Go on a MONEY Date

Ever heard of a money date? It’s a thing. On a money date, spouses agree to get together to talk finances in a (allegedly) fun and non-threatening way. The idea is to keep on top of budgets and, perhaps more importantly, to work together on goal-setting.

The idea is to keep it affordable, so that might entail staying home with a good bottle of wine or out to a quiet dinner where you can talk.

Pro Tip: tackle the heavy lifting issues prior to finishing that first glass of wine.

For singles: you can take yourself on a money date, too. This thing with money IS a relationship, even with ourselves.

Setting aside scheduled time to talk about finances forces you to focus and not get distracted by other life demands.

Put it on your calendar, and don’t forget to bring your laptop and some pens and paper. Yes, even to a restaurant.

What is KOMBUCHA?

As it rises in popularity, the fermented drink has gained its cult following – as well as its haters. Seems no one stands in the middle: you love it or hate it.

Fermented food and drinks are high on the food trend list in 2019, as people seek ways to work probiotics into their diets via their food rather than in pill form.

For the uninitiated, kombucha is a type of effervescent fermented tea (though not an alcoholic drink) that originated in China around 2,000 years ago. It has a base of sugar, tea, bacteria and yeast. It has a bitter taste that can take some getting used to, and comes in a wide variety of flavors from a wide variety of brands.

Proponents claim health benefits from gut health to reduced inflammation, improved cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, antibacterial properties, and even a reduced risk of cancer. Today, it can be commonly found in most grocery stores or made at home.

Pet Urine PROBLEMS?

Our pets don’t understand why we make such a big deal of a little urine on the carpet. To animals, urine is an important social tool that is used as a calling card, mate attractant or a territorial warning. Urine lets other members of the species know important information regarding their gender, age and health.

Animal urine is a rather benign substance. When it leaves a healthy animal it is sterile. In small amounts and low concentration, the odor and appearance may be undetectable. Still, any urine deposit on carpet should be treated appropriately.

If you are lucky enough to catch the animal in the act, you can pour salt liberally onto the urine while it is still wet. Use enough salt to completely cover the spot. The salt will absorb and neutralize the urine. Let it dry for 8-12 hours and vacuum it away.

But most of the time, the urine is already dry by the time we find it. Applying a neutral carpet cleaning agent, gentle agitation and a thorough rinse may be enough to treat light urine deposits. Finish the job by placing a folded white towel on the area. Set a weight, such as phone book on the towel and leave overnight. The remaining moisture and residue will wick into the towel.

Once urine contamination has reached the point that it has penetrated the carpet and the cushion, removal of the odor becomes more difficult. Heavy urine deposits are much more challenging to treat and you will need the help of Hansen Steam Way.

Why? Because urine undergoes a dramatic chemical change as it ages. The water in the urine evaporates and leaves behind organic compounds that become more and more concentrated.

Bacteria begin to consume the urine and break down the proteins, sugars and other organics. During the process of bacterial digestion the bacteria secrete ammonia and a strong, pungent odor becomes apparent. The urine turns from a mild acid to a strong alkali. This strong alkaline deposit attacks the dyes in some carpets. Over time, the dyes can be weakened or removed, causing permanent color-loss.

The adhesives used in the carpet backing can be dissolved, and the carpet can literally fall apart. Permanent damage to wood subfloors will also result from deep penetration of concentrated urine deposits, requiring additional expensive repairs. The most critical action to prevent permanent damage is to act quickly when you notice a spot.

Hansen Steam Way has several techniques available to clean and deodorize pet contamination. In addition, there are different cleaning and deodorizing agents in our arsenal. The decision of which methods and agents to use will depend on several factors such as; the amount of contamination present, the depth of penetration, the construction of the carpet, the fiber content, the installation method, the subfloor type and the size of the affected area must all be considered.

There are times when the damage is too severe and the best option is to replace the carpet. In such situations, we can assist by sealing the sub-floor and adjacent materials with a specialized odor-counteracting sealer so that the new carpet does not inherit the old odor problem.

If you have a pet odor problem, the best action is to call Hansen Steam Way for a professional assessment of the situation. We are experts at handling difficult odor problems and can help you to choose the right solution.

How to Protect Potted Plants from the Heat

High temperatures are not only hard on us. They can be tough for our plants as well. Whether you have plants indoors, outdoors, or both, there are some simple things you can do to help your plants weather these hot days.

In general, house plants prefer an environment between 70 and 80 degrees, with nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees cooler. Try to keep your potted plants out of direct sun during the hottest time of the day, especially if they are in a southern facing window. Be aware though that some plants require several hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive.

Water your plants properly. Your potted plants should be watered when the soil begins to feel dry. If you overwater your plants, they are more subject to wilting and disease. Underwatering your plants, of course, is also not good for them. You should plan on watering more often as the weather heats up.

If your outdoor potted plants are not thriving, consider moving them to a more protected location. Outdoor plants tend to lose water more easily, as they are heated up more than indoor plants. Try using plastic pots instead of terra cotta or unglazed ceramic pots. These will hold moisture more readily.

Watch for pests also, as warmer weather brings more bugs. Inspect your plants regularly for any signs of insects and consider using an insecticide if you do find any.

Tips for Summer HEAT

When it’s hot outside, it’s time to take precautions. Here are some tips to protect yourself while in the heat. The CDC recommends:

Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your activity level. Drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. Replace salt and minerals lost through sweating by drinking a sports beverage.

Choose light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a widebrimmed hat and sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

Use sunscreen. Apply a product rated SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going out.

Pace yourself. Begin slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If your heart begins to pound and you begin gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Move to a cool area or at least into shade to rest, especially if you feel lightheaded or weak.

Don’t depend on a fan to cool yourself. When the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.

Big Summer SAVINGS

Summer is a great time to save money with seasonal sales. Many movie theaters will offer special summer movie prices and discounts on concessions. Prices on fresh produce will likely fall by as much as 50 percent as farmer’s markets drive prices down.

Gym owners know that summer is slow and exercisers may find discounted rates, free months, and even complimentary training sessions.

Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs June through November. If you’re willing to risk it, cruises and resort packages in the area will often be on sale.

Amazon’s popular Prime Day is usually held mid-July. To compete, many places also offer major discounts covering a wide variety of products, technology and memberships.

Furniture and home goods are traditionally on sale around Fourth of July.

Look for online sales and discount codes in July. Many specials are offered only online.

Berry Brain BOOSTERS

Give your brain a boost by adding delicious berries to your regular diet.

Two separate clinical studies show that berries appear to give a boost to brain power.

In one study, healthy men and women ages 60 to 75 were given two cups of strawberries for 90 days. They showed improved scores for word recognition and spatial memory.

In another study, researchers showed that older adults who ate the equivalent of one cup of blueberries for 90 days didn’t repeat themselves as often.

Quoted in Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, Barbara Shukitt-Hale said researchers speculate that the anthocyanins in berries have certain anti-inflammatory properties that have direct effects and benefits on the brain.

Supplements, she said, don’t appear to work. It is the combination of nutrients in berries that seem to have a benefit.

Home Fire SAFETY Guide

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for house fires. Sure, it’s a celebration and, yes, fireworks are traditional and they can be used safely. Nonetheless, nearly 20,000 fires annually are blamed on fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even the most common fireworks, such as a sparkler, can start a fire.

You think it will never happen to you, but it makes sense to be prepared. The most important thing you can do is to have working smoke detectors on every level of your home. An early warning is your best defense against a house fire.

Taking the right steps in the event of a house fire could save your home and even your life. Make sure that all adults and older children understand how to RACE and PASS if there is a fire. This doesn’t mean RACE around the house in a panic and PASS your spouse on your way out the door! RACE and PASS are simply memory aids for what you should do in case of a fire.

R.A.C.E.

R is for Remove. Remove all occupants from the area of the fire. A is for Alert. Alert the authorities; call 911. C is for Contain. Close windows and doors to contain and smother the fire. E is for Extinguish or Evacuate. Which one? That depends on the stage of the fire.

A house fire has 4 stages:

Stage 1: Incipient. The fire is just starting and there is a good chance of extinguishing it. Stage 2: Growth. The fire spreads to other combustible materials. You should evacuate. Stage 3: Developed. The hottest, most deadly stage; evacuation is your primary objective. Stage 4: Decay. The fire is running out of fuel or oxygen but still smolders; a deadly backdraft is possible.

If the fire is beyond the incipient stage and spreading rapidly, you should evacuate and let the fire department handle it. If you are confident that you can safely extinguish the fire, do so only after you have gotten people out of the area, called 911 and contained the fire if possible.

Make sure you have an escape route. Then use a portable fire extinguisher to put out the fire using the PASS method.

P.A.S.S.

P is for Pull. Pull the pin out of the handle. A is for Aim. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. S is for Squeeze. Squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher. S is for Sweep. Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire.

Keep portable fire extinguishers in strategic locations of your home such as the kitchen, utility areas, garage and storage rooms.

After a home has suffered even a small fire, proper cleanup needs to be done. There may be fire extinguisher residue, charred materials and smoke residue to clean up.

Water-damaged contents, floors, walls and structural materials need to be dried and cleaned.

Strong, lingering odors often require a combination of techniques for successful treatment.

We hope you never have this happen in your home, but if you do, Hansen Steam Way can help or refer you to someone else who can.

ROAD Trip Checklist

If vacation-time means a road trip, a few simple preparations can keep you safe and out of trouble.

Check all fluids, including oil, coolant, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. Check the air filter and battery.

Make sure tires are properly inflated. That goes for the spare, too. Inspect the tires to make sure there is enough tread.

Besides the obvious safety issues, proper lights and signals are just one more reason why you won’t get a ticket.

At an absolute minimum, make sure you have the tools to change a tire. But also consider carrying a battery-powered cell phone charger, drinking water, a gas can, and a working flashlight.

Do you have a spare key accessible from outside the car? What about jumper cables? A bowl so that Fido can have a drink? How about a rain poncho?

Take your license, proof of insurance and registration

Publish YOUR Life Story

Write your life story, then publish it in a beautiful hardcover book to give as gifts. Today, the process is inexpensive and fun with many online websites designed to help you.

Photo books are great family mementos and, when you add names and stories, they can tell a lot about your family’s history.

If you don’t want to scan photos yourself, try one of the many scanning services such as Memories Renewed, Scan Digital, or Dig My Pics. They will turn snapshots and slides into high quality scans.

Once you have your photos ready, the next step is to get your story ready and match photos to text. Then, select a book-making company. There are many online: ubuildabook. com, My Canvas, Blurb, Mixbook and Shutterfly.

Once finished, the company will mail a beautiful full-color book on high quality paper.

The publishing company will typically keep your book project on hand so you can order more.

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