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Archive for the ‘Seasonal’ Category

ImageWith the holiday season comes more than colder weather — there are the parties, the baking, the fixing of family dinners, and, in some cases, the stringing of holiday lights. It’s also a time of year when home energy use can spike, leading to a very large January electricity bill.

This year, do what you can to conserve energy through the holidays and the New Year. Try following these simple tips.

Go LED 
If you string lights outside of your home, try LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting. LED lights use 86% less electricity than comparable incandescent lights and have numerous safety advantages. For example, LED lights are shatterproof, present no fire hazard, and, because they emit almost no heat, are safe to the touch.

Reduce Your Home Thermostat
When you home is filled with people, or the ovens are working overtime, or both, the temperature can rise by several degrees. Rather than opening a window or leaving a door ajar, consider lowering your home’s thermostat, or turning off the heat altogether. Each degree “colder” that you set you set your thermostat decreases your home’s energy usage up to 3 percent.

Plan Your Meal
Holiday meals are often prepared in advance of dinner and then reheated or warmed to be ready for company. This leads to running the oven, microwave or stove-top multiple times for each served dish. When possible, prepare foods at the same time and warm in the oven at the same time. In running your appliances less, you will save on energy costs.

Use Your Dishwasher At Capacity
Some dishes require hand-washing. For everything else, use a dishwasher. Dishwashers use less water than is required to wash and rinse plates, utensils and pots and pans by hand. They can also use up to 50% less energy than is required to heat the water you’ll need to wash your dishes manually.

The holiday season can be full of excesses. Don’t let your energy bill be one of them.

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10 EASY HALLOWEEN PROJECTS THAT COST LESS THAN $5

Combine a few discount store items and stuff you’ve already got lying around the house to make devilishly inexpensive Halloween decorations.

Spooky Banner

Create an inexpensive banner using kraft paper and ribbon. Our letters were printed on card stock. Make the ruffled border with a sheet of decorative paper cut into strips, accordion-folded, then glued to the back of each letter. Punch a hole in the ruffles and thread a piece of ribbon or twine through for hanging.


Terrariums

No need for a green thumb. All you need are recycled food jars, twigs, black spray paint, a little cotton and a few toy spiders. Paint the jar lids and twigs black. Then fill the inside of the lids with dirt, twigs, spiders and cotton ghosts. Screw the jars onto the lids and place the terrariums on the windowsill Learn More

Coffee Filter Garland

This Halloween garland is made from basic white coffee filters. You just need an inexpensive needle, some ribbon or twine and a bit of time. We created chair garland, but you could make garland for a mantel, window or banister for Halloween or any occasion. Learn More

Countdown Calendar

Kids love to count down the days until Halloween. Use a bulletin board, mini paper bags and printable numbers to create this easy countdown calendar. Fill the bags with mini candy bars, gumballs or notes. Learn More

Picture Lanterns

This Halloween, line your front walkway with picture-frame lanterns. Print on vellum paper black-and-white drawings (with medical and Halloween themes)found on the Internet. Insert the prints in four dollar-store picture frames. Nail together the four frames in a square, then place a candle inside the frames. Learn More

Specimen Jars

Fill old glass jars with plastic rats, toy bugs and doll heads then add a little colored water. Fill out manila tags with the name of your specimen – shrunken heads, poisonous tarantulas, baby rats and the like – and wrap the jar with twine and the tag. Learn More

Welcome Trick-or-Treaters

Dress up your entry with a spider-web welcome sign. We removed the glass from a thrift-store picture frame, fastened small tacks onto the back of the frame then zigzagged ribbon and stretchy cotton across the tacks to create a web. Interlace some spiders and “Welcome” letters into the web for more fun! Learn More

“Dripping” Candles

Dribble glue from a hot-glue gun all over a piece of PVC pipe and a foam cup to make what looks like a long-burning candle. Insert a much-safer battery-operated tea light in the middle to make the candle glow. If the candles are placed under a black light, they will glow in the dark – perfect for any haunted house. Project To Try

Paper Lantern

To make your Halloween night or evening party really scary, embellish inexpensive paper lanterns with spiders, bugs and creepy-crawlies made from card stock. Learn More


Eight-Legged Cake

Cover a plain box cake with black icing to create a little critter and add cute spider eyes and eight polka-dot legs. This simple project is perfect for a children’s party or school gathering. Learn More

Thanks to DIY Network
Do you have any interesting Halloween ideas to share with us? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.
Happy Halloween!!! 🙂

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The Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to entertain with family and friends. The idea of gathering together at your home is a wonderful way to give thanks and appreciation to your loved ones. Even though the idea of planning, buying, cooking, serving and entertaining may seem a little daunting, there are always easy ways to simplify entertaining.

Want to be the perfect holiday host or guest? Read on for tips to help you entertain in style and actually enjoy the holiday too! and your dinner companions are sure to be thankful.

If you are the host…

1. Plan to provide a traditional Thanksgiving feast, then be creative with side dishes.

2. Whenever anyone offers to help or bring a dish, say, “Yes, thank you!”

3. Use hollowed bread loaves for charming serving containers for cheeses, dips, olives, chips and small sandwiches.

4. Once the table settings and centerpiece are in place, sit in each chair to make sure each guest will feel comfortable.

5. Include favorite kids’ foods, especially those they can eat neatly with their fingers.

6. Provide at least one low-calorie dish and a vegetarian option. Then serve a sinful dessert.

7. Completely clear the table of all dishes from previous courses before serving dessert.

8. Fill the sink with soapy water so cutlery and small dishes can soak clean as the guests are finishing.

9. Make it easy for guests who help you clean up to help you recycle. Place bins in the kitchen labeled “glass,” “cans” and “trash.”

10. Keep club soda nearby to clean spots or stains on the tablecloth or clothing.

If you are a guest…

1. Arrive no earlier than the time the host has announced and no later than half an hour after the time.

2. Plan to stay about an hour after dinner unless travel plans or sleepy children necessitate leaving earlier.

3. Bring a gift and write a note of thanks afterward.

4. Offer to help set up for dinner and to clean afterward.

5. Notify the host of any special dietary needs — if you are a vegetarian, diabetic or allergic to common foods. You can tell the host how to prepare a dish you can eat, or even better, offer to bring that dish yourself.

6. If you’re going to a potluck Thanksgiving, bring a serving dish with your contribution. Remember, the best potluck dishes are those that need minimal preparation in the host’s kitchen, can be served at room temperature and require only a fork to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving!! 🙂

If you have any other useful tips and ideas to share about Thanksgiving, Please share in the comments section below.

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