Category: Food & Home

Link Round-up: Stress, a DIY Necklace, a Foam Snowman, and More

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has signs of stress you could be missing, a DIY looped clay necklace, a foam block snowman, and more.

Crafts by Amanda taught us how to make pilgrim Thanksgiving napkin rings.

Mind Body Green talked about the 10 signs of stress you probably ignore, but shouldn’t.

Create Craft Love taught us how to make a foam block snowman.

link ru beaded clay necklace

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a beaded, looped clay necklace.

A Cup of Jo shared eight questions to ask a potential babysitter.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared a recipe for glazed pumpkin spiced bundt cake.

Crafts ‘n Coffee showed us how to make an adorable penguin ornament from a glove.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and A Beautiful Mess

Is a Programmable Thermostat for You?

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 by 1 Comment

Summer is over, and winter isn’t far off. I like summer, but I don’t like being uncomfortably hot. Even more, I don’t like high energy bills that result from my quest for being comfortable. And depending on what part of the country you live in, staying warm this winter may require more energy than usual if the winter forecasts are correct.

This year, I’ve considered changing out my thermostat for a model that promises to keep me comfortable and to control my energy usage. Sounds like a win-win, but I had no idea there were so many options.

Remote Controlled Thermostat

Some thermostats let you manage your thermostat from your smartphone or tablet. I’m not going this route for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it requires a hub which is sold separately that connects to your home broadband network. While this might be a great option for those who are away most of the day, as a freelance writer, I’m home most of the time. So there is no reason to spend extra money for a hub which is also another thing that can break.

Programmable vs. Learning Thermostat

I was leaning between a programmable model or what is known as a “learning” thermostat. The programmable type thermostats are said to make the most efficient use of heating and cooling systems by automatically adjusting the set temperature throughout the day.

Our house is well insulated but in the afternoon it gets warm enough that I kick the thermostat down a degree and it usually takes about an hour to cool down. A programmable thermostat changes the thermostat before the house gets warm (or cold). It remembers for you.

A learning thermostat features benefits of a programmable thermostat but it doesn’t require programming. Instead, it learns as we use them. They create a schedule based on our use.

These thermostats have the ability to turn themselves down while you’re away, and direct users to the most energy efficient settings for their home. It can even provide monthly energy reports and can be monitored and managed remotely via Wi-Fi from computer, smartphone and tablet.

Manual Thermostat

While all this sounds great, I’m not sure I want to tie my thermostat into my Wi-fi. It’s bad enough when Wi-fi is glitchy already. It effects TV, phone, and of course computer. As my stress levels rise when I can’t get online to do my research, I certainly don’t want to deal with an unforeseen problem with my thermostat.

I think I might just count myself blessed to be home, and make my own schedule to get up and manually change the thermostat an hour before I usually do, and a couple hours later to change it back.

My non-programmable digital thermostat works find, and for me is the best choice. It lets me manually-control settings to keep my home comfortable without connecting to the Internet. Most of the day my house stays at the same pre-set temperature.

I’ll just rough it and remember to do it for myself and count it as a brain exercise.

Photo credits: Amazon

Link Round-up: Removing Rust from the Shower, an Acorn Frame, Thanksgiving Crafts, and More

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has tips for removing rust from the shower, how to create an acorn frame, a cute turkey crayon caddy, a Thanksgiving centerpiece, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make an acorn frame.

Mind Body Green shared the secret to finding unlimited happiness in a relationship.

Create Craft Love taught us how to make a turkey crayon caddy for Thanksgiving.

link ru thanksgiving centerpiece

I Heart Nap Time showed us how to make an easy Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Crafty Journal showed us how to remove rust from the shower.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared a recipe for pumpkin and pecan blondies.

Muslin and Merlot taught us how to make something cute for trick-or-treaters—a candy wheel of fortune.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and I Heart Nap Time

How to Go Paperless at Home and Work

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 by No Comments

Paper creates clutter. Clutter saps your energy and, if you are anything like me, makes  you crazy. The good news is you can go almost completely paperless and get rid of at least one mountain of stuff in your home.

In this age of the Internet it is a simple matter to go paperless. Bills can be paid online quickly and easily. Bank accounts can be checked, balanced, and have balance transfers made.

You can contact your best friend in another state to see how she is doing. You can read newspapers online, read many of your favorite magazines online and shop an uncountable number of stores, all online.

Did you know you can create a digital signature and use it for contracts and other important papers so that they don’t need to be printed out? How cool is that? You can just scan  your signature in to Word or create it on the Microsoft Office Marketplace but those signatures can’t always be verified so some companies won’t accept them.

In order to have your signature authenticated you’ll need to get a digital certificate from a certificate authority. It’s explained in more detail on the Microsoft website.

As far as your receipts and other things you need to keep for income tax? Keep them for a short time (a couple of weeks in a temporary file) then scan them and save them to a disc. In the event you need them again, you can print them out and your clutter is all on the disc.

photo credit: public.resource.org via photopin cc

Link Round-up: How to Start Exercising, Keep Your Rhinestone Jewelry in Good Shape, and More

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has steps for getting started exercising, a mug cake, how to keep your rhinestone jewelry in good shape, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a delicious mug cake recipe.

Mind Body Green has six basic steps to get started exercising.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a collapsible play house.

link ru jack o lantern crafts

Kenarry shared a Halloween jack-o-lantern craft.

Hungry Happenings showed us how to make three cheese calzone pumpkins.

Creative Khadija taught us how to keep our rhinestone jewelry in good shape with Mod Podge.

Life a Little Brighter talked about a lesson that was hard to learn.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kenarry

Getting Rid of Paper Clutter

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 by No Comments

Oh my gosh, I hate clutter. It messes with my brain, makes me depressed, and I get really irritable when surfaces are stacked up. Need I say that my husband and kids are stackers? Nope, I didn’t think so.

Clutter is bad for the environment, not just the earth, but your personal environment! The more cluttered your home or office becomes the more difficult it can be to think about work. It’s depressing and saps your energy.

Piles of junk mail come into our homes daily. Piles of bills come into our homes daily. Just sorting through all the myriad of papers that the postman delivers takes the average American about 8 hours per year, or the equivalent to a good night’s sleep.

I could use some extra sleep.

It is bad for the earth because of the various processes it takes to get that paper into your trash can and ultimately to the landfill.

Trees must be cut and hauled to mills. Equipment must be run, then the resulting paper must be transported numerous times before the molecules of the original tree get to your mailbox. Tons of pollutants released in the atmosphere to let you know about a carpet cleaning special you can’t use because you have bamboo floors anyway.

A full 40% of the solid mass that makes up the average landfill is made of paper. Of that paper a high percentage is the junk mail that we toss out without opening it. Plus, 100 million trees are used every year to make that unnecessary junk mail. There has to be a better way.

The Better Way

The best way to deal with all of that is to simply put a stop to it. There are numerous agencies you can contact to end your junk mail paper trail.

Catalog Choice

Catalog Choice is a free service company that allows you to choose which catalogs you receive in the mail. You open a free account with them and list anything you are currently getting that you would prefer not to and they send the list to the various companies to have your name removed.

Simple. Effective. AND endorsed by such green companies as The National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Counsel.

Opt-Out Prescreen

This site allows you to opt out of prescreened credit card offers and insurance offers. This is helpful to both the tendency to clutter and the tendency to have way too many credit cards.

Direct Mail

This is a free and easy way to get your name off of literally thousands of direct mail mailing lists.

To remove your name from national sweepstakes contact the following:

  • Publishers Clearinghouse, 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050 Phone: (800) 645-9242
  • Readers Digest, Readers Digest Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570 Phone: (800) 234-9000
  • American Family Publishers, PO Box 62000, Tampa, FL 33662 Phone: (800) 237-2400

Here are some more tips for cutting the level of junk mail you receive:

  • When you subscribe to magazines, specify that you do not want your name sold to mailing lists
  • Product warranty cards are primarily for gathering names for mailing lists. Names are worth up to 20 cents each. You are covered under the warranty whether you send the card in or not under most circumstances.
  • Do not list your phone number on your voter registration form. It will often be sold to telemarketers.
  • Use paperless billing and banking whenever possible.

What are some things you do to cut down on paper clutter? Comment and let me know — I could use the ideas.

photo credit: theogeo via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Easy Meals, Halloween Cookies, Spider Earring DIY, and More

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has easy meals, cute Halloween cookies, spider earrings, and more.

Muslin and Merlot showed us how to make PVC napkin rings.

Mind Body Green shared six one-pan meals to make this week.

Hungry Happenings made some cute backside black cat cookies and shared the recipe.

link ru pumpkin mac and cheese

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for pumpkin mac and cheese.

Jewelry Making Journal taught us how to make creepy crawly spider earrings.

Life a Little Brighter asked, “Are you stressing your kid out?”

Play Dates on Fridays shared five excuses for mean girls that have got to go.

Photo credit: Muslin and Merlot and Chocolate Covered Katie

Choosing Paint Color without Losing Your Mind

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 by No Comments

How do you decide which colors to get to pull your room together?

My favorite way to do this is to choose a wallpaper border or an upholstery fabric and match the wall color to one of the colors in the design. Choosing a paint color can be difficult because you have to narrow it down from so many but choosing a wall paper border is usually a matter of choosing between two or three of your favorite designs.

Once you have chosen a border you’ll need to cut a good sized piece from it to take to your favorite paint store. The piece should be big enough to be a good representation of the design.

Choose several paint chips that you like and that seem to match the border well. Now choose chips that are in the same color families but are darker or lighter than the ones that match exactly.

Take them home and unroll the border in your room.  Lay the chips on the border.  Which ones do you immediately dislike? Remove them.

Look at the ones you like the best. Sometimes one will stand out more than the others and the choice will be easy. Other times you may find that you are having a hard time choosing between two or three.

If this is the case try taking the chips over to your sofa, curtains, or other fabric to see how it matches with these.

If you are still trying to choose between a couple, go back to the paint store and buy a small amount of each. Paint one foot square of each of the colors on your wall, close to each other but with space between them so they don’t reflect on each other. By looking at them on the wall for a few days you should be able to quickly decide what you like best.

photo credit: Phil Roeder via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Superheroes, Churro Bites, Date Ideas, and More

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has date night ideas, churro bites, a cute Superman and Batman craft, and more.

About Family Crafts showed us how to make duct tape bracelets.

A writer at Mind Body Green shared how she found the clarity to leave her unhappy marriage.

Tone It Up shared fun date night ideas you can do with your significant other or girlfriends.

link ru two scarvs

Muslin and Merlot showed us how to style two scarves at once.

Living Well Spending Less kicked off a challenge—31 day to a clutter-free life.

Around My Family Table taught us how to make churro bites.

Crafts by Amanda shared some comic book craft ideas.

Photo credit: About Family Crafts and Muslin and Merlot