Monthly Archives: July 2014

How to Sleep When it’s Too Hot

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

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The 1970’S – How did we communicate?

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?

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A Pantry Makeover

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

chalk

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.

rack

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

spices

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!

divider

Enjoy the project , and send pictures!!

 

 

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Summer Cocktails

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.

lines

LimeMargarita
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.

mint

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

cukes

 carpe-diem
 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.
 tiki-tai
 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.
 pink
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.
 daquiri
 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.
 sangria
 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.

 cool-blue
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