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How to Set Up a Single Parent Home

The unthinkable has happened. Whether through death, divorce, or separation, you’ve become a single parent. From now on, for the foreseeable future, it will be your children and you against the world.

Along with the other adjustments you’re making, you should rearrange your living space to accommodate your new family structure. A little planning now can make life easier for you and more pleasant for everyone in the household in the challenging months ahead.

The pleasant part of this operation will be that you, as the sole adult in the exercise, will be the boss. You can set things up according to your preferences, to make your life easier. You’ll be assuming extra responsibilities in the days ahead, and time-consuming housekeeping chores should not be a high-priority.

Let’s consider a room-by-room makeover. Changes don’t have to be all made at once, but if you have a final outcome in mind, you can take small steps toward its fulfilment as financing and opportunity become available.

Your bedroom: this is going to be your refuge, your retreat from the hustle and bustle of the world and from the challenges of your new life. It should be decorated in your favourite colours and as comfortable and welcoming as you can make it. Nice to have: a phone, a TV, good books, lots of pillows and whatever else will help you relax. You should have a desk or table where you can keep important papers, records, pay bills, and take care of correspondence.

The children’s rooms: they should choose the colour schemes. There should be a desk for each one to do homework, lots of shelving to make tidying up easier, and a laundry hamper for each child to deposit his dirty clothes. If the child is old enough, he should be responsible for keeping his own space tidy.

When the child can read, it’s helpful to label dresser drawers with what goes into them. Then, they can put their own laundry away.

If children must share a bedroom, they will have to agree on a colour scheme and present you with their decision. They should also have input into how the furniture is arranged. They will be jointly responsible for keeping the area tidy.

Kitchen: meals may be less regulated than before in your former well-ordered life, and that’s OK.

How to Quickly Clear Out Kitchen Smoke from Your Home


Few things are more smelly than a kitchen that has filled up with smoke due to a stove top spill or unattended cooking. Burned food odors can linger in the air for days, and can permeate into the walls and your furniture if not dealt with right away. Getting rid of kitchen smoke is surprisingly easier than you you might think. All it takes is a little fast thinking and these helpful tips:

Get rid of the smoking food immediately

When we burn something in a saucepan or in a frying pan, our instinct is to quickly fill up the pan with water to stop the smoking. In doing this, we are actually putting more smoke into the air.

The best approach is to get rid of the smoking food or pans immediately by tossing them into the oven. The sealed environment of the oven will put out the fire, and keep the smoke contained. Keeping the item in the oven for at least 15-30 minutes gives the smoke particulates enough time to settle to the bottom of the oven, where they can be wiped up with a damp rag. Be extra cautious that you don’t burn yourself when grabbing the pot, as they tend to be very hot when there’s little inside to dissipate the heat, especially if you have a gas range.

Stop the moment of air

After the smoking food or pans have been placed in the oven, the next step is to stop the flow of air through your house.

In a home that is old and drafty, shutting the door will keep the smoke in the kitchen. If your home is newer or has central air or heating, the furnace/AC should be turned off. By turning off the furnace/air conditioning unit and or blower fan, the smoke is contained in the kitchen instead of circulating through the rest of the house.

Exhaust the air

Now is the time to open a window and exhaust out the smoke. Place a box fan or table tan in the ledge of the window, and face the fan so that it is blowing air outdoors. Open the kitchen door slightly, and the fan will draw fresh air in from the rest of the house and use it to propel the smoke outdoors. If your home is tightly sealed, you may have to crack open a living room window so that the fan has air to draw from. Within 5-10 minutes, the smoke will be outdoors and the windows can be closed.

To remove any lingering smell, a can of air freshener such as Lysol or Nok Out Odor Eliminator can help.

Do it Yourself Wainscoting in 5 Easy Steps


Wainscoting is the technique of applying wood panels to a chair railing on a wall. There are many different designs for wainscoting to choose from. Go to your local home improvement center and pick out the design that best suits you. Choose a chair railing as well. You might want to even pick out some paint to redo the whole wall at once.

Pry off the baseboard along the walls of the room you are doing. You can save the trim and reuse it if you’re crafty enough to remove it without breaking it, otherwise you’ll have to buy new base. Using a tape measure, measure from the floor up and make a mark. Do this in each corner and snap a line along the wall. If you’re alone use a nail to hold the line in place. Usually wainscoting is around 40 to 48 inches off the ground.

Find the studs using a stud finder or if you don’t have one then poke a nail in the wall behind the wainscoting. Mark the studs location just above the line for the top of your wainscoting. Use liquid nails or a similar adhesive and spread on the wall in a vertical ribbon with a caulk gun. Do about 3 feet at a time and place wainscoting before the caulk dries. When the planks are over the studs nail them to the wall using a finish nail. Nail the finish nail into the groove of the wainscoting, that way the nail will be hidden when the next piece goes over top of it. Tack the first piece and take a horizontal measurement to make sure the pieces fit squarely on the wall. Make sure you have the same measurement on the bottom as you do on the top of the first piece of wainscoting.

When you come to a window or door opening where you have to cut a unique angle, leave off the last piece of wainscoting. Make a mark on the wall where it will fall. Then use a compass and measure the distance between the next piece and the window. Set your compass to that length and hold up the wainscoting to the window. Scribe along with your compass and cut out. You” have the perfect fit for those hard to reach places where you just can’t get a measurement.

Once you have the wainscoting done and all the cuts are made around the windows, you can begin to nail the baseboard on. Start from the left side of a door and continue around counter clockwise. Cut the right hand side of your base board with a 45 degree mitre and cope off the remainder with a coping saw. Use a level to make a mark on the base board from the top of your stud marks you made previously.

Once the base is done now you can add you chair rail. If your chair rail is thick and you plan on painting it, you may just want to 45 and cope all your corners. It will be easier to get a nice corner. If you plan on staining it or it’s very thin, then you will need to 45 each corner to fit. It gives it a more professional look and you tend to see the nicer cut when looking down at the chair railing. If the chair railing is thin you may want to pre drill holes for the nails to prevent splitting.

It’s easy when you learn a few pointers and tips from the pros. In no time you should get the hang of wainscoting. It will last for years to come and give a fancy look to an old room or office.

Preventing Burglary With Your Landscape

You may be unaware, but most burglaries actually happen during the day and are typically what we call “Crimes of opportunity”. This type of burglary has little or no pre planning and often happens when a perpetrator realizes that they have a window of opportunity to commit a crime and seizes it without much thought. So what are the best ways to prevent burglary in your home? How do you avoid giving someone the window to commit a crime of opportunity? Today, we’re going to go over some basic tips that will help you prevent burglary in your home.



prevent crime with these tips from OSA



Defining Your Property

It’s always a good idea to clearly define where your yard begins and where the public area around your yard starts. You don’t necessarily have to build high, solid walls around your yard as long as you’re defining it in some other way. In fact, keeping your property looking clean and well kept is one of the best deterrents when it comes to burglary. You can define the layout of your yard with plants, half fencing, decorative lights, bushes, flowers, etc, and this will send a better message than thick and high walls would ever send to passerby and anyone trying to take advantage of your home.

Personalize Your Property

Putting some time into landscaping even smaller properties can be the best deterrent when it comes to burglary and also adds a personal touch to your home and yard. Your yard should reflect what kind of person you are and what you enjoy. However, as you personalize your yard remember to also stay simple, clean and neat. Never design your landscaping in such a way that you can’t see through it. Shrubs and tree canopies should never under any circumstances be lower than four or five feet tall. Your neighbors should be able to also see into your yard and help keep watch, so your bushes and shrubs shouldn’t be higher than three or four feet tall. Personalization is important, but don’t allow it to become a stumbling block for security.

Light it Up!

Never allow the outside of your house to be completely veiled in darkness. It makes a burglar’s job significantly easier. It’s a good idea and a great deterrent to install motion sensor lights around doors and windows and even the perimeter of your property that sits close to your house. Aim for a low level of light that blankets your house at night and you’ll have a much easier time keeping crime out.

Be Community Minded

Spending time getting to know your neighbors, out walking and gardening, assisting with the local neighborhood watch and helping to maintain a healthy relationship within your community not only brings vibrancy, but also helps foster good relationships that will deter crime and provide security to not only yourself and your home, but also the other members of the community.


RELATED POST: Homeowner Security Tips


Keeping crime out of your home, yard and neighborhood become significantly easier when there is a group to back you up and help you out. Remember to keep your yard clean, well-lit and use your landscape as a first defense when it comes to preventing burglary. Don’t be caught by a crime of opportunity. Lock your doors and windows when you leave the house. Consider getting a perimeter fence and befriend neighbors that can help you keep an eye out. With good perimeter security and the right planning, you can be part of the movement to stop all crime in its tracks.


All Homebuyers: Get an Inspection

home inspectors help you protect your investment


That’s right. If you’re going to put money into something, it’s only fair you get it for what it’s really worth. And that’s why you should hire a home inspector. A home inspector, in all cases, is a home buyer’s best friend. Local inspectors like the pros at Timberline Inspections are there to help you make an informed buying decision.


“What Do They Do?”


A home inspector will carefully comb a property’s visible and accessible areas to identify any health and safety problems, positive or negative conditions of the property and any conditions that need further specialized attention.


An inspection will include structural elements like the roof, the foundation, walls, windows, any doors, insulation, attic, and crawl space. It will also include the electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems as part of the inspection. In addition, any report of termites will be noted.


What do Home Inspectors Typically FIND?

Once the inspection is complete, a home inspector will provide a written and very comprehensive report detailing any and all issues with the home. You’ll want to keep in mind that no home is perfect and it is certainly not uncommon for such a report to include 40 or more issues. Certain issues are so common they get reported constantly. There isn’t a “pass” or “fail” either. The home inspector report will give you the information you need to make the decision on whether or not to buy the home “as is” or negotiate with the seller about fixing issues or replacing things.

It’s also {very} important to keep in mind that a Home Inspector can’t see into the future and the report provided isn’t some sort of warranty (or a sports almanac from the future). It simply identifies issues found the day the inspection took place. Keep in mind that the inspection will not “predict” other issues that might arise months or years later.

Even If You Want to be, You’re Not a Home Inspector.


Sorry. You just aren’t. As much as we want to be able to comb a property ourselves and pinpoint all of the issues, we can’t. Home Inspectors are the trained professionals who have the expertise to pinpoint issues and red flags that we just…don’t…see. There are countless nightmare stories about people who tried to look a house over themselves and later unearthed problems that cost them much more than the house was worth. Remember: It’s always worth a little extra money in the beginning to save thousands later on!


inspecting a home


Hiring a pro home inspector like Eric Cruz may seem unnecessary, but we promise you that it is well worth the money! Especially when you’re saved from buying a house with a bad roof. Be smart! When you’re ready to buy, hire an inspector! You won’t regret it.


Little Known Tricks to Preventing Theft in Your Home

There are tons of little known tricks that can help you prevent theft from your home. While some of them don’t seem like that big of a deal, sometimes the most rarely thought of tricks are the ones that work the best. Did you know that if more people just took some of the precautions we’re going to explain below that the number of burglaries would drop significantly?


prevent crime with these tips from OSA



You’d be surprised at just how many crimes are handed to the thief because of an unnoticed opportunity that they took advantage of, such as unlocked doors and windows, conveniently placed bushes and shrubs that covered the area of penetration and more. Today, we’re going to explain some little known tricks sent to us by the security pros at Overwatch Security Advisors. Following their expert advice can help you prevent theft in your home and protect your assets.



Doors and Windows



One of the most common tactics a thief will use when penetrating a home is to kick the door in on itself. The best way to prevent this is to make sure your door is solid and install a deadbolt, as well as a chain and keyed lock. You can also install a peephole on your front door to see out so that you can identify visitors before accidentally opening the door to an intruder. If you have glass panels on or around your door, we recommend replacing them with either frosted glass or covers of some kind. If possible, install multiple locks that extend into your doorframe to reinforce the door itself.


burglers can break in through windows


Preventing Access Via the Outside



It’s important to remove the pull of easy access when it comes to your home. Install a perimeter fence or low wall to help deter a thief before they make it to the doors or windows. Trim back any of your trees, shrubs or hedges to make sure it’s easy for you to see out at potential thieves approaching your home. Don’t give a burglar the opportunity to do their work without being seen by either you or a neighbor. ALWAYS lock the doors and windows before you leave the house. We realize that it can be difficult to remember when you’re in a hurry, but this can be one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to the security of your home. Don’t leave the spare keys in obvious places and especially nowhere near the doors. Places like the front planters, under the doormat or over the doorpost is an absolute “no, no”. An intruder will check these places before trying anything else 99.9% of the time, so think like a thief and don’t leave the spare keys in any obvious places.


Going Out?


Unoccupied homes, whether for a short period of time or for days at a time are always more likely to be broken into. Take some precautions and NEVER leave tools outside that can be used to break into your home. Things like ladders, yard tools and even hammers and screwdrivers. If you’re not going to be home for even a few hours, open the curtains. It sounds kind of ridiculous, but closed curtains during the daytime make it obvious that the home isn’t occupied and it attracts burglars. Consider using automatic timer switches so that if a light goes out, it will turn back on.


Make Your House Look Occupied!


Don’t ever indicate that you aren’t home on your answering machine. Play it smart and just ask that the called leave a message. Use this same rule and don’t leave notes for any delivery or cleaning people on the front door. Send them a text or give them a call instead. When a service or delivery personnel shows up at your house, it can be smart to get their ID or confirm that you set something up and that the correct person has arrived. Don’t leave them on their own.


If you’re going out of town for an extended time, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway and open and close curtains for you. Ask if they’d be willing to collect newspaper and mail so that there isn’t a pile that makes it obvious no one is home. Another good trick is to disconnect your electric garage door opener if you’re going to be traveling. It’s not much, but it’s still a deterrent and it will make the job of a thief that much more difficult.


home security - Be careful posting to social media!


Don’t ever post on social media publicly that you are out of town. You never know who is watching and waiting for an opportunity to catch a house while the owner is away, and a lot of times, thieves find their targets through social media.


Yes, preparing your home in such a way as to deter criminals can be difficult, but if protecting your home is a high priority, we guarantee that the effort is well worth it. Don’t let someone take advantage of your home. Defend and protect your future today.


Infrared Heaters: Efficient or Wasteful?

Homeowners are always looking for ways to slow down the spin of the power meter and save a little cash. So today we’re taking a look at infrared space heaters. Are they efficient? How do they stack up against oil-filled radiator type space heaters? Let’s find out!


Infrared Space Heater


How do Infrared Space Heaters Work?


We all know that Infrared is an invisible spectrum of light. What you probably didn’t know is that infrared waves can get absorbed into your skin and heat your body from the inside out…rapidly! Before you start donning your tin foil hat and Googling articles on cancer though, you need to remember that the sun emits infrared and it’s a very natural heat source. Ever enjoy the warm, radiating waves of heat off a bonfire on a cool winter night? That’s infrared energy!


Need more technical details? Check out this primer on infrared heat by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute:


Infrared space heaters work by producing a radiating heat that can warm you up fast, and that’s part of the reason they are so popular. If you ever shop at Costco, you’ve probably walked by one of their infrared heaters on display. They absolutely blast you with heat that you can feel immediately. It feels great, but are they efficient?



Are Infrared Space Heaters Energy Efficient?


Yes and no. Compared to older style space heaters, the answer is a resounding yes. Electric heat space heaters are notoriously inefficient compared to central units. That is, if you’re actually needing to heat the entire home. If you only use 2-3 rooms, it might make more sense to only heat those spaces and turn the furnace off.


And if you’re using electric heat, infrared is one of the most efficient options for heating a single room, and that’s where the real energy savings come into play. If you don’t need to heat an unoccupied spare bedroom, why bother? You can save some money in the winter by closing off parts of your home you rarely or never visit and only heat the rooms you do live in with infrared heaters. And if you’re trying to decide between infrared and some other electric heat source, don’t bother. The only portable electric heater that’s more efficient is the oil-filled radiator type. However, they’re more expensive and it takes hours to heat up a room. Infrared heat is near-instant and directional.


Energy Savings from Directional Heat


That directional heat and rapid warm-up put infrared above oil-filled heaters in my opinion. Most of us are gone during the daytime and only need to heat a room after work. In that case, you can come home, have a seat, and point a small infrared space heaterthe infrared heater directly at you. It will keep just you and the immediate area around you warm at first, but this beats having to run an oil-filled heater all day for no good reason in my opinion.


Health Benefits?


Believe it or not, there might be some health benefits to far infrared light. Popular infrared saunas are thought to improve circulation, reduce muscle pain, and increase flexibility. They use the same heating technology available in most ceramic infrared space heaters.


In addition to the direct benefits, these heaters don’t produce condensation and may help reduce mold or mildew problems in the home.


If you’re interested in learning more about these energy-saving heating options, we’ve got it covered for you! Check out this round-up of the ten best infrared heaters on the market from our friends at Just Best 10, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Cheers!

Three Questions That You Must Ask Moving and Storage Companies before Hiring Them

It is not easy to find people who have never relocated or who will not relocate in the future. This is because the modern world is full of rapid changes, affecting even things like living in one lace for a long time.  One could buy a new home, rent a new facility, and move into a bigger office among other issues that can prompt moving. This whole process becomes very easy if one engages moving and storage companies.

Moving companies are many, which sometimes begs the question- which company should be chosen among the innumerable ones available? Is it possible to differentiate between the best ones and the non- performing ones? Well, you will need to ask enough questions before you find a good moving company. The answers to these questions will help you get help in your choices of the companies. Some of the questions include:

  • How can you collect references?

It is important to speak to people who have engaged the moving company in the past. This will help you find out whether the company is reputable or not. Therefore, if a removal company does not give you any contacts at all, you should look else where.

  • Will the company subcontract the services?

Sometimes, you may fin a good company that has a good reputation in removals, yet you end being frustrated due to sub-contracts. Some companies offering moving services actually do this, regardless of the fact that The other company may be not as excellent as you would expect. This means that you will get low quality removal services.

  • Are there hidden costs?

Some people have had problems paying professional moving companies due to the hidden charges. It is impossible to get a good estimate from the company, making you excited that the company is reputable yet affordable. Then the shock will come when you realize that there were other charges you were not made aware about from the onset, and this can be very frustrating.  Therefore, you must ask for a breakdown of the costs, and ascertain that everything you need to pay is included from the initial invoice given to you.

Having asked the three important questions above, you will find it easy to filter the best moving companies from the bad ones. You will also realize that good moving companies have quality services, a good reputation and affordable rates.