Pre-Festive Checks to Ensure your Home is Prepared

 

It’s hard to imagine that Christmas is just a few weeks away – it doesn’t seem two minutes since we were saying hello to the school summer holidays and yet, here we are, cranking up the heating for the first time in months and reading news reports about what could potentially be the worst weather in decades.

Staying warm throughout the winter months is imperative, especially over Christmas when chances are, you’ll have other people to worry about because of visiting guests – as well as children being off school over the holidays. With a little time in your favour, now would be ideal to start looking at your current situation to check where improvements can be made to ensure you and your family stay warm without breaking the bank.

radiator

image via http://www.whatmortgage.co.uk/

Check your boiler        

It’s one of those commodities that many people take for granted, and with it not being used to its full potential for a while, now would be a common time for them to break down. Cranking up the heating and turning up the thermostat could cause your boiler to break under the strain – this is the last thing you need, isn’t it?

You could invest in one of the energy efficient boilers from British Gas if you’re due for a brand new one. Otherwise, make sure you invest in an annual boiler service to ensure that it’s running like clockwork. If you pay a monthly premium for a boiler insurance, a service by British Gas should come as standard.

Turn on the Radiators

If they’ve been off for the summer months, you may need to bleed the radiators to allow any air pockets to escape. Now would be a perfect time to turn them on again, so that your home can warm through nicely. Stay conscious of your heating bill though – there’s no need to use all radiators if you don’t have to. In rooms that aren’t used often (such as the hallway and bathroom), you could probably do without heating from radiators. Similarly, unless you have guests staying with you (for example, over the Christmas period), the spare room doesn’t need to be kept constantly warm.

Keep Windows Closed

Don’t allow the residual heat to escape; you may as well just throw your money away! Keep windows closed and ensure that any draughts are sealed. If you have draughts around the windows, make sure that they’re caulked while you can use draught excluders at your doors to keep your rooms warm and snug.

Check the Insulation

While it’s not essential to do straight away, checking that the standard of your loft insulation is up to scratch can help to keep heating bills down. Regulations nowadays ask for 275mm of insulation in lofts – if what you have doesn’t meet this measurements, chances are you’re paying over the odds on your heating bill because it’ll take longer for your home to warm up as much as you’d like it to.

During the winter, it’s essential that you stay as warm as possible – especially during the big freeze. Think ahead and check that your home is as prepared for a cold snap as it can be.

By Roxanne Wells

 

Loot

candies loot

not all yet

Everytime Halloween season is here, Matt becomes ecstatic because of all the loot he is sure to get. These are some of what he got at a Shangrila event…and there are still more to come.

Surely not so friendly to one’s teeth but I guess moderation is the key in consuming all these. :D

Dog Training

The use of remote training collars for dogs is a highly emotional topic. Debates often deteriorate into name calling, personal attacks and accusations of animal cruelty. However, not all dog collars are shock collars. Many of them have beep and vibrate functions that are highly effective training tools.

gabdog

matt and doggie

In beep mode, training collars emit a beep when the controller is pressed. Dog trainers use this beep as a marker, much like clicker training uses a clicker for positive reinforcement. For a beep to be effective, however, a dog must have prior training to associate the sound with a particular consequence. Trainers can also use a beep as an interrupt signal similar to blowing a whistle.

In vibrate mode, training collars use vibration to get a dog’s attention. This function works much like a vibrating phone or pager. Like the beep, trainers use vibration as a marker or interrupt signal. Neither mode delivers an electric shock to dogs. However, all training collars have a shock function that delivers an electric current to stimulate the dog.

Companies like Dogtra produce dog training collars that are designed for the most challenging training conditions. Customers can find collars for small breed training, sporting dogs and even K-9 Police work. These innovative collars use electronic shock, vibration, beeps and clicks to shape a dog’s obedience.

Keeping Pets Healthy

 

A dog or a cat can quickly become an important part of the family. Keeping a pet healthy can help extend their life, with the right diet. There are many different types of pet food, but knowing which ones deliver balanced vitamins and protein, can be a mystery. Without researching hundreds of pet foods on the market today, it is almost impossible to tell what brands are the best for a dog or cat.

dog food

image from http://doggydessertchef.com/

Pet food from Pet Flow, is an example of how online pet care businesses are providing all the research for potential clients. From food to toys, products are examined and recommended for purchase. In addition, some companies offer home delivery, saving numerous trips to pet stores.

Reputation is important to companies that rely on returning customers. By providing veterinarian-approved food, plus other pet supplies, online pet care companies can become a relied upon service. There are several good manufacturers of pet food. Without subjecting your pet to many different types of food, people can now know exactly what type of ingredients are included in pet food, by visiting one of these popular sites. Always select a company that has a good return policy, focuses on health and medical conditions of pets, and guarantees reasonable prices and delivery.

Sandwich-Making Demo

sandwich making

Like a little chef, that’s what he said he is in this photo.  “Mommy, this one’s for you…” he said.

It’s good to have activities where kids experience adult-stuff, I mean like preparing sandwiches. Could be basic but these things are big for them. It goes the same when they are allowed to help with house chores, cooking and baking and even washing the dishes. I once read somewhere: “Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.” Easy, perhaps in the sense that we parents give them eveything readily or that we don’t want them to experience what we had as kids when all our parents wanted was for us to learn.

Times are changing and it is quite different now than our generation but we should try our best to prepare our kids for what’s ahead. Yes, even when just making a sandwich.

Books, Still the Perfect Gift

gabook

Developing an interest in reading at an early age is important. Reading is a gateway into learning other important life skills, such as understanding vocabulary or being able to read street signs. Starting at a young age can also help the child’s brain to develop at a faster rate, causing them to excel in their studies once they finally enter school.

Children have very short attention spans, so keeping their interest can be difficult. Many authors will accomplish this by having simple, fast moving plot lines and very colorful pictures to go with their stories. Children who are read to will slowly begin to recognize the words in the book, and if the book has captivated their interests, they will develop a natural want to read the book.

Parents can also help by reading stories their children take a personal interest in. Personalized books that include the child’s name can make a great gift and be a way to grab their attention. Several story books are available that can introduce your child to fun characters and spark their imagination. A personalized story throws your child into the book, making them all the more interested in learning this important life skill.

 

Making your Child Love Fruits

gab fruits

Rambutan, fresh from harvest

Where I grew up, fruits are an everyday fare. From mangoes to papaya, from soursops and jackfruits, from bananas to pineapples, name it we have it! Save of course for the imported fruits that ain’t growing in this tropical region.

Friends, close relatives would often give us some of their harvests and aren’t we so lucky?! Yes, we are, we have a few papaya trees, soursop, santol, caimitos and those around our yard but friends have their farmlands with vast plantation – corn, mangoes, rambutan and other fruits!

To this day, we still get some as gifts from them, like the rambutan above given by my godfather for Matt. And I say, he surely loves the sweet, juicy flesh of rambutan.

There are many ways you can make your kids love fruits. First is of course to make them available all the time. Buy them fresh and lay them out on the table where your child can easily get them.

Take a trip to the market and show him the different kind of fruits.

Take a trip to the farm and make your child experience the country-side. Have him or her pick fruits, of course, ask permission from the farm owner.

Lastly, eat fruits too, you are the best example your child can have in eating healthy, yummy fruits.

Family Bonding at the Movies

monsters inc

Spending time with the family in outdoor activities results to emotional bonding and close relationship, I believe so. Simple activities as playing chess, watching tv and even eating together is a good bonding.

This is why we also see to it that we watch a movie with Matt once in a while.