Wednesday, May 12 2010
EASY WEEKEND DECORATING PROJECTS
Add wallpaper - With wallpaper’s recent comeback, a slew of beautiful choices are available to jazz up any room. Look for oversize patterns to create a sophisticated and dramatic look.
Tile your backsplash - Transform your kitchen with a new backsplash. This easy DIY project will add sophistication to your space. Consider small tiles on a mesh backing for the easiest installation.
Add or upgrade your molding - From grand crown molding to handsome baseboards, millwork can really elevate a room. If you want to add extra architectural interest, consider adding a chair rail or wainscot.
Make a new headboard - Two salvaged windows are a great alternative to an ordinary headboard. Find windows that measure approximately the width of your mattress. Remove the glass and install fiberboard or foam board to cover the backs. Cut fabric or wallpaper remnants to fit each section and adhere with spray adhesive.
SPRING YARD CARE
Spring temperatures draw us outdoors. If you’re like many homeowners, you can’t wait to head outside to assess lawn maintenance needs and plan what plants to add to the landscape.
Collect and Use Debris - Get out your lawn mower and mulch up leaves that have blown into your yard over the winter. They are nature’s fertilizer, so don’t send them to the landfill.
Plan to Fill In - Think about which areas will receive full sun and which will be partially or fully shaded. Remember that the best plants for your yard are usually natives that have adapted to the particular soil and climate in your area. The natural relationship to your environment makes them worth the extra effort it might take to find them.
Where to Shop for Native Plants – Large retail garden shops don’t always offer plants that are best for the local area. Familiar flowers fill their greenhouses, but these aren’t always the best for you because they may not thrive in local soils without many hours of feeding and watering.
Take a little extra time to learn from knowledgeable local vendors about the varieties of plants that will thrive in your yard. In the long run, you will save money and time as plants that spread by roots and seed will come back next year to reward your efforts.
SPRING CLEAN YOUR FINANCES
Begin by gathering up your docs. Pull out stray files, snatch the latest round of bills, and empty that overflowing kitchen or office drawer stuffed with papers you've been meaning to get to for ages. Sort everything into six piles:
• Monthly Bills, Bank Statements, and Pay Stubs
• Investment Statements (pension updates, 401(k) statements, brokerage and fund statements, and so forth)
• Tax Returns and Supporting Docs
• Policy Documents & Deeds (insurance docs, home deed)
• Warranties and User Manuals
• Forever Docs (things like marriage license, will, birth certificate)
Next, create a folder for each type of document and add new papers as they come in. Then create folders within the folders: Take ongoing bills, for example. Store all gas bills in one folder, electricity bills in another, cable bills in a third, and so on. If possible, keep all folders in a fireproof, water-resistant file cabinet or box; if not, a drawer or shelf will do.
It's an entirely different ball game for the forever docs. Because of their importance, they must be put in a portable fire- and water-resistant home safe or file container—something that you can grab at a moment's notice. Why not a bank deposit box? Because you don't have access 24/7. If, God forbid, you die or become incapacitated, your relatives may not be able to access it; besides, the maintenance fee is a waste of money compared with the onetime cost of buying a safe.
SHRIMP MOJO DE AJO
24 unpeeled, large raw shrimp
1/2 cup Mojo de Ajo
24 (6-inch) wooden skewers
Garnishes: lime wedges, fresh cilantro
sprigs, coarse sea salt
Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired. Combine shrimp and Mojo de Ajo, tossing to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes.
Remove shrimp from Mojo de Ajo, discarding marinade. Thread 1 shrimp onto each skewer.
Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Garnish, if desired.
When searching for a home service agreement, check to see if plumbing stoppages are included. Sometimes they are not covered at all, and other times you may have to pay extra. With a Home Buyers Warranty VI® home service agreement, plumbing stoppages are covered under the standard coverage.