Livingston Reporting - page 273

Carpet Cleaners: A Necessary Expense

It is so important to get your carpets cleaned at least once a year. Most carpet professionals will recommend a deep clean twice a year for the longevity of the carpet. Every six months schedule a professional to come out and evaluate the condition of your carpet. A carpet cleaners will be able to tell you whether or not a deep clean is necessary. If you want to ensure the life of your carpet it is best not to spare this expense. It will prove to add to the lifetime of your carpet.

There are many things we can do to increase the longevity of the carpet ourselves along with hiring a professional carpet cleaners twice a year. I would recommend that anyone with small children only purchase carpet that is stain protected. Stain protection offers resilience to spills by allowing liquid spills to puddle on the surface allowing time to clean up the spill before sinking into the carpet and padding. Inevitably some form of liquid will find its way into our children’s hands and onto the carpet.

If a spill does happen and the stain protection has done all that it could it is important to use a product especially designed for carpet to help with the removal of the stain. It is also important that you vacuum up any left over liquid with a shop vacuum to prevent the stain from rising to the surface through the padding once the original mess has been cleaned. When removing the stain try to blot the stain picking up any color and moisture you can. We often want to rub the stain but this is NOT an effective way to remove the stain permanently.

Another quick and easy technique to minimize dirt on your carpet is to use throw rugs. Rugs are designed for high traffic areas and allow for ease of washing that carpet doesn’t. Throw rugs used in high traffic areas will collect the large amount of dirt from traffic allowing us the carpet underneath to stay untouched.

If you have opted to have that look and feel of warm carpet in your home it is important to maintain the look and feel with regular cleaning of your carpet. Carpet cleaners will increase the longevity of your carpet. Clean fresh looking carpet will increase the initial feel of your home. If you walk into an environment with dirty carpet it changes how you feel about that environment entirely. Don’t allow your home to get bad vibes by letting your carpet get dingy and dirty. Have regular cleanings by a professional carpet cleaner to maximize the beauty and character of your carpet.

Professionals will recommend vacuuming your carpet at least every third day so that you keep dirt and dander from settling in. If dirt settles into your padding it will cause issues with the carpet for its lifetime so it is better to avoid that with regular vacuuming.

Carpet Cleaning After Flea Infestation

Many people with pets have asked over the years how do you get rid of fleas if the house is infested. My answer is to always start with a professional carpet cleaning service. They will provide you with a fresh clean base to work with. The hot water and cleaner from their machines will destroy many of those pesky fleas and larvae. It will provide the base needed to eliminate fleas forever. Start with carpet cleaning and follow one or all of these tips to have a flea free home.

After your carpets have been thoroughly cleaned the next thing you need to do is manage the pet’s flea problem. This should be done in several steps. The most effective manner to get rid of fleas is of course prevention. Have your pet on an anti-flea and tick medicine prescribed by your vet. However if a pet finds their way to you already infested with fleas before you can get them to the vet bathe them in a flea shampoo. After you bathe them take a flea comb through their fur thoroughly. This should remove many of the dead fleas and should get the ones that managed to live through the bath. Make sure you properly dispose of any live fleas. One flea can easily reproduce a trillion off spring. One way to kill the fleas is in a bath of water and dish soap. Keep cleaning your carpets daily by vacuuming them until you are able to see the vet for the proper prescription for your animal.

If you still find yourself with a flea issue there are several other methods other than cleaning your carpets. You may try using an aerosol such as Ultracide Floor Spray which contains both an egg inhibitor and exterminates the fleas. Foggers also work well but are often unable to get underneath furniture where the little critters like to hide. A combination of foggers and aerosols would most likely work the best. I mention powders but am not as thrilled with them. My research in how clean and flea free they leave your carpet leaves me to question how well they work. Powders leave a chemical that children and pets could be breathing in as they lay around. The layer of dust that they leave is often unbearable. It is also beneficial to use a product such as an aerosol or fogger that contains an insect growth regulator. These leave the fleas unable to reproduce which is really the battle that needs to be won.

As mentioned earlier carpet cleaning alone will not be effective. In order to control and get rid of fleas a combination of methods is best. Start with cleaning your carpet and continue the flea free life by regular maintenance. Prevention will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Once you discover you have a flea problem it is usually too late to take the easy road out. Good luck and good ridden to your fleas!

Going Crazy with Blinds

So many types of blinds, so little time… When decorating your windows the choices in blinds are incredible. So depending on the budget, room location, blind purpose and decor you are going for there will be blinds for your needs.

Mini-blinds are the most inexpensive all types of blinds. The great part about mini-blinds is that you can use them for a year, they can collect dust, and you can afford to replace them the following year. The other nice thing about mini-blinds is that they measure to fit most windows and it is easy to shorten the length on them. There are plastic and aluminum blinds to choose from. Mini-blinds can be used in any room in your home and are good to block light. The one disadvantage is that they aren’t always the most attractive option so if you are looking for elegant or classic mini-blinds will not be the best option.

Another inexpensive option is to use faux wood blinds. They are a bit more expensive then mini-blinds but are more economical than wood. The great part about faux wood blinds is that they are easy to clean and resistant to water so they are really good for areas such as kitchens and baths. The problems that are found with faux blinds are that they are heavy. In order to balance the weight of the blinds more supports are used which creates more holes in the blinds. This will allow for more light to enter and since the main purpose of blinds is to keep light out this might detour some. Make sure to stick with faux wood blinds that are plastic the foam blinds that have the faux wood look are often very weak and don’t tend to be durable at all.

Real wood is pricier than faux wood but gives you something much more than money can buy. It is nice to have a warm, cozy feel with your blinds. That other nice thing is that often wood blinds can be made to match the moldings in your home or to each room specifically. They are also superior at blocking out light and are a lighter weight option over faux blinds.

You can also go with vertical blinds which come only in cloth or plastic. Vertical blinds are nice is that they are cut and measured to the exact size of your windows. They are a bit pricier than mini-blinds. Vertical blinds block out a lot of light and depending on the material used all light could be blocked. Fabric vertical blinds tend to darken rooms to a greater degree.

So the choice is yours. Think about the look and feel of the room you will putting your blinds in and decided from there. You can not go wrong with windows with blinds. Blinds are always a good option in resale, appeal, and durability.

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.