted pots & pans, let soak and then wash. Wash your car with a hair conditioner containing lanolin. You'll become a believer when you see the freshly waxed look, and when you find that the surface will repel rain. If your windshield wiper blades get dirty, they'll streak the glass instead of keeping it clean and clear. Make a solution of 1/4 cup household ammonia to 1 quart cold water. Gently lift the blades, and wipe both sides with a soft cloth or paper towel soaked in the solution. Then wipe the blades with a dry cloth before lowering them into place. Pour 1/4 cup baking soda into a gallon-sized jug, then add 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid and enough water to fill the jug almost to the top. Screw on the cap, shake well, and store the concentrate for later use. When it comes time to wash the car, shake the jug vigorously and then pour 1 cup of cleaner base into a 2-gallon water pail. Fill the pail with warm water, stir to mix, and your homemade cleaning solution is ready to use. The quickest way to clean a microwave oven is to place a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on High for 3-5 minutes. You don't need a science lesson to know that the steam from the towels will soften the grime. Once the paper towels cool down, use them to wipe the oven's interior. The glass jug that comes with a coffeemaker can quickly develop a brown, blotchy haze – especially when you leave it on for long periods of time. For the quickest cure, you will need some ice, salt and a lemon. Fill the empty jug a quarter full of ice. Cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze two of the quarters into the jug. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Swirl the mixture in the jug for 2 minutes and the inside surface will quickly come clean. Rinse under the tap. Deep clean and deodorize a waste disposal unit by grinding ice cubes made with half vinegar, half water. If you hate picking the silk off freshly husked ears of corn, then you'll love this paper towel trick. Dampen one and run it across the ear. The towel picks up the silk, and the corn is ready for the boiling pot or the grill. Make your produce last long enough so you can eat it by lining your vegetable bins with paper towels. They absorb the moisture that causes your fruits and vegetables to rot. Makes cleaning up the bin easier too. Here's how to freeze—and thaw—your bread so it tastes just like fresh. Place a paper towel in the bag of bread before you freeze it. When you’re ready to eat that frozen loaf, the paper towel absorbs the moisture as the bread thaws. A haze of soap residue and hard water spots accumulates quickly in showers and on shower doors. To remove, use a sponge or clean cloth to wipe room-temperature white vinegar onto your shower walls and door. The acid in the vinegar will help dissolve the residue. Wipe clean with a damp paper towel. To prevent buildup, use a squeegee on the surfaces after each shower. Tip: Use a nylon brush to scrub out the shower door's tracks.
Homeowners Insurance Homeowners Insurance rates have risen 69% over the last decade and at the same time basic coverage has been shrinking and restrictions have been growing. Homeowners Insurance is one of the least profitable types of insurance; combine that with the recent unpredictable weather events plus low interest rates & poor investment opportunities for the investments of premiums and you have the insurance companies scrambling to make money. Therefore companies have stopped writing policies in disaster prone areas, pushed for higher premiums and scaled back coverage. Coverage varies widely among carriers now, making it even more difficult to compare. Water damage has become extremely difficult to collect on. Repairs may not be fully covered due to increased prices after a major disaster or specific mandates on when the repairs need to be completed. Rebuilding may not be covered due to the extra expenses of meeting modern building codes. Private insurers do not even offer flood insurance anymore. You need to turn to the National Flood Insurance Program for that which has its own restrictions in maximum allowance and coverage areas. Your best bets for getting the coverage you need are: • Shop around – get at least 3-5 quotes • Compare, some state insurance departments offer comparison tools • Ask about replacement coverage, riders and discounts • Request a sample policy and make sure you read your policy. Money Magazine April 2013
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Silk-Tie Easter Eggs
Here are ten of the most important questions to ask any prospective movers before you actually hire them: 1. Is the company a mover or a broker? They are different and knowing who you are dealing with will help you choose the right moving company. While movers have to be up front, brokers can make just about any deal without the clearance of the company. What’s worse, the company doesn’t have to honor any deal you make with the broker under the guise of getting a moving quote. 2. Can I have references from satisfied customers? Good moving companies will have a list of references, people who don’t mind getting calls regarding the service of the company in question. 3. What services are considered extra, and how much do they charge? Make sure that you know what services are included, and which ones aren’t. Some additional charges might be added onto your bill for a long walk or stairs involved in the move. 4. Is the company licensed for state to state transport? What is their license number? All good movers should be licensed in the states where they operate. Always get the movers license number and check it with the FMCSA to ensure that the company is legit. 5. What kind of liability insurance does the company hold? All movers must carry some level of liability insurance. Check to see what your mover offers before you actually hire them so that you know how much additional insurance you need to cover the move. 6. What kind of cancellation policy do they have? Just in case something happens and you need to cancel, find out what kind of cancellation policy the mover has. 7. Is there a guarantee for pick up and delivery dates? It’s never good to wonder where your things are. Make sure that the company offers a guarantee if you need your things on a specific date. 8. How much does the company charge? This is the biggest question for any mover. Ensure that you are aware of the costs involved in a move before you hire anyone. 9. Who does the packing and the loading? Many movers offer packing services in addition to loading. Always ask who is responsible for these aspects so that you don’t end up surprised on moving day. 10. What is included in the services? Be sure to check on what exactly is included. Do you need to purchase boxes? Are you responsible for the inventory? Don’t leave anything to chance and you will be sure to enjoy a pleasant moving day.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
1 medium, firm eggplant 1-2 cloves garlic,, chopped 3/4 cup chopped onion 3/4 cup peppers (bell and/or hot) Coarse salt and black pepper 1 handful flat-leaf parsley tops A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil 1 whole grain baguette or other long crusty bread Directions Preheat oven to highest setting, at least 500 degrees F. Cut 2 or 3 slits into whole eggplant. Place eggplant directly on the oven rack in the middle of the oven and roast the eggplant until it is tender, about 20 minutes. Keep the slits facing up so that the eggplant does not loose liquids as it roasts. Sauté garlic, onion & peppers in olive oil until soft. Using a sharp utility knife, carefully peel skin away from eggplant flesh. Add cooked eggplant flesh and sautéed vegetables to food processor and combine with salt, and pepper and parsley. Pulse grind the eggplant into a paste, add a drizzle of olive oil. Transfer to a serving dish. The seeds of the eggplant will make the spread resemble caviar eggs, and so the name: poor man's caviar. To serve, surround a bowlful of spread with crusty bread rounds. May be served hot or cold. Add olives and cheese on the side to complete.
We all enjoy the colors of autumn leaves. The changing fall foliage never fails to surprise and delight us. Did you ever wonder how and why a fall leaf changes color? Why a maple leaf turns bright red? Where do the yellows and oranges come from? To answer those questions, we first have to understand what leaves are and what they do. Plants take water from the ground through their roots. They take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Oxygen is released back into the air. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Plants use glucose as food for energy and as a building block for growing. Photosynthesis means "putting together with light" and it is the way that plants create sugar and oxygen from CO2 & H2O. A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color. As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees "know" to begin getting ready for winter. During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can't see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll. Since daylight wanes at a constant rate each fall, other factors, like soil moisture and weather, ensure that no two autumns are alike. Warm, sunny days mixed with cool, but above-freezing nights appear to produce the brilliant red hues associated with peak fall foliage. Leaf-peepers (people who annually follow the fall foliage) judge whether it has been a "good" or "bad" fall based on the proportion of red leaves—the more, the better. Other things being equal, that [ratio] changes more than anything else. The real question is: What's going on with these reds?" Native American lore explained the appearance of the magnificent colors as coming from above: After hunters killed the Great Bear in the sky, the story goes, its blood splashed down and turned the leaves red. And the yellow leaves? They get their tint from the bear's fat splashing out of the pot that it was being cooked in. The truth is the bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves to turn this glucose into a red color. The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves. Although scientists offer several different reasons for why some trees produce anthocyanins, they are responsible for the red colors. (The molecular structure of an anthocyanin includes a sugar, which is dependent on the availability of carbohydrates within a plant. Anthocyanin color changes with pH, so soil acidity affects leaf color. Anthocyanin production also requires light, so sunny days are needed for the brightest fall colors! The reason you'll see more vibrant reds during some years is that lots of sunlight and dry weather increase the sugar concentration in tree sap, triggering the tree to release more anthocyanins in a last-ditch effort to gather up energy to get through the winter. In addition, near-freezing weather, low nutrient levels and other plant stressors seem to trigger increased levels of anthocyanins. If it's been especially rainy and overcast, you won't see much red foliage. Without bright sunlight, the trees don't need the added protection that the red pigments provide, so they don't bother producing them. Here's a guide to the species of trees and the color they produce during autumn: Yellow: Green and black ash, basswood, beech, birches, butternut, and elm. In the maple species - boxelder, mountain, silver, striped and sugar. And don't forget mountain ash, poplar, serviceberry, willow, and witch hazel. Red and Scarlet: Red, mountain, and sugar maples; black, red, scarlet and white oak; hornbeam, sumac and tupelo. Brown: White and black oak Purple: White ash and witch hazel.