Livingston Reporting - page 270

Purchasing Replacement Windows

Don’t you hate shopping for things you know absolutely nothing about? It is time consuming, and tedious. It takes patience, research, and the drive to get the best product for the best deal. Never was it more important than when buying replacement windows. With so many types of windows, vendors, and installers you will have many opinions. It will take diligence on your part to really find out what is the best product for your situation. Look into why you are purchasing windows, what purpose the windows will serve, where they need to be replaced, who is going to do the job, and when you are going to do the project.

WHY: Why are you replacing your windows? There are many reasons to replace windows. You could be getting a draft which throws all of your energy savings out the window. Another reason is aesthetics. If you are getting ready to sell your home this will defiantly be a key way to add extra curb appeal. Safety is another key factor in replacing windows. If the safety locks are broken and not replaceable replacement window are a must. Children quickly learn how to operate windows. The last thing anyone wants is their child to open the window because the safety latches were not working and fall out. This is defiantly an avoidable situation with replacement windows.

WHAT: What is the purpose you want the windows to serve? Are they for high energy efficiency? You will want to look into the most efficient windows and the tax credits that follow in order to get the best deal on this type of window. If you are only interested in making the place look pretty and then selling it you might want to consider a more economical choice. Also, you need to know what look and feel you are going for. Do you like vinyl, wood, or aluminum? These are all things to consider when determining what window replacements to purchase.

WHERE: Does the entire house need replacement windows or are the just a few windows that need to be replaced. For instance, the entire house does not need windows if only one window is proving to leak air or one window has lost its safety features. This is important to consider because the cost of one window is substantially less than replacement windows for your entire home.

WHO: This is the tricky research part of the deal. Get at least three estimates on windows and three on labor and installation. I say go with your gut feeling on this. The price might be a tad higher form one contractor to another but it is important to feel comfortable with your contractor and window vendor. If they are not patient and don’t thoroughly answer your questions look elsewhere. Another recommendation is to speak to other consumers. References are free and vendors and installers should be more than willing to share this info. In the end I personally would go with the people who I, in my gut, felt the best with.

WHEN: The weather plays a big factor in window replacement. If you are doing your home the project may take a few days to finish. You will not want to be without sufficient weather blockers in the middle of winter or in the middle of the summer. Really think out the best time for the area that you live in to replace your windows.

Lastly, when you have followed all the steps above and you feel confident you know that you have crossed all your t’s and dotted your i’s sign on the dotted line and let the renovations begin.

Blinds Between the Glass and Children

If you have children, four legged or two, you will understand that it is impossible to keep anything clean. The walls are all muddled up with hand prints, the toilet lids all close funny because they are slammed not gently placed, and each and every blind or window treatment has been tugged at, chewed on, or used as a napkin. This is why I am convinced that they came out with windows where the actual window treatment, blinds, are incased between the glass. No more replacements needed from chewed cords or broken blinds. They are sealed up nice and tight and nothing is getting to them. Not moisture, not dust, not bugs, not pets or children can ruin these. Fool proof is what I think they are.

So many bad blind stories so little time. First one that starts with my children and ends with my spouse burning a hole in the carpet. My kids think they need to know what is going everywhere we are. So one day when we were outside raking leaves my daughter pulls the blinds up, hard, and peeks outside to see what we are up to. She then tries to release the shade with no luck. They are a little tricky those min-blinds. It was stuck in the mechanism at the very top. So she does what any great kid would do and climbs a chair to fix it. In the process of bringing down the min-blinds, literally, she broke one. My spouse, being the OCD one decides we can not have blinds with a broken blind so she gets the box of replacements and sets out to replace the broken blind. Of course it happens to be one in the middle so we take the blinds apart, string them back together, and try to replace the bottom portion. Well the cord had started to fray so my spouse decided to take a match and melt the cord so that it would slide in easier. Now you see why I have a burn mark in the carpet. What a debacle this experience was. So this is why I whole heartedly believe blinds between the glass were invented.

Also, those pesky little four legged creatures have a way of destroying blinds. I haven’t met a cat or dog yet that sees something dangle that they don’t think is a toy for them to play with. Once they attack the ball they are for sure going to chew on it and pull it. I have come home many a times and found the little wooden ball off our roman shades and a sweet kitty face telling me she did it. The other problem is the shade is then destroyed and needing some reshaping because her paw has caught the cord and of course the cord one leaving her pulling her paw and nail till finally the shade gives in and lets go. I am sure that is how the blinds end up in the middle of the window.

That is why I am replacing the windows and blinds in our home with windows that come with the blinds sealed right in them. I know I will make the extra cost up in sanity, and carpet, saved. The look will stay sleek, not chewed and broken. When we have people visit I will not have to dust blinds, I will not have to wash curtain. All I will do is lift the blinds between the pains of glass and let the company in.

Staying Safe with Alcohol

Bars are a place as a society we frequent to go, kick back, relax and have a drink. A problem exists when people choose to have an unlimited amount of drinks and then choose to get behind the wheel. Note I am saying CHOOSE. Drinking and driving after the bar or any party where alcohol is served is a choice. The bar is not the problem, the drinks aren’t really either, however it is the person that chooses to drive instead of asking a sober friend or taxi company to escort them home. How many drinks are too many? I am not quite sure for you but I know my limit is one. One drink and I will not drive. There are too many statistics already and I don’t need to be one nor does my family. Here are some friendly reminders to keep you safe after a night out at the bar with friends or even a social gathering where alcohol is served.

The best tip is to be the designated driver. You will save money, stay sober, and wake up feeling good to go. As the sober driver make sure you are on a constant look out while driving home. Drunk drivers are everywhere and just because you played it safe doesn’t mean everyone will be. Use the highway and keep a lanes distance form other cars. Try to travel before midnight on Friday and Saturday nights when people are wrapping up their partying. Keep your eyes peeled at all times.

If you need to drive to get home the best tip is to stay sober. It is not worth the risk. If you are at home it is a different story, if you have a designated driver who isn’t going to touch a drop of alcohol go ahead kick back. However, if you see your designated driver having any alcohol be the first one to call a taxi for your group. It is always better to be safe then sorry.

While having a beverage at a bar, restaurant, or social gathering drink slow. There is no need to chug your drink. The alcohol will not affect you right away. You might feel fine, get behind the wheel and realize when you see the flashing lights in the review mirror that you might have had too much. Don’t drink things you are unfamiliar with. Alcohol content varies a great deal form drink to drink so choose wisely.

When hosting a party be a good host. Don’t let your guests leave after they have drank. Keep them at your home, offer snacks, and keep an eye on the bar these are all ways to cut down on the consumption of drinks. Another great idea is to offer non alcoholic drinks and store drinks an hour or two before you expect your guests to leave. Make the last hour a coffee and chill social. This way the alcohol has time to process and you will be able to determine the state of your guests before you allow them to leave your home.

The bar is a great hang out. It is a terrific release from a long week at work but really is a cell a great place to bunk it after. Not so much I would say. So be careful, explore bars with your friends and share the sober responsibility. In the end it is worth it.

“It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road.” ~Author unknown. Don’t be that one nut!

BBQ Burgers: How to Get It Just Right

Who doesn’t love a good burger? Hamburgers are a staple dinner in most American homes. On a nice warm summer day, what better way to spend it than some potato salad, watermelon, and grilled burger made to perfection. Burgers can be topped in so many ways but really the most important step to the whole process is preparation and grilling. Without those two things you are just eating beef and why would anyone want to do this when they could have the best.

Let’s start with first things first – preparation of that patty. Many people are tempted to use super lean meat and use fillers such as breadcrumbs and egg to “beef” up the patty. These things are not necessary at all for a remarkably juicy hamburger. What you really need is beef that is at least twenty – three percent fat and some seasoning salts, lots of seasoning salt!

Next you will want to divide the meat and make patties. Make the patties an hour or two before you are going to grill them. Storing them in the refrigerator will allow them time to get firm and will permit the meat to stick together during grilling. You will also want to handle the meat as little as possible. Don’t pack the meat solid you really want a light “fluffy” patty. Most people think thick burgers are the best. In my opinion in order to get an evenly cooked burger it is better to go bigger not thicker. Especially using beef that has a high fat content what will happen during the grilling process is that the fat will drip off the burger and will shrink in roundness. You want to avoid having more bun than beef at all costs. The experience is the beef itself not the bun.

Now prepare the grill. Warm the grill to medium – high heat, scrape any residue off that is left over from the last time you grilled and get ready to BBQ the best burgers of your life. Once the grill is warm allow yourself time to just grill, block all other things out and bring your meat out to meet the grill. Here it goes put the burger on the grill and let it sit, don’t touch it! Leave the lid open and just sit and watch the grill take over. It may be difficult for you not to touch it and squish it down to make sure the insides are getting cooked but trust me don’t! Let it sit for a full 4 minutes and then…Flip it over and do the exact same thing to the other side. After 8 minutes on medium-high BBQ grill heat you will have a little slice of hamburger heaven.

A Guide to Find the Best Restaurants

Eating out is such a luxury these days and really if you are going to spend forty to fifty dollars on a meal don’t you want to make sure you are going to get good food, great service, and an atmosphere you can’t wait to return to? I have several ideas to help you locate a restaurant in your home town or on vacation that will leave your taste buds satisfied.

A great source out there is of course the internet. Also, phone books give us a detailed list of restaurants in the area that are available. This list will help you at least narrow down what is available for your taste buds and allow you to at least narrow the field ethnically. There isn’t a need for a great bbq joint if you are craving burgers or seafood when craving steak. After you have settled on that you can then start the real hunt.

Start asking local people you run into. A lot of locals will be more than happy to share their knowledge of the local food arena. If you are on vacation this especially true. The best part of this is when you engage a local in conversation not only will they be able to give you information on local places to eat but will probably be apt to share their knowledge of local attractions, boutiques, spas and so forth.

Of course if you are out and about and your nose smells something delicious go in and try it out. Look around you will be able to tell if the customer seems pleased. Check out the menu that is always free. Ask the hostess about specials and the establishment’s reputation. Most of the time a hostess is a minimum waged employee who will be happy to tell you if the restaurants food is not very tasty. Of course this is only true if their boss isn’t lurking near by.

If you see a restaurant that has a full parking lot that is usually a pretty favorable sign that you have hit the jack pot. My suggestion is to put your name in with the hostess, and sit at the bar for a drink. By the time your wait is up my guess is that the bartender and locals will have filled you in on what entrée they would choose.

Put yourself out on facebook. Most of the time a friend or two will have an acquaintance in the area that can lead you in the right direction. Social networks are great for this type of thing. People love to give their opinion you just need to ask.

Following this advice I am almost certain your taste buds will be smiling. Enjoy a good meal out with someone you appreciate. Take time to savor the food and memories that you are sharing and pass the favor on. Share with people you know about good places to go to eat.

Want a Good Time? Find a Bar

What is a Bar? A bar defined is an establishment that serves alcoholic drinks; beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails, for consumption on the premises. A bar, to me, is a place to hang out, drink beverages you don’t get to enjoy at home, in the company of friends. No matter how you define it bar mean different things to each individual who is a patron. The type of bar that is good for one is not always good for another. Bars can be elegant, bars can be dives, some charge a cover (a fee to get in), some serve dinner, some have entertainment, some don’t. Bars are all different that is part of the fun and excitement that comes from going to the bar.

The origin of the word bar comes from a particular counter that beverages are served on. When you sit at the bar in an establishment you are in direct dealings with the bartender. The chairs around the bar are usually a stool with some type of high back for support. The chairs are squeezed together to promote mingling between customers. Behind the bar is the location where the bartender keeps all the glasses and bottles of liquor. Sometimes, depending on the décor of the establishment the bar has shelves where lights, mirror, and ornately decorated woodwork.

What type of bar you visit is up to you. There are all types so whether you are a classic lady trying to get a glass of wine or a biker looking malt beverages well equipped bars will have something for you. There are some important differences that distinguish the type of bar. Although, a bar might be intended for one demographic and end up being favored by another for reasons as simple as the dance floor.

Types of bars:

Cocktail bars/lounges are usually set up inside of public places like an airport or hotel. These bars are usually a bit more upscale and require certain more appropriate public attire.

Dive bar (Biker bars) are usually a little seedier. They are set up on the outskirts of towns and are very informal. These are the bars you attend when you are looking for a place to really just chill and drink – a lot. It is a place popular among the locals hang out like being part of a club. Many dive bars also have pool tables, dart boards, and juke boxes for entertainment.

Wine bars are classy establishments. Patrons go there to have a quiet drink. Food is not a requirement for a wine bar. Most give you the opportunity to sample a vast selection of wine before you choose one to order. Usually all wine bars serve is wine, beer and liquor are not served.

Entertainment bars serve many different types of patrons. Topless bars, dance clubs/bars, sports bars all draw their own crowds. Still the main purpose of an entertainment bar is to provide the customer with something to do while enjoying their beverages. These types of bars are incredibly popular throughout Michigan. Whether you want to play a game of pool or just sit back and enjoy the view entertainment bars usually have something for everyone.

Whether you are married or single bars have and will continue to be a place to visit, relax, enjoy old friends and make new friends. If you are ever considering a move to a new area visit the local watering hole to get a feel for the locals. It can’t hurt that’s for sure, a few drinks among strangers never really hurts anyone does it and what better way to be introduce to a new community?

What Type of Burger Will You Try Tonight?

Heavenly, delightful, juicy, delightful, tantalizing, mouthwatering, enjoyable, delicious, tasty, scrumptious, delectable these are just a few of the words that describe a hamburger. Burgers have been a part of America’s favorite past times forever. Whether it is a bbq, a picnic or a night out the occasion is most likely perfect for a burger. Burgers are perfect for any situation. Hamburgers, more commonly known as burgers, are defined as a cooked patty of ground meat, most often beef, which is served between two buns. Goodies such as ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onion, cheese and pickles usually accompany the burger to enhance the flavor. Hamburgers have grown in popularity and thus so have the combinations of condiments that can accompany them.

Burgers can be made out of all types of ground meats and ground vegetables. Beef is the most popular type of meat used in the United States. Ground turkey, ground sausage, ground chicken, ground tofu and ground vegetables are often popular choices also. Some people often use chicken breast and refer to this as a burger also.

Popular burger combinations vary all around the United States and world for that matter. In this section we will look at all the different combinations and maybe it will be the inspiration for tonight’s dinner.
The term with the “lot” will refer to the following toppings being added tomato, beetroot, lettuce, onion, fried egg, bacon, pineapple, and cheese.

Texas Burger: A beef patty covered with mustard, jalapenos, cheese, with or without vegetables.

An Australian Burger: A beef patty with the “lot”

A Sloppy Joe Burger: Ground beef that is left loose served with chilies and a mixture of bbq sauce, brown sugar, and mustard. These burgers are best eaten with a knife and fork.

A Butter Burger: This is a regular beef patty served with a bun that is grilled with butter on it.

A Patty Melt Burger: This is a thin patty of beef served with cheese and sautéed onions served between two pieces of rye bread and then fried to perfection.

A Hawaiian Burger: This is a beef patty served with ham, bacon, pineapple, teriyaki sauce and cheese.

A low Carb Burger: This is a ground turkey or chicken patty served between two pieces of lettuce.

A Juicy Lucy Burger: This is a burger in which the cheese is squished between the ground beef. Warning: The cheese will be hot – use caution when taking that first bite.

A Cheeseburger: This is the traditional way to eat a burger. A ground beef patty is cooked to order and then covered with cheeses, pickles, onions, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.

A Barbecue Burger: This burger is made form a mixture of ground beef, onions and barbeque sauce grilled to order. The bun is then coated with a layer of bbq sauce and grilled enhancing the bbq flavor of the meat.

A Carolina Burger: This is a ground beef burger served with cheese, chili, onions, mustard, and coleslaw.

A Curry Burger: This burger mixes ground beef, ground chicken, and ground lamb and seasons it with curry powder, yogurt, onions, and green peppers and then served on a bun.

A California Burgers: This is a ground beef patty served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, guacamole, bacon and cheese.

A Slider Burger: This is a small beef patty served on a small bun with added sautéed onions.

A Colossal Colon Clogger: This is a burger popular in Canada. It is a 24 ounce ground beef patty, served with a quarter pound of cheese, a quarter pound of bacon and two fried eggs.

A Luther Burger: This is a beef burger served with bacon placed between a bun made out of donuts.

A Slug Burger: This is a burger made entirely from a mixture of meat, such as pork, soybeans and is deep fried in oil.

Tonight try one of these variations. You can grill at home or visit a tavern in your local area to discover one of these explosions of goodness. You will for sure taste some burger goodness.

Connecting With Kids During Pizza Night

By Friday night I am spent. A long week at work, kid’s activities that spill over into our Saturdays so I know that tomorrow is looking busy already. Fridays are the one night I don’t want to think about washing dishes, cleaning the house, worrying about what I am going to make for dinner, if there is even food in the house or kids whining that they don’t want to eat what there is for dinner. So instead of worrying about any of this I instituted Friday, Family Pizza Night. Whether we are home in Northville or on vacation in the UP say in Marquette my kids insist on finding a pizza joint!

Kids love PIZZA! It is the biggest treat for them to go out to dinner because we only make time for this on Friday nights. So after a long week I know when I pull in the driveway there will be a Caravan of kids waiting for me to venture out for pizza. This is my favorite time of the entire week – pizza dinner with my family. So if your family is anything at all like ours you might think about instituting your own special night of the week. The family bonding we do over pizza on Friday nights is beyond comparison.

Kids tend to talk when they are happy and pizza night makes them happy. They will begin to tell you all about their week. Who did what during class, what girls wore what brands, yes some of it is just the stuff of preteens but what are family has found is that these Friday night pizza nights have allowed us to have some of the more serious topics. Pizza night allowed us to information that our daughter keeps private thinking she will get someone in trouble if she “tells”. Pizza night is not like “telling” it is having a conversation with mom and dad where the information about kids smoking and talking about drugs comes out. It allows us to keep the lines of communication open with her so for us pizza night with her is our moment in the week to find out all the things that are going through her head.

I am so thankful for Pizza night in my home. Take my suggestion and add a pizza night, or whatever food night your kids love, to your family’s routine. You will find out more about what is going on in your child’s head then you ever thought was going on and it is the prefect non-threatening time to do just that – Pizza night.

Easy Tips to Save a Few Bucks While Eating Out

In times such as these eating out is a luxury. Who can possible afford forty-five dollars for one meal out, each week, for a family of four? Although, there are times when going out is almost a necessity, coming home from soccer, dance practice, football games or on those days when everyone is just to whipped to plan a meal. Eating out is so convenient for busy days and days when you just need a break. However, a budget is easily blown to bits when a family of four decides to take a break from their kitchen to eat out. Think about it, on average, forty-five dollars a week times fifty-two weeks is a whopping two thousand three hundred forty dollars a year. Here are some easy to follow tips so that your family can continue to enjoy a night out even while going through this economic downturn.

Beverage Choice: The first suggestion is to drink water. Soda beverages run about two dollars and fifty cents per drink. For a family of four that is ten dollars in drinks alone. If usually a fruity cocktail or draft beer was the drink of choice that could run upwards of ten dollars for just two adult beverages. Water is free, with unlimited refills. Another benefit of drinking water at a restaurant is that is fills you up so you won’t be as famished when your meal arrives. If you just must have an adult drink, ask about any specials or current promotions to save a bit of money. The other tip is to share a drink – just make sure the waitress isn’t peeking shares are individually charged if caught!

Try Something New: You always get the chicken salad so why not try something that the restaurant is trying to promote. These meals are distributed at a discount price to get people to try them. So ask your server or check the insert in your menu. Something new, at a discount, could be your new favorite!

Sign Up: Many restaurants have deals on the internet. If you fill out their customer form they will send you coupons, often buy one get one free type offers, to keep you coming back. Another great things about signing up for these promotions is that around your birthday they pass out free meals, free desserts and such as a gift to you from them. At the very least you are bound to come up with a coupon that gives you a percentage or straight dollar amount off and who doesn’t like to save a few bucks!

Eat Linner: Instead of waiting for dinner try stretching out lunch into an early dinner, late lunch. Meals are often times less expensive off the lunch menu. If you just can’t ask for a lunch portion at dinner. Many restaurants will do this, allowing you a less expensive meal with almost the same amount of food. Portion sizes are often so out of control at dinner time that a lunch size meal will do the job and save you a pretty penny.

Follow the Golden Rule – Share: Sharing a meal is a great way to get a deal. Dinner portions are often served larger than any other time of the day. Dinner meals, at most restaurants, can easily be shared between two people. This is sort of like that buy one get one free deal. If you just can not share a meal make sure to divide your meal when it arrives at the table and take the second portion home for leftovers. Leftovers make a terrific quick lunch for busy professionals.

Ditch Dessert: Is it really worth five or six dollars for one slice of pie or scoop of ice cream? No, if you are craving dessert stopping at a local bakery or ice cream joint it is a lot less expensive. Half gallons of ice cream these days are only around three bucks, pick one up and enjoy a sundae bar at home. What kid or adult, for that matter, wouldn’t love to create dessert? That is an extra special treat after a wonderful night out.

Reasons to Scope out a Local Tavern

The word “tavern” means a place to gather, eat good food, and enjoy some beverages. It is interesting that the word actually encompassed so much more in the history of the United States. Taverns were the epicenter of towns. Travelers could actually stay in rooms provided at the larger taverns, also known as inns. In the days of old a tavern was essential for commerce, colonists could trade prices on their crop, arrange trades of goods, newspapers were read, and business opportunities were exchanged. Taverns were a place to spend what free time people had enjoying cards games and pool tables filled the higher class establishments.

As history tells us views on women mingling in taverns all had one thing in common – women were not welcome to mingle only allowed to serve. History usually leaves out that two-thirds of taverns were operated by women. This comes out of necessity. Local governments, who issued the licenses for such establishments, often would find local widows to operate taverns. This would keep them from becoming a burden, financially, on the government. Widowed women were seen as a threat to the government because without the business most would be left impoverished and become dependant on the services of the country. So as the government saw it Taverns run by local women was a win-win solution. Women and children were never allowed to eat, drink, or socialize in the taverns. The times have sure changed.

Taverns today are still the epicenter of many towns and cities. Today taverns are places that locals go to relax, eat, drink and be merry. Often a round of pool will be shot, some darts thrown, possible even some karaoke sang. Taverns allow us a place to sit and enjoy friends after long work weeks. They allow us to grab a burger with our families on those nights that we are running from one sporting event to another. Taverns today are places that invite the entire family out during the week however that usually changes when the weekend rolls around. Visit a tavern on any given night and I guarantee the bar will be full, music will be playing, the aroma of a juicy burger will be lofting through the air and a cold beverage will be near.

Taverns have taken their place in history and manage to stay in the forefront of the good times of today. Taverns still exist in all types of environments, all different price ranges and activities to do. Hopefully this article will lead you to research taverns and local watering holes in your area. It is almost a guarantee you will find yourself having a great time at your local tavern. Awaken your senses with a juicy sirloin, loaded baked potato and ale of some kind. Taverns are places to feed your soul. They were and continue to be the epicenter of towns and cities not only in America but all over the word.