Friday, June 15, 2018

Efficiently loading your dishwasher

When it comes to loading the dishwasher efficiently, there are a few things to consider. Every dishwasher is a little different in how the interior is organized. The interior configuration will be a factor in how your place dirty dishes, glasses and pots and pans.


Most dishwashers have a spate basket that is designed to hold the silverware. It allows the silverware to stand up and be washed from top to bottom. Keep in mind that how you place the silverware in the basket may affect the amount of water and detergent that actually hits them. If the tines of the fork are down inside the basket, they will get less vigorous cleaning than if they are placed handle down. If placing knives blade up, be very careful when loading and unloading the machine. The silverware basket is also a great place to place your sponges and small lids which may fall between the rungs of the shelves.

Delicate items

If you are washing delicate glasses or cups in the dishwasher, it is best to place them on the top rack where they will safest. It is important to be sure that delicate items are not crowded on the rack as well, since the pressure from the water can move them, and you don't want to allow them to touch each other. Try to place soft plastic glasses in between the more delicate items if at all possible. 

Other items that are best placed on the top rack include some plastic containers and lids. They should be as far away from the heat source as possible, which is often at the bottom of the dishwasher.

Large items

Large trays and platters are best placed on the outside of the rack and in most dishwashers will only fit on the bottom rack. Make sure they are secure since you don't want them moving around and banging into other items in the dishwasher.


Most dishwashers have prongs that come up off the racks to keep items secure in an upright position. Use these to maximize the amount of cleaning that the washer can provide. They hold the dishes in place and allow enough space for the water and to move easily between soiled items.

Pots and pans

These are among the hardest items to place efficiently since they are awkward sizes and shapes and often need to be placed at an angle to maximize the cleaning. Just be careful, whatever angle you place these items at, that they have plenty of room for the cleaner to hit the dirty spots.

The most efficient thing you can do when loading your dishwasher is to make sure that you don't overcrowd the items that you want to get clean.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Preventing falling TV injuries

Your TV is a lethal weapon when it comes to your children.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are between eight and ten thousand injuries every year from falling televisions and of these six will result in death. This is a serious danger that needs to be addressed in every home.

Today's families gather together around the television. In many homes, this is where everyone interacts, eat their meals and spend time relaxing as a family. It is hard to imagine that these televisions which we have come to rely on pose a hazard to small children and infants. Televisions are heavy and if they fall off the stand they are on they can cause serious injury and even death. There have been more and more cases of this reported in the news recently. It should be making everyone aware of the potential danger.

With the philosophy that bigger is better, our TVs have gotten almost obscenely large. In years past they were much smaller and often built into a cabinet which made them not at all dangerous. The same is no longer true. Some of the new large TV's are front heavy which makes them more likely to fall over. The big screen TV, however, is not the culprit, most injuries involve screens between 20 and 30 inches. This is the size that is usually perched on a dresser or stand.

The most common injuries reported were head injuries, concussions, and fractures. The second most common injuries were broken bones in the arms and legs. Little limbs are no match for these heavy televisions often with other electronic equipment perched on top of them.

What can you do to safeguard your child from the danger of a falling TV? The most obvious would be to remove all TV's from your homes but few people are willing to go to that extreme.

Here are some options that aren't quite as drastic.
  • Replace all older TVs with new flat screen models.
  • Place a bracket on the wall to hold the cabinet in place.
  • Use low furniture and place the TV as far back as possible.
  • Test the furniture to make sure it is strong enough to hold not only the TV but a curious child. It should not tip over easily or at all.
  • Use an appliance strap to secure the TV.
  • Don't use the TV stand to store anything except the TV.
  • Discourage your children from climbing on the furniture. Make sure that the VCR or DVD player is below the TV not above where the child might climb up to put in a movie.
  • Know where your children are at all times and never leave them unsupervised.
What other options are there to make the TV less of a hazard for small children? One option is the wall or ceiling mounting bracket. The TV,as well as the DVD player, is suspended from the ceiling on a frame. There is also a high wall version of this mounting. This makes the TV totally child proof. If this is not an option then you will need to consider which of the other options works best and safest for you.

Our children are our greatest asset and we need to do everything possible to make our homes as safe as possible. Being able to prevent falling television injuries is a top priority. For additional reading, read this article by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Creating a princess themed room for your little princess

When it comes to little girls, a princess themed bedroom is a perfect fit for most of them. While every little girl isn’t a princess, most of them wish that they were. Creating a princess themed bedroom will bring out the inner princess in moms as well as daughters.

The first thing to decide is if this is going to be just any princess or is it going to be a specific princess. There are quite a few Disney princesses that may be used as a theme. Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White. Maybe your princess is a fan of Shrek and Princess Fiona or maybe she loves the Princess Bride. Before you begin to create your room you need to decide who your princess is.

Once you have decided if this is a general princess theme or a specific princess you can determine what your colors are going to be. A general princess color can be almost anything that your little princess would love. Many little girls favor pink or purple and adding silver trim is perfect for the princess theme.

If you are going all out you will want to have a canopy bed. If your princess would like a canopy bed that is a copy of Cinderella's coach you will be able to give it to her. You can even find an amazing silver canopy bed that will set the tone for your little princess dream room.

Once you have chosen the bed it is time to move on the bedding. JC Penneys has a Disney princess bedding set that features three of their best-loved princesses. This is the stuff that little girl princess dreams are made of.

When it comes to window treatment, you can get the matching drapes or you can go with something much gauzier and romantic, the type that any princess would love. Perfect for looking out the window to see if Prince Charming is coming to the rescue.

No princess bedroom would be complete without a tiara collection. You can place a shelf on the wall or use a dressing table or dresser to display the collection. If you are just a beginning collector, a trip to the Disney Store may be in order.

These days, your little princess has a real princess to look up to. Meghan Markle has shown that dreams do come true. 

All little princesses need to have a collection of princess costumes and placing a special rack on the wall or an additional bar in the closet to hand costumes is a must.

Above all, this is a bedroom where your little princess will be sleeping. You want to make sure that you have soft and cuddly blankets and pillows and plenty of stuffed animals to make her fall in love with her room.

You can add princess themed lamps, light switches and throw rugs. This is going to be a room that your little girl will fall in love with. Be sure to get her input as you are putting it together but having a few surprises is sure to delight her.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Giving is better than receiving

In all honesty, there is something very challenging about gift giving. There is a lot of pleasure for the giver when the gift given hits the mark. Seeing that look of pleasure makes all the work involved in choosing the perfect gift, worthwhile.

Knowing what the perfect gift might be, requires a great deal of patience. You begin planning months in advance for any and all gift giving occasions, especially if you enjoy finding the perfect thing for everyone on your list. The beauty of this plan is that it allows you to shop while you are on vacation without any guilt. You can give free rein to your enjoyment of shopping, all with a very good purpose.

With the economy being what it is, many people have down-scaled on the amount that they are spending on gifts. This adds a whole new set of challenges, finding the perfect gift at the perfect price point. This makes shopping early even more vital, right after Christmas is a good time to find excellent values on holiday-related items.

Listen carefully all year to anything that is said around you. Whenever possible, write yourself a note to remind you of what you have heard. It may be a casual reference to something the recipient would love to own or has always wanted. It may be just a casual comment about a hobby or an outfit that they own that needs a pair of earring to match. Store away these little bits of knowledge and then pull them out when you are out poking around in the stores or cruising the Internet.

The downside of this is that you set the bar very high for yourself. Your friends and family expect to get great gifts from you and there are times when you have gift buyer’s block. This is the equivalent of writer's block, you are just at a loss. You haven’t heard anything, can’t think of anything and then what? There is a feeling of pressure to perform. 

Thank goodness for gift cards, they can save the day. It does take a little thought to match the person up with the perfect gift card but especially with kids, teens, and seniors, gift cards can actually end up being the preferred gift. Never give a gift card solo, you can always attach it to a small gift. Placing them in a little jewelry box or using them as a bookmark are also ways to give a gift card creatively.

Is giving better than receiving? You bet but don’t underestimate the high you get from receiving the perfect gift. Most people certainly enjoy that almost as much.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A brief history of photo journalism

A picture is worth a thousand words” should be the motto of the photojournalist. It certainly is what they are all about. Who can ever forget some of the most memorable photos of the 20th century? It was the photojournalist who brought us the horror of the Holocaust, the joy of the sailor who returned home and the faces of the world. We have been a part of history through the eyes of a camera lens. The history of photojournalism is the history of our world.

Photo-journalism is almost as old as the camera itself. The first photojournalist was Carol Szathmari who did documentary photos of the Crimean War in the 1850′s. It was Matthew Brady who really should have the title of greatest photojournalist of the 19th century. His photos of the Civil War were made into engravings and published in Harper's Weekly. They are no less poignant today than they were when he took them over 150 years ago. He brought to life the main players in the Civil War. If it wasn’t for him we would not have seen the careworn face of Abraham Lincoln or the meeting of the great generals.

It took until the 1880′s for photographs to be published in newspapers. The invention of the flash powder allowed photography to go indoors added a whole new dimension to the ability of the photojournalist to tell his story with pictures. 

It wasn’t until the flash bulb was invented along with the 35mm camera that photojournalism really took off. The period between the 1930′s and the 1950′s is called the Golden Age of photojournalism.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is called by many the Father of modern photojournalism. He isn’t the only one who has been given this title but he certainly is deserving. His photos have taken us from Africa in the 1920′s, to the Spanish Civil War, Gandhi just hours before his assassination and the liberation of Paris.

During the 1920′s Germany was at the forefront of photojournalism through its magazines Munchner Illustrated Presse and Berliner Illustrirte Presse. They began printing candid photos of politicians and other people of interest to the public. Cameras had become small enough to be sneaked into places they would never have been able to go before.
In America,  "Look" and "Life" picked up the cue and dished up full page photos to bring the world to their readers. It took a while for America to catch up with the idea of the candid shot but eventually, it became the norm.

The 1950′s saw one of the most famous roving photojournalist of all, Jackie Bouvier. She could be found roving the streets of Washington D.C. looking for an interesting photo, story or handsome senator.

Today the word paparazzi has replaced the photojournalist in the common jargon. It has also come to be considered an invasive and frightening occupation. These celebrity seekers have placed a cloud over what has been a long history of exemplary work, often under dangerous and trying conditions. It is about time that magazines and newspapers refuse to buy these photos and that readers refuse to purchase publications that print them. They cheapen the work of the great photojournalists who follow the real stories around the world.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Beating credit card addiction

A major change has occurred in the attitude most people have toward their homes. For many years, people have been using their homes to finance a lifestyle that they really couldn't afford. With inflated home prices allowing families to tap into their equity, people have used that equity to pay down their credit card debt. That might not have been a bad idea since interest on mortgages is tax deductible and lower than credit card interest. Now people are trying to beat credit card addiction.

The problem arose when the charging habit didn't change. The result was that with the downturn in the housing market, many people now owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. To add insult to injury, they also have credit card debt since they didn't change their spending habits but continued to charge after paying off the original amount.

With the housing market taking a hit all over the country, people are protecting their main asset, their home. No longer are they trying to use their equity, they are now trying to build up some equity. With credit getting tight, people are realizing that cash is the best option. 

This is the year of the debit card, where the convenience of the credit card is paired with our grandparent’s views on never acquiring debt. A sign at a bank recently said it all "debit is the new cash". 

After many years of believing that with credit, you can purchase anything that you want, now, it is a hard transition to a cash economy. Families are hunkering down and learning to wait for major purchases. Budgets are making a comeback and saving has had a resurgence. The new catch-phrase is “living within your means”.

How can you wean yourself off of your credit cards? The first and most important thing you can do is remove them from your wallet. Place then in a plastic bag and put them in your freezer. This sounds drastic, but it works. They need to be unavailable except for an emergency and only a dire emergency. You need to be paying more than your minimum amounts on credit cards even if it is only $10 more. Call the credit card company and try to get your rate reduced. Don't cancel the card, you want to keep them open especially after you pay them off, this is good for your credit score.

Make sure that you have a debit card and when you are purchasing something, use it. This is going to require that you keep a very close eye on the balance in your checking account. If you go over your balance, the bank will cover the charge but you will pay dearly for this with fees and penalties. Don't assume that because you can use your card there is money in your account.

It is going to be like beating an addiction to go from a credit to a cash economy but if done slowly and carefully, it can be the best way to have financial security and to save cash. It is time to tighten your belts and change your ways so that you can help yourselves and your country to beat the recession that is looming on the horizon. If you stop paying interest to credit card companies, it is the ultimate way to save money. You can beat credit card addiction.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Gourmet food gifts that are sure to please

Food and gourmet gifts are always popular and even more than at the holidays when there are many people who may not be able to afford to purchase these items for themselves. There are some food gifts that are practical, some that are great for families and some that are just indulgences. Food and gourmet gifts are as much fun to give as they are to receive. These gifts are also wonderfully easy to give, a few clicks of your mouse will have all your gift orders scheduled for holiday delivery. Imagine the look of joy on the face of the recipients when these gourmet delights arrive.

Practical Food Gifts

If you are looking for a food gift for your meat-loving friends, a package of great steaks from Omaha Steaks will be well received. You can also go with Kansas City Steaks or Corky's Ribs.

If you are looking for a little more healthy option, Harry and David offers fruit baskets for families and singles in a variety of sizes. You can choose to order just one box or a year full of delicious fruit. These are not just your average fruit either; they sell perfect fruit that is perfectly ripe. 

For the gourmet chef, why not choose a selection of spices in a pretty gift box from the Spice House This is a gift that will keep on giving all year long. How about a delicious selection of jams and jellies or chutneys from Stonewall Kitchen. These will certainly be very welcome gifts. If you are sending your gift early they even offer a gingerbread house kit that will be a wonderful gift for your favorite family. 


A great food gift for a family is a bag or basket from Wolferman's.  This can include their signature English muffins, breads, desserts, jams, and jellies. They have little muffins, standard size, and giant and they come in a wide variety of flavors.

A coffee basket from  Green Mountain Coffee can come with Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate and they also offer tea choices. The Popcorn Factory has gift ideas set and ready to go for the holidays. What a great family gift along with a movie.


When it comes to indulgences, brownies rank right up there. The Food Network has named  Sugardaddys the best of the best after they won a throwdown against Bobby Flay. These luscious beauties will impress anyone. You can go brunette or Blondie, nutty, minty or spicy, they have it all. This is a totally indulgent gift for someone who will appreciate a "couture" brownie.

When you think gourmet chocolate the Belgian chocolate, Godiva comes to mind. They have expanded beyond just their signature truffles and filled chocolates to include cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. Deliveries can be scheduled to arrive just in time for the holidays.

Want to send a gift of gourmet cheese, truffles or caviar? You can find it all at this one-stop gourmet food store.  The Gourmet Food Store has cheeses from around the world and will make up baskets with whatever you choose.

Fortnum and Mason, the London cornerstone, has been offering wonderful food hampers for all occasions for as long as anyone can remember. You can have a gourmet picnic basket packed with every indulgence you want to include.

Food and gourmet gifts are one of the most popular gifts to give and to receive, Christmas is no exception. If you prefer to pack your own gifts you can order pieces from most of these retailers or just use their packages as a template for making your own.