Sunday, July 16, 2017

Keep Your Refrigerator Cool

It may seem strange but the hot summer days can affect more than just your lawn and landscaping.  It can take a toll on your kitchen appliances as well.

The heat can cause your refrigerator to run harder than normal to stay cool - affecting your utility bill and your wallet.

So what can you do?

Take these steps to help your refrigerator stay cool.


  • Keep your refrigerator in a cool spot in your home (not the garage) and make sure there is some space around it for heat to go and air to circulate.
  • Clean your coils regularly. Consult your owners manual for more information. Keep the front grill dust free as well.
  • When you leave the house, set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature so the home doesn't get too hot and then have to cool off fast when you return.
  • Uncovered food can release moisture back into the refrigerator. Keep food covered at all times.
  • Don't overload the refrigerator. Only store what needs to be kept cool.
  • Your most perishable items should be stored in the refrigerator itself, not the door. The temperature of the door will fluctuate the most.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fireworks Safety

It's the 4th of July weekend! Time for fireworks, BBQ's and trips to the pool, lake or beach!


As much fun as the 4th of July can be we want to make sure you review these safety tips before beginning your celebrations.  Staying safe is the most fun of all!

Fireworks:
- Know your local laws on fireworks - what's okay to play with and what can get you in trouble
- Never let children play with fireworks
- Always follow the instructions on the fireworks packaging
- Have water nearby for emergency situations
- If a firework doesn't seem to work - don't try and relight it
- Never throw or point fireworks at anyone
- Never mix alcohol use and fireworks
- When done with fireworks, soak used ones in water and place in metal trashcan

If attending a community fireworks display use extreme caution when driving and parking. Look for pedestrians.

Grilling:
- Make sure your grill is located in an open space outdoors and away from any flammable materials
- An adult should always be supervising a lit grill
- Use grill tools designed to keep hands and arms away from the grill
- Make sure the grill is properly cleaned and cooled when not in use

Follow some basic safety tips and make sure this 4th is the best celebration yet!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Keeping Home Clean without Shoes!

Taking your shoes off in the house is one of those often talked about but seldom done household rules.  It's just too easy to run inside with your shoes on and go about your day.

BUT!

Don't do it!

A new study by a professor of pharmacy at the University of Houston finds that the bottom of our shoes is one of the dirtiest surfaces around. Shoes carry dirt and a host of bacteria that can cause infection and disease.

Wiping your shoes on a mat is a start but not good enough as you may just be picking up whatever the last person left on the mat.

So what to do with those shoes at the door?

Here are a few ideas thanks to our friends at Pinterest.




Sunday, June 18, 2017

Keep Pests Away Naturally

Enjoying the outdoors doesn't mean having to learn to coexist with bugs and pests. It also doesn't have to mean spraying your home with expensive and potentially harmful chemicals.

Check out these natural ways to keep bugs at bay.

1. Choose your plants wisely. Many plants are known for their bug repelling qualities such as:

  • Peppermint - Spiders, Mosquitoes and Ants
  • Basil - Mosquitoes and Flies
  • Lavender - Moths, Flies, Fleas
  • Lemongrass  - Mosquitoes, Ticks
2.  Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a bowl of vinegar and dish soap.

3.  Create a wasp trap by filling a jar with 6 oz of vinegar, 2 tbs of sugar and 1 tsp of salt.

4. Keep mosquitoes away by cutting a lime in half and placing cloves all over the soft surface. Cut the bottom of the limes to keep them standing up straight.




5.  Spray ants with water and salt to keep them away.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Safety in the Summer Sun

The sun just seems to shine a little hotter in the south. While that makes for great front porch sweet tea, it can be hard on the rest of us.

Enjoy the outdoors but keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from the sun's rays.

The sun is strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  If you find yourself outside during these hours make sure to use protective sunscreen and take plenty of breaks indoors.

Look for a sunscreen above 30 SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays - also known as broad spectrum.

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly. Follow the directions especially after swimming or strenuous exercise.

Consider wearing lightweight clothing with UV protection built in. Hats are important to keep the sun off your face and neck.

Create your own shade when necessary. Bring along umbrellas or a pop-up tent.

Don't forget to protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses and encourage children to do the same.

Infants are especially vulnerable to sun exposure so make sure they are fully dressed in protective clothing and out of the sun whenever possible.

UV rays are present even on cloudy days so don't let the lack of sunshine fool you! Keep up your sun smart protection.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Time to Buy!

Home buying isn't a decision to be entered into lightly. But, if you've done your research, looked at your budget and decided that now is the time - don't miss out by waiting too long!  The current housing market has limited inventory and rising prices. The faster you act the more house you'll get for your money.

According to the recent research from Realtor.com, low inventory and high demand have pushed housing prices up 10% from last May - with no signs of stopping.

Javier Vivas, manager of economic research at realtor.com says this is the "fastest-moving spring housing market in decades".

His research shows that homes are selling 5 days faster than this time last year and 2 days faster than last month.

So what does that mean for you?

If you've found a house you like and don't want to lose - act now. Contact the builder and begin the process of writing a contract and qualifying for a loan. Having a pre-qualification letter already in place from a lender will make your offer quickly rise to the top in a competitive market.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Enjoying Your Outdoor Space

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and now is the time to enjoy your outdoor space! No matter how large or small, the following tips can help you build a usable entertainment space for those warm summer nights.

1.  Create a focal point in your outdoor space. This may be a table and chairs, fire pit or water feature. Choose a focal point to build your space around.

2.  Provide ample seating for guests. This may be in chairs, benches or porch swings!

3.  Add touches of color from potted plants, outdoor rugs or accent decorations.

4.  If you plan on using your outdoor space for dining, have easy access to the indoors for back and forth to the kitchen.  Have table space and counter space for serving ware and dishes.

5.  Think about lighting.  Take advantage of the cooler evenings with the right lighting - string lights, lanterns or torches.  Candles to keep bugs away is another big plus!

If you don't have a large outdoor space - don't let this get you down! You can make the space feel larger by utilizing your whole yard in different areas for different reasons.  There can be a space for dining, a space for games and a space for lounging.

For great ideas check out the following websites:


http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/porch/outdoor-rooms/outdoor-room-ideas/

http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/outdoors/optimize-your-small-outdoor-space