Yesterday my husband and I tackled a job that many people do not even think about. However it is one that is imperative that you do. This could save your home and/or a life.
Yes, you guessed it we cleaned the dryer vent. This is one of the most overlooked chores there is. Probably because it is such a pain to do. That being said it is also one of the easiest jobs to do. If you really can't do this your self then find someone that can do it for you. It is that important.
Think about, each time you dry a load of clothes you clean the lint trap. That lint trap does not get everything. As a matter of fact, it catches very little. You now have all that fuzz going down into the dryer exhaust pipe. It is damp and therefore sticks to the sides of the pipe. Every time you dry another load more and more lint is going into that pipe and building up. It begins to take longer for you clothes to dry, you don't even notice because it is just a little longer. Eventually that pipe will completely clog and one day will spark a fire.
According to FEMA there are 2,900 fires from clothes dryers every year. Those fires result in 5 deaths, 100 injuries and million in property loss. You don't wan to be one of those statistics. And this is the time of year when most of these fires occur, now is the time to do it.
So here is what we did:
We turned the dryer on, We taped a big round brush to the end of a pole and ran this all around the exhaust pipe and pulled it out. We did this about 5 times. We have a rather long pipe so we had to keep adding to our pole. We used a fishing pole (not one for catching fish but one for fishing wires in hard to reach places). We wanted to get right to the bend in the pipe so we attached a broom handle to the end of that. After we felt we had this area cleaned, we moved into the house and the area behind the dryer. We moved the dryer from the wall and took off the pipe that is attached to the dryer. We cleaned this in much the same way that we did the outside pipe. Take care not to puncture this vent pipe. If you do then you can patch it with duct tape. (how do I know this, well we did it). We also took the attachments off the vacuum and vacuumed as far down the pipe as possible. We also vacuumed all around the dryer making sure to pick up any fuzz that came out as we were working. Once this was done we reattached the exhaust with duct tape and turned the dryer back on. We then went back outside and pulled the fuzz that came out of the pipe and ran our brush back through the pipe one more time.
This really is very simple it just takes a little time.
We probably do this every 6 months or so. Please consider doing this if you have not.
Oh yea, remember to clean that lint trap after every load!!!
To learn more about clothes dryer maintanence and safety go to FEMA's web site at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html
The entryway is the first thing your guests see when they enter you home. I like to make an impression here. I use the same garland that I use throughout the house. I run the garland from the balcony to the floor. This is very time consuming and very heavy. I use extra large plastic ties to keep it on the rails. I also use three per side. As each side is 3 pieces of garland I separate it into two pieces so that they can be plug into separate outlets and it also makes it much easier to handle. I also have one of my three life size Santa's in the entryway. There will eventually be a Christmas tree in the middle but we don't put that tree up until the day after Thanksgiving. The only thing that I leave until that late.
The holiday decorating is coming along. I like to have a few surprises in my decorating. This year I thought that elves would be the thing. I have sprinkled elves throughout the living area. My husband never even noticed them. Not saying they were hard to find, they were right our at eye level, just saying he may be a little blind. This wasn't hard to do. I wanted to attach them to the poles in the living room and put another one somewhere you wouldn't expect it. I first tied fishing line around the top of the pole, where there are rings, then I positioned my elf and tied the fishing line around him and secured to the pole. It was surprisingly easy to get him the way I wanted. The one on the light was just as easy. Because this light had a wide top I let him sit on the light and just tied him to the cord that comes down. A note on the elf at the light, never leave the light on for extended periods of time or when no one is home. I wouldn't want to take the chance that it would start a fire. #thebellyoftheem
I feel like I am behind in decorating already. I lost 2 days to an ear infection that kept me from doing anything. Now that that is better I have decorated the two fireplaces. I love these garlands that I use but they can be a pain. the lights were not working on one of the garlands so I had to take the old lights off and restring new lights. I just did this a couple of years ago so I should not have had to redo them again, but what can you do. I also added a few touches to the mantels. A Santa on each and some light up presents on one and light up trees on the others. Very full but not over done I think.
I still have so much to do. I will be tackling the banisters and the balcony next. The balcony is the hardest as the garland is the heaviest and largest to work with.
November 1st is here and in my book that means the start of the holiday season. Retail stores have been loading up on holiday decorations for some time now, so now it's my turn. Today I started! I am starting slow as I always do (ok, not always). My husband does not like this happening this early. I am betting he won't even notice what I did today. Tomorrow will be a different matter.
I thought I would start in the kitchen. I have high ceilings and even with the over-sized cabinets there is still plenty of room above them for some decorating. This year I have had to switch where I normally place my large garland and I thought this would be a great place for some garland. It will even give off a little light (that is the best part).
I put the lights on a timer so they will come on automatically each evening (and morning).
We had a hard frost last night so that means today I have to cut down the elephant ears and banana trees. I really hate to have to do that as they are so nice. The elephant ears are enormous this year. But I know that next year they will be just as nice. I am going to concentrate on the elephant ears here.
Of course, I didn't remember to take any picture of them before I cut them down, but did find a photo of them coming up in the spring from a few years ago.
These are really nice plants. they grown in almost any conditions but are tropical so they either need to be brought in or the bulbs harvested in the fall.
This spring I planted 4 bulbs and today I harvested about 16 - 20 bulbs. Once you get one plant you should never need to buy another one again. I purchased my plant as a house plant many years ago. I found that after several years in the pot and several re-poting they just were not looking great. So one year I decided to plant them directly in the ground. Wow, what a difference that made and now I am overrun with them.
So as I mentioned at the beginning, we had a frost last night. I could have left the plants for a few days but I like to make sure they are healthy when I take them in. This is really easy and doesn't take long.
The first think I did was cut down all the growth. This just makes it easier to handle everything. You are going to cut all the stalk off anyway so you don't want to deal with this. I used a hack saw as the stems are thick but not hard to do. They are mostly water. Next I dug up the bulbs. Don't worry when doing this that you will cut some roots or the bulbs themselves. You are going to cut all the roots off anyway and separate the bulbs so they will have to break. This does not hurt them at all. After I had the bulbs out I cut all the short roots, cut any stems remaining and separated as many of the individual bulbs as possible. Of course, make sure you get as much dirt out from around the bulbs as possible. You don't want that. Then package them in a sturdy box or some sort of container and store in a cool (not cold do not let them freeze, also not warm you don't want them to sprout) place for the winter. In the spring, after the soil has warmed just replant the bulbs. You could also package some of them in burlap fabric and put them in a gift bag or box and give them as Christmas presents. Certainly you will have many more than you stated with, so give as many away as you like.
This is what they look like when you dig them up. Sometime there will be bulbs that seperate from the main mass.
All these little roots need to be cut off. Don't worry it will not hurt the bulbs.
I am cutting any additional stalk off the bulb. This is going to dry up anyway and just takes up space in the storage container. You can see that I don't have much left of an individual bulb. You will have some that are much larger than this.
By now you have figured out that I am not a professional blogger. I don't remember to take pictures that might go along with what I want to talk about (unless it is of Em). So why would today be any different? It's not!
Before I get started I want to mention that I have not been offered or taken any compensation for the products that I am discussing. I don't want anyone to thing this is an advertisement for any company, it is not. If I have not used a product and loved it I will not recommend it.
The other day, I was having a conversation with my mom and she mentioned how clear my skin is. After thinking about it, I thought I should share how I keep my skin so clear. She wanted to know so maybe others might want to know too.
Just so you don't misunderstand, I am 55 years old. My skin has not always been this clear. I had a bunch of dark spots and still do but they are much less pronounced. I also noticed that I was getting those dreaded fine lines.
I have always said that I will not age gracefully. I am going to fight it kicking and screaming. So I searched products that would diminish those spots and lines. I have tried numerous products and some work but not well. Until I found the one product that I just love.
This product is great, it only takes a few minutes once a week. Don't think that by using this that you will magically have clear skin, you won't. There are some things that you absolutely have to do. The most important is sunscreen. A sunscreen that is specially formulated for your face. You can use any type you like . I use Revision Skincare Itellishade Original antiaging tinted moisture with sunscreen. I love this product it goes on smooth, is a moisturizer built in (saves a step), a the tint is great (some days I skip foundation). This is not the main product I want to introduce you to though.
The main product is PMD Personal Microderm. It is a small handheld device. There are a number of grinding heads (that sounds so harsh) that you work your way up to the highest. It does not hurt, sometimes I feel a little tingling afterwards but nothing much. It is so easy to use, I wish I could figure out a way to do a video while I am using it. I am sure I will eventually figure it out. Once I do I will post it for everyone. I use this once a week and it has really made a difference. Also after using this device any products you use absorbs so much better (hint moisturizer and sunscreen).
The companies web site has how-to videos and lots of information about the product.
A few days ago I picked apples. When I go to those pick your own places I find that I pick way more than I need. Well indeed that is what happened the other day. So what to do with all those apple? I knew I wanted to make a pie. I bake lots of things but don't do pies but when you have apples what are you suppose to do. Pies do not take a lot of apples so I still had a lot of apples left. I decided to make applesauce and can it in my pressure canner. I decided on applesauce because it doesn't seem very desserty (a new word) and it is really easy.
I don't make many pies so I make this as easy on my self as possible. I have two worries when making pies, is the crust going to be to tough and will the pie be watery. My solution for the crust is to use premade crust. It saves time and no worries about bad crust. Frankly, why not use premade items if it make sense for you. I feel no shame at all. If you are worried about a watery filling just put in a little corn starch in the filling. That helps to thicken it up. I didn't use the corn starch for the apple pie though. So here is my pie recipe which I will also post in my recipe section.
1 box refrigerated pie crust (it should have 2 crusts in and you will need both)
3 - 4 apples of your choice. I used Stamen as that was what was in season but there are a lot of other varieties that work great.
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Take crust out of fridge and let sit while you are peeling and cutting the apples.
Peel, core, and slice apples
Combines 3/4 cup sugar and one tsp of cinnamon together
sprinkle sugar mix over the apples and tossed
Dump apple mix in in the pie shell
Top with a few dabs of butter on top of apples (you don't need to use much)
Place the top crust on, cut slits to let the moisture escape
Bake for 1 hour at 425.
This is even easier than the pie (no crust) There are a ton a applesauce recipes out there and they are all about the same. I just threw the basic ingredients together don't worry to much about the amounts. If you want to jazz it up you can add ingredients like cranberries of other seasonings.
12 - 14 Apples* (you can mix varieties)
3/4 cup sugar (you may want more sugar depending on your tastes)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup apple cider (canuse water if you don't have cider)
Peel and chop the apples (a rough chop is good enough).
Throw them in a large pot
Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and apple cider
Cook until softened
Mash with an immersion blender or food processor until you get the consistency you like.
* if you don't have that many apples just reduce the amount of sugar and cinnamon to coincide with what you have.
After that I followed my local extension service recommendations of processing times for canning. It was really that simple. You don't have to be exact about the amount of sugar or cinnamon for either of these recipes.