Nov. 26, 2018

Kids' Rooms: Storage Solutions for Every Age

By: Jan Soults Walker

From babies who adore you to teens who ignore you, kids change -- and so do their storage needs.

toddler's playing building block toys

Here’s how to organize kids’ rooms from cradle to college.

Cradle Crawlers

Transformer cribs. An ordinary crib accommodates baby for two to three years -- until he learns how to escape over the rail. Boost storage with a convertible crib with storage drawers ($145 to $350) that’ll convert and adapt to your toddler’s needs and beyond.

Some convertible cribs change into toddler beds, daybeds, or full-size headboards, giving you options as your youngster gets older. If you can’t find a crib with storage below, use the space between the legs for stowing bins or baskets for diapers, toys, and more.

Pimping the closet. Remove the door on the nursery closet for easy access, and install a variety of cool storage features. Drawers, bins, and shelves can round up onesies, booties, baby towels, diapers, and toiletries. A simple wire rack storage system is $90 to $350 at home improvement centers.

Install lower rods so baby, as he grows, can easily latch onto duds (and maybe even hang them up). Expandable hangers ($14 for a 3-pack) fit tiny baby clothes but open up to accommodate larger sizes when needed.

Toddlers and Elementary Age

Look ‘em in the eye. Stow books and puzzles on a low magazine rack or shelving unit so toddlers and elementary-age children can grab a good read or brain teaser on a whim. As children grow, paint the shelf to suit changing tastes and use it for teen magazines, framed photos, and school books.

Cornering the market. Young kids love nooks, so create a cozy hideaway by arranging storage units -- open shelves, a desktop, and cabinets -- so they (mostly) enclose one corner of your kid’s room. Bookshelves and kids’ desks range from $50 to $200.

Stock up with plenty of games, books, toys, and crafts supplies. Paint cabinet doors with blackboard paint to add an eye-level creative opportunity.

Corral the bling. Little girls often possess a cartload of hair ribbons, barrettes, and bows. Look for special organizers that keep them on display, orderly, and within easy reach. One option: Sort items into the pockets of a clear vinyl shoe holder ($10) that fits on the back of the door.

Tweens, Teens, and Beyond

A magnetic personality. A bulletin board is a great way for your tween or teen to organize and display all those photos of friends and Fido. Or, coat a vertical surface (such as a closet door) with magnetizing primer ($25/quart) and paint over the primer with a hip color. Use assorted magnets and magnetic clips and holders to display artwork, sports schedules, and homework reminders.

Making a (book)case. A bookcase headboard ($100 to $200) is a grown-up way for your teen or college student to keep reading materials organized and the tablet reader handy. Platform storage beneath the bed provides room for drawers or cubbies that can hold baskets and bins for corralling small stuff.

Explore the shallows. Commandeer space between wall studs and create a shallow storage niche outfitted with hooks, shelves, or rods for organizing jewelry and other smallish gear. Add a mirrored door to keep clutter out of sight.

Lofty ambitions. For a small bedroom, a loft-style bed offers a fun spot for snoozing and space below for bookcase storage, a futon, or a study desk. Loft beds for kids' rooms start at $150 and range to $3,000 or more.

Keep rolling. Give your tween or teen a rolling caddy ($25 to $80) for storing personal bath supplies, jewelry, cosmetics, and hair gear. The caddy stores in the bedroom and rolls to a nearby bath and back.

Posted in Home Tips
Nov. 21, 2018

9 Ways to Stop Thanksgiving from Sending your Energy Bill Soaring

By: Courtney Craig

Published: August 18, 2016

Like turning down the heat when you crank up the oven.

 

Your home gets a serious workout on Thanksgiving. While you may be packing on the pounds, your home is sweating from increased usage — more people coming in and out, and more digital devices to charge so everyone can keep up with their favorite football team and friends.

Your home's energy consumption can skyrocket, especially when the oven's working non-stop and you're pulling out kitchen gadgets to chop and puree. 

Give your home a break, and don't make it work so hard, which will also save you cash on energy bills. Try these tips:

A Few Days Before Thanksgiving

1. Install a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. Every time you dim a bulb’s brightness by 10%, you’ll double the bulb’s lifespan. Most CFLs don’t work with dimmers, but you can create mood lighting with incandescents and LEDs. 

2. Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and saves energy, too.

When You Start Cooking

3. Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room.

4. Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven.

5. Use your oven's convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%.

6. Cook in the microwave whenever possible. Ditto slow cookers. Microwaves get the job done quickly, and although slow cookers take much longer, they still use less energy than the oven. Resist the urge to peek inside your slow cooker: Each time you remove the lid, it releases heat and can add about 25 minutes of cooking time to your dish.

7. Use lids on pots to retain heat. The food you’re cooking on the stovetop will heat up faster when you use lids.

When It’s Cleanup Time

8. Scrape plates instead of rinsing with hot water. Unless food is really caked on there, your dishwasher should get the dishes clean without a pre-rinse. Compost your non-meat food waste. 

9. Use your dishwasher. It saves energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Be sure to stop the appliance before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry.

Posted in Home Tips
Oct. 31, 2018

Smoke Detector Facts

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

Every morning, it’s the same thing. You get out of bed, take a shower, burn the toast and then curse the smoke detector. Although its singing the song of its people can be incredibly loud and awful to hear, the truth is that smoke detectors save lives. So, while your smoke detector may sing way off tune, it’s trying very hard to protect you and your family from smoke- and fire-related hazards, like your morning toast.

It’s time to check your smoke detector batteries yet again — and to learn more about those white pucks that hang out on the ceiling.

Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Smoke Detector

Every single day, your smoke alarms hang around next to the ceiling, just waiting for something to go wrong. They don’t ask for much, which is why most people tend to forget they even exist. But the job they do is vital to the safety and security of not only you and your family, but the families that neighbor you.

You’ve heard it a hundred times: check your smoke detector batteries. Check those batteries! Hey, by the way, have you checked your smoke alarm batteries? But for most people, that’s as intimate as they ever get with these clever devices. Here are some things to know about smoke detectors:

1. Working smoke alarms give you additional escape time in the case of an actual fire.Thirty-eight percent of home fire deaths from 2009 to 2013 were do to a lack of functioning smoke alarms. In the homes that had smoke alarms that failed, 46 percent had missing or disconnected batteries.

2. Best places to install smoke alarms are in each bedroom, in halls outside of bedrooms and in every major living area. Why so many? Closed doors can slow the spread of smoke and living areas on upper or lower floors may have a significant blaze going before smoke is noticeable.

3. Interconnected smoke alarms are considered the safest option currently on the market. These alarms are connected to each other and often directly powered through your home’s electrical system, with a battery backup. When one detects smoke, they all go off. It can be annoying if you tend to burn the toast, but when it’s a real fire, all that noise will be a life saver.

4. Smoke detectors work in one of two different ways. One type, called an ionization detector because it uses electrically charged particles to detect smoke in the air, is faster to respond to flaming fires with small smoke particles. The other, known as a photoelectric detector, uses beams of light to check for smoke particles in the air. These are better for smouldering fires. Both will get the job done, though!

5. Most people don’t realize that smoke detectors need maintenance, too! You should check the battery monthly and use the bristle attachment on your vacuum to clean any debris off of your detector twice a year. You’ll also want to change the battery twice a year. Many people do this when they change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

6. Smart Smoke Detectors can save you money on insurance. It’s true! If your smoke detectors are connected via WiFi, they can call for help or send you a message about their status. Many insurance companies love these features, as they reduce the amount of damage insured homes suffer in case of a fire. Break out the cool new tech and reap the savings!

7. There are other, similar detectors on the market. While you’re shopping for smoke detectors, you may come across heat or carbon monoxide detectors. These units look very similar, but they function very differently. Heat detectors literally detect high heat, so aren’t very fast to respond in a residential setting. They’re best used in small, confined spaces.

Carbon monoxide detectors, however, are very suitable for home use. They measure the amount of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas created by combustion, in the air. If dangerous amounts are detected, you’ll know and be able to make your home safe again. Most homes use these in conjunction with smoke detectors.

Where There’s Smoke, Well… You Know

No one wants to deal with a house fire, but if your morning bacon cookery gets out of hand, it’s good to have an early warning system. If your house doesn’t have adequate smoke detectors, it’s time to reach out to the HomeKeepr community for the very best electrician they can recommend. When other companies put their reputations on the line to connect you with the right home pro, you know they’ve gotta be good.

 

Posted in Home Tips
Oct. 10, 2018

14th Annual Fall Festival

First off we would like to say thank you to everyone who came out and supported the Fall Festival this year. The event was a great success we couldn’t be more ecstatic about the turnout. The weather ended up being perfect the whole day, although it didn’t really feel like Fall. Kucic Associates Realty purchased 450 pumpkins that we gave out for free.

 

 

The day would not have been the same without any of our sponsors who we are very thankful for. Detour was able to provide everyone with delicious $1 pull pork and brisket sandwiches that were a favorite with the proceeds donated to Every Dog Counts and P.A.W.S. Geist Coffee was kind enough to offer free apple cider, iced coffee and iced tea the whole day which everyone loved since it was so hot!

Bugaboo being a ham

We were fortunate enough to have Every Dog Counts, as well as P.A.W.S., bring their puppies for adoption! Everyone seemed to love them and the dogs seemed to enjoy it as well. These are fantastic organizations that help find loving homes for dogs. If you are looking to add to your family you should definitely give these organizations a call!

And once you get that new family member you can visit Log Cabin Vet for your veterinary needs - They were on hand to make sure all the animals got healthy snacks and didn’t overheat!



The kiddos also enjoyed themselves playing in the bounce houses all day, we had great weather, great food, and great fun. All of this was thanks to our sponsors as we couldn’t have pulled it off without them.


We would specifically like to mention the Following vendors who were out and set up booths. Waterside Docks and landscaping, handing out some yummy fall snacks for kids. They do more than docks, seawalls and retaining walls. They are masters of landscape and design to perfectly match your environment.

WIN Home inspection was there for your home inspection needs. Indiana Restoration Services had a booth. These are the folks you want to know if your house or business springs a leak or has any kind of disaster. We do have to mention a few other sponsors like Tangerine, who celebrated their Grand Opening that weekend as well. Many locals are pretty excited to see Tangerine open up at the Brooks School corner!

 

We would also like to thank everyone for coming to the event. We had over 500 folks visit, collect pumpkins and mums from Arkenau. We are looking forward to next year’s fall festival, Thank you all for coming! We will see you all next year! In the meantime, check out our FANTASTIC sponsors



Posted in Fall Festival