Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pets and Indoor Air Quality

Pets are members of the family, so it is only natural to want to include them in everything. When I was growing up my family always had a cat. But about 6 months ago, we actually got a dog, so now we are a two-pet family. Until the dog joined our family, I never knew how much fun a dog could be. We are realizing how much work a dog is, too. While we are really enjoying our pets now, we are also becoming aware of the effects on the air quality in the home. Follow the tips below to keep air quality under control when you have pets in the house.

Pets and Air Quality
 

Image via Flickr by BryanAlexander

Contrary to popular belief, dander isn't pet hair. It's actually dead skin cells. People who are allergic to animals are most likely allergic to pet dander. This can get on furniture, in your home's air supply, and even in your air conditioner.

Along with dander, pets can track in allergens and dirt from outside. They pick these up from rolling around in the grass or walking around the neighborhood. These allergens can accumulate on the air conditioner's motors and fans, which then circulate the allergens throughout your home. This can drastically reduce the indoor air quality. That's why it is important to have your HVAC system inspected and cleaned regularly.

Grooming
Grooming your pets will help reduce the dander and other allergens they may bring in the house. The ASPCA recommends that you groom your pets frequently. Dogs need a bath at least once every three months, and usually more often than that. If he or she spends a lot of time outdoors, then bathing more often is a good idea. Use a good shampoo to get rid of dirt and dead skin cells, which will limit pet dander.

Brushing pets often is also useful in reducing allergens. Long-haired pets, including many cats, need brushing at least once a week. This will help remove dirt and hair before it ends up in your HVAC ductwork.

Designated Pet Areas
Keeping your pets outside isn't always realistic, but having outdoor pets will limit allergens indoors. At the very least, keeping pets outside your bedroom is a good idea. This will reduce the allergens in your bedroom and improve the air quality. Since since most people spend about eight hours a day sleeping, you should see some benefit from resting in a pet-free bedroom.

If a family member or a frequent visitor is allergic to your pets, consider creating a pet-free zone. This could be an area or room in your house where pets are not allowed. That will improve the air you and your guests breathe while indoors.

If you love your pets, you don't want them to be left out of the family. Taking proper care of them and cleaning your house of dust and pet dander should eliminate most allergens. Turning your air conditioner on can also reduce allergens, so it's essential to get appropriate maintenance and cleaning for your HVAC system.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blog Tour: THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP

Today's book is THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP. by  Patricia Davids 

 


Here is a recipe from the author

  1. Bon Appétit and a Book:
In Their Pretend Amish Courtship, my heroine Fannie offers the hero Noah some cinnamon raisin biscuits she’d made when they returned home from their first date. When she asks him how they are, his response is, “They won’t choke me.” These won’t choke you, either.
Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why to Hold Off on Turning on Your A/C This Summer

Now that summer is almost here, you may want to start thinking about turning on the air conditioning. When the temperature rises, your first inclination may be to cool your house with the HVAC system. But there are some alternatives to air conditioning that can save energy and money. 

Landscaping for Shade 
















Image via Flickr by K i N

Energy efficiency is possible with proper landscaping methods, according to Landscaping for Life, a site promoting sustainable living. An easy way to get results is to shade the HVAC unit itself. Shading the air conditioner from the hot sun will save energy, even when you do turn it on. In fact, shading the outdoor unit can increase the system's efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

If you can landscape with trees, shrubs, and groundcover, then you can reduce the heat that radiates to your home. Evergreen trees, or trees with high crowns, will shade your roof and windows, lowering your air conditioning costs throughout the summer.

Lower Humidity Levels
Another way to cut down on air conditioning use this summer is to lower humidity levels in your home. The optimal range for humidity inside your home is between 40 to 50 percent. Keeping the humidity level low will keep you comfortable, even as you wait longer to turn on the air conditioner. When the indoor air is too humid, it can cause the inside of your home to feel hot, sticky, and steamy.

One way to lower the humidity level is to use a dehumidifier during the summer months. You can place units in certain rooms, such as damp basements, where the humidity levels are too high. A few other things that can help ease humidity include limiting hot showers, cooking, and boiling hot water on stove. Putting lids on pots and pans can help prevent your home's humidity level from increasing.

Survey the Home
Do a quick survey of your home, and you'll see if there are some areas that need improvement to help fight the heat and keep you from having to turn on the air conditioner. One strategy could be to switch off some of your electrical appliances when not in use, such as the TV or computers. Keeping lights off during the day can also help, since lights can generate heat that adds up during the day.

Also, you can check if your celing fans are working properly, especially in the bedrooms. Turning these on at night can make you more comfortable while sleeping and lessen the need for the air conditioner. If you don't have ceiling fans, consider investing in some to beat the heat.

Having the option to turn on your air conditioner is useful, especially during the hottest months of the year. But being able to reduce your energy usage and save some money is also a favorable prospect for homeowners. Following these constructive suggestions and keeping your cooling system running efficiently with proper repair and service will allow you to hold off on turning on your air conditioner.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

IN THE COWBOY’S ARMS: June Book Tour

The heat is on this Summer already, so it is time for another book on the June Harlequin blog tour. So today's book is In The Cowboy's Arms by Vicki Lewis Thompson



Here is some info on book:
Matt Forrest was born to be an actor, but grew up at Thunder Mountain Ranch as a cowboy. So when things go haywire after shooting his first Hollywood movie, he retreats to his childhood home where he knows his parents and foster brothers can help him figure out what he really wants out of life.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

WANTED: TEXAS DADDY blog tour & #giveaway

Guys, are you ready for Summer? Well I am. And I'm also ready for the June Harlequin book tour. The book on today's schedule is Wanted: Texas Daddy, by Cathy Gillen Thacker



Here is a Q&A from the author:

  1. What was your favorite part about writing WANTED: TEXAS DADDY?  
I loved having a pregnant heroine, and doting daddy-to-be.

  1. What was challenging about writing this book?  
I covered the entire pregnancy, from the first mention of having a child together, to bringing baby home from the hospital.  A lot of ground to cover in 55,000 words!

  1. How would you describe the relationship between Sage and Nick?  
Committed.  They started out as great friends, became lovers and then finally husband and wife.

  1. How did you come up with their names? Do they mean anything specific?  
Nick is a guy’s guy, so I wanted him to have a name that was both masculine and accessible.  Sage is a popular girl’s name in the southwest—probably because the plant is both hardy and evergreen and beautifully blooming.  Sage really blossoms in response to Nick’s love and attention.
  1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be writer?  
I started dreaming up stories when I was eleven-adding details to the story was how I put myself to sleep most nights.  I got serious about putting words to page when my children were toddlers.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kid Friendly Healthy Home Infographic

I want to share this infographic with you. There's some important information provided in it for families. This could help parents maintain a healthy environment for their children. Some products that are believed to be safe may actually be harmful to you and your family. You can start by updating some of the products and items you use in your home everyday. One thing your family can do is reduce the amount or the type of plastics you use. According to Family Education, swapping out plastics that contain BPA with better alternatives will be healthier for you and your family. 

Something you can do at home is substitute plastic with glassware or plastics marked 1, 2, or 5. Also, instead of aluminum canned goods, which can be harmful because they are lined with plastic, switch to frozen or fresh foods. Some cleaning products have hazardous chemicals, but you can replace them with DIY cleaners. You can make them with vinegar, baking soda, and borax, which you may already have in your cabinet. You can swap out certain soaps, too. Going fragrance-free is best, and avoiding too many antibacterial soaps is also a good idea.

Following some of the tips shown will also help boost the air quality in your home. Be sure to avoid commercial air fresheners, change your HVAC filter regularly, and schedule annual HVAC maintenance. All of this information is outlined in the infographic below, and it will help you create a healthier environment for you and the little ones in your home.











Thursday, May 25, 2017

Washington Power Play: Book review and #giveaway

Hey all, I've got a cool book review and giveaway for you. It is for the book Washington Power Play, by Allan Topol. 



Here is some info for you about the book:

What does FBI agent Kelly Cameron’s college sweetheart, the dashing Xiang Shen, have to do with her latest case? As Cameron digs deeper into China’s influence on the presidential race, Shen’s romantic overtures might not be quite what they seem. What does this Chinese diplomat have to do with the influence of a foreign power on a national election? And who is targeting Cameron and her daughter?


In Allan Topol’s inimitable style, WASHINGTON POWER PLAY spins a tale of international intrigue, deception, and corruption at the highest levels of power.

Kelly Cameron has just thwarted a terrorist attack on the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, and is now in charge of a task force to find a mole in the U.S. government. She soon finds evidence of a plot initiated by the Chinese government supporting General Darrell Cartwright to promote his election as the president of the United States.

Cameron’s efforts to thwart this plan are hindered by Shen, and Andrew Martin, a powerful Washington lawyer who has strong ties to the Chinese. At stake in this Washington power play is nothing less than the global balance of power.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

THE SHEIKH'S BOUGHT WIFE #giveaway

This weeks book for the May blog tour is THE SHEIKH'S BOUGHT WIFE, by Sharon Kendrick.





Read below how the author shares her Writing Space :

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ALWAYS MY BABY #giveaway and blog tour

Hey guys May is in full swing and it is time for another book for this month's blog tour. This week's book is Always My Baby, by Martha Kennerson.




Please read the Q&A with the author:

  1. What is your favorite part about writing for Always My Baby?
The best part of having the opportunity to write Always My Baby was having the ability to showcase a real friendship between China and Alexander. Even when things start to change between them, and their lives start taking them in different directions, safe guarding their friendship remains their priority.


  1. What are the traits you admire most in China and Alexander?
I admire China’s ability to wrap the vulnerability she thinks her love for Alexander brings out, in her confidence and independence.


  1. How long does it typically take for you to write a book?
It typically takes me two months to create the story and two additional months to make final edits.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

LUCAS by Delores Fossen Blog Tour and #giveaway

Hey guys May is here and time for some really nice weather. It's also time for this month's Harlequin books. The first book for this months blog tour, is Lucas by Delores Fossen.


Here is some info on the book:

Lucas Ryland has always had a way with the ladies. That is, until Hailey Darrow dropped him after a single night of passion. Then he discovered her unconscious body in a wrecked car with a fake ID and enough money to disappear. Unbeknown to him, the one who got away was leaving town with his baby…

Now Hailey is out of her coma, but still in danger. However, hiding her at his Silver Creek ranch ignites old passions and introduces new threats. Lucas must use every protective instinct in his arsenal to keep Hailey and their infant son safe.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Grab Green product review and #Giveaway - 2 winners.

Hi guys I have an awesome review and giveaway for you today. It is from the co. Grab Green. You may remember me posting before about them.

Everyone I'm really in a rush to post this for you because I just found out the Grab Green discount for 25% off ends May 7th. the code is: Earth25 for 25% off all purchased products at www.grabgreenhome.com



I really like these products I have been using them and I especially like is the cookware and bakeware pods. You just put them in the pot or pan with some water and stuck on food comes off so easily. You can either leave overnight or they also help get clean even quicker. I also have been using the dishwater detergent pods and like them. And guys, honestly  I haven't had a chance to test out the laundry pods yet, because my brand new washer (bought beginning of this year) isn't working properly due to a plumbing issue in our new house. And I've had to go to a laundromat for awhile. So I will have to update you later on how I like those. But I need to get this post up so you can take advantage of that code.

And you guys will also be able to enter below to win a prize package same as I received ($40 value).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

FINDING OUR FOREVER blog tour and #giveaway

 The last book in the April harlequin blog tour is Finding Our Forever by, Brenda Novak. Spring has finally sprung - even though April showers bring May flowers I guess, because we've had a lot of rain. But please read below for more info on book and the author.





The search for her birth mother brought Cora Kelly to the New Horizons Boys Ranch. Getting a job there was easy enough, but confiding in Aiyana, the ranch's owner, that she's really her daughter? Cora's not sure she can do that, not unless she's confident the news will be welcomed. And once she gets to know Elijah Turner—Aiyana's adopted son and ranch manager—that decision becomes even more difficult.


Although Elijah can't deny his deep attraction to Cora, he's always struggled with trust. Anyone with his past would, and there's something about the ranch's newest employee that isn't exactly as it seems. But if the feelings she awakes in his guarded heart are any indication, she might be just what he's long been waiting for.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

GUARDIAN by Terri Reed Blog Tour & #Giveaway

Today's book continues the April Harlequin blog tour. It is Gaurdian by Terri Reed:





Please read on for a delicious recipe from the Author:

Bashert: book review and #giveaway

Hey guys. I just finished a really cool book. It is called Bashert, by Herb Freed.



Here is some info on book:

Bashert (Yiddish): a person’s ideal and predestined soulmate; destiny.

In the Jewish faith, there’s a belief that the universe hinges on predetermined people finding the one person who completes them, their bashert. In BASHERT (Bellrock Press; February 14, 2017) author, director, screenwriter and former Rabbi, Herb Freed, spins the intimate and heart-wrenching true tale of what it truly means to find your soulmate, your bashert.

Dan Sobol is a rabbi turned director, who’s known for his cinematic television commercials. He meets Marion Gladstone, a writer and film editor, at a screenwriter’s event in Los Angeles, and as soon as she hears Dan’s voice, she just knows. It’s bashert. Soon they become partners in business as well as life; he directs, she writes and edits, and life becomes an amazing adventure. Until Cancun, where Marion has an eerie premonition that could change everything.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Choosing The Sunscreen

Sitting outside to enjoy the warm sun is relaxing for most people. The sunshine that you enjoy can also damage the skin at some point if you don't use the proper sunscreen. If you're swimming or even working outside and sweating, you want to have a sunscreen that doesn't come off when there's a little water on the skin. A good coral friendly sunscreen is ideal to use as the SPF is often higher, and it is usually safe for all family members to use.


                                                     

The first thing that you want to look at when buying sunscreen is the SPF. This is the number that lets you know how long you should be able to safely stay in the sun before the product begins to not work. Most sunscreens have an SPF of about 50. This means that you can usually stay in the sun for about an hour before reapplying the product. An SPF of 30 to 50 is usually sufficient. Make sure the sunscreen offers UVA and UVB protection.

There are two kinds of sunscreen that you will see on store shelves. One is a lotion and is usually the most common. Lotions can better be applied to the skin as you can easily see where you're rubbing the product, getting it into the skin in even amounts. Spray-on sunscreens are good for those who don't plan on staying outside for long periods of time or those who are looking to stay outside for tanning. Keep in mind that spraying a sunscreen sometimes means that you aren't able to get the product evenly on the skin as the droplets are scattered.

Look at the label to see if the sunscreen is for daily uses or for those who are more active. Sunscreens for daily uses usually only provide protection for a short time. Products for those who are active are usually water resistant and last for longer periods since you'll be outside longer. You also want to find a sunscreen that has a higher protection if it's being used on children. Their skin is fragile and burns easily, so children need a higher SPF than adults.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Things to Consider Before Taking a Vacation

Has it been awhile since you got away from your job and had some time to yourself? If this is the case, you are in serious need of a vacation. However, this is not something you should jump into without thinking it through completely. You want your vacation to go as smoothly as possible. Therefore, some planning will be required on your part. Here are some essential things you need to consider before you depart for your destination.

1. When is the most inexpensive time of the year to go there?

All places have a peak period of the year when tourism is the highest. This is usually during the summer months when the weather is the nicest. As you might imagine, hotels and resorts jack up their prices considerably during this time so they can cash in on the demand. You might be on a budget. Therefore, you will want to save as much money as possible on your trip. You should scour the Internet looking for the best deals on the places you want to visit during your vacation. There are many websites that specialize in helping people find travel deals that can save them a lot of money. You should find out what time of the year is the cheapest to travel to your destination and book your trip for that time.

2. What sort of amenities do you require at your destination?

There are most likely several amenities that you would prefer to have at your destination to make your trip more enjoyable. For example, you might be in search of a log cabin with hot tub. You will need to make a list of the amenities you want. This will make it much easier for you to search for them online when you are trying to book your travel reservations.

photo credit:  American Creek Lodge life via photopin (license)


3. Can you bundle your hotel, plane tickets and rental car together?

One of the most popular ways that people use to save money while on vacation is called bundling. This involved booking at least two services from the same website. Doing this will drastically reduce the price of each service that is included in the bundle. Therefore, you should bundle your hotel and plane tickets together. You will see that the savings will be quite substantial. You can add your rental car to the bundle if you will need one.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ONCE A MORETTI WIFE; blog tour & #giveaway

Spring is here! time to enjoy the flowers and these great reads! Today's book on the April Harlequin tour is Once a Moretti Wife, by Michelle Smart. You can purchase this book on Amazon.com too


Below is a Q&A from the author, and enter below to win a copy of this book:

  1. How do choose your characters’ names?
With great difficulty! Sometimes I’ll hear a name and immediately store it away for future reference, other times I’m quite liable to spend hours searching for the perfect name to match the character I have in mind.
  1. What is your favorite part about writing Contemporary Romance books?
Writing all the heady emotions that come with them. They can be as much of a roller-coaster to write as they are to read.
  1. Do you have any traditions you enjoy during early Spring?
Nope!
  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably when I realised I would never get paid for being a reader! I’ve always been a bookworm and always loved both reading and creating my own worlds.
  1. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. Some are harder to write than others. Some might only take me a month, others much longer.
  1. What kind of research did you have to do to prepare you to write this book?
For Once a Moretti Wife, the biggest bulk of my research went on amnesia and its different variants and causes. I know I write high-fantasy romance but I always want it to be rooted in reality.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What is a Good Alternative to Coffee

According to the CDC 30% of Americans have high blood pressure. Another statistic is 54% of Americans over 18 drink coffee according to www.statisticbrain.com . This is somewhat alarming considering that coffee can increase your blood pressure. Coffee has made it’s way into the typical American’s diet. I am sure many people you know would say that they would not start their morning without it. Coffee can be used safely for some and even have health benefits. There are antioxidants and a small amount of nutrients in coffee. The caffeine in coffee can also be effective in burning fat. There is also some research that points toward that it may lower risk for Alzheimer's, Dementia, and Parkinson's. Even though there are benefits, there are risks as well. Besides increasing blood pressure, coffee can have an addictive nature and cause osteoporosis at high levels due to calcium and magnesium loss. Fortunately there is a safer, and healthier alternative for those at risk.


Ziziphora is a herb in the Lamiaceae family. There are several species some of which are annuals and some are perennials. This herb can be found growing in the Mediterranean basin to Iran. This area would include Palestine/Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus Iran, Sinai, Balkans, Caucasus, northern Iran, and southern Russia. Ziziphora has earned itself the nicknames, “Blue Mint Bush,” and “Medicinal jewel.” This herb has been studied for several years for it’s medicinal properties. The Uighur people used it for treating hypertension. The Siberian Altay Nomads would come home after a hard day of hunting to drink a cup of Ziziphora tea. There are several known medicinal properties to Ziziphora. Some of these include: anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-vomiting, anti-tumor, stimulant, lowers blood pressure, anti-diarrheal, anti-gas, appetitive, helps insomnia, helps edema, antioxidant, blood purification anti-spasmodic, food stabilizer, food flavorer, anti-fever, anti-fungal, and antibacterial.


Ziziphora has been shown to be twice as effective against Ca. Albicans as Nystatin. Some of the bacteria they have found Ziziphora to be effective against include: gram - bacteria E. Aerogenes, K. Pneumoniae, S. Enleriticlis, Salmonella, and S.Typhimurium, Z. Clinopodioides. Some of the latest research is showing promise to it effectively treating gastric cancers. This has been suggested in a study published in Food and Agricultural Immunology. The trial was put on by researchers from Shahed University in Iran.


Another study investigated the ability of Ziziphora to lower cholesterol factors. This study was call, Studying the Effect of the Ziziphora tenuior L. Plant on Some Biochemical Factors of Serum in Rats. This study was done in 2014 at Islamic Azad University of Shahrekord Branch. This study looked at the chemical factors (HDL, LDL, ALT, AST, Triglycerides, Cholesterol, and Total Protein) of rats’ serum were measured.


There were 2 groups that Ziziphora tenuior L. plant essence was used in different dosages. The 3rd group was the control group. The plant essence was made by drying the leaves of the plant at 25-35 degrees celsius for 3 hours. They were then crushed and extracted. The rats received the plant essence for 21 days. At the end of the period, the amount of Cholesterol, ALT, and Triglyceride factors were significantly reduced in the two groups that received the plant essence. The group that got a higher dosage had an even larger reduction. This shows some positive evidence on Ziziphora’s ability to lower Cholesterol factors.


With all the evidence of the numerous health benefits that Ziziphora herb can bring into your life, I feel it would be worth considering taking advantage of this. One of the easiest ways to reap the herb’s benefits is by drinking tea of Ziziphora. Trading your morning cup of Joe for this tea may be the best decision you could make. This is especially true if you suffer from any heart conditions such as high blood pressure. One example of Ziziphora tea can
be found at Siberian Health . Happy drinking!

Monday, March 20, 2017

ABDUCTION by Cynthia Eden Book Tour & #giveaway

The last book for this month's blog tour is Abduction, by Cynthia Eden. Today is the first day of Spring so this will be a great book to read this March!




Here is a delicious recipe from the author.
Bon Appétit and a Book:

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Baby for the Deputy: book #giveaway

Hey all here is the next book in the March Harlequin tour. Spring has taken a retreat around here though, hopefully it will be back soon...



In the meantime here is a Q&A with the author of  A Baby for the Deputy, Cathy McDavid:

  1. How did you come up with the relationship between Aaron Travers and Melody Hartman?
There seems to be a trend these days for young couples to “hang out together” rather than date --- at least, that’s what I hear and what my daughter tells me. I gave Aaron and Mel difficult romantic pasts, which made the idea of a no-strings-attached relationship appealing to them, then complicated things with an unexpected pregnancy because, well, life is complicated.
  1. What is your favorite part about writing Western Romance books?
I truly am a lover of all things western. I owned horses most of my life, grew up watching Bonanza and Big Valley reruns, and lived the western lifestyle for many, many years. For me, there is no sexier, more appealing romance book hero than a rugged, good looking cowboy.
  1. Do you have any traditions you enjoy during early Spring?
You mean besides the mandatory spring cleaning and yard work? Absolutely! I always attend the Glendale Chocolate Affair in February and Tucson Festival of Books in March where local romance writers host two to three days of mega booksignings. I love connecting with readers, both new and those that drop by every year for my latest release. Plus, I’m surrounded by books and authors.
  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Like a lot of authors, I started writing at a young age. For me, it was in high school (I actually won a contest for a children’s book I wrote and illustrated). I didn’t seriously, however, until twenty years later. And it wasn’t until I finished that first book that I realized I’d found my passion. Two years ago, I quite the corporate world altogether to write full-time. It’s been a dream come true.