How to Sleep When it’s Too Hot

July 25th, 2014

The glorious summer days always come with a downside-hot nights that make it unbearable to sleep. Sleeping when it’s too hot outside without any air conditioner can be quite difficult. Of course it takes longer to fall asleep on a hot night and when you actually do, all the tossing and turning makes it hard to stay asleep. It’s when insomnia kicks in. While air conditioning might be a common solution to hot nights, it jacks up the electrical bills. Fortunately, there are other ways to cool off for the night…

  1. Increasing air circulation

windowThis can be done by opening all the windows facing different directions or setting up a fan. Increasing circulation will help you remain cooler as the warn air will carry away excess heat from your warmer body.

  1. Get loose

Instead of sleeping nude, which many people believe helps them cool off quickly, wear your lightest pajamas-most preferably those made out of loose, soft cotton.

  1. Be a loner

Unfortunately for lovebirds, sleeping alone is one of many ways to stay cool. Cuddling with a partner is without a doubt comfortable but on the downside, it will most definitely increase body heat making it even more uncomfortable sleeping through the night.

  1. Stay hydrated

A glass of water a day sure keeps insomnia away! Drink a glass of water before going to bed. Tossing, sweating and turning in bed cause dehydration and increases body heat. However, water has a surprising cooling effect.

  1. Take a cold shower

bamboo-matThere is nothing more refreshing than a cold shower in the summer heat. It gives a new meaning to cold and clean. It will help you stay surprisingly relaxed and keep the heat away.

  1. Go rustic

Trade your very comfortable mattress for a straw or a bamboo mat. Of course, all-natural sleeping surfaces are less comfortable but unlike comfy mattresses, they do not retain a lot of heat.

  1. Use Ice

Place a very large container filled with ice in front of your fan. The fan will push the cool air around and this can actually make a big difference.

Other ways to remain cool involve using a cool, damp cloth on your feet and your head as those are the places that mostly affect your body temperature, and building a solar air conditioner, see below.

During the day, keep the windows and shades completely closed. Contrary to what people believe about opening windows, keeping them closed during the day helps in reducing the overall room temperature.

Try these tips and tricks and you will be pleasantly surprised about how easy it is to enjoy sleep, any day, every day.


~Guest Blogger Louisa

The 1970’S – How did we communicate?

July 18th, 2014

Leaving the sixties behind.

The 1970’s are famous for bell-bottom trousers and the rise of the insanely popular disco dancing. It was also the time when the sensational TV series about rich people behaving badly, ‘Dallas’ and ‘Dynasty’ were launched. The Rambo action films which became something of a cult, also made an appearance.

Richard Nixon, the first and so far only American president to resign from office, stepped down in 1974, thanks to the Watergate scandal.

During the seventies, the US economy went in a recession as interest rates and inflation rose to new highs. Because of Middle East tensions, there was a shortage of imported oil, which had the potential to lead to drama on the highways and byways!

The sixties were full of hippies and protestors, and hippie fashions and values had a major effect on the culture of the time. Hippie culture has never died out completely, but by the mid-seventies it was no longer as prominent.

The civil rights, women’s rights and gay activists who campaigned throughout the sixties, also saw real progress towards their goals as the sixties were left behind, and we moved on into the seventies.

Communication in the seventies.

Long before the rise of the internet and all the current social media platforms, people found some innovative ways to use technology to communicate with each other. An early example of this is a long distance marriage ceremony conducted over the telegraph. With the bride in Boston and the groom in New York, telegraph operators transmitted the couple’s vows and the words of the magistrate performing the ceremony, over the wires. This took place in 1849 and was certainly the world’s first ever electronic network connecting people in an intimate way!

Here are some popular means of communication used in the decade of the 1970’s.

  • Letters. People wrote letters to each other, even when they lived in the same city or town. They wrote full words and sentences, without current abbreviations such as OMG or LOL! The post office was fantastic and mail was delivered within a day or two of sending it.
  • Telephone. There were no mobile phones, so callers used landlines and answering machines. But the push-button phone came into vogue in the ’70′s, very stylish!
  • Telex and telegram. These were used for urgent messages.
  • Fax machine. The arrival of the fax machine in 1973 revolutionised electronic communication services. Similar to the e mail of today, delivery was immediate. It was touted by some as being the eighth wonder of the world!
  • Typewriters. Those clanky old machines were the high-tech business machine of the decade. Away with the manual typewriters, in with electric ones! It was a big advance.
  • Computers. There were personal computers in the 1970′s, and even modems for communication, usually on “Bulletin Boards”. It could take ten minutes for your modem to transfer a comment from your computer to a board, so patience was a virtue.
  • Of course, people still visited family and friends, to impart news face to face!

A magical time!

The seventies was indeed a magical period. It  led us into the awesome technological advances of the next 20 years.

The communication wheel has certainly turned since the lazy, uncomplicated days of communicating with people in the seventies. Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

A Pantry Makeover

July 11th, 2014

Is your pantry a  mess like mine is? Then you’ll want to keep reading, as I give you ten tips for a pantry makeover that will leave your pantry fresh and organized.

1. Some people like these cool baskets, but I find they become a repository for all kinds of junk. I suggest getting at least a couple of bottle baskets (shown on the right), which have dividers to separate and organize your stuff.

basketbottle basket


2. Color! To make your pantry fun and fabulous, pick a  color and paint the shelves, then apply a vinyl backing to the wall behind the shelves to make it pop. (or vice-versa- the vinyl on the shelves and paintspice on the back!)

3. If you can afford it, buy some airtight containers. You can store rice, couscous, grains, sugar, cereals and so much more, and they’ll stay fresh. You can even write cooking instructions on the containers,  taping on  a piece of paper or typing up a large label. Or cut the cooking instructions off the bag and tape it on. Look for them at garage sales or dollar stores as well.

4. Arrange items so like is by like. Have part of a shelf with flours, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, brown sugar and vanilla for those baking days.  Put all the canned goods together, and all the spices on one shelf. Extra drinks such as soda, water bottles and flavored mixes can go together, as can crackers, cookies and other snacks.

5. Are you like me, with a ton of spices, none of which you want to give up? Or do you have just a few old favorites you keep by the stove? If you’re a spice maniac like me, here are a couple of ideas for organizing them so you can see them all.

a. Find a lot of little jars that will for into a drawer. Fill the jars with your various spices and label the tops. The excess can go into the freezer, where the spices will keep quite well. Here’s a wonderful, clever way to do this: Chalkboard spice jars


b. If you have a little bit of carpentry skill, you can make a spice rack for a shelf. This will work really well on your pantry shelf.


c. A lot of people like the tiny magnetic spice jars.


6. Put rarely used items on the top shelf. But only if they’re light, you don’t want  a creuset in the head. :) Put buckets, sponges, plastic basins, platters you only use once ins a while, and.. let’s be honest… the quinoa you may never cook again.

7.  Don’t make your shelves too deep, or you’ll lose the stuff in the back. This may seem really obvious, but put taller stuff in the back, shorter items near the front.

8. Use the back of your pantry door if you have one.  Buy an over the door storage rack.

9. Leave the bottom shelf deep, so you can store those kitchen things you don’t use often but are too heavy for the top shelf. Think deep-fryer, juicer, toaster oven, turkey roaster..

10. Finally, get a cookie sheet organizer, and stand those sheets and cutting boards upright for easier access!


Enjoy the project , and send pictures!!



Summer Cocktails

July 4th, 2014

Before you begin making cocktails at home, check into this cocktail-making guide. It will tell you everything you need to know to make restaurant quality cocktails at home. Now, you’re ready to make these amazingly refreshing 8 summer cocktails.

Margarita: Of course you’ll want to start with a blended Margarita, the quintessential summer drink.

Almost every recipe out there is wrong. This Margarita recipe is almost perfect, except the secret ingredient is to add a splash of orange juice. Now the secret’s out.


Mojito: The classic and very refreshing drink from Cuba is easy to make.
Take 12 fresh mint leaves, drop them into a tall, heavy glass, and “Muddle” them. (Wish you’d read that ‘making cocktails’ article I  mentioned now, don’t you?) That just means squishing them around until they release their oils.Then add juice from 1 lime, 2 Tbsp of simple syrup, add 1½ oz white rum, stir, then add  about a cup of ice.
Fill the glass with cold soda water and stir. Add small sprigs of mint as a garnish.


 Carpe Diem: It’s Latin for “Seize the Day”, and this drink will definitely grab you.Thanks to Gourmet Traveler Magazine for the recipe.


 Tiki Tai: Slightly spicy, orange-flavored, and deceptively strong, this refreshing summer cocktail is exotic and fabulous.2 oz Bacardi Spiced Rum
1 oz Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 oz lime juice
1 oz agave nectar
1 ½ oz orange juice
2 dashes of Angostura bittersDirections: Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour into 2 tall glasses filled with ice. Add orange wedges. Serves 1.
 Pink Firework Lemonade2 oz Vodka
2 oz Fresh Lemon Sour
1 oz Cranberry Juice
2 Maraschino Cherries
3 oz SodaInstructionsPour all ingredients except soda into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour into 2 tall glasses filled with ice. Serves 2.
Watermelon Daiquiri: That old fashioned daiquiri is passé. Now watermelon makes it exciting!3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
Half of a container of frozen limeade  concentrate, thawed
2 oz light rum
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 cups ice cubesIn a blender combine the 3 cups fruit, the limeade concentrate, rum, and powdered sugar. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour over a glass of ice. Serves 2.
 White Sangria: 
3 bottles dry white Spanish wine
1 cup brandy
¾ cup simple syrup
¾ cup Triple Sec
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
3 oranges, thinly sliced
4 fresh ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
IceIn a 2-gallon container, stir together the first four ingredients. Add apple, lemon, orange, and peach slices. Refrigerate for 2 hours; serve over ice.
 Cool Blue Hawaiian: 3 oz light rum
2 oz blue Curaçao
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup  canned cream of coconut
3 cups ice cubes

Blend everything in a blender until smooth

Garnish with a a pineapple wedge or a Maraschino cherry.


15 Fun Indoor Activities for Summer

June 27th, 2014

Sometimes there’s just a day in the summer, whether it’s rainy, too hot or just a day you’d rather stay indoors. On those days, you want somethign interesting to do. Here are 15 fabulous ideas! Some of them would be fun to do with a child or grandchild, others would be a blast with a friend, and some would be fun to do by yourself. Enjoy!

1. Beach in a jar.beach-jar

Find Directions at:

2. Duct Tape Beach Bag.duct-tape

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3. Make a

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4. Beach Ball Lanternbeach ball 2

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5. Olive Oil Candleolive-oil-candle

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6. Fabric Bowls:paper-bow;

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7. Bird Nest Helper: bird-nest-helper

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8. Jersey Knit Bracelet: bracelet

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9. Amazing Nails: nails

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10. Pool Noodle Horses.pool-nood;e

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11. Make slushies without blender.slushy 4

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12. Colorful Ice Experiment. melting-ice

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13. Learn to Crochet.learn-crochet

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14. Mason Jar Terrarium.terrarium

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15. Make a beautiful necklace.necklace

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9 Popular Deck and Backyard Summer Decorations

June 20th, 2014

Summer is back, thank God. It’s time to soak in the warmth and light of the beautiful season one more time. You could literally live on the porch. Or lounge all day in the backyard.

Summer is the season to spend time away from the house even when you are at home. The porch, deck or backyard is where home is. Which is why sprucing up the place with summer decorations is part of the season’s indulgence – especially if you are expecting guests.

Creative Summer Decoration Ideas

flowers in basket on terraceBut summer decorations can be a pain too. It can get tedious and so not creative. Not to worry. To ease your day, here’s our take of the 9 most popular summer decorations ideas from across the world:

  • Use Plants: Plants are nature’s best summer decoration. If you do not already have perennial flowering plants exploding with life and color in the yard, get some. Pick out a few potted plants too for the porch.


  • Get creative with the lighting: Nights out in the outdoor space becomes more magical under some creative lighting. Like hanging Decorative christmas lights for a back yard partylanterns or strings of lights along the perimeter.  Or tiki torches or special colored candles in jars.


  • BBQ: Must have. It’s not summer until some grilling happens.


  • Fix things: A new coat of paint on outdoor furniture and maybe new cushions will give the place a feel of newness.


  • Add some shade: Everyone loves summer because of the sun, and everyone wants some shade somewhere along the day. Even at night, it does feel better to while away the hours under an awning or table umbrella.


  • Garden furnitureArrange things properly: Make sure every activity area, seats and props are arranged so that no one has their back to the rest.  Human beings relax and interact best when they can see everyone around them.


  • Put up a fireplace: If you can, get a fire place set up in the yard. The ancestors in all of us can still not resists a session of happy mingling and chatting around a fire.


  • Get stuff for Kids to do: if kids will be part of summer proceedings, get them something to burn out their energy. Like a makeshift bowling setup of plastic bottles filled with water and a few balls. Or a tambourine and swings.


  • Have a back-up Plan:  Summer decorations have a way of testing your temper. Light bulbs fail, candles break, cushions get soaked with drink. Get extra supplies of everything that can be stored.

Enjoy your summer!

Jonah, guest blogger

Decorating Ideas for Your Fourth of July Party

June 13th, 2014

When Betsy Ross added the last stitch to the American flag, she must have been pretty pleased with her masterpiece. Her hand-crafted flag featured 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars arranged in a circle on a blue background. These patterns were symbolic of the 13 colonies united in a cause for freedom.

She presented the flag to General George Washington. And she earned her mark in history for creating “Old Glory” and all it represents. Now 238 years later, the red, white, and blue colors of the flag are synonymous with the Fourth of July Celebration and America’s patriotic spirit.

If you’re in charge of a Fourth of July party this year, incorporating a red, white, and blue theme, and other symbols that represent the United States in creative ways can be a fun way to celebrate American’s birthday. And there are some fun and easy ways you can do this. Check out these Fourth of July decorations and creations to celebrate this national holiday:


Patriotic Watermelon Fruit Bowl
If you’re expecting friends and family for a Fourth of July picnic or backyard barbecue, hot dogs and hamburgers are probably going to be on the menu. Along with the chips, beans, salads, and snacks, you can balance the meal by adding fruit. Check out this easy-to-make patriotic fruit bowl using a watermelon and a couple of mini-decorative flags. And if you’re pressed for time or don’t want to mess with cooking, you can serve your guests healthy and tasty meals from



Red, White, and Blue Pinwheels
The Fourth of July is a cheery day when family and friends get together. Cities and towns across American hold parades, and there are thousands of fireworks displays across the country. You can add your own flavor of fun to the Independence Day celebration by making these red, white, and blue pinwheels. You can put them in your flowerbed, put them on your table in a jar, or give them to kids to have some fun with. And if you’re in a parade, add these patriotic pinwheels to your car or bike, or carry along with you as you walk the route.


july4Centerpieces for the Celebration
If you’re planning to gather around your dining room table at home, or take over a picnic table at a park or camping area, decorating your table with a patriotic centerpiece can help you enjoy the Fourth of July Celebration. And you don’t need to be a decorating maven to be creative. Check out these cute and clever ideas like an edible flag made from cupcakes, fruit skewers of banana slices, strawberries, and blueberries arranged in the design of the American flag, hand-crafted paper rockets, and more.

Use these ideas or come up with your own to decorate for the Fourth of July. A little patriotic spirit and a flair of red, white, and blue will dress up your celebration and would make Betsy Ross proud.

What are Cucumbers Good for Besides Salads?

June 6th, 2014

cukeI love cucumbers, they’re refreshing and delicious, especially in a salad, and are equally  good with vinegar or a creamy blue cheese dressing. But did you know that the humble cucumber is good for many other things besides eating? Here’s a list.

1. Rest your eyes -  Laying two slices of cold cucumber on your eyes and resting for 20 minutes reduces bags and puffiness, and just feels good!

2. Hangover remedy – but you have to do it the night before! One cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. Eating a few slices before going to bed ensures you’ll wake up hangover-free! (Drinking a couple of glasses of water will help, too)

3. Clean Mirrors -  Rub a cucumber slice over your mirror before showering, and the mirror won’t fog up!

4. Cellulite remover – OK, we’re not convinced on this one, but we’ll give a $50 gift certificate to any of our customers who try this and can get us before and after pix. Rub cucumber over areas with cellulite before you go out, and the appearance of cellulite will diminish. Rub for a few minutes.

5. Stave off Hunger – Cucumbers are surprisingly filling. Take a few to work to stave off those afternoon snack cravings. It’s better not to slice them before putting in baggies, and definitely don’t salt them first. Try those crunchy and delicious Persian cucumbers, they’re wonderful to eat out of hand.

6. Fix a squeaky hinge – Rub a cucumber slice over a squeaky hinge, and presto! No more squeak!

7. Pest Free Garden – A few slices of cucumber in an aluminum plate gets rid of grubs, slugs and other pests. The cucumber reacts with the aluminum to create a scent that drives pests away.

8. Anti-stress Cucumber Steam Treatment – put a sliced whole cucumber in boiling water. Then pour into a container you can use to put your face over to get the benefit of the steam. The aroma is said to be stress-relieving, and the steam is good for you skin.

9. Get rid of bad breath -  Hold a slice of cucumber against the roof of your mouth for about 30 seconds, then discard.

10. Clean Stainless Steel – Cucumber can help remove stubborn stains and tarnish from stainless steel. Just rub a cucumber slice across the stainless steel, then buff with a soft cloth!

The wonderful cucumber, who knew it could do so much!

Melody, blogger

Clear the Clutter!

May 30th, 2014

Goodbye to the winter blues!

flowersThe sun is warm, there are leaves on the trees and flowers are blooming. Spring has sprung and it seems that the earth is alive again. A young man’s fancy may be turning to love, but you, as a homemaker, will be entertaining thoughts of renewing your home.

Spring cleaning is a tradition which has been adopted all over the world as an opportunity to clean every corner of the house before the hectic summer season is in full swing. This practice is especially predominant in areas where winters are very cold and much time has to be spent indoors.

With the chance to once again enjoy going outdoors, comes the desire to clear the home of accumulated winter grime and clutter.

Make a list, rope in family members to help, and let the spring cleaning begin!

Where to start.

  • A good idea is to begin by clearing clutter from the rooms, bathroom and kitchen included, that you intend to tackle.
  • Make sure your vacuum cleaner is in good order.
  • Gather all the cleaning materials and equipment you will need. Also make certain you have a step ladder available, as well as a dusting mop with a long handle for all the high corners.
  • Wash all the loose rugs and spot clean the carpets before moving into individual rooms
  • Wash or launder drapes and blinds.
  • Clean all the light fittings and the blades of ceiling fans

A few more useful hints.

  • Bcleaningathroom. Use an alkaline cleaner such as a solution of baking soda and water to wash down medicine cabinets, linen cupboards, wash basins and fixtures. You can also use bleach for cleaning as it will dissolve acid build up on surfaces, including mirrors. Thoroughly clean the bath, shower, toilet and all the tiles.
  • Kitchen. Make certain all the clutter is removed from cupboard tops etc, and that all the dishes are washed and packed away. Clean the outside and inside of cupboards with a good detergent, as well as the tiles and walls where needed. Dust the ceilings and high corners. Give the stove, oven, freezer and refrigerator an extra special clean. Make sure the sink and fixtures are free of grime and acid build-up.
  • Living rooms. Move and vacuum all upholstered furniture. Wipe lamps and light fittings with a damp cloth, clean window sills and inside of windows and sliding doors. Spot clean and vacuum carpets. Oil or polish wooden furniture.

Remove all the books from the bookshelves and wipe dust off the covers, properly clean the shelves with a cloth. Dust TV screens and entertainment appliances, move them if you can and wipe dusty area underneath.

  • Bedrooms. Wash down the cupboards, inside and out. Dust in the high corners with the long-handled dust mop, clean window sills etc. Vacuum the mattresses and launder all the bedding. Open windows on a daily basis to keep bedrooms well-aired.

When you have cleared clutter from the house, don’t just leave it packed into the garage.  The garage will also need clearing, so dump what is really no good to anyone, and organize a garage sale to get rid of the items you no longer have any use for.

Here’s a little appropriate music, Fats Waller’s Spring Cleaning!

Happy Cleaning!

Heather, Guest Blogger

Don’t Put Father’s Day off to the Last Minute!

May 23rd, 2014

What is Father’s Day all about?

father1Father’s day, celebrated worldwide – usually on the third Sunday in June – is an occasion to recognize the contribution fathers, or father figures, have made in the lives of their families.

Father’s Day originated in the US, where it was founded by Sonora Smart in 1910, to honor her father who, after his wife died, single-handedly raised his six children, including a new born baby! It was, however, only in the 1930’s that it really took off, attracting attention at a national level.

Much later, in 1972, President Nixon signed Father’s Day into law, officially making the third Sunday in June a permanent national holiday honoring fathers, fatherhood and the influence of fathers in society.

From humble beginnings in Spokane, Washington, Father’s Day has grown into a global celebration to appreciate and commemorate our dads.

What do people do on Father’s Day?

Father’s day is an opportunity for you to express appreciation to your own father for what he means to your life. For those who do not have a father, you can honor the father figures in your extended family such as stepfathers, fathers-in-law and grandfathers.

Many people give cards and gifts to their fathers. Some popular gifts include clothing, sports items, gadgets, tools or toiletries such as after shave lotion and cologne.

Many families have a party and invite friends and extended family to join them. In this way, fathers who might be away from their own family on the special day can join in the celebrations.

Why dads are so important to us.

father2A father’s love is just as important to the development of a child as a mother’s love is. Although we live in an age of fantastic technological advances, it still takes a male and a female to create a baby! The presence of a father impacts favorably on a child’s sense of well-being and adds to general good emotional and physical health.

Whoever is considered to be the more important, moms or dads, is not the issue as both have a specific role to play. The more involved a father can be in the care of his children, the more the whole family will benefit. Dads really need to be there as the kids grow and develop.

Cherish your father on this special day.

Some dads are just not into hectic parties or major family outings. Some fathers may want to relax and spend some quality time chilling with their nearest and dearest. This could result in you feeling that you ought to cook up a storm in the kitchen so that everyone gets fed. But being in the kitchen will take a big chunk out of your interaction time with the family.

There is another way to make certain that the family gets well fed, and it’s easy and fun! More importantly,  you do not lose out on any quality time.

Go to

Treat your dad, in fact the whole family on this Father’s Day.

Log onto for more info and menu options.

Heather, Guest Blogger