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    • Fancy Kitchen Tools You'll Wish You Had All Along

      6 July 2022

      Whether you hate to cook or enjoy being an at-home chef, there’s no doubt the task can come with its share of chores. Thankfully, you can make your time in the kitchen easier than ever before with the right tools. Whether you’re hoping to whip up a simple dish, or a gourmet treat, these fun and fancy kitchen tools will help you complete your tasks in no time.

      Fish Spatula
      This kitchen tool may not scream fancy, but it is an accessory often found in a professional chef’s arsenal that home cooks rarely possess. In spite of their namesake, fish spatulas can be used for far more than just fish. Their thin and flexible design can not only help you flip delicate fish but other foods that require more finesse when cooking.

      Mandoline
      If you have been chopping and slicing the old-fashioned way, you may be missing out on some big-time savings. Purchasing a small mandoline can ensure that your vegetables can be sliced as thin as you like with uniform precision. Most mandolines are even dishwasher safe, making them a kitchen must-have.

      Cut Resistant Gloves
      Even the best home cooks manage to cut themselves occasionally. If you don’t have great knife skills, or you simply want to protect your fingers while you’re quickly slicing veggies on the mandoline, cut-resistant gloves could be your saving grace.

      Citrus Squeezer
      To save space, it’s generally, a good rule of thumb to avoid one-purpose kitchen gadgets. The citrus squeezer is an exception to the rule. Nothing gives your dish a zesty kick like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. Citrus squeezers are handheld and have a relatively small footprint, meaning you don’t have to worry about hand-squeezing lime seeds onto your fish tacos again.

      Microplane Grater
      Since the finishing touches are truly what makes a dish exceptional, don’t pass up on a microplane grater. These are the perfect tool for topping your dishes with lemon or lime zest, grated nutmeg, fine shreds of parmesan cheese, and even garlic. You’ll reach for your microplane grater all the time.

      These classic and fancy kitchen tools should be in every kitchen, once you get one, you’ll wish you had it all along.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Plumbing Projects You Can DIY With Ease

      6 July 2022

      When it comes to repairs on your home, it can be hard to strike a balance between trying to save and making sure you’re getting the job done safely and effectively. This can be especially true with electrical and plumbing projects. Here are some DIY-friendly projects you can tackle.

      Install a Dishwasher or Toilet
      Installation projects will certainly cause you to work up a sweat, but thankfully, they don’t require you to rack up a lot of coins for a professional. The hardest part of installing a dishwasher or toilet is likely just the process of moving it to its designated spot. Most installations are fairly seamless as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have a basic amount of handyman skills. If you’re needing a step-by-step guide, you’re likely to find instructions for your exact make and model with a quick search on YouTube.

      Prep Your Pipes
      During the cold winter months, exposed pipes can prove problematic. At best, your exposed supply pipes aren’t great at preserving their warmth when delivering hot water, at worst, your exposed pipes could freeze and you may have to deal with a burst pipe. Avoid a costly emergency call to a plumber by simply wrapping your pipes in foam insulation. This easy DIY task will keep your plumbing protected.

      Replace or Install a Garbage Disposal
      Garbage disposals are heavier than you might think (weighing in at 10-20 pounds) so this DIY project may require a helpful friend or housemate who can keep the garbage disposal steady while you secure it to the bottom of the sink. However, with that little extra help, garbage disposal installation becomes an easily accomplished task for the self-appointed handyman in your household.

      Change Out Your Showerhead
      Even the most amateur DIYers can take on the simple task of changing out the showerhead. This task likely can be done entirely by hand by simply turning the showerhead clockwise with your hand to unscrew it from the discharge pipe. If the showerhead seems too tight, pull out some channel lock pliers to help. Once you’ve gotten the old showerhead off, just wrap Teflon tape clockwise on the pipe and add your new fancy showerhead.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Stretch Your Food Budget by Making Food Last Longer

      6 July 2022

      In a time when many families need to make their food budget stretch as far as possible, it’s disheartening to have to throw away spoiled food. While all fresh foods have a natural shelf life, home economists offer these tips and tricks to help extend the life of perishables.

      • Check Before Storing - A single bruised or overripe strawberry in a package can release enough ethylene gas to spoil the whole package before its time. Before refrigerating produce, check for and discard any on the verge of spoiling. 
      • Keep Cheese Longer - Apply a thin layer of butter to the exposed side of a chunk of cheese, then wrap the block in waxed paper and place it in a plastic bag.
      • Puncture Plastic Bags - Unless you are sealing it in an airtight bag, poke a few holes in the plastic bags of fresh veggies you bring home before refrigerating. Otherwise, they’ll trap moisture that causes produce to break down faster. 
      • Use the Freezer - Frozen banana pops...yum! Preserve your unused bananas for a delicious snack. Actually, freezing works well for most fruits and vegetables, as long as they are consumed within 8-12 months.
      • Shrink-Wrap Bananas - If you prefer your bananas unfrozen, wrap a piece of plastic wrap around the crown of your bunch of bananas. This will curb the release of ethylene gas and keep them from ripening too fast.
      • Avoid Sunlight - Unless you plan to eat them right away, store pears and melons (except watermelon, which should be refrigerated) on a countertop away from direct sunlight that will speed up the ripening process.
      • Wrap Greens in Foil - Surprisingly, when wrapped in foil, broccoli, lettuce and celery will last in the fridge for a month or more.
      • Use Paper Bags for Mushrooms - Plastic bags are a haven for moisture. They cause mushrooms to mildew, so store them in paper bags.
      • About Those Tomatoes - If the stem was removed before purchase, store the tomatoes upside down so air won’t seep into the small opening, which expedites ripening. Tomatoes ripen quickly and should be eaten soon after purchase. For freshest taste, keep unripe tomatoes outside the refrigerator. When they are fully ripe, it’s okay to refrigerate them.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Find a Summer Home That Caters to Your Lifestyle

      5 July 2022

      When temperatures start heating up and the school year comes to an end, there’s nothing better than having a summer residence that the whole family can escape to. Of course, finding the perfect vacation home that meets all of your needs can be a daunting task. To help steer you in the right direction, here are a few tips to keep in mind when in the market for a summer home that matches your lifestyle.

      Focus on Outdoor Living Spaces
      Chances are, you want a home where the whole family can spend time outside together. That’s why a luxurious outdoor living space is one of the most important features to look for in a vacation home, but it’s necessary to consider how you’ll use it. For some, it’s all about a resort-like pool and outdoor kitchen, but others may prioritize a spacious backyard for the kids to run around and mature gardens where you can grow your favorite plants.

      Guest Accommodations
      While you might be envisioning a place where your immediate family can go for some quiet R&R, you’ll probably want a little extra room for the inevitable guests who come to visit. After all, summer is the perfect time to get together with close friends and extended family, so an extra bedroom or two is sure to be put to good use. 

      Nearby Activities
      Take the time to find a location that caters to your lifestyle in the summer. Do you want to be close to the country club and all it has to offer? Or would your family prefer to be close to a beach? Ideally, your home will have easy access to all of your favorite activities.

      Walkability
      There’s something nice about not having to get in the car and simply basking in the warm weather when strolling about town. This is why walkability is often an important factor for summer homes. Whether you’re walking into town for dinner or picking up your morning paper and coffee, traveling by foot is always enjoyable when the sun is shining. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Best Tips for Creating a Pet-Safe Yard

      5 July 2022

      If you’re hoping to get your outdoor space ready for your furry friends, there are a few important things you should consider. These tips for creating a pet-safe yard will have your property ready in no time.

      Provide a Perimeter
      Keeping your yard pet safe first requires that your outdoor space is a secure area. Provide a perimeter to ensure that your pet cannot escape from to ensure that your best friend is not in danger of getting lost or injured. Finding the best fencing for your pet means understanding your pet’s breed and abilities. For example, a large dog bred for hunting can jump higher and further than a small toy dog and will have different fencing requirements.

      Beware of Chemical Treatments
      Whether you have lawn fertilizers, weed killers or pool treatments, all chemical substances used for your yard’s care should be kept locked away from your pets. These toxic substances should also be used with care; be sure to read the instructions to understand when it is safe for humans and animals to interact with an area that has come into contact with a chemical treatment. Keep in mind that even organic or natural yard treatments can contain toxins for pets; be sure to read your product’s packaging or research what pet-safe options are available before selecting your product.

      Remove Toxic Plants
      Dogs and cats both have plants that can cause them harm. Easter lilies, while beautiful, are toxic to curious cats who might take a bite. Ivy and gladiolus can cause excess drooling, vomiting and potential abdominal pain in dogs when these plants are ingested. Make certain that your garden is full of pet-safe plants or create a small fenced-off area or greenhouse to hold any needed plants that could pose a threat to your pet.

      Prevent Ticks
      Keep ticks at bay by keeping your lawn trimmed, leaves raked and wood neatly stacked in a dry area. This will ensure that ticks have less welcoming places to hide in your yard. To further mitigate ticks from coming into your recreational areas from surrounding property, consider creating a 3 foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. 

      Keeping your pet safe in your yard requires some foresight, but a little planning and some steady maintenance can ensure that your yard is fun and welcoming for the whole family, pets included.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.