Tag Archives: Home Front

It goes without saying that it’s fairly inconvenient when your toilet lets you down and clogs up. Calling a good plumber is another task and expense that you have to face. However if you are brave enough you don’t need to rely on a plumber, and who doesn’t love a good bathroom hack?
Unclog a toilet


In some cases all you need to do is flush few time and poke with your handy dandy toilet brush. However if you are having bad day, this won’t do the trick and you will have to rely on few tricks of the trade.unclogging your toilet


If you are going to jump in and try to unclog your toilet yourself, the first thing you need isn’t far away, you need a good dish soap (if you don’t have one you can rely on your shampoo) and medium sized bucket to hold hot water. Two of these would be great as it will save you the effort to refill them again.


Now first you will have to pour in the dish soap into the toilet and let it be for the next 30 minutes or so. The dish soap or the shampoo acts as a lubricant and helps all the stuff to get moving. After 25 minutes you can start pouring the hot water in the flush. It will help in unclogging the flush.


We found that the above method works in the majority of cases, unless you have a more serious toilet malfunction. But if it didn’t work for you then don’t worry we have more great tricks of the trade for you to try before resorting to calling out the plumber.


So if you are still looking for more ideas to unclog your toilet then you can go through this great infographic by DIY experts Legendary Home Services.


With the weather warming up, many of us are preparing to arm ourselves against the usual mosquitoes and ticks. Many of us forget, however, that wasps, especially social wasps like yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps, can pose a special threat as well. They become aggressive when their nests are threatened, and their stings can be very painful—even fatal for those who are allergic to wasps stings. Because there are certain steps you need to take if you want to keep you and your family safe from wasps, here is a brief guide to keeping wasps away from your home.


Never provoke wasps.


This tip won’t necessarily keep wasps away from your home, but it’s the number one tip that you and your family should keep in mind as you see wasps in and around your home. Wasps tend to be harmless to humans unless provoked. Once provoked, however, they may sting, and that sting can be very painful, even causing a deadly anaphylactic reaction in some who have allergies. Be sure to teach to your children never to come in close contact with wasps or wasp nests when they see them.wasps


Hire a pest control specialist.


A pest control specialist can help you control existing populations of wasps while also preventing future wasp infestation. Be sure to look for a pest control specialist who will do a thorough sweep around the home, even targeting the eaves of your home as this article mentions. You also want to look for a pest control specialist who uses home-friendly products that will not harm your family or pets. Many specialists offer natural products as well for those who are looking to cut down on chemical usage in and around the home.


Remove all wasp attractions.


Wasps are attracted to anything sweet, including fallen fruit from fruit trees, fruit juice, and open soda cans. Be sure that and your family are doing what you can to remove these types of attractions. Keep lids over all trash, recycling, and compost tightly closed, and do not leave food out in the open outdoors for an extended period of time. Things like bird food, sweet perfumes, and lotions can attract wasps as well, so be sure to keep that in mind.


On a related note, because wasps are attracted to fallen fruit from fruit trees, it’s a good idea to always wear shoes when walking near a fruit tree that is bearing fruit.


Repair your home’s exterior.


Keeping the exterior of your home in good order is another great way to prevent wasp infestation, as wasps often build nests in open crevices and holes in homes. Look along the exterior of your home for any holes or crevices that could be sealed, such as broken siding panels or gaps in soffits. While you’re at it, check for any unoccupied rodent burrows as well, as wasps often build homes here as well. Fill any holes and make any necessary repairs to eliminate these potential wasp nest locations.


Build a wasp trap.


If you see an area around your home where wasps are especially active, you can always place a wasp trap to help eliminate them. You can build a basic wasp trap using an empty two-liter bottle. Simply cut off the top fourth of the bottle and then invert it on itself. Tape the two pieces together with duct tape and pour some sweet liquid such as soda or juice inside. Wasps will fly in to get to the sweet liquid and then be unable to fly back out.


You can always purchase a wasp trap as well if you would rather do that. If wasps seem to be an ongoing problem on your property, be sure to consult a pest control specialist who can offer a more long-term solution for the problem.


Use wasp deterrent spray.


You can also make a simple wasp deterrent spray on the exterior of your home to deter wasps from building nests there. Create a simple mixture of water and dish soap in a spray bottle, and add a few drops of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils. Then spray this mixture liberally on popular wasp nest areas like under the eaves, in crevices, under porch roofs, etc. Pay extra attention to areas that have seen wasp nests before, as wasps tend to build new nests in the same locations over and over again.wasps


Invest in a wasp deterrent.


Did you know that you can invest in decorative wasp deterrents for your home? These inexpensive, bulb-shaped decor pieces mimic the look of wasp nests, thus deterring wasps which tend to be territorial. Simply install one or two wasp deterrents to keep wasps from building their nests nearby.

Recently I wrote a post on planning for this year’s vegetable garden. Gardening has always been a big part of my life. I enjoy planning out my vegetable garden each year, what I will plant and how I will preserve the harvest. For years I have always started my own seeds, often using seeds that I saved from the year before. This year I will be planting mostly flowers. With the house going back on the market and an enthusiastic realtor who seems to be confident that the house will sell in 2017 I am not going to be planting a big vegetable garden.

Instead my time will be spent packing and de-cluttering! I will miss my garden. Now I have eight beautiful raised beds that my husband built for me and I will not completely ignore them. After all we do have to keep up a beautiful appearance for any potential buyer! So I will plant flowers and beans and a zucchini plant perhaps, just enough to provide some fresh vegetable this summer and some cut flowers for the house. I have a neighbor close by that offers beautiful heirloom tomato seedlings so I may just have to plant a couple. It wouldn’t be summer without garden ripe tomatoes!Can't wait until the tomatoes turn red!

Luckily we have a wonderful Farmer’s Market that offers a wonderful variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables. But I will be missing my garden and the wonderful harvest I used to get.vegetables, farm market

The sad reality is that the future owner may not be as into gardening as I am. Perhaps this will be a second home for them and they just won’t have the time to keep up the gardens. It makes me sad to think that way but we’ve moved in the past and each time I have left behind a beautiful garden. One of these moves I hope to move into a home where the previous owner had beautiful gardens and I can take them over. That hasn’t’ been the case yet.Vermont, seed saving

Have you experience leaving a wonderful garden behind due to a move?

Moving across town can be a very different experience from moving across the country. Before making a move from one coast to another there are a few things to consider. Moving is an adventure but you also need a reliable plan. There are several things to consider when planning a move.


By starting now, before we even have a contract on our home we can make the actual moving part of our relocation go smoothly.


First of all we know where we are going. At least we know the general area. We won’t purchase a house until our current house is sold. So in the meantime we look at real estate in the area we want to move to. We talk to those we know in the area and are finding the parts of town that we would like to end up in.Planning a Move


If you’ve been reading my blog you know we are in the process of getting rid of excess stuff. A move across country is based on weight so we want to lighten the load as much as possible. We have items we want to keep, items we want to sell, stuff we want to give away and junk we just need to trash. As we go through our belongings those are the categories we divide the items into. As we pack up the clutter we pack room by room. When we eventually arrive at our destination we want to know which boxes things are in. When we’re looking for the coffee pot we want to know it is in a kitchen box!planning a move


As we sort through our belongings we try to use the one-year rule. If we haven’t used it in a year consider donating it to someone who will use it. There are a few exceptions, such as my grandparent’s turkey platter! We didn’t celebrate the holidays at home this year but I’m planning on packing that platter and taking it with us! It’s all packed and ready to go!moving


While we plan on doing the majority of the packing ourselves there are a few larger items where we will enlist the help of the movers. Professional movers know how to pack and transport a houseful of items with a minimum of breakage and fuss. The larger precious items we will let the professionals pack.planning a move


We don’t know when our move will take place as it depends on when our house will sell. However we continue to pack up the items we really don’t need but want to move. Eventually when we have a move date I will have a schedule. Time can get away from you when you are in the middle of a move, so I will want to stay organized to stay on target. There is a lot to consider when planning a move but if you can stay organized it should all go smoothly and before you know it you will be unpacking in your new home!

The first day of spring has arrived but here in Vermont we can expect cool weather to continue for another month or so. There is still time to enjoy a bowl of hearty black bean and sausage soup. The combination of sweet Italian turkey sausage, jalapeño peppers and fresh cilantro gives this black bean and sausage soup a distinctive flavor. If you have any leftovers they are easily reheated in the microwave or can be frozen for later use. Serve along with a leafy green salad and a loaf of bread and your have a meal!Black Bean soup


Black Bean and Sausage Soup




½ pound sweet Italian turkey sausage

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

3 (15.5 oz) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro




Spray a large nonstick saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium low heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate and when cool enough to handle, cut into ½ inch slices.


Heat the oil over medium heat in the same saucepan then add the onion, garlic and jalapeños. Cook, stirring until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the flavors have blended, about 8 minutes.


Transfer 2 cups of the bean mixture to a blender or food processor and puree. Stir the puree and the sausage into the soup. Simmer, uncovered, until the soup is heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove form the heat, stir in the cilantro  or sprinkle on top and serve.Black Bean and Sausage SoupIf you have an emersion blender that could also be used to puree the soup.Black Bean and Sausage Soup



We are all looking for ways to improve our lives and achieve success. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut or just don’t know where to begin to achieve the best results in the shortest time. Following are 10 ideas to help you stay focused and improve your professional and personal life:



  • Healthy Breakfast



Begin each day with a healthy breakfast for maximum energy. So many of us skip this very important meal, but if you are serious about being successful, adopting this simple habit will pay dividends in your daily productivity and mental clarity.useful habits



  • Make small goals every day



Pay attention to details to achieve your goals. This will help you to focus on the results of your efforts and see the value of every step of the way. Realizing the purpose of the smaller details makes us appreciate the big picture and directs our purpose for getting there.



  • To-do lists



Make lists of all that you want to accomplish daily. A weekly, monthly and yearly plan are important, but getting into the habit of breaking each day into the steps necessary to reach our goals reminds us of what is most important. It also keeps us accountable to ourselves and makes sure that we allocate each 24-hour period in the most efficient manner. Articulating our goals in written form also allows us to appreciate milestones along the way to achieving the big picture. This is necessary to inspire future actions that will result in the success we crave.



  • Learn how to manage your time



Managing time efficiently is required in addition to making lists. Each day only has 24 hours, so we need to make the most of every moment to get the best results from our precious time. Adopting a habit of proper time management is essential at leveraging each moment.


Implementing good time management makes anything possible, but it requires conscious effort and consistency.



  • Make decisions and stick to them



Be decisive not impulsive if you want to reach your goals. Carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages of our actions and possible changes allow us to make the most of every opportunity.


Also, take the time to consider things that didn’t go as planned turns our mistakes into learning experiences that will guide us to better decisions in the future.



  • Stick to your goals



Stay committed to your goals and be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve them. The only way to find success is through hard work and staying on track. Many people get easily distracted and give up. Winners know that commitment is the key to success.



  • Budget your money



Budgeting and tracking expenses are key to getting the most of our financial resources so that we have enough money to achieve our goals. Sound financial habits keep us aware of how we are allocating our resources and makes us aware of what we need to do to be able to afford the things we need for success. If done properly, good financial management should result in savings for the future or more money to invest allowing us to do more down the road.useful habits



  • Exercise



Exercise regularly for a better mind and body. This will give you energy, help you sleep better and make you healthier and happier. Too much mental activity is not good.  We also need physical activity to keep us balanced and energetic. Having the best home gym is a step in the right direction as it will remind us of the importance of daily exercise to help us find the success we each deserve.



  • Be positive!



Stay positive to help yourself to overcome challenges. Negativity only drains our energy and thus winners must constantly practice positive self-talk to stay motivated and on track. So don’t get discouraged by small setbacks. Keep reminding yourself of the big picture and the small successes each day and soon these will add up to a winning year!



  • Sleep



Get Enough Sleep to keep your body and mind performing at their best. A regular eight-hour sleep cycle will allow us to process new ideas, focus better during the day and improve our memory and mental capacity. Not getting enough sleep will ensure that we are not at our best and may lead to other problems such as illnesses, depression or accidents which will get in the way of achieving our goals.
In order to achieve success, we all need a plan. This must include healthy habits and good practices. I hope these 10 tips have given you fresh ideas to jumpstart your journey to a better life. We are each the architect of our own destiny. Anything is possible if we imagine it and take the right steps to see it through.


Guest post by Evelyn Kail

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