Monday, December 19, 2016

Tips for Helping the Whole Family Sleep Well

365/84 Bed time [Explored]Sleep deprivation can have an adverse affect on both kids and parents. As a parent or anyone who has spent time with young children, you know that when they get tired, they can get a little cranky. Although adults may not like the comparison, they too get a little irritable when they are sleep deprived. A lack of sleep can make kids and adults accident prone as well as making it difficult to concentrate at school or at work. Here are several things to look at that can help your whole family get a good night's sleep each night.
  • The Bedroom
    It's difficult to relax and feel a sense of calmness in a cluttered bedroom. Clearing the clutter and simplifying the décor can make the bedroom a more pleasant sleeping area. Some experts suggest that a bedroom be painted in soothing colors that encourage sleep. It's also difficult to sleep soundly in a room that is either too hot or too cold. Experts suggest that the ideal temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees. If noise prohibits kids from going to sleep or sleeping soundly through the night, a white noise machine could resolve that problem.
  • The Bed
    A good mattress is essential to good sleep. It's worth investing in the best non-toxic mattresses for everyone in your household. Memory foam mattresses and those with heat dissipating gel can provide a comfortable sleeping area for kids and adults. In addition to a comfortable, supportive mattress, everyone should have a high quality pillow on their bed. 
  • Routine Bedtime Stories
    Having the whole family establish a pre-bedtime ritual can help everyone go to sleep faster. This routine should start at the same time each evening. Keeping the same bedtime and wake-up time throughout the week and weekend is beneficial to the family. For everyone's benefit, you should set a technology curfew. Some studies show that watching television, using a laptop, or playing electronic games is not a good pre-bedtime activity. Bath time, followed by story time, is a good ritual for the kids. Reading prior to bedtime is also a good way for teens and adults to relax.
When every family member gets a sufficient amount of sleep, there's likely to be less conflict among siblings and less stress for parents.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trampolines for Fun and Exercise

Children and adults love to jump and bounce, sometimes for hours, for play and exercise. Trampolines are a fantastic way to stay healthy and fit. With many new technological advancements, they have become safer than ever before. We don't see many trampolines without strong reinforced nets for safety, but  here are a few safety innovations you may not have heard of.
  • Springfree trampolines have eliminated the traditional spring system and offer a wider jumping surface and a softer bounce. 
  • The AlleyOOP Double Bed is actually two trampolines. You can bounce on the top bed, and the second bed is eight inches below. When the bottom bed engages, it takes stress off knees and joints and creates a much softer and more controlled bounce. A great deal of the kickback force of the top bed is removed and offers less displacement when there are multiple jumpers. 
  • A Surestep Trampoline Ladder is easy to assemble and is non-permanent, so that it can be removed easily in order to limit access to the trampoline. In addition to having lasting weather protection, the two-step ladder fits most trampolines between 33 inches and 37 inches tall and has large, flat platform steps.
With safety taken care of, it's time to explore the playfort accessories for even more enjoyment.  Here are a couple that look fun:

  • A Pro Flex Basketball Hoop is designed specifically to be used with AlleyOOP Safety Enclosures. It attaches securely and comes with a reinforced full-size backboard, a cushioned hoop, heavy-duty hardware, and a five-inch inflatable basketball.
  • An Outback Tent can be used for daytime adventures or sleepovers. Made specifically for AlleyOOP and JumpSport Sports Safety Enclosures on 12 to 14 foot round trampolines, this giant 11-feet-across and 5.5 feet high tent has a netted/screened zippered door and three windows, a full floor, and attaches easily to the Safety Enclosure in under five minutes. No poles are used; the tent uses bungee cords that are suspended to the bottom and top of the enclosure.
Check out Play N Learn’s Playground Superstores for a wonderful selection of the safest trampolines on the market that will give many hours of fun to enthusiasts of all ages.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rules of the Aisles

I don't like shopping very much at any time, but it's particularly crazy this time of year.  There are so many people in the stores.  It's practically impossible to get from Point A to Point B, grab the things I need and get out of there.

So now's as good a time as any - probably a really good time - to ask:

When you meet up with someone in the store aisle, which way do you move so that you can get past each other?

To me it seems obvious - move to the right. The same way you'd move if you were on the road driving. I asked this question the other day and had at least one person wondering if that's a rule in the store aisles.  Is it?  Does it need to be an actual rule? What about common sense and trying to help traffic flow through the store so that we can all get in, get our shopping done, and get on with our lives? While avoiding that awkward dance where both parties move in the same direction, and then in the other direction - back and forth until someone finally stops or makes a dash for it.

But why do they seem to always choose to move to the left first? Isn't it ingrained in those of us who drive to move to the right? In my mind, these are the same people who always insist on walking on the right-hand side of the road with the traffic, but somehow that doesn't follow them into the store.

Mostly I just avoid the awkward dance. I move to the right - because that's the only logical thing to do, and I can't do otherwise - and then just stay put until the other person goes around me.  And I do a lot of extra walking - looking for the empty aisles to walk down instead of fighting through the people-clogged aisles if I don't need anything in those particular aisles and am just trying to get from one side of the store to the other. If there are any unclogged aisles...

There's nothing as frustrating as not being able to move. Or get where I need to go. So many of these people seem to be in no hurry whatsoever, and they really seem absolutely unaware that there is anyone else in the store with them. The question of which way to move probably never even crossed their minds, because why would they ever need to move over. Or move forward at anything greater than a snail's pace?

I think I'll just stay home until this insane season is over. Or forever. Aren't there services that deliver groceries now? Or at least bring them to your car after you order them online.  That sounds nice. Maybe I'll check that out...

Friday, December 09, 2016

Why Making Your Bed Daily is Important

As a child, your parents may have nagged you to make your bed each day. While this may have been annoying at the time, it turns out that making your bed every day has many benefits. Here are a few of them:

  • You'll Develop Good Habits
    If there are areas of your life where you would like to improve discipline, such as curbing spending or exercising more, making your bed at the same time every day may actually help you achieve these goals. According to some mental health experts, a simple habit change can become a practice that you can build on to improve in other areas of your life.
  • You'll Improve Your Living Space
    Most people are happiest when they are living in an attractive, clean environment. Taking a few minutes each day to make your bed can greatly improve the way your bedroom looks, something that can have a positive effect on your mental state.
  • You'll Sleep Better
    You probably already know about the importance of getting a good night's sleep. One way that you can improve the quality of your sleep is making sure that your bed is inviting and comfortable. When you don't make your bed, it's easy for your sheets and blankets to get tangled up and even soiled due to pets or kids sitting on your sheets. It can also be frustrating to have to quickly make up your bed when you are already tired.
    When your bed is all ready for you at the end of the day, bedtime becomes a time for relaxation. This makes it easier for you to go to sleep and get the rest you need.
  • Your Mattress will be Protected
    If you are the kind of person who insists on sleeping on the best natural mattress, such as those sold by Health Rest Mattresses & Pillows, you probably want to protect your investment. By making your bed each day, you help to minimize damage because your mattress is fully covered with bedding, which is typically much less expensive to replace than the mattress itself. (I would also suggest a good waterproof or water-resistant mattress pad.)
Raise your hand (or comment) if you make your bed every day.  I do!  Well, most days...

Before and After

Beth Cleans
I always clean the house before we have company (or family) visit. Even though I know that it won't be long after they've arrived - especially if they're staying for a while - that it will be pretty much impossible to tell that I even tried cleaning the place up. But I just can't help myself. I have to clean first, and I know I'll have to do it all over again once they've left.

That's exactly what happened over Thanksgiving weekend. I had the house all cleaned up. It was actually looking pretty good. And then an extra dozen people dropped in for the weekend. Not that I'm complaining because they were all family, and it was awesome having them here.  -- They should come more often. --
But, wow - things just kind of exploded, and all the evidence of my cleaning disappeared. (Amazingly enough, it's exactly the same when it's just my kids here; it does not seem to be proportionate to the number of people in the house. Or else it's my kids and other people are perfectly neat. Hmmm... I'll have to think about that one.)

Anyway, if only I could restrain myself and just save the cleaning for after they leave...  Well, for everything except the bathrooms. Bathrooms must always be cleaned.

Anyone else?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

5 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Backyard

Are you tired of the same old backyard that you've had for years? Are you ready to shake things up with new features, fresh accessories and one-of-a-kind design elements? Here are just a few things that will make your backyard pop!
  1. Build a Gazebo
    Gazebos are a great way to add a touch of elegance to your backyard. Not only can you build the gazebo itself with any kind of shape, size, material or feature that you desire, but once it's finished, you'll also have a blast decorating it! From paint to pillows, the design is all up to you. Try building a gazebo if you're looking for a creative backyard endeavor.
  2. Put in a Pool
    When it comes to Jacksonville backyard water features, it's hard to beat the idea of a pool. Construct an elaborate infinity pool with steps, inclines and special water jets; inflate a simple above-ground pool for pets and kids; create something else entirely with a little water and a lot of imagination. Any kind of pool is a good pool, so don't be afraid to dream big.
  3. Install a Fire Pit fire pit
    There's nothing like sitting around a fire on a chilly evening to warm you up inside and out. While the large, ceremonial fire pits can cost a pretty penny, there are numerous designs for smaller and more intimate ones that can be installed in any backyard. Just ask your local contractor or outdoor design company for help!
  4. Add a Patio
    Patios are both functional and fashionable, so you'll get a lot of mileage when you add one to your yard. Not only are they great architectural elements that can add thousands of dollars of property value when it's time to resell your home, but they'll also be highly convenient until then as a place to host parties and gatherings.
  5. Plant a Garden
    Do you dream of a colorful, bountiful vegetable garden filled with fresh goodies of all shapes and sizes? Or maybe you'd prefer a quiet zen garden that you can treat as an oasis in the whirlwind of your life. Whatever your preferred aesthetic, every garden starts with a single flower, so grab your shovel and start digging.
There are many more ways to breathe new life into your backyard, so don't be limited by this list. Use it for inspiration and come up with some great ideas of your own.

Monday, November 21, 2016

More Missing Words

Recently I mentioned my frustration with those cryptic symbols on laundry tags, and while those may be annoying, I think I found something even more annoying.

This weekend my husband had to assemble something - something that most definitely needed to be done correctly.   And this is what the directions looked like:

No words. No explanations. Just a bunch of very helpful incredibly confusing pictures.  Thankfully he's pretty good at stuff so he got it figured out - except for those one things that we have no idea what they are so they didn't get put on.  Hopefully it's not a big deal...

Again - why can't they just use words? Along with the pictures.  The pictures might actually be helpful if there were some words to go along with them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4 Ways to Be a Better Web Designer

Easy Development of Web Design TemplatesAre you feeling uninspired with your current web designs? Do you need something to boost your creativity or kick-start your productivity? It's not uncommon to experience a slump, especially if you've been in the business for awhile; the key is to not let it defeat you. Here are just a few ways to become a better web designer.
  1. Get New Software
    The same way a Mastercam dealer can provide CAD/CAM software tools for all types of programming and machining needs, there are many different software packages for web design. New software may be exactly what you need to grease the wheels of your imagination. As a bonus, the right software will handle all of the boring automated stuff while you're free to let your creativity take flight.
  2. Experiment With Different Styles
    It's easy to fall into familiar patterns when you've been doing something for a long time. If you feel like your designs are becoming too boring or too similar, it's time to break out of your shell and try something new. Go crazy with colors; flip your typical layouts upside down and inside out; erase your old templates and start from scratch. You never know when you'll stumble onto your new trademark.
  3. Enforce Deadlines
    Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come at the eleventh hour? It's no coincidence; it's the way the human brain works. You can deliberately harness this energy by setting and enforcing self-imposed deadlines that force your mind to work under time constraints. Instead of being a free-willed artist, you'll be a disciplined one, and your work will improve because of it.
  4. Ask for Input
    Don't be afraid to ask others for feedback. It doesn't matter if you're soliciting the opinions of clients, friends or random web users; in fact, getting advice from multiple sources is better than getting it from one. Just make sure that you actually listen to the suggestions that you're given. If everyone agrees that pink text on a red background is horrible, don't argue with them.
web design atlanta
The world of web design expands by the day, and if you aren't careful, it's easy to get swept away in the tide. Use these tips to ensure that you're always on the cutting edge of technology and style.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Sometimes I just stand and watch the leaves fall.

Yes, I'm easily entertained.

Of course, all those leaves hurling themselves from the tree to the ground mean that someone's gotta rake them up.  Jeffrey and I raked all of them into a pile before we went out on Sunday afternoon.  There were quite a few more on the ground by the time we got home, and by Monday afternoon there were almost as many on the ground as we'd already raked up.  I put all the leaves we'd raked on Sunday into the trash toters and raked up enough more to fill two of those big leaf bags on Monday afternoon.

Not that I'm complaining - it was a gorgeous and glorious day, and I was taking any excuse to be outside.  The laundry wasn't going anywhere.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Deciphering the Laundry Code

Laundry_symbols_with_japaneseHave you noticed the laundry labels on clothing lately?  Seriously, what do those cryptic symbols even mean?  It seems that nobody really knows.

On Good Morning America yesterday they put up several of those laundry symbols, and the guesses were kind of hilarious, but nobody got them right.  Are those symbols supposed to make things easier?  Or just confuse us all so we wash things wrong, ruin them, and have to buy new clothes?

Why can't they just use words?

I hate the dumbing down of everything - from laundry tags to street signs.  Are we just assuming that people can't read, but they'll be smart enough to decipher the symbols?  How's that working?  I can read, but most of those symbols make absolutely no sense to me.  If we really think that people who can't read can decipher those cryptic little symbols, why don't we just let them decipher the usual symbols - called letters.  Formed into words.

Of course, possibly it's because everything is made in China these days and it's easier just to use symbols instead of repeating the washing directions in every possible language - which could lead to some really big labels.  In the meantime, I guess we all need a little help decoding those laundry symbols.  Seriously - how many of these did you know?  Better keep the computer handy when doing laundry.  (or download the available PDF, print it out, and keep it near the washing machine)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Interior Surface Renovations

There are times that a simple surface renovation of your home can refresh and update the look of every room. It is not as costly as some deep renovation projects, but just as effective in giving a new shine to your home. You can find a local remodeling contractor that can get these projects done quickly and affordably.

Drywall and Plastering
Cracks and holes in drywall and plaster can make a home look old and shabby. Moving furniture, accidental damage and uneven foundation settling can cause areas to crack and break away. These repairs can be done right and make the surfaces look like new again. You will not be able to tell there was any damage.

Painting and Wallcovering
A fresh coat of paint using contemporary colors can really brighten a home. A quality gloss product can even withstand the rigors of small children. It makes the wall surfaces washable. Specialized wallcoverings like wainscoting and paneling can bring a sophisticated look to any area of the home.

Old tired carpeting, linoleum, broken floor tiles or scratched wood flooring can make a home look used and drab. Renovate the flooring using high quality modern products that will last longer and look newer for a longer period of time. It is possible in many cases to refinish natural wood flooring and have it look as good as new. There are also quality laminate products that look as nice as natural wood for a fraction of the price.

It might be time to part with the old, stained and ugly laminate counters. There are a variety of slab stone and compressed products that will make your bathrooms and kitchen shine like never before. You can go with a chic marble, stoic granite or everlasting soapstone, just to name a few.

Tile and Grout
Tile floors, counters and walls that are made of outdated colors, patterns and materials can be removed and replaced with products that are incredibly beautiful and contemporary. New grout will stay cleaner looking for longer periods of time. It can completely transform the home.

Call on home renovations specialists like to find a local contractor that can get started right away!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Spice Up Your Clothes with Patches

Are you looking for an easy way to give your clothes a little extra personality?  With options from embroidered patches to satin, taffeta, or laser cut labels, clothing patches are one of the quickest ways to make a splash.   Patches can be placed on shirts, jackets, or jeans. It's really up to you what direction you want to go and what you want to say.

Northern Soul holdall

Here are some of the ways patches can be used:

Root for a Cause
Unique patches are ideal when you are supporting a cause. Whether you are standing up for a charity, an organization, or someone you love, you can give everyone involved a patch that represents your cause. You can also make patches a part of a fundraiser that will raise awareness while also increasing donations.

Promote Solidarity
When you want everyone to stand together, patches are an excellent way to demonstrate solidarity. When everyone has an eye-catching patch, you can make a powerful statement. Design your patch to fulfill your needs with a logo, graphics, and colors that work for you.

Make a Fashion Statement
Think patches when you are looking for some fun with your clothes. You can throw them on anything, choosing patches that are discreet, or going big to really make others notice your distinctive sense of style.

Enhance Your Uniforms
If you own a business and require uniforms, consider using patches to make sure everyone sees your logo. It is a great way to brand yourself. Even if you don't have a uniform, you can give all of your employees a jacket that includes a patch in order to spread the word about your company. It is an effective option to thank your employees as well when you give them a company coat.

Make Patches Work for You
Only you know the best way to use patches in your life. Whether you want it for your sporting event, your business, or personal use, you need to consider how patches can make a difference. Dress up the simplest clothes with a stylish patch. Say it your way with the patch that you have designed. Remember someone special or an important event in history. With patches, it is really up to you as you make the most of them. Choose what you want and your patches can be customized to work for you.

Why Didn't We Do This Sooner?

We haven't had an actual home phone in ages. Several years ago we transferred our home phone number to my cell phone and went to all cell phones.  It's definitely saved us money, and we haven't missed the home phone at all.

Except that I had to get used to keeping my cell phone close by and checking periodically to see if anyone had called.  And, of course, all those annoying telemarketer calls now come to my cell phone, but I have blocked a whole bunch of them.  I do still tend to leave my cell phone in one room while I'm off working in another, or downstairs when I run upstairs to do something.  Of course, that's exactly when someone I actually want to talk to decides to call.  And I don't always remember to check when I come down.

That problem is now in the past.  We got one of these cordless phone systems that connects to my phone via Bluetooth.  Now, when my phone rings, it also rings on both handsets, one upstairs and one down.  It's really loud and hard to miss, which is a good thing because sometimes I just don't hear the cell phone, especially when I 'm in the other room.  And, when I leave my phone downstairs and my son calls (somehow he seems to do this regularly), I can still answer the phone and talk to him.  It's been really convenient, and I keep wondering why we didn't do this sooner.  I know these phones have been around for a while, but I just didn't think to check into it.

I know our cell phone company offers a 'home phone' service, which is a separate line and costs $20/month, but this does the exact same thing with no new phone number and no monthly charge.  The cost of the phone system itself is only a couple month's worth of service, and additional handsets (the system is expandable up to 5 handsets) are only $20, so if you need more than 2 handsets, they pay for themselves in just a month or two.  That is, if you're thinking of adding a home phone service like this.  If you're still paying for a traditional landline, this is a great way to save a lot of money - unless the cost of phone service has decreased significantly since we stopped using it, which I doubt - by cancelling that service and still keeping the convenience of having a home phone.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Monitor Your Health with Test Kits

Some people think that the only way they can know what is going on inside of their body is by visiting a doctor, paying a consultation fee, paying for tests, and then paying for the doctor to give them the test results. Of course, there are times when consulting with a medical professional is absolutely essential if you want to maintain good health, but there are also some good options for monitoring your health on your own. There are devices and test kits that you can purchase in order to monitor many different health problems you have or even to find out if you have a particular health problem.

Medical Lab Tests.
Many people will purchase different types of test kits in order to monitor a particular condition. They will work closely with their doctor in order to find out how to use the kit and then to do the testing on a regular basis. When they notice a change, they will report this change to their doctor, and then they will get the treatment or the help they need. There are many reasons why this is beneficial. First, it gives a person peace of mind. Just think about how a person who has high blood pressure feels when they know they have high blood pressure. They may take steps in order to lower their blood pressure, but if they only have their blood pressure read when they visit their doctor, they will not know how their blood pressure is doing until the next appointment. However, if they get a blood pressure monitoring device and keep it in their home, they can measure their blood pressure whenever they want to. This will help them to chart their progress and see if they have made any improvement.

Other people decide to do different types of tests that they can purchase online.  When a person begins to do research on different conditions they have, they may see that other tests may be available, tests their doctors have not thought about or will not order. There are a variety of tests available, including ELISA kits, for example.  Individuals will purchase these tests, visit a local laboratory in order to have their blood drawn or in order to drop off other specimens, then they will return in order to pick up the results. Once they have these results, they can consult a medical professional. The great thing about the ability to do this kind of testing is that it helps an individual to accurately see what is going on inside of their body.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Sad Day

Our first two houses we had built.  They were in new subdivisions that had been corn fields until someone decided to sell lots and start building houses.  So, we didn't have trees.  At least not trees of any size.   Do you know how long it takes for a tree to grow?  Years.

We did have a couple young Maple trees in Wisconsin that were there when we built the house, so we let them grow.  They weren't huge, but they had gotten pretty tall, and then we lost them in the tornado.

Beginning on the tree out front
So we were excited when we moved here to finally have trees.  So excited to have trees that I took lots of pictures of our trees.  No, actually I didn't; I just spent quite a bit of time looking through all my pictures from the summer we moved here, and I can't find one picture of the trees I want to talk about now.  But they were here, and they were big, and they were beautiful and healthy.  That fall was the first time we had ever had to rake leaves.  And there were a lot of leaves.

It takes the right equipment
But apparently something very small can kill something very big and old in a very short time.  I had heard of the Emerald Ash Borer, but hadn't really paid attention.  It was something about not being able to take firewood from one area to another, but it didn't really seem to apply to us.  But when we got these trees, it did apply to us - only we didn't really think about it or realize it.  Until our trees died.  One summer they had leaves; the next they didn't.  Or not very many.  And this summer there was one small branch on one of the two Ash trees that had some leaves.  One.

The tree in the back yard

Multi-year studies have shown that if more than 50% of the canopy has been killed by EAB or if the canopy appears to be thin and carrying less than half as much foliage as it should, it is probably too late to save the tree.

Making progress

So, but the time we noticed anything was wrong (honestly, but the time I even knew they were Ash trees), it was too late to do anything.  Except have the trees removed.

Today we had the nice guys from Sutton's Tree, Lawn, Landscape come and begin the process of taking the trees out.  While it was interesting to watch them, I couldn't help thinking as I watched them come down, "Our poor trees."  It's just crazy that a little Asian bug can cause so much damage.

Tomorrow they come and take the rest
Yes, we do still have more trees than we had before, but it's really sad to see these two go.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Host an Unforgettable Graduation Party

Congratulations  ♥It's that time of year again, when students from high schools, colleges,  and universities graduate and enter the work force. Celebrate this momentous time in a young person's life by hosting a graduation party that they will never forget. With a good guest list, age appropriate music and entertainment, and high quality food and concessions, you can host the most amazing, epic graduation party of the year. These simple tips will help you plan a great party with only a little effort.

Start your party right by inviting the right people. All of your family should be invited to celebrate this important occasion and reward the hard work of the diligent student. Also, the student's friends, colleagues, and associates should be invited to partake in and enjoy the festivities. Maybe most importantly of all, consider inviting nearby neighbors to your graduation party, especially if you plan on making a lot of noise while you celebrate. Even if you don't invite them, be sure to let your neighbors know in advance that you'll be hosting so they are not taken by surprise.

Next, get great decorations with a graduation theme for your party. Get balloons, napkins, dinnnerware, and cutlery in colors that match your graduate's school colors. Hang up a wide banner that says "Congratulations Graduate," so everyone will be reminded of the occasion. You can up the ante with special effects, such as smoke machines, strobe lights, and bubble machines. Hire a reputable DJ, band, or singer to perform, and make sure you have good speakers to broadcast your tunes. Encourage your guests to dance and have a great time.

You have many options for feeding guests at a graduation party, so choose your food depending on your tastes, styles, and audience. Some choose a large buffet with lots of options for guests to choose from, in a number of culinary styles. Some people serve only appetizers, tapas, or canapes to their guests. For an extravagant touch, consider a having a carnival theme with real concession food, like that provided by M.R.S. Packaging Ltd. You can click here for more information and for other graduation party ideas. The most important thing to remember about food at a party is to make sure you have enough of it.

Toast your graduate's success with an unforgettable graduation party this year. After all, hard work deserves a great reward. Awesome friends, family, music, and food will guarantee a party that will leave your guests truly impressed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Improve Water Capacity with Mini Dredges

If you're in need of waste water and dewatering services, consider Sandling Industrial Services. They offer water treatment rentals that can solve a number of problems, from waste stream processing to reduced capacity in holding basins.

Mini Dredges for Rent
mini dredge 073105
Perhaps you've discovered that capacity in a cooling pond or water pond has been minimized. Perhaps you've noticed a decrease in overall productivity and suspect waste water might be the source of the problem. Sandling Industrial Services has high-quality mini dredges for rent that can improve the storage capacity of your body of water.

Get Rid of Sediment

If sediment is clogging up your pit, pond, or canal, you may need the help of a mini dredge. These machines are portable, small, and easy to use, and they can get rid of sediment quickly and efficiently. They are not damaging to the body of water or the surrounding area. While many older machines do wreak havoc on shores, mini dredges are safe to use for sediment removal.

When you enlist the use of a mini dredge from Sandling Industrial Services, you'll receive all the rental equipment you need to solve your water capacity problems. Their rental equipment is affordable, and they will work hard until you have regained the full capacity of your pond or lake.

The Benefits of Mini Dredges

Mini dredges are a great solution when you need sediment removed from a body of water. They are very good at getting rid of sludge materials, mud, silt, and sand. Whatever kind of sediment is clogging up your lake, mini dredges from Sandling Industrial Services can help you to remove it in full.

High-Quality Equipment

When you choose Sandling Industrial Services for your water treatment equipment needs, you know that you're getting the best equipment available on the market. They pride themselves on keeping their equipment well maintained at all times, and their team members are all highly experienced. Whether you need mini dredges or belt presses, you can trust that Sandling Industrial Services has top notch equipment.

If you have a waste water problem, you need a skilled problem solver. Sandling Industrial Services has the equipment and staff you need to improve the capacity of your lake or pond. Contact them soon to learn more about the services they offer. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Summer Full of Free Audio Books

Once again Sync is giving away two free audio books every week all summer long.  The first two books are available now, and two new books become available on Thursdays all throughout the summer for a total of 30 titles.  Here's the complete list of Sync 2016 titles.

I haven't really looked through the list to see what the books are going to be, but you know how much I love books and free stuff, so you know I'll be downloading all of them.  It's a great way to discover new books.

The books are only available for one week, so be sure to grab them while you can.  I've found it very helpful to sign up for weekly reminders so I get a text when the new titles become available.

Download Details
  • Downloads are in MP3 format, hosted by OverDrive, and are Mac and Windows compatible.
  • Downloads will operate through the OverDrive app.
  • Most listening devices are supported.
  • Each SYNC audiobook will be available for download for a period of 7 days (only).
  • Titles, once downloaded, are yours to keep.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Tub Would Feel Nice About Now

We've taken on several projects since we moved to this house a couple years ago.  We took down the wallpaper in the dining room and repainted most of the downstairs.  We ripped out the carpet in the family room, living room, and dining room and put hardwood floors down.  On a side note - have you ever wondered why in the world people put carpet in the dining room?  Or put an area rug down under the table if they've got hardwood or tile in the dining room?  I'm of a mind that if food gets dropped on the floor, the hard surface is a lot easier to clean than a rug.

Another project that we think about is re-doing our bathroom.  Unfortunately, we haven't figured out how we would make that work yet.  The master bath was the one thing that worried Jeffrey when he looked at this house.  The rest of it was perfect - except for those things we wanted to change - but the master bath is quite small.  We'd looked at houses with larger bathrooms, with the double-bowl sinks that Jeffrey has always wanted, and some with large whirlpool tubs that would be so nice to soak in after a day like today.  I mowed the yard, and the warm jetted water would be great for my tired muscles.

But, for now we make do with a single sink and just a shower - no tub.  One suggestion for a small bathroom is to get a corner tub, but we don't have even that much room.  Of course, you can search by style and size online to pick the perfect one, so maybe I should go measure...

Our shower does have two shower heads, and both can be set to massage, so that's something.  Eventually we want to find a whirlpool tub we can put outside on the patio, where we have plenty of room.  It's not quite the same as having a luxurious bathroom, but it will be nice.

Do you have a whirlpool tub in your bathroom?  Do you like it and use it often?

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Bit of Luxury for Your Pooch

When we went on vacation, we used to take our dog to a nice little boarding facility just up the road from home.  It was run by a nice couple who had dogs of their own and treated our dog, and the other dogs that boarded there, practically like part of the family.  Our dog didn't get to stay in the house and sit on the furniture, but she did get more attention and time to run around in the yard than she would have at a regular kennel.Week 1/52 - 10 weeks She still missed us, but she was much happier there than she would have been otherwise.

Nowadays you can get luxury dog boarding for your favorite pet.  These facilities aren't just for vacation, either.  Some people drop their dogs off for "doggie daycare" while they are at work so their dog doesn't have to be bored at home.  Dogs are given snacks and naps and play time and socialization with others of their own size, or extra attention by the staff, which could even include a massage.  Extra time outside?  A game of fetch?  They will make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible.

Dogs are given plush beds, the best food, and sometimes even televisions.  Some facilities even have someone to read a story to the dogs before bed and tuck them in.  They get all the comforts of home, and then some!  And, if you want to check in on your dog during the day or while you're away, there is usually a video system that will enable you to do just that.

The only question I have is - will a dog want to go home after all that pampering?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Homemade Hairspray

In my last post I mentioned that a good way to save money is to make your own beauty supplies.  Here's one that I found on Pinterest and just recently started making and using.  It's a very inexpensive and easy-to-make hairspray.  I am very pleased with how well it works.  I really wasn't sure what to expect the first time I made it.
Homemade Alcohol-Free Hairspray
found on whole new mom

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 5-6 drops essential oils (I used a combination orange and peppermint oils)
  1. Heat water to boiling
  2. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved
  3. Allow to cool and use a funnel to pour it into an empty hairspray bottle.  Add essential oils, screw lid on and shake well to combine.
  4. Use as you'd normally use hairspray.

That's it!  Simple, cheap, and I'm hoping that no longer using hairspray full of alcohol will be much better for my hair.  I'm not sure about that yet; I just made my second batch of this, and I'm still using regular shampoo and gel in my hair, so I know that's a factor.  I do have a couple recipes for hair gel pinned, but I haven't gotten around to trying them yet.

I'm really liking the scent of the orange and peppermint oils, but you can use the essential oils you like.  The scent is subtle but nice, and a huge improvement over the overpowering scents of most hairsprays you can buy, unless you buy the unscented.  Why do the people who make hairsprays, shampoos, conditioners and the like think they need to have a strong annoying scent? 

Ideally, this should also be stored in a glass bottle instead of any old hairspray bottle, but I am currently using what I had on hand.  Good thing I don't always throw empty bottles into the recycle bin because I 'might need them' someday!  If I continue to make this - and I see no reason not to - I will probably look for a glass spray bottle to use.

Are there any DIY beauty products you make and use?  Do they work as well or better than the products you used to buy?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Frugal Living Tips For Improving Your Financial Situation Fast

It's not easy nowadays to be where you want to be financially. It seems there are always debts to pay, making it feel impossible to achieve your goals. However, there are several simple things that can be done to improve your situation considerably.  If you're willing to invest a little of your time to follow the tips mentioned below, you'll soon find you'll have more money than before.  With the same cash inflow. Save Money
  1. Start putting some money out of your reach
    It’s a proven fact that when you have easily accessible cash in your pocket or in the bank, you tend to spend more on unnecessary things. So it's high time you start putting some money in an account that you can access in case of emergency, but which would require you to jump through hoops to withdraw any. This will help you spend money only when absolutely necessary.
  2. Use Coupons
    Almost all businesses use coupons as a part of their marketing strategy. So, why not check for a coupon in the newspapers or on the Internet before you make your next purchase? Be it groceries, transportation, apparel, furniture or services like doctor’s appointment and electronics repair, coupons are available for anything nowadays. Just take a look at and all the deals for such popular stores as Nordstrom or Target. If you are lucky enough, you might just hit the right coupon at the right time.  Combine a coupon with a sale price, and you're really saving money!
  3. Do It Yourself
    Start doing some simple things yourself, instead of paying others to do it. You can bake your own bread (here's one of my favorite recipes), grow some of your own food in a backyard garden, eat meals at home, and brew your own coffee instead of paying for that fancy coffee place. You can even make your own DIY beauty products! The possibilities are endless, as anyone who has ever visited Pinterest can tell you, and you'll be surprised how fast the savings add up.
  4. Join a Customer Rewards Program (or several)
    If you happen to shop fairly regularly at any one particular store, don't forget to sign up for their loyalty rewards program. They keep on giving back in the form of credits and promo codes, which help you in cutting down the costs on your future purchases. Whenever there's an opportunity you need to take advantage of it.
There are many other little things that you can do to improve your financial condition, like replacing light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs or adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees to save on energy costs, reviewing your insurance policies, using the library more often instead of buying new books, having your devices serviced on time, and the list goes on.

Helping Your Money Last... After Your Last Paycheck
It all boils down to this -
Whenever you spend, ask yourself if there’s an alternative which costs you less and provides the same benefits.  And then save that difference in cost or apply it to your debt, and you will soon see an improvement in your financial situation.  Just by doing these few simple things!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

You Waste Some; You Use Some

Right after I posted saying that I rarely throw away any of the food I buy, I ended up having to throw away a whole bunch of limes.  AND half of one of my home-grown butternut squashes.

That's almost as bad as having someone come into my garden and steal one.  Only this time it was completely my fault.  I just didn't get around to using it and expected it to wait around as long as I needed it to. 

Oh, well, I got to use half of it in a wonderful Butternut and Potato Bake.  I really need to update that recipe.  I usually end up stirring the canned tomatoes into the browned hamburger and cooking that for a bit while I cut up potatoes and squash, and then I add it all at once.  That probably doesn't make a huge difference, but the other night we were working in the garage - Jeffrey cleaning the cars and me cleaning out the freezer and refrigerator - so it ended up being in the oven at 400° for about 2 hours.  And it was so good.  The longer it cooks, the better it is.

The asparagus was pretty well done, too.  No, it wasn't in there the whole 2 hours; I just tossed it in at the end.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know why I didn't just toss it on top of the squash and potato dish, but I used a separate baking dish.  The asparagus was kind of an after thought.  It was one of those things that was in my fridge and needed to be used.  So I used it before it went bad.  (WIN!)

Unlike those limes.  All I had to do was throw them in the freezer.  In the bag with those other two limes that are already in there.  I kept meaning to, but I just didn't get around to it.  So, yes, even with the best of intentions, things still do go to waste.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I Did 50 Push-Ups!

My friend Jennifer posted this 50 Push-Up challenge on Facebook.  She had decided to do it and challenged the rest of us to do it too.  I have never felt that I could do push-ups, even modified 'girly' push-ups.  But, hey - why not?

The plan is simple - start slowly and work up to doing 50 push-ups in 30 days.  Honestly, I was kind of surprised that I could do the 5 push-ups called for on the first couple days.  But, as the number increased, the confidence and knowledge that I indeed could do these push-ups also increased.

In the past, every time I tried to do push-ups, I was trying to lower myself all the way down to the floor and then somehow push back up.  While I realize some people can do that, that wasn't happening for me.  And since my right shoulder occasionally bothers me, I really just can't do that even if I wanted to - not without asking for some serious pain, and not the good kind.  But these push-ups?  These I can do.

I didn't follow the plan exactly, because sometimes I took a rest day when it wasn't scheduled, based on my schedule, and my shoulder started bothering me partway in, so I took some extra rest days letting that improve.  Magnesium oil is pretty great stuff for that.  So, it may have taken me a bit longer than 30 days, but this morning I did 50 push-ups - all in one go.  (on the day I was supposed to do 38, I actually did 30 and stopped because my nose was stuffed up, and I wasn't breathing properly.  So I stopped for about 30 seconds to blow my nose and then went back to do the remaining 8 - and just kept going.  I did 20 more, so I actually did 50 that day - just with a short break.  Let me tell you, my arms and legs were shaking that day!) 

My arms weren't shaking quite so badly this morning, but I could definitely tell I did something.  Though the challenge says that it will "transform your  body in 30 days" I'm not really noticing any big transformation.  All I know is that it feels good, and I plan to continue doing my push-ups.  (I haven't quite decided how many and how often.  Yet.)

What now?  Well, I'm kind of glad Jennifer didn't find the One Hundred Push-up Plan first, because if I thought 50 push-ups sounded intimidating, imagine the sound of 100.  But, since we're up to 50 already, we can start with Week 3 of the 6-week plan, and it should only take another 3 weeks to get to 100.  I'm seriously thinking about it...

How about you?  Are you in?

Tips for Improving Your Dental Routine

ToothbrushesYour dental health is important. You only get one set of teeth in your life, and even if there have been improvements in dentures and dental implants, these aren’t things you should be relying on in your old age.  Instead, take the time to care for your teeth now, no matter how old you are. A better dental care routine, like this one sanctioned by a Brooklyn NY dentist, is your best bet.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re taking care of all of the basics the right way. Just doing these things can help keep your teeth in much better shape for years to come.
  • Brush Often
    Everybody knows that brushing is not optional. However, most people really don’t brush as often as they should.  To keep your teeth clean and healthy, you should be brushing after every meal and snack. This might seem like a lot, but for the most part, it’s easy once you get in the habit of brushing after you eat.  However, when you eat acidic foods you should wait about 30 minutes before brushing because the acidity can attack your enamel and brushing can actually do some damage. In the meantime, simply rinse with water. 
  • Carry Dental Floss
    A lot of people brush their teeth after they eat, but many people neglect the dental floss entirely. If you ask a dentist, they’ll tell you that only brushing your teeth, even if you do it regularly, is still an incomplete dental routine. Carry dental floss with you and use it after you eat. Obviously you don’t need to do this in a restaurant if you’re going home, but having floss in your car and office can help you keep those pearly whites cavity free.
  • Chew the Right Gum
    Gum with xylitol helps to clean your teeth, and if you can’t get to floss and a toothbrush right away, it is your best bet, along with rinsing with clean water. Keep sugar free gum with xylitol nearby when you’re on the go.
  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly
    Taking care of your teeth at home is all well and good, but you need to be visiting the dentist regularly if you want a healthy mouth. Make an appointment for a checkup and cleaning every six months.  By doing this, your dentist will be able to catch any problems before they become serious and painful. 
Are there any other tips you'd like to share?

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Global Food Waste

I really hate wasting anything, so I find it very hard to believe when I read something like these numbers on global food waste.

Seriously?  45% of all fruit and vegetables is wasted? 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, and 20% of both dairy products and meat?  I know we don't waste or throw away anywhere close to that much of anything.  How about you and your household?

My main reason is that, if I spent good money on something, I had better get my money's worth.  Oh, occasionally something gets away from me, and I have to toss it, but most of the time I make sure I use what I have.  That means sometimes (often) what I make for dinner includes the things I have in the fridge that need to be used.  I don't always have a recipe in mind, but it's amazing the things you can come up with when you Google for a recipe including the ingredients you have on hand!  And, yes, we eat leftovers.

If I do find I just can't use something, I throw it in the freezer.  I'd rather do that than throw it away, and then I can use it later.

I never really thought about the environmental impact of food waste until I read through this information recently.  And, even though I really don't throw away that much food - because I'm cheap - I'm thinking I need to do even better.  The biggest thing, I think, is to start composting what food waste we do have.  You know, things like carrot and potato peels, egg shells, etc.  Those things that aren't edible.  Since I just started my new garden last year, it is definitely time to do some research on composting.

How about you?  What do you do to control and prevent food waste and the environmental impact?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Teaching Children to Reduce Carbon Footprints

In the last two centuries, Earth has seen a drastic increase in pollution and waste by the human race. One of the biggest contributors has been industrialization: the process that has resulted in a technological society with electricity and machinery. Kids are generally oblivious to the tolls that today's way of life takes on the Earth, making it important to educate children to live green and be aware of their daily activities.
Fork it Again

Never Use Disposable Dishes or Cutlery
One modern day convenience that has plagued developed nations is the prevalence of paper and plastic dishes, cutlery, food wrappers, and containers. These disposable dishes might make for an easy cleanup, but their manufacture and disposable nature leaves a negative mark on the environment. As children grow up into teenagers and adults, they might see this disposable option as a great alternative to washing dishes. Teaching them the consequences of disposable food containers and utensils might help them to avoid using plastic and paper in the future.

Water Use Awareness with Daily Journals
Instead of simply showing kids what excessive water use can cause, kids should keep a journal of their water use throughout the month. Brushing teeth, taking baths or showers, using the toilet, and playing with the hose are all great activities to track. At the end of the month, the journals can be calculated with a water conservation calculator to see just how much water the child has used throughout the month. This amount can then be demonstrated with a comparable example, such as a swimming pool.

Solar PowerOpting for Solar Powered Items
With increasing awareness among the general population regarding excessive energy consumption and pollution, many manufacturing companies have stepped up to the plate to offer a wide array of solar power options. From solar powered phone chargers to solar panels and batteries that can power an entire home, there are conservation solutions for every budget. The child can start off with solar powered chargers, batteries for toys, solar powered remote control cars, and solar powered lighting. Solar power is becoming one of the most popular sources of renewable energy with wind close behind. Since solar energy is easier to harvest with simple panels, it is much more feasible for everyday items.

Energy and water consumption continues to increase as developing countries move forward and human populations explode. The demand for manufactured modern day conveniences takes a large toll as well, but it requires a great deal of concern from the next generation in order to reduce human kind's footprint on Earth.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Book Review: Guardians by Josi Russell

Guardians is the 2nd book in the Caretaker Chronicles by Josi Russell, published by Future House Publishing.  (#FutureHousePub)

As with the first book Caretaker, I had a hard time putting this one down. The book picks up 4 years after the ship reaches Minea, and the passengers have found out that things aren't exactly as they'd been led to believe before they left Earth. The city has been carefully planned, and their ship was never supposed to arrive. Because of this, most of the passengers are finding it hard to fit in and find a place for themselves on their new planet.

Because of his part in saving the passengers from slavery as they slept through the stars (as chronicles in Caretaker), Ethan Bryant (Caretaker) has been given a government position, and he and his family do what they can to help their fellow passengers. More often than not, they feel helpless to do anything of real value.

Even those colonists who were supposed to be there have found that things aren't as rosy as they'd expected. They find themselves deeply in debt and barely able to feed their own families. And then people start getting sick and the food supply begins to dry up. What is going on, and will someone figure it out before more people die? And what do the aliens who have suddenly appeared above the planet want?

As noted on the About the Author page at the end of the book - "Josi Russell's science fiction novels explore familiar human relationships in unfamiliar contexts." She definitely does a good job of that in this book. The book explores themes of family, friendship, love, and redemption a midst the darker human traits of greed, selfishness, and betrayal. All while the colonists face new challenges and new setbacks on their adopted planet. This book will definitely keep you reading until the very end.  I enjoyed it very much.

You can grab your copy of Guardians on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Guardians from Future House Publishing in exchange for review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Good boy, Weasley

When I came back from my walk this morning, as I was turning some lights on in the family room, I noticed that Weasley was purring and trying to get my attention.  He does that sometimes when he thinks I'm going to go sit down so he can rush and sit on my lap.  He's so neglected!  But when I get back from walking, he knows it will be a while before I sit down.  So it wasn't that.

Then I glanced down.  And had to look again.

No, that wasn't a toy mouse. Weasley caught and killed a mouse, and he wanted to be sure I knew about it.

That is the first I knew about any mice in the house.  I'm re-reading the post I shared recently about getting rid of unwanted pests, and we haven't noticed any signs.  So we don't know where the little guy came from, how long he was here, or if there are any more.  But at least now we know Weasley can catch and kill a mouse - or at least play with it to death.

After he'd shown it to me - and I made sure to let him know what a good boy he was - he again started playing with it, tossing it around and chasing it, purring all the while.  So I gave him some cat treats, bagged it up, and took it outside to the trash toter before he could lose it under some furniture somewhere like he does with most of his toys.

Good boy, Weasley.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Get the New Josi Russell Book Guardians for 99¢ on Amazon

I was offered an opportunity to review a new book - that just happens to be available TODAY - called Guardians by Josi Russell.  When I read the description, and that of the prequel Caretaker, I knew I just had to read these books.

Currently I'm 28% into Caretaker, and I'm having a hard time putting it down.  Yes, I'm supposed to be reviewing the new book, but I obviously have to read the first one first.  And the good news is that you can read both of them too.  They're both only 99¢ on Amazon (Kindle version) right now through February 17, 2016.  (If you don't have a Kindle, you can always read on your computer or other device using the free Kindle app.  Or just click the banner at the top of this page and get your own Kindle Fire; the price is really good right now.)

To celebrate the launch of Guardians, Future House Publishing and Josi Russell are giving away both an autographed copy of Guardians and the audio book of Caretaker.  You can enter here.  I've already entered even though I have the Kindle versions of both books - because I love free stuff, and it is an autographed copy!  And an audio book too.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Guardians from Future House Publishing in exchange for an honest review, so be sure to come back for that.  In the meantime, go grab your copies of Guardians and Caretaker.  You only have until the 17th before the price goes up again.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Getting Rid of Unwanted Creatures from Your Home or Business

Even if your home or business is perfectly clean, you may still have pests like spiders, rats, and termites in your building. These creatures have a way of finding a way into a building and making themselves immediately at home. When your best attempts to trap and eliminate them have failed, it is time for you to reach out to professionals who are trained to kill off pests permanently. You can partner with skilled contractors like exterminators in MD and other pest control specialists who are ready to come to your location today.

Pest Control Utah

Identifying the Pests in Your Building

Many home and business owners do not know the range of pests that can come into their buildings. They may not recognize the droppings, chew marks, and other tell-tale signs of a pest invasion. Some creatures, however, are easy to detect, at least for some people. If you have ever heard chewing sounds in the walls, seen chew marks on wires, the doorways, and papers, or seen droppings on the floor and in cupboards, you could be certain that you have rodents in your home or business.

Rodents must be trapped and removed. They are not like bugs that can be killed with spraying. A pest control contractor must lay out traps, put out poisons, or even put down sticky pads that will trap and kill rodents permanently. Some poisons are taken back to the nest to kill the offspring as well.

It is important that you maintain a relationship with your contractor until all of the rodents are killed and removed. If you end the relationship early, you could be left with rotting rat and mice corpses in your building.

Other Pest Removal Services

Along with rats and mice, your building may also be infested with spiders, roaches, and other bugs. These creatures can be removed relatively quickly if you act promptly. Contractors can spray and put out gels that will kill the bugs rapidly. Their offspring will also be killed. Many buildings only require two or three treatments to become totally bug-free.

You can keep bugs out, however, by maintaining a relationship with a licensed pest control contractor. Regular spraying and inspection can ensure that bugs and pests are staying out for good.