With Halloween just days away, it is necessary to think about your family’s safety on this special night. Below are some Halloween safety tips that you probably already know, but please read through them as a reminder to stay safe this Halloween. Remember scary is only good if it’s fun!
- Accompanied by an Adult - Children should always be chaperoned, preferably by their parents. There is safety in numbers, so travel in groups if possible, and know where you are heading before you start out on Halloween night.
- Unrestricted Costumes – Make sure your children’s costumes are short enough that they won’t trip when walking. Enlarge the eyeholes in masks or use makeup instead, to help them see where they are going. If they are carrying any props like swords or brooms, make sure they are flexible to prevent injury if they should fall.
- Light It Up – Bring along flashlights with fresh batteries to help brighten your path. Use reflective tape or glow lights on costumes to help little ones to be seen. Try to stay on well-lighted streets and go only to the houses that have a porch light on at the front door.
- Don’t Eat the Candy – Wait until you get back home and have time to go through all the loot your children receive. Inspect wrappers for tampering of course, but also check for choking hazards like small hard candies or toys and items your children are allergic to.
- Identify Your Auto - If you are staying with the car while sending your trick-or-treaters up to the porches, remember cars can look alike in the dark. Decorate your dash board or radio antenna with something that lights up so the little ones can easily identify their ride. Be sure they are aware to enter the car on the curbside instead of the street side. Don’t forget seatbelts, even if it is a short ride.
- Obey the Law – Remind little ones the proper way to cross the street, using crosswalks and signal lights when possible. Stay on sidewalks and do not cut through alleys. Some communities post a curfew for trick-or-treating, so start early and get home in a timely manner.
If you enjoy the occasional fire in your wood-burning fireplace or you heat rooms in your home with a woodstove, there are a few crucial safety tips you should follow before you build your first fire this winter. Fireplaces and chimneys are involved in over 40% of home-heating fires, so take precautions before you strike up a fire to ensure your home and family are safe.
- Clean the chimney – Hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney before winter to remove soot and debris that have built up in the chimney.
- Assess the chimney for damage and problems – Carefully inspect your chimney for loose bricks, missing mortar and cracks. Check the chimney liner for cracking and deterioration. Have a professional make any necessary repairs.
- Inspect the chimney cap – Your chimney should be covered with a cap fitted with wire-mesh sides. The cap keeps debris, rain, squirrels, birds and other critters from entering the chimney. If your cap is missing, replace it. If it is damaged, repair or replace it.
- Select the right wood – When burning a fire in your fireplace, it is best to burn dense and seasoned hardwoods such as oak that has been split and stored in a dry place. Burning green and soft woods such as pine produces more creosote which builds up in the chimney. (Creosote is a flammable by-product of combustion.)
- Stick with small fires – Build and burn small fires. They produce less smoke and therefore less creosote buildup in the chimney. Also keep in mind, fires that are too big or too hot can crack your chimney. This damage can be expensive to repair.
- Use kindling – When you’re trying to get your fire started, use kindling. It is very dangerous to use flammable liquids to start your fire.
- Protect against embers – It is not uncommon for embers to shoot out of the fireplace. Prevent this from happening by using a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. If you have a woodstove close and secure the door.
Following these tips every winter will help prevent a fireplace accident from happening and keep your family and home safe.
This two-story luxury home plan has plenty of storage space to keep a busy family organized. In addition to a three-car plus attached garage and walk-in basement, there are walk-in closets, built-ins, a cedar closet off the upstairs bathroom, a dining room butler’s pantry and lockers in the vestibule between the garage and main house. The homeowners can enjoy the convenience of a second floor laundry, a wet bar in the master suite and separate tub and shower in the master bath. Family togetherness is accommodated in the eat-in kitchen featuring a built- in snack bar island, the spacious family room with an open two-story ceiling and a comfortable screen room with a fireplace. There is also space for individual activities. There is a private deck off of the main bedroom, desks for homework in the two secondary bedrooms and a room on the main floor that can be made into a den, music room or office. This house has a beautiful covered porch supported by columns atop stone pedestals, inviting for both the inhabitants and guests alike. View floor plans and details about this family-oriented Craftsman home design.
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If wash day seems like a drag to you, consider some of these laundry room updates to make laundry chores easier. Creating a smart, efficient and resourceful space will make the burden of wash day disappear. Better yet, you don’t need a large space to improve your boring, inefficient laundry room.
Makeover the Basement Laundry Room
- Brighten up your drab, basement laundry room with a fresh coat of white or light colored paint on the walls and ceilings.
- Paint the floor as well and add mats or rugs for safety and traction. Make sure they can be cleaned easily incase of unexpected spills or plumbing problems.
- Add a folding station where it is a small cabinet or other piece of furniture to serve as a counter. Folding laundry items as you pull them out of the dryer saves time and minimizes wrinkles.
- Give your laundry room a “first floor” feel by hanging long, light colored draperies or curtains to create the look and feel of a large window. Chose fabric intended for outdoor use. They will resist moisture and mildew that often builds up in basements.
- Install good lighting in/over your laundry station to make it feel bright and cheerful.
- If room allows add a small cabinet or counter top for folding and mending clothing items.
Other Budget Updates
- Increase the convenience of your laundry room by adding a row or two of old-fashioned coat hooks. As you pull items out of the dryer, hang them on their own individual coat hook to minimize wrinkles, then take them straight to the closet to hang.
- Install plastic-coated wire shelving. It will put your wall space to good use and provide room to keep laundry supplies organized. Additionally, the wire and clothing rod are perfectly spaced/positioned for those laundry items that drip-dry.
- Create an instant laundry station by combining a wall hung cabinet with a laundry cart or similar cart on wheels. This handy combo will turn a small space into a convenient and efficiently laundry center. Store cleaning supplies in the cabinet and attached an inexpensive iron holder to the side of the cabinet. Hang a pull-out ironing board on the wall to save floor space. Use the cart for sorting laundry, storing clothing baskets, mending seams and sewing buttons.
Providing a welcoming break from the daily stresses of city life, this two-story vacation home offers a chance to relax and reconnect with nature. A sundeck surrounding a third of the house provides a perfect vantage point for overlooking nearby waterfronts or distant mountains. The interior of the house also allows for great views of the surrounding areas with large windows located throughout the house including a set of French doors in the great room and the master bedroom along with a window seat creating a perfect backdrop to enjoy your latest book. On the lower level a workshop offers space for those who enjoy working with their hands or a covered patio for the couple who enjoy a glass of wine while watching the rain fall in their own little slice of county.
Click here to view floor plans and details about this vacation house plan, # 010H-0016.
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