Archives for the month of: February, 2013

Well, March is right around the corner followed by the warm months of Spring. If you’re suffering with a little bit of Spring Fever, here are some great ideas on how to bring Spring into your home now.

Bring some green inside:

These simple Terrariums are an easy way to get some green indoors. Start with a large glass bowl, add some cactus potting soil, decorative stones, and tiny succulents.

Tulips also make great indoor plants. Just fill a decorative glass with marbles or decorative rocks and water and set your bulb in a sunny window. If you think this is a great idea, here are some step-by-step instructions to get you started.

Get some Nature inspired artwork:

This limb artwork from paulschick.com is a nice way to bring in some of nature’s natural beauty indoors. Maybe this will inspire you to try some of your own limb creations.

We all know that moving day is a challenge with planning, logistics and the physical (and emotional) strain. Planning meals is one thing that may slip through the cracks.

Finding their way

Be sure to identify restaurants in the area. This is particularly helpful if you’re  moving across country. Useful apps like yelp.com and urban spoon can make this easy. While you’re at it, look up the address of a local grocery store.

Open first box

You’ll want to pack a “first opened” box. It does not get packed into a moving van and is the first one moved to the kitchen where it is easy to find. Inside will be the essentials: first aid kit, medications, toiletries, trash bags and the items necessary to make the first meal in your new home. Don’t forget that utensils and plates to serve the first meal should be added to this box.

Keep it simple

The first meal at a new home should be easy to make and served without a lot of hassle. One of the easiest things to make is pasta. Sauce in the jar doesn’t have to be refrigerated. Dry pasta is easy to transport and store. The best thing is that it can be made in one pan.

For lunch or for summer days, you might suggest making sandwiches or hoagies, which do require a quick trip to the grocery store.

Having the first meal in the new home is one of the best ways to transition to a new area. Having a planned meal, with all the essentials to make and serve it, will help to ease the stress.

1. By 2014, it will be illegal to manufacture (not buy) standard 40-, 60-. 75- and 100-watt bulbs

The Department of Energy passed new energy efficiency standards for “everyday” light bulbs to meet. The new standards are expected to save American households hundreds of dollars on their energy bill every year.

For as long as you can find them — Amazon.com is a good place to start if you’re on the hunt and your local hardware store is already out of stock — you can buy as many standard incandescent light bulbs as you like.

2. Energy efficient bulb technology is improving every day

We have come a long way from the first over-sized, institutional-light shedding CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulb. CFLs are now available in smaller sizes, multiple light tones, 3-way and dimmable versions.

LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs are also making a big splash in the alternative light bulb space. They are easily dimmable and turn instantly, in contrast to CFLs, which often have a short delay before the light comes on — how dimmable “dimmable CFLs” really are has been a hot topic as well.

LEDs and CFLs still fall short in the tone of the light they give off — almost every review of these technologies notes that so far, the warm light of incandescence has not been matched by either LED or CFL, although they are getting better and better.

LED bulbs are leading the way in prettier bulbs and warmer light. The price for LED bulbs is higher than for CFLs, but that’s expected to drop rapidly over the next year and beyond as manufacturing technology improves. Even at $20 to $50 a bulb, one 60-watt LED replacement can save you more than $100 in energy costs  — and should last more than 20 years.

Check out these LED lights for replacements for your incandescent bulbs:

3. Blown CFL bulbs shouldn’t go in the trash

(image from “Take the CFL recycling challenge” on Mother Nature Network)

Because CFLs contain mercury, it’s best not to include them with your everyday household trash. In fact, some states, such asCalifornia,Maine,New Hampshire,Minnesota,Vermontand Massachussetts prohibit disposing of mercury-containing lamps in landfills.

Almost every component of a CFL bulb can be reused, so recycling the old bulbs not only keeps mercury from being released into the environment, it creates less waste overall.

If you don’t throw them in the trash can, where can you dispose of them? Many retailers, such as Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Orchard Supply and more will take blown CFLs off your hands. There are also mail-back programs from organizations like EcoLights, EverLights and BakPak Mail-Back Recycling.

For more information on — and resources for — disposing of your CFL bulbs, check out this page on the EPA site.

 

 

1. Keep a mold-killing spray bottle under the sink

Fill a spray bottle with a few teaspoons of tea tree oil and water and spray onto moldy areas. Keep the bottle handy and spray the same areas after you take a bath or shower to keep the mold from returning. Tea tree oil has a strong scent which will dissipate in a day or two.

Hydrogen peroxide in your spray bottle will also work and smell less pungent, but requires that you scrub away the mold after leaving it on for about 10 minutes.

2. Reduce moisture

Try not to leave wet towels on the floor or hanging on the edge of the tub near mold-friendly surfaces like caulking or grout. Keep your bathroom ventilated —open a window or run (or install) a fan during and after you take a bath or shower.

3. Seal the deal

Grout is a haven for mold — you can seal tile grout once a year with a standard grout sealer from a home improvement store to make it waterproof, and thus mold-proof.

For more tips on keeping mold out of your bathroom, check out these resources:

 

 


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