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!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

How To Avoid Carpet Cleaning Conundrums

Have your kids been running through the house tracking mud and dirt across the carpet? Do you have pets that maybe did not have the cleanest paws when coming back from a trip outdoors? Have you simply just lived in your house for more than a year? Then it is probably time for you to get look into carpet cleaning College Station. But do not just call anyone to do the job. A few factors go into finding the company who can do the job right.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning And MaintenanceWhy Not Clean Them Yourself?
You can rent carpet cleaning machines to do it yourself. This, however, means that you need to move the heavy, cumbersome machine around your house, moving furniture and trying to get the carpets cleaned and free from stains. They usually do not clean as effectively or dry as well as the professional machines.

Look for Companies With Licensed Technicians
Make sure the company you use has licensed technicians who know what they are doing. You also want to find companies that have the experience and trust needed to get your carpets cleaned right.

Decide Which Process You Want
Carpet cleaning is not all the same process. Wet carpet cleaning takes a significant time to dry. Dry treatments allow you to walk on your carpets immediately after treatment. Other treatments use “green” cleaning products. All will work, but you will want to research them to find what works best for your family.

Find Reviews
Ask your neighbors, family, and friends about who they use to clean their carpets. Also consider going further and looking on service review sites and the company’s site to see what other customers have said about their experience.

When it comes to carpet cleaning, do not just go with the cheapest service. Do your research and find the one that works best for your needs and your family.

Friday, July 26, 2019

3 Steps to Achieving a Minimalist Bathroom

Your bathroom sees constant foot traffic. Juggling a full-time job, kids, pets, and a laundry list of to-dos (of which, "laundry" is one) can see you whooshing from bed to bath and out the door. However, a bathroom should be a place where you can pause and enjoy a bit of relaxation. Going for a minimalist bathroom (if going minimalist everywhere else seems insurmountable) can help lend order and organization to an otherwise hectic day.

Apartment in AndorraHere are 3 steps to achieving a minimalist bathroom:
  1. Go Linear - Clean lines are refreshing to the eye in the midst of chaos. Most likely, your bathroom already came with these: countertop, cabinetry, the tile work lining your floors and shower walls. However, you can add or subtract lines to make for a more visually appealing space. Consider frameless shower doors West Palm Beach for your next home improvement project; unfettering your shower doors can lend a floating glass effect and because your eye can travel across the panes completely unimpeded, can make the barrier appear invisible and your bathroom seem larger.
  2. Clear the CountersClutter can cause road bumps in your daily life. Allow yourself to be greeted by a sleek bathroom vanity by turning your personal care products into stowaways. By keeping only the essentials in the open (toothbrushes, hand soap, etc.), you have a blank workspace that is both inviting and easy to wipe down and clean. Invest in organizers or re-purpose containers for "his and her" baskets and bath time caddies for the kids; keep these stashed below deck and you can bask in a tidy, functional bathroom during every visit.
  3. Re-Think Light - Lighting is worth re-tooling because of its impact on the overall ambiance. Consider whether traditional wall sconces and vanity bulbs could be replaced by overhead recessed lighting or an interesting globe chandelier. Decide what would be most flattering or soothing and watch the language of your bathroom change.

Design your bathroom to be a reprieve in your day. Using these ideas, you can achieve a space that will feel like a breath of fresh air.

Next Level Breakfast Recipes

I'm more of a yogurt and granola type, but when Jeffrey sent me this video I couldn't help but enjoy it. I think most of these would be a bit sweet for me, but I love the creativity. It does help that he's using Prairie Farms flavored milks.

Do you have any favorite cereal/milk mixtures?

Monday, July 22, 2019

3 Ways To Keep Outside Activities Safe

While outside activities can take place at any time of the year, they are more common during the summer months. It's a good idea to prepare your yard, your family members and your activities in advance in order to keep your family safe.
summer fun

Protect From Ticks and Mosquitoes
This is a big one, because not only are these little critters annoying, they can also carry serious diseases. There are many ways that you can protect your family and your yard from ticks and mosquitoes, and the diseases they can bring, even some which are organic mosquito control methods. These can be applied to your yard as a whole or to you and your family. Some of the ones you can put in your yard will be easier to use, especially if you would rather not chase the children around with sprays or lotions.

Dress Appropriately
Whether you are engaging in summer or winter outdoor activities, you will want to dress for both the activity and the weather. This means swimsuits and sunblock for summer swimming and heavy coats and boots for building snowmen. Wearing too many heavy layers in the summer can result in heat stroke or heat exhaustion, so can not finding enough shade or water on a hot day.

Have the Right Gear
A big factor in safety is the gear designed to protect you from falls, slips, and bumps. This means well-fitting helmets for riding bikes or scooters, safety tethers for wakeboards and surfing or even GPS locators for skiing. You can find lists of recommended gear, safety or otherwise, for each activity online to know what to pack and what to look for.

When you protect your family from ticks and mosquitoes, dress appropriately for the weather and activity, and have the right safety gear, you can spend more of your time having fun and less time taking care of injuries. With a little research, you can find the best protection for almost any activity you want to do with your family.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Three Tips for Staying Organized During Pregnancy

PregnancyIf you're a woman who's experiencing her first pregnancy, you might experience what many women affectionately call "pregnancy brain" where you forget a lot. There are so many pressing matters to take care of during your pregnancy, and you don't want to accidentally forget to take care of some of the most important tasks. Here are some tips to help you make sure everything is taken care of.
  1. Write everything down.
    If you're someone who loves to use a planner or a pretty notepad, carry it in your purse at all times. Just like you wouldn't go anywhere without your car keys, don't go anywhere without your planner. If you prefer to go the digital route, that's totally fine as well. You can opt to use your digital planner or calendar to write down all of your important tasks. There are some apps that will allow you to sync portions of your calendar with your partner or anyone else who's relying on you for certain responsibilities.
  2. Make time for breaks.
    If you know that a visit to your licensed birth center tampa bay will leave you wanting a nap afterward, don't schedule anything for a few hours after that appointment. Don't overschedule yourself. You'll only end up feeling extremely stressed out, which isn't good for you or your baby. Instead, make time for breaks. It's also great to consider how you feel at any given moment. If you're cleaning the kitchen and feel a bit winded, take a break for a twenty minutes to sit down and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Work until something is done.
    Even though this tip might seem like the opposite of taking breaks, it's not. Don't be afraid to live your life as a pregnant woman. Yes, it's important to take breaks and be mindful of your health. However, it's okay to still work hard and get things done. If you were already lifting weights and exercising before you got pregnant, don't stop now. With the right recommendations from your birthing professionals, you'll be just fine. Granted, if you run into complications and need to be on bed rest, this is not optional. If you've been cleared by your doctor to move forward, it's okay to work until you've completed a task.
In all honesty, I think these tips could be applied by anyone - whether you're pregnant or not. It's a tough job getting and keeping organized, and any help is welcome.