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Saturday, May 14, 2016

The League and The Lantern Review and #Giveaway

Hey neighbors!

The League and the Lantern is the first in a new series of books written by a concerned father.  He was concerned over having quality entertainment for his children.  Knowing what is out there, I can understand his decision to write a series himself.  Author, Brian Wells is that father.



His book, titled The League and the Lantern takes place in Chicago.  My family found this sort of interesting, as we visit Chicago 4-5 times a year.  In the book, Jake Herndon and two friends, Lucy and TJ attempt to solve a mystery dating back to the Civil War.  The book is written to attract children to reading, while at the same time teach lessons regarding character.  My daughter read the new book on a recent trip we took.  She is 15 and enjoyed the story, although she did bring a couple of things to my attention.  We are extremely careful about what is in the books we read and one thing she brought up is a slang term for messed up.  She also said that to her it appeared to be a "clean" book with a little Christianity thrown in.  Please remember this is our opinion and may vary from your own.

For every copy of The League and The Lantern purchased a book will be donated to be given to a child who can not afford the book.

You can find the book at: www.leagueandlantern.com.  Take a moment to look at their website and follow their social media pages.

Facebook - HERE
Twitter - HERE
Instagram - HERE

Thanks for stopping in and be sure to enter the giveaway.  One neighbor will receive a copy of, The League and The Lantern.


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Trip to Southern Indiana


Hey neighbors!

I know we have been missing for a few days, but we took a trip to southern Indiana. We had a great time at a campground that was far enough out that there was no internet and no phone service.  You had to drive approximately half an hour to get pickup.  It was so peaceful.




We had a nice time taking photos around the camp and I am going to share a few here.  We did of course go into town a few times to eat and my sons of course ran to Louisville KY to shop.




For Mother's Day they took me to breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  I was given several very nice gifts!  We headed back home with a couple of stops in St. Louis, MO.  We went shopping at Kohl's, Half Price Books and of course we grabbed dinner before going home.



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Extend Your Home Outdoors This Summer

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One of the many great things about summer is that you can spend more time outdoors. The warm weather allows us to sit, eat, work, and relax in the fresh air. Why not take this one step further and extend your home into the garden? Outdoor rooms are becoming more popular and there are many innovative ways you can make this happen.

1. Clear Some Space

The first step, of course, is to clear some space. This may involve sprucing up your garden and carrying out a bit of landscaping. Start by removing rubbish and other debris. Sweep and clean paved areas, removing any weeds. Jet washers are great for deep cleaning these areas.

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There’s no point in having an outdoor room if the garden is messy. Mow any lawned areas and prune plants and bushes. Weed all flower beds. If garden fences need mending or painting, then tend to this. Make sure they are adequately protected.

Clear some space for your outdoor room.

2. Light and Shade

No matter what the season, the weather can be temperamental. It can be too hot, too cold, too breezy, etc. All of this will impact on your outdoor living space. It is important to think about shelter, without compromising natural living space lighting. Awnings are the ideal solution to this problem. They can provide shade when it is needed. And in the winter months, they can fold back to allow in more sunlight.

If you intend to make the most of your outdoor space, you will need to consider lighting for darker days and evenings. There are various options. Outdoor electric lighting will be a simple option and will provide consistent illumination. Solar lights also work well and will switch on automatically, once it begins to get dark. Solar lights rely on sufficient sunlight during the day to charge them.

Decorative lighting also works well in outdoor spaces. Decorate your outdoor room and garden with strings of fairy lights and hang candles from branches.

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3. Furniture

All outdoor rooms need furniture for comfort and function. Start by figuring out how you’re going to use the space. Will it be used frequently for family meals? Or will it be an occasional room for special events? Make a list of the items you will need. As well as sofas, tables, and chairs, don’t forget food preparation areas and side tables.

The garden is a very different environment than your home, so opt for furniture that can be easily maintained. Try to get a balance between long-lasting items and comfort. If you intend to spend a lot of time out there, cheap plastic patio furniture won’t cut it. Don’t forget cushions and seat pads.

It is also important to consider where the furniture will be stored out of season. You will need to find a space for it when it’s not in use.

And don’t forget flooring. There are many rugs on the market that are created for outdoor use. They are easy to clean and are quick-drying.

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4. Outdoor Cooking

If you intend to eat outside, it’s likely you’ll want an outdoor grill. There are many options to choose from, including gas and electric grills, charcoal grills, and portable grills. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, depending on your requirements. Safety will be a priority and you will need to think carefully about placement and storage.

Do you have any outdoor living space? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Is Your Home Healthy?

Having a healthy home is very important, whether you live with your family or by yourself. Keeping yourself healthy is crucial, but if you don’t bother to make sure your home is healthy, it’s only a matter of time before you experience ill effects. It’s probably much easier than you think to keep a healthy home. Make sure you’re doing the things in this guide and it shouldn’t be a problem:


Vacuum And Dust Regularly


Dust can be more unhealthy than you realise, and it could be hiding in all kinds of places in your home. Make sure you don’t get a build up of the stuff by vacuuming and dusting regularly. Dust can actually trigger allergies for pets and young kids especially, so make sure you get into the habit of doing this.


Ask Visitors To Take Off Their Shoes


Although somebody might appear to be clean and polished, you don’t know where their shoes have been.  Asking them to take off their shoes before they enter your home is a reasonable request and will stop things being spread all over your home. Ask people to do it often enough and eventually they’ll know.


Wash Your Hands


Always wash your hands when you’re finished in the bathroom. You could be spreading bacteria all over your home if you fail to do this!


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Keep Medication And Chemicals Safe


Everybody has medication and chemicals in the home to some degree. Weather it’s plain old calpol and toilet cleaner or something more sinister. If you have these things in your home. Make sure you keep them locked away, high up where kids can’t reach them.


Keep The Air Quality


Open windows in your home every so often to improve the air quality. Make sure you have a working air purifier or conditioner, and include plants in your decor. This will help you to get a higher quality of air!


Avoid Smoke


Always avoid smoking in your home. The chemicals can linger long after you’ve finished. Not to mention the way you can discolour the walls and make everything smell! You never know, smoking might actually hinder you selling your home later on.


Check For Hidden Problems


Not all problems in the home are visible. Some problems, like mould and termites may not be noticed until it’s too late. It isn’t difficult to find out how to get rid of termites when you do a quick search online. If you find these problems and sort them out early on, you’ll have a much healthier home. If you fail to sort them out early, it could take a lot of time and money.


Install Alarms


You can get alarms for fires, gas, and more issues some homeowners experience. Installing these alarms could stop you from experiencing disaster! Make sure you install them and check them over regularly.

Well, is your home healthy? Hopefully you now know what you need to do to keep your home as healthy as possible, for you and your entire family. Making sure everybody follows the rules will make a huge difference too. Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Leave your comments below!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Splendid Security Suggestions for a Safer Property!

It’s vital to look for ways of making your home more secure. There is so much involved in this these days. And you need to take extra precautions because there are more risks to your property than ever before. Take a look at the ideas I’ve listed on here, and use them to work towards a safer and more secure home.
Double Glazing
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These days if your home doesn’t have double glazing you need to change this. It’s important to think about the benefits of double glazed windows. Of course, some properties won’t allow you to do this because they are listed buildings. But, if you can do it then you need to make sure you get double glazing. There are so many benefits to doing this such as trapping in heat, and, importantly, extra security. It’s very difficult to try to break into a home with double glazed windows. So you already put your property in a much safer and more secure position by doing this.
Garden Fence
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Your garden is an area of the property that needs to be protected and preserved. You don’t want people wandering across your grounds and you want to protect the borders of your property. And that’s why it might be a good idea to build a fence. I think garden fences look great anyway, but they also have the added bonus of giving you some privacy and security. You might consider buying the fence already assembled. Or, you could go through the process of customising it and building it yourself.
Front Gate
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Think about the areas of your property that are at risk, and what you need to do to make them safer. For example, the front of the house might be vulnerable to intruders or burglars. If you live on a main road or a street, you might be able to avoid this. However, if you live out in the middle of nowhere, you will need to be more vigilant. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get yourself a secure front gate. You can get this installed at the end of your driveway to make the property more secure. An electric gate is one of the amazing home additions you’ll be glad you made because it will improve security and visual appeal.
Garage
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You might not generally associate a garage with being a security step for your property. But, in reality, it can play a big role in helping your home become more secure. The advantage of a garage is that it gives you a secure storage space for important things. For example, you can keep your car stored in the garage, and this will help you preserve it as much as possible. You can also store important and prized possessions in there. This will keep them safe from harm and protect against theft and damage.
Guard Dog
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If you want to make the home safer, but also kill two birds with one stone, how about getting a dog? The kids have probably been bugging you for a pet for a long time. Well, you’ll find that a dog is an excellent choice. Not only are they loyal and loveable, but they are also great for protecting and looking after your home. A lot of elderly people and families like to have guard dogs, and it’s easy to see why. The wonderful thing about a dog is that you don’t have to specifically get a guard dog. The family pet can also play the role of a guard dog, and look after the home as much as possible.
Security Shutters
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Have you ever had to go away and wondered just how secure your home actually is? I know I have in the past, and it’s something I worried about for a long time. Well, lucky for you, I’ve found the solution to the problem. You want to look into getting roller shutters and security screens installed. That way, when you go away, you can initiate them to make the property safer than Fort Knox! This might seem like a drastic step for a residential property, but in my experience you can never be too careful these days. So, make sure you try to get hold of these shutters when you can as they will give you peace of mind.
CCTV
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If you can afford it, and you want to be more thorough, you need to consider rigging up CCTV. This is an excellent form of modern security for any home. You will be able to keep your family safe and secure by ensuring that you record everything. I would suggest you check if you need permission to put CCTV on your property. It shouldn’t be an issue because it’s your land, but this is something that’s worth checking out. I would strongly recommend getting a CCTV camera system if you can. It provides an excellent natural deterrent to would-be criminals, and documents evidence as well.
Timers
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Something you might not have thought about in the past is making sure you have timers. You can use these to your advantage when you aren’t home. A great idea would be to set up your lights to come on using the timer. That way you can be sure that the lights will come on at the specified time every day/night. The benefit of this is that if you’re away, the lights will still come on of their own accord for a certain length of time. This means that as far as anyone is concerned, you are still at home. It’s the best way of discouraging potential burglars from targeting your home.

Your home is your private personal place, and you need to do what you can to protect it. Luckily for you, there are so many ways you can do this these days. Just think about adding extra layers of security to your home gradually over time. The more secure you make the home, the safer you and your family will feel inside. That’s why it’s important to take into account all of the methods you might think about using. Use the suggestions above to inspire you to protect your home more thoroughly.

Little Fixes That Will Make A Big Impact On The Sale Of Your Home


As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. This is something that you should keep in mind when you’re selling your home. When you start showing your house to buyers you want to achieve two things. First, you want them to be impressed and fall in love with the property immediately. Hopefully, they’re already wondering how high they can go by the time they leave. Second you want that impression to mean that they’re not thinking about haggling. They know this property is going to sell fast. Instead, they’re already happy to offer the price you want to sell at, and they will outbid any other buyer. That’s what you want. That’s the dream scenario. But to get that you need to think about the little things. Let me show you exactly what I mean.



Paint The Walls


You might think that the walls of your property are not that important. What does it matter if there are a few hand marks in the hall? The walls will be repainted as soon as they buy regardless. Almost everyone does this when they buy a new home. Ah, but the state of your walls says a lot about how you’ve looked after your property and maintained it. That’s going to have an impact on how much people are willing to spend I promise you that. So, rather than not bothering about the walls, choose the simple option. Paint them all cream and that way you’ll have a clean canvas for a potential buyer.



Small Fixes


If you go and view a property, you might be surprised how fast buyers are trying to explain little breakages. Something as small as a wheel on a shower door being loose leads to a ten-minute conversation. You won’t have asked about it, but the seller is already trying to convince you it will be fixed before the sale. They know it’s these little things that will sway a buyer. That’s why you have to make sure you get all those little things fixed. Even the details you don’t think a buyer will notice. You might think buyers won’t try taps in front of you. But I bet they do. They want to make sure everything is working properly. So if you do have a poor valve get it replaced with a cpvc ball valve.



Clean It Up


You better make sure your home is clean before you try and sell it. In fact, you should be vacuuming and polishing after every viewing. As well as this, you need to make sure that your home doesn’t look or feel cluttered. Don’t forget that clutter will make a home seem smaller and that’s the last thing you want. If you’re struggling to get rid of the clutter, try a minimalist design. With this design, you limit the number of items in each room of the home. It’s an easy way to ensure that it looks clean and clear.


I hope you find this advice helpful. Make sure you take note of these details, and you’ll have no trouble selling your home for the best price.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Homemade Apple Pie-Easy As Pie! #Recipe

Have you ever wondered where the term "easy as pie" came from? To many people it may seem like an odd phrase, because let's be honest, many people prefer the ease of popping a frozen pie in the oven for an hour, or picking one up at their local grocery store. The phrase actually came not from the pie preparation though, but from the consumption, and is used to describe a task that is simple and pleasurable. I'm sure we would all agree, eating pie is both simple and pleasurable! Recently I was asked to make an apple pie for someone who doesn't bake, but wanted to taste a homemade pie. Of course I gladly obliged, and took pictures of each step so I could be sure to share it with our readers. This will take you a little longer than running to Perkins or putting that Sara Lee in the oven, but be assured it is well worth the extra effort. The taste of homemade apple pie can not be beat!


Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups Flour plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1 tablespoon Sugar plus 1/2 cup
3/4 teaspoon Salt plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup Unsalted Butter, cold
4-6 tablespoons Ice Water
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Milk
6 large Apples (Granny Smith & Fuji)
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Cinnamon, divided
6 tablespoons Butter

Directions:
Combine 2-1/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Dice 1 cup butter into small cubes, cut into flour mix with pastry blender. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Separate into two balls, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.




To make the filling, peel, core and slice apples into 1/4 inch slices. Toss in a large bowl with lemon juice, cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.


On a floured surface, roll out one ball to a 12" circle, place into 9" pie plate and trim edges.


Pour filling into the crust (this will seem a little full), and top with 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes. Roll out second ball of dough to 12" circle and place on top of the filling. Trim edges and press crusts together to seal. Stir milk and egg together, brush over top of pie crust and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (if desired). Cut a few slits in the top to vent.



Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake for approximately one hour. Let cool at least one hour before serving.


So there you go, next time you're craving some apple pie a la mode, don't buy that frozen tasteless pastry at the grocery store. Instead make your own and savor the taste of cinnamon, sugar and apples baked together in a flaky cinnamon crust!