Entries in winter (3)

Thursday
Feb182016

Emergency Preparation Checklist

Are You Prepared?

 Are You Prepared?

 Get Started Building a Home Emergency Kit

Winter storm season is upon us and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half the people in the U.S. do not have resources and plans in place to deal with an emergency. 

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take now to help you prepare for an emergency. Depending on where you live, and the unique needs of your family, you might need different things in an emergency, but here are a few things that everyone should have in their home emergency kit.

Food and Water

  • Water, at least one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person
  • Manual can opener for canned food
  • Pet food and extra water

Electronics

  • Flashlight
  • Cell phone with charger, inverter, or solar charger
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (a NOAA Weather Radio suggested)
  • Extra batteries

Health and Safety

  • First aid kit
  • Medicines (three-day supply, minimum)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Storing and Maintaining Your Kit

Once your supplies are together, here are a few tips to keep your supplies ready:

  • Write the date you store food and water on all containers.
  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests.
  • Change food, water, medicine and batteries ever six months.
  • Rethink your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Mobile Apps:

The Red Cross also has a number of free apps including:

  • Emergency app – Stay on top of severe weather and emergency alerts and gain access to safety information
  • First Aid app – Instant access to information for common first aid emergencies
  • Pet First Aid app – Important first aid information for your cat or dog

FEMA also has a mobile app to that includes safety and emergency preparedness as well as weather alerts, disasters resources and reports.

Other Resources:

By  on February 4, 2016

Sunday
Feb142016

Sick of Winter? These Houseplants Will Perk Up Your Mood (Yes, Really)

Real talk: “JanuFeb” can be grim. The holidays are a distant memory, and now you have to slog through a barrage of dark, frigid days until spring makes its glorious appearance.

To escape that persistent winter funk, shake off that heated Snuggie and take a trip to the garden center. Studies suggest that stocking your home full of humble houseplants can boost your mood, big time — not to mention make your space feel cleaner, brighter, and healthier.

The Power of a Flower

Scientists agree that houseplants likely improve your outlook. Research suggests that plants have a positive effect on stress reduction, pain tolerance, and physical discomfort — but environmental psychologists aren’t exactly sure why this happens. It could be that plants simply make a room more colorful and attractive. Or, an indoor brush with nature may provide the same natural high and stress relief people feel in the great outdoors. There’s even a name for the phenomenon — biophilia (a love for nature) — and entire buildings have been designed to recreate it.

Succulents in a homeImage: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Keeping all those green guys alive is good for you, too. Research has shown taking care of plants can increase a sense of well-being and reduce stress.

Nature’s Air Freshener

Winter means tightly closed windows and stuffy quarters. Plants reduce stale air by producing oxygen. But also, according to research done by NASA back in the late 1980s, certain plants will even filter harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from the air. Some folks get headaches, asthma, or have chronic health issues from these VOCs (volatile organic compounds) — which could be off-gassing right this minute from your furniture, cleansers, and flooring! Just knowing that could make you pretty depressed.

To combat stale air, try some of these air-scrubbing horticultural heroes: Boston fern, English ivy, spider plant, bamboo palm, weeping fig, flamingo lily, peace lily, and cornstalk dracaena.

Dracaena plant in a homeImage: Kristina Held

The Best Plants to Beat the Blues


What other plants can bring your spirits ‘round this winter?

  • Anthuriums. These beautiful flowering plants are super easy to care for. “They do need a decent amount of light, but they bloom consistently — especially during the February-March doldrums,” says Rebecca Bullene, founder of Greenery NYC, a botanic design company experienced in indoor plant installations and living plant design. “They’re big and beautiful. Those with red, pink, or white flowers are most common.”

Anthuriums in a homeImage: Zaktari on Flickr

  • Ferns, particularly the Kimberly Queen (Nephrolepis obliterata) and Boston (Nephrolepis exaltata) varieties. “They need a bit more water and a decent amount of light, but they put a lot of humidity back in the air and will help make your space comfortable,” Bullene says. Plus, the Kimberlys are a little easier to care for than the average fern. “If you forget to water for a day or two,” she says, “they won’t crash out.”

Hanging fern inside a homeImage: Christie Chase

  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum). This hardy plant can handle the low light of winter. “It can be in a dark corner and still look amazing,” Bullene says. “The blackest of thumbs can take care of this plant.”

Aglaonema plant in a homeImage: Anthony Serra

  • Golden Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum). This plant is also a hardy one that’s hard to kill. Bullene recommends it for anyone without much experience with plants.
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Sword Plant, or Snake Plant (Sansevieria). This houseplant of many names is really drought-resistant. You can water it once a month and it grows in high or low light. “There are a lot of varieties that have cool shapes and colors,” Bullene says.

Mother-in-law's tongue in a home officeImage: Kristina Held

So when the weather outside is frightful, make way for some greenery and invite some friends over. Call it a Houseplant Happy Hour. You just may be surprised by how genuinely happy your greener home makes you all winter long.



Read more:  http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/plants-for-depression/#ixzz40A1OG9Aa 

Saturday
Dec052015

3 Brilliant Hacks to Make Snow Shoveling Less Miserable

Don’t break your back shoveling snow. Try these tips to make winter less of a burden.

Person shoveling snow in a yard

Winterize your home nav bar

If you’re a homeowner in a snowy climate, chances are good you rue the winter: All that snow has to go somewhere, and it’s not getting there itself. 

Cue the snow shovel.

Barring a move to a snow-free state or barricading your family inside all winter, there’s no way to avoid the endless task of shoveling snow. There are, however, ways to make the process much easier. Here are three simple hacks to make the morning after a snowfall much less stressful.

1.  Spray Your Shovel with Cooking Oil

Snow sticking to your shovel makes an already arduous task even more obnoxious. Avoid it with this hack: Lightly coat your shovel with non-stick cooking oil to make snow slide right off. No more time wasted removing snow from your snow remover. (You can substitute a spray lubricant like WD-40, but the downside is it’s toxic.)

2.  Lay Out a Tarp Before the Snow

If you like short cuts, this technique, billed as “the laziest way imaginable” to clear snow, according to a tutorial from “Instructables,” has got your name on it. The day before an expected snowfall, lay a tarp on your walkway. When the snow finishes falling, just pull out the tarp, and voilà: an instantly cleared walkway. (Word to the wise: Make sure pedestrians won’t trip on your tarp; include a sign or use this technique in your backyard walkway if you’re concerned.)

The technique requires a tarp, firewood, and twine as well as some prep work. Pre-storm, use firewood to weigh down your tarp — you don’t want it flying away in the wind! — and tie the twine to both the tarp and to a shovel standing upright in your yard. You’ll use the shovel to pull out the snow-laden tarp. 

Although this method might be faster than shoveling, it does require manpower. After all, a cubic foot of snow can weigh between 7 and 20 pounds. So don’t get too ambitious with the size of your tarp or you might not be able to pull it once it’s full of snow. 

3.  Make a Homemade De-icing Cocktail

De-icers make snow removal easier by cutting through the tough, icy layers that are a pain to remove with a shovel. But an easy solution should be easy on your property as well. Many commercial de-icers are pretty harsh.

Commercial ice-melting substances — magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride (salt) — all cause damage to the environment, according to the University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center. They can also damage concrete sidewalks and driveways, which mean hefty repair costs later. 

A better solution: Make your own de-icer using rubbing alcohol or vinegar. You’ll save money, too. Commercial melters typically cost $8 or more. Plus, you’ll avoid the hassle of trekking to the hardware store to stock up.

Use vinegar before a storm to make ice and snow removal easier:

  • Combine 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
  • Spray or pour gently (you still want to avoid runoff into your landscape) before a storm.

To keep the sidewalks and steps from icing after a storm:

  • Combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water.
  • Apply to minimize runoff.

Read more:  http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/seasonal-maintenance/3-hacks-make-shoveling-snow-snap/#ixzz3tSoG8p00 
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