kitchen

Durastone tile by Congoleum is a luxury vinyl tile product. Luxury vinyl tiles are a superb alternative to natural tiles such as ceramic, slate, stone and marble. There are multiple reasons that luxury vinyl tiles are a great option to consider for kitchens, bathrooms and any other part of the house. Durastone tiles are extremely durable, easy to clean, provide warmth under foot, are extremely stain resistant, and can be replaced relatively easier than other natural tiles. Congoluem’s Durastone tile series should be a flooring option to consider for your next flooring project.

Durastone vinyl tile’s major advantage or natural tile products like ceramic is its’ durability. The tiles are totally different that traditional, sheet vinyl construction. Durastone has a much thicker, denser wear layer, a stronger, commercial rated backing system and a composite vinyl core. These design features make it extremely resistant to cracks, dents and scratches. If you were to drop a heavy pan or object on ceramic tile, it stands a good chance of chipping, breaking or cracking. Durastone holds up great compared to natural tiles when it comes to drops, scratches etc. If you have pets, children or heavy traffic in an area of the home, Durastone luxury tiles will out perform virtually any other flooring choice.

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, Durastone wins out again. Simple dust mopping with an occasional damp mop is all that is needed. There is never a need to clean or reseal tiles and grout lines. Cleaning and sealing grout lines once a year is a task many of us have learned to despise. Durastone tiles are available with or without integral grouting. The grouting in the Durastone tile is vinyl so it stays clean just as the rest of the tile.

I have heard people complain that they love the look of ceramic or stone floors, but they hate the cold feeling natural floors can give. Durastone tiles and other types of luxury vinyl flooring tend to be warmer under foot than natural floors. This may not seem to be an important feature but to some homeowners it ranks highly. The warmer feeling Durastone gives may also eliminate the need for several rugs throughout the house or room.

Stain resistance is very important in kitchens, bathrooms and even other areas of the home. Ceramic and stone hold up adequately when something is spilled, but if the sealant is older, stains can occur. Durastone vinyl tile has a finish layer that is impervious to almost all stains with the exception of oil and gas based liquids. Hopefully, you will not have too many gas spills in the kitchen! The stain resistance of Durastone does amazing with pet accidents. Not only will Durastone resist stains from pet urine, but it will not absorb the smell either. If you have pets, a luxury vinyl tile or plank is something you need to strongly consider. Durastone carries a lifetime warranty against stains.

If a Durastone tile were to ever become damaged, …

Many people want to get a SodaStream but have no idea which model is best for them. It can be difficult to choose, especially when the SodaStream company has no information highlighting the differences between the models. Here is a brief overview explaining which features are unique to the models.

There are currently eight SodaStream models available. They are The Revolution, The Source, The Fizz, The Crystal, The Pure, The Fountain Jet, The Dynamo and The Genesis. First, let’s address the similarities of all eight types. All of the eight models can make soda or sparkling water in the convenience of your home. All come with “stay fizzy” bottle closures that keep the carbonation in longer. All are compatible with the standard 14.5 ounce carbonation cylinder which is capable of carbonating up to sixty liters of soda or sparkling water.

There are four models which are capable of using either the 14.5 ounce carbonation cylinder or the larger 33 ounce cylinder, which is capable of carbonating up to 130 liters of soda or sparkling water. Those four models are The Revolution, The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet and The Fizz.

All eight models use the CO2 tank as a power source to carbonate. The Crystal, The Pure, The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet and The Genesis require no additional power source to operate. The Fizz and The Source do require a battery to operate the display components. That battery is included. The Revolution is the only model which requires electricity to work. Keep this in mind, as it will need to be near an outlet when used.

The Crystal comes with a dishwasher safe glass carafe. The other seven models come with BPA-free plastic bottles that are not dishwasher safe. You can buy dishwasher safe bottles separately that are compatible with those seven models, but you can not use the glass carafe with any model other than the Crystal.

The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet, The Pure, The Fizz and The Genesis all require the user to twist the bottle into place. The Crystal, The Revolution and The Source all lock the bottle into place without twisting, making them a little easier to use.

There is only one fully automated SodaStream available at this time. That is The Revolution. You simply press a button to tell it how carbonated you would like your drink and it does the rest for you. It also measures the CO2 levels to let you know how much is left in your carbonation cylinder. The Fizz is not automated but it does monitor and display the amount of carbonation in your drink as well as the level of CO2 in your cylinder. The Source has three LED lights to let you know how much carbonation is in your drink, but does not monitor the CO2 left in your cylinder.

I hope I have shed some light on what makes each SodaStream model unique. Click HERE for more information on SodaStreams and to see how the different models look. …

Stripping cloth diapers sucks. My partner and I had to learn how to strip cloth diapers the very hard way. I have a very vivid and very smelly memory of my first strip. It was about ten weeks into my cloth diapering experience, and an internet forum advised me to strip our diapers after my partner and I noticed that walking into the boys’ room in the morning was almost like stepping into an alternative reality and ending up in stable with about one hundred horses. Puuuuh! My eyes would practically water from the strong smell of ammonia. I really felt for my poor dears, having to actually sleep in it.

So we had to quickly learn how to strip cloth diapers or throw them away. The throwing away was not an option really, but we made a major mess after mixing dishwashing liquid and bleach (damn you internet!) in the same wash, forcing us to run away from our own home for a weekend, plus we ended up three dozen diapers short. But memories made, lesson learnt and that mistake was never repeated.

Why Strip?

Stripping diapers is essential to remove the buildup of ammonia, bacteria, detergents, minerals from hard water, and oils in diapers. This is because there are parts of the diaper (like inserts and pockets) where sufficient water does not reach during a regular wash. Hot water works to remove this accumulated dirt and bacteria during stripping and will eliminate that funky smell, increase absorbency as well as reduce the risk of rashes and yeast infections for your baby.

Before Stripping

The first rule of stripping diapers is: never to strip dirty diapers because that will leave your diapers looking like junior did an enthusiastic paint job in yellowish-brownish colors. You don’t want that to happen because if it does, you can forget all about your pristine white inserts and liners that were the pride and joy of your diaper drawer.

Clean your diapers before stripping

  1. Remove any solid waste by shaking it off into the toilet;
  2. put your diapers in the washer and run a cold rinse to remove any remaining waste particles;
  3. add a little (quarter to half cup should do) of your regular diaper detergent;
  4. run through one wash cycle with hot water. Run through a warm water rinse followed by a cold water rinse and ‘voila’ your diapers are ready to strip.

Tip: After the wash, you can soak your diapers overnight in a wash pail (or good ol’ bathtub) with a few drops of peppermint oil for an extra touch of freshness after stripping.

Stripping Cloth Diapers in a Washing Machine

What You Need

  1. Washing machine (of course!)
  2. An additive (like dishwashing liquid)
  3. Extra hot water that you can heat on your stove in a stock pot
  4. Flashlight (for front loading machines)

Method

Time: three to four hours

  1. Put your pre-washed diapers in the washing machine with a teaspoon of dishwashing Liquid. Do not add any detergent. You should do

How to put a meal on the table quick.

It is very important in our busy life to be able to serve up an appetizing meal in a quick fashion. If you get in the habit of doing this one easy thing, you will become an expert at getting a  meal on the table in only minutes. Here’s one habit you can start: as soon as you walk in the door, put a pot of water on to boil. Small pot for small family; larger pot for a large family. Practice will make perfect in judging how much water to use. Then, as you are getting ready to come in the kitchen, the water is well on its way to boiling. What can you do with boiling water? You can cook potatoes, rice, macaroni, spaghetti, hard-boiled eggs, use it for hot chocolate or herb tea, throw in bouillon cubes, some veggies and leftover meat for a quick soup. The possibilities are numerous. This one habit is your first step to having quick, easy, cheap meals.

Make it easy to get dinner done.

Dinner is something that has to happen every day, for the rest of your life. Whether you cook for yourself or a family, how can we make this job easier? Plan ahead. You can plan ahead by making a list of what dinner will be for the next week and making sure you have all the ingredients. You can plan ahead by cooking several meals in one day when you have time and then freezing them to eat later. You can also plan ahead by cooking some extra food every time you cook and then using that extra food for another meal later. Talk about easy! Some of the work is done already, with very little effort. It takes only a little more effort to make 2 meatloaves instead of 1 or make 2 batches of cookies instead of 1. Then these “planned-overs” can be put in the fridge or freezer to use later (or sooner; its up to you). This is your second step to having quick, easy, cheap meals.

You can save a lot on your food bill.

You can eat healthy, fun, nutritious food and save money at the same time. One great way to save money on your food bill is to try cooking with beans, peas and lentils. If you’ve never tried them, they are very delicious, filling, and a powerhouse of nutrition. Maybe you have had them before and didn’t care for them. Try them cooked a different way. Scout around for a variety of recipes that use these healthy legumes as they are an excellent way to stretch your food dollar. You could make bean burgers, lentil loaf, or split pea soup as the main course and accompany it with some nice vegetables. When first trying out these foods, start out a little at a time. This is your third step to being able to prepare quick, easy, cheap meals.…

Fire protection companies have begun a training program for mechanical and fire protection companies from throughout the country that want to expand their services to include fire suppression and restaurant kitchen hood systems installation.

The fire protection companies have expanded their fire alarms systems and fire suppression systems services nationwide as a result of increased requests.

The companies already provided commercial hood installation and hood cleaning services nationwide.

They will continue to install other systems, including fire suppression systems in all of the surrounding areas. But in order to effectively address the nationwide demand, it’s better for them to bring on contractors who they can train to provide the same quality service in their areas.

Companies interested in the training must meet some specific criteria.

They are looking for professional, ethical contractors who are willing to continuously learn and better themselves. They want contractors who are eager, want to grow their businesses and who care about safety and honesty.

Contractors selected for this work must be willing to honor their contracts with everyone-especially customers- and go a step beyond the contract. Customers typically have no understanding of some of the technical terms outlined in contracts. They get bids, people give them a bunch of technical words and the customer doesn’t know what’s missing.

When a customer comes to them or one of their contractors, they get the whole picture, honest and open, right then. Everything is written down and everything written is delivered completely.

It is important for customers to understand ahead of time what they will get. That takes proper explaining by the contractor, who should walk the customer through the process and answer all questions.

The contractors they work with also must complete work on time and remain available if the customer has trouble with the system. They also must honor guarantees and warranties, even if that means they might lose money on that particular trip.

There are times they go install a hood 100 miles away and three or four months later, the motor burns out. The motor is under warranty and the factory will send it to them, but guess who’s going to drive 100 miles and install it for free? That’s part of the deal, and they have to be ready for that.

Being honorable sometimes is costly, but fire protection companies believe it always pays back.

Contractors must pay bills to their suppliers on time and they must use high-quality products and materials.

Ongoing technical and safety training is necessary for contractors to continue to thrive in the industry. They will get proper safety and technical training on a regular basis, as well as continuous technical support.

-end-…

Few things can be as great of an inconvenience as the inability to use your running water and plumbing system in your own home. Even if you have running water, your plumbing must work perfectly in order for you to be able to turn on the tap in the first place. Don’t put yourself into a situation where you have to be inconvenienced and call in someone for emergency repairs. Make sure to keep your piping free and clear or else you may have some very time consuming and expensive repairs to tend to. Here are the five most common reasons for blocked drains and how you can try to avoid them.

1. Vegetation growth

Although not the most common, this factor could lead to some of the most expensive and extensive repairs you may have to deal with. Often times our piping systems have been installed when our homes were built long ago and new and different unforeseen blockages can occur by way of root systems from trees and other vegetation growth. The roots of a tree can slowly put pressure on plumbing lines causing them to break, bend, leak, or be blocked, all of which can create a worsening situation. Often times these repairs require expensive machinery, digging, and re-sodding of lawns.

2. Foreign objects

If your sink or tub was draining perfectly a few days ago and now suddenly seems to be clogged, you may be dealing with an object stuck inside of the pipes. This can occur when an object is left by a sink that does not have a drain filter or screen. Even if the object doesn’t completely block the pipes at first, it may still begin to accumulate debris leading to a clogged pipe in the near future. Many with kids are familiar with random objects dug out of the pipes- many times toys!

3. Grease

If you are noticing a clog in your kitchen sink it may be due to a build up of oils. Many types of greases and lard can clog up drains very quickly. Do not throw excess cooking grease down the disposal and drain. Hot grease in its liquefied form will get inside the plumbing and then later solidify while grabbing ahold of extra food particles and debris. This will create a strong and difficult clog and may damage the pipes.

4. Hair

If you are noticing clogs in the bathrooms, the most likely cause is build up of hair. Hair, especially long strands, have the ability to become tangled creating larger and larger balls of hair that eventually work like a net. The netting begins to trap other debris and smaller hair and before you know it the sink will not empty. Make sure to use a strainer in all bathroom tubs and sinks.

5. Non-flushables

You would think only children are to blame for attempting to flush random objects down the toilet, but you would be surprised how many adults do the same thing. It sure …

More and more today, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house. No longer just the place where food is stored and prepared, it has become the focal point of home life. Kitchens used to be closed off from the rest of the house with walls and doors. Today, however, both in new homes and in remodeled older style homes, you can see into the kitchen from the living room, the family room, or both. Since the kitchen is constantly on view, kitchen decorating is an important part of home decor.

Some kitchens are treated as completely separate areas in plain view. Others are carefully decorated to blend in with adjoining spaces. In both cases, kitchen wall treatments are key to decorating this busy room. Paint continues to be a popular choice, but the range of "kitchen" colors has exploded. Cornflower blue, butter yellow, bright reds and vivid greens are commonly used as a base for French country or Tuscan kitchen decorating themes. Wallpaper options run the gamut from contemporary designs to Americana. In addition, slate, saltillo and ceramic tiles once used exclusively on floors are being used on walls to add texture and visual interest.

Part of decorating a kitchen is creating an organized space. Whether you have a specific decorating theme or not, you'll want to give some thought to which kitchen accessories stay on the countertop and which are hidden in cupboards and drawers. Many cooks find a tall cylindrical container to hold frequently used cooking utensils that keeps them from frantically rummaging through drawers. Appliances that get regular use, such as toasters and electric can openers are a good choice for countertop position, although most can be mounted under high cupboards.

Major appliance manufacturers recognize that their merchandise is a major visual element in any kitchen. Instead of just offering a choice between white, black, harvest gold or green, they produce an amazing range of "looks." From gleaming stainless steel, to retro 1950's look to standard white, you can choose refrigerators and stoves that blend with your kitchen decor. Some manufacturers can even help you match your appliances to your countertops for a seamless look.

As in any room in the house, it's the little touches that pull your kitchen's look together. Choose a "punch" color (usually contrasting to your walls) for window treatments and a throw rug. A tiled sink backsplash in this shade will add an extra bit of pizazz. Do not be afraid to add ornaments to the walls of your kitchen. Framed family photos, or even a collection of cookie cutters will add personality and warmth. …

There it is again – the feeling like things are spinning out of control the moment you open your office door. Total chaos. Stacks of paper piling up on your desk, even on the floor. More stuff stacked up in the corners. The cabinets and drawers are overflowing. And along comes a sense of panic that makes you feel utterly helpless. Anxiety is creeping up on you and you feel completely overwhelmed. These negative sentiments go hand in hand and can become dangerous productivity and creativity killers when not deal with.

Many of my meeting planner friends struggle with this. They are experts in organizing people, but seem to have a hard time organizing their stuff! And they are not alone. One out of four surveyed Americans state that they would like to be more organized. If that's you, there is help coming your way! To conquer clutter and regain control – try organization and order.

To make this winning combination work for you, follow these three basic steps:

* 1. Get rid of everything you do not need Be serious in recycling, giving away, discarding, shredding everything that you do not really need any more or in the first place never really needed …

* 2. Create a place everything that you do need Every type of item should have a place where it lives. That way, when you need it, you know where to find it.

* 3. Always put everything back in its assigned place When you are done using an item, put it back in its assigned place.

Once you have organized your space this way, be tough on clutter flare-ups by applying the exact same three steps. It does require self-discipline, but sticking to this system is a worthwhile investment. With fresh energy flowing, you will feel on top of things again. Effectiveness and efficiency will increase. It will empower you, lift your mood, and may even affect your physical health positively. For an even greater power boost tackle your personal living space also and apply the above basic steps in your home, including kitchen and closets. There too, you can conquer clutter and regain control with organization and order. …

Do you know that you can actually bake in your slow cooker? A lot of people are not aware of this because they assume that only the oven can be used to bake the things that they want. There are some things that you can cook much easier with the use of your slow cooker than your oven. As much as possible, you would like to make things easy. You will also be using up less amount of energy with the use of your slow cooker.

Want to know some of the things that you can bake in your slow cooker? Read on.

1. Apple Cake

A lot of people think that anything that involves apples can surely be good. This recipe in particular can serve 8 – 10 people. Just make sure that you need a cake pan that can fit inside your slow cooker.

Beat the following in a bowl:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

You would need to stir in:

  • 2 cups of chilled chopped apples

You would need to sift:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

You would need to mix in all of these ingredients together with the chopped apples. You may also choose to place some pecan nuts with the mixture but if you are allergic to nuts or you are not that interested in nuts, you may choose not to. Place on the bread pan and make sure that you grease the tin foil that you will be placing on top of the pan. For 3 – 4 hours, bake on high temperature.

When it is fully baked, make sure that the pan will remain on the slow cooker for about 5 minutes before you will take out the pan that contains the baked apple cake. Cool it further then slice.

2. Chocolate Fudge Cake

The great thing about this cake is that you do not need any pan in order to cook it. You can cook it directly on the slow cooker.

In the bowl before you place the cake on the slow cooker, here are the things that you would need to mix:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

You would need to stir in the following:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

The next thing that you need to do is make sure that you will spread the mixture that you have created at the bottom of the slow cooker. You can then mix in the following:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

You would need to sprinkle this over the batter that you have placed on the bottom of the slow cooker. You need to boil about ¾ cup of water to pour over the batter. Remember that you would need to cover this and cook on high for …

Foreclosure homes for sale have taken a hit in previous months with the scandal surrounding mortgage providers’ documentation issues. This resulted to buyers shying away from the market for fear of being embroiled in a property dispute. This has greatly affected legitimate sellers of foreclosure properties, who are already dealing with declining demand.

The challenges faced by sellers of foreclosure homes for sale should further infuse them to engage in increased efforts to conduct a successful home staging that will ensure a sale. While cleaning the home can a go a long way towards proper home staging, oftentimes this is not enough. The home should look equally good on the outside and the inside. The home is after all a reflection of its occupants and this is what buyers will have in mind when they shop for their home.

Appearance from the Curb

More popularly known as the curb appeal, your home should meet most buyers’ requirements when it comes to the look of the exterior of the property from the street. Foreclosure homes for sale should look neat and fresh at first glance. So, make sure the exterior painting is interesting and lively. Mow the lawn regularly and trim the bushes. Clear out the trash and put away unnecessary items, especially clotheslines, which can be an eyesore. Apply a fresh coat of paint on your fences, garage and garage doors as well as the main door.

Stepping Into a Peaceful Place

Buyers look for quiet comfort when they inspect the interior of foreclosure homes for sale that they are considering to buy. Keep in mind that buyers are keen on seeing the potential of a home or what it can become once they already own it. In other words, they want a blank canvass, so it may be advisable to paint the walls in neutral colors. More importantly, keep the home spic and span through constant cleaning and dusting. Hide personal items, especially children’s toys and other personal paraphernalia. Clean areas that are highly susceptible to dirt like the kitchen and bathrooms. Regularly replace the sheets and other linen as well as the curtains.…