spider in my roomMany would say that there is nothing worse than finding a spider crawling about in your home. I would argue that there is. I believe that there is nothing worse than trying to fall asleep knowing there is a spider crawling around in your home (shiver).

That said, it can be a problem trying to keep spiders out if you actively try to avoid using chemicals and poisons. Sure, a can of spray will do the trick, but it can also make the wee beasties (pets or children) sick, or worse.

This article will present some natural products that will protect your home from spiders, and thus help you to sleep better at night!

Essential oil fragrances

One thing that many people are probably unaware of is the fact that spiders have an acute sense of smell. I’ve never seen a nose on a spider, so I am a bit skeptical myself. However, science stubbornly professes this to be true. That said, it turns out that spiders are repelled by many of the scents and fragrances that we find pleasant. In particular, peppermint, lavender and cinnamon have been proven very effective in keeping these eight legged terrors at bay. In case these fragrances are stronger than you prefer, tea tree oil and rose oil have also been proven to work well. Next time you want to make your house smell like a candy cane, but the spouse is against it, just tell them that you’re only doing it to keep the spiders away!

Flowers and herbs

If you are extra determined to eliminate the threat of spiders crawling around in your home, then you can take the battle outside. Just as fragrances within the home will repel spiders, so too, fragrances outside the home will do the same. Planting lavender, mint or eucalyptus will create a barrier in your garden that will deter spiders from even going near your house. Some of these plants will also attract birds and certain insects that will help to reduce the number of other unwanted insects and creepy crawlies. All in all, a fragrant garden will prove to be as useful as it is attractive.

Cedar chips

One area of the home most susceptible to spiders is the basement. While burning essential oils in the basement may not be a practical solution, there are other methods that will work. One such method is the use of cedar. It turns out that spiders are highly repulsed by the smell of cedar. Thus, you can line your basement with cedar chips or balls. This will not only help to keep the spiders out, but it will also repel other pests including certain rodents. Additionally, using cedar can help to reduce dampness in a basement.

Overall, there are a great many natural remedies for spiders. Not only are these methods effective, but they can be pleasant as well. Who doesn’t like a colorful, fragrant garden after all?

vacuum cleanerCleaning the home is always a priority for every one of us. This is because a dirty home can have massive negative effects on our health. But when it comes to picking the best carpet cleaner or vacuum cleaner to clean our home in the best way possible, we often experience a lot of confusion. Most of us opt for vacuum cleaners because these are extremely common and they seem to do the job quite well. But of course, you need to consider a lot of different factors before picking the best one because the efficiency really depends on things like the features and the design of the vacuum cleaner.

In my opinion, the Lift-Away cleaner by Shark is probably the best one to buy if you have a lot of carpet in your home. This is an extremely versatile machine that can even clean a lot of upholstery. There is a HEPA filter that will bring extra benefits as well. At the end of the day, you want a good and powerful vacuum cleaner that will be able to carry out lots of different tasks without taking up too much time and this is exactly what the Lift-Away does. It has a pretty long cord so you’ll be able to clean your room no matter how big it is. Usually vacuum cleaners are quite loud but this one performs extremely quietly so that’s another advantage you can add to the list. It is quite easy to clean too. I mentioned that HEPA filter above and this will be perfect for removing smaller particles and dust that is quite difficult to get rid of.

In summary, this is a brilliant machine that is associated with great versatility as far as convenience and features are concerned. However, it isn’t really a carpet cleaning machine. As I mentioned before, most of us rely on vacuum cleaners to do the majority of the work in our home. We go over the carpet, hardwood floors and even upholstery with them sometimes. While upholstery, hardwood and other solid surfaces can be cleaned very easily using this type of machine, cleaning a carpet is a lot tougher than you might think. Once you go over a carpet, it might seem quite clean but are you taking the tough particles deep within the carpet into consideration. Truth be told, a cleaner might take away the small particles and dust particles from the surface of the carpet, the reality is that it doesn’t even touch the particles that are embedded in the deeper layers. This actually means that your carpet isn’t really clean.

In my opinion, you need the best home carpet cleaner to do this job. These have the ability to wash the carpet thoroughly and drain the water so that the carpet can dry off. From my experience, this is the best way to clean carpet and upholstery because they are left with that new feeling and smell after the task has been completed. Ideally, you need to look for a home carpet cleaner that is not only effective in carrying out the cleaning but is also powerful, durable and reliable with a few important features. If you read carpet cleaner reviews, you will be able to take these factors into account. But I have found the Big Green Machine by Bissell to be the best carpet cleaner around. This has all the best features along with all of the essential ones. The best part about it is that it works highly effectively and leaves your carpet with that new smell and new texture.

So that’s my opinion regarding which machine to buy. I personally think that a vacuum cleaner is a fantastic machine that has great versatility. However, if you’re serious about cleaning your home in the most perfect manner then using a vacuum cleaner alongside the best home carpet cleaner is a must. This is especially important to remove those allergens that affect us and bring about our allergies in the summer months.

problems with the microwave

With this appliance making everyday life easier, it’s tempting to do everything faster with the microwave. While it’s tempting, some things are not microwavable.

Dry Sponge

Microwaves work great for removing lingering bacteria from kitchen sponges but always use water to saturate the sponge first. Microwaves have a water attraction, moving water molecules with heat and friction. By placing a dry sponge in the microwave, there’s no water for energy attraction, allowing the dry sponge to attract the energy instead and causing a fire.

Dishes Containing Metal

Before pressing the start button, check the container you are using for any metal pieces like handles and rims. When microwaves heat, the container metal molecules vibrate and catch fire.

De-shell Eggs First

Never try to make boiled eggs in the microwave. Eggs with shells intact can’t release steam, causing the egg to explode. Crack eggs into a bowl before cooking.

Forget the Foil

Aluminum foil is an energy blocker and not good for microwave oven use. But, you can use small foil pieces for shielding food corners and sections to keep from overcooking. The key to microwaving success is keeping the foil smooth. Crumpled and bent foil causes sparking between the creases and bends. Always check your user’s manual when using aluminum foil.

Drying Herbs

It seems like we always have too many herbs when buying bunches for cooking, and to keep from wasting them; we dry them. Don’t dry leftovers in a microwave. Without moisture, they catch fire if dried too long. If your herbs are dry, you can safely use them for seasoning dishes going into the microwave.

Plastic Dishes

Unless the manufacturer says a plastic dish is safe for the microwave, using them to heat food causes degrading and pitting of the plastic dishes. Heating these plastics cause no health harm and no chemical leakage into the food, but it can ruin the dish.

Vintage Dishes and Tableware

Dishes that are 40 years or older, do not meet FDA standards for leaching lead amounts into food. If vintage tableware and dishes are cracking or has deteriorating glaze, the lead could enter the food. Avoid these plates, cups, bowls, or dishes for using in the microwave.

Bags Made of Paper

According to the USDA, paper bags used to sack your food in the local grocery stores are unsanitary and can cause fires when microwaving. When overheated, they give off toxic fumes which enter the food and air.

Travel Cups and Mugs

Most cups and mugs used for carrying hot beverages while commuting to and from work contain stainless steel. Never place these in the microwave unless it states safe to use in microwaves. Heat the liquid before pouring into the travel cup.

Metal Rimmed Plates

Most decorative dishware and china have a metallic trim which causes fires when heated in a microwave. Instead of placing your food on the good china, heat it in a microwavable dish first then move to your decorative plates.


Fabric doesn’t contain water and the microwave can’t gather energy from it. While warming socks before putting them on and heading out into the snow sounds good, it can cause fires. Place your clothing in the dryer before wearing them.

extremely clean homeDust from dirt, plaster, drywall, or any other dust you can think of is bad, not only for your health, but for your furniture, floors, tools, and appliances. It’s important to remove the mess for lessening fire dangers, and it’s easier to get rid of than you might think.

Catch Airborne Dust

Dust rides the air before it collects on surfaces, and removing it while suspended makes disposal easier. Shop vacuums and carpet washers remove most of the collected dust, but when connecting a dust collector to the shop vacuum, you get a two-stage collection vessel. This removal system works like the ones used in professional woodshops. The Dust Deputy collector, selling for $100, picks up wood dust and chips with a cyclonic action, like water running down a drain, before depositing it in the tank bottom. Finer particles, not collected in the tank, move through the air filter of the vacuum.

Invent Your Own Filtration

By searching internet woodworking and material supply sites, you can find different shrouds, hoses, and adapters to add to your shop vacuum equipment. One such dust-trapping tool is the ChopShop Saw Hood made by FastCap, which sells for $142. By placing the hood on your saw, it forces sawdust against the hood’s back where the dust slides into a box. This keeps dust in the waste vehicle instead of on everything in the room.

If the price is too steep, try making a hood from sheet metal, particleboard, or plywood. Before the invent of specialized hoods, this DIY solution worked well for lumberyards and home wood shops.

Invest in a Good Shop Broom

A lightweight house broom and plastic dustpan, won’t remove the dust. You need a contractor push or shop broom and professional wood brush with horsehair bristles for the work bench and clothing. These industrial brooms and brushes remove everything from heavy sawdust to the finest silt off hard surfaces and clothing. Finish off your dust removing system with a large, heavy duty aluminum or metal dustpan.

The Right Clothes

Even with a good dust removal system, you still get dust in the air. Easy on and off coveralls make keeping dust outside the house easier. Using your brush, knock off any dust before removing your coveralls and hang them next to the door.

Easier Breathing

Spend the extra on a good quality mask to prevent breathing in the dust. Particulate respirators with foam seals and valves are considerably more than disposable masks, but worth the higher cost. Particulate respirators give better filtration than a standard dust mask, and with a valve for breathing, it reduces fog on safety glasses.

Put Out the Entrance Mat

Buy a mat for the entrance and place in front of your shop door to help gather wood and metal shavings, and dust from your shoes when leaving the room. It helps keep these harsh particles from being carried inside the car and your house and ruining floors and carpet. For the best effectiveness, get a mat with scrubbers to help loosen bits and pieces of debris from shoe soles.

home upgradesMost people try to live on a budget and make the most of the money that they do have. Turning off lights when they are not in use and turning up the thermostat are great places to start in saving on electricity bills.

But here are several more tips to cut some costs in your home:

Electricity Thermostat

Outside of a mortgage payment, the electricity bill is one of the highest monthly payments. Try replacing old outdated electricity thermostats for a newer one. Technology has driven changes that make new thermostats more customizable which will in turn cost less money. You can set the thermostat to be warmer or colder than normal while the parents are away at work and the children attend school. This will help less electricity to be used.

Powerful Power

Invest in a newly modernized power strip for areas of the home where the most things are plugged in. It will help when things are plugged in to not be draining power while they are not in use. Older power strips allow leakage of power even when kitchen appliances and other things are not in use.

The Water Heater

Most people do not think about setting of things like a water heater, even though it contributes to how much power is used in a home. Take a few minutes to check on the temperature that it is set on before taking your next shower. If it is set too high it will be costly, and chances are you can turn it down without noticing any difference at all.

Recharging Things

When you are able, try taking your charger to work to plug it in and recharge. It is also helpful to plug in laptops and other digital devices at your workplace when you are able to. This will cut down on energy usage in the home. Make sure to ask for permission from a supervisor before doing so on an ongoing basis.

Blow Dryers

Save a little extra energy by letting your hair dry naturally after taking a shower. It is healthier for your hair because the heated air can cause dry damaged ends. Your hair can still be curled or styled as needed after it is dry.

Line Dry

Go back to the basics, by hanging a clothing line outside of the home. Once your clothes have been laundered, you can hang them out to dry in the natural air. It is an age old tradition that works very well. It will also save a ton of money when this change is made over a lifetime.

Even using small changes can make a big difference in a home. Try a few of the tips and tricks listed above in your home and wait for the best results. You will see for yourself how much of a difference it will make when you make the necessary adjustments in your family home.

“Cooking is one of the oldest arts and ones which has rendered us the most important service in civic life.”

– Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

To sum up the quote, cooking is really a pure form of art. Though, it is often considered as a household work but, it’s not! Simply not! Cooking is an emotion to many souls who have discovered themselves again and again in the kitchen. There was a time when people did look down to cooking and considered it to be the feminine job. Time has passed people have changed so as the mentality. Now, people are crazy to be a chef, and not, just a chef. They have a huge love and respect towards cooking. Look around, you can see many people take up cooking as their hobbies. Whenever they get time, the first thing that hits them is there to cook and distress. Amazed, right? Yes, you must be but, before that, relax and little cook out some awesome lip-smacking dish for yourself. You will feel good!

Break the notion of getting your meal cooked by your mother or maiden. Can’t a 25-year-old guy cook for himself rather than screaming at his old mother? Of course, he can. Or rather, say, he should.  Stop being dependent on others. And learn cooking for yourself fore mostly. And looking at a yet new brighter side, you will now say NO to unhealthy food and thus, saving up a hefty amount of money from being wasted.

People often say the path of the reaching your partner’s heart is through the mouth! Woah! Don’t waste time and try out a few easy-to-make and mouthwatering dishes for your loving one. Being always a creative, colorful and relaxing activity, cooking helps a lot in the rejuvenation of the tired “you”. Have tried out cooking ever to distress you? Just try out; you will never be stressed again.

Who doesn’t want a beautiful life? It would be exaggerating to consider cooking as the foremost essentiality of life, but, I also can’t believe a beautiful life without good food. Eating well is equivalent to cooking well. So, what are you just waiting for? Don’t think it sounds cool when you say I can’t do anything. Rather, it smashes down your personality and what not! Bunk everything and get along with your mom in the kitchen.

managing the home budgetAbout a year ago, I left my job to stay at home. Considering Emmy was on her way (although it was mostly a secret then), it seemed like as good a time as any. After a few months, I took a part time job, partly out of boredom and also partly because it was nice to have the extra money to put Emmy’s room together. And, what a cute room it turned out to be.

Since then, our budget has been ridiculously tight and stretched. More so than it should and I know that a deal of it has to do with questionable spending decisions.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on our finances and how we can solve this ridiculous budget conundrum. Over the past two months I’ve taken to cooking a lot more, probably 90% of our meals. Cutting out eating out has drastically saved us money. It took a while to become apparent, especially since we’ve had to spend unbudgeted money on Christmas.

One thing we need to do is pay off my Belk card and Joseph’s recliner. In addition, I also have an anesthesiologist from my appendix to pay off and finish paying off my baby bills. In total, once those are paid off it will easily free up around $300 in our account monthly.

I’m also canceling our exterminator since they have yet to solve our stinkbug problem. I’m also getting rid of our cable and solely keeping Internet through Comcast. Now, because we will have Internet through them, apparently you get some channels but instead, I’ve signed us up for Hulu Plus to go along with the Netflix we already had. Together, that will save us around another $100 a month. Joseph cancelled the cable yesterday and so far so good.

We do not really have a ton of extra bills that can be cancelled. We have a mortgage, water and electric, two car payments, insurance for that, Netflix, Hulu, Internet and our cell phone bill. Besides Netflix and Hulu, they are all pretty non-negotiable bills and since Netflix and Hulu only cost $15 total together, we can spare it.

So, going into 2017, I have a resolution to get our finances together. I think Joseph and I had gotten too complacent, which is why we feel like we’re struggling when he makes more than enough to support us. My goal is to pay off those superfluous bills, lower other bills and start saving funds for Christmas, clothing and vacation.

In 2017, I certainly want to feel more like I’m controlling my money, rather than it controlling me.

caring for your hardwood floorsHardwood floors have stood the test of time. They are as popular, durable, and dependable today as they were a hundred years ago. This means that it should come as no surprise that people are always looking for new and creative ways to care for them the best they can.

Layered Flooring

When new wood is laid, it is a pre specified height and width. From there, as time moves forward it will consistently wear down. You cannot add to it; it will only get thinner as they are walked on. Once enough time has passed, they will inevitably need to be sanded down and refinished. That will consist of the former top coat being sanded, new stain to be applied, and then a new top coat being applied before they are ready for more use. A common mistake is for old wood flooring to be sanded down too many times which will cause it to lose its structural integrity. A professional consult should be used when needed to make a determination of how to proceed for the best results.

There is Always Imperfections

One of the things that ultimately adds to the overall allure of hardwood flooring is their unique character. You may first think that a chip or a scratch looks unfavorable, but it is a common known fact that those are the things that add further appeal to the look. Instead of trying to hide those blemishes, try to enhance them instead. Try using a black paint, applied in small doses to the affected areas. Instead of hiding the scratch it will highlight it and draw more attention. It will add more character and charm than a brand new flooring system.

Different Product Lines

You can still use hardwood flooring in its truest sense if you are able to make the sizable investment that it will entail. However, there are many new products on the market today that are more cost effective than that.

If you are not concerned with budget, you might try the ceramic tiles that mimic hardwood flooring. They have all of the appeal and color but in a different form. They can also be heated with an underpinning for warm floors on a cold day.

There’s also engineered hardwood flooring that are sold in an easy to apply tongue and groove manner. They are constructed for the home do-it-yourselfer in mind and they will not break the budget. They are made for the masses but still have a great look to them.

And lastly, there are different linoleum products that come in whole room size pieces, rectangular tiles, or even peel and stick pieces. These are not quite as durable but they are the least expensive products on the market of this type.

Hardwood floors are a great way to live. They are stunning to look at and they are durable to stand the test of time. Taking care of them doesn’t have to be that difficult if you understand the different types and how to use them correctly.

fresh smelling homeAt the end of a long day, there is nothing greater than coming home to a place that reflects who you are. But some people are wondering what makes a home feel like your home, especially when it is a new home. Here are a few things that you can do to truly make it yours.

The Sense of Scent

-One of the key things about making a home feel uniquely yours is the smell that you encounter when you arrive. There are many ways that you can accomplish this, just by what you warm up. Try making cookies just prior to guests arriving to your home for a sweet innocent scent. But if your nose is more prone to something a bit more savory try lighting some floral scented candles for added appeal.

Vinegar Helps

-Sometimes when you have lived in a home for a while, it can mean that things build up. It could mean that that applies to a garbage disposal or an old coffee pot just the same. Try purchasing an inexpensive bottle of vinegar to use. Run hot water down your sinks for about three minutes to clear away the debris from the passageway. Then pour vinegar down the hole. It will blast the unsightly smells that can come from a garbage disposal over time. It will also work with a coffee pot as well.

Run it through once, without anything but water to melt away the caked on debris. Then fill it with a vinegar and water mix and let it sit for up to an hour before pouring it out. It will take away any left-over smells that can be left behind.

Cleanse the Air

-Getting rid of old smells is not the only thing that you can do to freshen up the home. You can also pull the outside in by adding some fresh cleansing plants on the inside. Try a fern or a climbing plant to not only add color but to help cleanse the air from any impurities that might be lingering in the corners.

Clean the Vents

-It isn’t something that people enjoy doing but cleaning is a must. It is important to clean the air vents within the home. They can become cluttered with debris from dust, lint, and pet hair over time. Take a vacuum and clean the vents before they become to cluttered. Dirty air vents will ultimately cause problems with allergies. Also take the time to clean and to change out the air filter that is usually housed in the main heating and cooling unit base.

Your home should smell like the way you want it to smell, so use the things that matter the most. Go with good smelling things like baked goods or candles for both a sweet or savory scent. Then move on to cleaning out garbage disposals and coffee pots with vinegar to relieve the smell. And finally clean the vents and air filters regularly for the best results.