Creating a Simple Life

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Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

When you are on a budget, finding the extra funds for home improvement can feel impossible. However, by taking the right steps you could make the changes that have the ability to improve the overall value and appeal of your home. Here are some home renovation tips that might be able to help you make your improvement goals a reality. (more…)

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Final Touches on the Home Office

While constructing a home office is fun to do; it’s also a treat when everything is finally over and done with. You know, that first time you can sit back and enjoy it. Those last few things you put in your office, is where that “rewarding feel” comes from. Like adding your name to the office with one of those desk name plates that sit right on the front edge of the desk. It will be the first thing folks see, if they come-in and have a seat in your new home office. And speaking of seats, how much seating space should one have in their home office?

I see one nice swivel chair behind the desk with a standard chair on the other side of the desk. You can choose to put 1 or 2 standard chairs in front of the desk. This is where the visitors, business contacts, or friends can come in for a quick seat.

If you plan to put a nice television in your home office, then you might want to consider a couch too. Not a real big couch, but something comfy and off to the side. A couch you can pull out or move to the center of the room, where you and a few friends could see the TV screen better. I would choose a two cushion couch, with a small recliner in the corner. The maximum seating a home office should have is one couch, one recliner, 2 standard chairs, and your own personal office chair that turns around on a swivel. If you have the space to add another chair, recliner, or even a couch, then that is great. Some office spaces might allow room for another couch, but for me, I would prefer to have the open space. Perhaps you could use the space for exercising or putting a golf ball around in the office. Overall, designing home offices can be really fun and they don’t cost much to do either! Please be sure to let me know your planning designs, if you choose to tackle a new home office in 2013.

The Versatility of Rubber Roofing

 

Rubber Roofing | Piedmont Roofing

 

Replacing a roof is one of those things that no one likes to do. It can be expensive, and if not done correctly then you might have to do it again in the near future. It is however, something that every homeowner should plan for. Now though, there is rubber roofing, which can make replacing your roof a thing of the past. If your roof leaks you are faced with repairs even bigger than just replacing the roof. Your carpet, walls, furniture, everything you owned can be ruined. Usually one would use asphalt shingles to repair their roof, but they only last 15-20 years before they need to be replaced. They can also be plenty of work to keep up.

A great alternative to this is rubber roofing. It is versatile in that although it can come in sheets that role across the roof, it also is made into shingles that look just like asphalt shingles. They also come in several different colors and designs.

Another nice thing about this option is that it is made out of recycled materials so not only are you fixing your roof for life, you are helping to improve your life by helping the environment. This type of housing dome is made out of sawdust, slate dust, and of course old recycled tires. Another advantage, the latex based shingles are less expensive than asphalt shingles and as stated before, they last much longer and are not subject to temperature changes, cracking and replacing.

Replacing a roof is not fun, but sometimes it has to be done, and if you are building a new home, it is a necessity. If you are in need of a new roof, for whatever reason, consider using rubber for your roofing needs. Fireproof, stylish and priced just right, you can’t ask for more.

Piedmont Roofing  is a fully insured, Class-A licensed, roofing company that prides themselves on prompt, professional and affordable roofing solutions! For more information on rubber roofing, visit www.PiedmontRoofing.com today for a free estimate!

Since we have been having a heat wave recently, I have been trying to think about winter time and my cold thoughts. One story that comes to mind, is about the wrecked fire truck on my street. It all started late one night around 11 p.m., when a neighbor’s house caught fire. They were out of town and no one was around to stop the flames, to the house which would eventually burn to the ground. During this time, we was having one of the worse snow storms ever. Already several inches of snow on the ground and more was falling in the air. The firemen and their water trucks did have trouble that night. Not with the roads, but with their water freezing up on the truck, since it was so cold outside. However, they would eventually get the fire out and leave the scene without anyone getting hurt.

This story doesn’t end here, cause night two is where all the action really happens. Yes, I know, hard to beat a burning house story in a winter snow storm, right? Well our other neighbors saw a small flame coming from the burned down house the next night. It was around 11 p.m. again and they felt like calling the fire fighters back out, since their house was so close to the small flame. If they would have walked up there and threw a large bowl of water on it, the fire would have went out. Instead it was the firemen they would rely on to put out this small blaze.

Once the fire fighters arrived on the scene, I guess they got a bit lazy and decided to go up a steep hill, to have a “front row seat” for the small fire that was still burning 24 hours later. The night before, they just hooked hoses up and avoided the steep climb. I guess the roads were more frozen over than they thought and they under estimated the hill and the frozen precipitation which was attached to it. Because the fire truck got close to the top, but suddenly lost traction and back down the hill it went. It went across a small neighborhood road and off into the woods. Not too far in the woods, but it was about a 10 foot bank, the big, red truck went down, before finding level ground at the bottom.

So a wrecker had to be called out to pull the firetruck out. However, this one wrecker truck would not be enough to pull out the long firetruck. It would eventually take 2 wreckers and a series of pulleys they had to set up, to get the big truck to start moving. They finally did get the truck out and it didn’t look as pretty, as it once did. What was once a big, shinny truck gleaming bright red in the snow filled night; had turned into a badly damaged truck, with huge clumps of dirt and tree limbs hanging out of it from many different places. It was hard to believe, how a small one foot flame could cause so much damage and excitement, when just 24 hours earlier, the 30 foot flames shooting in the air did very little damage (other than the house in the middle of it). As long as I live, I will never forget this snowy firetruck story.

Do you and your family plan to watch the rising of the super moon tonight? It should be something nice to see. I know in my state of Georgia, we have a great weather forecast for looking up. Our skies in the Peach State will be perfectly clear to see the brightest moon of 2012.

We have a bright moon every year, but not this bright. We have a night where the moon comes real close to the Earth, but not this close. All the stars are lined up tonight, for the “perfect storm” if you will. The clear skies, the super moon of 2012, and the closest the moon will come to the Earth in a long time. It all adds up to a little family fun on Saturday night.

The super moon will look the biggest, when it starts to rise over the horizon; which will be right after sunset. Many folks might have trouble seeing this. The moon will be at its closest point to the Earth at 11:35 pm est. So for those living on the East Coast of the U.S.A. they can set their watches to this bright super moon, which will take place about 25 minutes before midnight. The later we go into the night, the better chance most home owners will have to get a glimpse of the 2012 super moon. Since the moon will be acting just like the Sun and rising and going across the sky. I would guess around 1 or maybe 1:30 eastern standard time, is when the moon will be in its “noon” or high angle in the sky.

Now I don’t ever remember having a super moon before. I do know the moon was very bright on Friday night, so I have a good idea on what to expect tonight. Seems weird the super moon is also happening in the same year, where we have the famous Mayan Calendar prediction. You know the one, the December 21, 2012 date that could destroy the World as we know it now. On this famous date, we are expected to go through a new change, as there is suppose to be some type of astrological alignment, high up in the sky above. How about you? Do you ever recall us having a super moon before? And what is your plans for Saturday night, as the super moon makes it’s North American debut to all the sky watchers.

I am always amazed at how some people can create some of the coolest crafts or homemade items. A lot of women who stay home all day, will work with different beads, in their craft designs at home. The large hole beads would work well for those women who don’t see that well. I know trying to thread a needle can be very tricky, if we don’t have our full 20/20 vision working for us. Threading the beads, for some of these home improvement jobs, can be just as tough as the eye of a needle. So if you plan to visit the craft store soon, be sure to look for the larger beads with the large holes. These beads can be found in a variety of different colors, just like the small hole beads.

What is your favorite color of beads to use? Or which color would you say you have used the most of recently? If you were making an American Flag, you would obviously need red beads, white beads, and blue beads. The white beads would not be that difficult to buy. Choosing the right shade of red beads or getting the exact shade of blue beads, would also take some keen eye skills. If you didn’t take the time to “eye it out right“, your flag would not look like a real red, white, and blue flag.

If you love playing with the colorful beads at home, please be sure to take care of your eyes. Get regular check ups and don’t be afraid to use a pair of glasses, if it will help with your home art projects. If you get a chance, please send me a picture of your current bead projects. I would love to get some new bead ideas, so I could go shopping for some colored beads online or at the local craft shop.

Steel is Good for Tornado Season

Wow, it has been a strange weather pattern for most of the country in 2012. We have seen a lot of really bad storms across the Midwest and in the southern part of the nation. A lot of this severe weather has been turning out tornadoes and this isn’t good for any of us. A tornado can last for only a few seconds in some cases, but it can leave a lifetime a damage in its path. I hope these recent storms have missed your family and friends. If you been lucky so far, you might still see a twister or two, since our tornado season isn’t really even here yet.

Make plans now for you and your family. Come up with an emergency plan, if you get separated in a bad storm. Having a meeting place for a storm or a house fire, is always a good idea. For those homeowners who have precious things in storage, may want to look at a sturdier structure right now. The steel buildings really don’t cost that much and are much stronger against some of these high winds; which are associated with spring time storms.

If you have a way do dig into your back or front yard, you could install a steel building underground (partially) and make it into a good storm shelter. I would think, if you could dig about 4 to 5 feet down and then placed a steel structure in that hole, it would be a good place to run to, during a tornado warning. Since a fourth or a third of the building is underground, it would be low enough to take shelter from the high winds outside. You could still lose the top of the steel building, but the lower half should stay in-tact and protect everyone from flying debris. Often it is the strong winds carrying trash, sticks, and other items through the air at high speeds; which cause people to get injured in severe weather. A steel wall would be tough for anything to penetrate. Don’t build your steel storm shelter next to any large trees and I believe it would be a good place to get, when you hear those tornado sirens going off. It wouldn’t cost that much either. We could never put a price on our family and their well-being.

Does this sound realistic to you? If you have any affordable or cheap ways to build a storm shelter, then please give us another option.  I would love to hear your ideas, on how to construct a storm shelter at home. Considering the current state of our country right now, I think we could use a little good news. Like a cheap way to build a safe and secure storm shelter.

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas to those who celebrated December 25th, like my household did. We had the lights outside, the Christmas tree inside, with lots of presents under it. Now the early morning hours are over and everything has been unwrapped. Hopefully for some of those tough electronic items, which are encased in the hard plastic, I hope you had some scissors around for them. Or better yet, the box cutters work best! They are super sharp and can be used for much more than just your holiday boxes. A box cutter or safety knife has an advantage over other things like knives or a pair of scissors. They have the extra sharp blades in them, which makes it much easier, tearing into those electronic gift packages.

Now the clean-up process is underway and where do you start? It’s best if you just go ahead and bring the whole box of garbage bags in the living room or den with you. So you have plenty of places to throw trash in. Take 4 or 5 bags out and strategically place them around the room. Save yourself some steps, by placing these trash bags in every corner of the room and a couple of them in the middle of the room. Now when you find a piece of trash or something that needs to be thrown away, you will have a bag nearby to pitch it in. I can’t tell you or stress enough, how much time this will save you.

Don’t throw away any goodies! Be sure to keep your small packages, like the batteries, away from the trash and big pieces of torn Christmas paper. It is so easy to throw them away too. While you watch the kids opening the presents, it’s best to start the sorting process then. It always seems like something gets thrown away on Christmas morning or we think we threw it out. You don’t want to go through 5 garbage bags of trash, to find out, it was under the Christmas tree the whole time. And no matter how well you, the kids, or anyone else knows a certain product, like a new cell phone or a video game, be sure to save all the instructions. I see lots of households every year, wishing they would have kept the instructions, so they could do this or that. No matter how cheap or expensive, it doesn’t matter how big or how small the Christmas gift is, just do your self a big favor and save the instructions!

I hope your family enjoyed the morning today. I hope you only throw the trash away and none of the goodies or those valuable instructions; which you will need in a day or two. Break down the boxes if you need more room in the dumpster or trash cans. Don’t be afraid to get the utility knife out and cut down the boxes to a smaller size. Just think, only 364 more days and we get to do it all again!

While technology continues to go at light speed, we are never too far away from our parents, grand parents, or even our ancestor days. It just takes one power outage in the neighborhood, to remind us all, how vulnerable we really are. Most of us forget about this, until the lights go off and we realize how dependent we are on the power companies.

I use to say the best values in life was a postage stamp and a gallon of gas. These two things were so minor in price and could help us send a letter across the country or take our whole family to another state. Now with the rising prices of today, neither one of these items is considered a “good value” anymore. I think with the help of technology, our energy is the best bargain in America today.

Just think about it. A big twister cuts right through the middle of the Lone Star State and knocks out everything in its path. Then the next day, the home builders begin to rebuild; while the power companies work day and night trying to string the power grid back up. The residents will get the power bill next month and see that the electric rates in Texas are the same price. Regardless of what Mother Nature does (for the most part) the energy prices stay regulated and pretty soon, we start to see the value in this industry.

If you haven’t had a power outage recently, just wait til the next one. You soon learn how valuable our electricity is in this country. All of this modern technology we have, is no good without our energy working properly. No way to recharge the cell phones, when the lights go out. You can’t check the email and forget about snacking on microwave popcorn, until the power comes back on.

Our family recently went through a 6 hour power outage and it seem to last forever. I’m not sure how well we could do if the lights stayed off for days or even weeks. I don’t want to think about losing power for a whole month, but it could happen. What if the lights never did come back on? Could you and your family survive? We really wouldn’t have much of a choice, would we? When you understand how much our lives depend on the lights staying on, its pretty easy to see how precious it really is. The postage stamp and a gallon of gas are too costly for the average American. The best value in America for 2011, is the energy we buy each month for our homes, to help make our lives normal and modern.

Literally, A Mouse

Guest post from: Kent Lara

There is a mouse in the house. I repeat- there is a mouse in the house. Actually, there is more than one mouse in the house. We just moved in to our first home, and I’ve been so excited to finally own a home. My husband and I have been saving for the past 2 years for a down payment, and found what we thought was the home of our dreams. When we first found out that we were moving in to a new house we were overjoyed at the thought of home ownership. We have enjoyed several parts, but parts like having a mouse infestation is not something that we’re used to. We also have had some problems with roaches- yuck! While we’ve been settling in, we’ve also had to remember to do things like signing up for water and electricity. We compared electricity providers at: HTTP://WWW.texaselectricityproviders.com . Now that we have that figured out, we just have to figure out this mouse problem! After that- the cockroaches can meet their match!

Helping the New Mom for 9 Months

Husbands who decide to have a family will have a big responsibility one day. That job will be to take care of Mom; when she goes through her 9 months of pleasure, pains, and troubles. It’s not all bad and she won’t be moody every day. However, for those days she isn’t in the best of moods, the man of the house will have to help make the home more comfy for the first time mother or for the 2nd baby, 3rd baby, and so on. Cooking meals, cleaning the house, and waiting on her is just a few of the things the Dad can do. It’s the simple things that she will see or notice that will make the biggest difference during her pregnancy. Like moving the furniture further apart in tight areas of walking spaces. Adding extra pillows on the bed and couch. Making a few more stops at the store and keeping a lot of snacks around. Just make sure to not get the high calorie junk foods or the new father might find his self shopping for plus size maternity clothing for the wife. This doesn’t sound like a comfortable job for the husband, if he has to visit a store to buy maternity clothes. Hopefully there is a computer in the home and he can shop for extra pregnancy clothes online, without making the trip to a real life store.

The good news for Dad and Mom both, these new lifestyle changes aren’t really for 9 months. It is less time, but you both will feel like it lasted a year or longer, since time does seem to slow down near the end. Everything you do now, will all be worth it, when you can see the little one for the first time and the title of “mom” and “dad” become official. Congratulations and the second time around is always easier. Since both parents learn things from the first pregnancy, they weren’t expecting or was prepared for the first time.

If you are the head of your household, then it is your job to make sure it is secured. There are a number of ways to protect your home in the 21st century. No matter which route you choose to go, isn’t really important. What is important, is that you do something to provide protection for you and your precious family.

More home owners today are not counting on the neighbors as a form of remote security for their homes. They are choosing to hire the professional security companies to take care of this type of security. A live person, who sits at a control desk 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, is the type of remote security and remote technology you should employ for your protection at home.

Also, there are other hidden benefits when you get a team of professionals to start monitoring your home. Security companies already know how the thieves and other “bad guys” think and operate. Their experience in the field can not be measured on any types of scale. You just have to keep thinking about your smiling and happy family and figure out the best ways, to keep everyone with smiles at your house. Stay safe America!

Out of Season Discounts for Winter

For anyone who has been outside recently, knows that the winter season is still here. The calendar does tell us it won’t be much longer, until all of this cold weather disappears and the warm days of spring will appear. A lot of merchants know that winter is quickly fading into a warmer weather pattern and they are looking to make room for their warm-weather items. This is a good time to find discounts on those winter items, so you will have them for next year. Not many people will be using a heated blanket this summer. If you buy one now, you will be glad you did, when the cold weather returns at the end of the year. You can order an item like this and maybe use it once or twice this year (to see if it works) then put it back up and save it for the 2011/2012 winter season.

I have found these electric blankets to wear out over time. The less you use them, the better they seem to be about warming up. You want a heated blanket on the bed to be real warm and it must warm up quickly. After a couple of years, they seem to lose a bit of their heating abilities. So in general, you want a new electric blanket every 1 to 3 years. People who wait for the fall season or early winter to buy these special blankets, they will be paying a premium price for them. Consumers could save a lot more money on blankets, if they would order them now or during the warmer months of the year.

This is a good shopping tip, for those people who love to save money, when they go out shopping. As a fisherman, I can tell you the prices on bait, rods, and reels will begin increasing now. People who love to fish have missed their window for finding the fishing discounts. Fishermen need to survey the stores and other places, which sell fishing supplies, during the late summer and fall seasons. This is when the fishing merchants will be cutting the biggest discounts for fishing gear. So don’t buy anything related to fishing now, but do look for those things that help us to stay warm, like a good electric blanket does!

The address plaques and numbers you choose for your business or home can say a lot about you. Let’s first look at the commercial side of things. If you have a business with a lot of first time customers, they will be looking for your building or office the first time they come. If you don’t have any recognizable buildings or shopping centers near you, your address numbers is the first thing they will be looking for. The address of your business is the first eye-contact you will make with your new customers. I think if a small business owner buys the best address plaque on the block, it immediately gives his or her business an edge.

No reason to take a break when you go home either. Your home is your resting place and it says a lot about the family that lives there. Something as little as the numbers on your mailbox or a sign post can be a reflection on your household. Who cares what the neighbor next door or the rich family down the street has up in front of their home. This is your home and should have your touch on it. If you like classy and elegant things; then there is a wide variety of sharp-looking address signs you can get for your home. It’s actually hard to just pick one, because there are so many good choices for your home. I may change my mind tomorrow, but if I had to buy a sign for my address numbers today, I believe I would select this stylish plaque below.

I just really like this home or residential plaque. For it to be effective, you would need to live near the road. You could still use it for long driveways too, because people or delivery services visiting your house for the first time, would have confirmation they are or aren’t at the right location. For homes that sit on the corner of two streets, this sign clearly shows which of the two streets you live on. If you live on the corner in a subdivision, I think one of these home address plaques is right up your alley. It has the stylish and classy look, but it isn’t an expensive piece of material to buy for your home. This is a very affordable home improvement job. It takes just a few minutes to install. Even the lady of the house could put this street address and number sign up.

Christmas Gifts Under $10

Do the people you work with each day at your job, like to draw names for Christmas gifts each year? Most workplace environments will do the Christmas draw with a $20 gift limit. None of us want to seem like cheapskates, so we all try to buy as close to that $20 mark as possible. To leave no room for doubt on my end, I would usually go to a retail store and just buy a $20 gift card, for the employee I had to buy a Christmas gift for. Some employees may not have the money this year. Finding ways to stretch a dollar can be tough. Especially during the holiday season. Some co-workers may have kids to buy gifts for at home, so buying their fellow employee a Christmas gift is 2nd on their list.

If you hurry, you still have time to order this clever $20 gift for a male employee and will be able to spend less than $10! This is because Buy.com has this Skil 38 Piece Ratchet Set on their Weekly Deals page. I wouldn’t mind receiving a gift like this, if I was an employee at your company this year. I don’t have any immediate needs for a gift like this, but as men, we are always having to fix something. We can never have enough tools. The younger men out there, really needs to start a collection of tools, so they can have a full assortment, before they reach those older years. The older we get, the more things we have to begin fixing.

The reason that makes this gift so special, is because it is normally a $19.99 item, so you’re giving your male employee at work a $20 gift. They will never know, that you really bought it online for the low, low price of $6.99. Be sure to hurry, so you can lock in this low sale price and still have plenty of time to have it delivered by Christmas.

I don’t really miss working a real job that much, since I have started my own home business a few years back. I will admit, when the holidays roll around each year, I do miss the fun employees have at work. I like the fact everyone is in a good mood. It’s fun to be around folks; when everyone is jolly and happy that Christmas is coming and those paid holiday work days are near. Exchanging names at work and getting Christmas gifts for each other is something I miss too.

Now once the New Year gets here and it’s back to work for all the employees. I am glad to be right where I am at home, being my own boss. I wouldn’t trade my work at home for that 1 month of holiday fun at a real job, but for now, I am just a little jealous of everyone. Have a Merry Christmas and I hope your co-worker enjoys the Skil ratchet set!