Jul 17 2014

Featured Colonial House Plan: Elegant and Simple – The House Plan Shop

Colonial House Plan, 027H-0169What’s old is new again. The elegant simplicity of this Colonial house plan will never become obsolete. Stunning details like the treatment of the windows and gables, plus the sturdiness of a brick exterior lends to its historic appearance. George Washington didn’t sleep here only because you haven’t built it yet. If he did, he would find plenty of room with four bedrooms on the second floor. He would be impressed by the modern interior, beyond the convenience of indoor plumbing, which by the way includes two full baths and laundry. Whether dining on mutton at the kitchen food bar or the dining room table, or warming himself at the great room’s fireplace, he would be at home with the warmth and coziness of this two-story home plan. What a great place to begin your own history.     

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Jul 08 2014

Recipe: Easy Baked Beans for Your Summer Barbecue – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Recipes

Baked Beans

It seems like everyone has their own recipe for tweaking canned pork and beans. But in case you don’t, this easy recipe is a good one to get you started

 

Baked Beans 

½ to 1 pound of bacon

1 onion chopped

2 16 ounce cans of pork and beans

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup ketchup

3 tbs of prepared yellow mustard

1 tbs of lemon juice

 

Cook the bacon. Cut it into pieces and set aside. Add the chopped onion to some of the bacon grease and cook until it is soft. In a large bowl, mix everything but the bacon. Put the mixture in a baking dish. A Dutch oven works great. Top with the bacon and cooked covered in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.

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Jun 17 2014

Lawn and Garden Tips for Dealing with Summer Drought – The House Plan Shop

Sprinkler

The summer sun is high in the sky. As the temperatures soar, Mother Nature decides to hold back on rain. Your grass, garden, and trees are beginning to suffer. Below are a few tips for keeping your green space green throughout the summer.

Mulch
Did you know that unmulched soil can lose up to twice as much water as mulched soil, due to evaporation? Three to four inches of mulch around your plants will not only reduce soil temperature and keep moisture in the soil, but it will help to smother those pesky weeds that want to steal any available water. As a bonus, organic mulch will break down in the soil building up its organic content and preventing compaction. That gives your soil a better chance to soak up water for your plants use. When mulching around trees, pull the mulch back a bit around the trunk to allow air to reach it.

Water
It is best to water in the morning when the humidity is high and the temperature is cooler. Less water is lost to evaporation this way, and it prepares your plants and lawn to face the hottest part of the day without wilting. In the heat of the day, water evaporates faster causing you to use more water to get the job done. Also, water droplets on the plants work like a magnifying glass for the sun and could cause “sunburn” on the leaves. Watering too late in the day doesn’t give the plants time to dry properly and could promote fungus growth. Since shade is so important in keeping down the temperature of your lawn, don’t forget to water your trees. To help the water reach deeply to the roots, drill holes 24 to 30 inches deep around the base of the tree and fill them with compost. Water your lawn and trees slowly to help the soil absorb the water. This will also help to prevent water loss through transpiration which is a way that grass and plants “sweat” through their leaves. Finally, be mindful to deal with pests that will sap your precious plants and lawn of their strength.

Conserve
Plants use about one inch of water from the soil per week of the growing season. Use a rain gauge to estimate your watering and listen to the weather forecast to decide when to water. A soaker hose will help allow the water to soak in slowly without runoff.  Allowing your lawn to grow taller will help retain moisture by preventing water loss through transpiration. Consider directing the downspouts from your gutters to flow toward your trees or shrubs. Or even better, collect rainwater that flows from your roof into a barrel to use on a not so rainy day.

Keeping these tips in mind will help your plants, lawn, and trees stay a healthy green all summer.

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Jun 07 2014

Recipe: Fried Corn for Your Summer Barbeque – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Recipes

Fried CornGrilling corn on the cob is a great treat at summer barbeques but might take up too much time and precious grill space, especially if you are hosting a large crowd. Here’s an easy way to deliver a tasty side dish of corn that your guests will surely appreciate.

Fried Corn

1 pound of bacon

1 bell pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

2  16 ounce bags of frozen corn

½ cup sugar optional

In a deep skillet fry the bacon. Remove from skillet, crumble it and set aside. Save some of the bacon grease, and add the pepper and onion to the skillet. Cook until soft and then add the corn. If you prefer to sweeten the pot, add some sugar to the corn along with a little salt and pepper to season it. If you like things hot, use a little cayenne pepper. When the corn is thoroughly heated through, return the crumbled bacon to the skillet, stir and serve.

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May 20 2014

Hurricane Season: How to Prepare – The House Plan Shop

HurricaneHurricane season can last almost a half year (typically June – November), and with hurricane season quickly approaching, you don’t want to be caught off guard. If you live in a coastal area, now is a good time to review your emergency plan and prepare your home and family in case disaster strikes. Review these tips and hints to help you prepare:

  • Create an Emergency Supply Kit – Create your own emergency supply kit. Consider storing these items in a waterproof container: First aid kit, flashlights, blankets, clothing, shoes, water, non-perishable food, radio, prescriptions, toiletries, insect repellant, extra keys, important documents like insurance policies, emergency phone numbers and some cash. Include a phone charger that plugs into the car’s power system for at least one of your cell phones. If you have children, include toys to keep them occupied and of course bring the usual diaper bag contents for infants. Don’t forget leashes and carriers for the pets.
  • Prepare you Auto – Keep your car maintained and the tank full of gas. Know ahead of time the safest route to an emergency shelter and keep in mind alternate routes in case yours becomes blocked.
  • Safety – Safety features in your house should include smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. Consider learning first aid, including CPR. Know when and how to turn off your utilities. Review with your children how to call 911 and other emergency numbers.
  • Have a Plan – Everyone may not be at home when the storm hits, so designate a meeting place and review it with all family members. Also, designate a friend or relative that lives away from the storm’s path, as an emergency contact. Write down all contact information for each family member to carry with them. Practice your plan so that everyone can remain calm and competent when the storm actually hits.
  • Keep Informed – Register for emergency alerts for your cell phone, tablet or computer. Bad weather can take out phone lines and cell towers so be sure to keep a battery powered radio tuned to the appropriate channel/station. Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning. A watch means a hurricane could happen, while a warning means that it will happen. This is when all of your preparation and practice will go into effect.

With these helpful tips and a little planning your and your family will be better prepared should a hurricane make land fall in your area.

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