How to winterize your home
With winter fast approaching, you need to make sure your home is ready for the season ahead. Here are five key tasks to check off your to-do list this fall.
1. Inspect your heating system. Whether you use a wood stove, electric baseboards, or a furnace to heat your home, it’s important to have your equipment professionally inspected, cleaned, and maintained before the cold weather hits.
2. Ensure your doors and windows are airtight. Remove the screens from your windows and check for any drafts. If you feel air seeping in, caulk along the edge of the window or use plastic wrap to provide a better seal. You should also make sure the weatherstrip on your exterior doors is in good condition and replace it if necessary.
3. Clean and store your air conditioner. If you own a portable air conditioner, now is the time to remove it from the window, clean the filter and store it in a protected area until the weather warms up.
4. Dust your air vents. Remove the air vent covers and grilles throughout your home, and vacuum inside and around the openings to remove as much dust and debris as possible.
5. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Whether you heat your home with wood or not, it’s important to regularly replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s also a good idea to check if your portable fire extinguisher has expired and needs to be replaced.
Doing these things will ensure you can breathe easier while sheltering from the cold.
If applicable, you should also inspect, test, and maintain your humidifier, air exchanger, and sump pump before the start of winter.
“My child really doesn’t want to go to day camp.”
Is your child dreading day camp? Have they told you they hate the idea of going this summer? This apprehension may be caused by fear or a need to be more prepared. Here are some strategies to help your child enjoy day camp.
• Enroll your child in group classes or activities during the school year to get them used to going on outings without you. Encouraging your child to take short trips to their grandparents’ or friends’ houses are also good ways to get them to break away from the family routine.
• Let your child choose a camp based on their interests and the activities they want to try. To capture their attention, many camps offer specific themes, like art, music, or sports.
• Ask the parents of your child’s classmates if you could register them for the same camp. This way, your child will be sure to see at least one familiar face.
It’s normal for your child not to enjoy every day at camp. Invite them to (politely) tell the counselors about their boredom. They often have more than one way to get your child engaged.
Must-have spring accessories
Elevate your everyday wardrobe and elegant outfits this spring with versatile fashion accessories. Here’s a look at the top trends for 2023.
• Chunky belt. Large, ornate belts are in the spotlight this year. You can easily pair them with pants, skirts, dresses, and jackets.
• Chic hats. Create a distinguished look with classic and elegant hats like a fedora, capeline, Panama, or boater.
• Pearl necklace. Short necklaces made of natural or artificial pearls are all the rage this season. Depending on your outfit, you can opt for classic white or pastel-colored ones.
• Silk scarf. A patterned silk scarf gives off a refined yet bohemian look when worn around the neck instead of a tie.
• Elegant gloves. Gloves aren’t just for keeping your hands warm. Don a pair of leather, satin, or velvet gloves to add character to your spring looks.
• Graphic glasses. Protect your eyes from the sun’s powerful UV rays with futuristic, trendy sunglasses.
• Small crossbody bag. This small but mighty accessory is perfect when you only need to carry the essentials.
• Oversized tote. Ideal for shopping or traveling, an oversized tote bag is a fashion must-have.
• Flat sandals. Flip flops and other open-toe, heel-less shoes allow your feet to breathe while showing off your pedicure.
Visit your local stores to discover trendy fashion accessories to vary your spring looks.
4 tips for tidying your home
Have you carefully sorted your belongings down to the essentials, but your home is still a mess? Don’t worry! Here are a few tips to help you tidy up.
1. Take advantage of space. Go around your home and look for unused spaces underneath staircases and beds, over cupboards, and behind doors. Make the most of this space with hooks, shelves, and storage bins.
2. Store seasonal items. For instance, put your camping gear and Christmas decorations in marked bins or bags and store them in your basement or shed. Make sure these items are easily accessible when you need them.
3. Keep frequently used items at hand. It doesn’t make sense to stow away items you use several times a day or week. Instead, place them within easy reach or on attractive displays. Keep rarely used products out of sight un¬less they’re particularly decorative.
4. Invest in multifunctional furniture. Convertible furniture, multi-purpose shelving, and storage benches or ottomans are perfect for stowing away things in style. Visit your local stores to explore your options.
Consult a specialist in your area for personalized advice on organizing your home.
Looking for great deals on great stuff? Try estate sales
If you’re an antique lover, a bargain hunter looking to upgrade your home, or just interested in unique finds, an estate sale might be a great way to spend a Saturday.
For the uninitiated, an estate sale is the sale or auction of the contents of a house — usually to liquidate the belongings of a recently deceased person. Just about everything is for sale — furnishings, home decor, appliances, artwork, and more.
- To find nearby estate sales, visit online estate sales like estatesales.net, check websites for estate sale companies to see if they advertise any upcoming events, and check the local newspaper. Word of mouth might also help you find great estate sales, too.
- Before you go, think about what your house can reasonably fit — if you’re in the market for a new-to-you washing machine, you’ll be pretty annoyed if you bring an estate sale bargain home to find out that it doesn’t fit.
- Estate sales are competitive, so arrive early to get in line and make sure you have the first pick of the best items. It also might pay to be around at the end of the day, when liquidators often bundle items together at deep discounts for quick sales.
- If you’re in the market for antiques, make sure you can tell a real item from a fake one — you’ll be disappointed if you get home and realize that you overpaid for a fake.
- Test all electronics before you buy them. There are no refunds in estate sales, so that broken-down stand mixer will be yours forever.
- Make sure you bring multiple payment methods. Family-run sales may be cash-only, while professional estate sale companies can usually take cards.
- Bring a car that’s big enough to take your new treasures home — estate sales don’t offer delivery.
- Be respectful of the home — someone’s beloved relative or spouse may have passed away recently, so don’t trespass on off-limits areas, use the home’s bathrooms, or bring small children who require a lot of supervision.
Replace worn bicycle parts each spring
Early spring is a good time to replace bike parts that may be worn out so you can start the new season with critical components in top-notch shape. Here are six things you should do now.
Your tires: The knobs on mountain bike tires lose their edges, which reduces traction. Road bike tires, especially rear tires, lose their crown, making them feel clunky when transitioning in and out of corners. All tires age. Rubber gets harder.
The chain: Measure the chain stretch to determine whether your chain needs to be replaced, or alternatively, you can make the replacement part of your annual routine. An old chain is more prone to breakage, shifts poorly, and accelerates wear on the bike’s chain rings.
Check the cables: Cables are the wire cores, and housings are the outer covers through which the cables run. Your first indication of failing cables may be a “snap” followed by a loss of tracking or shifting.
Brake pads: Rim brake pads harden over time, diminishing braking efficiency. They also pick up bits of grit that grind against the rims. Disc brake pads pick up junk, which can gouge rotors.
Replacement pads come in many styles, including those for severe conditions and for specific types of rims, such as ceramic-coated and carbon fiber.
Cleats: Worn cleats are difficult to clip in and out and may release unexpectedly. New ones should be installed early in the season when your daily mileage is low.
4 foolproof vegetables for first-time gardeners
Gardening can seem intimidating for first-timers. Here are a handful of vegetables you can easily grow without much experience.
1. Carrots are hardy and grow well in cool conditions. They can be harvested in late July for baby carrots or after the first frost for large, sweet-tasting ones. Orange varieties are the most reliable growers.
2. Lettuce tolerates shade better than other vegetables and grows fast. You can enjoy a weekly harvest all summer long when sown in succession. Plenty of varieties exist, including romaine, iceberg, butterhead, and Batavia.
3. Radishes grow fast and tolerate cool weather. These low-maintenance plants can be grown in small gardens, making great gap fillers. As a bonus, their strong odor tends to deter pests.
4. Bush beans germinate quickly and aren’t susceptible to many diseases. Moreover, a small patch of bush beans can yield an impressive amount of produce — up to one pound per plant! Bush beans also return nitrogen to the soil to keep your garden healthy.
Pick up the seeds you need at your local nursery or garden center.
Wind: 3mph S
UV index: 5