Twila E. Palmer's Blog
Great home for entertaining! This 3 bedrm, 1.5 ba home, featuring a three car garage with storage area, offers a cathedral ceiling first floor family room perfect for large gatherings. The first floor also has a fully appliance kitchen, with recessed lighting, open to the formal dining room, formal living room with masonry fireplace & bay window, den & half bath with laundry. There are wood & tile floors throughout the first floor. The second floor has 3 carpeted bedrooms each with ceiling fans & a full tiled bath. The front to back master bedroom has built in cabinetry, two closets & plenty of room for a future private bath to be added. There is a walk up attic that is accessible from the master closet. The basement has a large finished room with a wood stove & bar. There is also an area that is suitable for an exercise room. There is an area in the basement that is well suited for a workshop with plenty of electrical outlets & great lighting. Shed in yard offers additional storage.
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Even though most people would consider family safety to be a top priority, few have gone to the trouble of actually printing out or creating a home safety checklist. It's really not that much trouble, though, because the information you need is readily available on the Internet, at your local library, and through your insurance agent. With so many different aspects of home safety to be aware of, a detailed, categorized list can help you focus your attention on what needs to be checked, cleaned, replaced, fixed, or upgraded. A Word About Landlines vs Cell Phones The widespread use of cellphones has caused an increasing number of home owners to cancel their landline telephone service. While this may seem like a smart way to save money and reduce telemarketing calls, it also raises some safety issues. In an emergency, for example, the last thing you want to be doing is frantically searching for a misplaced cellphone. Another issue to think about is the fact that mobile phones often need to be recharged on a daily basis -- sometimes at the most inopportune times. Although cellphones are an indispensable part of most people's lives, they're far from infallible. For this reason, maintaining your landline is an idea worth considering. Telephone companies may offer a budget-friendly service plan that could provide you with an emergency backup, in case your cell phones failed or couldn't be found. Organizing Your Safety Checklist There are a lot of different categories of home safety to keep in mind, so printing out a comprehensive list is an invaluable first step. Customizing the list to the needs of your household would logically come next. For example, a home with young children or elderly relatives will need age-specific safeguards to avoid accidents, injuries, and trips to the Emergency Room. Everyone's home safety checklist will vary, depending on the age of their home and its occupants. Here's a short list of some of the important items you'll want to include or seriously consider.
- Install smoke detectors in strategic locations, and test the batteries several times a year (if not monthly). Your kitchen and bedroom areas are among the key spots in which smoke detectors need to be placed.
- Carbon monoxide detectors are also a vital part of any home safety plan.
- A working fire extinguisher should be available in the kitchen, as well as any other room in your home where a potential fire hazard exists. It's also a good idea to take a couple minutes to read the instructions and give members of the family a crash course on correct fire extinguisher operation.
- Reduce the chance of chimney fires by having your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned every couple of years. The frequency depends on several factors, including how often you use your fireplace and what type of wood you burn.
- Miscellaneous home safety reminders: Other aspects of your plan may include burglar proofing your home, identifying and correcting potential electrical hazards, and reducing risks related to tripping, falling, and slipping.
Feel as though you are losing space with every additional item that enters a room? Knick-knacks, electronics, toys and accessories piling up? Take a look at the tips below to maximize space in living rooms, dens, bedrooms, and extra rooms such as craft and laundry rooms. Built-Ins: Built-ins are a great space saver. They create storage without taking up too much space in a room. They are customizable so you can pick what type of storage will work best for you. Built-ins are especially effective in living rooms and toy rooms. Wall Storage: Wall storage is a great option for saving space in smaller, functional spaces like craft rooms, laundry rooms, and even kids rooms. Entryways will also benefit from wall storage where coats and keys can be hung up instead of flung on the nearest surface. It provides storage without taking up floor space. There are so many options for wall storage that range from shelves, hooks and cabinets of all sizes. Hidden Storage Furniture: Furniture with hidden storage is great way to maximize space. These pieces include ottomans, coffee tables, and end tables. Storage ottomans are great for storing extra blankets and pillows. Storage coffee tables and end tables are perfect for storing books, magazine, extra remotes, DVDs, coasters, and electronic accessories. If these pieces did not have storage then those items would be lingering on the tops of tables or around the house causing clutter and dysfunction. Multifunctional Storage: There are endless options here, some more functional than others. Under the stairs storage or stairs that have drawers and/or shelves, sofas that turn into beds, mirrors with jewelry storage, fold-down tables with storage, food/water bowls for animals incorporated into drawer storage, and litter boxes hidden in coffee tables (although I’m not sure who would want this). The type of home and room will determine whether or not some of these are practical options, but nonetheless, some are pretty unique. Incorporating one or more of the tips above will be determined by the type of room and home. A tip that works for a bedroom may not work for a bathroom and the same for a home compared to an apartment. Be cognizant of this when considering adopting these approaches for functional and spacious rooms. Hope these tips help maximize space in your home!
Did you every hear the old expression, "Trust in God, but lock your door"? Not only has that adage been passed on from one generation to the next, but it's a lyric in an old Kenny Rogers song, and you'll occasionally see it on bumper stickers. Although keeping your home safe from intruders is a serious topic, that old saying reminds us, in a humorous way, that we shouldn't take home security for granted. In addition to high tech approaches to home protection, there are also easy and inexpensive steps you can take to discourage burglars. Although many of these safety measures seem like common sense, you'd be surprised at how many homeowners forget to lock doors, leave lights on, and take other simple precautions when they're away. Here's a handful of smart steps you can take to substantially reduce the risk of having your home broken into.
- Make a habit of locking your doors and windows. While this piece of advice may sound like a "no-brainer," many reports of home break-ins mention an unlocked window or door as the point of entry for burglars. The first thing you can do to tighten up security and feel safer in your own home is to increase your awareness of potential threats, and emphasize to your family the importance of taking precautions. The ideal scenario involves reinforcing positive habits, without instilling a sense of fear. After all, your home should be a peaceful place where your family always feels safe and comfortable.
- Shine a light on the problem. You would think that everyone would leave lights on when they're not home at night, but -- for one reason or another -- many don't. Keeping your home well lit, both inside and out, is a good strategy for thwarting crime. To save money on energy bills and to avoid the appearance of always having your lights on, you can purchase inexpensive lighting timers. Leaving a radio or TV on when you're not home, or connecting it to a timer, is another way to create the illusion that someone is home.
- Barking dogs are a known burglar deterrent, as are "Beware of Dog" signs. The actual dogs are obviously more effective than the warning signs, but many people bring their pets to a boarding facility when they're away on vacation. One solution is to arrange for a house sitter or an on-site pet care service to stop by. If you have a trusted neighbor or family member who can feed and walk your dog while you're away (maybe, water your plants, too!), then your canine security guard can remain on duty in your absence. Many communities also have licensed and bonded pet care services that can stop by and take care of your dogs, every day, eliminating the need for your pets to be away from home.
- Landscaping features can be a risk factor. Be aware that high bushes and hedges can make it easier for burglars to hide while breaking into windows. Keep shrubs and branches trimmed back as much as possible to eliminate this chink in your security plan. If you're still concerned about the effect of bushes on home security, then make sure your window locks are sturdy and fully functional. Inexpensive battery-operated window and door alarms are also an option.
In the U.S. twenty pounds of food per person is wasted each month. That’s a lot of food. And when you’re trying to save money and stick to a budget that number can be disheartening. No one wants to throw their hard earned money away in the trash. Below are a few ways you can prevent food waste each week and save money in the process! Be prepared - Planning out meals ahead of time is key to avoid food waste. It not only helps prevent last-minute impulse purchases but it also helps you save money each time you take a trip. When you buy only what you need each item you purchase is guaranteed to be used up and avoid the trash bin. Take meal planning an extra step by choosing recipes that call for similar ingredients so you can buy in bulk and save. You can also create a list of go-to meals and their ingredients to have on hand for busy nights when you don’t have time to plan ahead. Include slots in your meal plan for leftovers throughout the week to make sure they are eaten before going to waste. In the store - Buy only what you need by including the amounts of each ingredient your recipes call for on your shopping list. If possible buy loose produce and from bulk bins to ensure you are only taking home what you really need. Buying in bulk is tempting and can seem like you are saving money, however, if you don’t use all of it up you are actually wasting money. Frozen veggies and fruits are a great option for those who never seem to be able to cook fresh produce before they start to go bad. Fill your cart with less and make more frequent trips to guarantee you only buy what you will truly need and use throughout the week. Before the store - Use up what is sitting in your cupboards and fridge before shopping. Look for recipes that include what you already have on hand and add them to your meal plan. Another great habit is to go through your pantry and take note of what needs to be tossed. By taking note of what ends up in the trash you will know when to buy smaller portions or to keep an item off your list. Be smart about use by and sell by dates before tossing something into the trash. Usually, these dates are a loose guideline that the manufacturer has decided upon. Do you research on best by and sell by dates to decide how long an item is really good for. During the week - Freeze portions of items you don’t use all at once of and can’t find in smaller portions. Make the most out of leftovers by having a weekly buffet night or using your creativity and repurposing them into a new meal. Fruit and vegetables that are on their way out can be frozen to be used for smoothies and juices or tossed into casseroles and soups. Practice smart fridge and freezer storage, drawers and shelves are labeled with their intended purpose for a reason! Preparing foods ahead of time for cooking and snacking will make them easier to reach for and more likely to move off of your fridge shelf before going bad. Keeping your fridge organized will also be more likely to be eaten. After all, out of sight out of mind and if something is pushed to the back it is more likely to be forgotten. Food waste is a big problem in our culture but it doesn’t have to be in your household. With some planning and organization, you can significantly cut back on how much food you throw away and save yourself money in the process. Happy saving!