16 May 2017

Grow Your Garden In Balcony Containers

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Container gardens are one of North America’s hottest trends and a movable feast for the senses. Containers allow you to grow your favorite vegetables with no ground to till or weeds to tend. It also helps brighten up your patio, balcony or deck.

Even if you don't have much sunny ground, you can still experience the pleasure of harvesting your own vine-ripened tomatoes and other food stuff. All you need is a generous-size container, good potting soil, and a suitable spot which is usually a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day.

Also, since soil in pots warms up much faster during the spring season than they would plant in the ground, you can get tomatoes or peppers off to a much faster start. Tall pots should be considered by those with mobility issues as they make it easier to tend plants without kneeling or squatting.

Vegetables in containers also add visual punch to your landscape. Choose large, decorative containers and surround them with smaller pots of colorful flowers, and you'll have attractive focal points ― and a bounty of vegetables ― all summer long.

Soil Preparation

Potting medium. Use a high-quality mix containing peat moss and perlite. Blend in a complete fertilizer, either a dry organic product ― such as one containing alfalfa meal, bone meal, kelp meal, or other natural nutrients ― or a controlled-release type that supplies nutrients over a three-to-six-month period.

If you plan to water pots by hand, add soil polymers such as Broadleaf P4 (available at most garden centers) to the mix before planting to help alleviate the wet-dry cycle.

As the soil dries out, these small crystals, which absorb a hundred or more times their weight in water, supply moisture to the roots.

Vegetable Selections To Plant

Tomatoes: If you want to grow any food at all this year, then you should put tomatoes in the mix. Tomatoes thrive in container gardens. In pots, their roots stay warm and they have the drainage needed for them to expand vigorously.

Cut-again salad greens: Not long ago, plants like lettuce and spinach were hidden away in the corners of the garden. To cut-and-come-again, wait until the leaves are five to six inches high and then cut a few at a time (just enough for your fresh salad). Leave one to two inches of stubble and the leaf will grow several more times, ensuring a multitude of tiny bounties. Scatter a few seeds into the moist soil to make sure the buffet doesn’t close.

Strawberries galore: There are few tastier treats than garden-picked strawberries with ice-cream on a summer’s afternoon. They thrive in containers of all kinds as long as they are kept well-watered and have a nice sunny locale.

Other plants to consider for your balcony garden include potatoes, chard, peppers, eggplants, summer squash & pole beans. And don't forget the herbs!



Planting Depth - Here are the minimum soil depths for healthy growth. Keep in mind that you can get by with less depth if you use a self-watering planter.

4-5 inches: chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander
6-7 inches: bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, Asian greens, peas, mint, thyme
8-9 inches: pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary
10-12 inches: beets, broccoli, okra, potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, dill, lemongrass

Watering - The best way to water vegetables in containers is with drip irrigation operated by an automatic controller. For each container, install a circle of inline emitters over the soil or distribute three or four 1/2-gallon-per-hour emitters over the soil surface (use more for very large pots). Set the controller to water often enough to keep the soil moist (in hot temperatures that might be daily or every other day).

If you hand-water, never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Pests -  If aphids, mites, or whiteflies attack your plants spray them with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Handpick and destroy tomato hornworms.

Harvest - Pick crops when they're ripe: beans before the seeds swell inside the pods; cucumbers and squash when fruits are fully expanded but not seedy; eggplants while skin is shiny; peppers when fully grown and showing appropriate color (green, red, or another shade); tomatoes when fully colored (red, orange, or yellow).

27 April 2017

LIGHT-UP YOUR APARTMENT

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Good lighting can literally light up your life. It can make the difference between “nice “and "wow."

So how do you change a space with lighting? Here are some easy tips on how to improve an apartment with smart lighting choices.

Lighting isn’t always about brighter - Sometimes a room doesn’t need more brightness but rather softer or dimmer light. Dim light can set a more intimate mood or set the tone for a get-together. Brighter light is perfect for getting work done. A lamp that can do both is an excellent choice: turn it down when you need to, and turn up the light when you need to get work done.

Consider the bulb - On top of saving electricity, using the right kind of light bulb can drastically change the light in a room. LED and CFLs are both energy efficient and come in a variety of different hues. The soft blue light will give a room a more natural look. Depending on the effect you are going for, certain lights will also enhance colors in your room. LEDs often bring out reds and blues, so if you want to make something pop, consider changing out your lightbulbs. You can also consider smart LED lightbulbs that can be wirelessly controlled by Bluetooth. These smart bulbs can change colors, dim, or brighten using your smartphone.



Decide what kind of lamp your space needs - There are several different lamps to consider depending on what you need. A table lamp and a floor lamp produce entirely different results. A table lamp can be an accent piece as well as a source of lighting, and there are many different styles of floor lamps to fit a bunch of different aesthetics. Floor lamps also typically provide more light to a room, so if you are going for brightness, these might be your answers.

Make use of natural light - Depending on your apartment, you might also need to consider natural light. You can use curtains to limit the light and provide an accent to your room, or open the space to let the light in. Also, make sure you clean your windows often. You would be surprised at how much smudges can affect natural light.


21 April 2017

Things To Do Before You Go For A Vacation

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It’s always an exciting time when you’re planning a vacation. However, with the excitement of booking flights, hotel arrangements, and other travel plans, it’s easy to forget the things you need to take care of at home before leaving. If you fail to properly prepare your apartment before heading out, it can lead to major headaches when you get back from your travels. In order to avoid this, follow these tips for preparing your apartment before you go.

Inform Your Landlord: There may be something in your lease about the pre-vacation procedure. Read your agreement, then give your landlord a written note of when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back.

Think About Your Car: If you’re going to leave the car at your apartment while away, make sure it is safe. First, take all valuables out, make sure all the windows are rolled up tightly and double check the doors are locked. If you have a designated parking spot, keep it parked there. Otherwise, make sure that you park your car in a well-lighted area to deter break-ins. If you have a friend or acquaintance in the building ask them to check on your vehicle and leave them your contact info while away in case anything happens. 

Adjust Your Thermostat: You want to be comfortable when you’re at home, but when you’re away, you can save money and energy by letting the temperature creep up a little. If it is winter, set the thermostat at 50 degrees to keep the pipes from freezing. If it is summer, shut your air conditioner off to keep from paying to cool the apartment while you are away.

Ask a friend or neighbor to check on things while you’re gone: If you are going on an extended vacation as snow birds do frequently, it’s very important to have someone check on things while you’re gone. If you can get a friend or family member to stay in your apartment, that is the ideal solution otherwise invest in a timer that’ll turn on your lights at certain times of the evening. However, just having a friend come by every couple days to water your plants and check on things is okay, too. Check you’re insurance policy to ensure that your coverage does not have a home vacancy clause that makes it invalid if you are away for more than a described period. Many policies have this regulation. 

Manage your mail: If you have someone who is looking after your place, have them collect the mail also. However, if you’re unable to find anyone to check on your apartment while you are on vacation, go to the post office to fill out a form and stop your mail from being delivered while you’re gone. The local post office will hold mail instead of delivering it to your mailbox.

Unplug Electronics: Just before you leave, unplug all electronics in your home with the exception of your refrigerator. Keep in mind that electronic items use electricity when they are plugged in even when turned off. This is less wasteful and may save you a few bucks in costs. 

29 March 2017

Easy Easter Bunny Cake

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It’s easy to create an adorable and delicious Easter centerpiece using this Floppy Ears Bunny Cake design. Simply, use 2 — 6 inch round cakes and stack them on top of each other to build the base of the bunny cake. Ice, and get started decorating.

INGREDIENTS

- 6 1/2 cups cake batter
- 1 1/2 ounce used Ready-To-Use Gum Paste
- 1 1/2 ounce used White Decorator Preferred Fondant
- Buttercream icing
- Black Icing Color:
- Cornflower Blue Icing Color:
- White-White Icing Color:
- Pure Lemon Extract: 

Method

1.Make ears 2 days in advance. Knead gum paste into fondant. Divide mixture in half. Use hands to flatten and shape into ears, approximately 5 in. long x 2 in. wide at the widest end, about 3/8 in. thick. Use fingers to form a center of ears, rounding edges; bend over the top of one ear. Insert a lollipop stick into bottom of each ear, extending 4 in. at the bottom to insert into cake. Let dry 2 days.

2. Make cake and mini cupcake: Prepare cake batter following recipe directions. Bake and cool two 6 in. cake layers and one mini cupcake.

Prepare buttercream icing following recipe directions. Tint a small portion of icing black and set aside. Level, fill and stack cake for a 2-layer cake, 5 inch high.

Use spatula and white icing to ice cake smooth and mini cupcake fluffy. Attach cupcake to cake for the tail.

3. Paint ears. Mix cornflower blue and white-white icing colors with lemon extract. Use a brush to paint inside ears with the mixture. Let dry, about 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Decorate cakes. Use tip 4, a cut disposable decorating bag and black icing to pipe dot eyes. Use tip 1, a cut disposable decorating bag and black icing to over pipe cross stitch shapes on eyes for a cross-stitched look and pipe cross stitch shapes for the nose. Insert ears as cake top.


20 March 2017

Personal Budget: Saving for the Unexpected Expenses

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Car payments. Rent. Groceries. If you have a good budget, all your expenses are accounted for. But all other unexpected expenses like car repair, family wedding etc throw you off your budget. All these expenses cumulate on your budget. Listed below are few of these expenses which you need to keep a track and make a budget.

There are plenty of mobile apps like Mint Budgeting App, PocketGuard Budget App, GoodBudget, Mvelopes & HomeBudget to help you track your spending in near-real time, so there are no excuses about being too busy.

· Car repairs - Minor or major accidents and gradual wear and tear on your vehicle can leave you staring, open-mouthed, at an unplanned bill in the hundreds of dollars. Prevent unnecessary expenses by checking your owner's manual and scheduling your car's recommended maintenance -- on time.

· Price hikes - Gas and insurance prices keep rising. You can't control the price of gas but you can shop around if your insurer is raising your premiums. Curb costs by carpooling to work and take up energy-efficient habits like not idling when you stop for that morning coffee.

· Job loss- Losing your job can be traumatic, but if you're in a relatively stable financial situation, you should be OK financially. While unemployed, keep your expenses to a bare minimum and, if you're even remotely concerned about your finances, look for a job ASAP.

· Impulse buying -  When the seasons change, we go shopping and follow through on whims, like buying yet another pair of shoes via a little credit card debt. Impulse buying is what gets most people into trouble. A detailed budget will keep your expectations reasonable. Know where that money will eventually come from -- like your holiday fund -- and those shoes will start to look less appealing.

· Hidden fees - Sales and "special" offers are everywhere -- right along with hidden fees and charges, whether it's credit card annual fees, or cell phones service fees. Don't be taken in by credit cards with 0% interest for the first six months -- most people don't switch to another card after that, and you may be paying high interest when the promotional period ends. Think long term. And ask salespeople about the total you will be charged, including all fees, not the special deal rate.

· Pet Expenses – Your pet’s illness comes not only at an emotional price but at a high financial one too. If you're worried all those medical expenses, consider investing in insurance for your pet. You'll still be paying to keep your pet healthy, but at least it's a planned expense.

· Illness - Dealing with serious sickness is often impossible to plan for you just need the money to have time off. You need three to six month's salary in a slush fund. It may be wise to save 5% or 10% of your pay cheque in savings each week. Doing so will keep you prepared for everything -- from a major illness to that ugly bridesmaid's dress.

It is within your power to control these budget busters, and it is up to you as to whether it is important enough to do anything about them. Make the right choice and enjoy the subsequent savings.

27 February 2017

Feature Property : Central Court Apartments (Edmonton central)

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Location
Central Court Apartments are located in the superb residential neighborhood of Oliver. This highly preferred community is centrally located about six blocks from Grant MacEwan University. Central Court is a unique mixed use development which means it features commercial and retail businesses on the main floor and private residences on all the floors above. The current retail businesses include a convenient grocery store.
Suites For Everyone

Central Court Apartments offer singles, couples and small families 1, 2 and 3 bedroom layouts ranging from 660 to 1160 sq. ft. All homes have beautiful Kabal Berber carpets with linoleum in the bathrooms, kitchen and dining areas. All the suite’s cabinets are premium styles of European cabinets from Delton Cabinets. Bathrooms boast stylish marble surrounds and banjo countertops and most of the units have tubs and shower combinations with glass door enclosures. All homes have vertical blinds on all windows including the large walk-out patio doors. Underground parking is accessible by elevator and extra parking stalls are often available to rent. These apartments are non-smoking and no pets are allowed.


Neighborhood Amenities

Every type of convenience and lifestyle amenities just steps away along Jasper Avenue including numerous shopping and retail outlets, restaurants and service places. High-profile retailers include London Drug and Save-on Foods. Public transit is also available right outside your door and arrives frequently. Streets in Oliver are lined with large beautiful elm trees and are generally bustling with people heading to fun places or neighborhood activities or just relaxing as they stroll to one of the area’s superb coffee shops or gathering places.   
And if all these things aren’t enough to move you, we have some incredible incentives right now that will convince you to relocate here!

Incredible Incentives! Save $$$ in amazing offers!! 
  
This great offer won’t last forever! Visit our website to request a viewing today!

15 February 2017

Yummy Creamy Lemon Chicken !

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INGREDIENTS 

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt
lemon pepper
1/2 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 pt. cherry tomatoes (preferably small)
1/4 c. shredded fresh basil
1 lemon, sliced into half moons

DIRECTIONS 

1. Season chicken all over with salt and lemon pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken and sear until golden and cooked through, 10 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and make pan sauce.

2. Add butter to pan drippings and let melt. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 minute, then add lemon juice and zest and cream. Bring to a simmer, then add cherry tomatoes, basil, and lemon slices. Simmer until thick, 5 minutes, then add back chicken to skillet.

3. Serve chicken over rice with pan sauce.

31 January 2017

Why You Should Save Money

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With credit so easy to get, why would anyone want to save money and buy with cash? If you want something, you pull out the plastic and then pay it back with payments over who knows how long paying outrageous interest on that purchase which can substantially raise the cost of the item by the time you have paid for it. If you can afford the monthly payments, everyone does that; what's the big deal? The unfortunate thing is this sort of rationalization is making sense to too many people these days much to their detriment.
Here are few reasons why you should save:
Become Financially Independent.
Financial independence isn’t the same as being rich, but it allows you not to have to depend on a certain pay cheque every two weeks to keep your head above water. This financial comfort can make you feel rich beyond your wildest dreams! Having savings that you can rely on is what it takes to become “rich,” no matter how you define it.
Save 50% on Everything You Buy + 24% on Groceries
If you normally charge all of your purchases on your credit card, and then don’t pay off those charges in full every month, the additional interest charges on the unpaid balance can raise the cost of those products by at least 50%. If you are relying on your credit cards to finance your lifestyle you are making a huge mistake and should break this expensive habit of using “convenient credit”. The better option is paying cash for planned purchases.  
With savings (defined as cash in the bank), you can buy things when they are on sale and take the time to make better spending choices. People with savings can also stockpile groceries when they are on sale (items that are nonperishable or which can be frozen).
Buy a Home
The bank won’t lend you money to buy a house unless you have a down payment, and you are not allowed to borrow a down payment. You must have this money saved up or have someone give it to you—and not lend it to you. Your down payment needs to be at least 5% of the purchase price of the home, and then the bank will consider lending you the other 95%. There are all sorts of other costs and fees that you need to pay when you buy a home so you will need an additional 5% just for those costs. Savings is what will open the door for you to home ownership.
Buy a Car, or Not
When you want, or need to buy a new car, you will need to have a down payment to get a car loan at a reasonable interest rate. You could, of course, borrow the money from your credit card, but at 20% or more, how is that getting you ahead? Zero percent financing is reserved for great customers, so a car loan is bound to cost you something—and it could be a lot. The best thing you can do is save up as large a down payment as you can afford and then consider your options. Maybe buying a good quality used car rather than a new one will be what it takes to get you the vehicle you need. Perhaps a better option depending on your needs or lifestyle is to use car sharing services if you live and work in an urban center or take public transit.
Get Out of Debt
If you ever want to get out of debt, you must have some money saved. Sounds ironic, doesn't it? However, the credit cards are never going to get paid off if you keep using them for every emergency that comes along. Even if you are an awesome planner, stats show that half of us experience at least one totally unexpected expense each year (and half of those will be unexpected car trouble).
So before you start aggressively paying off your credit cards, you should save up $500 to $1,000 as a reserve fund. Then when unexpected things come up, you can pay them out of your reserve fund rather than put them on your credit cards. Maintaining a reserve fund will also help you to notice if your spending is getting out of hand.
Unforeseen Expenses
What will you do if your car needs some major repairs? Do you have $500 to $3,000 on hand? What if your house needs some repairs, or it is discovered that you are living in a building that leaks? You can’t always count on the bank to lend you money for these things. It is much better to anticipate a worst-case scenario and have some money saved.


Emergencies
As much as we hope that emergencies won’t happen, we all know that they do. A family member can develop a health issue, you might need to make an emergency trip, you may have a car accident or breakdown, severe weather could flood your basement or crack your pipes, or you may have to fly to a loved one’s funeral. Any of these emergencies can be expensive, and we all know that we will likely encounter some sort of emergency from time to time. So why not be prepared rather than potentially become another victim of an emergency.
You Could Lose Your Job or Get Hurt
You could suddenly lose your job, your business could dry up, you might get injured—either physically or psychologically or become too sick to work. Any of these things can happen to you. Employment Insurance (EI) doesn’t kick in until you have been unemployed for 6 weeks. Do you have enough savings to tie you over or will you be living on credit? Living on credit during a time like this can quickly make a bad situation worse. Minimum payments become higher and higher until they are unaffordable and credit limits no longer budge. Then when you finally do get some income, what used to be enough doesn't get you by because you have all these new debt payments to make each month. So now you need more income than before because you'll need to pay down these debts and eventually work to get them paid off.
There is a little-known truth that happiness can come from being organized. Being organized isn’t going to make you happy all by itself, but it can sure help. There’s so much in your future that you don’t have control over, so putting aside some money to spend when you need it is organizing and taking control of your future and financial affairs. You have nothing to lose by saving - and only a happier future to gain.
Free Family Budget Planner Sheet 
Families who are serious about their financial future will find value in creating a family budget planner. Whether to save for buying a car or family house or putting kids through college, a family budget planner template will help create your yearly budget for your family to accomplish your goals. This family budget planner template breaks down all family income and expenses on a monthly basis, and provides a roll-up of year to date totals for each category. Download Here