If you’re a parent, you might find it difficult to tend to your garden while also keeping a close eye on your kids. Fortunately, there are a number of simple tasks that can keep even the youngest gardeners occupied.
Fill up a watering can — make sure it’s not too heavy — and let your little ones go about hydrating your planter boxes and potted plants. When it comes time to water the vegetable garden or flower beds, offer to let your kids hold the hose.
Teach your children to recognize the most common unwanted plants that sprout up in your garden. Ask them to go on a hunt for weeds and, with your supervision, let them try pulling up ones with shallow roots.
You can add mulch to your garden to help it retain moisture and limit the spread of weeds. Encourage your kids to get their hands dirty by carefully transferring mulch from the bag to the garden and spreading it evenly over the soil.
From picking up leaves to putting twigs in the compost bin, there are plenty of easy ways your kids can help clean the yard. Remind them to keep an eye out for fallen petals, pinecones, and acorns they can use for crafts.
In addition to giving you a hand, your little ones will have plenty of opportunities to learn about how plants grow. It’s a win-win situation.
Why you need a combi-boiler in your home
If you need to replace your boiler, you should consider upgrading to a modern combi-boiler system. A combination boiler heats your home and gives you hot water on demand. Here are some of the benefits.
• Increased efficiency. More efficient than a conventional water heater that heats a full tank of water whether you need it or not, a combi-boiler can reduce your energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
• Save valuable space. You don’t need a lot of room for a combi-boiler because they’re compact. For example, you can install a combi-boiler in an apartment, condo, or space under the stairs.
• Save money. Modern combi-boilers are less complex than conventional boilers and have fewer pipes to install. Moreover, combi-boilers are less expensive to install and repair than traditional ones.
• Enjoy unlimited hot water. You’ll never run out of hot water because a combi-boiler doesn’t have a water tank. Therefore, you can enjoy leisurely showers and hot baths without worrying about having enough water in the tank.
• There’s less maintenance. A combi-boiler doesn’t have a water tank to flush and clean. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about scheduling maintenance every six months.
If you’re moving into a new house or making extensive renovations, it’s a perfect time to upgrade your home’s heating system. Talk to an expert at your local home renovation center.
How to clean glass shower doors
Glass shower doors are sleek and stylish. However, keeping them clean can be a challenge. Soap scum and mineral deposits can build up, making your shower doors look dull. Follow these steps to keep your glass shower doors clean and shiny.
Spray with a cleaner
There are plenty of chemical products you can use to remove mildew or hard water stains. Alternatively, you can make an effective, eco-friendly cleaning solution at home. Mix three parts of water and one part of distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Add lemon juice for sanitizing power.
Spray the glass shower doors with the mixture and let it sit for five minutes. Use a soft brush or sponge to wipe the surface. Rinse and repeat if necessary. For tough stains, add dish detergent to the spray mixture. Never use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.
To tackle stubborn hard water or mildew stains, try these everyday products you may already have in your home:
• Dryer sheets. Moisten a dryer sheet and wipe away tough stains.
• Multi-purpose cleaning pads. Although typically used to remove marks on walls, they’re also effective at removing hard water stains.
• Lubricants. Spray lubricants made for loosening rusty parts and stopping squeaks are great for removing marks left by hard water.
Finally, stick to a regular cleaning schedule to prevent stains from building up. For instance, keep a squeegee in your shower and use it to wipe down your doors after every use.
Clever ways to add storage to your home
If you lack storage in your home, there are many unique ways to utilize your space more efficiently. Here are a few ideas to consider.
• Purchase bags and bins specifically designed to fit underneath your bed. If your bed isn’t high enough, you can get bed risers to give you more room.
• Install a cabinet, shelf, or rack if you have an empty wall or door space. You may be surprised at how much you can fit inside.
• Invest in under-cabinet racks that slide conveniently out of the way when not in use. This is a great way to use the space underneath your cabinets and shelves.
• If you’re looking for a new entryway bench or coffee table, consider buying one with hidden storage space inside for odds and ends.
• Did you know your ceiling is a great place to store things? For example, you can install overhead shelves in your kitchen to store various everyday goods.
Visit your local hardware store to find unique space-saving storage ideas.
6 benefits of installing a water softener in your home
Hard water can damage your home’s plumbing and appliances and make your hair and skin feel dry. Fortunately, a water softener can remove minerals like calcium and magnesium to improve your water quality. Here are six benefits of installing a water softener in your home.
1. Reduced plumbing repairs. The hard water minerals stick to the pipes inside and can clog your plumbing and damage valves. Water softeners remove the minerals before they can do damage.
2. Longer-lasting appliances. Minerals can build up in your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater, causing them to break down. Appliances that operate with soft water last longer.
3. Lower energy bills. Scaly mineral build-up in your water heater forces it to work harder and burn more fuel. Installing a water softener can improve your water heater’s efficiency.
4. Cleaner clothes. Washing clothes with mineral-rich water can cause your clothing to fade and give off a yellowish hue. Soft water leaves your clothes cleaner and makes them last longer.
5. Easier household cleaning. Caked-on mineral deposits in your kitchen sink or bathroom are difficult to clean. Using a water softener prevents these stubborn white stains from forming.
6. Softer hair and skin. Showering with soft water leaves your hair feeling soft and your skin hydrated. You also don’t need to use as much shampoo or conditioner.
Visit your local home improvement store or plumbing supply retailer to learn more about installing a water softener in your home.
Gourds make fun holiday projects
Gourd vines are nature’s container store.
Their beautiful fruits have been used for countless centuries as dippers, birdhouses, storage boxes, hats, vases, eating bowls, musical instruments, candle holders, salt shakers and anything else you can imagine.
They also make an excellent base for holiday decorations.
With a trip to a farmer’s market (or a search online), you can find many dried gourds in many shapes.
For a special decorating project for Halloween or Christmas, start looking now to find dried bottle gourds with a round bottom and a tall thin top, gourds shaped like big peanuts or pumpkins, or even some the size and shape of eggs. When dry, these gourds don’t have the colorful skins of smaller gourds, making a fantastic canvas for decorations.
Smaller gourds could be Christmas tree decorations, while larger gourds could be display decorations like jack-o-lanterns.
Dried gourds have usually been drying for at least a year, sometimes two, and the exterior may be dirty or even molder. Spend a minute washing them with a copper scrubber. Once dry, you may also want to use a little sandpaper to smooth out the hard exterior.
Next, imagine what your gourd could become. Pumpkin-shaped gourds could become a long-lasting jack-o-lantern. A bottle gourd could become a Santa with a tall hat, a snowman, or a penguin.
For example, get inspiration for your gourd from Christmas cards or holiday napkins.
Cover your gourd in a base coat using acrylic paints and let dry. You can lightly sketch a design over the base coat with a pencil, then go in with brushes to paint in the details.
Once painted, cover with a clear topcoat to preserve the gourd — this is especially important if you want to display it outside.
How ceiling fans can save you money every season
Ceiling fans are known for keeping your home cool on hot summer days. However, did you know that fans can help keep your house comfortable all year? They can also help you reduce your energy bills. Here’s how.
A switch on your ceiling fan’s central unit allows you to operate it in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Set your ceiling fan to turn counterclockwise during warm months to push air downwards and create a cool breeze.
A standard air conditioning (AC) unit uses 3,500 watts of power. On the other hand, a ceiling fan uses just 50. If you use ceiling fans, there are many summer days when you don’t need the AC. Ceiling fans also complement your air conditioning. Fans keep air flowing throughout the room and help maintain a constant temperature, so your air conditioner won’t operate as much.
During winter, change your fan’s settings to spin clockwise at a low speed. The fan will redistribute rising warm air from your furnace throughout the room. You can turn your thermostat down and still be comfortable. Moreover, your furnace won’t work as hard, saving you money.
Lastly, ensure your fan blades are tilted at 12 degrees to provide sufficient airflow. However, if they’re angled at more than 16 degrees, they’ll cause too much wind causing loose objects to blow around the room.