Tips on how to Prepare your Fireplace for the Season

Don’t Play With Fire This Winter 

Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace it is important to properly prepare them for the fall and winter seasons to ensure both their functionality and your safety.

Napoleon Fireplaces (www.napoleonfireplaces.com) have provided some helpful tips to consider when preparing your fireplace for the season. Most of the simple inspections and cleaning can be done by the average homeowner, however, if you have any doubt at all, contact your local fireplace installer or chimney sweep. 


Wood Burning:

·                     Have the chimney cleaned before starting your wood burning fireplace, stove or insert. The leading cause of fires from wood burning appliances is the result of creosote (unburned fuel) that has accumulated in the chimney. 

·                     Have any gasket material inspected and replaced as required, such as the gasket sealing the door, the door glass and in some cases the ash dump. If an airtight appliance is operated without these gaskets effectively sealing the openings, excess air can leak into the firebox creating an over fire condition, which may permanently damage the appliance.

·                     Clean the blower if your wood burning appliance is equipped with one.  Unlike your furnace blower, these blowers do not have a filtering system to prevent the buildup of dust and hair on the blower. 

·                     Replace any broken or deteriorated brick lining in the wood burning appliance. While cracks in the lining are not a concern, if the brick lining is deteriorated to the point that the steel body is exposed, the heat from the fire can cause permanent damage to the appliance.
  
·                     Replace the batteries and test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors you have in your home to ensure these defense monitors are operating properly.

Gas Burning:

·                     Have the appliance serviced by a qualified technician. A properly maintained fireplace can look as new as the day it was installed and a proper cleaning can help prevent permanent damages from occurring. Even the glass must be cleaned annually to keep it looking clear. Although gas fireplaces appear to be maintenance free, like a car engine, these combustion systems are affected by problems such as dust and insects which will impair performance. The airways of both the pilot and main burners should be regularly cleaned to ensure that they are operating correctly and a general inspection of the entire system including the safety controls is also beneficial. 

·                     Clean the blower if your gas burning appliance is equipped with one. Unlike your furnace blower, these blowers do not have a filtering system to prevent the buildup of dust and hair on the blower. As the dust accumulates on the blower blades, the balance of the blower will change causing premature wearing of the bearings. The dust also insulates the motor; preventing it from being cooled and can eventually cause the motor to cease up.

·                     Replace the batteries in any optional remote transmitters and in some cases, in the receiver as well. Even when not being used the power held in a battery is slowly depleted.

·                     Replace the batteries and test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors you have in your home to ensure these defense monitors are operating properly.



About Napoleon
 It all began in 1976 when a small steel fabrication business launched by Wolfgang Schroeter started manufacturing steel railings in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. At that time, no one could imagine the incredible future that lay ahead for Wolf Steel Ltd. and eventually Napoleon® Fireplaces and Napoleon® Gourmet Grills.
 Since the first wood stove rolled off the production line more than 35 years ago, WolfSteel’s commitment was to be distinctive and successful in everything they do. Napoleon’s commitment to producing quality products combined with honest, reliable service has proven to be successfulframework to ensuring the continued rapid growth of the company. Napoleon® is an ISO9001 - 2008 registered company and now operates with 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space and employs more than 1,000associates.
 Napoleon® is North America’s largest privately owned manufacturer of quality wood and gas fireplaces (inserts and stoves), gourmet gas and charcoal grills, outdoor living products and a complete line of Heating & Cooling equipment. Napoleon has been named one of Canada’s Top 50 Best Managed Companies, an annual distinction sponsored by CIBC World Markets, Deloitte, The National Post, Queen’s School of Business and CEO Forum.

Swapoween Time Again!


Wow fall has snuck up so quickly I feel as though summer wasn't even here. But now that it is here it is time to embrace the season and enjoy the wonders that fall brings. Everything from changing leaves to cooler temperatures make fall one of the nicer seasons. Let's not forget the fantastic tradition of Halloween, and with Halloween comes the Swapoween which has turned into an annual tradition for me. 

If you have yet to swap this is one of the most enjoyable swaps you can be involved in. We get chosen to be with other bloggers and swap packages of surprise gifts catered to our individual likes and needs. It is a blast and I hope to see you give it a try. 

Important Dates to Remember
Sign-Ups Close on September 28th, 2015
Partners Assigned on September 30th, 2015
Packages Ship by Saturday, October 17th, 2015
Swap Show-Off Post/Linky goes live on October 21st, 2015

I can't wait to swap some gifts!

Home security tips for after-school safety

 

With school now in session, many children may be coming home to an empty house and as a parent, there are several precautions you can take to ease your worries while they’re home alone.

Weiser, manufacturers of innovative, high quality and secure door locksets, recommend simple, common sense home security when it comes to keeping your home safe.

On average, more than 50 percent of home break-ins are through an unlocked door,” said Steve Kolobaric, Marketing Manager, Weiser. “Keeping your door locked is an easy step you can take, whether you’re inside or outside of the house. With a few other proactive steps, you can add an additional layer of security and comfort for you and your children.”
Weiser suggests the following security tips to help keep your home safe this September when your kids are coming home after school: 

Stay in touch - Ask your children to check in as soon as they arrive home or leave the house.  Staying connected, despite the distance, ensures that you know their whereabouts at all times and they know you’re always just a phone call, email or text message away.

Install a keyless door lock - A lockset that doesn’t require a key, which can be easily lost, makes your children’s lives easier. The SmartCode 10 Touchscreen lets you or your children into the house by inputting an easy four to eight digit code, while the Kevo Smart Lock can open the door with a smartphone. If your child doesn’t have a smartphone, you can put a Kevo key fob in his or her backpack, which will allow them to simply touch the keyhole to open the door.


Have a routine
- When your child comes home, make sure they turn on the lights and make it look like someone is home. Burglars like unoccupied homes so ifthey see that someone is around they are more likely to move along. It’s also important to talk to your children in advance about what to do when the phone rings or if someone comes to the door. 

Lock up items not friendly for kids - Make sure chemicals, cleaners, tools, razor blades and other items not kid-friendly are not left out in the open or get locked away. Consider using a Smartkey Padlock to lock up these dangerous objects, or tokeep your valuables safe from unwelcomed home visitors. The padlocks are bump proof and pick resistant, protect against pry and hammer attacks as well assawing and cutting so when no one is home, the items will remain safely locked up and secure.

Keep kids connected - Post a list of important numbers by the telephone, including parents’ work and cell phone, the doctor's office and a neighbor or a nearby relative who can comeover to help your children quickly if they need it.

Lock up – Before leaving the house in the morning, make sure all doors and windows, including those on the second floor, are locked. If you have a sliding backdoor, place a rod in the track to keep it securely closed. If you have an alarm system, practice arming and de-arming it with your children. Most burglars are looking for an easy target when the homeowner isn’t home and the best line of defense is simply keeping your home locked up.

To learn more about Weiser, visit www.weiserlock.com, like it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter @weiserlock.

About Spectrum Brands
HHI is a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPB). Spectrum Brands is a global, diversified consumer products company and a leading supplier of consumer batteries, residential locksets, residential builders’ hardware and faucets, shaving and grooming products, personal care products, small household appliances, specialty pet supplies,lawn and garden and home pest control products, and personal insect repellents. Spectrum Brands had net sales of approximately $4.43 billion in fiscal 2014, employs over 13,500 employees worldwide and sells to the top 25 global retailers with products in more than one million stores.

Hoover Floormate Steamscrub Review


Running a household can be a challenge even for just a couple or small family, when you have a family as wild and crazy as mine with a mini backyard farm things can get very messy. I need products that not only clean but can destroy all the nasty germs that all the small creatures create. The Hoover Floormate Steamscrub does that and much more.


This bad boy does windows, carpets, floors, and every nook and cranny in between. I have done my laminate flooring and it works fantastic and I used it on the grout in my bathroom and it turned out amazing.  



This has to be one of the most versatile and useful products I have ever used in my household cleaning. If your looking for a multi functioning mop that exceeds expectations than this is the product for you. Look for it in your local Walmart, Home Hardware, as well as many other Hoover dealer locations. 
** I received this product free to provide my review, no other compensation was made and all opinions are my own.

Back To School Anxiety Survival Tips

DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE BACK TO SCHOOL ANXIETY?

 NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST DR. SANAM HAFEEZ PROVIDES TIPS FOR PARENTS TO EASE BACK TO SCHOOL JITTERS

Did you know that anxiety issues are the most common mental health disorders in children? There are an estimated 18 million children and teens who suffer from anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 25 percent of teenagers have issues of anxiety, and the statistics don't take into account the young people who are undiagnosed or don't reach out for help. (credit sheknows.com)  Because the start of a new school year can trigger or worsen anxiety in stressed-out children and teens, NYC Licensed Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez offers the following tips for parents to help ease back-to-school anxiety for their kids.

Start Early
Over the summer, most families take their cues from the sun and stay up later. While it may be tempting to keep the late-night fun going up until the end, starting your school routine a few weeks early can help ease the transition back to school. Starting two to three weeks before the advent of school, begin going to bed and getting up close to when you need to for school, and try to eat on a more regular schedule as well. This advice isn’t just for little kids -- teens and adults need quality sleep for proper functioning as well, and getting your schedule straight now will help ensure that you all start the school year off more prepared and don’t feel as much anxiety over the advent of that first day.

Give your child a preview
Talk to your child about what they’re going to be doing in the upcoming school year. If your child is starting school for the first time, see if there’s a kindergarten orientation or a way to meet their teacher before school begins. Whether they’re starting a new elementary school or going back to the same one, go explore it with your child. Review where their class will be, visit the cafeteria, the library or the art room. Take them to the playground (with a friend who’ll be going to their school, if possible) to help them get adjusted and feel comfortable at the school. Give your child a “preview” of the new faces and places they’ll be seeing. This can help to “right size” the school in your child’s mind and take the fear and mystery out of it.

Shopping together for school supplies
Shopping together for school supplies, and using the shopping trip as a time to talk about what to expect at school, can be a healthy way to keep a child talking. Parents should also try to connect their child with future classmates. “If a child knows someone who is going to be in the same classroom, that can greatly reduce their apprehension and fear of the unknown,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Facilitate friendships.
Help prepare kids for school-year socializing by arranging a couple of playdates with classmates and reminding them that they’ll be seeing their familiar school friends again soon.

Talk up the positives
Field trips, old friends, new classes, sporting events, after-school activities. There’s plenty to get fired up about! Remind your child and the enthusiasm will be contagious.

Sick of School-Literally
Nervousness over heading back to class can make kids feel sick. They may complain of stomachaches, headaches, nausea and dizziness, especially on Sunday evenings after feeling well all weekend. If you observe potential symptoms of stress as the start of school approaches, Dr. Hafeez  suggests having a candid conversation with your child. “Don’t just accept ‘fine’ if you ask your child, ‘How are you?’ or, ‘How was your day?’ Ask questions that can't be answered ‘yes or no,’ like, ‘How do you feel about going back to school?’ Then, let them talk, and don't try to fix what they say.”

When anxiety about school “masks” something else
Kids of any age who don’t want to go to school, or avoid it, may be doing so because of a specific issue beyond general anxiety, worry or depression, notes Dr. Hafeez.  “Children who are bullied or teased often become anxious about going to school, and if the problem is not addressed, the anxiety will continue along with a host of other problems,” she says. “Similarly, children who are avoiding school may be doing so because school is hard for them — school anxiety many times emerges just before a child is diagnosed with a learning difficulty.”

Sanam Hafeez Psy.D
New York State Licensed Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist 

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuro-psychologist and School Psychologist.  She is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C.  She is currently a teaching faculty member at Columbia University.

Dr. Hafeez graduated from Queens College, CUNY with a BA in psychology.  She then went on to earn her Master of Science in Psychology at Hofstra University.  Following that she stayed at Hofstra to receive her Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) She later completed her post-doctoral training in Neuropsychology and Developmental Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital.

Dr. Hafeez’s provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

Dr. Hafeez immigrated to the United States from Pakistan when she was twelve years old.  She is fluent in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi (Pakistani and Indian languages.) She resides in Queens, New York with her husband and twin boys.

Simple Tips To Keep Costs Down On House Cleaning



Do you spend a fortune each time you go shopping for cleaners? Do you like how your dishwashing 
liquid smells and cleans but you are generally not fond of the price? Don't stress over it. There is a way
 that you can avoid overspending on house cleaning. Just check out the tips and tricks that were kindly 
provided down below for you.


Make Less Dirt = Clean Less

Many people have mastered the art of cluttering and staining but the hardest part is to keep your home 
decluttered. If you make less dirt, you will spend less time cleaning and use fewer products. Which will
 keep you from overspending on house cleaning.

How to make less dirt:

1. Leave shoes outside. Dirt and debris constantly cling to your shoes and spread to your floors and 
carpets as soon as you walk in. 
2. Invest in covers for your furniture, pillows and mattress. That way your furniture pieces will be clean 
and beautiful and will require less cleaning.
3. Use baking sheets while you are cooking. This will prevent baked-on food from sticking to the pots, 
baking trays or tins. No more scrubbing after meals.
4. Keep cleaning supplies at hand so that you can wipe out any spill or stain as soon as it happens.

Buy Only Products That You Really Need

You have run out of glass cleaner and you head to the store to buy some. But while you are there, a number 
of marvelous cleaners whisper in your ear “Take me with you!” Shush the voices in your head and buy just 
that bottle of glass cleaner you need. You'll come back to the store later on when you need something else. 
But for now, a bottle of glass cleaner is just fine, thank you. Don't hoard cleaning products if you already 
have what you need. 

Stretch Your Cleaning Products = Save Money 

How to stretch your dish soap: When you run out of liquid laundry detergent, keep the bottle. Buy
 new laundry detergent. 
Transfer half the liquid into the old bottle. Add water into the two bottles and be careful not to make 
any bubbles. Shake each bottle gently. So what happened is, you bought a bottle of liquid detergent and
you got another one free. Now that's a real deal.

How to stretch your liquid laundry detergent: Follow the same procedure as the dish soap. Again, 
steer clear of making bubbles or your detergent will spill over.

How to stretch your powder laundry detergent: Instead of using a full cap, use a half cap of detergent 
for each wash cycle. As you know, more is not always better. Nowadays, laundry detergents are so 
concentrated that you need a small amount of powder to wash your clothes. Mind you that front loaders 
don't tolerate excess suds anyway.

Another tip by DomesticCleaning Cricklewood: Keep your empty detergent box. Open a new one and 
transfer half the laundry detergent into the old box. Next, add ¼ washing soda and ¼ borax and mix well. 
Repeat on the new box of detergent. There you go. Now you have two boxes of powdered laundry detergent.

Make Your Own Cleaners from Scratch

And yet, there is a better way to prevent overspending on house cleaning and that is making your own 
cleaning products from scratch. The basic ingredients found in those cleaners (baking soda, borax, lemon 
juice and vinegar) cost next to nothing but they do a fine job at killing bacteria, loosening stains and 
removing dirt. Google some DIY cleaning recipes and start experimenting. Our advice is, invest in some sturdy 
plastic and glass spray bottles, lint-free microfiber cloths and washable rags. You want to steer clear of 
disposable cloths and paper towel and anything disposable.

And that's how you can avoid overspending on housekeeping. Wish you luck! 

The article is contributed by Kathleen Crane who runs HomeMates Refurbishment

Children And Screens Encourages Children To “LOOK UP” As They Enter The New School Year

Summer break is almost over, and children around the country are getting ready to go back to school. It’s an exciting time, but it can also ...