Keep Your Wrapping Paper Organized

Keep Your Wrapping Paper Organized

If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch of rolls of birthday, wedding, or Christmas wrapping paper scattered about under beds or in closets. I recently discovered the world of wrapping paper organizers. Don’t let your confusion about which wrapping paper organizer will fit your needs stop you. There are really just four main types, the hanging wrapping paper organizer, the vertical wrapping paper organizer, the under-the-bed or portable wrapping paper organizer and the cart wrapping paper organizer. Before you purchase one, take a look around your house to see what type of space you have available.

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Science Experiments for 4th Graders

Science Experiments for 4th Graders

4th grade science experiments are always one of the more interesting activities to do when it comes to explaining basic science concepts. This stage of learning deals with the study of Matter such as Atoms and Molecules, as well as Force, motion and energy along with Earth, Light, Electricity and much more. It is a very exciting stage for any young student, as 4th grade science covers some of the most important facts and provides the building blocks for higher science education. And as with any good elementary science learning, experiments help keep learning fun and exciting, not to mention it makes absorption of concepts easier since practical applications are being done using the lesson.

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Preventing and Dealing With Kitchen Fires

Preventing and Dealing With Kitchen Fires
Recently, my sister dealt with this very subject. Fortunately, she knew what to do. Fires are very unfortunate. They cause the loss of property and loss of lives. If you make it out with only a few injuries, you are very lucky. The thing is, most people take the subject of house fires for granted and feel that it can never happen to them. Unfortunately, house fires happen everyday. The good news is, they can be prevented.

When it comes to fires, the kitchen is the prime starting point. Cooking, making coffee and other similar activities can quickly accelerate into a disastrous and consuming house fire. Since many fires originate from stove tops, there is a chance of fire every time a meal is prepared.

Kitchen fire prevention

There are many ways to prevent a kitchen fire before it ever starts. They can turn into raging monsters that are hard to tame. If you are careful, you will never have to encounter that monster. A few simple steps are all that is needed to be the safest cook in the kitchen.

  • Never leave the kitchen when cooking. Foods can quickly overflow or burn if you forget that you are cooking. Don’t be surprised; it happens more often than you think. Even though you may have loads of things to do, it pays to stand close by while cooking.
  • Turn off the coffee pot. When you are not using the coffee pot to brew a delicious cup of Joe, you should unplug and turn the machine off.
  • Pay attention to what you are wearing while cooking. Long flowing sleeves or extremely long necklaces can cause complications while preparing the meal. Your clothing can easily catch on fire and cause injury. Garage Tool Advisor recently posted a great article on fire safety in the kitchen mixed in with some of their tool reviews. Be sure to take a look.

Taming the fire

fire extinguisherFires can spread out of control in a very short time. Since something went wrong during your food preparation or when you left the coffee pot on all night, you will may be faced with an accident. If there is a fire in your kitchen, then you need to know what to do.

  • A fire has erupted from a grease spill. Your first instinct may be to douse the fire with water. This is the worst mistake you could make. The best thing to use to put out a grease fire, is salt. Salt actually smothers the flame, taking away oxygen. A fire cannot live without oxygen.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. This item is one of the best safety tools you can buy and can save your kitchen and leave you with only a burned pan. You must make sure that you know how to use the fire extinguisher before you attempt to put the fire out. If you don’t, you should call the fire department immediately.

Yes, fires can be devastating, but you can prevent them with a little common sense. If you find yourself dealing with a fire and not sure what too do, call the fire department and leave the battle to the experts. After all, the kitchen fire can be fatal and it should never be taken for granted.

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Garage Organization Tips

Garage Organization Tips

Well Winter is technically behind us even though parts of the country still have snow on the ground. Spring is here and along with that comes Spring cleaning. Like others, the garage is one of the first places we begin to clean and organize. I really believe that the best way to organize your garage is to wait for a couple of sunny days where you can take everything out of your cluttered garage and go through it. It may be a good idea to have a yard sale with the items you can do without. True, there are many items you would like to keep, but you will find out that as you go through things, there will be some items that you really can do without.

Storage

Shelves in your garage are always a good way to store smaller items. I prefer Rubbermaid shelves over any others. Plan ahead and get the right amount of shelving you need to supply the needed space for all of your small items. Don’t keep stuff in boxes where you can’t find it. You want to have access to everything you need. Also, it may help to place the shelving in a rather hidden place, or perhaps a functional area where it is needed. You may want to hang some items from the wall, including skis, fishing rods, and other miscellaneous larger items that you may have.

Make it functional

After you have gone through all of your things, and sorted out what you don’t need, it is time to start placing your possessions in the organizational systems that you have arranged for them. Place things where you can access them easily depending on what you plan to do at any given time in the garage. This is about the time my husband takes the winter tires off our car and puts them in storage. Since he’s so into cars, as his Christmas gift, I got him the best floor jack I could find for under $200. Because of the weight, he’s going to keep it right by the garage door. If you have a workbench nearby, place other tools next to it. Place like items together. For instance, place any gardening tools (like shovels or the Grass Stitcher) together, the gas cans together, the paint all in one place, and so on. Plan ahead, and then your daily uses of the things in the garage will be easier.

Keep it simple

Don’t overdo any stage of the process. If you have any doubts about getting rid of something, just keep it for now, you can always do something with it later. Also, think of friends and acquaintances who could perhaps use some of your unwanted items. A thorough cleaning and organizing is good for every garage occasionally.

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How to Ditch Your Landline Phone

How to Ditch Your Landline Phone

As cell phones overshadow traditional land line telephones as many people’s primary communications device, keeping a landline can seem redundant. And, paying for a landline seems wasteful, especially when it goes unused. For the longest time, a landline was necessary in order to maintain an internet connection. It has also been the best way to keep a line of communication open to a household with several members and been the most reliable way to have access to 911 service. Times, however, are changing.

Skype

skypeAs most people are probably aware, Skype uses instant messaging software to allow people to video chat. What many people may not be aware of is that you can use Skype for voice and text messaging as well.

Bluetooth

One way to get a home phone without paying for a landline is to use Bluetooth technology to connect your cordless phone to your cell. You can have two phones with only one bill. Panasonic, Goodcall and Uniden all offer Bluetooth-enabled cordless phones.

UMA

Not many people know about Unlicensed Mobile Access. It is a technology that allows your mobile phone to connect to your home Wi-fi to make free phone calls. Best of all, it won’t count against your monthly minutes. Check with your mobile carrier to see if this service is available to you.

Smartphone Apps

There are many Smartphone apps such as Free calls with Magic Jack, Viber and Line2– just to name a few– that will allow you to make free phone calls to anyone in the U.S. and Canada no matter whether they have a landline or are using a mobile device.

Magic Jack

magic jackMagic Jack is a tiny device that plugs into the USB port on your computer. Once a regular phone jack is plugged into the other end of Magic Jack, you can make inexpensive phone calls. For $20 per year you can make unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada and pay nothing for incoming calls. The only catch with Magic Jack is that you have to have a solid internet connection, otherwise you will experience a lot of dropped calls.

Cell Phone Booster

Even though you may have a cell phone, poor reception is the biggest hindrance to people getting rid of their home phone. Most cell phone boosters (or repeaters) work through your internet and a GPS signal to amplify the signal from the nearest cell tower. Their is an upfront expense of a couple hundred dollars but it pays for itself in a matter of a few months and dropped calls and conversations that cut out will be a thing of the past. Be sure to read some cell phone booster reviews on the net to help you pick out the right model. As for those cell phone signal booster stickers? They’re a scam and don’t work.

Landline-free Internet

A large part of the reason many people hang on to their landlines long after they have ceased to use them for communication is that many companies require a landline for internet service. As technology progresses and becomes more available to the public, however, landlines become less and less necessary even for this.

Dry loop DSL

Dry loop DSL ( also known as naked DSL, stand alone or dryline) uses your homes phone line but does not require phone service to be active.

Cable

If you have cable television service, you can receive internet via your television cable. Check with your cable provider to see if they offer this service.

Satellite

Just as you can get television service via satellite, you can get internet service via satellite. Best of all, you don’t have to subscribe to a television service to receive internet service in this way.

Mobile Broadband

The same technology that allows you to connect to the internet on your smartphone, can now allow you to turn your laptop into a Wi-fi hotspot. If you spend much time on your computer, however, this can be a costly alternative.

As technology advances and becomes more widely available to the general public, a landline telephone becomes redundant and thus unnecessary. Being able to ditch your landline can also lower monthly expenses.

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The Danger of Gun Control Laws

The Danger of Gun Control Laws

Forgive me but I have the need to get on my soapbox now about a very important issue. The Second Amendment states, in part, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  The words ‘shall not’ definitely means something.  The words ‘the people’ mean you and your neighbor.  The stated, expressed purpose of the retention of this right is for defense.  All current debates about the regulation of this common means of defense, during the formative years of the United States, are misplaced.

Current political debates about gun control:

  • Do not take into consideration who is using weapons, of any kind, in an illegal or dangerous manner.

  • Do understand what role a weapon plays in the daily lives of some people as they usually have armed guards at their side much of the time.

  • Confuse the presence of a gun in a lawful citizen’s possession as just ‘one more gun on the streets.’

  • Do not understand what the weapon in American culture means.

obamaGun control laws are actually dangerous because they do not take into consideration the largest population of gun wielding maniacs is not the law abiding citizens.  There are approximately 310 million people in the United States and, according to gun and rifle manufacturers, approximately 300 million weapons owned by them.  There are not that many crimes committed with guns in the average year or even decade.  Consider the following:

  • These are purchased and used for:  Hunting – 58%; Target shooting – 66% and Protection against crimes – 67%.

  • For the year 2008, 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in all categories.  8% of them (436,000) were committed with a visible gun.  What was used in all of the rest that should be controlled?

  • In all criminal activities that are committed by someone with a gun, they intended or were prepared to use that weapon.

  • 42% of Americans will be the victim of a completed crime and 82% will be involved in an attempted violent crime. 52% of Americans will be the victim more than once.

  • All criminal use of a weapon, on each occasion, will be ended by them being stopped by another weapon or their own weapon turned upon themselves.

gun-controlGun control laws, as being discussed as political fixes, are actually dangerous because they attempt to control people rather than a weapon.  Many of these proposals would require trigger guards, safes and the placement of ammunition in another location.  This makes their purpose of self protection a rather complicated operation requiring an amount of time that might not be available to them in an emergency situation. Like most responsible gun owners, we have our firearms securely locked away securely in a gun safe. Since we only have a couple pistols, the best gun safe for us was an inexpensive GunVault which we keep next to our bed. For others, they may need a large floor-standing model to hold their rifles, AR-15s or whatever else they have. The point being is that in the future, we may also need to hide our guns from the government which is definitely not something our founding fathers had in mind. For those who yet to have a safe (you should!), be sure to visit this site.

“Gun control will not stop crazy people from committing murder.”

Other elements of politically popular bills deal with background checks, sizes of cartridges, amount of rounds in each magazine and, nonsensically, the physical appearance of the weapon.  There is more stopping power in a .257 Magnum than a M16, however, the M16 looks mean!  And it also has a barrel guard which has to mean it is a military style assault rifle.

Gun control laws are actually dangerous because the framers of the US Constitution knew that a day could come when the words ‘being necessary to the security of a free state’, within the Second Amendment, meant something that is being overlooked, at least in the debates on the subject.  During a time when Homeland Security has more ammunition than was needed to prosecute the war in Iraq and even the Department of Education has a SWAT team, the people’s right to protect their property is a fundamental right.

The most dangerous part of this is not the intellectual debate, but what it does to the relationship between the government and a sovereign people.

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Tips to Get Your Baby to Sleep Better

Tips to Get Your Baby to Sleep Better

As a parent who has had a difficult time with this, getting your baby to sleep well at night is a very common problem for most parents. Every baby is different and will have a different sleep pattern. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several different techniques that you can try to help your baby sleep better and more comfortably which will also mean a better night’s rest for the entire household.

Consider being consistent with the baby’s bedtime putting the baby down at the same time each night. You might also choose to make sure that the routine that you use prior to bedtime is consistent as well such as feeding time, bath time and even some rocking or coddling time to help the baby feel relaxed and secure.

merino-sleep-sackFor bath time, you might consider a warm bath making use of some of the night time bath products that are available for babies that offer relaxation such as lavender and chamomile type products. You also want to make sure that your baby is dressed comfortably so that the night time clothing that you put on the baby isn’t binding or doesn’t leave the baby too hot or too cold. Don’t put too many blankets on the baby in the crib which can make him hot and uncomfortable yet do not cover the baby and allow him to get a chill. A sleep sack is a fantastic alternative to traditional blankets and many hospitals have switched over to using them for newborns. Whatever you dress them in, you’ll learn the things that work well for your baby and what your baby’s preference is for sleeping comfortably in no time.

Be consistent about feeding your baby during the day in order to make sure that you are teaching that eating if for the daytime hours and the night time hours are for sleeping. You may choose to give your baby a bit more formula in the bottle prior to his bed time than you do in his day time bottles to allow him a full tummy and a longer and more peaceful sleep without waking.

Play with your baby in the day hours and spend time making sure the baby is entertained during the day as well, this will help the baby to nap less and possibly sleep better at night. You might choose wind up toys, busy boxes, or just a pallet on the floor with toys that make noises or that provide movement to keep your baby entertained.

Another great consideration may be to lay your baby down at night in the crib with soothing music playing quietly or with relaxation noises such as a waterfall or rain sounds playing to help the baby to relax and to drift off to sleep and to say asleep. Use a crib soother or an old iPod you may have laying around.

baby-sleep-tipsCreate a nursery atmosphere that is comforting and soothing for your baby. When it’s time for sleep, darken the room by using shades or blinds that help keep out any disturbing light that my shine in. Also make sure the temperature in the room as well as the humidity are set at a comfortable level. If your baby sweats a lot, you should consider an all-season sleeping sack such as the Merino Kids (review here). Make sure that the baby’s room is quiet and that the rest of the house is quiet as well. Once the baby is down for the night, you don’t want to disturb him with loud noises such as vacuuming, loud television noises or the commotion of other siblings that may still be awake. That said, some babies do not let any noise disrupt their sleep. Consider yourself lucky if your little one is like that.

Finally, teach your baby early that night time is for sleeping and day time is for being awake in order to help keep your baby and yourself happy and healthy. You’ll enjoy parenthood so much more when you have a baby that sleeps well at night and wakes feeling refreshed and ready for the day without being cranky and disgruntled.

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Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets

Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets

When we purchased our first home, we knew there was a bit of work to do on it. Like many other first-time homeowners, the number one thing we wanted to do was update the old with the new. Whether this be carpets or something as simple as kitchen cabinets, they are always looking to improve their homes with something new and pleasing to the eye. Replacing carpets and other flooring types is as easy as either calling a professional to come to your home and do it for you, or do it yourself by using materials from a big box home improvement store such as Home Depot. For updating kitchen cabinets, there are a few more steps involved.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be an awesome technique for updating old cabinets with a new look. For one thing, you can easily remove wallpaper when you want a new look. For another, you can choose a pattern that matches the look you are wanting for your kitchen. You can choose a multitude of different shades, patterns, and looks for your cabinets. Simply follow the instructions for the wallpaper you want to use and update to your hearts content.

Things to make sure you have when using wallpaper are:

  • Glue
  • Water
  • Stripping tool (in case there is a wallpaper goof-up)  
  • Knife (or scissors) for cutting wallpaper
  • Smoothing tool (for getting rid of any air bubbles)  

Paint/Stain

paint-kitchen-cabinetsAnother thing that can be your best friend with your endeavor to update your kitchen cabinets is to use paint or stain. Most cabinets are made out of wood, so this is another way to create a uniform look and give you a chance to express your artistic side as well. Go crazy and have fun.

Things to make sure you have when using paint are:

  • Paint color of your choice
  • Any texturing tools you may want to use
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
  • Paint thinner
  • Scraping tool
  • Painters tape
  • Tarp (to make sure no paint drips on your other surfaces)  

If you want to paint the doors a different color than the rest of the cabinets then you can use spray paint as an alternative. Plus, one of the added benefits of using spray paint, you can create patterns by alternating distance between the doors and spray nozzle.

Replace

update-kitchen-cabinetsSome cabinets are in such great disrepair when you first buy the home that the only recourse for updating them is to replace them. This can mean several different things for a new homeowner. It can be a source of great trepidation or great joy, depending on the homeowner. If this is the situation that you are looking at, there are many options available to you.

There are two ways to replace old cabinets. One is to have a professional come into your home and replace them for you. The other is to do it yourself. Since my husband is pretty handy, he actually built new cabinets for us and they turned out great! The previous summer, he did a lot of research looking at portable air compressor reviews online. He had his mind set on a Makita unit since he loves their cordless drill and he found the best price on the Makita MAC2400 online. While having someone come in the home may be more expensive, it can also be the way to go if you want your cabinets done quickly. Let’s face it, not a lot of people are going to want to spend their off time doing repair work on their homes. 

One of the best way to determine what is the best choice for you is to do your research and ask questions. Find out how much it will cost you to do the work yourself and factor in the time it will take you to finish the work and compare it to what it will cost to have a professional come in. Look at all your options and determine which is the best path for you to take while updating your cabinets.

New Hardware

New cabinet pulls or knobs are probably the easiest and least expensive way to update the look of a kitchen. There are literally hundreds of different options available. For some, this is all they do. Others add new hardware as the finishing touch once the cabinet faces are redone (recommended).  Keep in mind that it’s a little more work if replacing hardware that has a different number of attachment points. With that, you may need to fill in the old holes and re-measure everything for alignment.

Most of all, remember to have fun with your decorating. After all, this is your home.

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Need a Good Baby Gift?

Need a Good Baby Gift?

I can’t count how many different toys we have around the house made by Playskool. With the Playskool Busy Ball Popper, babies will get silly with poppin’ and droppin’ colored balls! Pump the plunger and then drop the balls onto the bright spiral track. When the balls reach the bottom, watch out! The balls then pop out of the top! Eight lively songs are guaranteed to supply plenty of laughs and giggles and keep the fun rollin’ along. When your baby’s a little older, they can have even more fun by chasing after the fun brightly colored balls. Ages 9 months to 3 years.

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30 Fun Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

30 Fun Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

Once school is out, “I’m bored!” are the two words almost every parent is guaranteed to hear at some point. Fortunately, fun AND frugal do go together when it comes to activities you can do with the kids this summer. Here is a list of 30 activity ideas to get you through the summer without breaking the budget. All they require is some extra quality time with your children, which is always a good thing.

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