Gunning Daily News

Tips to Keep Your Home Safe and Sound

September 23, 2011 4:09 pm

The well-being of our family is a priority all year, but is especially considered during the holidays when statistics about accidents abound. Most of us, with the possible exception of Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” take extra precautions for the holiday season. If you’re buying or selling a home, here are a few tips for safety and security that ensure a safe and happy home during the holidays, and all year long. 

1. Protect little ones.
Whether you are preparing for a visit from your grandkids, nieces and nephews, or you have kids of your own, a child-proofing kit makes safety easy with grip-and-twist doorknob covers, latches and plug protectors.
• Child-proofing kit (Safety 1st, #42023), oven lock (Safety 1st, #62342), cord channel kit (#69682) 

2. Mark and secure entries.
The holidays can be prime time for burglaries, but updating your locks with an electronic deadbolt system can provide added peace of mind. If you install a set with a numeric keypad, you’ll never have to worry about leaving keys for your guests again. Mark your entry with path lights that clearly guide the way to the door.

3. Clear the air.
Place an air purifier in the guest room and common areas to remove allergens (especially pet dander) and prevent the spread of cold and flu germs. Choose one with a true HEPA filter for maximum effectiveness.

4. Be fire smart.
With holiday lights, candles and lots of cooking in the kitchen, it’s important to be prepared. Safeguard your family by keeping an extinguisher on hand for small fires, and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Check the batteries frequently to make sure they are in working order.

5. Equip your bath.
It’s a snap to convert your guest bath into a safer place for older guests and young children. Add a grab bar to make getting in and out of the tub easier, and a durable bath mat to help prevent slips in the shower.

For more information and ideas, please visit www.lowescreativeideas.com.

This article is adapted from Lowe’s Creative Ideas for Home and Garden®, November/December 2010 issue, Style & Solutions – Home Safety.


Hot Product Alert: Wood Burning Stoves

September 23, 2011 4:09 pm

With the weather cooling down, many are looking toward alternative heating options. One economic and environmentally friendly heating option is a wood burning stove. The following are some of the reasons why many consumers will be cozying up to these stoves this winter.

1. They are economic. While many list having to buy wood as a slash against a wood burning stove, ready cut wood costs around a third of the cost of natural gas, electricity or oil. Plus, with a bit of planning and research you may be able to score wood for free. Neighbor having that tree in their yard removed? Offer to cut it down if it means you can snag the resulting wood. Plus, with a wood burning stove helping to warm your home, your heating bill will be lower. 

2. They are environmentally friendly. Burning wood is a natural heat source, and releases the same type of natural CO2 that is released into the air when a tree rots naturally.

3. They are safe. Wood burning stoves are safer than open fires as they are enclosed.

4. They are clean. As wood burning stoves are enclosed, there is less of a chance of your carpet or floor getting sooty or singed as it would with an open fire.

5. They provide an energy backup. A wood-burning stove can heat a kettle or a pan if you ever lost your main source of energy, such as your gas or oil.

Word of the Day

September 23, 2011 4:09 pm

Inspection - The act of physically examining and testing a piece of property to ascertain certain information.

Question of the Day

September 23, 2011 4:09 pm

Q: Will I be able to buy again after losing a home to foreclosure?

A: It can happen. But a lot will depend on your circumstances and the mortgage interest rate you are willing to pay. Generally, most lenders will consider your request for a home loan two to four years after your foreclosure. Predatory lenders will issue a home mortgage in less time. But beware—they routinely charge high mortgage interest rates, fees, and penalties for this privilege.

A quality lender will expect you to show that you have cleaned up your credit. Providing a reasonable explanation about the circumstances that led to the foreclosure—such as exuberant medical expenses—is also helpful

Word of the Day

September 23, 2011 2:39 pm

Improvement. Any form of land development or man-made addition, such as the erection of a building or fence, to enhance the value of private property; also an improvement to publicly owned structures, such as a sewer or road.

Question of the Day

September 23, 2011 2:39 pm

Q: Do state and local governments offer loans to assist with home renovations?

A: Just about every state now offers loans for renovation and rehabilitation at below-market interest rates through its Housing Finance Agency or a similar agency. Call your governor’s office to get the name and phone number of the agency in your area.

At the municipal level, many cities also have programs for special improvements to certain blocks and neighborhoods they are trying to spruce up. Call City Hall, as well as a Community Development Agency in your city.

Don't Be Tricked Into Purchasing a Flood Damaged Car

September 23, 2011 2:09 pm

Summer of 2011 concluded with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee causing widespread flooding up and down the Eastern seaboard, damaging not only homes and businesses but cars as well. Unfortunately, some flood-damaged vehicles—after being sold to salvage operators and dealers—will be cleaned up and then re-sold, with the vehicle's flood-damage history illegally hidden, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

"Unscrupulous salvage operators and dealers often try to conceal the fact that the vehicles they are selling have been damaged by a natural disaster," says Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. "It is not illegal to sell or buy a flood-damaged car, however, it is against the law to sell a water-damaged car without letting the buyer know that the car had been damaged by a flood."

To prevent this type of fraudulent resale of cars to unsuspecting consumers around the country, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has been helping law enforcement groups and insurance companies identify and catalogue water-damaged vehicles.

"By creating VINCheck, the NICB helps protect consumers, and we've reduced the potential for this type of fraud to occur," says NICB president Joe Wehrle.
To help used-car buyers learn more about the history of a specific car and whether it has been declared as salvage by a participating NICB member insurance company, the NICB created VINCheck, which provides consumers a free search of a car's vehicle identification number (VIN).

"To avoid inadvertently purchasing a flood-damaged car, it is important that you only buy a used car from a reputable dealer, have a certified mechanic look for flood damage and check the car's VIN number by using a credible industry database," notes Salvatore.

The I.I.I. suggests you be on the lookout for the following indicators that a car may have been flooded:
• Mildew, debris and silt in places where it wouldn't normally be found, such as under the carpeting in the trunk, or around the engine compartment
• Rust on screws and other metal parts
• Water stains or faded upholstery; discoloration of seatbelts and door panels
• Dampness in the floor and carpeting; moisture on the inside of the instrument panel
• A moldy odor or an intense smell of Lysol or deodorizer; this is a tactic frequently used by dealers to cover up an odor problem

If you suspect that your local car dealer is committing fraud by knowingly selling flooded cars as regular used cars, contact your insurance company, local law enforcement agency or the NICB at 800-TEL-NICB.

For more information, visit www.iii.org.

The Right Type of Flooring for Your Room

September 23, 2011 2:09 pm

Choosing the right type of flooring is an important part of any interior design project. You need to ensure your flooring choice suits your individual needs, lasts a long time and—most importantly—looks good. If you achieve this, your new floor will provide you with the perfect foundation for whatever else you have in store for your room.

So what type of flooring should you choose—luxury carpet, hardworking laminate or functional vinyl flooring? Your choice should depend on what room you're decorating.

Choosing a New Carpet
If you want to feel something soft, cozy and warm underfoot then nothing beats carpet. The feeling of warmth and comfort offered by a new carpet makes it the perfect flooring solution for a bedroom, living room and stairway. The wide range of colors, patterns and styles also mean a new carpet is sure to fit into any existing or future décor.

When shopping for a new carpet, you should also consider carpet remnants as they are a popular and cheaper solution if you have an odd-shaped room in your home.

Opting for Vinyl Flooring
Certain rooms in your home need practical flooring capable of withstanding a substantial amount of traffic or wear. That is why vinyl flooring is perfect for the kitchen and bathroom.

Capable of withstanding stains, heavy footfall as well as every day wear and tear, vinyl flooring is a perfect match for anyone wanting a practical flooring solution in their home. Vinyl is also water-resistant, making it the perfect choice for withstanding the effect of water spillage and steam.

Going for Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is becoming a more popular option. Suitable to multiple rooms in the home, laminate can give your room a modern and stylish look while also being practical and durable, making it perfect for the kitchen, bathroom, hall or living room.

For more information, visit http://www.carpetright.co.uk.

Stripes Worth Saluting: Trend in Home Decor

September 23, 2011 2:09 pm

There are not many patterns that have been in fashion for more than 300 years.

"Stripes are always in style," says Jan Jessup, director of communications for the Calico Corners—Calico Home stores. "Think of ticking stripes, sailor-shirt stripes, regency stripes, tone-on-tone stripes, menswear stripes, ombre stripes, multi-color stripes, awning stripes, nautical stripes, flag stripes, flour-sack stripes, pinstripes and seersucker stripes. Stripes take the prize for versatility!" she notes.

While stripes never seem to go out of fashion, they're back in a big way—literally. "Bold stripes and wide stripes are a hot look now," adds Jessup. "They're great companions to the strong graphic prints on the market in floral, aviary and other patterns." Stripes are clean-lined and streamlined—and can look modern without being trendy. A two-color or multi-color stripe is a way of bringing more color into a room without a riot of pattern.

"Stripes usually run vertically on furniture or window treatments—however, we're seeing more and more stripes run horizontally, like a bold rugby shirt," observes Jessup. "This is a more casual application and can be a fun look on informal furniture—or a way to rev up a more traditional piece." Stripes can also be mitered on pillows and table skirts for visual interest and to show off custom workmanship.

Why do stripes have such enduring appeal? "They're orderly when life is messy," says Jessup. They add the illusion of height to a room or a window. They can be quiet and elegant, as in ombre silk stripes. They can be breezy casual and colorful. "Stripes are great mixers with other prints and patterns," she adds. "The right stripe can add zest and freshen an existing interior. Stripes come in a splendid variety of scales, textures and colors. They're timeless, they're trendy, they're now."

For more information, visit http://www.CalicoCorners.com.

Your Fall Pumpkin is Packed with Power

September 23, 2011 2:09 pm

“Pumpkins produce warm pies, butter, cookies, bread and side dishes. They are loaded with an excellent source of nutrients. The bright orange color tells you that it is full of the important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Research shows that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene can reduce the risk of developing many types of diseases,” says Angela Paymard, Chairwoman of the Orlando based, N2N Global.

If you have kids, it’s a good idea to let them have a pumpkin for carving and choose another for cooking. It certainly is safe to let them use the seeds from the one they have carved. The best pumpkins for eating are the ones that are heavy for their size.

Preparing your Pumpkin:
Start with clean hands and wash the pumpkin in cool water to remove any surface dirt. Using a sharp knife, remove the stem, then scoop out the seeds and scrape away all of that stringy stuff. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and rinse in cold water. Now you can boil, bake; even microwave the pumpkin, whatever your favorite recipe calls for.

If you’re not going to eat your pumpkin right away, make a puree by putting the peeled pumpkin into the food processor. Puree freezes well. Place it in plastic bags, and be sure to label and date them. In the freezer it will last up to a year. “If you don’t want to puree the pumpkin, cut it into slices, and boil it before freezing. That will yield the safest and best quality of food,” Paymard says.

Freezing Facts:
-Freezing does not destroy nutrients.
-Freshness and quality at the time of freezing can affect frozen foods.
-Freeze items you won’t use quickly, sooner than later.
-To successfully freeze vegetables, partially cook them in boiling water or in the microwave oven. Then chill them quickly before freezing and storing.

With mashed or pureed pumpkin, canning is not recommended. Pumpkin is a low acid food that is capable of building bacteria if stored in the wrong conditions. If the pumpkin is cubed or sliced, however, canning in a sealed, pressure container is safe.

Pumpkin seeds are also a very popular fall treat. After they are removed from the pumpkin, the seeds must be checked to make sure there is no excess pumpkin tissue. Once the seeds are clean, dry them of all moisture either under the sun or in a dehydrator. Seeds should not be stored with excess moisture. You can safely bake them once they are dry.

You can certainly make pumpkin preserves. It’s a popular and safe use of pumpkins; however, care must be taken into the preservation. Due to the low acidity of pumpkins, there must be a substantial amount of sugar or added acid to ensure safety and inhibit the build-up of bacteria.

The coming of the fall season brings these fresh, tasty pumpkin treats for all food lovers.

For more information, visit http://www.n2nglobal.com.