Jonathan Parker & Sharon Kelley's Blog
Baking soda is something that most of us have in our homes. We use it for cooking, but have you ever thought that you can use it for cleaning as well? Baking soda is actually a fantastic thing to clean with. It deodorizes and is non-toxic, so it’s safe for kids, pregnant women, and pets. Below, you’ll find some of the household chores that you can complete using baking soda.
Scrub Down The oven
Since ovens can become really dirty, really fast, you need something that can take on the grease. Baking soda is great for this purpose. Make a paste using baking soda and water or vinegar. Let the paste sit in the oven for up to 24 hours. Then wipe the mixture down with a sponge or cloth. You can heat the oven after you do this initial cleaning to help you loosen any additional grease, grime, or food particles. Let the oven cool and wipe it down again.
Keep Drains Clear
If you notice that your drains are a bit slow, you may want to avoid harsh chemicals and start with the baking soda right in your kitchen. Pour some baking soda into your drain. Then, run some warmed vinegar down the drain immediately afterwards. After you let that mixture go to work for about 10 minutes, you should flush the drain with boiling water. This won’t work on already clogged drains, but it’s great for maintenance on your drains that may be a bit slow.
Keep Your Fridge Fresh
Your fridge can become a breeding ground for germs, crumbs, and spills. All you need to clean the refrigerator up is a simple solution made up of baking soda and dish soap. The soap will help to cut any grease that has built up in the appliance, and the baking soda acts as an abrasive to get the gunk up. Just create a paste and apply it in the refrigerator. Then wipe down the shelves with warm water and a sponge. You can even disinfect your sponge in the microwave after you do this. Just place the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes and you have a sponge that’s like new!
Freshen Your Washing Machine
Baking soda helps to deodorize things. To deodorize your washer, just pour half a cup of baking soda into the detergent dispenser of the washing machine. Run a cycle through with hot water. Your clothes will be cleaner than they have been in months! Make sure you do this to your washer about once per month to keep it smelling fresh and deter those funky odors from building up in your laundry room. The only thing that should be smelling funky in there are dirty socks!
Enjoying a seamless home buying journey may seem virtually impossible, particularly for a first-time property buyer. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to boost the likelihood of quickly and easily finding your dream house, such as:
1. Hone Your Home Search
Consider where you want to reside and the features you want to find in your ideal residence. That way, you can hone your house search accordingly.
As you review potential home destinations, consider your short- and long-term goals. For instance, if you want to work in a big city, you may want to search for houses in or near a city that matches your expectations. Or, if you intend to start a family soon, you may want to pursue homes near parks and other family-friendly attractions.
Furthermore, make a list of home features you want to discover in your dream house. With this list in hand, you can focus on finding a home that you can enjoy for years to come.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage usually is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you could speed up your house search.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about myriad mortgage options.
In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions. A mortgage sometimes is confusing, and as such, it helps to get plenty of information about a mortgage before you start a house search. If you consult with mortgage specialists at banks and credit unions, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Establish Realistic Expectations
Although you likely want to find your dream residence as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the home buying journey often has ebbs and flows. If you establish realistic home buying expectations, you can avoid potential disappointments as you search for your ideal residence.
Sometimes, it helps to consider the worst-case home buying scenarios. If you plan ahead for these situations, you can determine the steps you will need to take to avoid them altogether.
You may want to collaborate with family members and friends during your home search as well. With loved ones at your side, you can receive plenty of support and guidance as you conduct a home search. Plus, your loved ones can help you keep things in perspective, even if the home buying journey becomes stressful.
When it comes to finding and buying a home, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the home buying journey. They will learn about you and your home buying goals, and help you plan properly. Thus, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need to enjoy a seamless home buying journey.
Ready to conduct a successful home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can navigate the home buying journey like a pro and quickly discover your dream home.
In Italy, it's long been a cherished tradition to harvest beans, place the pods over the ground under the autumn sun, then store the sun-dried beans for wintertime. On brisk days, beans would be cooked up with a medley of vegetables and pasta. When the cook tossed dry pasta tossed into the stew, the starch from the beans and pasta would lend themselves to a creamy mix, thickening to form a robust and aromatic winter meal.
Keep the history alive! Make it tonight, or prepare it a few days in advance and let it marinate. Either way, this rustic, casserole-style soup will not disappoint. Here's how to do it like the Italian cooks do.
Step 1: Pronounce It Authentically
It has to be said. Pasta fazool, as folks say in the northeastern U.S., comes from pasta e fasule — the Neapolitan term. It got a little exaggerated when Dean Martin famously sang about those stars that make you drool Joost like-a pasta fazool. That’s amore!
But if the dish is named pasta e fagioli, it's pronounced PAH-stah eh fah-JOL-eh. The first “i” in fagioli blends into the o that comes after it.
The exact translation? Pasta and beans.
Step 2: Gather the Ingredients
Here's what to lay out on your counter:
Step 3. Prepare a Red Sauce
Make a simple Italian sauce by blending your tomatoes and olive oil, the chopped onion, basil and oregano, salt and pepper.
Step 4. Make and Cook the Soup
Heat the olive oil over medium hear in large, nonstick pan. Chop the celery and add it, as well as your chopped garlic clove. When they are about to brown, stir in the red sauce.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the quart of hot water.
Blend the beans in.
Bring the mix to a boil, and cook for another 10 minutes.
Step 5. Bring the Pasta Into the Mix
Finally, add the dry pasta shells and boil the complete soup, stirring, for a final ten minutes, or until the pasta is just becoming tender. Continual stirring will keep your shells separated.
Step 6. Serve and Enjoy
Serve immediately, while it's hot.
You might wish to garnish your Pasta e Fagioli with fresh Italian parsley, and serve with crusty bread and extra virgin olive oil. Two people can enjoy this meal, and have enough left over to marinate in the fridge and enjoy again the next day. That's amore!
You love your tiles. But they don't seem to do your bathroom justice anymore. Ask yourself, is it the tiles themselves, or what's in between that makes you cringe? Is the grout cracked, faded, yellowish or gray?
Breathe new life into a dirty-looking bathroom tile floor, kitchen backsplash or tile shower by simply re-grouting the tiles and polishing them. Here's how to do it.
What you'll need
- Margin float
- Earplugs (if you're using a rotary. It's loud!)
- Two sponges
- Safety glasses
- Two buckets
- Manual grout removal tool with a carbide blade
- Rotary tool or reciprocating saw (not needed for small jobs)
- One cup vinegar (for polishing)
Step 1: choose the right tool for the job
A rotary tool or reciprocating saw is faster. But you'll have to be extra careful not to damage a tile. And if you don't have a rotary tool, you'll need to buy or borrow. For these reasons, generally, you'll only want to go to this option if you have a larger space to re-grout like a master bathroom.
On the other hand, removing grout manually can be tedious and slow at times. *Pro tip* For smaller jobs, start with a manual tool. You can always switch to a power tool if you find you don't have the patience.
Step 2: remove the existing grout
Start by putting on your safety glasses and ear protection if using a power tool. Whether using a manual tool or electric, slowly guide your instrument through the in-between, cutting out the grout. *Pro tip* Start in a less seen area of the room like behind the door or toilet. That way, if you do make a mistake (break a tile) when learning how to use the tool, it's less of a deal-breaker, and you won't feel you must replace the tile.
Step 3: mix & apply the grout