As our last summer days come to a close, Raleigh reader Marvin Woll shares advice for lowering your electric bill.
Turn your thermostat up to 81 degrees and use your ceiling fan or a box fan to circulate the air. Now many people will say that 81 degrees is too hot for them. If that is true for you then adjust your thermostat over a period of weeks. Turn it up a degree or two each week. When you do this you will find that your body acclimates to the increased temperature. Also be sure to use a box fan to bring cool air into the house late at night. If you practice these ideas you will save $30 to $60 per month depending on the size of your house. Of course, that adds up to thousands of dollars over a 10-year period.
Southern Livings Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Bierman suggests hanging curtain rods about 2 inches or so from the ceiling or bottom of the crown molding. It will make the room and windows look taller. Adjust your curtains accordingly, letting them hang (puddle) no more than one inch onto the floor.
Best for microwave
The Crafty Little Gnome blog says all it takes to tackle grease and grime in your microwave is a little water and vinegar. Take a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with water. Add a dash of vinegar. Set it inside and turn the microwave on for 5 minutes. The water will turn to steam and the steam will soften up all the gunk. The vinegar helps to absorb the smells.
Be careful when removing the bowl as the water will be extremely hot. Wipe down the walls with a damp cloth and remove the plate inside to wash it in the sink with hot, soapy water. See the before and after at http://nando.com/4y
I recently set out to find a new way to prepare succulent chicken for dinner, soups, stews and casseroles. Pinterest quickly directed me to the Recipe Crayon Box website where the blogger shared her recipe for the aptly named Perfect Chicken, adapted from the Picky Palate. It was certainly a hit with my husband and picky 5- and 11-year-olds.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder (I used two whole cloves of pressed garlic), onion powder and paprika in a small bowl or measuring cup. Rub two to four boneless chicken breasts with the seasoning to coat.
Pour two to three teaspoons of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat and add the chicken to the hot pan to brown for two to three minutes per side. Place uncovered pan in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until the juices run clear. Let chicken sit on a plate for five to 10 minutes before cutting, shredding or serving.
I finished my chicken with a squeeze of a half-lemon while it rested in the pan.
The meat will be moist, tender and juicy a perfect addition to soups, casseroles or just served over rice, with pasta and vegetables. Enjoy!
You can see the illustrated step by step at http://nando.com/4v
Best for moving
Is there a move in your new future? The next time you need to transport lots of books or other small, heavy, or delicate items, nedhardy.com suggests loading them in to a rolling suitcase instead of boxes. As the blogger puts it, books are hard to carry and tend to tear when theyre too heavy. As an added bonus, youll save wear and tear on your back!
Find other useful household tips at http://nando.com/4w
Best for storage
The Better Homes and Garden website says you can double the storage space of kitchen drawers by adding freestanding wire shelves. For example, wire CD shelving turned on its side in a deep kitchen drawer is perfect for organizing plastic container lids. Be sure to measure your drawer interiors before heading to the hardware store to choose shelving.
You can see an example at http://nando.com/4x
Best of the tube
Room to grow: Artists Patrick and Kasia settled into an urban home that they thought would be perfect. But after a long winter in the uninsulated space, the expectant couple knows some tweaking is in order. Designer Hilary works to ensure the home will be baby-ready while realtor David searches for a home to fit the new needs of a growing family. Love It or List It airs at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Downtown or burbs? Brothers Adam and Bryan recently moved from small-town Pennsylvania to their parents vacation home in a retirement community near Denver. Its time to branch out. While Bryan dreams of living in a downtown Denver high-rise, Adam would prefer a quiet suburban setting where he can finish writing his first book. What will they settle on with their $400,000 budget? House Hunters airs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Dining room detail: A great feature of host Nicole Curtis Minneapolis home is the dining room. Original oak woodwork, charming old light fixtures and a one-of-a-kind built-in buffet could make for a spectacular room if they were in better shape. Nicole sets out to strip, stain and restore every inch of the room with experts help. Along the way, she hopes to incorporate elements from the front entryway and design custom moldings for a matching black staircase. The Rehab Addict airs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
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