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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.

Pets ENHANCE Life

Your pet loves you and you love your pet back. That single emotional exchange is one of the reasons that pets can encourage a healthy emotional mindset, says psychologist Therese J. Borchard.

Borchard says the presence of a pet gives structure and responsibility to a human life. Pets must be fed and tended to, preferably on a schedule.

If we wish to collapse disgruntled in a chair at the end of the day, there is that friendly wet dog nose, urging us for a pet and to go for a walk.

Just petting your animal reduces stress-related responses in the brain, according to a study by the University of Virginia. This distraction can be an effective therapy that stops a person from obsessively ruminating on problems or issues.

And finally, just the feeling of love given and returned with our pet, is enough to make life a little more meaningful.

Time to Clean the Upholstery?

What’s better than a late afternoon nap on your favorite sofa? What’s more enjoyable than reading a great book while snuggled in an overstuffed chair? Whether you are spending some quiet time alone or watching the big game with the whole gang, soft, comfortable upholstered furniture is usually the seating of choice.

Look under the cushions of a typical piece of upholstered furniture and you will usually find one or more tags. You probably don’t give them much thought, but understanding one of them may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. As with everything else in your home, upholstered furniture requires proper care and cleaning.

Pollution, allergens, dander, sweat and body oils stick to fabric and spots and spills do happen. It’s best to clean these fabrics before the soil builds up and spots become permanent stains.

Fortunately, most upholstered furniture will have a tag containing cleaning recommendations. As part of this tag you will find a cleaning code. Please note that these tags and codes are a guide to assist you in spot cleaning only. Overall cleaning should be left to the professionals. According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), professional cleaning should be done every 12- 24 months.

Many types of fabric are used to upholster furniture. Fabrics are made from a variety of fibers including cotton, polyester, silk, rayon, nylon, polypropylene, acetate, acrylic, wool and blends thereof. Each fiber is different and has its own unique characteristics, which include how they can be safely cleaned.

A cleaning agent that works great on one fabric may produce disastrous damage to another. Damage of this kind is usually not able to be corrected.

The cleaning recommendations tag is designed to help choose the right cleaning and spotting methods to avoid damage. Regardless of what the cleaning label states, test all cleaners in an inconspicuous area first.

Here are the cleaning codes and their meanings:

W – Spot clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Do not over wet. DO NOT USE SOLVENTS.

S – Spot clean only with a water-free dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not saturate. DO NOT USE WATER.

WS or SW – Spot clean with upholstery shampoo, foam from a mild detergent, or dry cleaning solvent.

X – Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, bristle brush. DO NOT USE ANY WATER- OR SOLVENT-BASED CLEANER.

When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Apply spotters sparingly so as not to over wet the spot. When cleaning spots or stains, work from the outside edge of the spot toward to the middle. This helps prevent spreading the spot.

Professional cleaners will take the time to identify the safest and most effective method to clean your furnishings without risk of changing the color, texture or finish. As a final step, they may also recommend refreshing the fabric protector to help maintain the beauty of your upholstery for many years.

When your upholstery requires a full cleaning, call Hansen Steam Way.

Detect-a-Leak Week

Detect-a-Leak Week is held annually every May. This is the perfect time to give your home a once over, checking for leaks that may be costing you money. Even a small leak can add up to hundreds of dollars a year, and could damage surrounding fixtures, cabinets, or floors.

One of the biggest culprits is the toilet. You often can’t tell if your toilet is leaking simply by examining it. Place a few drops of food coloring, just enough to slightly color the water, in the main tank. Let it sit for several hours, then check the toilet bowl. If you see the color in the bowl, you have a leaky toilet and it needs to be repaired.

Check for dripping faucets, pipes, and connections by examining all plumbing in your home. Use a lightweight cloth to wipe around each connection. If your cloth becomes wet, you have leaky plumbing that needs to be repaired.

Don’t forget to stop those leaks that you can control. Turn faucets off all the way, and don’t let water run when you brush your teeth. Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket. Instead of throwing items such as tissues in the toilet and flushing, use a small wastebasket in your bathroom instead.

Memorial Day REMEMBRANCE

The Memorial Day parades, which once reigned across America, are slowly slipping away, but salutes to the honored dead of the present and past still exist.

Since the late 1950s, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery, according to USMemorialDay.org. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.

Every Memorial Day, all ships and Naval stations worldwide fire a salute of 21 guns and display their ensign at half mast.

Traditionally, on military bases, the flag of the United States is raised quickly to the top of the staff, then lowered solemnly to half staff. It remains there until noon in remembrance.

Invest in a VACATION Home

These days, more people than ever can afford a second vacation home.

Homeowners have successfully covered their mortgages and leases by renting out as little as one room thanks to sites like AirBnB and VRBO.

According to John Banczak, executive chairman of TurnKey Vacation Rentals, for every $100,000 you spend to purchase a vacation home, you should expect yearly rental income of $12,000 to $14,000.

In 2017, about 12 percent of home buyers purchased vacation homes. According to Economist Outlook, buyers wanted a second home for vacations (42 percent), for future retirement (18 percent), or because real estate prices offered good deals (12 percent). The median household income in 2016 for vacation home buyers was $89,900.

If you’re considering a vacation property, make sure to find a trusted local real estate agent to help you navigate the purchase.

Get CREATIVE with Water

We all know we’re supposed to keep hydrated, but the problem for a lot of people is that they simply have trouble drinking plain old water.

How can you drink more water when you don’t like it? Here are some tips to have fun and get a little more creative with it:

Invest in a water filter. You might not be totally picky, your water may just taste a little funny and a filter could be all you need.

Try vegetables or herbs for a different flavor altogether; celery or cucumbers, basil or mint are all good choices.

Play with different types of water, like coconut water, maple water or carbonated water.

Get a high-tech water bottle that tracks your water intake and can even customize how much you should drink. Or download an app onto your phone to track your consumption and set reminders.

Keep Dirt OUTSIDE

All through the year we track various soils into our homes. Not only that, pollutants from car exhaust, pollens, pet and human dander, and just plain old dirt can damage surfaces in your home including carpet, tile, wood, upholstery and fabrics. Soil control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy.

You can control soil by limiting the entrance and buildup of contaminants inside your home. The best way to control soil inside your home is to prevent its entry. They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; it takes 12 times more effort, time and money to remove soil as it does to prevent it from ever entering inside a structure. Remember that whatever is outside tends to come in, so consider the following: Keep walkways, steps and porches clean and free of dirt, mold, moss and algae.

Maintain garage floors in order to prevent oil, road grime and other contaminants from being tracked indoors. Place doormats both outside and inside all of the entrances to your home.

Outdoor mats should be a water resistant, synthetic, non-absorbent fiber such as olefin or polypropylene and be textured to scrape heavy soils off your shoes. Avoid natural fibers which tend to mold and rot creating a new soil source for your home.

Inside doormats should be absorbent like nylon, cotton or wool. Vacuum and wash it periodically to remove built-up soils.

Remove shoes when you come indoors, but don’t make the mistake of going barefoot all the time. The skin of our feet contains oils that attach to carpet and attract soil. Instead of going barefoot, wear clean house shoes, socks or slippers indoors.

Normal daily activities generate a variety of dust and residues that settle on just about every surface inside your home. Vacuuming is the most effective way to maintain your carpets. 74- 79% of soil in carpet is dry, particulate soil that can be removed by vacuuming. You should also vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons.

When you dust your furniture, do so gently, preferably with a duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If you use a duster, go slow and allow dust to settle for an hour or so and vacuum the floor last. Your carpet can last a long time if properly cared for.

Annual professional cleaning is recommended in most homes. Busy homes with children and pets require cleaning twice a year or more.

Don’t wait until your carpets, rugs and upholstery look dirty to have them cleaned by a professional; by the time fibers have reached a visibly soiled state they are already damaged.

Call Hansen Steam Way to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.

Staying ENGAGED at Work

The typical employee feels disengaged or bored with their work for about 10.5 hours per week. However, it is possible to stay sharp and engaged in nearly any job. The first steps happen the night before. They should make sure they get at least seven to nine hours of sleep.

Look at the commute as an opportunity to jumpstart the day. Mentally review your work for the day, noting the task that you will start first. Then, let go of work for a while and inject creativity with a podcast or audiobook.

At the office, take a good look at the workspace and consider adding more ergonomic seating, better lighting, or even a plant to make the environment more comfortable and engaging.

Not feeling challenged can also be a significant roadblock to staying engaged at work. Talk to the manager to see if there is room for an extra creative project or maybe time for skill enhancement.

SAVE Money with Apps

Save more money by using helpful smartphone apps. Here are a few helpful financial apps to help you save, invest and make financial decisions.

The app Acorns rounds up small purchases. If you buy a $2.50 coffee, it rounds up the price to $3 and invests the 50 cents in a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds.

You can choose the level of risk, from conservative to aggressive. According to Money, one user saved an extra $250 in a few months without noticing any difference.

TaxCaster by Intuit TurboTax can estimate your income taxes. It can do a side by side comparison of your tax obligation estimate with the 2017 and 2018 tax laws, to see how tax reform might affect you.

It can also help you make other tax-related financial decisions such as realizing capital gains, all from your smartphone.

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