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Top Cake Decoration Mistakes That You Must Be Aware Of

A well decorated cake can be a piece of art, but it is all too easy to make a mistake and ruin your masterpiece when you are under pressure to create something for a special celebration. You can avoid mistakes by being aware of the most common ones, and it may not be impossible to fix things if something does go wrong.

Go through the tips given here and you will be more than ready for the special occasion...

The cake should be prepared far enough in advance to cool and settle properly before you begin to decorate it. You will also need to allow plenty of time to decorate it, and to allow the decoration to set if necessary.

Make sure you are beginning with the best possible base. If the cake sank, flatten it out with jam or frosting, or by cutting it down. If the frosting is pulling up a lot of crumbs, then put a think layer of icing on first, and add the main layer only when it has set.

You should always ensure you have plenty of frosting or icing to cover the cake, as it will look uneven if you try to spread it too thin, and fondant icing will crack and tear. Fondant can also tend to buckle around the base, but if you are quick you can fix this by lifting the icing and smoothing or re-moistening the sides of the cake. If the fondant has already set, then you could tie a ribbon around the cake to conceal the problem.

If you are making your own icing then be very careful with your ingredients. If you substitute white chocolate for plain or milk, or a more spreadable fat for butter, then the result will be runnier and will take longer to spread. Be particularly careful too when melting white chocolate as it will melt quicker than other types.

Coloring should be added only very gradually to icing, as it is easy to end up with bright red rather than pale pink. Make sure you wash all the coloring off your hands too so that you don't accidentally add any to your other cake decorations.

Take care to space the letters evenly when writing with icing, and make sure you spell your message correctly. The color from writing icing can sometimes leech onto the base icing. You may be able to cover this up by re-writing over the message with a thicker nozzle. You can prevent leeching by using a colorfast fondant icing, or leaving the writing until the last minute so it doesn't have time to leech.

Store your finished cake in a cool, safe place. If it is a tight squeeze to fit the cake into a tin, then try using the lid like a plate and putting the body of the tin over it as if it were the lid- as long as nobody comes along and turns the tin the right way up, it will be easy to lift the tin off and get to the cake.


Invisible Fences

When people consult with friends and other dog owners about using an invisible fence for containment of their pet, they will be met with a variety of opinions. The primary reason for using an invisible fence is to keep dogs safe while giving them the freedom to run around the yard unencumbered.

Invisible fence systems can be electronic or wireless. Both types have collars worn by the dog and transmitters that send the signal to the receiver. The owner sets the range. The electronic system has an underground fence that is placed around the area that the dog is free to roam. The wireless system transmits the signal to the collar without the use of wires underground. The electronic invisible fence systems are less costly and just as effective as the wireless. It becomes a matter of personal choice.

Electronic invisible fence systems come prepared to protect 1/3-1/2 acres. Additional wire can be purchased and an area up to 25 acres can be enclosed. If there is an issue with the effectiveness of the larger areas, additional transmitters can be purchased.

The function of invisible fence systems is to keep a pet contained in a designated area. The owner sets the boundaries, not the dog. The system can keep the dog from wandering into the street or into an area that the owner wants to maintain without the dog doing damage. This will not only protect the dog, but the owners' property as well.

Invisible fence systems in areas that do not allow physical fencing because of zoning or community restrictions. There is no danger to human beings when the fence is installed and the dogs will not be injured. The initial warning to the dog comes when the dog gets close to the boundary. If the dog ignores the signal, it will get stronger as the dog approaches the boundary and a static correction will occur. This is startling to the dog, but generally does not do any damage to the dog.

As the plan is drawn for the boundary, flags need to be placed along the boundary lines. Once this is done, the dog should be walked along the line to familiarize himself with the signals. This will prevent unnecessary anxiety when the dog is let loose in the yard. It will enable the dog to get used to the warning tones and the static correction that comes later.

When the invisible fence systems are evaluated, be sure that instructions are included for installation of the invisible fences and techniques to train the dog. Both are equally important to the successful use of the invisible fences. They are also less obstructive on the property than privacy fencing or chain link. It will allow an unencumbered view of the property and a safe haven for any pets that are on the property.

It is important that all of the information contained in the packaging be read and adhered to. The size of the dog plays a part in the degree of stimulation that may be needed. This information is available from any company that sells invisible fence systems.


Tips for Keeping Your Central Air Conditioner Running

Most central air conditioner units only last about 12 to 15 years before they need to be replaced, but at an average cost of $2,500 to $5,000 or more to pay for a replacement central AC you might want to try taking a few steps to keep your AC running for as long as possible. Regular maintenance all year around will help you stay cool for longer and with less AC breakdowns on those days when the temperature reaches the triple digits!

Here are some things you can do to keep your central AC unit in god running condition:

Keep It Clear: The big fan housing part of your AC unit that is on the outside your house is called the condenser and it's what actually cools a Freon liquid in the coils of your air conditioner. These cooler the coils the cooler the air in your house should be. It's important to keep the condenser clear of grass, bushes, leaves, kid's toys and just about everything else so that the fan can run as efficiently as it can.. A good rule of thumb is to make sure there is nothing blocking the vents or around the unit for one or two feet in every direction. And be careful to make sure that cut grass isn't blowing into the unit each time you mow your lawn.

Clean your AC Regularly: Different air conditioning units can be cleaned different ways, but you generally want to make sure that the interior is free of debris on the outside and inside. To clean your air conditioning unit you should always check your service manual first, but there are some general steps. Make sure you turn off the power to the unit before cleaning. Most units can be cleaned with a hose sprayed from the top down, washing any dirt or debris from the inside. Simply take a broom or rake and brush out any left over debris or leaves around the condenser unit. Some sites recommend cleaning the coils with soft brushes or wet rags, but you can damage the coils easily. You can spray then down with a hose.

Keep your AC Cool: The U.S. Department of Energy recommends putting trees or some sort of shade structure around your older central AC unit so that it doesn't have to work as hard to cool the coils inside it. Putting your AC unit in the shade will reduce how hard is has to work and some estimates place the energy savings at nearly 10% for just this simply trick! Some newer high-end and commercial air conditioner units actually have regulators in them that can adjust to hotter temperatures.

Check your AC Often: Giving your AC a regular "check up" will really help keep it running. First, you'll need to change your home air filter every three to six months. These filters can get blocked with dust and limit the amount of air you're getting in your home. You'll also want to look around for any leaks in the hoses or air ducts of your home heating and cooling system. Even little pinhole leaks and gaps in your ducts should be repaired with a foil insulating tape. Believe it or not duct tape probably isn't the best choice for this!

Charge it and Service it Regularly: Let's face it, you're sometimes better off having a professional come in and look things over, especially if you suspect any problems. Check with your local electrical or gas utility company because they may have low-cost service plans which include a free maintenance visit once a season. A professional heating and cooling person can also charge your older air conditioner with Freon if needed.

I hope this helps you save some money and helps air conditioner unit keep cool this summer!


How to Use An Upflow Neutralizer for Acid Well Water Treatment

Acidic water is common in home water wells and can cause corrosion to piping, fixtures and appliances. Water that has a pH of less than 7.0 is considered to be acidic. The acid water pH can be neutralized to 7 or above by the use of an acid neutralizer tank, which allows calcium and magnesium carbonates to dissolve in the water. This eliminates the corrosive effect the water has on plumbing and fixtures.

For a pH of 6.0 to 6.9 a type of naturally occurring calcium carbonate media called Calcite is used to neutralize the pH. For water with a pH of less than 6.0, magnesium oxide is blended with Calcite to bring the pH to 7.0 or above. The Calcite or the blend of media is put in either an up-flow neutralizer tank or a down-flow neutralizer tank.

Acid neutralizer water systems are typically installed after the well pressure tank.

In down-flow neutralizer tanks the media flows from the top of the media inside a vertical filter tank down to the bottom of the tank, and up a distributor tube and out of the filter to the household piping. Down-flow neutralizer tanks also act as filters since sediment and other fine particles become trapped in the Calcite. This type of neutralizer is automatically or manually backwashed to keep the media clean.

In an upflow neutralizer the water flows down through the center distributor tube and enters the media bed at the bottom and flows up through the media before exiting the neutralizer and flowing out to the plumbing. Up-flow neutralizers do not get backwashed because the media is never compacted and no sediment is removed. Since the water is flowing up through the media the media is not compacted to theoretically it does not require backwashing.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both up-flow and down-flow neutralizers. The main advantage of the down-flow neutralizer is that it not only neutralizes the water, it also acts as a whole house sediment filter. Down-flow neutralizers are usually automatically backwashed, which cleans the Calcite media and prevents rust particles and other sediment from fouling or coating the media. Since additional Calcite or blended media must be added to most neutralizers once or twice a year, down-flow neutralizers are easier to backwash and put back in service than up-flow neutralizers which cannot be backwashed.

Up-flow neutralizers must use an internal top screen in to order to prevent the Calcite from entering the home plumbing system. Calcite has the appearance of white sand and can quickly damage valves and fixtures if the media enters the plumbing system. If the water contains iron, manganese or sulfides, these internal top screens can later become fouled and so are generally are not used for this reason. Instead of the internal top screen, a filter housing and cartridge filter are usually installed after the up-flow neutralizer tank to prevent any mineral from flowing into the plumbing system.

With down-flow neutralizers these upper screens or external filter housings are unnecessary since the Calcite is prevented from leaving the filter tank due to the bottom internal distributor screen. The bottom distributor does not get easily fouled due to the backwashing the down-flow neutralizer tank receives on a regular basis.

In filter tanks the media can flow around the media and create channels which allow the water to flow without properly contacting the media. This type of channeling is more of a problem with up-flow neutralizers and rarely happens with down-flow neutralizers due to the action of the backwash. For most residential applications down-flow neutralizers work better than up-flow neutralizers due to the filtration feature and the backwashing function.

A down-flow neutralizer can be backwashed on a regular basis to clean, re-classify and distribute the calcium media thoroughly. This backwashing allows the down-flow neutralizer to function properly and lower maintenance costs. The Calcite media dissolves better because it is cleaned and then compacted in the down-flow neutralizer tank.

Well water that is acidic can also sometimes be high in iron, manganese or hydrogen sulfide. If a greensand or other type of manganese media iron filter is used to treat the water for iron, the pH should be raised up to at least 6.8 to allow the iron filter media to work properly. A down-flow neutralizer is usually the best choice to put in front of an iron filter because the neutralizer acts as a pre-filter removing some oxidized iron prior to the iron filter. This lessens the load of iron that the greensand filter must treat. Iron, manganese and sulfides can coat the acid neutralizer media and render it unable to dissolve into the water and neutralize the pH.

There are some applications where up-flow Calcite neutralizers are more desirable than down-flow neutralizers. If the flow is more or less constant on a regular basis, such as when the neutralizer is used to fill a holding tank with neutralized water, the up-flow filter works fine. Since up-flow neutralizers have no automatic backwash control valve they are less expensive than down-flow neutralizers. If the water is of excellent quality with no sediment or iron and the flow rate is constant then the up-flow neutralizer costs less to use and uses no backwash water.


Is Cleanliness Next To Godliness?

Take a look back to old photographs from one hundred years ago and despite the fact that water was available, it was surprising just how little those people worried about dirt. Although it is now said that children were more resilient to germs back then, having built up a natural immunity because of their constant exposure, there was still too much disease spread from bad hygiene habits and close living quarters.

Today, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction with many being obsessed with cleanliness and now we are told it is impossible to build up our own immunity. But where do you draw the line? It doesn't take much common sense to realise that while it's ok for children to play outside in the dirt they should wash their hands before eating to eradicate any untoward germs they may have picked up outside.

But the purpose of this article is to look at cleanliness on a much larger scale than kiddies dirty hands. Take, for example, the nation's hospitals. Overseeing hospital cleanliness was once the duty of matron and nobody would dare cross her, to the point where every inch of hospital surface was scrubbed to within an inch of its life! Hospitals were spotless and a place you could trust to go and recover from whatever ailed you.

These days, many people are afraid to go into hospital for fear of developing the MRSA bug. This bug is resistant to drugs and can prove fatal. It is spread through bad hygiene to vulnerable people in hospital and has been on the increase since funds for cleaning by outside contractors was scaled down to the bare bones. The government have been ploughing money into the NHS to clean up its act by bringing in more contractors that are carrying out thorough deep steam cleaning sweeps of hospital wards and rooms to try to eliminate the dangers of these super bugs.

So what is involved in a steam cleaning process that makes it any better than other methods of cleaning? What is so wrong with a mop and a bucket of bleach and water?

Well, for a start it is a natural process using natural sources. Water is used to create a vapour that reaches temperatures of up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to kill dust mites, viruses, mold and fungi. This is not only good news for people in hospital but also for those who wish to use steam cleaning in their homes. It gets rid of many allergy causes and sanitises the environment, deodorising at the same time.

Steam cleaning loosens ground in dirt that is absorbed into a towel at the same time. No chemicals are used in steam cleaning and this means that it is the most environmentally friendly method of cleaning anything from clothing, carpets, car interiors and soft furnishings to commercial kitchens and hospitals.

Another aspect to put steam cleaning above other methods is the fact that any soft furnishings will dry very quickly. The longer a cleaned surface is left damp, the more chance there is of mold spores growing and so the whole process would be a waste of time.

Many people have a cupboard stocked full of artificial cleaning products and while we may feel that keeping our homes clean is good for us, the impact that all these products have when poured into the water system, simply do us no good at all. It is far better to use an ecologically friendly water based steam cleaning process than any other.


Shopping For a New Dishwasher

Shopping for a new dishwasher is not always an easy task. There are so many factors to think about in finding the right appliance for your household. Cost, load capacity, design, color, features, noisiness, and how well it cleans are just a few of the things consumers have to think about when weighing their options. Now with the rising cost of energy and increasing environmental problems, you may be constantly asking yourself yet one more question during the decision making process. Is the dishwasher eco-friendly?

Appliance manufactures are asking the same questions with increasing frequency when designing their latest models. There are now a large number of affordable dishwashers with a wide array of features that are also friendlier to the environment. Here are five of the best eco-friendly dishwashers that sell for $600 or less.

1. Whirpool Gold GU2300XTV [Q]

This Consumer Reports best buy is an Energy Star model. It features 36 spray jets that remove stubborn food without scrubbing. It has an Adaptive Wash cycle that automatically senses the level of cleaning and wash time needed to save both electricity and water. It sells for about $550.

2. Kenmore 13892

This is another Energy Star model that uses twenty percent less energy than dishwashers without the rating. It's Ultrawash cycle delivers optimum cleaning performance by using the least amount of water and energy needed to get the job done. It's tall tub design also allows you to wash oversized dishes and platters. This dishwasher retails for about $500.

3. GE GLD5900NWW

This large capacity appliance has six wash cycles, including a short and cool cycle for less soiled dishes. This way water and energy are not wasted. It's delayed start feature can also save energy by allowing the user to set the cycle to run when energy rates are lower. This dishwasher also has a sensor that monitors water temperature so that dishes stay sanitized. It sells in the $450 range.

4. Hotpoint HLD4000NWW

This is a simpler model with four wash cycles, but it is also an Energy Star model that uses less water to clean dishes. It has a decent size tub that can wash up to fourteen place settings at once. It has a Triple Water Filtration feature that keeps your water and dishes extra clean. This is not a fancy dishwasher but is a good energy efficient choice for those on a tight budget because it sells for only $380.

5. Bosch SHE33M0[2]UC

This Bosch dishwasher was also named a Consumer Reports best buy. It is Energy Star qualified and uses a combination of features to save water and energy. It's confined heating chamber heats water more efficiently. It contains a sensor that adjusts the amount of water according to the level of soil. It uses condensation drying instead of a traditional drying element to conserve more energy. It is also known for running quietly. It sells for $600.

These are just five of the lower cost models you will find that also have eco-friendly features. There are several more to choose from. Kenmore and Whirlpool are two brands that tend to offer a variety of reasonably priced products. Always look for the Energy Star label, and try to find models with several cycle options so that you can save water when you don't need as much. This is one great way to help the environment and save money on energy costs at the same time.


Top 5 Tips On How To Grill Chicken?

Chicken is a favorite worldwide and my favorite too. I am head over heels in love with the chicken. Grilled chicken I can say would be right on top in my list of favorite chicken recipes. Being a health enthusiast I just love the idea of tasty succulent chicken cooked to perfection and that too with hardly any oil or fat.

Grilled chicken can be a wonderful treat - tasty and healthy. Grilled chicken uses very little oil or fat and thus, is a healthy choice. On a diet, grilled chicken can be one that you would love to have on your plate without feeling the guilt.

If you love cooking outdoors, then the grilled chicken is a wonderful choice for your outdoor cooking menu. Have friends over for a fun grilling session, nothing like it for a great weekend party. Let's get started on a great grilling session. It is simple with just a few must remember tips you would have a juicy succulent chicken that you would love to just go on and on with.

1-You could grill the chicken either whole, chicken breasts or in small pieces. The smaller the pieces the faster it will cook, that's plain simple cooking logic. Cooking the chicken well from the inside (without burning the outside) is the trick to great grilling.

2-Clean the chicken well, remove the giblets. Wash and pat dry all set to moving to the next stage of marinating or the dry rub. There are hundreds of variations possible with the marinade or the dry rub and so here your taste buds work as the best indicators or guide. You can try anything from a simple seasoning of salt, pepper and herbs to a complicated and tasty marinades or rubs. The whole process is getting me hungry.

3-If you wish to marinate your chicken, do so well in advance so that all the flavors go deep into the layers of your chicken. Marinate the chicken and refrigerate for atleast 6-8 hours or better still overnight. Marinating the chicken is a good idea to make your chicken more flavorful. If the chicken is marinated, drain the extra marinade before placing the chicken on the grill.

4-If you do not wish to marinate your chicken, using a dry rub is a good idea to make it a flavorful experience. Dry rubs again, could be of many kinds and so go in for the recipe that suits your taste. Smear the rub well all over the chicken. A homemade rub would be definitely a better choice however, if you are really short on time there is wide range available in your local supermarket.

5-Get your grill going. Rub the grill with oil so that your chicken does not stick on to it. The grill should be nice and hot before the chicken is placed over it. However, do not grill the chicken directly on the coals. The breast side should be placed on the grill (the fleshy portion first). Cook till it turns golden brown.

Cut a small piece from the chicken - the juices should run clear and the flesh should be white rather than the reddish color of raw meat. Using barbecue sauce or the remaining marinade for basting is a good idea. However, ensure that you do it only towards the end of the grilling session once the chicken is almost done. Enjoy a wonderful time at the grill!!


Looking for Great Places to Find Those Energy Saving Appliances?

Well look now further. With today's awareness of global warming and environmental concern, placing energy star kitchen appliances in your house makes the most sense as small, individual ways you can help save the environment.

Major corporations like GE and Kitchen Aid have joined forces with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create energy saving appliances in over fifty categories. Here's a short list of the best local big box stores that carry the best energy saving kitchen appliances that are approved by the EPA and the Department of Energy.

Ace Hardware - While most people don't consider Ace Hardware when searching for kitchen appliances, Ace carries a sizeable line of energy star appliances for purchase. While there may not be a whole section dedicated to appliances, Ace will have the best quality and most energy efficient appliances available. Check online or in the weekly newspaper for information on any upcoming sale items.

Sears - Sears is the best known store for appliances. While you won't find all the go with it's as you would find at a builder's store, Sears does offer a huge line of energy star appliances, from washer and dryers to regular kitchen apparatus. In fact, many soon to be newlyweds register at Sears to get the best household appliances for their new home. Sears offers over eight hundred different energy efficient household appliances and has received several best energy star retailer awards.

If you are looking for high quality energy efficient appliances, Sears is your best bet. Also, Sears has great sale and credit options, so that you are not paying upfront. They also will remove your old equipment and properly dispose of it for you. Not many other stores will offer such great service.

The Home Depot - The Home Depot is your one stoop shopping center for all things household, however, the Depot does not offer as many appliances as Sears, the major appliance retailer, but with over five hundred appliances available, you are sure to find a piece of machinery to satisfy your needs. Appliances range from GE and Maytag, as well as many other top manufacturers but there are many other options including: Franklin Chef, Jenn-Air, Hotpoint, Profile, Amana, LG, and Americana. Home Depot also offers consultations via internet and in store to help answer all of your questions.

Lowes - Lowes has just fewer than five hundred Energy Star products and while most of the appliances are Frigidaire, Lowe's offers other high quality appliances, including such brands as GE, Whirlpool and Samsung. They usually have a Sunday insert in the newspaper, so keep an eye out for sales and specials on whatever energy saving appliance you are looking for.

Wal-mart - Wal-mart is not known for major kitchen appliances, but for smaller apartments and dorm rooms, you can't beat Wal-Mart for smaller energy saving apparatus, like a mini fridge or microwaves. They are rather inexpensive and space saving, not to mention, energy saving for all those green kids.


Tips to Help Your Air Conditioning System Keep You Cooler

Summer is supposed to be a time for fun and relaxation, however there's nothing like extreme high temperatures and humid conditions to ruin your good times. When you feel like you need to be chained to your home air conditioning unit all day long it follows that it could be time to evaluate your circumstances and investigate what might be done to enhance your residence and its existing failings as it concerns staying cool.

There are a number of things you can change about your present residential air conditioning without in fact getting a new one. If you don't have a unit at home and want to get one then these tips will help you to obtain the most out of whichever unit you decide to acquire.

Insulation may appear to be something you ought to contemplate when you are dealing with heating, however it is imperative to ensure that your home is satisfactorily insulated when it comes to keeping your residence cool also. If you have a poorly insulated residence you are going to lose cool air similar to how you would let out hot air in a badly insulated residence.

It's not always simple to uncover the air leaks and trouble spots in your home and when you have an older house it could be a good idea to call in an expert. A professional can discover everywhere you are losing heat and cool air with no trouble and give you advice on what to do next. Various services will also offer a check up on your existing residential heating and cooling equipment.

Before you decide to acquire a brand new home air conditioning system, consider replacing aged home appliances as an alternative. Inefficient equipment for example older refrigerators or auxiliary fridges will create much heat in your home, a situation you would like to avert when you're endeavoring to stay cool.

You should turn off all electric appliances too while they are not in use; this also means your television set. One more alternative could be to exchange the incandescent bulbs in your home for fluorescent light bulbs.

Modifications to the exterior of your home can likewise assist you to get the most from your home air conditioning unit. Painting the exterior of your home in a light may not appear to be a big deal, however it can actually assist to cool down your interior. Purchasing shingles on your roof that reflect the lightis an additional alternative to keep your interior cool, although be cautious seeing that reflective roofing can be extremely hard on the eyes.


Soft Sided Above Ground Pools-Proper Setup

Soft sided above ground pools have grown in popularity in recent years. This is probably due to their affordability and the increasing durability in their production. They go beyond the inflatable kiddy pools of yesterday and are now large enough to satisfy and refresh an entire family with room to spare.

The soft sided above ground pools come in either round or rectangular shapes. They can be found in a variety of sizes and depths. If there is not one to suit the needs of your family, they can be custom made. The larger pools come with a metal frame to increase their tolerance to a fun afternoon in the pool.

Soft above ground pools can be set up on a variety of surfaces. They can be placed on dirt, grass, concrete or gravel. The strength of the material is similar to that of bulletproof vests. The liners are puncture resistant and very durable. With a little help, they can be assembled in just a few hours.

A filter and a pump will be necessary with your pool. This will circulate the water and the chemicals and help to keep the pool sanitary and healthy. The price of the soft sided ground pool, whether round or rectangular above ground pool is less than the hard sided pool and far less than in ground pools.

Once the soft sided pool has been purchased, decide where it will be set it up. The pool is forgiving and will stand where you put it. Decide if the best place for the pool is in a shaded area, a partially shaded area or in full sun. If it is placed under trees, extra work cleaning out twigs and leaves will be necessary.

The filter and pump will have to have electrical access. It will need to placed a safe distance from the electrical outlet, but close enough to have it plugged in safely.

If the soft sided above ground pool is fourteen feet in diameter, leveling and clearing an area that is two feet larger than the pool is necessary. A sixteen-foot square tarp needs to be placed over the area that the pool will sit upon. If the pool is a rectangular above ground pool, the same dimensions need to be taken into consideration. This will allow easier mowing and safer entry into the pool.

The decision for pool shape and size will depend on the available area that it can be set up. There is no doubt that the addition of a soft sided above ground pool that is circular or a rectangular above ground pool will be a welcome addition to any yard.

It is also important to check with property codes. In some localities, it is necessary to have a fence surrounding the pool area. Once this is done, construction of the pool can begin and the summer fun for the family and friends can become a reality. Choose carefully. The more that is learned about pool safety the better the summer can be.


Cleaning Tips That Will Make Your Home A Healthy Place To Live In

It's clear that many of us just don't have a lot of spare time in our everyday lives. With this lack of free time it can be difficult to get everything done around the house that needs to be done, yet it's important to stay on top of your chores to keep a safe and clean home. It's helpful to break down these tasks according to how frequently they need to be done, whether it's daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.

The first daily task to complete is to make the bed. You'll thank yourself later that night when you fall into your clean and well-made bed.

Before leaving for work, clean up any cookware and cutlery that was used to cook breakfast. It's dangerous to leave these things lying around all day unwashed since the bacteria can easily spread. You'll want to do the same after eating dinner at night. If you have a dishwasher, you'll find that these tasks only take a couple of minutes.

Anytime you use a countertop, table, or any other surface to prepare or eat food, you should always clean the surface. These areas are bacteria traps and they'll regularly inhabit the areas where you prepare and eat food if you leave even a scrap of food there. In addition to your kitchen, your toilets should also be cleaned every day.

To give yourself extra time in the morning, pick up any stray mess that's left around before going to bed every night. You'll appreciate the effort the next morning when you don't have to clean up while hurrying to get ready for work.

As a weekly chore, carpet should be vacuumed and floors cleaned, especially in the rooms that see the most use. Always vacuum before dusting; vacuuming can kick up clouds of dust that would ruin all your work if you'd already dusted.

Windows should be cleaned every month, both on the inside and outside, and use a brush to clear out any cobwebs. If you have floors that need to be waxed, this should also be done monthly, as should the cleaning of woodwork and light switches.

Curtains and carpets should be cleaned professionally once a year. Steam cleaning fits the bill perfectly.

Keeping up with these cleaning guidelines will keep your home not only clean and pleasant to live in, but healthy as well.


Tips for Choosing Bats Homes

Attracting bats to your yard with a bat house is a great way to control the insect population. Because insects form the main part of the diet of bats, having bats homes on your property will keep the number of mosquitoes down without the use of pesticides.

Due to habitat destruction bat populations have been declining. You can bring bats to the vicinity of your home by installing a well-designed bat house. You will see many of these for sale in yard and garden centers and websites. Some designs are more practical than others and there are ones that look good to the human eye that are not very well suited to being bats homes. The better the design of the bat house, the more likely bats are to be attracted to it.

Size is an important consideration. It's better to choose a large bat house. Remember that their natural habitat is caves, so they prefer an enclosure with a large open space inside. There needs to be a landing plate as well as a rough interior. Some designs for bats homes have screening attached to the inside to give the bats something to cling to. This is better than a smooth wall, but sometimes the screening deteriorates from weather over the seasons. Bats need a rough surface to land on and cling to. The best designs have wood of the appropriate texture, rather than metal screens added on. The wood surface will maintain its texture or even gain more through the weathering process.

Another concern about bats homes is the exterior surface. An unpainted bat house has an appealing rustic look, but unfortunately it's likely to deteriorate faster from weather conditions. Bats homes should be painted for the same reason as humans homes should be, to protect the outside.
Other design features to think about are the sealing of the seams so that the box retains its shape, venting to ensure air circulation and temperature control, and an open bottom to help control temperature and discourage parasites.

To be effective bats homes must be placed where they will best attract bats and help them thrive. It is recommended that a bat house get seven hours of sunlight as a minimum, preferably in the morning. Catalogs and websites often show a bat house attached to a tree. Again, it is decorative, but not what is best for the bats. If you mount the bat house to a tree the location will probably get too much shade.

Attaching it under the eaves of the house will produce a similar problem. Try to find a place that will let the box get sunlight in the morning, but not have bright light shining on it late in the day or as the sun goes down. It should be shielded from any kind of flashing lights or harsh shiny materials.
Ideally bats homes should be near some sources of water and away from vents or sources of smoke. Also, they should not be placed where they will be disturbed by human activity. One solution is to find a good spot, install a pole and then attach the bat house to the pole.


Home Security Trends: What Works And What Doesn't

Home security can get a little overwhelming sometimes. A simple Internet search of "home security" produces thousands of results, each page advocating products and practices that will keep you and your home safe. With so many home security trends and tools, how do you figure out what works and what doesn't?

Are you security-savvy? Is your home a fortress, or are you rolling out the welcome mat for potential burglars? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about effective home security.

1. Darn it! You've locked yourself out of the house again. It's a good thing that you left a spare key:
A. Buried in the flowerpot
B. Hidden under the doormat
C. At your trusted next-door neighbor's house

Correct answer? C. You should never leave a spare house key anywhere outside your home. It's the oldest trick in the book, and burglars know it. Leave a spare key with someone you trust instead.

2. The best guard dog is:
A. A giant Rottweiler
B. A yappy Chihuahua
C. An intimidating German Shepherd

The answer is: All of the above. You don't need a ferocious guard dog to ward off potential criminals. Studies suggest that the barking of any dog is enough to scare away the average thug.

3. The key to an effective home alarm system is:
A. Spending big bucks on the latest technology
B. Remembering to set your alarm every time you leave the house
C. Putting the little metal sign in your front yard

Correct answer? B. Even the most expensive alarm system you can afford won't protect you if it's not armed. Always take the extra time to set your alarm, even if you're just leaving the house for a couple of minutes.

4. I live in an apartment, so I should rely on my landlord or management company to provide security.
A. True
B. False

And the answer is . . . False. Even if your landlord makes tenant safety a top priority, you should make a point to step up security in and around own apartment. Always lock your doors and windows, and never open the door to anyone you don't know. Consider investing in a wireless alarm system - you get all of the benefits of a hard-wired system, but you can take it with you when you move.

5. I just moved to a safe neighborhood, so I shouldn't worry about crime.
A. True
B. False

False. Crime can happen anywhere. From big, crowded city blocks to peaceful gated communities, everyone needs to make home security a priority.

Home security trends come and go. But the truth is common sense and a few basic precautions can help you protect your home from burglars. It's OK to try the latest security fads like barking alarms and nanny cams, but don't get so caught up in home security trends that you forget the cornerstones of defending your house and family. You don't have to be trendy or spend thousands of dollars - you just have to be smart and aware of your surroundings.


Cheap Ways to Cool Your Home

We're now entering the hottest part of the summer here in the United States and many of us are faced with a difficult decision. We can stay cool and dry in our homes but end up paying for high electric bills due to the cost of running our air conditioners all the time. Or we can skip the AC and live in hot and humid discomfort for a couple months out of the year while we hope for cooler weather.

If you're struggling with paying your electric bill to keep the air conditioner on this summer than take heart, here are a few simple and inexpensive ways you can help your air conditioner work less and keep your home cooler:

Use shades on windows and doors: Sunlight pouring in through your windows can warm your home like an oven, especially in the long sunny days of summer. You'll be amazed at how much cooler your home can be with the strategic placement of a few light-blocking shades over your sunniest windows. Regular shades or curtains aren't going to cut it. If you can hold your window covering up to the sunny sky and see ANY light coming through, then it isn't a true light-blocking covering. Most light-blocking curtains actually have a thick liner, sometimes plastic and sometimes made out of cloth. You can keep your regular decorative curtains in place, just be sure to also use light blocking curtains between your decorative curtains and the window. Close them during the sunniest part of the day and your home will stay much cooler.

Clean your air filters: Whether you have a central air conditioner or window AC units, you have to clean or even replace your air filters every so often to make sure you have a consistent flow of cool air. A dirty air filter can block air from being blown by your air conditioner. If your air filter is really dirty it could actually cause your AC blower to overheat or cause your air conditioner evaporator coils to freeze over. Both problems can damage an air conditioner and be costly to fix. You'll want to check your air filter once and month and follow the manufacturer's instructions for ways of cleaning or replacing the filter on a regular schedule.

Seal and insulate: One way to keep your home cool is to make sure you're not losing any cool air from your air conditioner where you shouldn't be. No matter what kind of air conditioner you have you can inspect all your windows and doors and make sure you don't have any drafts or gaps where cool air is seeping out. If you have window units you may want to make sure they are held tightly and have no gap around their mounting hardware. If you have a central AC unit then you'll want to inspect as much of the metal ductwork as you can, using foil tape to seal up any pin holes or gap that may have formed over time that let out precious cool air. You may also want to close the air duct registers and doors in rooms you don't use so that your air conditioner doesn't have to try to cool those rooms too.

Any single one of these methods will help keep your home interior cool and help your air conditioner keep up this summer. When combined using these cooling tips can really help you save money on your electric bill this summer!


Using a Refrigerator Water Filter to Fight Water Contamination

It is fairly common for a city to use a lake or reservoir to hold the city water supply. When the summer sun warms the lake water, this unpleasant taste permeates all of the water in the lake.

That taste can easily affect the taste of the water from water taps all over town. A refrigerator water filter is able to eliminate that bad taste and any dangerous contamination that might have come along with it from the lake bottom.

Most farming these days is done on large-scale corporate farms. This type of agriculture requires lots of chemicals including pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals are either absorbed into the groundwater or run off into the nearest stream or river.

Unfortunately, this polluted water often makes its way into the water supply of towns and cities downstream from the farm, even hundreds of miles away. City water treatment plants may be unprepared to adequately purify this water for human consumption.

Heavy metals such as lead and mercury are another disturbing intruder into tap water. These are often difficult or even impossible to detect when drinking the water. The damage they might do to your system is a real cause for worry. Some minerals should be in the water because they are healthy for us to drink. A well designed refrigerator water filter is able to filter out the heavy metals while leaving the healthy minerals alone.

These days, we all try to take advantage of anything we can find to stay healthy. Nobody wants to have to worry about whether our public water supply is safe to drink. We want to be absolutely confident that any harmful chemicals or pollutants have been eliminated from the water before we drink it.

A refrigerator water filter can give us peace of mind every day that the water we are drinking is not only safe, but pleasant and satisfying. It is far better to invest in a good refrigerator water filter now instead of waiting until a water contamination emergency.


The Top Advantages Associated With Utilizing Modern Fire Pits

There are many reasons why you should utilize modern fire pits in your outdoor living space. Not only do these decorative items add a unique sense of ambience in the space that you use for outdoor living, they also have a high level of functionality. As the light from day starts to fade and the stars emerge against a backdrop of black space, many individuals start to light up pits. In recent years, many individuals have started to push their traditional grills into the garage and pull out modern fire pits. The main reason for the transition is that the devices are attractive, unique, and other many different levels of functionality. In this guide, you will learn about the main reasons why you should use modern pits.

1. One of the main reasons to incorporate modern fire pits into your outdoor recreational area is to unite your family and friends. Small, contained fires have a way of uniting individuals on a social level. Many individuals enjoy gathering around the warm, soft glow of a contained fire to talk about areas of interest and things that are important to them, sharing stories, and to simply enjoy each other's company. Not only does the glow of the fire from pits assist in providing a soothing environment that promotes relaxation, many individuals find a large number of creative activities to indulge in such as roasting marshmallows and hot dogs.

2. In many areas, the temperatures become extremely cool during the evening and night hours. In addition to this, there are many areas where cool temperatures occur during the day time as well. Fire pits have the capability of providing warmth to individuals all year long. Even on the coolest of days, the modern pits available on the market today have the ability to provide a warm environment so that individuals may gather outside and enjoy the fresh air that the outdoors has to offer.

3. For several years, individuals have used traditional charcoal, wood, and gas grills in order to cook outdoors. Today, many individuals use modern pits in order to prepare meals outside. While it is true that outdoor grills may still be used, they do not offer the same level of flexibility that modern pits offer. For example, most individuals do not light up outdoor grills for the purpose and intent of sitting around them and socializing. However, many individual do this with modern fire pits. Individuals that use fire pits for cooking find that it is easy to prepare many different meals on the products and that the foods have a distinctive taste that is high in quality.

As you can see, there are many beneficial reasons to utilize modern pits. If you have an interest in adding a high level of functionality and appeal to your outdoor recreational space, you should consider the benefits highlighted in this guide. Fire pits are not only considered to be highly functional, but they are also considered to be highly decorative as far as appeal is concerned.


Top 5 Benefits of Child Internet Safety

We all know that the internet is filled with information, most of it good and accurate, and some it is complete trash. But more and more reliable resources are becoming available on the internet. These resources are great for children and teens who are researching for their homework, but the internet can be a dangerous place for children.

The real worry for children on the internet is the possibility that they will be exposed to inappropriate material. With one misspelled word typed into a search engine, your child could easily become exposed to pornographic or violent material. Child internet safety issues are always a hot topic, but you can begin now by protecting your child when they use the internet.

The first line of defense for children and the internet are the parents. Know what your child is doing when they are on the computer. Make sure that they are using the internet for the purposes that you approve of, such as homework research and communicating with friends. If your child is talking to someone you do not know, you should ask them about the person and if it is a stranger, you will need to restrict their use of internet.

Many internet browsers offer parental blocks for specific websites. If there is a particular site that you do not want your children on, you can set these parental blocks so that they will not have access to it. There are also some online tools that will help prevent your child from being exposed to inappropriate material. You can even find programs online and in stores that will allow you to monitor your child's activities online. This way, you will be sure that they are doing exactly what they say they are doing while using the internet.

Internet safety laws are currently in place to protect your child as well. If there is anyone out there trying to collect your child's personal information, that person can get into serious trouble with the federal government. Make sure that you warn your children against giving out any type of personal information to anyone, even if they think they know exactly who they are talking to.

The best way to protect your child is to learn about the tools that come with your computer in order to block material from your child when they use the computer. You will also want to learn about software programs specifically designed to block offensive sites. The sites and programs that your child uses, such as social networking sites, email programs, and chat programs are especially important to know about. Make sure that you take the simple precautions to help children stay out of trouble like keeping the computer in a common area of the house, forbid children to participate in a chat room, and talk to your child often about internet safety. If you keep the dialogue open, you will find that your children will be more likely to listen to you and take your advice when it comes to their safety.


Easy To Bake Easy To Make Crepes

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Crepes (or as the French say, crêpes), the simple, elegant and delicious thin pancakes from France. Crepes Suzette are a must in American fine dining and you can get all the crepes you can possibly imagine in one of France's thousands of Crêperies. But you don't need to be a master chef to create this secret to easy baking.

Let's take a trip to Brittany in France's history, shall we? For that's the original home of the crepe. While almost every country and people all over the world have some shape or form of pancakes (thick pancakes in the US and UK, large 'pannekoeken' in the Netherlands and Belgium, filled and rolled up palatschinken in Austria and Central Europe). However, of all places, it is in Brittany where the crepe was born round the 15th century. Originally, they were made with buckwheat flour as white flour was too expensive and thus reserved only for royalty. But even then, it was one of the most popular of easy baking recipes.

But as time passed by, white flour became more commonly available and people really liked the sweetness of it and who can blame them? I know I like my crepes sweet! So nowadays, they're made from white flour.
The most famous variant of crepes, as earlier implied, is the Crepe Suzette. It was first made in 1895 by Henri Charpentier in Café de Paris in Monaco, created for the Prince of Wales - who wanted a crepe for desert. Henri made a crepe with an orange sauce flambé. He named it Suzette in honor of the Prince's beautiful young lady companion. The rest, as they say, is history... the Crepe Suzette is now the most celebrated French dessert.

Now, let's get cracking with the basic, easy baking recipe for all crepes. From scratch! This will be the base for all your wonderful crepe creations! If you master this, the sky, or rather your imagination is the limit! Simple and quick to make, wonderful to eat and best when shared with friends and / or family! With a prepping time of 5 minutes and cooking time of around 30 minutes it doesn't take forever either.

Ingredients (for about 15 crepes):

- 1 ½ cups of flour (all purpose)

- 3 cups of milk

- Pinch of salt

- A small teaspoon of sugar (fine)

- 4 eggs

- 4 teaspoons of melted butter


1) Make sure you sift the flour first sift through the flour to ensure there are no lumps. Leaving large lumps in the flour will make for unpleasant surprises in your crepes - imagine an air bubble filled with dry, tasteless flour, yes, I know, not very pleasant.

2) Once you have sifted through the flour, you mix in the salt and sugar. Create a crater where you deposit the eggs and milk. Carefully start mixing it into a smooth batter. Be sure to use an electric mixer, but make sure you start out at a low speed and build up the tempo. You will want to avoid having the batter all over your kitchen!

3) Once the batter is mixed, mix the butter into the batter. This makes the crepes even more delicious!

4) Heat a frying pan and put a small amount of butter into the heated pan. As soon as the butter is molten and golden brown, take a large soup serving spoon or other scooping spoon and release one spoon full of batter into the pan.

5) Move the pan so that the batter distributes equally amongst the bottom of the pan until the batter has dried up completely and you are left with the deposit, the crepe, at the bottom of the pan.

6) Carefully flip the crepe over - don't try flipping it into the air unless you either know what you are doing, or if you are prepared to lose the crepe you are making!

7) Repeat the process of baking the crepes until all the batter has been used.

Once you have your pile of crepes, you can put a myriad of delicious toppings on your individual crepes, and you are set for a delightful desert!


Carbon Monoxide Producing Appliances in Your Home

Most homes are susceptible to dangers of gas leaks. In our desire to keep temperature inside our homes at a comfortable level, we keep our windows shut most of the time and use layers of padding to seal our homes while we use air conditioning during summers and a heating systems during cold seasons. While we have succeeded in lowering our utility bills by sealing ourselves in, we have also made ourselves more vulnerable in case of carbon monoxide and combustible gas leaks.

Gas and kerosene boilers, heating systems, woodstoves, and all other gadgets that run on petrol based fuels are potential contributors of carbon monoxide. This noxious chemical compound is the result when carbon rich fuels are not thoroughly burned due to improper oxidation or incomplete combustion. Since carbon monoxide does not have any color, odor, or taste, its victims are not aware of its existence until it is too late to react and the damage has been done.

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are the noxious chemical compounds that come as a result of incomplete burning of carbon based fuels. When functioning properly, home appliances vent these two chemical compounds outside our homes thru the exhaust plumbing. Gas and kerosene fueled furnace, boilers, and stoves are probable sources of carbon monoxide emissions at home.

Combustible gas leak is easier to be aware of because of its distinct odor. The BBB says that 80% of homes experience this type of gas leak in different quantities. High leak volumes pose dangers of explosion and fire. Breathing this noxious gas can cause severe health problems like shortness of breath to death depending on the volume involved.

Vent free fireplaces have disreputable records in carbon monoxide leaks because of the lack of proper plumbing connections to vent toxic gas outside. Several States have banned its use because of its tarnished safety record.

But while carbon monoxide is odorless, it is easier to be aware of combustible gas leak because of its distinct odor. According to the BBB, vent free furnaces are infamous for their reputation for leaking both carbon monoxide and combustible gas that use of this appliance is barred in some states.

Take time to figure out which places in your home are most vulnerable to combustible gas and carbon monoxide leaks. There are lots of model offering many kinds of features in the market. Your decision to buy must be dependent on matching your needs to the attributes that hey offer. For example, models with a built in smoke detector and the capacity to detect several types of gas aside from carbon dioxide are best suited for the kitchen area.

Since the best place to fix the detector is in the ceiling, it is most convenient to select one that has remote mechanism to control its functions. It should also have long battery life and a warning mechanism to call your attention when batteries are low. Gas leaks are a clear and present danger in our homes and every prudent homeowner must take every possible step to keep his family safe.


The Different Purposes of Metal Welcome Signs

Metal welcome signs are one of the best kinds of welcome signs available in the market today. Metal is a very popular material because of its durability, which makes it perfect for outdoor use. Aside from that, metal is relatively cheap compared to other kinds of materials and they are very easily available. Although welcome signs are generally used to remind people of certain rules, these signs can be used for other purposes as well.

First off, metal signs can be used as charming home decors and accessories. Many of the metal welcome signs in the market today are designed not just to be functional but to be decorative as well. Metal signs also come in a variety of warm messages which you can customize, making them even more attractive to home owners.

Secondly, welcome signs can be used for advertising. Store owners put up these signs to tell people of the products and services that they offer in their stores. They are considered to be a very effective way of advertising and marketing simply because they are the very first things that customers will see on the front of your establishments.

Third, metal welcome signs can also be used to designate certain places or states. For instance, when driving down the interstate highway, these signs are out up along the road to inform you what state you are currently driving through and when you are leaving or entering the area.

So for those of you, who want to make use of metal welcome signs for commercial or home use, make sure that the style you choose goes well with the design of your area. Always go for balance. No, they do not need to be symmetrical to look right but they should be able to complement your space just right.

Metal signs come in a wide variety of styles and designs. For those who want a more personalized touch, there are hand painted signs available in stores today. Hand painted metal signs allow you to customize the welcome message and the design that you want to display. There are also the laser cut signs which create a very modern and contemporary feel to your space.

For those who want a more whimsical feel, a good design to pick is the 3D metal sign that will surely catch the eye of your visitors. And finally, there are the antique metal pieces if you want to achieve that more rustic look.

Metal signs can also be hung or displayed in stands. So when you need to choose between one, consider the amount of space available in your property. Metal signs that are hung do not take up much space because they are simply placed against the walls. Signs placed on stands on the other hand, will require a little room. But remember, metal signs can be considerably heavy. So whether they are hung or placed in stands, make sure that these signs have enough support to carry all its weight.

Remember, metal welcome signs can set off the mood for your home. So if you believe that first impressions last, make sure that you choose right metal signs for your property.


How to Select a Hydroponic Water Pump

Hydroponics is a means of supporting plant growth without the use of soil. A hydroponic water solution is rich in nutrients that are kept suspended through the use of a hydroponic water pump. There are actually three different types of hydroponic pumps available, and those are the non-submersible, submersible, and semi-submersible.

The submersible type of hydroponic water pump is entirely submerged in a nutrient rich solution of water and salts that make up the perfect environment for extensive plant growth. The non-submersible hydroponic pump is placed in an external location that is never in contact with the fluid solution, and the semi-submersible type is placed in the water solution but the top is never in it and must continue to be dry.

When searching for the correct hydroponic water pump for your needs you really should be aware that the semi-submersible type comes with some inherent risks that may not be seen with the other two. Primarily, the main concern is that since it is allowed to be partially in the water there is a risk that it could topple over and create a disaster in the making. Electrocution from an incorrectly placed hydroponic pump could really put a damper on the benefits of such a system.

As you search for a hydroponic water pump to suit your needs, you will first want to determine the amount of nutrient solution necessary to support the kind of plant growth you are wishing to obtain. This will help you to calculate the size hydroponic pump needed to carry this amount of water throughout your system.

Depending on the amount of space that will be devoted to your plant growing system, you may even need more than one pump to accomplish the circulation required to keep your growth medium at its optimal state of suspension. The type of growth medium you are using will also help to determine the flow rate needed to maintain optimal conditions within your water bath.

For instance, rockwool is often used to provide a footing for plants to grow and remain erect, and it takes up about 20% of the container volume. Clay pellets take up 30% and pea stone displaces about 80% of the water solution. As you may be able to notice, it would take a stronger hydroponic water pump to keep the solution flowing when 80% of the water is displaced by pea stone than it would with the rockwool. It is the constant flow that makes the difference between delivery of nutrients and their stagnation.

Just remember that when you are selecting a hydroponic pump that you do not want to create such a disturbance in the water bath that the plant roots will be disrupted. Other than that, when you are ready to consider the purchase of hydroponic water pump, and are not sure which one you should choose, it is preferable to go with one that is powerful rather than one that will not do a sufficient job. You can always create a barrier if the water is moving too rapidly.


Cooking - Easy, Fun And Healthy

Cooking can actually be a lot of fun as compared to the tough, tedious and drab affair that it is made out to be by many. Yes, it does require some patience and effort; but surely there is no pain no gain. Think of all the delicious food that you can enjoy and also treat friends and family to. There are so many varieties of ingredients and cooking techniques like baking, frying, grilling, boiling and even steaming to explore.It is all worth it.

I am sure the goodlooking pictures in the magazines and on cookery shows does make you want to cook. It sure does make me feel that way. Just glancing through a magazine or a television show and a good picture of any dish does make me stop right there for a few seconds. Even during the days when I had not begun my culinary journey and preferred to be a mere by-stander, I liked the theoretical aspect of this wonderful art. Now I know that all those delicious looking dishes are possible right in my kitchen. The lovely cookery blogs and the recipes that chefs at home post is evidence enough that it is no longer the forte of only the fancy restaurants. It is all possible right at home.

Cooking is a lot of fun, in addition it offers a number of advantages as well. Picking up a packet of packaged food from the freezer and putting it into the oven is definitely a lot easier. However, think of all the extra calories that you are taking in. If you would cook the same dish at home, you can use better in fact, the best quality ingredients and ensure a healthy lifestyle. You can make changes in the recipe to make it healthier. You can add some more fruits/vegetables. Lesser oil and salt is a definite benefit when it is cooked in your own kitchen. The cost aspect too is a big attraction. You can do it in almost half the cost of a supermarket bought pre-packaged food. So, if budget is any criteria then cooking at home is a great way to ensure that you are able to keep well within your budget.

It is definitely easy to eat healthy if you cook on your own. The fast paced lifestyle has made us resort greatly to packaged food. However, the growing importance of healthy eating is getting many of us to enter the kitchen.

Cooking can actually be a great stress-buster if you look at it as a form of expression and add to it your personal touch. The smile and satisfaction it can bring to your family and friends really makes all the effort worthwhile.

Cooking is not the time consuming laborious process it is made out to be. If you know how to work smart you can lay out a wonderful spread in no time at all. A little planning in advance can make all the difference. Some dishes can be made a few days prior and frozen so that you can enjoy your favorite dish whenever you feel like. Learn to manage your inventory in the kitchen and in your refrigerator well and you really wouldnt have any trouble even if you have a really long day at work or with the kids.

With the internet being a treasure house of all kinds of recipes you can now cook just what you want. Customize the taste and flavors to your needs, that's what makes you a great cook. Involve other family members and kids in the cooking process and it can be a fun activity that involves the entire family. Add a little twist to your cooking, take it outdoors today. Cooking outdoors can be great fun and has everyone involved as well. A barbecue party with an array of chicken dishes , burgers and vegetables can be simply great. So, put on your chefs cap and go ahead whip up a surprise delight. Happy cooking!!!


Getting Bottled Water Delivered to Your Home

Bottled Water delivery has become big business in the past few years partly due to the taste and health benefits it can offer. Lets face it water is the basis of all life and it is a well established fact that the human body needs it everyday to keep functioning. Getting water delivered to your home can actually be cheaper than purchasing bottles in the store. Before deciding on a bottle water delivery service, one should be familiar with options before entering a contract that could last over a year.

The first thing one should look into regarding bottled water delivery is the type of water. Many of the companies that deliver water to your home are simply filling the bottle from filtered tap water. Most of the large soft drink makers have a product line that is purely filtered water. This may be fine for your needs and one benefit of this is that it might contain the added benefit of fluoride that helps prevent tooth decay.

However if you are looking for the benefits of a more natural water source you may look into a provider of natural spring water. Natural spring water is exactly how it sounds, it is from a natural source that has not been treated or have chemicals added to it. You can find some natural spring water companies that will deliver it to your home such as Poland Springs, Zephyrhills or Fiji Water Delivery

One should also think about how the water will be delivered. Many companies deliver it in a larger container such as a 5 gallon bottle that needs to be used in conjunction with a dispenser. Usually a water dispenser is rented by the user from the water delivery company so there can be an added cost to the price of the water. Much of the natural spring water that is delivered is shipped in smaller sealed bottles from where it is bottled and that shipping price is included in the price. There aren't many natural spring water providers that deliver in the larger five gallon bottles, so if you are set on having spring water delivered you will probably need to go with a provider that ships it in smaller bottles such as liter or half liter bottles.

Today there are many different types and ways to get bottled water to your home. Before you buy consider all your options so that you and your family can benefit from the water that you choose to drink.


Shed Your Extra Fat With The Best Herbal Tea For Weight Loss

Herbal tea is regarded from the primitive times as a key to good health, wisdom, and happiness. It is showing the positive results till now by bestowing numerous health benefits to the people. This healthy drink can fight various diseases such as cancer, blood and sugar levels, mental imbalance, heart problem, hormonal changes, weight loss, and many more. It has antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities that help in the overall well being of the individuals.

While it is considered for its soothing properties as nature's antianxiety agent, the brew can also be beneficial in reducing weight. Therefore, shed your extra pounds by taking the best herbal tea for weight loss regularly. Many research has shown that tea drinkers, especially green tea can lose weight faster than people who do not take it.

Best herbal teas for weight loss are the healthiest beverage on the planet, loaded with antioxidants and other health beneficial substances. A cup of organic tea ensures intake of many beneficial substances having influential biological effects. Best herbal teas for weight loss shine is in its tremendous assortment of antioxidants that can boost the metabolism and burn the fat.

The active compounds in this healthy drink can enhance the effects of fat burning hormones. It breaks down the fat cell and moved into the bloodstream. The chief antioxidant in herbal tea is EGCG that can control an enzyme that breaks down the hormone norepinephrine. When this enzyme is stifled, the magnitude of norepinephrine increases. The nervous system use this hormone to signal the fat cells to break down the fat. Thus, more norepinephrine results to a powerful signal being transferred to the fat cell and more fat gets break down.

These healthy drinks are prepared by mixing herbs, plants, and other nutritional ingredients. They can maintain the level of free radicals in the bodies well. Herbal tea is often rich in minerals and vitamins, thereby prevents the deficiencies in your diet. Mix it in hot water and drink regularly for the numerous health benefits. Organic tea can also be helpful in the digestion, alleviating stress, healthy metabolism, and for the treatment of ailments like cold and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Best herbal tea for weight loss is both healthy and good in taste. The natural flavors and aroma of this refreshing drink can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Those who want to experience the good results of herbal tea, should follow a healthy lifestyle along with this drink. Regular exercise, workout, healthy eating habits along with the daily herbal tea intake will surely help you with your weight loss efforts. It will show you effective outcomes in a short time.

Get your herbal tea for weight loss from a local shop of your area and start having it daily for a healthy body weight. Time to pack the gym bag for workout, herbal tea kettle and healthy food to achieve the effective results by shedding extra kilos from your body.


Tips For Flower Garden Design

At first, it seems like designing your flower garden is a scary prospect. Once you've planted your flowers, it might be a bit hard for you to tear them up if you don't like the layout, so it's very important to get it right from the beginning.

You might find it easy to come up with a great garden design if you're an artist. But if not, then you may struggle with certain things like where to put everything, which varieties to use, and what colors to use. However, you can still design a beautiful flower garden even if you're not an artist or a landscaping professional.

Texture is one of the most important parts of designing a flower garden. Flowers of different shapes and heights should be used. You should include plants with various sizes of flowers, different leave shapes and sizes, etc. Variety is very important to the aesthetics to of your flower garden. If you have too many flowers that are similar, then it could be very boring.

As you design your garden, you need to keep the seasons in mind. Perhaps you'd want your garden blooming throughout the year as much as possible or you'd rather focus on a particular season.

If you want your garden to bloom mostly in the spring, you might want to choose pinks and purples, or you might want to go with classic tulip colors such as red and yellow. A lot of spring-blooming flowers are yellow, so that's a very classic color for the season.

You can use white and blue for the summer and by adding red, you can have a 4th of July garden! Spring and fall colors can also be used for your summer garden.

Fall flower gardens should probably contain reds, yellows, and orange. These colors would look great with the orange and browns of the fall leaves. For fall gardens, African Marigolds would be wonderful.

You don't have to stick with these colors, but you'll definitely need to choose colors that go well together. For example, you probably don't want to mix orange, purple, and blue together. For a wildflower garden, it's better to use a wide variety of colors.

You can use a wide range of colors if your intention is the wild and natural look. But if you want a more refined or elegant garden, you need to be careful to choose colors that complement each other well.

Remember that the height of the flowers you plant should vary. If you're planting flowers near a border of some sort, like a fence or wall, then you should plant taller varieties in the back, gradually planting shorter and shorter flowers as you move forward. Then a low-lying ornamental grass should be planted in the front as a border between the flowers and the walkway.

Planting annuals may not be the best choice since they need to be replanted each year. You should mix annuals in with perennials. Being relaxing is one of the best things about flower gardens. It's not relaxing if it's too much work.


How to Choose Great Outdoor Patio Furniture for Your Yard

Most people end up replacing their patio furniture much too often. For some people it's almost a yearly tradidtion! If you follow a few simple guidelines, you'll be able to buy outdoor furniture that looks great and will last a very long time.

Choice of material is probably the biggest factor to think about when choosing outdoor furniture. The material is the biggest factor in determining the weather proofness of your outdoor furniture and how long it will last with minimal maintenance from you.

For those that don't want to spend much time cleaning or maintaining their patio furniture, aluminum or plastic are the best bets. Furniture made from these two materials are highly water resistant and weather proof. When they start to get dirty simply soap them up and then spray them down with a garden hose.

Cast iron and steel is another choice but they will corrode and rust unless varnished or sealed with some type of weather coating. You can also look for metal furniture that has been powder coated at the factory.

Wood on the other hand can be more of a problem. Teak is probably the best wood to choose as it is pretty weather resistant. Other woods that are used in very cheap outdoor furniture can rot or grow mold after only a few months in the rain. If you want to put the extra effort in, the waterproofing of outdoor wooden furniture can be improved by staining or varnishing each item.

Patio furniture in these materials are available in all sorts of colors, shapes and styles. Follow these guidelines and you should have no problem finding something that looks great in your yard and will also last a very long time with minimal effort.


Container Flower Gardening

If you are like most people the pleasure of seeing fresh, vibrant and colorful blooms is one of the greatest delights of both the spring and summer seasons.

You don't need to be a gardening expert to produce your own. Anyone can plant, grow, and enjoy their own pleasurable flower garden regardless of where they live. It doesn't have to take up a lot of time consuming nor does it need to take up a lot of space.

The solution for those who want the joys of a real garden without a lot of the maintenance is container flower gardening.

You can choose the type and colors of flowers to suit your own taste and the size and type of containers to suit the free space you have available.

It becomes simple to transform a dull patio, decking area, balcony or even a window sill into a work of art.

Start by deciding what type of containers you want to use. This is largely determined by the area that you intend to use for your container garden. Some typical types of container are ceramic pots, wooden barrels, or plastic containers.

All containers must have adequate drainage to stop your plants ending up soaked and over watered. Remember also that the roots will need to grow so the containers should allow room for that. You can always transfer from container to container as the flowers grow if you wish.

Quick Fact:
Container gardening refers to more than just simple containers - it can mean window boxes, hanging baskets or standard plant pots.

Once you've decided on your container - next you are going to need some soil. Choose a good, high quality potting soil that you can pick up from your gardening supplies store. Look for one with vermiculite added in for correct drainage and moisture levels. When repotting newly sprouted flowers from the plastic tray to the container use a granular type fertilizer to help assist growth.

So you've got your container and your soil, next you need some flowers. The choice here again is your own but its good to vary the heights and colors of your flower selection. You can choose colors that complement each other well.

Container flower gardening allows you to use your own flair and creativity and is a big part of the satisfaction of the hobby.

Your local gardening supply store personnel could be a good resource for choosing which flowers to use and how to place them.

Finally some other important things to bear in mind for keeping your container flower gardening healthy. It will need the right amount of sunlight and water. This will vary depending on the type of flowers - make sure you read the information that comes with your flower seedlings.

Container flower gardening is a relaxing and rewarding hobby with long term satisfaction and can be used to greatly enhance any home.



Buying a new sofa can be an exciting time especially when you have brought it in the sale and you have paid half the price. A sofa can be the focal point of your lounge and it can totally change the look. Once you have made the hardest decision of colour and fabric then you will want it to match the other furniture in the room. More importantly it needs to be colour coordinated, as there is nothing worse than a sofa that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Showing off your new sofa to all your friends and family is great when it's brand new but after a couple of months the sofa can start to get a little dirty. To ensure you keep the quality and freshness of your sofa. Although we don't want to think about this chore too often it really will pay off in the long run.

The first way of keeping your sofa clean is by giving it a good going over when you hoover the carpet. This doesn't have to be on every occasion unless you have pets that lose lots of hair, in which case this needs to be done more regularly. If the cushions of your sofa can be removed then do so and then hoover in the little nooks and crannies where we often find loose change.

When you are on a mission and you are doing a full on spring clean then the sofa does need a little more attention when cleaning. Apart from doing your regular hovering you could also wash down the sofa. This needs to be done on a day that you don't require the sofa for seating purposes as it might take all day to dry. If you have removable cushions then wash these separately and leave these to dry before placing them back on the sofa.

Washing detergent used for your laundry is adequate enough to clean a fabric sofa unless of course you have a different material sofa. Lots of the local supermarkets will offer a range of suitable cleaning products. Under no circumstance should you use a product containing bleach. It has been known to be used on an off white sofa with an unwanted stain on it. This was the worse thing they could have done. The beautiful sofa was totally ruined and had to be rectified by using a throw.

So you do have to be careful when buying a light coloured sofa, particularly white. They can be almost impossible to keep clean unless of course it is just for show and it is never used. You can always flip over the cushions, which will mean you don't have to think about cleaning the cushions quite so often.

Finally it is so important to clean your sofa. Not just for superficial reasons but if left to fester then lots of bacteria can be stored in the sofa which will increase by the minute if neglected. It doesn't have to be done all he time but just enough to keep the quality and cleanliness of the sofa.


All Natural Skin Care Products - Find the Healthiest Cream For Your Skin Today!

There are many ways to repair skin damage and maintain its youthful appearance. It could be as simple as following basic skin care, avoiding those that lead to skin damage and finding all natural skin care products ideal for your type of skin. The problem, however, is that there are so many different creams and skin care products out there. Skin care tips are sometimes contradictory that the once simple solution to skin damage became more baffling.

There is no best cream for everyone but there is such a thing as healthiest cream for your skin. This is because people's skin type differs. Some are oilier while some are drier. Some are more tolerant of the sun's rays while some are more sensitive. A person's lifestyle should also dictate on which cream to purchase. This is because people can be exposed to different triggers that cause free radicals. This means that all natural skin care products you have to purchase should focus on protection your skin needs the most.

The first thing one has to consider when buying the healthiest cream is its protection against the sun. Long exposure to the sun has been long proven to lead to skin damage that sunscreen is one of the best bets for choosing one. Being exposed to the sun for long hours has many consequences including sun spots, discoloration, dryness and wrinkles.

The condition of the skin will inevitably deteriorate with time but it can be slowed down with apt skin regimen and all natural skin care products. There are a few components that your cream has to have to guarantee that it would help you keep that youthful glow. The first one is antioxidants. Free radicals lead to oxidation which has been considered to be a culprit in the process of skin aging. Antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E have been known to kill free radicals and keep the cells of the skin healthy. Having these ingredients in your skin care products would definitely prove to be beneficial.

Products with water and oil need preservatives to prevent bacterial growth after they are opened. Most skin care products contain preservatives, such as quaternium-15 and imidazolidynyl urea, that sometimes cause skin irritation. For people who have skin reactions from these preservatives, it is best to resort to all natural skin care products.

Another main consideration is the moisturizing properties of the cream. Moisturizers, in all natural skin care products, can hold water in the outermost layer of skin. Aside from that, they also act as a temporary barrier that allows damaged cells of the skin to be repaired on their own. Again, it all depends on the type of your skin. For normal to oily skin, water-based moisturizers are best to avoid that greasy feeling. On the other hand, those with dry skin and mature skin may need more moisturizing components that it has to be oil-based.

It is not enough to use the cream that suits your skin best. You still have follow a basic skin care regimen and avoid other factors that lead to skin damage. A multi-level strategy might just do wonders for skin repair and its maintenance. Having a well-balanced diet and having a healthy lifestyle can also improve the condition of your skin.


What Does An Air Purifier Actually Do?

There are different forms of air purifier systems, so it can be hard to know what someone means when they talking about air purifying. For example, all air conditioning units and most central heating devices have some form of air purification built in. In deed, the air purification filters in most split air conditioning units are very sophisticated. A similar add-on unit can be bought for most central heating and central conditioning systems.

However, you may not require heating or cooling units, but you may want a dedicated air purifier. Air purification units can greatly increase your quality of life, especially if you suffer from an allergy or live with a smoker or animals.

Air purifiers or air cleaners, as they are also known, clean the air of pollutants and foreign bodies. However, some air purifiers are more advanced than others, so it is a good idea to work out what you want to remove from your air before you buy one.

This is because not all systems will take all kinds of filter and not all filters will trap all pollutants. Some will, but not all. So if you want to take pollen out of the air because you suffer from hay fever, check with the supplier that the unit that you like, can do the job.

Air purifiers will greatly help allergy sufferers and some people do not know that they have an allergy. Some people are allergic to pet hairs, or dog and or cat skin particles or smoke or traffic pollutants like tyre rubber to say nothing of the exhaust fumes that none of us want. So, if you live near a road or a factory, or keep a cat or a dog, you live with a smoker or you suffer from hay fever, an air purifier would most likely be good for you.

How you do this is clearly up to you. If you have a central air conditioning unit already, it is probably better for you to install an air purification system near your blower. This method is relatively cheap ($300 - $1,000), but it will purify the air in the whole house.

If you live in a bedsit, a trailer or a caravan and it gets hot where you live, a split air con system is perhaps better for you, but if you just want to purify the air immediately around you, then a portable air purifier will meet your requirements.

One word of caution though, many of the cheaper portable air purifying units are worse than useless because they are burning your electricity without giving you any benefit. These cheap models do not have the power to purify large volumes of air and they do not have filters that are capable of blocking the allergens that trouble us.


Stainless Steel BBQ Drawers Make Grilling Easier

There you are all set to make the most out of your barbequing experience and you can't find the utensils it takes to turn the steak over. That would not be the case if you have stainless steel bbq drawers to store those much needed tools in. Everything you need to make your party great is right there next to your grill.

Bbq drawers are handy conveniences that many people do not even consider necessary when setting up their patio for those special moments when you and the family and maybe some friends are right there ready to partake in some of the finest eating possible. However, when you think about it grilling is not that much different than cooking on the range in the home. Most kitchens are set up with drawers right there close by, housing all the tools needed to prepare a fantastic meal.

When creating the perfect outdoor kitchen, shouldn't you also consider placing stainless steel drawers right where you need them the most? When making your selection from the many sizes of bbq drawers that are available the first thing to think about is what kinds of tools will be needed.

Sure you will need tongs and spatulas as well as shish kabob skewers and thermometers, but there are so many more items that can go into those bbq drawers so that they will be readily accessible during those times spent outdoors.

Some items that are often needed when grilling are pot holders and towels for protecting and keeping the hands clean and safe. Paper towels are other items that come in handy when working at any kitchen even the one that is on the patio. Of course you can't forget about plates and bowls as well as glasses and cups when you are creating taste tempting treats for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you need only one bbq drawer or several of them stainless steel drawers are the right way to go. For one thing, they are built to be perfect for outdoor use, and they will hold up to any kind of weather condition. They look good and fit into the decor easily enough for any outdoor situation.

When setting up that outdoor kitchen don't forget that most of the things that you use for those special occasions can be stored in your own stainless steel bbq drawers, and you will not have to be carting them back and forth each time you need them when they are stored in bbq drawers set up right there on the patio or garden area.

Nothing makes more sense than having the things that you need to complete any task right there at your fingertips, and that includes when you are preparing your famous grilling recipes. Therefore, adding stainless steeldrawers to your grilling area is an excellent idea.

Finding the finest quality in bbq drawers is not a difficult task, and can usually be accomplished by visiting sites that offer any kind of grilling equipment. Some suppliers can even custom build steel bbq drawers to suit your individual needs.


Lower Heating Bills With Energy Saving Devices

Once you've had a home energy audit done, you'll be thinking about renovations and purchases based on energy saving. While nothing beats in-depth insulating, buying new windows, weather stripping and caulking air leaks, or investing in a new furnace, there are many smaller changes you can do today that will conserve electricity. For instance, you can buy Energy Star appliances, energy monitors, direct energy and indirect energy saving devices.

The first step toward energy saving comes with a realistic assessment of your home's energy use and where changes can be made. Meters and monitors will show you how much energy you're using -- and, in the end, how much energy you've saved. Thermometers are perhaps the simplest of the home energy saving devices. Thermometers help you measure the temperature of your refrigerator, freezer, water heater and various rooms of the house. If you're having trouble finding the drafts in your home, try using an infrared heat gun to show you an instant temperature reading wherever you point your gun. Your electrical meter and gas meter can also reveal a lot about your energy usage. If you record the data each day, you may see patterns of spikes or declines which will help you determine what might be wasting energy in your home.

The next step in your quest to save energy is to invest in some direct power conserving devices for the home. Programmable thermostats can save up to 1% of your energy costs for every degree you turn down the heat or turn up the air conditioning for an eight hour period each day, states the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy agency of the US government. For instance, if you dropped the thermostat from 68 to 61 from 9 am - 5 pm while you're at work, you can cut your heating costs by 7%. Your thermostat will let you automatically time when these temperature changes take place, so you won't even have to think about it.

Smart Power Strips are another one of the great ways to save electricity. For $35, you could divide your electricity uses into three sections: the control outlet, one or more hot outlets and one or more switched outlets. For example, you can plug your desktop computer into the control outlet, the cable modem and router into the constant hot outlet and all the other devices (printers, speakers, etc) into an easy on/off switch outlet.

You can also find energy saving as a secondary feature of many household products. For instance, a dimmer switch is intended to offer homeowners more versatile lighting in their homes. Yet, it also can also save the life of your lightbulbs and cost you a little less on your electric bills. Of course, fluorescent lights are better at saving you money, but do not have as much ambiance. Similarly, automatic timers on pool pumps, computers and other appliances are designed to turn devices on or off, but these also save on your power consumption. Timers can also be found on bathroom fans, which may be programmed to run for a set period of time after your shower but not all day long. Motion lights function as wonderful power saving devices by providing you with light only when you need it. Power bars protect your equipment from damage during power spikes, but will also cut off all power to your devices with the flip of a switch.


Home made Face and Body Scrubs

love homemade face scrubs! They remove the actual itchy, flaky and unclean layer of your skin that turns vibrant and smooth--your skin feel refreshed. Do it twice a week and you will enjoy a constant smooth, healthy skin. I'll also mention a couple of homemade body scrubs.

What's a scrub?

Scrubs, exfoliators, or exfoliating scrubs--they basically mean the same; an agent that gently removes the outer layer of your pores and skin. A scrub is a deeper cleanse than using cleansers, toners or even soaps. The result is not only a smooth skin but scrubs also stimulate blood flow, skin rejuvenation and revive the natural glow of your skin. Scrubs is most effective on clean skin; a body scrub after a bath or bath is prefect.

Begin with your feet and with slow circular motions work the body up to your shoulders. A body scrub often rubs the skin greater than a face scrub so use a gentler scrub for your face than the body.

Avoid irritating your skin

Face scrubs can be used twice a week but body scrubs only twice a month for those who have normal skin. If you have sensitive skin like me, avoid rubbing the skin too hard. I've seen that if I rub my skin too hard or too often it causes skin irritation and this can be a reminder to treat your skin gentler. You don't always notice immediately if you're rubbing too much; sometimes your skin will show signs of irritation only after a couple of hours.

Why can I do a face scrub twice a week but a body scrub only twice per month? One reason is that your face is under attack all day time long from dirt particles, environmental toxins, UV radiation and more. This is why you ought to revive your delicate facial skin more often. Your body is more protected under layers of clothes for the majority of the year.

Scrubs containing oils

A vegetable oil like extra virgin essential olive oil will make your scrub easier to use--oil makes your scrub milder and lessen skin friction. It means that your skin doesn't obtain irritated as easy. Oil also protects your skin and makes this smoother.

Prepare a milder face scrub

Oat flour and almond flour tend to be both gentle and contain healthy oils. If you have oily skin you can test kaolin clay instead. Mix equal parts oat flour, honey, almond flour. Add yogurt before you get the consistency you like. Wet your face and gently therapeutic massage the mix with circular motions. Leave it on for a short while and rinse.

Algae and kelp

Algae and kelp are often utilized in spa treatments and are good for aged skin. Put the dry algae or kelp in water for some time before use. They contain minerals and salt that makes for the gentle scrub.

Body scrubs with salt

Salt is excellent in entire body scrubs. Just be aware that salt dries out your skin and to balance this you need to use a moisturizer or oil after you rinsed the scrub off. A simple salt scrub is by using a gentle soap that creates a foam on your skin. As the foam is still on your skin gently gently massage your pores and skin with salt and rinse it off. And again, be sure to utilize a moisturizer. If you mix salt with olive oil or rapeseed oil it becomes less irritating and doesn't dry out your skin as much. Try extra virgin coconut oil following this scrub--it's wonderful for the skin and smells great.


Day Spa Margaret River - 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Miss Out On the Experience of a Day Spa

If you want to enjoy a relaxing day, visit a day spa in Margret River. For those who are wondering what exactly a day spa is, here a small elucidation. A day spa is essentially a cross between a salon and a spa. So, as in a salon, you visit the place only during the day and get various hair and beauty treatments done at the place. Also, as in a spa, you can enjoy several rejuvenation massages, steam baths, aromatherapy treatments and so many other relaxing procedures. Here are ten reasons that are going to compel you to visit a day spa in this charming city.


Unlike conventional spas that are usually located away from the city centre, day spas are very much a part of the city. So, visiting the place is more convenient. Also, if you cannot spend a few days away from your routine life to visit a conventional spa, you can visit a day spa and enjoy the same benefits. You can drive in at the appointed time and drive off in the evening, after having enjoyed a few hours of utter relaxation.

Cost effective luxury

If you like luxury but costs stop you from visiting a conventional spa, head over a day spa. Although day spas are not very cheap, they are more cost effective than a conventional spa. You can enjoy almost the same level of luxury as well.

Comprehensive beauty care centre

Many day spas provide beauty treatments such as pedicure, manicure, hair care and skin care. So, when you visit a day spa, you can get yourself treated from head to toe.

Weight loss benefits

The massages and detoxification treatments provided at day spas help you lose weight in a healthy manner. Some day spas have special packages for weight loss treatments.

Pampering and relaxation

Visiting a day spa is the best form of pampering yourself. Enjoy the experience of skilled hands working on your tired muscles and enjoy enhanced relaxation.

Reduce stress

With your body detoxified and muscles relaxed, you experience a reduction in stress. So, if you have been working too hard and are stressed out, one visit to a day spa is the need of the hour for you.

Get rids of pains

People suffering from backache, neck and shoulder aches and pains in the joints can experience a lot of relief by undergoing special massages at day spas. You can enjoy pain relief without spending too much money.

Improve mental health

With your stress level down, body detoxified and your entire biological system refreshed by the treatments at a day spa, you notice a distinct improvement in your mental health. If you have been experiencing bouts of depression, dullness, reduction in memory power and lack of concentration, visit a day spa.

Experience better sexual life

Sexual life depends on the overall wellbeing of your body. When your mind is alert, stress levels are down and body is detoxified, you feel energised. The quality of sexual life improves.

Improve quality of life

Ultimately, when you are relaxed in your mind and body, you can live life of a much better quality. You can face challenges better and can juggle all the important things in your life more efficiently.

To comprehend the true extent of benefits you enjoy from a day spa, visit one today.


Thinking Through the Value of Charcoal Water Filters

When you start researching the best kinds of home water filtering systems, you will hear a lot about charcoal water filters. Its a good idea to know more about how charcoal water filters work so you can make an informed decision before you invest in your own water filtration system.

Many people know that charcoal itself is the outcome of a process of where organic matter and wood are heated together in an oxygen free system. One of the most useful products of that comes out of that process is charcoal because it has a lot of diverse uses including charcoal water filters.

Charcoal often has air pockets buried inside the hard black material. Along with how well charcoal burns, the characteristic that makes it so great in the form of a charcoal water filter is it traps gases and contaminants in as water passes through the filter.

A charcoal water filter uses a variation on the material called activated charcoal. Activated charcoal has been processed so it even more porous than conventional charcoal. That additional processing makes activated charcoal very good at trapping unwanted substances that are in the water.

Activated charcoal water filters can absorb a tremendous amount of substances and trap contaminants for quite some time before you should change the filter out. For example, just one cc or charcoal can trap 90 times that much water contaminants in a very small space. That makes an activated charcoal water filter a tremendously efficient water purification system.

Charcoal water filters do not filter out the natural minerals in your drinking water. We get a lot of minerals from drinking water that are essential to health. If a water filtration system removes those minerals, you would have to replace that source of nutrition.

When shopping for a water purification system, you can have confidence if you consider use the charcoal water filter approach to water purity. It is a design of water purification that has been in use for quite some time and it has been proven time and time again to be reliable and healthy in keeping your water healthy for you and your family to drink.


Do It Yourself Home Security. Keep Your Home Safe

For the majority of people, that sense of safety and protection has always been found in the comfort of their own homes. However, many homeowners fail to take the necessary precautions to secure their homes against illegal entry. Even if you are on a tight budget, there are basic do-it-yourself steps that you can take to better protect your home.

One of the choices you have when you are determined to increase the security of your home is to implement a do-it-yourself home security program. With an install it yourself system, you have the ability to choose what components you can afford. For instance, if you want sensors on every window and door, then that's what you will choose for your system. Because you are the security system designer, you decide what it does.

Little or No Cost Burglar Prevention

There are many ways you can secure your home with little or no cost:

1.) Conduct a security check of your home to determine possible weaknesses

2.) Fake Security Cameras are a cost effective of way of deterring criminals from your home Fake cameras look exactly like real cameras. Quality fake cameras come equipped with a cable and flashing light. Most criminals cannot tell the difference between a real and fake camera.
3.) Keep all entrances and garages well-lit at night.

4.) Do not advertise that you are away

5.) A wide-angle door viewer allows you to view callers before you open the door
6.) Never open a door to strangers without credentials. Teach your children this step.

7.) Because burglars can operate on a person's routine, it is important to change your routine frequently.

8.) Do not keep large amounts of money in your home. Mark valuable items for identification

9.) Keep valuables in a safety deposit box at your bank. If this is not possible, keep them locked in a fire proof safe

Front and Back Doors

All exterior doors should be constructed using a solid hard wood or reinforced steel. A good door is useless if its frame is in poor shape. Assess the door jams. It is recommended that you install 2-1/2 to 3 inch stainless steel or nickel plated screws in all exterior door jams. Screws should be driven at least 1-3/4 inch deep into the underlying frame. Many home improvement centers sell quality door reinforcement kits. Supporting the front entrance and back entrance is an important step. Dead bolt locks are available at your local hardware store and they come with easy to follow installation instructions. Upgrading locks is essential, but remember the screws holding the lock and door hinges in place. Remove the short screws and replace them with the 3" screws. Your door will be tightly fastened into the door frame. Upgrade the strike plate on your door jam with a much longer strike plate 10" or 12" and install it with 3" screws. These screws are long enough that they will go right through the door casing and into the frame around your door.

Securing Windows

Most double hung windows have cheap locks which should be replaced by heavy duty locks. Upgrade your locks by installing dead bolt locks. Double dead bolts locks provide the best security. The safest windows are glass block. They are nearly impossible to break and cannot be opened. They are a good choice for basements or areas at or near ground level. A glass-break detector can detect the sound of breaking glass and can be installed in an area in close proximity to doors and windows. Security pins can be added to window frames to prevent easy entry by a burglar. Window locks, even high quality secure windows locks, are inexpensive and an important security requirement.

Patio and Sliding Window Doors

To prevent thieves from lifting the frame from the track, drive a few screws into the top track above where the door or window rests when closed. Don't drive the screws all the way in. The protruding heads make it impossible to lift the door or window out of the frame. You will still be able to remove the door or window for cleaning by sliding it over to the open section.

Downstairs/Basement Areas

No matter what style of window you have in your basement, they're always going to be difficult to secure because their location. Break resistant glass and pins or locks securing the window to the frame will definitely help. Key operated window locks are the securest method to safeguard your windows, but you must ensure that the key is kept somewhere close by and all family members must know precisely where the key it is locate in the event of a fire.

Security Alarms

Wireless do it yourself home security systems can give you a remarkable level of protection. There are many wireless do it yourself home security systems that are supplied as a basic kit. These security kits typically come with a couple of motion detectors, a couple of sensors, along with the control panel and probably a siren. These wireless do it yourself home security systems are not expensive and adding components won't put much of a strain on the bank. Although there is variation among different makes and models of security systems, almost all work the same way. All the keypad consoles are wired to a central control box, usually located in a basement or closet. The control box contains a battery backup, phone wires and wires for a cellular backup.

Neighborhood Watch

One of the best ways to keep your home safe is to establish a neighborhood watch of neighbors to keep an eye on each other's property for suspicious activity. Having other people monitoring your home while you're away is one of the most efficient ways to deter intruders.

Organization is Fundamental Security

Simple changes in your home and your lifestyle can ensure that you never have to worry about break ins. Beginning with a basic do it yourself home security system is better than no protection at all. In the future, you can always add to your set-up to bring it to the level of security you and your family need.


Winter Gardening Tips

Gardening is a favorite pastime for many people, especially on the seasons when it is warm and sunny outside. During winter, however, most people either give up gardening all together or they do not perform it with the same zeal. There is no good reason why gardening should have to wait for springtime to arrive. The garden does not have to remain barren and bare just because it is winter.

The garden landscape may be improved in a two ways. These are landscaping and redesigning. One of the ways in which a garden may be redesigned for the winter season is through the erection of garden statues. Statues are beautiful ornaments that can drastically alter the look of the garden during the winter season. One may choose to undertake the redesigning process themselves.

Alternatively, they may seek professional help. Before trying out anything, the owner should have decided before hand whether it is the whole garden that needs redesigning or just parts of it. Again, they should be clear on their preferred designs. With the garden statues in place, the gardens look as beautiful as they would during summer or spring. Even without plants, or with dormant plants, the garden appears complete with statues in place. This is because they provide the garden with both depth and breadth. Before one settles on the particular garden statues, they would like for their gardens, it is important to first assess the landscape and decor of the same.

For instance, one may settle on bronze garden statues. The statues may take the form of cherubs or even lions. What the owner should take note of is that while the statues may be beautiful, they should fit in with the scale of the garden. This means that the bronze statue should not be too small or too large. A small statue may not add enough character to the garden because it would not be able to demand the required presence and interest.

On the other hand, a very large statue would only serve to draw attention away from other surrounding features of the garden landscape. Bronze garden statues that may also serve as fountains can be a priceless addition to the garden during winter. One main advantage of erecting such a piece lies in the fact that statues are frost resistant. This means that they are not damaged by the cold. A fountain is a sure way to attract birds. However, it is not only the birds that may be in need of the water provided by the fountains, rather, the evergreen plants in the garden may also be watered from the fountain. These evergreen plants tend to lose water through their pines even during the winter season.

It is imperative that they are watered on a weekly basis. By conducting online searches, one may come across many beautiful bronze garden statues. Moreover, by comparing the statues on offer on the different sites, it is possible to obtain good bargains on unique bronze pieces. It is possible to order the statues online.


Various Styles of Indoor Lighting

Are you looking to decorate or redecorate your house? Would you like to add that stylish flair to it that makes it even more beautiful? We at Estelles Lighting realize that each room in your house needs lighting according to its purpose and we provide you with the best collection of lighting fixtures and solutions available in the market today.

Indoor Lighting is a modern necessity but not many people take advantage of the vast array of indoor lighting fixtures available in the market today. Proper indoor lighting can bring your entire house to life- one room at a time. Estelles Lighting helps you choose a modern design suitable to your budget and with very little effort involved. We give you ideas that can make any home look more inviting and stylish at the same time.

There are many different types of indoor lighting. For example, there is Task Lighting which helps you perform a specific activity such as reading, by concentrating light in a particular place. Then there is Decorative Lighting which includes lighting fixtures like chandeliers and candelabras to give your home that extra oomph. Other types of lighting include Mood Lighting, Ambience Lighting etc.

Natural light is the best light that you can decorate your house with. Natural light creates a better living environment by making spaces visually interesting and also there is the added bonus of reducing your energy consumption. Skylights, often called roof windows, are unique features that lend your rooms a cheerful air and a sense of spaciousness. The location of the skylight should be based on sun angle, prevailing wind direction, light distribution pattern and the effect on home décor. Skylights come in various shapes like rectangular, square, triangular, circular or any other shape that you can come up with. Skylights can be flat glass or domed acrylic as well. Skylights can be used in your family rooms, atriums, kitchens even attics.

Wall Lights
The latest trend in indoor lighting is wall lights. They give a sophisticated charm to your house and they are a great way to adorn your empty walls. Wall fixtures include wall sconces, wall lamps etc. Estelles Lighting offers you an exclusive range of designer wall lights that give your home a warm inviting atmosphere. While traditional brass wall sconces continue to be in popular demand, there is an increase in painted metal and nickel or pewter finishes today as well. Wall lights can be used in hallways, drawing rooms, stairways etc. They are incredibly versatile and can be used for ambient, task or accent lighting.

Tree Lighting
Tree lighting doesn't have to be done just during Christmas. Your indoor trees can make interesting indoor lighting fixtures as well. By merely adding a string of simple white lights, an indoor tree can become the focal point of a room. By adding a small decorative mirror behind the plant, you can create a glowing effect that brings out the greenery and hence brings the room to life.

Ceiling Lighting
Ceiling lighting is a great way to set a mood, create an atmosphere and make a statement. The choices of styles in ceiling lighting are endless! Ceiling light fixtures provide the best overall lighting making general tasks easier. The great thing about ceiling fixtures is that they are available in any style imaginable and can be used to decorate any room. For example, a stylish pendant can be used in the kitchen or to add flair to the bar area. You have choice from a wide variety of ceiling fixtures here at Estelles Lighting. All you have to do is choose the perfect fixture to add that flair and beauty to your home.

Indoor lighting products help you to decorate your home and help you to make your home bright. Buy Indoor Lighting from the company that has good repute in the market for giving lighting solutions.

About Estelles Lighting: Estelles Lighting, Inc. is acknowledged in the market for our professional approach in the supply of Light fixtures. We supply all kind of lamps, ballasts, tubes, and nearly all types of associated accessories. Estelles Lighting, Inc. expansive warehouse stocks most if not all kinds of light bulbs that are at guaranteed to have competitive prices with quick delivery. For more information visit http://www.estelleslighting.com


Home Spa Treatments-enjoy The Many Benefits Of Your Own Home Spa

Thanks to home spa treatments you can now relax and de-stress all in the comfort and privacy of your own home. With the right products, you can create your very own unique spa treatment experience. Now there's no need to spend hundreds of dollars at a pricey salon anymore. Home spa treatments make sense if you are on a tight budget but you still want to enjoy the benefits of professional treatments.

Fewer Expenses

Spa treatments are no longer considered luxury. Gone are the days when spa treatments were only reserved for the rich and famous. Because of the amount of stress that we have to endure everyday, spa sessions are a must to keep the mind and body healthy and strong.

Of course, it goes without saying that spa treatments are rarely a bargain. You have to pay much for the best treatments. Moreover, you have to return for succeeding sessions if you want to maintain the effects of your treatment.

Home spas definitely cost much less than typical spa establishments. The most that you would have to spend for are for the products that you need to use for your home spa session. There are no other extra fees so you get more for your money.

Product Flexibility

One of the best benefits of home spa treatments is that you get to choose which products you want to use. Your options are virtually limitless. There is every imaginable product for cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, toning and all your other facial skincare and body needs. You don't have to limit yourself to just one brand or to an expensive product either. You can explore as much as you can with products that work well for you and fit your budget.

Products are now also divided into natural organic products and artificial products. The choice between the two product types is for you to make. You could also opt to use products that have both organic and synthetic ingredients.

If you want to get the best deals and products for your home spa, consider doing some comparison shopping online. You might find it a bit daunting at first because there are so many products to choose from. To help you in your product selection you may want to look into consumer product reviews to see what others have to say about a particular treatment or retailer.

No More Limits to Your Comfort

Some people just aren't comfortable even in a peaceful spa if they don't have the exact environment that they want. In typical spas, your choice of amenities and atmosphere is limited. This is not the case with a home spa. Aside from being able to use the products of your choice, you also have the added benefit of constructing the exact environment that you want. You can play your very own mood music, install dimmers, hang themed curtains and invite loved ones to share your spa with you. Your home spa can be anything you want it to be.

The benefits of home spa treatments are not to be overlooked. If you want what's best for your health and your wallet, you should seriously consider your very own home spa now.


Simple Chicken Breast Recipes

Simple Chicken breast recipes are one thing that a recipe box or kitchen should not be without. Between soccer games, karate, and doctor appointments life can be very hectic and cooking a 5 course meal is just out of the question. However our families still deserve a well balanced, nutritious and tasty meal; which means we have to improvise and come up with recipes that are simple, quick and meet those requirements.

These simple chicken breast recipes are just the ticket to sitting your family down to a hot, nutritious and flavorful meal. They will take you from the chicken to the table with ease and little time. Enjoy!

This first one is very simple and is a one pan wonder. My family really enjoys it and it only takes me about 10 minutes to throw together and then about 35 minutes to cook. I love cooking this on nights when my husband works because it smells wonderful and when he walks in he always says "ooooo, can't wait for dinner."

Ranch Chicken with Veggies

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 c veggie of choice (carrots work well)
1 c Italian bread crumbs, plus a little extra
2 packages of dry Ranch dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray or oil the a 9x13 dish and coat with extra bread crumbs.

In a bowl mix the ranch dressing and 1 cup of bread crumbs together. Coat the chicken in the mixture and place in pan. Then put your veggie in the mixture, stir to evenly coat and then place carrots in the pan around the chicken.

Bake for 35 minutes then serve with slices of bread or biscuits.

This next simple chicken breast recipe is a marvelous well-balanced meal that can be done in one pan. It's incredibly easy to make and simple to clean up. This recipe can also be converted to a crock pot if necessary and baked during the day.

Chicken and Rice

8 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can onion soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 can milk
1 box of long grain and wild rice mix
1 16 oz bag of frozen veggies

Preheat oven to 350.

Evenly spread the rice in a 13x9 inch pan. Then sprinkle the herb packet that came with the rice over it, and top with the veggies. In a bowl mix the onion soup with one can of water and pour it over the veggies. Then place the chicken on top of the rice. In a bowl mix the mushroom soup with the milk and pour this over the chicken. Bake for 1 ½ hours.

Both of these recipes do involve quiet a few ingredients and minimal amounts of prep time. However if you need something with almost no prep and few ingredients then you can always opt for the classic; throw some chicken in a pan and pour a can of cream of chicken over it, serve it with instant mashed potatoes and a veggie. This simple chicken breast recipe has been around for ages and has become a favorite quick meal for most families.


Uplift your Rooms with these Low Cost Decor Ideas

Does your house look duller to you with every passing day? If yes, here are some ideas to revamp it and have all your friends complementing you on the new look.

If you stick with most of these ideas, your house will have gone through a complete overhaul by the end of the weekend! Even more exciting is that you do not have to rob a bank to meet the cost of the make over. All the materials needed are within the household budget; with some already in the house.

We'll begin with the larger tasks and follow through with the smaller, easier ones.

Paint a wall

Repainting one wall in the room is enough to give the room a fresh look. Choose one wall and paint it in a shade chosen from the room's color scheme. It will brighten and become the new focal point.

You can create a whole new look by changing the placement of your furniture. This applies mostly to the living room. Place the sofas in such a way that they convey warmth and openness. If you cram them together, they will look closed up and uninviting. Such a plan will also make the room look small. Whatever you do, do not push furniture against the wall.

Often times, moving the furniture creates a totally different look in the room. Form an open setting with the sofas, one that looks inviting and would encourage conversation among guests. Avoid pushing furniture to the wall. Leave some space to allow for passage and a few accessories if need be. To enhance your new setting, buy an area rug that complements the colors used in the room. If the furniture furnishings are in a solid color, choose a floral rug with a rich design to break of the monotony of single-color use. If you have a table in the room, do not choose a rug with a central design as it will be covered by the table anyway. If your upholstery is floral or patterned, choose a rug in solid color. Black rugs will neutralize the room if you've used very bright colors. Blue rugs are also great.

Dining chair magic

If your dining chairs are unused most of the time, consider using a couple of them to prop the sofa or console table. They will be like sentries. You can also place one chair by the dresser. If your living room is big and largely empty, these chairs will fill up some of that space so it looks well coordinated.

Define a Cozier Space:

Use screens to break up the room into cozy spaces. Plants will work well too. You can also divide spaces using area rugs. Spread a modern area rug at the centre and a colored Flokati rug on each screen area. Of course the number of cozy zones you can create will depend on the size of your room. If your room is more on the small scale, one zone is enough. Define the area with a settee or sofa, and plenty of cushions. These are spaces where you can have a quiet conversation or just relax.

Break up the Matched Sets:

Many home decorators ditch the matching pair of pillows from their sofas right away. If you haven't, now's the time to move up to pillows filled with down and covered in fabulous fabrics. Don't be afraid to mix up patterns; that's what makes life interesting.

Craft a Collection:

What common elements can you find among your household decorations? Cobalt blue pitchers, silver picture frames, porcelain figurines? Whatever their common quality is, you can craft a fascinating tabletop collection in moments by grouping these items together in odd numbers. The fun part of this suggestion is that these collections can change frequently, which will give ho-hum rooms a fresh look on a regular basis.


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