Holiday Information | - Part 3

Archive for the 'Holiday Information' Category

Dec 07 2010

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5 Holiday Safety Tips

Step StoolThe holidays are approaching quickly and it is easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season, but this is no time to let your guard down when it comes to following safe practices. The House Plan Shop has five holiday safety tips for you to review. Keep them in mind this holiday season.

 

1.    Practice Fire Safety – Most residential fires occur during the winter months and with extra activities to attend and plenty of family and friends stopping by to visit, it is easy to forget about fire safety. If you burn candles in your home, keep them away from holiday trees, curtains, blankets, and walking paths such as the hallway and other high traffic areas. Most importantly keep them out of reach of children and pets. Do not leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles and stoves unattended. Do not use grills, generators or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, including the garage and basement. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

2.    Prevent Injuries – Injuries can occur anywhere at any time including during the holidays. Use a step stool instead of furniture when hanging holiday decorations. Make sure your ladder is secure before climbing to the rooftop to hang holiday lights. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

3.    Keep an Eye on the Kids – With so much happening during the holidays, it is easy to get caught up in a conversation with Aunt Jane whom you haven’t seen since last year or have fun participating in the events at a holiday party. But remember if the kids are with you, you must keep a watchful eye. Whether they are eating, playing or watching a movie with their cousins in the other room, you should know what your kids are doing at all times. Keep potentially dangerous items such as toys, food, drinks and other hazardous household items out of reach. Make sure toys and game pieces are used properly. If your kids have any food allergies, make sure to check out all food items and drinks that are served at any holiday gathering you attend and help your child make healthy decisions about what to eat.

4.    Practice Travel Safety – Whether your holiday travels take you across town or completely across the country, practice safe travel habits. Do not drink and drive. Always buckle up. Make sure your child is properly fastened in his/her car seat, booster seat or just buckled in properly according to child safety laws. Also, make sure your car is in good working order and be prepared for inclement weather.

5.    Be Healthy – The holidays can make it hard to follow your normal daily routine, so make sure you continue to practice good habits for your health. Wash hands often. Dress warm in cold climates and stay dry. Cook foods to their proper temperatures. Make sure to schedule some down time in your busy schedule to relax and regroup. Most importantly make sure the whole family gets plenty of rest.

 

These simple tips will help ensure you and your family will enjoy a safe holiday season.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Nov 18 2010

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Christmas Crafts – Make your own Christmas Ornaments

It is that time of year when we create gift lists and shop for the perfect gift for a special loved one or friend. Sometimes, the best gifts can’t be bought online or at the store. Sometimes the best gifts are homemade – created with our own hands, talents and ambition. Homemade Christmas ornaments are the perfect way to remember someone special this holiday season whether it is a co-worker, an old classmate, grandchild, cousin or friend. Kay’s Country Cottage recently posted a blog on how to make homemade holiday ornaments including salt dough ornaments and glass ball ornaments. Simple and fun, these easy crafts create memorable holiday gifts and add a little personal charm to your loved one’s holiday decor.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Dec 30 2009

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Recipes for New Year’s Appetizers

Chances are you are either hosting a New Year’s gathering or attending one. And if you’re taking part in a special get-together, you’ll most likely be serving appetizers or brining a snack to the party you plan to attend. The House Plan Shop is here to help. The following appetizer recipes are some of our favorites. Happy New Year from The House Plan Shop! Enjoy!

 

Brown Sugar Smokies

 

Ingredients:

1 package of cocktail sausages

1 package of maple flavored bacon cut into thirds

1 cup packed brown sugar

Toothpicks

 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Spray a 9”x13” glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

3.    Wrap each cocktail sausage with a third piece of bacon.

4.    Stick a toothpick through the middle securing the bacon and place in the glass dish arranging in a single layer.

5.    Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.

6.    Bake for 45 minutes or until edges of bacon begin to get crispy.

7.    Serve warm.

 

 

Pizza SticksEasy Pizza Sticks

 

Ingredients:

1 (11 oz) can refrigerated bread sticks

Thin pepperoni slices

Shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Pizza sauce

 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Roll out breadsticks onto an ungreased cookie sheet and separate.

3.    Place two or three pepperoni slices at one end of the bread stick.

4.    Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

5.    Fold remaining half of breadstick over the top, seal the end and twist.

6.    Repeat for remaining breadsticks and arrange on cookie sheet.

7.    Mix together parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic power in small bowl.

8.    Sprinkle over the top of the twisted breadsticks.

9.    Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

10.  Dip in warm pizza sauce and enjoy.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Dec 15 2009

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Live Green: 8 Earth-Friendly Ways to Celebrate the Season

Natural Christmas Decoration‘Tis the season to be jolly….and wasteful. A recent report stated Americans will create an extra 25 million tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Think about it. Wrapping paper filling trash cans. Light displays spiking electric bills. Trees jamming up landfills. And the list goes on. But THIS holiday season can be different. The following suggestions will help you change your habits and start a new tradition, celebrating the holidays in amazing earth-friendly fashion.

 

Turn Down the Amps – Leaving your holiday lights on 24 hours a day can significantly raise your energy bill. Use a timer for your light displays ensuring they are not left on all night. Also, when strands of lights wear out, replace them with LED lights which use about 90% less energy than standard mini-lights.

 

Candle Glow – The holidays are the perfect time to light up your home with candles. A decorative arrangement of tall and short candles in a room is usually enough to eliminate some, if not all, overhead lighting. Not only will you save electricity, but the candles will be part of your décor. Furthermore, with the heat from the candles and your own body heat, most rooms will warm up nicely over the course of an evening allowing you to lower the thermostat. The result – you’ll save on your energy bill. Remember to use caution around burning candles.

 

Use Natural Décor – Use locally grown items to decorate your home. Fill a basket with pinecones you collected at the park, and use it as a centerpiece on the dining room table. Snip a few branches from an evergreen bush or tree and create your own wreath for the door. Add pinecones and a bow or tuck citrus fruits into it for a pop of color. Make your own garland for the tree with popcorn, berries and nuts, for example.

 

Cut your Card List – Over 2.6 billing holiday cards are sold each year and most end up in the trash. Trim you card list by just a few recipients and send them an e-card instead. You’ll save on postage and reduce waste. When sending traditional cards, choose cards made of recycled paper. As for the cards you receive, cut them up, they will make great gift tags for next year.

 

Trim Creatively – There is no need to buy all new tree trimmings every year so you can have a new holiday look. Instead, create homemade ornaments. Make popcorn and cranberry garland or pinecone ornaments. Better yet, swap decorations with a friend each year. You’ll always have a fresh look.

 

Consider Alternative Gift Wrap – With so much wrapping paper ending up in the trash each year, use your imagination. Wrap gifts with other items like a colorful blanket, a furry scarf, a T-shirt. Anything that covers your package can work as gift wrap. Or, have your kids decorate used brown paper grocery bags. Put gifts inside the bags and staple them shut. As for the gifts you receive. Open them carefully saving the paper for next year’s wrapping.

 

Reuse Trimmings – Place a container in the middle of the room. Ask everyone to put bows, boxes, gift bags, and ribbons in the box for use next year.

 

Recycle – Face it. Gifts come with lots of wrapping and packaging. As you open gifts, recycle what you can, plastic, paper, cardboard, etc. Don’t stop there. Recycle your tree as well. Check with your local government or municipality. Some places recycle trees into mulch, others use them for animal habitats in parks and lakes, get the Skip Bin hire in Perth services and use it to keep your waste in place, this way it will be easier and less messy for you to recycle. However you choose to recycle your tree, do it responsibly. Make sure all ornaments, hooks, tinsel and light strands are removed. Artificial trees can be recycled too visit our website Bestpriceskipbins.com.au we recycle all kind of trash. If you’re tired of your artificial tree, donate it to a church, community center, shelter or another place that decorates for the holidays.

 

The holidays are exciting, fun, and they are major waste makers. Now is the time to do your part and start changing the holidays for the better. These environmentally-friendly holiday tips will get you started.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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Dec 09 2009

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Tips: Decorating your House with Christmas Lights

Christmas LightsNow is the time for people everywhere to get into the holiday spirit. One of the most common ways is by hanging decorations, more specifically decorating homes and yards with Christmas lights. An exterior display of Christmas lights can range from a simple strand of white lights wrapped around the front porch rail to an elaborate display of multi-color lights decking the home and landscaping. No matter how you plan to decorate the outside of your home with lights, these tips will help you hang your holiday lights with less hassle.

 

1.    You will need a ladder, measuring tapes, hooks/light clips, holiday lights, extension cords, a hammer, and an assistant.

2.    Have a plan. Sketch the outside of your house and determine what you want to decorate – the gables and eaves, the windows, porch rails and columns, bushes, every tree branch. Indicate locations of available outlets on your sketch. Measure and label the width and depth of your house. Have your assistant record the measurements. Measure the height of bushes and trees.

3.    Figure out how many lights you will need. Most come in lengths of 25-200 lights. Professionals recommend figuring about 50 lights per foot of height for bushes. If you are using miniature lights, double the number. Decide on a color scheme for your lights and whether you prefer solid, blinking or chasing lights.

4.    Purchase and test lights. Choose lights rated for outdoor use. They are usually more weather resistant and larger and bolder making them stand out against your house, garage and landscaping. Test every string of lights before you hang them. There is nothing more frustrating than hanging the lights and turning them on only to find some of the bulbs do not work.

5.    Hang the lights. Securely place hooks or light clips at regular intervals under the eaves of your home so your lights will not droop. Hang them one strand at a time making sure the strands are tightly connected. You may want to wrap/seal them with electrical tape to help keep rain and snow out. Your assistant will be key at this time holding the ladder, helping hold the lights, etc.

6.    Light trees and bushes. Wrap tree trunks and branches with lights. Wind or zigzag lights throughout each bush. Wrap lights around trellises and other landscape features.

7.    If you need to run extension cords, tape them down so no one trips on them.

 

 

Additional Safety Tips

 

1.    Hang lights on a dry day. It reduces the chance of electrical shock and slipping on the ladder.

2.    Be sure to use lights rated for exterior use. Interior lights are night designed to withstand the elements such as snow and rain.

3.    Use multiple outlets to reduce the load on a single outlet.

4.    Use plastic light clips or hooks. They are much safer for the wires than nails or a staple gun and easier to remove.

5.    Check wires for damage to insulation. Throw away any that are damaged. It is not worth risking a house fire just because you tried to save a couple bucks on cheaply manufactured lights. 

 

 

Think Green

 

1.    Purchase LED lights. They use 80-90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights and some can last up to 20,000 hours. They are also cool to the touch.

2.    Put your holiday lights on a timer. This way you won’t forget to turn them off before bed, and you will save energy by not keeping them lit all night. Besides, there aren’t many people out looking at holiday lights at 3:00 AM anyway.

 

With these helpful tips, you are on your way to hanging Christmas lights outdoors safely, spreading holiday cheer and doing your part for the environment.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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