Sunday, October 06, 2019

Keep Your Home Stocked All School Year

School Supplies
If you have a large family, keeping your home stocked with enough supplies throughout the school year can prove to be a difficult challenge. There are many ways you can ensure that all of your children have plenty of tools on hand to tackle any project no matter what subject it might involve.

Consider the following tips to help keep your home stocked from fall to summer.
  • Invest in Craft Supplies - Go out of your way to stock up on common craft supplies and keep them available in your home for surprise school projects. Popular supplies may include construction paper, paper confetti, yarn, felt and beads. Buy more than you think you're going to need when the Back-to-School sales are in full swing - or better yet, when all those extra supplies go on clearance after school has started (like now!) If you missed those sales or still feel there are things you will be needing, see if you can buy art supplies online to fulfill your needs. Buying in bulk often gives you the best prices.
  • Get Plenty of Paper - Make sure you always have plenty of paper on hand for restocking binders. In addition to looseleaf notebook paper, you can keep extra wire-bound notebooks, notepads, composition notebooks, and memo pads.
  • Keep Extra Binders and Folders - Get more binders and folders than what your children need when school first starts. Throughout the year, you may find yourself replacing them as their supplies become damaged, are submitted and kept by the teacher for projects or as they run out of space. You can buy basic binders and folders in bulk packs to help protect your wallet.
  • Get Printer Refills - Make sure you always have printer refill cartridges on hand. If one of your children has an important assignment due the next morning, the last thing you want to happen is having your printer run out of ink before they are able to print it out. Make sure to invest in both black and color ink cartridges.

By taking the time to prepare before the school year starts, you can help your children succeed in school.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

3 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

There aren't many things more depressing than a room that is always dark and drab. The good news is – it doesn’t need to stay that way! With a few strategic changes you can take your gloomy room and make it into a bright and cheerful space you’ll love to spend time in.
  • Swap in Some new Shades - Many of us struggle with the blinds and shades in our homes. If we have them open, anyone can see in. Also, open shades or blinds can leave the room too bright, or too hot making it impossible to sit and watch TV or talk to someone comfortably. That problem is easily solved by solar roller shades new jersey. They let you leave the shade down all the time. The sun can come in to a degree, but it doesn’t get hot or cause horrible reflections on your TV. People can’t see in from the outside either. So, you get a bright room without all the drawbacks of blinds or traditional shades.
  • Add Some Large Mirrors - Mirrors do an excellent job of reflecting more than just your appearance. They can reflect light back into the room as well. There’s a scene from a movie about the life of Thomas Edison. As a child, he runs around his neighborhood getting mirrors from all to get enough light for a surgeon to operate on this mother with just a few candles. It’s an unfounded story, but a good illustration of what the effect is overall. You can decorate with some pretty mirrors and brighten your room at the same time.
  • Paint With Light Colors - Paint your room a white or light color. The lighter color will make the room seem immediately brighter. You can easily bring color into the room with accents. Plants and cut flowers will bring in color and have the bonus of brightening up the room as well. Make sure to use an eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss finish for easier cleaning.
It’s not very enjoyable to spend time in a room that is dark and dreary. With just a few changes, you can transform a dull room into a brighter, airier space for you to enjoy.

Book Review: Love Changes Everything

I just finished reading Love Changes Everything: Finding What's Real in a World Full of Fake by Micah Berteau. I was offered a free copy for review purposes, and the description had me intrigued. I had just heard a sermon about the story of Hosea and Gomer, and the timing seemed more than a coincidence, so I jumped at the chance.

This book promises to be life-changing. The author uses the example of Hosea and Gomer - where God tells the prophet to marry a prostitute, who later leaves him to run back to her old life, and instead of leaving it there, God expects Hosea to go and buy his own wife back - to show us exactly how much God loves us.

There were some good parts to this book and things to think about, but overall I just didn't connect with the author and what he was trying to get across. I didn't find any of it life-changing or earth-shattering, but overall it was a decent read with some good reminders. Perhaps for someone who has been struggling to understand the reality of God's love, it can be the book that changes everything...

Thanks to Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group) for the copy. All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 23, 2019

3 Signs Your AC Unit Needs Professional Attention

miami air conditioning repairMost people can't get through a summer day without air conditioning. Personally, I like hot weather, but it seems I'm in the minority. Those of you who like and depend on your air conditioning expect instant cooling relief when you walk through your front door. And if you're not feeling that, you quickly realize that something might be wrong - and probably start to panic.

If you’re unsure whether it’s time to call out an HVAC technician Harris County TX, here are three signs that your HVAC unit may be ready to call it quits.
  1. It’s Making Strange Sounds - A low humming noise is a perfectly normal sound to come from an AC unit. Anything else, however, is not. While rattling can be easily explained away by something coming loose inside (which may or may not be harmless), clunking and grinding sounds are always going to indicate a serious problem.
  2. It’s Not Blowing out Cold Air - As obvious as this may seem, it may take some time before you realize that you’re not just experiencing a scorching hot day and, instead, your air conditioning unit simply isn’t performing as it should. Keep an eye on how long your AC has been running; if you’ve had it on for longer than 10 minutes and the air still isn’t chill, you could have a problem on your hands.
  3. It’s Giving off a Bad Smell - An AC unit should never give off any strong odors, so a clear sign something is wrong is if yours starts to do so. A musty smell could be a sign you have a mold issue, and you must get a professional to clean it otherwise you’re at risk of breathing in poisonous spores. If the smell is pretty foul, it could mean the wires have burned out, in which case you need to get it fixed straight away to avoid a fire hazard.

The most important thing to remember is never try to fix your AC unit yourself. Electrical repairs can be complicated (and dangerous). Stay safe and always call in a professional.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Three Alternatives to Airport Parking

Heathrow Terminal 4Travel can be expensive, and parking at the airport can add significant expense to your travel costs. You also need to factor in the additional time and exertion to get to the terminal while towing luggage. You'll also be leaving your vehicle in an exposed lot for several days while you're gone, and there is always the risk of damage or theft. That is definitely not the way you want to end your trip!

Consider one of these alternatives:
  • Public Transit - If public transit such as buses or trains is available, consider using that to get to your preferred location of departure. Mass transit can be a very economical alternative to airport parking. The local bus or train schedule may not match up perfectly with your flight times, so you will need to factor additional time and effort if you go this route. And if you have a lot of luggage, this may not be the ideal option for you.
  • Shuttles and Ride Sharing - Shuttles and other transportation services can be a superior choice. A Houston to Galveston shuttle bus can save money and reduce the stress of parking and traveling to and from the terminal. Other choices for ground transportation include taxi and limo services which are available at most airports. Rideshare businesses such as Uber and Lyft may have available drivers nearby. Watch for price surges during busy times of the day such as morning and evening rush hours.
  • Friendly Chauffeur Option - Having a loved one drop off or pick up is probably the cheapest and most convenient option. You may be obligated to return the favor with a meal, gas money or some other offer. A drop-off or pickup at the terminal is the ultimate in convenience as it saves you the effort of walking to a parking space, especially while schlepping luggage. This is especially helpful if you're someone like me who has yet to figure out how to pack light.
The idea of leaving your car in a public place for a few days might not be appealing. Reduce your stress and stop your worrying. Consider these options to airport parking that offer the benefits of convenience and potential savings.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Get Your Library Card and You Could Win $100

Library cards are some of the handiest things on the planet. With your library card, you have access to so many great things - books, magazines, movies, music, and so much more. Don't have a computer or internet access at home? Visit your local library! Looking for fun activities with new friends? Again, visit your local library!

Best of all, you get access to all these things for free. Just show your library card.

September is Library Card Signup Month, and to help spread the word, the American Library Association is hosting a giveaway. Just post a picture of you and your library card with the hashtag #GetLibraryCarded to Instagram or Twitter, and you could win $100. Don't have a library card? Head on down to your local library and get signed up!

Help us spread the word about the value of libraries this September by snapping a picture with your library card and posting it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #GetLibraryCarded. You'll be automatically entered in a drawing to win a $100 Visa gift card! Entries can also be submitted by posting as a comment or wall post on the I Love Libraries Facebook page.
Don't forget to cover up any personally identifiable information!
The promotion begins Sunday, September 1 at noon CT and ends Sunday, September 22 at noon CT. Librarians and library lovers are encouraged to participate.
The #GetLibraryCarded Promotion is open to residents of the United States, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories. Employees of the American Library Association are not eligible to participate. Official rules (pdf)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Caring For Your Hardwood Floors

Shortly after we moved into this house, we tore out the carpet in the downstairs and replaced it with hardwood floors. I love them, but taking care of them and keeping them clean is a bit different than the carpet I've always had. If you are lucky enough to live in a home with hardwood flooring, you know that proper cleaning is essential. You'll want to take the steps necessary to keep the wood looking its best. Here’s how to properly care for your Provenza old world flooring.

  • Daily Dust 
    Don’t blanch at the idea of cleaning your floors daily – a simple, two-minute dusting is all you need. A soft-bristled broom or microfiber cloth will keep the wood free of debris that can build up and make more work for you should you put this task off. My daughter recently got me a robot vacuum, and while I don't run it every day, I do run it more often than I ever managed to run the dust mop, and it really makes a difference.
  • Weekly Mop 
    A bucket of warm water and a bit of dish or castile soap is all you need to mop your hardwood floors. Avoid using vinegar, which can dull your floor’s shine throughout the years. An oil-based cleaner is also something to stay away from, as it can be very slippery and dangerous in high-traffic areas.
  • Monthly Polish 
    A monthly or even bi-monthly polish is a great way to care for the finish that protects the hardwood. A special polish and flat-surface mop will help even out the floor and fill in tiny scratches and holes. Using area rugs and mats can also help protect the surface and avoid significant wear and tear.
  • Bi-Yearly Refinishing 
    Depending on the kind of floors you have, it can also be a good idea to have your hardwood floors sanded and refinished every few years. This will strip the old finish and remove any deep gouges, and replace it with a new, shiny finish. You can also take this opportunity to have the wood stained if you’re looking to experiment with a new color or are remodeling a certain room.
If you commit to caring for your hardwood floors from the very beginning, you will be able to enjoy their classic beauty for many years.

Getting Consistency Out of Your Thermostat

thermostatWhether it’s a workspace or your personal residence, being too hot or too cold can interrupt your productivity and comfort levels. Even with a thermostat that is set to your desired temperature, you might find that you feel periods of hot or cold as the weather fluctuates outside. This isn’t your imagination, as there are several things that can influence the efficiency of your heating and air system.
  • Dirty Equipment - As the parts and elements of your system get coated with dirt, that dirt can interfere with how well the parts rotate, turn, or interact. Look into getting an HVAC service contract Chicago IL with a local company. Regular maintenance before each major heating and cooling season can help eliminate some of this extra buildup and keep your equipment operating at optimum efficiency.
  • Clogged Filters - The air filters in the building can get clogged with dust which can limit the clean airflow out of the system. When it is forced to flow backward into the unit, the trapped air lowers the operating temperature. If this is left unresolved, the unit can freeze and seize up. Ice forming on the coils is a sign that there is a serious issue with airflow.
  • Worn Equipment - When your environment experiences extreme highs and lows in temperature, your HVAC unit can see a lot of use. The condensing fan motor is one of the components that is continually exposed to the elements and will wear down over time. Another reason your unit might not be outputting the way your thermostat demands is a refrigerant problem. Over time, a small leak may develop in the evaporator coil, the copper lines, or the air conditioning unit itself. This would mean your unit continually runs but without releasing cool air.
If you want to maintain cool temperatures in summer and heat in winter, taking care of your HVAC unit and components is the place to start. If you aren’t familiar with the different areas that need attention, schedule a maintenance visit with your local professionals.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Before Baby Makes Three

Getting pregnant is a life-changing event that requires thoughtful planning. If you and your husband are considering starting a family, think about life before, during, and after pregnancy and birth. Consider every factor in every stage of the process; pregnancy is only the first step!

New born
  • Arrival and Newborn Baby - The practical questions need to be discussed before you actually bring a child into the world - before you even get pregnant. Pregnancy is just the beginning, and then the real work begins. Can you afford to raise a child? Is there space in your home, your schedule, and your life for a newborn? 
    • These answers are not always easy when you’re being completely honest with yourself, but they’re worth asking. Your life is no longer your own when you become a parent, so are you willing to put aside your free time and your sleep patterns? The benefits are definitely worth it, but are you willing to make the sacrifices?
  • Getting Pregnant - Before finding a birthing center San Antonio, you need to talk to your doctor about the possibility of pregnancy. Other preexisting medical conditions might play a role in your ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, or you might simply have concerns to address. Speak to your GP before deciding to go off birth control, or perhaps schedule a special discussion appointment and bring your husband along. Knowledge is power!
  • Pregnancy - Your body will go through massive changes once you’ve conceived, so stay up-to-date on milestones and what you should be feeling during each trimester. Do research on everything: How big baby will be at specific times; what side effects you should be feeling; and what changes you can expect physically and mentally.
    • Your OBGYN is the best person to discuss these with, but in the meantime, it can be fun to see progress on your own with pregnancy apps
Having a baby is one of the most personal choices that you can make, but making an informed decision is never a waste of time. Consider every aspect of parenthood and decide if it’s something that you and your husband are truly ready for.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Camp Outreach 2019

For the past 5 years, I've been spending a week every summer serving at Camp Outreach. Here's a video of pictures taken this year. I even show up a time or two.

Camp Outreach is a missionary camp focused on improving the lives of those living in the inner-city neighborhood of Stingtown Indianapolis and working on the hearts of those young and old who volunteer to serve in the community. 2019 was a great year for Camp and we can't wait for next year!