7 Tips for Cleaning Up After the Holidays

7 Tips for Cleaning Up After the HolidaysI know for many cleaning is not at the top of the wish list, definitely not around the holidays. But, it is a great way to begin a fresh new year.

With all our helpful tips for cleaning after the holidays, you will have fresh, clean spaces waiting for the New Year to come.It’s holiday party season, which means plenty of togetherness with family and friends. But for party hosts, it also means a lot of messiness to clean up after the guests have gone! Give your home a fresh start in time for the new year – or maybe just your next party – with easy holiday cleaning tips!

Clean up after your party quickly by

  1. Collecting holiday cards. Go through the cards you got in the mail, and make a list of who sent them to you. Use this as a thank-you list or the start to your Christmas card list for next year. Then recycle cute cards by cutting the images, attaching string and using them as free gift tags. Throw the ones you don’t want in the recycling bin, and your after-party cleaning will be well underway.
  1. Cleaning the guest bedroom. Wash the bed sheets in warm or hot water with a capful of white vinegar to ensure they are fresh. While sheets are in the dryer, use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to clean the mattress thoroughly, paying special attention to the seams. Replace the bedding, and fluff the pillows to make your next guests comfortable.
  1. Taking down those lights. When you do, you’ll save yourself time next year if you put them away using one simple trick: wrap strings of lights around a piece of cardboard or a paper towel tube to keep them organized and easy to unravel next season. This also keeps you from being the neighbor who still has strings of outdoor Christmas lights up on Valentine’s Day.
  1. Coordinating Christmas tree take-down and curbside pick-up. When is your trash pickup service collecting Christmas trees? Find out so you can get your tree curbside in accordance with the collection times. It’s easier to clean up after your party if you don’t have to worry about pine needles spreading through the house.
  1. Got one? give one! For every new item you received as a gift, give another away. Two new scarves from grandma? Give two away and help a family in need stay warm. Santa brought more toys than you can even store? Donations galore! Pack it all up and take them to your nearest donation center. You’ll clear up some room while helping those in need.
  1. Recondition your dining table. The holiday season was hard on your dining table, and dry winter air leaves wood looking dull. It removes dust, fingerprints and smudges and also helps protect wood from everyday wear and tear.
  1. Deodorize pots and pans. If your cast-iron pan still smells like holiday dinner, pour some salt into it and use both halves of a cut lemon to rub the pan while squeezing the juice out. Let sit for about 5 minutes (too long will draw seasoning oils out). Wipe clean with a paper towel and follow with a coat of oil. Another method? Simply heat empty cast iron pans for 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven! For non-cast iron pots, baking soda does the deodorizing trick.

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Claus: The History

Santa ClausAny kid can tell you where Santa Claus is from—the North Pole. But his historical journey is even longer and more fantastic than his annual, one-night circumnavigation of the globe.

The modern American Santa was born in the Mediterranean, evolved across northern Europe, and finally assumed his now-familiar form on the shores of the New World.

The original saint was a Greek born 280 years after Christ . Nicholas was neither fat nor jolly but developed a reputation as a fiery, wiry, and defiant defender of church doctrine during the “Great Persecution,” when Bibles were put to the torch and priests made to renounce Christianity or face execution.

St Nicolas

He was imprisoned during the great persecutions under the Roman Emperor Diocletian in A.D. 303 but freed by decree of Emperor Constantine. Thereafter, he served as Bishop in Myra for another thirty years. Nicholas participated in the famous Council of Nicaea in 325. He died on December 6, about 343, and the Feast of St. Nicholas is now held on that day.

Nicholas rose to prominence among the saints because he was the patron of so many groups, ranging from sailors to entire nations. By about 1200, he became known as a patron of children and magical gift bringer because of two great stories from his life.

In the better-known tale, three young girls are saved from a life of prostitution when young Bishop Nicholas secretly delivers three bags of gold to their indebted father, which can be used for their dowries.

The other story Nicholas entered an inn whose keeper had just murdered three boys and pickled their dismembered bodies in basement barrels. The bishop not only sensed the crime, but resurrected the victims as well. “That’s one of the things that made him the patron saint of children.”

He seems to have been adopted by the Netherlands as the patron saint of children, and there, on St. Nicholas Eve, they leave their wooden shoes, or sabots, filled with hay for the Saint’s white horse. He is real to children the world over, under various names as Kris Kringle, La Befana, Yule Tomten, and Christkindli.

Santa ClausBut in early America Christmas wasn’t much like the modern holiday. The holiday was shunned in New England, and elsewhere it had become a bit like the pagan Saturnalia that once occupied its place on the calendar. .

Then, during the early decades of the 19th century, all that changed thanks to a series of poets and writers who strove to make Christmas a family celebration—by reviving and remaking St. Nicholas.

In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas,” for his six children, with no intention of adding to the fledgling Santa Claus phenomenon. It was published anonymously the next year, and to this day the plump, jolly Santa described therein rides a sleigh driven by eight familiar reindeer.

During the Christmas season of 1862, Thomas Nast, the cartoonist, drew a picture of Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly at the time of the Civil War. Nast combined his own native German traditions of Saint Nicholas with other German folk traditions of elves in creating the image. His various pictures of Santa Claus ran through 1866, firmly cementing the image in the American mind. The name Santa Claus also became more familiar to American ears than the German Sankt Niklaus or Dutch Sinterklaas.

1934-Santa-604mk120312-604-337-63fca1b5.rendition.598.336Finally, in the 1930s that the now-familiar American Santa image solidified. The artist Haddon Sundblom began Coca-Cola Santa advertisements running for thirty-five years which finally established Santa as an icon of contemporary commercial culture. This Santa was not an elf, but a man — jolly, and wearing the now familiar white fir-trimmed red suit.

 

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Around the World

Chritsmas around the world

Christmas as we know it today is a Victorian invention of the 1860s. Probably the most celebrated holiday in the world, our modern Christmas is a product of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe. Discover the origins of Christmas traditions from around the world.It’s almost Christmas, and according to some people, it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Finland

Many Finns visit the sauna on Christmas Eve. Families gather and listen to the national “Peace of Christmas” radio broadcast. It is customary to visit the gravesites of departed family members.

Germany

Decorating evergreen trees had always been a part of the German winter solstice tradition. The first “Christmas trees” explicitly decorated and named after the Christian holiday, appeared in Strasbourg, in Alsace in the beginning of the 17th century. After 1750, Christmas trees began showing up in other parts of Germany, and even more so after 1771, when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited Strasbourg and promptly included a Christmas tree is his novel, The Suffering of Young Werther. In the 1820s, the first German immigrants decorated Christmas trees in Pennsylvania. After Germany’s Prince Albert married Queen Victoria, he introduced the Christmas tree tradition to England. In 1848, the first American newspaper carried a picture of a Christmas tree and the custom spread to nearly every home in just a few years

Norway

Norway is the birthplace of the Yule log. The ancient Norse used the Yule log in their celebration of the return of the sun at winter solstice. “Yule” came from the Norse word hweol, meaning wheel. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled towards and then away from the earth. Ever wonder why the family fireplace is such a central part of the typical Christmas scene? This tradition dates back to the Norse Yule log.

Armenia

Some Armenians choose to fast the week before Christmas. Then, they break their fast with a light Christmas Eve meal called “khetum,” which includes rice, fish, chickpeas, yogurt soup, dried nuts and grape jelly desserts.

Mexico

In 1828, the American minister to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, brought a red-and-green plant from Mexico to America. As its coloring seemed perfect for the new holiday, the plants, which were called poinsettias after Poinsett, began appearing in greenhouses as early as 1830. In 1870, New York stores began to sell them at Christmas. By 1900, they were a universal symbol of the holiday.

 Australia

In Australia, the holiday comes in the middle of summer and it’s not unusual for some parts of Australia to hit 100 degrees Farenheit on Christmas day. During the warm and sunny Australian Christmas season, beach time and outdoor barbecues are common. Traditional Christmas day celebrations include family gatherings, exchanging gifts and either a hot meal with ham, turkey, pork or seafood or barbeques.

Ukraine

The Ukrainians use fake spider webs to cover their trees. Why? According to legend, a poor widower had no money to decorate the family’s tree. Some friendly spiders were grief-stricken when they saw the widow and her crying children, so at night, when everyone was asleep, they decorated the tree with silver and gold. After that, the poor family became prosperous, lucky and never had a financial woe, ever again. Thus, a spider web-covered tree signifies prosperity and wealth for the next year. Ukrainians prepare a traditional twelve-course meal. A family’s youngest child watches through the window for the evening star to appear, a signal that the feast can begin.

India

The amount of Christians in India amounts to only 2.3 percent of its population. But, wait, India is one of the most populous countries in the world, meaning that translates to 25 million people who celebrate Christmas. Due to lack of fir and pine trees in the region, Indians use banana or mango trees as a substitute.

Philippines

You won’t find stockings hanging on chimneys in the Philippines. Rather, kids will polish their shoes and leave them by the window sills, so when the Three Kings walk by at night, they’ll leave presents.

Canada

There is an actual postal code used in Canada to send letters to the North Pole: H0H 0H0. Unfortunately, since there is no centralized address, thousand of volunteers help out the Canada Post to respond to the letters received, even in Braille. Most Canadian Christmas traditions are very similar to those practiced in the United States. In the far north of the country, the Eskimos celebrate a winter festival called sinck tuck, which features parties with dancing and the exchanging of gifts.

10 Ways to Save on Heating Costs This Winter.

10 Ways

Winter is coming, but it doesn’t have to bring outsized heating bills with it. Take a tour of your home and check out these problem areas; fixing them up could dramatically reduce how much you need to spend to keep the place warm and toasty. Here are several tips to reduce energy consumption and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home this winter:

1. Use the sun for free heat. That bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.

2. Replace Worn Weatherstripping. Worn and torn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts and lets in cold air. Seven to 12 percent of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors, and these leaks often prompt homeowners to turn up their furnace to keep comfy. Even if they don’t turn it up, they’re losing warm air, causing the furnace to work harder. Some weatherstripping needs to be replaced every few years because of wear. Replacing it is typically as simple as pulling off the old and tacking on the new.

3. Bundle up with warm accessories. This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.

4. Adjust Door Thresholds. If you can see daylight under your front door, then you’re losing the indoor air you’ve paid to heat. Some thresholds have four or five screws that let you adjust the height to eliminate a gap. Turn the screws counterclockwise to lift the threshold until daylight is mostly gone. A little light in the corners is okay, but don’t raise the threshold so high that it interferes with opening and closing the door. And the door shouldn’t drag on the threshold or it’ll wear out the weatherstripping.

5. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, you have more control over ventilation than you know. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.

6. Eliminate Drafts Around Electrical Boxes. Electrical boxes in your exterior walls are notoriously drafty because insulation isn’t always placed behind and around them correctly. To stop the leaks, remove the cover plates and fill small gaps around the boxes with acrylic latex caulk. For large gaps, use foam sealant. Then place a foam gasket over the outlet or switch and replace the cover plate.

7. Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets and a warm comforter for your bed and keeping your apartment cooler when you sleep.

8. Plug Holes in Exterior Walls. Pipes, gas lines, and electrical cables that enter your house often have gaps around them that have been haphazardly filled with some kind of caulk. But that caulk eventually cracks, peels, and falls off. These gaps let in outside air, plus they are ideal entry points for mice and insects. Seal the gaps with expanding foam. For water pipes under the sink, unscrew and pull back the escutcheon ring, then caulk around the pipe.

9.Only heat the rooms you use.  If you have rooms that you never use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most.

10. Buy a Portable Heater (and Turn Down the Furnace).  Put a space heater in the place where your family gathers, like the living room, and turn down the furnace temperature. The rest of the house will be cooler but you’ll be warm, and you can save 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree below 70 F that you turn down the furnace. You’ll see those savings all winter long.

How to Dispose of Batteries at Home?

How to Dispose of Batteries at Home

Stop and think before you throw those old electronics, batteries and lightbulbs in the trash.

Most electronic waste and batteries contain toxic heavy metals that can seep into soil and water. Recycling these products not only keeps heavy metals out of the soil and water, but also helps reuse materials that require energy to mine and manufacture.

To safely dispose of batteries with lithium or batteries of greater than 9 volts, put clear packing, masking or electrical tape on the batteries’ terminals or sandwich the batteries between two layers of tape (e.g. flat button cells). These batteries should be placed in a container separate from other batteries that don’t require being taped.

Store your dead batteries away from children and pets. Many types of batteries contain hazardous materials, such as mercury, lead, or acid. While you are waiting to dispose of your batteries, keep them in a place where they will not be accessible to children or pets who might be harmed by playing with them or swallowing them.

If you do suspect that a child or pet has swallowed a battery, contact emergency services immediately.
Keep your batteries in a cool, dry place. If your batteries become corroded or overheated, they could leak or rupture. It is also important to avoid storing your batteries near any flammable materials, as this could present a fire hazard.

Sometimes seemingly dead batteries still carry a bit of a charge. If the positive and negative terminals of old batteries touch, it can create an electric current, which can lead to a fire. This risk can be minimized by putting a little tape over the terminals of your old batteries until you are ready to dispose of them.

Fire can also result from the terminals of batteries coming into contact with conductive materials

Store used batteries in a cardboard or plastic container. Storing your batteries in a non-conductive container will reduce the risk of fire, leakage, or rupture.

If you still have the original packaging for your batteries, this is a relatively safe way to store old batteries for disposal.

Consider individually bagging especially hazardous batteries, like 9 volt alkaline batteries, button batteries, lead acid batteries, or lithium batteries.

Do not store different types of batteries together. Mixing batteries with different chemistries may result in leakage and hazardous chemical reactions. If you have multiple types of batteries to dispose of, bag them separately.

5 Tips for Dealing with Ice and Snow

5 TIPS FOR DEALING WITH ICE AND SNOW

1.Put Tall Stakes Around Driveway, Walkway & Sidewalk

These helpful reminders show you and your snow plow company where to shovel, plow and melt. While it may be obvious for you to locate your driveway, the same can not be said of your snow removal service. They plow hundreds of streets and driveways and as you know, not all are the same. Make it easy to find your driveway or you could be faced with a ruined yard come spring.

2. From The Table

Table salt is a great temporary deicer, when used in moderation. To prevent a hard frost from forming on your car windshield overnight, try placing table salt in an old sock and rubbing it over the windows the night before, making sure to rub firmly over the entire surface. Use this trick sparingly as repeated use can cause damage to the surfaces you are deicing. You also can use salty liquids like pickle juice as a spray deicer. For large areas and long-term use, you may want to pick up a bag of salt specifically designed for snow and ice removal.

3. Buy A Good Shovel

We understand the desire to buy a cheap shovel. After all, we don’t really use it year-round, so why fork over all that money? Well, once those first few inches hit your driveway, you’ll be thankful you purchased the right shovel. We understand that shoveling is a hassle, tiring and just plain boring. As a result, many wait until there are at least a few inches of snow until we shovel. Do your best to fight the urge and shovel as often as you can.

4. Melting Point

Consider installing a snow melt mat—constructed with radiant heating cables—underneath the driveway or walkway. These cables use electricity to generate heat, which radiates upwards through the surface, keeping the entire area free of snow and ice. If you or your budget aren’t up for replacing the walkways, try heated mat that can sit above the surface to keep steps and entryways clear of slippery ice.

5. From The Shop To The Driveway

A trusty wet/dry vac is another tool that can be pressed into service as a snow removal aid. You can use the shop-vac to suck up the snow and dump it somewhere else. Alternatively, you can turn the vacuum onto “exhaust” mode and blow the snow away.

7 Health and Nutrition Tips

7 Health-and-NutritionHere are 7 health and nutrition tips that are actually based on good science.

  1. Do Exercises

Do stretching exercises when you wake up. It boosts circulation and digestion, and eases back pain.

  1. Don’t skip breakfast.

Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight.

  1. Brush up on hygiene.

Many people don’t know how to brush their teeth properly. Improper brushing can cause as much damage to the teeth and gums as not brushing at all.

  1. Don’t Drink Sugar Calories

Sugary drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body,  are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems.

  1. Eat Nuts

Despite being high in fat, nuts are incredibly nutritious and healthy.Studies show that nuts can help you lose weight, and may help fight type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They are loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and various other nutrients.

  1. Don’t Fear Coffee

Coffee has been unfairly demonized. The truth is that it’s actually very healthy,  is high in antioxidants, and studies show that coffee drinkers live longer, and have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and numerous other diseases.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

The importance of getting enough quality sleep can not be overstated. It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance

 

 

DIY Recycle Your Own Paper

DIY RECYCLE YOUR OWN PAPER

Paper is one the material that can be easily recycled, which includes everything from packaging to mail, makes up the largest percentage of the municipal solid waste stream at 33 percent. It’s one of the most recovered materials, as recycling opportunities are often readily available.

Paper recycling might seem like the sort of thing best left to paper mills, but it turns out you can recycle your own paper at home without too much trouble. You’ll be able to eliminate some household waste – like junk mail, used printer paper or old wrapping paper – and create something unique and handmade at the same time.

What You’ll Need:

  • Waste paper
  • Water
  • A blender or food processor
  • An old picture frame
  • Mesh or screen
  • Felt, cloth or sponge
  • A rectangular bin to hold water

Main Steps:

  1. Tear the paper into small pieces and put into a blender with warm water. Blend until the mixture becomes a fairly smooth pulp.  
  2. Assemble your “mold”; attach your screen to your frame using duck tape, staples or any other method that will keep the screen affixed to the frame’s edges.
  3. Pour the pulp into your bin or pan, then sink the mold into the water mixture. Pull the mold up, and pulp should cover the screen. At this point, you can add decorations. You can even add seeds to make plantable paper. Be sure to add a little more pulp to cover the decorations so they adhere to the paper.
  4. Use a cloth or sponge to press out excess water. Now you need to let the paper dry. You can let it dry on the screen, you can flip the mold over and let your paper dry on another surface, or you can press a cloth into the mold so the paper adheres to it and can dry on the cloth. Any of these options should work. Just be sure to let your paper dry for a day or so.

If you don’t recycle your used paper and instead throw it into the trash, it goes where all trash goes — to the landfill.

Recycled paper use saves resources and reduces the paper industry’s impact on the planet.

Using 100% recycled copy paper instead of 100% virgin fiber paper saves:

  • 100% of the trees,
  • 31% of the energy,
  • 53% of the water, and produces
  • 39% less solid waste.

In the United States we use enough paper in a single day to fill the 838 miles of the Library of Congress nearly FIVE times.

The Paper recycling activity can start at school, college, home, office, local community and even at drop off centers.

We all need to show our interest in recycling to make it successful.

Ways to Clean With a Lemon

Ways to clean with a lemon

The lemons they’re a firm staple in our refrigerator and a key ingredient in many favorite recipes, are also fantastic kitchen helpers and naturals disinfectant.

Lemons are nature’s cleaning wunderkind. They have powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties and are a natural deodorizer due to their high acidic content.

Ways to clean with a Lemon.

Vinyl

Dipping a cloth in straight lemon juice and rubbing it onto the stained area can remove stains on vinyl items

Lemon Dishwashing

Lemon juice or citric acid can also substitute dishwashing detergent. It acts as a fat solvent and your dishes get clean like with “normal” detergent. If you recognize that it doesnt takes effect to your dishes anymore, add more juice or change the water. Always wash with warm water instead of cold.

The microwave.

Just squeeze some lemon juice into water, drop the rinds into the water, and microwave. As the liquid boils, it condenses on the sides of the microwave, loosening gunk and dissolving food splatters. The lemon juice is a natural cleaning agent, and so all you have to do is use a clean towel to wipe everything clean.

Furniture Polishing

One very effective wood polish sounds like it would be a good salad dressing as well: Just mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth. The combination gives your wood furniture a nice smell and a sparkling shine.

Clean Copper-Bottom Pots and Pans

Clean copper-bottomed pots and pans with lemon juice. Copper fixtures can also benefit from a lemon juice cleaning. Cut a lemon in half. Dip it in some salt, and clean spots from your copper.

Add the mixture to vinegar,  can be a great cleaning ingredient, but many people dislike the vinegar smell. Adding lemon juice to vinegar when cleaning can help neutralize the vinegar smell.

Glass and Mirrors

Forget ammonia-based window cleaners! The windows in your home can be effectively cleaned with 4 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with a half gallon of water.

Countertops

Countertop stains can be removed by allowing lemon juice to sit on the stain for a few minutes. Scrub the area with baking soda and watch the stains disappear. Don’t leave the lemon juice sitting for too long. It can be powerful stuff.

Drains

Lemon rinds can be ground in the garbage disposal to freshen the drain. Hot water with a little lemon poured down a drain will also freshen the drain.

Bleaching

Lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent. Put lemon juice onto white linens and clothing and allow them to dry in the sun. Stains will be bleached away.

Degreasing

The acid in lemon juice cuts through grease and does a good job removing grease from the stove and counter tops.Substitute Fabric Conditioner

If you want your laundry to be soft you can use vinegar instead of fabric conditioner. Also citric acid can be used. Just fill to the box for the conditioner and wash your laundry a little bit more ecological.

You could just use the cheapest one. It doesnt really matter what kind of. If you dont like the smell, you could also use citric acid. Just take as much as you would take when you use fabric softener.

Lemons also smell great and aren’t likely to cause damage to materials around what you are cleaning such as fabric or wood.  When cleaning with lemons always rinse with warm soapy water and dry with a clean cloth afterwards.

Fall Cleaning Tips

Fall Cleaning Tips

Warm summer months means vacations away from home and more time spent outdoors. But while you were out enjoying yourself, dirt and grime didn’t take a vacation. They sat around the house, accumulating and multiplying. And, now, with the winter months ahead and the holiday seasons rushing in upon us, it’s an ideal time to get a thorough house cleaning under way!

Re-order your furniture and bookshelves
One of the key focuses during an autumn clean is to rearrange furniture to either maximise or minimise breezeways, while you may want air to pass through your house in warmer weather, it’s best to keep chilly drafts when the temperature drops outside.

Take Stock
Take inventory of your cleaning supplies. Make sure you have the products you need for the surfaces you plan on cleaning. Review the information on the product labels to make sure you are using them properly. As you clean, pay attention to where your products are stored. Be sure you store your items where children and pets can’t get to them.

Expand Your Reach
Go beyond the usual vacuuming, mopping and dusting. Look up and get rid of the cobwebs that have accumulated in the corners and around the light fixtures and ceiling fans.

Tackle the Refrigerator
Check its contents for expiration dates. Discard anything that has overstayed its welcome. Then remove and clean each shelf. Work one shelf at a time so that food won’t have to stand out at room temperature.

Perform a pantry audit.
Remove everything from the shelves, then vacuum up any dust and crumbs with your attachment brush. If you don’t want to remove the canned goods, just dust around them. Inspect each item before placing it back into the pantry. Don’t know what to keep and toss, print out Good Housekeeping’s food shelf life chart.

Launder Lavishly
You think your couch cushions are clean untill you plop on them and a haze of dust springs up. Vacuum all the surfaces of your upholstery, including both sides of the cushions, the back, sides, arms, and even the platform underneath the cushions. Launder all washable comforters, mattress covers, pillows, bed skirts, curtains, blankets, throws and slipcovers. Turn mattresses and vacuum them thoroughly.

Refurbish the Furniture and Care for the Carpet
Take a close look at your upholstery. Remove the cushions and vacuum thoroughly, using the crevice tool to get into those hard-to-reach places. Check the carpet for spots and stains. This may be the time for deep cleaning all these surfaces, you can have your plush flooring professionally cleaned, rent a carpet shampooer, or even invest in a carpet cleaner.

Dull Faucets? Cleaning Tips

Tips to Clean a Faucet

Over time, faucets will accumulate spots and stains that may not come off with ordinary soap and water. Cleaning with soap and water can cause water spots as well, which dull the finish

It is possible to remove these stains and make your faucets look like new again. You most likely have all of the materials you need in your home already to clean any type of finish that you have on your faucets.

But it can be a chore to get those faucets shiny and clean, especially around the edges.

There’s an easy way to get the job done, and you already have the supplies.

Things You Will Need

Dish soap

Rag or sponge

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

White vinegar

Paper towels

Baby oil

Ketchup

1. Wash the faucet with dish soap and water using a rag or sponge. Don’t use a scouring pad or any other abrasive item or cleaner, as this can scratch the finish. You can use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach places on the faucet.

An old toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning behind and around your faucets.

2. Dampen some paper towels with vinegar and wrap them around the faucet. Leave the towels for about 10 minutes. Vinegar both cleans and disinfects the faucet, and it is a mild acid so it will not damage you or your faucet. You can also make a paste from the vinegar by mixing equal parts vinegar, flour and salt and spreading it on the faucet. Leave the paste mixture for 15 minutes. This is particularly useful for brass or bronze finishes.

You can also use ketchup, which is mildly acidic as well. Ketchup is particularly useful for cleaning copper or stainless steel finishes and You can also use toothpaste on a soft cloth it to restore shine to dull-looking faucets.

3. Wipe down your faucet with plain water and dry it.

4. Coat your faucet in a thin layer of baby oil using a cloth. A few drops of oil are sufficient. This will help prevent water spots in the future and is particularly helpful for chrome or stainless steel finishes.

Who doesn’t like to see gleaming faucets in their newly cleaned bathroom? In many ways this tips, the perfect finishing touch.

Ecology Ideas for The Office

http://kellygreenclub.com/files/2017/09/Ecology-Ideas-for-The-Office

A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and good news for the bottom line. From daily smog to the rising threat of global warming, it’s pretty obvious that we all need to clean up our workplace. Copiers, computers, even old floppy disks, can make a huge impact on the environment.

Whether you’re the boss or the employee, whether your office is green already or still waiting to see the light. Here’s are a few ways to reduce your office’s effect.

 

ELECTRICITY

Turn off all computers, printers, photocopiers, and other equipment that doesn’t need to be left on at the end of the day and leave them off until you need to use them again. Check that all computers/monitors are set to their most energy efficient settings (e.g., monitor set to shut off after 15 minutes of no use).

Small changes in air conditioning, lighting, and fixtures can make a huge difference in your energy consumption

When leaving a room for more than a few minutes, switch off the lights. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. Take advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible.

 

FOR A PAPERLESS OFFICE.

Nearly every office, large or small, relies on large quantities of paper. Read on-screen and only print documents when absolutely necessary. Use only 100% recycled content paper products in the office Use both sides of paper Shred and reuse unwanted paper , Though the paperless office may still seem unrealistic, at least try to cut down on printed material when possible.

 

TRANSPORTATION

You may not consider commuting to be a part of your office’s environmental impact, but your transportation policies can make a large difference. Encourage telecommuting, biking, and other green transportation options.

 

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” means more than just throwing old notepaper in the blue bin (though you needn’t stop doing that). Really think about everything you use. Do you need disposable cups at the water cooler? Can you use the other side of the used sheets of paper you’ve thrown in the recycle bin? Australia has added a fourth R – Refuse. Simply put: Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. And, when you do make a purchase, bring your own bags.

 

EQUIPMENT

Manufacturing office equipment contributes greatly to reducing air quality and landfill waste. Consider these tips when you’re purchasing equipment for your business, be sure to purchase something that will last and not become obsolete quickly. That way, you’ll avoid having to buy new equipment and contributing to manufacturing waste.

 

COMPUTERS

Like other appliances, computers can be major energy hogs. Adjust screen savers, energy plans and quality to streamline your company’s computer efficiency. Unplug computers when not in use, consider buying laptops instead of desktops, as they generally use less energy and are more efficiently made.

 

BATHROOM & KITCHEN

In the bathroom you can use cloth towels or hand dryers. Reduce the amount of water used per flush by putting a brick in the tank. If you are replacing toilets, look for low-flush models, or ones with a half-flush option. Toilet flushing is the largest water consumer in office buildings. Make sure all taps have low-flow aerators installed to reduce water wastage.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Every little thing adds up when it comes to office waste. Use simple cleaning supplies, provide reusable dishes, silverware and glasses for luncheons, provide filtered water, organic coffee and tea and buy sugar and cream dispensers

 

Make your office literally green with plants! They absorb airborne pollutants (which are rampant with off-gassing office furniture), and emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air. Having some green plants in the office also reduces that “sterile” look, making it more comfortable for everybody.

Plastic Pollution

PLASTIC POLLUTION

We’re surrounded by plastic. Think about every piece you touch in a single day: grocery bags, food containers, coffee cup lids, drink bottles, straws for juice boxes — the list goes on and on. Plastic may be convenient, but its success carries a steep price.

But where does all this plastic go? We ship some of it overseas to be recycled. Quite a bit ends up in landfills. And more than you can imagine ends up on the loose as plastic pollution, eventually making its way into our waterways.

Plastic never goes away. And it’s increasingly finding its way into our oceans and onto our beaches. In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments — like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles — are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.

Preposterous Facts About Plastic Pollution:

  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production (bioplastics are not a good solution as they require food source crops).
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
  • Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • 46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
  • Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  • Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).
  • Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.

Plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. Endangered wildlife like Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific loggerhead sea turtles are among nearly 300 species that eat and get caught in plastic litter. And all this plastic pollution is not only a problem for the earth, it’s bad for our health.

Most ocean pollution starts out on land and is carried by wind and rain to the sea. Once in the water, there is a near-continuous accumulation of waste. Plastic is so durable that the EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.”

Plastic is an epidemic.

 

Greenhouse gases + Global Warming = Climate Change

Greenhouse gases + Global Warming = Climate Change

There’s a delicate balancing act occurring every day all across the Earth, involving the radiation the planet receives from space and the radiation that’s reflected back out to space.
While other planets in Earth’s solar system are either scorching hot or bitterly cold, Earth’s surface has relatively mild, stable temperatures. Earth enjoys these temperatures because of its atmosphere, which is the thin layer of gases that cloak and protect the planet.

However, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans have changed Earth’s atmosphere in dramatic ways over the past two centuries, resulting in global warming.

 

Greenhouse Gases
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the greenhouse gases. The exchange of incoming and outgoing radiation that warms the Earth is often referred to as the greenhouse effect because a greenhouse works in much the same way.

Incoming UV radiation easily passes through the glass walls of a greenhouse and is absorbed by the plants and hard surfaces inside. Weaker IR radiation, however, has difficulty passing through the glass walls and is trapped inside, thus warming the greenhouse. This effect lets tropical plants thrive inside a greenhouse, even during a cold winter.

 

Greenhouse Effect
Atmospheric scientists first used the term ‘greenhouse effect’ in the early 1800s. At that time, it was used to describe the naturally occurring functions of trace gases in the atmosphere and did not have any negative connotations. It was not until the mid-1950s that the term greenhouse effect was coupled with concern over climate change. And in recent decades, we often hear about the greenhouse effect in somewhat negative terms. The negative concerns are related to the possible impacts of an enhanced greenhouse effect. It is important to remember that without the greenhouse effect, life on earth as we know it would not be possible.

 

Greenhouse gases and global warming
Gas molecules that absorb thermal infrared radiation, and are in significant enough quantity, can force the climate system. These type of gas molecules are called greenhouse gases,. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases act like a blanket, absorbing IR radiation and preventing it from escaping into outer space.

The greenhouse effect, combined with increasing levels of greenhouse gases and the resulting global warming, is expected to have profound implications, according to the near-universal consensus of scientists.
If global warming continues unchecked, it will cause significant climate change, a rise in sea levels, increasing ocean acidification, extreme weather events and other severe natural and societal impacts.

Disposing of Cooking Oil: Safe Options.

DISPOSING OF COOKING OIL: Safe Options.

 

Whether you’re deep-frying a turkey, browning some ground beef or frying some bacon, you end up with a lot of used oil to contend with. Some of the best things are made with cooking oil. However, though it is an essential part of making some of the most delicious food, it can be a little tricky to dispose of.One thing you absolutely cannot do is pour it down the drain.

Follow these steps to properly dispose of your cooking oil.

  1. Let the pan cool. You should always let the oil cool down before removing it from whatever cooking device you were using.
  1. Select the right container for the oil. Plastic containers work better than glass jars in that, as with any plastic vs. glass argument, glass will break if dropped.
  1. Strain the oil while pouring it into the container. You do not have to do this if you are not planning on reusing or donating your cooking oil.
  1. Freeze your cooking oil. After you have put your cooking oil into a container, you can freeze it, easier to dispose of cooking oil after its solid.
  1. Reuse the cooking oil for another meal. Oil can be used for frying several times over, as long as you filter it between uses.
  1. Consider making an oil lamp.
  1. Use the oil for shaving. Avoid the chemicals in commercial shaving creams and lotions that may dry and irritate your skin by using cooking oil instead.
  1. Check if there is a local recycling center that will take the oil off your hands.
  1. Donate your cooking oil, a lot of cities are now asking their residents to donate their used cooking oil.
  1. Use it to make soap.

Balloons: make people happy, but they also kill wildlife.

BALLOONS MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY BUT THEY ALSO KILL WILDLIFE

Balloons
make people happy, but they also kill wildlife.

For years, balloon releases have been used to celebrate events or honor the memory of someone lost. Schools release them during football games, they’re sent floating into the air at running events, and released by crowds of people at weddings, funerals, and memorials.

And while those who organize and participate in balloon releases have the best of intentions, what they fail to consider is what happens when those balloons eventually land.

Beach litter surveys have shown the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach have tripled in the past 10 years.

While some balloons burst, others just gradually deflate. But they all fall back down to Earth where they can wreak havoc on wildlife on land, sea, and air.

Balloons can take years to break down, even the so-called “biodegradable” latex ones. This gives plenty of time for it to travel and encounter many animals that may mistake it for a tasty snack, or accidentally get entangled in it.These balloons just turn into a gummy chunk of gut clogging material.

Sea turtles are particularly at risk because they naturally prey on jellies, which balloons can easily be mistaken for, even with human eyes.

Balloons are great at birthdays, weddings, graduations and more, but once they get loose, balloons can pose a threat to many animals.

Dolphins, whales, turtles, and many other marine species, as well as terrestrial animals such as cows, dogs, sheep, tortoises, birds and other animals have all been hurt or killed by balloons. The animal is usually killed from the balloon blocking its digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients. It slowly starves to death.

In addition, many animals can become entangledentangled in the balloon and its ribbon making the animal unable to move or eat.

Balloons kill wildlife

This happens because birds and mammals love the texture and look of these products. Biologists think of balloons as having the same look and feel (as they eat them) as jellyfish, slugs, clams, flowers, mushrooms or other food items found in nature.

What You Can 

  • NOT release their balloons into the air.
  • Secure balloons with a weight.
  • Deflate balloon after the event or use.

This addresses the problem. We need to prevent additional balloons from entering the environment. We do not need to pass any additional laws banning the product or use of balloons. The total balloon industry represents more than 10,000 jobs nationwide.

There is no reason to put any of these people out of work and deprive others of the joy that balloons do bring to children and adults alike.

If you know of someone planning a balloon release, please urge them to consider so many other symbolic acts that don’t involve the use of balloons.

 

 

The Ozone Layer Depletion

THE OZONE LAYER DEPLETION

 

The Ozone layer is a deep blanket in the stratosphere made up of comparatively high concentration of the ozone. As a result of its chemical composition, ozone is regarded as a special type of oxygen as it contains three oxygen molecules (O3) as opposed to the usual two oxygen molecules (O2).

 

Causes of Ozone Layer Depletion

There have been several concerns about ozone depletion. The problems and causes associated with ozone depletion arise from human activities. Unlike pollution which has several causes, there is one specific chemical compound that is responsible for the breakdown of the ozone layer.

These chemical compounds are present in many industrial manufactured products and aerosols. Nonetheless, since the discovery of ozone depletion, the Montreal Protocol was established to regulate the manufacture and use of these chemical compounds.

 

Effects of Ozone Layer Depletion

Effect on health of humans

With depletion in ozone’s layer, we humans are more prone to UV rays that reaches the Earth’s surface. If the ozone layer is depleted, it means humans will be overly exposed to strong UV light. Overexposure to strong UV light causes skin cancer, cataracts, sunburns, weakening of immune system and quick aging.

Effect on plants

Many crops species are vulnerable to strong UV light and overexposure may well lead to minimal growth, photosynthesis and flowering. Some of the crop species vulnerable to UV light include barley, wheat, corn, oats, rice, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower just to name a few. Forests equally bear the brunt of ozone depletion. Plants become another casualty by radiation effects of UV rays. The physiological and developmental processes of plants are also severely affected apart from the growth

Effect on marine ecosystems.

UV rays also have adverse effect on the marine ecosystems. It badly affects the planktons that form the foundation of aquatic food webs.

Effect on biogeochemical cycles.

Increases in UV radiation alters both sources and sinks of greenhouse gasses in the biosphere e.g.: e.g., carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbonyl sulfide, ozone, and possibly other gases

 

Solutions to Ozone Layer Depletion

Depletion to ozone layer depletion does not affect a region or a country. In fact whole world is vulnerable to its after affects. The increase in the levels of UV rays lead to high rate of skin cancer and eye related problems. Lets have a look at some of the solutions to ozone layer depletion.

  1. Avoid products that results in ozone depletion.
  2. Advocate for ozone protection.
  3. Desist from using pesticides.
  4. Discourage driving of private vehicles.
  5. Utilize environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  6. Prohibit the use of harmful nitrous oxide.

Acid Rain

Acid TWITTER

 

Acid rain is made up of water droplets that are unusually acidic because of atmospheric pollution, most notably the excessive amounts of sulfur and nitrogen released by cars and industrial processes. It is easily defined as rain, fog, sleet or snow that has been made acidic by pollutants in the air as a result of fossil fuel and industrial combustions that mostly emits Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)Acidity is determined on the basis of the pH level of the water droplets.

Acid rain is also called acid deposition because this term includes other forms of acidic precipitation such as snow.

Today, acid deposition is present in the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and much of Europe including portions of Sweden, Norway, and Germany.

In addition, parts of South Asia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Southern India are all in danger of being impacted by acid deposition in the future.

 

Causes and Effects of Acid Rain

Human activities leading to chemical gas emissions such as sulfur and nitrogen are the primary contributors to acid rain. The activities include air pollution sources emitting sulfur and nitrogen gases like factories, power generations facilities, and automobiles. In particular, use of coal for electrical power generation is the biggest contributor to gaseous emissions leading to acid rain.

The existing winds blow these acidic compounds over large areas across borders and they fall back to the ground in the form of acid rain or other forms of precipitation. Upon reaching the earth, it flows across the surface, absorbs into the soil and enters into lakes and rivers and finally gets mixed up with sea water.

As this acidic liquid flows into larger bodies of water. It is estimated that around 50,000 lakes in the United States and Canada have a pH below normal (about 5.3 for water). Several hundred of these have a pH too low to support any aquatic life.

Aside from aquatic bodies, acid deposition can significantly impact forests.

The major natural causal agent for acid rain is volcanic emissions. Volcanoes emit acid producing gases to create higher than normal amounts of acid rain or any other form of precipitation such as fog and snow to an extent of affecting vegetation cover and health of residents within the surrounding.

Damage to forests by acid rain is seen all over the world, but the most advanced cases are in Eastern Europe. It’s estimated that in Germany and Poland, half of the forests are damaged, while 30% in Switzerland have been affected.

Finally, acid deposition also has an impact on architecture and art because of its ability to corrode certain materials. As acid lands on buildings (especially those constructed with limestone) it reacts with minerals in the stones sometimes causing them to disintegrate and wash away. Acid deposition can also cause concrete to deteriorate, and it can corrode modern buildings, cars, railroad tracks, airplanes, steel bridges, and pipes above and below ground.

 

Climate Change and Society

Climate Change and Society

Climate change is already affecting the planet and society and will continue to do so for generations to come. The physical and chemical changes of human activities are being felt in natural ecosystems on land and at sea, on farms and ranches, and in cities and suburbs, but the changes are not happening uniformly.

Climate change poses a fundamental threat to the places, species and people’s livelihoods to adequately address this crisis we must urgently reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming. Sea levels are rising and oceans are becoming warmer.

Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate.

The increase in global temperature is significantly altering our planet’s climate, resulting in more extreme and unpredictable weather. Scientists in the United States and the world have reached an overwhelming consensus that climate change is real and caused primarily by human activity.

Climate change poses a fundamental threat to the places, species and people’s livelihoods.

Climate plays an important role in the global distribution of freshwater resources. Changing precipitation patterns and temperature conditions will alter the distribution and availability of freshwater resources, reducing reliable access to water for many people and their crops. Winter snowpack and mountain glaciers that provide water for human use are declining as a result of global warming.

Researchers work to understand how these changes to the weather affect coastal populations, not to mention shipping, fishing, and other industries in those waters.

Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change. Animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses will migrate to new areas with favorable climate conditions. Infectious diseases and certain species will be able to invade areas that they did not previously inhabit.

Climate change is already affecting the planet and society and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Many researchers work to develop detailed predictions about the effects of climate change in local areas, and to make those predictions available to the general public. Predicting the long-term consequences is complicated in part because choices we make as individuals and as a society will change those outcomes. By reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, the effects will be less severe than if we choose to increase the amounts of those gases. This is one reason it’s so important to learn all we can about climate change: to make informed choices about the climate, and prepare for the results of those choices.

Plastic Bags : The Ugly Addiction

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Overall recycling rates are increasing, but so is our population. More goods are being produced and more natural resources are being used, and many are wasted when we throw things away.

We’ve compiled some of the most astonishing recycling facts; some are alarming, and all of them should make us realise that we need to be more aware of what we are throwing away, if we are going to preserve the planet and its natural resources for future generations.
Each year the United States uses 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring approximately 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil.

Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.The bag will pay for itself if your grocery store offers a discount per bag for bringing your own bags.

Introduced just over 25 years ago, the ugly truth about our plastic bag addiction is that society’s consumption rate is now estimated at well over 500,000,000,000 (that’s 500 billion) plastic bags annually, or almost 1 million per minute. In a landfill, these single-use bags will take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime

Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.

The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store

Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. The bag will pay for itself if your grocery store offers a discount per bag for bringing your own bags.

Annual cost to U.S. retailers alone is estimated at $4 billion. When retailers give away free bags, their costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.