Family * Travel * Food

Mar 25, 2020

Tips on How To Feel Safe When You Live Alone

People that live alone usually consider themselves to be independent and resourceful. They enjoy having the freedom to come and go as they please and make all the decisions. However, there can still be times when loneliness sets in, or even concern for their safety. If this has ever happened to you, it's time to fix it. Here are four ways to feel safe when you live alone.

Check Your Windows and Doors

When considering your safety, it's a good time to check all your windows and doors. Make sure the windows have locks and that they close securely. Add curtains or shades to any window that doesn't have them to avoid anyone keeping tabs on you. Check that your doors are secure and have them repaired or replaced if they feel anything less than solid. If you've just purchased a home, have the locks changed.

Get a Dog

You've heard it many times before, but getting a dog really is one of the best measures you can take to stay safe. Plus, they're terrific company and champion breed German Shepherd puppies will give you years of loyalty and unconditional love. This breed is highly intelligent and trainable. Unlike a security system, a dog can go almost anywhere with you, protecting you when you're out walking or in the car running errands. A dog will soon become your best friend and you'll wonder how you ever managed without one.

Add Outside Lighting

Another precaution you can take to deter anyone from lurking around your property is to implement additional outside lighting. If you have a yard, consider adding spotlights and ground lights especially in corners and darker areas. Motion sensor lights are also very effective in keeping people at bay.

Have a Lot of Company

One way to combat loneliness and feel safe is to have a lot of visitors. Encourage friends and family to come over for dinner, coffee or to just watch a movie. You'll enjoy the company and neighbors and passersby will notice a lot of traffic. This helps give the illusion that you're not alone and that there are plenty of people around you.

Get Peace of Mind

While living alone certainly has its perks, it's important to be safe. No one should have to feel anxious about their wellbeing. Things like adding more lighting, getting a dog and improving your locks will keep you secure and give you peace of mind.

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Mar 23, 2020

Ideas Online For Making Treadmills Quiet

Finding time to work out with the chaos of today's busy schedules can be a challenge. A majority of people spend their days in sedentary positions making a fitness regimen critical for their health and wellness. Equipment like a treadmill being readily available at home provides convenience and flexibility with exercise times. Unfortunately, if you live in an apartment or with other people, the noise produced by a treadmill can be an annoyance and a disruption to their lifestyle. Don't allow this to hinder you from your routine. Instead, take the necessary steps to silence your treadmill.

Tips To Make Treadmills Quiet

Working out is crucial for overall health and well-being, particularly with most of our time spent sitting at a computer. Going to a gym is not always feasible, so people are bringing exercise equipment such as treadmills into their homes. The problem with a treadmill is the potential for noise pollution, upsetting neighbors, or those living in the house. Fortunately, soundproofing a treadmill can resolve this issue. Read here to find out how to effectively use your treadmill upstairs.

  • Placement of a treadmill mat: The impact from running on the deck produces a majority of the sound aside from the machine's belt and the motor. Among the best techniques to eliminate the pounding of the impact is by way of insulation. Using an insulation consisting of a foam mat with appropriate thickness acts as a cushion. You'll want to research for a budget-friendly brand. These provide longevity for your treadmill, not to mention the protection your legs receive from the harm vibrations risk.
  • Belt lubrication: Regularly lubricating the treadmill belt is an excellent way to keep it soundproof. Not only does the machine make loud noises during your workout when the belt is neglected, but it causes the unit to deteriorate quickly. Maintenance should be done approximately every three months with cleaning between the belt and deck before using the oil. The cleaning eliminates all the loose debris.
  • Obtain isolation pads: The creation of these pads was specific to reducing the sound treadmills make as your feet make contact with the deck and the overall vibrations. The impact can be annoying, particularly when you live in a condo or apartment community. The pads help with soundproofing. Placement of the pads will be under each of the treadmill's corners. Make sure to check customer reviews, feedback, and complaints before buying a brand. Not all are effective. Quality is essential in maintaining your treadmill

  • Place the equipment on carpeting if possible: Amplification of noise will happen if the placement of the equipment is on a hardwood, tile, or concrete floor. If this is all you have, take the unit to a porch or in the garage. It would be a wise investment to purchase thick carpeting remnants to put under the treadmill as a means to absorb the energy and vibrations when you live in an apartment or condo. Another option would be to place it on the balcony over a rug.
  • Bearings could need replacing: If after the lubricating process, the treadmill is still loud, there could be issues with the bearings and roller. They may need replacing. Accessing to repair can be challenging with the bearings and rollers connected. If this is the cause of the problem, you have the option of attempting the change yourself or having a technician take care of it.
  • Service the machine: It's easy to neglect to service the unit when you have a lot happening. Some people forget. But regular maintenance is crucial to keep the equipment functioning optimally. It needs to have the motor cleaned, the belts lubricated, and the belts tightened consistently. These basic services will ensure longevity and save from costly repairs.


Working out on a treadmill is an ideal way to stay active, remain healthy, and get fit. The exercise can present a problem for those around you because of the sound level produced with impact, the motor, and any technical difficulties that develop. It would be best if you soundproofed the machine to keep your exercise routine peaceful. If soundproofing is not enough, you can try a quieter treadmill. Check out some of the good brands at

The equipment is always going to make some form of sound when you run or even if you walk. But a machine that has a quieter design offers features including more silent motors, tracking with padding to absorb impact, and frames with strong, rigid manufacturing. Quiet doesn't mean zero noise; it only indicates that there is less loudness than what a traditional treadmill will give you.

If you live in a condo or apartment, it may be a good idea to speak to the neighbors surrounding your unit after you have done the soundproofing to see how effective it is. And then you can make an educated decision as far as purchasing a quieter system.

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Dec 13, 2019

How to Find the Perfect Mattress: The 3-Step Buying Guide

While just the thought of visiting a furniture store may seem a bit daunting, realize you have more options to buy a new mattress, sofa or end table than ever before. Thanks to the likes of warehouse clubs and online furniture retailers, finding these and other essential items at a fair price doesn't have to cause you undue stress.

And if you do a little homework and follow the right steps, you'll quickly be able to find and buy a desirable new mattress that meets your needs. Here are three steps to help narrow down your search.

1. Consider the Level of Firmness You Need

For most people, the quality of sleep they get every night largely depends on the firmness of their mattress. Of course, some prefer either a softer or firmer mattress, or something in between. The firmness level is set by the tension of the springs or in the overall make of the mattress, such as whether it's made with memory foam or has a pillow topper.

All these factors and features affect the feel of the mattress, so it's important that you test out a new mattress before buying one. Lay down on different mattresses on the sales floor at a furniture store like Jerome's to determine the most ideal option.

2. Set a Budget

Buying a new mattress can be costly. So, before you head to the nearest mattress retailer, determine a rough estimate on how much you're willing to spend on a new one. For a new, high-quality mattress that will last you a decade and meet your comfort and sleeping needs, plan to spend at least $1,000, according to Consumer Reports.

After determining a price range, you can more easily narrow down your search and make finding the right mattress an easier process. And while there are certainly any number of cheaper options on the market, know that they tend to be rated lower for quality and longevity.

3. Choose a Mattress Type

Determining your ideal mattress type will largely depend on the level of firmness you desire, your budget and any special features you may want. For instance, a memory foam mattress is a great option if you require more firmness and want to wake up with less stiffness and pain in your back. However, these types of mattresses can be one of the more expensive options, especially if you choose the Tempur-Pedic brand.

Meantime, hybrids are a new type of mattress that are manufactured with a combination of memory foam and coils, and they tend to be a lot more cost-effective than a traditional memory foam mattress. Conversely, if you’re looking for a softer option, pillow-top mattresses offer an extra layer of cushion to provide more comfort over the coils of the mattress.

Other mattress types offer extra features like superior cooling properties to create a cooler mattress than traditional memory foams, as well as adjustable folding features that allow you to sit up comfortably in bed.

Investing in the Right Mattress for You

In selecting the most ideal mattress, understand your options and take inventory of your needs. Ultimately, the one you desire most will fit at the intersection of your budget and your sleeping needs. Once you have an idea of which option will best serve your needs, visit a mattress retailer in-person in order to compare and contrast different options to ensure you select the right one.

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Dec 8, 2019

Create A Family Photo Wall With CanvasDiscount [Giveaway]

Do you ever look around your home and think about the things you have been meaning to do for a long time? One of those things for me is to get some pictures, art or really anything up on my bare walls. We have lived in our home for almost 2 decades and still have so many bare walls. We tend to have more minimalist taste when it comes to decorating our home, but I do love displaying family photos.

I have been wanting to have a family gallery-style wall, and finally started it this year. I still have a little way to go, but feel like it is coming along pretty well so far. We have pictures that have been taken over the years that are very much worthy of being displayed. One of my favorite styles of photos is canvas prints. I really do love the look of a photo that almost looks like a painting when it is printed on a canvas. I knew I need to add a couple more family photos so I used to order exactly what I needed. offers a huge variety of sizes and styles of canvas prints to fit your budget. Since I had tighter areas that I needed canvas prints for, I went with a vertical prints in sizes 12" x 16". They were the perfect size, and the prices were so good at just $25 each. The website is user-friendly, and I was able to upload my photos and create my whole order from start to finish in about 10 minutes. It does help a lot when you already know which photos you want to use. Check out these gorgeous canvas prints we had made.

The quality is excellent, and the colors are rich and vibrant. Also, the shipping time was super fast. Right now, you can get up to 5 FREE MIXPIX® plates from just by going through this link: I absolutely love the idea of an entire collage of canvas prints on a wall. Speaking of which, look at how nice our two canvas prints look with the existing photos we have on the wall above our couch. All I need to do now is add some decorative signs and plaques to finish it off. By the way, canvas prints make nice gifts for the holidays!

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Thank you so much for providing us with a code for complimentary canvas prints. All opinions are our own. 
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Dec 4, 2019

Projects We Tackled In 2019

This past year seems to have gone by so quickly and makes me take time to reflect on things that we accomplished in our household, as well as plan for the upcoming new year. We decided on buying a lot less stuff in 2019, and donated a lot of things that were no longer serving us in a positive way. We made a list of household projects that we wanted to get done, and thankfully we were able to check off those boxes!

Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash
We started out with some plumbing repairs which we still have another part to complete. Thankfully we replaced our ancient water heater with a brand new one and got some re-piping done. The plumbing job then led to a bathroom remodel in our hallway bath. We experienced some mishaps during the process, but it’s done and we are planning on the downstairs bathroom remodel. We will take all of the lessons we learned from the first one into the second project.
Rocco is enjoying our cozy new carpet
Another big project that we got done was having our upstairs carpeting replaced. We did our research at a local place that was highly recommended and we couldn’t be happier! It was so nice entertaining over the Thanksgiving holiday with a refreshed-looking home. I really think we will get a new dining room set early next year to replace our 15-year-old set. I was reading an article earlier this year that talked about having a custom table made or refurbished, and then purchasing chairs for your dining table. That might not be a bad idea since our actual table isn’t in bad condition. The chairs aren’t the most comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. It might look nice if we got our table professionally refinished. Then we can spend our time looking for chairs that will suit our taste and needs.

Speaking of dining room, we got a quote for new flooring for the kitchen and dining areas. We just have to come up with what type and finish of flooring we want to go with. I am leaning towards the higher quality vinyl that looks like hardwoods. We have old vinyl now and the thing I like about it is that it’s easy to clean, and if you accidentally drop a cup or plate, it doesn't always break like it would on a hard tile floor. Decisions, decisions.

A couple more things that we also got done was getting our landing replaced at our front door. The wooden planks were getting rickety, so we had them all ripped out and replaced. We just have to get the wood stained once the weather gets warmer. For now we have to look at a two-toned deck, but that's okay. I also got a brand new washing machine to replace my 23-year-old one. Yes, we had it for 23 YEARS! Although my new machine is pretty and modern, I actually miss how the old school type works. Go figure!

I think that we will focus on one new project per quarter as our budget allows. Planning everything out ahead of time has really made it so much easier to get the projects set up and completed. We were super lucky to find good people who offer reasonable prices. Hopefully they will be able to get us on their schedule. Do you have any big home renovations or projects planned for the new year?

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Oct 11, 2019

5 Most Popular Water Filtration Technologies For Homes

It doesn’t matter whether your water comes from a well or the main treatment works, you need to be confident that it is clean and safe to drink.

There are many ways in which bacteria can get into the water supply, this is why every home should invest in a water filtration system.  Of course, there are several different types of water filtration device, you’ll need to choose the one that best suits your home and your budget.

Before you invest in any water filter system you should be aware of the different types available and speak to a reputable supplier of water filters Sydney

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels
1. Activated Carbon
This is arguably the most popular type of water filter. It is the one you’ll find in jug style filters and the slim containers that bolt into your mains supply line.

Water passes through the activated carbon and sediment, chlorine and VOC’s attach themselves to the carbon. The water that leaves the filter is cleaner and tastes better.
It’s important to note that this type of filter needs to be changed every 2 months.

2. Reverse Osmosis
This type of filter needs to be changed every year but, it is remarkably effective at eliminating nitrates, heavy metals, dissolved salts, and an array of organic and inorganic compounds.

Again, you’ll notice the taste difference and even the color of your water should appear clearer.

Reverse osmosis is also effective if you need to soften your water, which makes it essential in hard water areas.

3. UV Water Filters
A UV filter mimics the sun. UV rays are concentrated on the water, effectively killing any bacteria present. This type of filter can destroy most living organisms but it can’t remove any debris or sediment from your water.

You may prefer to use it in conjunction with a second water filter. You will need to change the filter annually.

4. Chlorine Filter
Chlorine is used by most treatment centers to eradicate bacteria in the water. However, it has also been linked with undesirable effects on your health. For this reason, you may want to use a chlorine filter to cleanse your water. The best one to do this is the carbon filter mentioned earlier.

However, if you source your own water, perhaps through a well on your land, you may want to use a chlorine filter to add chlorine to your water and effectively kill any microorganisms in the water, making it safer to drink.

Of course, you may then want to use a carbon filter to remove the chlorine…
You will need to refill the chlorine when it runs low.

5. Multi-Media Filters
This type of filter is designed to remove contaminants and sediment from your water. Again, it is considered essential if you have your own water supply. It can also be useful if you feel there is too much debris coming down the pipes to your home from the treatment center.

There are different choices of media depending on which types of contaminants you want to focus on.

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Mar 5, 2019

Why Is My Hot Tub Water Cloudy?

One of the most common complaints for hot tub owners is cloudy water in the spa. It can be incredibly difficult to determine the exact cause of cloudy spa water because there are so many different things that could be causing the problem. Since determining the cause of the problem can be challenging, preventing cloudy spa water can be difficult. Here are a few possible causes of cloudy water in your hot tub and how you can prevent the issue from occurring.

1. Product Build-Up

We all use a lot of different products on our bodies. Unfortunately, these products aren’t so good for spas. Between the lotion, soap, makeup, and hair products on the average human body, it is no surprise that the water in your hot tub is less than clear. To prevent cloudy water from these types of products, you can rinse off in the shower before you take a dip in the hot tub.

2. Biofilm Growth

Bacteria is bound to happen in warm, moist places if the proper chemical levels aren’t maintained. Hot tubs are known breeding grounds for bacteria, which is why it is so important that you use a sanitizer in the water. Bacteria can build up in the pipes and fittings in the internal system of your hot tub. You probably won’t even know that there is a problem until you start to see your water getting cloudy.

Spa chemicals

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If you haven’t run your hot tub in a while, the biofilm is likely to start building up in the spa. In these cases, you will need to shock the water and add sanitizer into the system. Additionally, you may need to use a treatment that will kill all of the bacteria in the internal system of the spa.

3. Hard Water

Hard water is a problem for many households. While hard water can cause problems all over your home, if you have a hot tub, you are likely to start seeing cloudy water. Hard water contains too much calcium, which can change the appearance of the water in your hot tub. Test your water for calcium hardness, alkalinity, and pH levels. If anything is unbalanced, you can use chemical balancers to help control the levels in the water of your spa. Balanced water is less likely to form scaling or cloudiness.

4. Filter Problems

Dirty hot tub filters.

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Spa filters can be a little tricky. Spa filters need to be clean and installed properly to prevent dirty water from circulating throughout the hot tub. If your spa filter is misaligned, dirty water can slip past the filter and lead to cloudy, dirty, murky water. When you replace your spa filter, make sure that it is positioned properly to keep the water in your hot tub clean.

Keeping spa filters clean is also critical in the maintenance of the water in the hot tub. A dirty hot tub filter doesn’t properly remove all of the bacteria and other gunk that can lead to cloudy water. If your filter is too dirty for cleaning to help, then you will need to replace your hot tub filter altogether. Never run your spa without the filter. A filter can prevent all kinds of problems, including cloudy water.

Hot tub filters should be switched out at least once every 12 to 24 months depending on how often you are using your hot tub and how you normally use the tub. Filters should be cleaned every few weeks with a spa filter cleaner.

5. Low Sanitizer Levels

Sanitizers are necessary to keep the water in your hot tub safe and clean. Chlorine and bromine are commonly used to manage bacteria and fungi that could try to live in your hot tub’s water, causing the water to appear cloudy. Using the right amount of sanitizer can prevent bacteria and fungi from living and breeding in the water of your spa.

Keeping your water clear isn’t always easy, but with these tips, you should be able to keep your water looking pristine for a longer period of time.

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Feb 26, 2019

Kitchen Updates That Will Make Your Life Easier

You spend a lot of time in your kitchen, so you want the time that you spend in there to be simple and convenient. Nobody wants to come home from work and have to struggle to prepare dinner in an inconvenient kitchen. So, if you’re struggling with awkward faucets or sticking drawers, it’s time to make some updates to this all-important room that will definitely make your life a lot easier.

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Adding A Peg Rail
This is a very simple and quick update but it could make an enormous difference to the functionality of your kitchen. Choose a convenient wall on which to install your peg rail, or you may even prefer to fit it onto the edge of your cabinets. You’ll find that the pegs come in extremely useful for hanging up tea towels, washcloths, aprons, and oven mitts. You’ll have all these key essentials to hand so you won’t have to look for them when you’re in a hurry.

Choose A Pedal Bin
No doubt you already have a trash can in your kitchen, however, getting the design right is key to convenience and functionality in your kitchen. If you have an under-counter garbage bin this might be streamlined and fit nicely into the design of your kitchen, however, it isn’t the most convenient option if you have your hands full of trash that needs to be thrown away. Choose a free-standing pedal bin instead which you can operate with your feet, leaving your hands completely free. You’ll be amazed by the difference that it can make.

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Change Your Faucets

One way to make your kitchen more convenient is to think about switching your standard faucet for a hands-free model. How many times have your hands been covered in food or sauce and you’ve had to turn on the faucet leaving a mess everywhere? With a hands-free faucet, you won’t need to worry about this problem. You’ll be able to get the water running through movement alone. Perfect! Check this site to find out more about how to choose the right faucet for you.

Get A Noticeboard
If you find that you’re always forgetting important things in your life, putting up a noticeboard in your kitchen can really help to streamline your life. You can pin up all the important letters you receive, the bills which need to be paid, appointment cards for upcoming meetings or appointments and any other important items that you need to deal with imminently. Never again will you forget about something vital.

Add Some Shelving
If you’re lacking storage in your kitchen, it can be very difficult to keep the room tidy and clutter-free. Nobody wants a kitchen that has items piling up on all the countertops and surfaces, so adding more storage couldn’t be more important. If you have spare space on your kitchen walls, why not install some shelving? You’ll find it a useful place to store items which would otherwise have ended up on your countertops like coffee and tea jars. If you have some free-standing space, why not consider adding a butcher’s block? This will not only give you some additional storage below in the form of drawers, shelves or wire baskets, but it will also give you an extra work surface when there’s a lot going on in your kitchen.
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Add A Utensil Rail

If you’re always having to leave pots and pans bubbling on the stove while you search out a spatula or spoon in the drawer, it’s definitely time to add a utensil rail. By fitting one of these useful rails over your stove, you can hang up all your essential utensils where you can easily reach them. Never again will food burn while you seek out the right utensil to get the job done – everything will be right there in your eyeline!

These simple changes are quick and easy to make but can make your kitchen a more convenient and functional place to work and spend time. By adding a few simple additions and switching a few key items around, you’ll find that you start to love being in the heart of your home!

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Jan 23, 2019

Poison Prevention for Pets

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As a pet owner, it is important to know and understand the items that are considered poisonous for pets. While there are literally hundreds of things that could cause problems for our beloved pets, there are a few common foods, household items, and plants that are known trouble-makers. We believe that you should know about these items so that you can do your best to protect your pet from accidental poisoning.

Foods Considered Poisonous to Pets

You’ve probably heard of a few different foods that are problematic for pets, such as chocolate and grapes. However, there is a fairly large list of foods that shouldn’t be given to pets. Here is a list of common foods that should never be given to dogs and cats:
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  • Alcohol: Alcohol, which can also be consumed in the form of yeast in uncooked bread dough, can cause intoxication in pets. Common alcohol poisoning symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and central nervous problems that can lead to coma and death.
  • Candy, Gum, and Xylitol: Xylitol is often found in sugar-free candy and gum. This artificial sweetener can lead to acute liver failure and is considered toxic to pets.
  • Chives, Garlic, and Onions: These foods, which are all part of the Allium family, are known to cause upset stomach and red blood cell damage. Cats are more prone to issues with these food items, but dogs can still encounter problems.
  • Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: These foods contain methylxanthines that can lead to tremors, seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, and more. 
  • Coconut and Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can cause upset stomach and diarrhea. Coconut water should also be avoided because it is high in potassium.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Both of these foods can lead to kidney failure.
  • Mushrooms: Only a few different kinds of mushrooms are toxic to pets, but it is best to prevent your pet from eating any mushrooms so that they are safe. Poisonous mushrooms can lead to liver failure in pets.
  • Nuts: Nuts, especially macadamia nuts, can lead to serious health problems for pets including hyperthermia and pancreatitis.
  • Potato Leaves and Stems: Potato greens are toxic to cats.
  • Raw Meat: While many people believe that animals can eat raw meat, the bacteria in raw meat can lead to salmonella and E. coli.
  • Rhubarb: In pets, rhubarb can cause weakness, tremors, bloody urine, and more.
  • Salt: Excess amounts of salt can lead to salt poisoning. Symptoms of salt poisoning include seizures, coma, kidney damage, and death. Salt is generally found in high concentrations in cured meats and paintballs.
  • Tomato Leaves and Stems: Tomatoes are safe for dog and cat consumption, but the leaves and stems can lead to weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Yeast and Yeast Dough: Yeast can cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s system. This can lead to bloat and twist, as well as intoxication.

Common Household Items Considered Poisonous to Pets

You probably have a variety of chemicals and cleaners around your home that you don’t think much about. However, many of these products could be extremely dangerous to your pet. Here are a few of the most dangerous household items for pets:
A cat holding a bucket of cleaning supplies and mop.

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  • Antifreeze: Antifreeze, even in small amounts, can be deadly to pets. It contains ethylene glycol, which can cause vomiting, intoxication, lethargy, coma, and acute kidney failure.
  • Batteries: Many batteries contain alkaline, which can cause ulcers in the mouth, stomach, or intestines. Signs of alkaline poisoning including drooling, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and inability to defecate.
  • Bleach and Cleaners: Household cleaners can lead to mouth ulcers, drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, and squinting of the eyes.
  • Citrus Acid and Oil: Citrus oil is a common ingredient found in potpourri. Both citrus acid and oil can lead to nervous system depression in large quantities.
  • Deicers: Deicers contain chemicals that your pet may lick off of their paws. These chemicals can cause illness. 
  • Detergents: Household detergents may cause drooling, vomiting, burns in the mouth and throat, inappetence, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. 
  • Lawn and Garden Chemicals: Both fertilizers and pest sprays contain chemicals that could lead to drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored gums, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.
  • Medications: Many human medications can cause problems for our pets. Pets should never be given human medications without prior consent from your veterinarian. Symptoms could include vomiting, seizures, hyperthermia, low blood pressure, and death.
  • Mothballs: Mothballs can lead to life-threatening symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, fluid accumulation in the body, tremors, seizures, kidney damage, and coma.

Plants Considered Poisonous to Pets

Many people love having plants in and around their homes because they are pretty and help clean the air. Some of your favorite plants could be hazardous to your pet, however. Here are a few of the most common poisonous plants to pets:
A bulldog snuffing a daffodils.

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  • Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel is edible, but the plant itself is not. It can lead to lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Azalea: Azaleas can lead to weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and cardiac failure.
  • Chamomile: While humans consume things like chamomile tea, the plant is dangerous for pets. It can cause dermatitis, anorexia, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemums contain a variety of toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis, and incoordination.
  • Daffodil: These flowers can cause gastrointestinal problems, convulsions, tremors, low blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmias. While the whole plant can cause problems, the bulbs contain the highest concentration of toxins.
  • Daisy: Daisies can lead to dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, and incoordination.
  • Geranium: These plants contain toxins that can cause vomiting, dermatitis, depression, and anorexia.
  • Hydrangea: These flowers contain cyanide, which can be problematic in large quantities.
  • Lilies: Most dangerous to cats, lilies can lead to kidney failure. All parts of the plant are considered dangerous, and almost all varieties of lilies are harmful.
  • Poinsettia: These plants can irritate the mouth and stomach, which can cause vomiting.
  • Sago Palm: These palms can lead to vomiting, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, liver damage, liver failure, and death.
  • Tulips: Tulips can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and hypersalivation. Remember that the bulbs contain a higher concentration of the toxins that cause problems for pets.

Preventing Accidental Poisonings

While it is impossible to prevent all cases of accidental poisonings, you can do your best by knowing the items that could be a cause for concern and keeping them away from your pet. If you believe that your pet has gotten into a toxic substance or item, you should immediately contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian.

None of the above lists are exhaustive, but the items listed are some of the most common poisonings that veterinarians see. To see a full list of items that are harmful to pets, check out Pet Poison Helpline’s Poisonous List.

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Nov 6, 2018

Is Your Home as Energy Efficient as it Could Be?

If you've never considered an energy audit for your home, you might be surprised to find that it's well worth your time and effort. After all, drafts and air leaks cost the average American homeowner hundreds of dollars every year.  Finding out how your home uses energy is one way to find out if you need upgrades to your heating and cooling system or elsewhere in your home. Check out these three tips for learning more about your home's energy efficiency. 

Check for Faulty Insulation

Image via Flickr by ryochiji

Insulation can deteriorate over time, leaving gaps that cause air loss. If the insulation in your attic is below the level of the floor joists, add insulation to compensate. Check the insulation's depth with a measuring tape to find out if it meets the manufacturer's recommended levels. 

Check wall insulation by turning off the electrical breaker in each section of your house. Remove the electrical outlet cover to probe the interior wall using a screw driver. If you don't feel resistance, consider installing more insulation.

Seek Out Air Leaks

Air leaks pull air out of your home, causing your HVAC system to work harder in the summer and winter. The incense test is one of the easiest ways to locate problem areas that can drain your wallet. To do this test, close all doors and windows. Turn off appliances, water heaters, and exhaust fans to reduce the airflow in the home. This will help to identify the pesky leaks that you want to plug.

Burn the incense in areas that you suspect are drafty, including near fireplace dampers, outlets, baseboards, foundation seals, and windows. The incense will waver or disappear into leaky areas. Seal these areas to ensure that your home's warm or cool air stays inside.
Photo by Daniel von Appen on Unsplash
Leaks often occur through windows and doors, so you'll want to make sure that your windows are airtight. Installing energy-efficient windows can save you a lot of money in heating and cooling costs. If the incense test reveals air leaks around the doors, adjusting the door on the hinges will ensure a tighter seal.

Inspect and Maintain Appliances

Your home's appliances and systems can also cause serious efficiency issues. Analyze your home's energy usage with an energy calculator. Many online calculators help homeowners perform DIY audits for refrigerators, lighting systems, dishwashers, and other appliances. Schedule maintenance for appliances that are wasting energy or take advantage of tax credits by installing energy-efficient machines.

Regularly inspect your outdoor HVAC unit to make sure that it is free of plants, weeds, and other debris. Call your local heating and air conditioning technician for annual tuneups and efficiency checks.

If your current HVAC system isn't efficient enough, consider an upgrade. A ductless system can help you save energy while still keeping your family comfortable, no matter the season.

These easy steps for improving your home's energy efficiency can make a world of difference when it's time to pay the bills. Small changes and a little effort can decrease your household energy consumption and save you money.
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Oct 25, 2018

4 Fun Earth-Friendly Projects To Complete With Your Family

It is never too early to start planning in advance for the winter or spring breaks. Schools will be out, and you'll be searching for activities to keep the whole family busy and happy. If your goal is to go green, invest some time into eco-friendly projects that reuse materials you already have. Look for ways to conserve energy around the house too. Check out these green projects you can complete this holiday.

Upcycle Plastic Grocery Bags
Image via Flickr by groundsel

Each time you go grocery shopping, you bring home several plastic bags. Instead of recycling your bags, turn them into something new. Grab a crochet hook to make plastic yarn, known as plarn. Weave or crochet the plarn into hats, handbags or decorative coasters. 

During the holidays, turn plastic bags into festive decorations including wreaths and pom-poms. Flowers made from plastic bags make beautiful accents you can use any time of year.

Start a Green Energy Project

Let the kids pitch in with a summer research project. School-age children can study eco-friendly power sources including solar and geothermal energy. The finished report could be a head start on this year's science fair project. Review the information together as a family to decide if any of these green energy solutions can work in your home. 

One thing you can do now to make your home eco-friendly is to complete an energy audit. Check for drafty windows and doors and use a programmable thermostat to control the home's temperature. Also, ensure that your heating and cooling system is running as efficiently as possible. 

Consistent HVAC maintenance is an essential step in conserving energy at home. Schedule appointments to have a professional technician change your filters and clean your home's air ducts regularly.

Reuse Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles provide durable craft material that you can use to make cute planters for your home or garden. Simply cut off the tops and paint on a design. Another idea is to take off the bottoms to create hanging lights for the patio or den. 

If you have a few extra wooden spoons and a plastic bottle, help your feathered friends and build a birdfeeder for the backyard. Poke a few small holes in a soda bottle, attach a hose and you have yourself a homemade sprinkler to help the kids cool off during a hot summer day. 
Photo by Parker Burchfield on Unsplash

Give Old T-Shirts a Second Life

Your favorite T-shirt you've worn hundreds of times may have seen better days, but it's still hard to let go and throw it out. Not to worry, that old shirt with a hole in it can still be useful. Cut more holes in it to make a reusable produce bag

You can also fashion worn-out cotton shirts into onesies or bibs for infants. If a shirt has stains on the front, salvage the sleeves and turn them into soft baby hats or socks.

Try these green project ideas this summer and see how you can recycle old materials and find ways to save energy. You'll have fun and feel good about going green and protecting the environment all year long.
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Oct 19, 2018

GhostBed Sheets Make For A Better Night's Rest

In recent years, I have found myself having a lot of difficulty getting comfortable at night to fall asleep at a decent time. My problem is partly due to always feeling hot. My poor husband would often times have to put on a sweatshirt and sweatpants to come to bed, because he felt like I kept our bedroom at Arctic temperatures. Okay, maybe dropping the A.C. super low, and having the ceiling set on super high-speed is a bit much for the average person.

Another part of my problem was that I've struggled to find a sheet set that is comfortable, cool, and durable. Thankfully I found the perfect solution with my new GhostBed Luxury Sheets made with Supmia cotton and Tencel fiber blend. This sheet set will work great on almost any mattress, but it's ideal to pair it with any GhostBed mattress. These sheets are amazingly soft and luxurious. From the moment I touched the sheets with my finger tips, I could feel a smooth coolness.

The GhostBed Luxury Sheets set is a product of GhostBed by Nature's Sleep, which makes a mattress that Consumer Reports rated very good or excellent in every category, and is the best mattress for fibromyalgia. I like knowing that the sheet set comes with a 3-year warranty, and free shipping!

So what exactly makes Supima cotton sheets? Supima cotton is one of the finest quality grown cotton in the US. Made using longer, smoother, and cleaner yarn, the result is a softer and more plush feel. Additionally, Supima premium cotton is also more durable, able to withstand washing year after year and maintains its original shape, feel and comfort. This makes me happy because I wash bed sheets frequently.

I have had sheets in the past where the elastic stretched out so much that it caused the bottom sheet to slip off. This does not happen with GhostBed sheets. Just look at that wide elastic band that helps prevent the fitted sheet from popping off.

My husband and I love how comfortable our sheets feel, and that the set came with four pillow cases instead of two like most standard king sets do. They come in either gray or white, which is perfect when you like neutral colors. There is a downside though. It is almost impossible getting out of bed, because we are so comfy! Also, it brings kids into our room sneaking under the covers so they can experience the comfort, too.

Our Ghostbed Luxury fitted sheet set goes perfectly with our new mattress cover. Be sure to check out GhostBed online and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Next up for us will be a bedroom makeover!

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