Neglecting to clean your kitchen on a regular basis can have detrimental consequences on your family. Since the kitchen is where our food preparation is performed, avoiding the cleaning of the area can result in food poisoning from cross contamination and other such harmful things. As such maintaining a hygienic kitchen environment is essential. This involves the wiping of counter tops and cleaning of any items used in the preparation or consumption of the food. Leaving food covered kitchen utensils around allows harmful bacteria to grow and spread throughout your kitchen. If you have small children, keeping your kitchen clean should become all the more vital as children can be rather curious and may be inclined to eat something that has been sitting out for quite some time gathering bacteria.

There are many products available on the market that one can use to disinfect their kitchen space. Some may be better than others but as long as they have a sterilizing agent in them, they will be sufficient for cleaning your kitchen. It is suggested that you clean your kitchen at least once a day with whatever disinfectant you choose. There are an abundance of other hygienic tips that help to prevent food poisoning that one should follow in the kitchen as well. Since your hands and food act to contaminate each other, it is important that you wash them with anti-bacterial soap previous to and following the handling of risky foods. Utilizing different utensils for raw and cooked foods is necessary as well. It is also crucial that appliances, and not just counter tops and dishes, be cleaned regularly. Refrigerators should be scoured at least once a month and ovens, microwaves and other appliances should be cleaned whenever they show signs of filth. Changing towels in your kitchen is a must as well, as they become havens for bacteria when damp.…

Classical feng shui students learn about the four major house types within the first few days of instruction. These houses are described in broad brush strokes. Two of the four are supportive for health and relationships and two are not. Two of the four are supportive for financial luck and the other two are not. But to place too much emphasis on these four categories of house types, is like judging a book by its cover or a painting by its frame.

In the 20th century, these four house types were given catchy descriptions, translated from more non-literal Chinese terms, whereby we have one house type that is now labeled “good for people/good for money” (aka Wang Shan Wang Shui). The exact opposite house type is referred to as “Reversed,” as in the reverse of the best house. Then there are the two mixed house types, with one being deemed “good for people/bad for money (Double Sitting) and the other one “good for money/bad for people” (Double Facing.)

In reality, we know that life is more complicated, and yet we all know someone who is wealthy, but unhealthy or wealthy but very unhappy. We also know of people who are strong physically and mentally, with loving family members and close friendships, but maybe chronic financial struggles.

So it is easy to assume that these four major house “personalities” cast their influence on the occupants to create these real discrepancies. In studying Xuan Kong Fei Xing, there are actually 144 different house charts, but these 144 “flying star charts” can all be grouped into the four major categories. These categories are determined based on when a house was built and what direction it is sitting or facing, so it is not like seeing a house with certain physical characteristics which would be so obvious.

One of the most frustrating things I encounter frequently is a prospective client who wants me to assist them in house hunting and they have heard about this “good for people/good for money” house and they only want to live in that house type and no others. This is a very myopic way to go house hunting since what qualifies as good Feng Shui overall is based on a lot of criteria which is not determined based solely on the house’s orientation or year built. In fact, there are so many instances when a floor plan lay-out is flawed, that it seriously undercuts or over-rides the nature of the so-called best house of these four major categories.

For example, I had one client whose house was deemed this “Wang Shan Wang Shui” (good for people/good for money house type.) Meanwhile, the actual floor plan demonstrated that the bedrooms, entrance and home office were in the worst parts of the house. To backtrack a little, it should be understood that no house on the planet has all inherently positive areas. On average, there are about four of the total eight basic directional zones in any structure that …

Hamster cages should be a safe and healthy haven for their occupants and this means a daily supply of seeds, grain, fresh fruit and vegetables. But did you know some seeds, fruits and vegetables are poisonous to them? There are also many houseplants that could seriously poison them. This article reviews some advice from experts on which of the commoner foods and houseplants can hurt your hamster. This can be a handy reference for keeping their diet safe and knowing which houseplants to keep out of their reach in the home and garden.

Common Foods Felt To Harm Hamsters

The UK’s sadly now defunct Hamster Society produced an amazing online list of plants which they stated were poisonous to hamsters. The list includes some surprising everyday fruit and vegetable items, as does advice from the USA’s well known animal care charity, the ASPCA. Did you know that alfalfa, almond pits, apple seeds, avocado, cherry pits, chives, eggplant, elderberries, garlic, grapes, horse chestnuts, mushrooms, onions, peach pits, potatoes raisins, rhubarb and tomatoes are all harmful for them? (1, 2). NEVER try to improvise with human foods or plants from the home or garden. The safest way is to have your vet to provide a diet sheet of safe foods. Establishing a good diet is vital, as is knowing which common houseplants may poison pets.

Common Poisonous Houseplants And Items In Bouquets/Arrangements

Again, the Hamster Society included houseplants as well as garden plants in their warning list , The ASPCA also add to the knowledge with a few known to cause problems in other animals but not researched specifically in hamsters. This list of evils includes flowers and plants you also might find in a bouquet or floral arrangement. It includes amaryllis, cacti, some roses, chrysanthemum, clematis, cornflower, cyclamen, daffodils, some lilies, some ivy, ferns, holly, irises, mistletoe, poincianas, poppies, peonies, rubber plants and tulips.  And that certainly isn’t all of the harmful plants by any means. The safest thing to do is probably to ban all plants, flower arrangements and pollen from coming anywhere your hamster’s living areas.

Common Garden Poisonous Plants For Hamsters

If you were considering giving your hamster an enclosed run in the garden, you must research garden plants in your local areas to see which ones are harmful. Many surprisingly common ones are toxic, for example, the common buttercup contains an acid which harms rabbits – so who knows what it could do to a tiny hamster’s precious body. Other culprits as well as those already mentioned include include azaleas, autumn crocuses, cherry laurel, common privet plants, evergreens, foxgloves, honeysuckle, hyacinths, hydrangeas, some laurels, marigolds, nightshade plants varieties, philodendrons, some oaks, rhododendrons, sweet pea plants and wisteria yew trees (1). Also of course be aware of chemical products used to treat the garden with as these can also be highly toxic.

Finding out more about what common food stuffs are toxic to hamsters could save your little furry friend’s life. Tomatoes, for example, seem like the perfect …

Using ottomans in home d├ęcor is not new, and according to the Encyclopaedia* Britannica (not Wikipedia) the ottoman has been with us since the late 18th century when it was introduced to Europe from Turkey (the Ottoman Empire). Its origins are irrelevant to its current use, which is as a footstool or a seat.

Some ottomans consist of a small padded seat standing on four legs, while others are in the form of a padded box with a hinged lid – the storage ottoman. These have several uses in the home of which seven shall be discussed here.

1. The Ottoman as a Footrest

Many people love to stretch their legs out when sitting. Whether they are reading a book, watching TV or simply resting or napping, people like to elevate their feet and legs. The biological effect is to reduce the stress on the heart in pumping blood up through the non-return valves in the veins of their legs,

By keeping your legs raised, your heart has less work to do and you consequently use less energy so can relax easier. The padded top of an ottoman permit you to do this comfortably, and many use this type of furniture with their recliner rather than use the footrest that comes with the furniture.

2. Optional Seating

Whether it is styled in the form of a box or a chair on short legs, an ottoman is upholstered and can be used as a seat. Perhaps not as comfortable as an armchair, but sufficient as an emergency or alternative seating option in your home during parties or when a crowd of friends descend upon you. It can be stored away under a table and pulled out when needed – or rolled out if your ottoman is fitted with casters.

3. Ottoman Coffee Tables

Most well-made ottomans are solid enough to be used as coffee tables – and not just in an emergency! Many use their ottoman as a coffee table period! Your ottoman is usually lower in height than your chair or sofa, and is perfect as a coffee table. Some ottomans have a shelf under the top that can be used to store magazines, so apart from being upholstered they are more table-like than ottoman-like!

4. Storage Ottomans

Storage ottomans are virtually upholstered boxes with padded lids. The lids are hinged and open up to provide storage space that can be used in a number of ways. For example, an ottoman can be used as a coffee table with a sofa bed, and also to store the bedding for when the sofa is needed as a bed. It can be used as a piano stool, storing sheet music and other items.

They can be used in children’s rooms for toys, computer or video games and controllers, and in your bedroom as a handy seat for dressing while storing bedding, spare pillows or your nightclothes. These are just examples – an ottoman can be used to store whatever you need it …

Athlete’s foot is caused by parasitic fungi which usually attack the feet. Many people are plagued by this malady, since the organisms which cause it are spread from contaminated floors surrounding pools and showers. The skin between the toes is most often attacked, but the disease may spread to any part of the feet and may break out on the hands. However, what appears on the hands is usually caused by absorbed toxins in the bloodstream rather than the organisms themselves.

As athlete’s foot develops, blisters or cracks appear in the skin, which softens, turns white, and peels off in flakes. There is itching and burning – occasionally pain. The disease is more severe in warm than in cool weather.

What to Do

  1. Keep the affected skin areas as cool and dry as possible. Wearing sandals or open-toed shoes will help.
  2. Protect other members of the household by refraining from walking barefoot about the house, especially the bathroom. Don’t use the family shower, and before using the bathtub soak the feet for at lest five minutes in a warm, saturated solution of boric acid.
  3. Every night at bedtime wash the feet briefly with mild soap and warm water. Then soak the feet for 15 to 30 minutes in a warm, saturated solution of boric acid. If boric acid solution is not available, use a warm saline solution (one tablespoonful of table salt to a quart of water). Then with a bit of gauze pick and rub away all loose bits of skin, taking care not to get any of the contaminated material under the fingernails. Then apply an athlete’s foot cream, working it carefully into the affected skin, especially between the toes.
  4. Every morning, wipe away the remaining medicated cream with dry gauze and dust the skin area thickly with antiseptic powder.
  5. Wear cotton hose, preferably white, changing it daily. To launder hose, boil for ten minutes or re-infection is certain.
  6. If sores appear on the hands, use only mild ointments. If itching is severe, apply 1 percent phenol in calamine lotion. When the sores on feet have healed, those on hands will probably disappear.
  7. To prevent a relapse after the infection appears to be cured, apply 2 percent ammoniated mercury ointment each evening, and talcum powder containing 1 percent of salicylic acid each morning, continuing the treatment for several weeks. Dust the same powder into the shoes daily.
  8. In severe cases, keep off the feet as much as possible and use the soaks and medicated cream as in (3) twice a day instead of once.
  9. In a persistent case consult a dermatologist. An antibiotic is usually helpful, but this requires a physician’s prescription.
  10. The person with athlete’s foot should be considerate of others by not using public showers or swimming pools until his infection is completely cured.

Organic gardening has increasingly become an important part of the curriculum in schools around the world. Teachers at every grade level find themselves teaching it to students, and sometimes being called on to give a speech to a group of parents. As a career educator and principal, I know the difficulty of opening up time for speech preparation, and offer this organic gardening speech for your use. Feel free to edit it to fit your needs.

Organic Gardening Speech

How selfish are you? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how selfish would you rate yourself? If you are the least bit selfish, you might be interested in organic gardening.

An organic gardening speech might seem more appropriate coming from a Home Economics teacher, but I am just selfish enough that I love organic gardening. I want to share that love with you and with your children.

Imagine

I want you to come with me, in imagination, to a time and place before the Industrial Revolution. The year is 1707. It is late summer. We find ourselves walking the streets of a small town. Houses are spaced well apart for privacy. Land stretches out behind each house. As we look, we notice that much of that land is taken up by gardens. Here and there, we see both adults and children actively engaged in gardening. The plants are beautiful.

You call to one of the adults and ask what they use to make the garden so lush. A broad smile breaks, and through the smile come the words, “Feed the soil, and the soil will feed the plants.”

You shake your head. Poor people. Too bad they don’t know about that miracle combination of chemicals you saw advertised on TV last week. That’s the easy way to grow spectacular plants!

Dinner

The organic gardener invites us to join them for the evening meal, and we accept. At dinner, we join in the prayer of thanks, and then watch in amazement as the children, one after another, begin eating fresh vegetables.

You yourself are not that fond of vegetables, but you politely take a small serving of each. You bite into a leaf of steamed cabbage, and your eyes open wide in amazement. It is sweet – twice as sweet as the cabbage you buy at your local market! You watch a small child fill his mouth with dark green kale, and shudder. There’s a small spoonful of the nasty vegetable on your own plate, and you pick at it, putting a single small leaf in your mouth. Amazing! It, too, is twice as sweet as any kale you ever ate. The same seems true of every vegetable on the table. You decide that if your supermarket vegetables were this good, you would eat a lot more of them.

Our imaginary trip ends at that dinner table, and we return to the present.

Organic Gardening’s Benefits

Organic gardening has many benefits. If you are completely selfish, you …

Building the perfect chicken coop in your backyard can be a lot of fun if you have the correct plan for it. The biggest mistake lot of people commit is to start building a chicken house without proper planning. This will not only make it a difficult experience but will also result in you overrunning your budget.

Here are seven key tips that will help you in building the perfect chicken coop:

1) Sizing: Proper sizing of your chicken house needs to be done based on the space availability and the number of chickens you want to have. Always plan for some extra capacity in case you decide to add some more chickens in the future.

2) Orientation: Orientation of your chicken house should be such that you get adequate sunshine and you protect the chickens from the cold draft. This step is very important for building the perfect chicken coop and caring for the health of your birds. Very cold weather and high levels of moisture will make the chickens fall sick. So proper orientation planning is critical. If required take professional help here.

3) Protection: Proper protection for the chicken house is another important aspect of planning. You will have to protect the house from all sides so that it is predator proof. The surrounding area needs to have a wire mesh so that rats and foxes cannot burrow into the house.

4) Roosting: Plan for properly spaced roosting poles for the chickens to sleep. This will ensure good health of the chickens and you will get good quality eggs.

5) Nesting: For the chickens to lay eggs you will require nesting boxes. These boxes should be placed in a dark corner inside the coop. Make sure you have one nest box for every 3 to 4 chickens. These boxes should be at height above the ground but below the height at which you have the roosting poles. This is the normal practice that is followed when building the perfect chicken coop.

6) Feeder: Your plan for the chicken house needs to have feeder and waterer inside the coop. This important for maintaining healthy chickens.

7) Waste Disposal: For easy cleaning and drainage of water it is best to have a slight slope on the floor. Alternately you may plan for placing removable plastic trays below the roosts for timely disposal of droppings.

If you keep these key points in mind when planning the chicken house, then building a chicken coop will be a fun activity.…

LED tube lights are one of the most common units you will find in most homes. They are loved by many people as they are energy efficient thus save you a lot of money. They are also long lasting thus you don’t have to buy new ones after a short time.

What you need to know about the lights

If this is the first time you are using the lights there are a number of things you need to know about them:

They come in a variety of colors and sizes: If you go to your nearest store you will find many tube lights of different sizes and colors. It’s up to you to choose the ones that are right for you. As rule of thumb choose those that accentuate the look of your house.

They have an aluminum heat sink: A heat sink is important for the proper functioning of the LED lights. To make it possible, the units have an aluminum one. Aluminum is one of the best heat conductors and it not only conducts heat, it also promotes the life of the tube by preventing overheating.

They are mercury free: If you have used units with mercury before, you know that they present a challenge when it comes to their disposal. LED tube lights don’t have mercury; therefore, you don’t have to worry of your safety when disposing them.

You don’t need ballast: Most lighting units require ballast to provide the necessary voltage. In the event you didn’t know, the ballast increases the cost of lighting. It also increases the power consumption of the light. LED tube lights don’t require the ballast; therefore, they consume less power saving you a lot in the long run.

They are resistant to shock and vibration: The tube lights don’t have fragile electrical elements that can easily snap when they face vibrations. The glass used in making them is tough thus you don’t have to worry of it breaking and the pieces injuring you.

Guide to having a good time with LED lights

For the lights to last for a long time you need to use them properly. When making the purchase, carefully look at the voltage you need. Remember that when you use the wrong bulb you will get it burnt. When making the purchase, also consider the color. As mentioned, the units come in different sizes and colors. It’s up to you to choose the one you like. Finally, to ensure that your units last for long, buy from a reputable store.…

Before undertaking a roofing project, someone might not understand how vast the selection for roofing materials can be. Just the section of shingles at the local home improvement warehouse can be enough to make the amateurs head spin. Shingles are just the start though; there are a wide variety of materials to decide between when embarking on a roofing project. To begin by clarifying, roofing materials are the top layer of the roof that is visible. Roofing materials are meant for the express purpose of insulation and protection from the outside elements, with a secondary function being aesthetics.

There are a couple of roofing materials that are made from natural elements. Thatch roofs made from overlapping plant materials and can still be found throughout regions of Europe and the United Kingdom. Thatch roofs may seem outdated but some can have a very long life expectancy and protect well against the elements. Most of the current applications of thatched roofs are in developing countries. But, there are many well-off people who choose thatch to create a rustic look or have a more environmentally conscious home. Slate is another material that is natural and many roofs around the world still use. Slate is a type of rock that can be broken into tiles shapes easily because of its fine grain. Slate is mostly used in Europe and United Kingdom but can be found in some places in America as well. Slate roofing is extremely durable but can also be very costly. Also, 90% of the slate roofs in Europe come from the slate found in Spain.

The type of roofing material that most Americans are familiar with is shingles. While shingles encompass a variety of materials, it is generally used to describe overlapping rectangular material. Shingles can be made from wood (shakes), slate, asphalt (bitumen), ceramics, or composite. With the development of new materials throughout history, wood and paper-based asphalt shingles are used much less due to their risk of flammability. America’s most common type of residential roofing material is the fiberglass-based asphalt shingle.

Another common type of roofing material is tile. Tile is made from a ceramic and is very brittle and easily broken, therefore should not be used in areas where large debris can fall and damage it. Tile is a very popular material in Mediterranean countries and also Southern Germany. Tile can be found across the America’s as well and is common in tropical climates like Florida. Tiles are a very good protector against rain and fire and this is one of the reasons that it spread so quickly across certain regions.

Metals are also popular materials still used around the entire world. Metal roofs can range from cheap for developing countries to very expensive for affluent home owners. Metals have a lot of advantage over other types of roofing materials. Metal is resistant to almost all types of natural elements and is very energy efficient. There are a variety of metals used in roofing including (but not limited …

Bathroom remodeling can be a creative and transformative project. Why do people take on a bathroom-remodeling venture? There are many reasons. Some motivations to remodel are repairing damage, increasing house value, updating style and functionality, or simply creating a more comfortable and beautiful bathroom. Deciding which fixtures to replace, either one or all, can help determine the atmosphere of the end result. In this article we will explore various options for fixtures to consider replacing in a bathroom-remodeling job.

A bathroom vanity, a combination of sink, cabinet and mirror, is possibly the fixture we notice first when we enter a bathroom. Choosing an elegant contemporary bathroom vanity can bring the feel of a comfortable room to the bathroom remodel. Bathroom vanities, useful for storage and organization, come in one-sink or two-sink models. Deciding on the size of your bathroom vanity will depend on the number of people who plan to use it, the dimensions of your bathroom, and the amount of items needing storage. Consideration of the other storage available in the bathroom is important as well.

Another storage possibility for a bathroom remodel is bathroom cabinets. Having plenty of space available to store away toiletries, cleaning products, and linens, which may not all fit in the vanity, is important to consider for your future bathroom. Bathroom cabinets come in many configurations and styles. This makes it easy to fit them into potentially small or tricky spaces. Whether they are wall-mounted or free standing, you can find bathroom cabinets to store all your bathroom related belongings.

Adding luxury and enjoyment to a bathroom remodel can boost your sense of well-being, as well as the value of your home. One potential way to do this is to incorporate a whirlpool bathtub into your bathroom-remodeling scheme. A whirlpool bathtub can bring the tranquil atmosphere of a spa right into your own home. Designs for a whirlpool bathtub come in oval, rectangular and even corner models so large or small bathrooms can accommodate one.

Another way to upgrade your bathroom and increase its pleasant spa like qualities is to incorporate a stress relieving shower panel. A shower panel is a streamlined rectangular structure that is installed either in a stand-up shower or over a bathtub. It usually consists of a shower head, a hand held shower device, various massaging water jets, and knobs for diverting water, controlling temperature, and adjusting pressure.

In order to save money and protect the environment you may decide to install a water-saving EcoFlush toilet. These toilets are designed to function efficiently while using considerably less water than older model toilets. Using EcoFlush toilets helps save money on your monthly water bill due to reduced water usage. The EcoFlush toilet also helps the environment by conserving water, a precious and non-renewable resource.

Re-envisioning your bathroom into a calming, impressive, and useful room can be a fulfilling endeavor. There are many options, a few of which are mentioned here, to help you realize the best possible design for your bathroom …