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    Recycled Wood Floors and Lumber for the Home: Despite Weak U.S. Housing Market, Demand Grows for Reclaimed Wood

    Wood Floors photoRecycling lumber is easier on the environment but can be harder on the wallet. Though more expensive than new lumber, there are good reasons for using reclaimed wood for construction projects and flooring.

    Environmental Benefits of Using Reclaimed Lumber for Construction

    Aside from the obvious advantage of having to cut fewer trees, reclaimed lumber benefits the environment in additional ways. While some energy-intensive processing is required to make recycled lumber useable, it’s significantly less than the amount needed to turn standing trees into building lumber.

    Construction Benefits of Recycled Lumber

    After years of lumbering in all parts of the United States, most of the construction grade lumber is from second growth forests, most old growth wood having been harvested long ago. Most reclaimed lumber that is salvaged from old buildings is from old growth trees. This means that it is denser and has straighter grain then new wood. Recycled wood is more stable than new wood; any warping or shrinking caused by drying happened long ago.

    Pricing of Reclaimed Lumber for Building

    The use of reclaimed lumber is easier on the environment, and less easy on the wallet. It may cost more than new wood because of the work that goes into preparing the wood for reuse. Most recycled lumber comes from old barns, factories, and warehouses, which have to be disassembled by hand to provide reusable wood.

    Recycled Wood for Flooring

    While business is down in construction and related fields, sales are still fairly strong for tongue and groove wood flooring reclaimed from old barns, homes and factories. People interested in building or remodeling green homes buy it because they like the idea of using a recycled product. As with reclaimed lumber, it’s not the price point that makes it popular as it can cost $3 or more per square foot than new flooring that has been prefabricated to look old.

    Modern machinery, however, cannot precisely duplicate the look that a hundred or more years of wear imparts on a wood floor. It’s the patina and the random digs and dings that help make these old floors look warm and lived in. More and more homeowners are willing to pay a little extra to do their bit for the earth and bring the warmth and charm of old and mellowed wood into their homes.

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  • Home

    Eco Friendly Home Improvement: Home Design with Mother Earth in Mind

    Eco Friendly  photoHome design with mother earth in mind – If you are just starting a home improvement project or are thinking about one in the near future, think about saving money and the Earth at the same time. Thinking “Green” will not only help the Earth in the long run but it can also save you money.

    Say no to oil based products
    By using products that are not synthetic based we can lower the amount of oil that the world’s population uses and thus lower the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. For example installing a new carpet made of natural wool fibers rather than nylon or polyester will not only reduce the dependency on oil but the reduction of the pollutants made during the processing of it. Wool carpet does cost more than nylon but it lasts longer and does not build up a static charge like the synthetic fabrics do. Wool carpet can also add value to a home.

    Think cotton
    For decorator fabrics choose cotton rather than polyester. Drapes, throw pillows and even upholstery can all be made from cotton or another type of non-oil based textile. Burlap, jute and silks are other types of textiles that can be used.

    Stay close to home
    Buying items that were manufactured close to where you live cuts down on the pollution caused by shipping an item. Think about buying products for home decoration from local artists and craftsmen.

    Thinking about how you will maintain your newly done home improvement project will determine if it is truly a “Green” home improvement. If you have to clean your new carpet or flooring with a harsh chemical rather than biodegradable cleaner then maybe you should rethink your project. It is also more eco friendly to have a hard surface floor rather than carpet. Vacuuming a carpet uses electricity. Shampooing the carpet uses chemicals and more electricity. On the other hand a hard surface floor just needs sweeping and the appropriate floor cleaner applied with a mop.

    To help our future we must look to our past
    It seems that our technology based lifestyles has become our planet’s undoing. Chemicals and the technologies that have developed over the last 15 years has done more in creating pollution and toxic landfills than we care to think about. By turning to our simpler past homes made with natural elements rather than man made synthetics we can try and make a difference in our world ecology. For more information on helping our planet go to Rescue our Planet.com

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  • Foods

    The Food Network is Making Me Crazy

    Food photoDoes watching the food network make you feel inadequate as a cook sometimes? Yes, I do refer to myself as a cook because the title of chef requires more knowledge and training.

    My fascination with the food network started out of boredom from the same ole staples in my kitchen. Some of my regulars would be baked chicken, rice and green beans. Occasionally, there would be spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a roast. Then on a have-to-put-something-on-the-table-night there were franks and beans, hamburgers and french fries, sandwiches or pizza and salad.

    And then the mouth watering Sunday dinner consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams and cornbread with homemade lemonade or iced tea. Banana pudding sometimes if they were lucky.

    My family never had a problem with Sunday dinner and neither did I. But I was getting tired of Monday through Friday’s meals.

    As I became more frustrated we began to eat out more. And the more we ate out we began to get sick of that. Don’t want to eat at home and don’t want to eat out either.

    So what do I do? Run out and apply to the top culinary schools in the country? Perhaps visit one of those establishments where you can prepare your meals a week in advance. Both of those options required either time or money or both.

    So what did I do? I turned on the .

    My sister had been trying new recipes out on the family and most of them came from her favorite cooks on the food network. Some dishes were hits and some were misses. But the ones that were hits were different; flavorful. I wasn’t use to having these flavors on a daily basis. And I liked them.

    So I started watching some shows on the food network. I tried 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Emeril live to name a few. But the one that stood out with me was Iron Chef America.

    I watched and watched very carefully. Meals were prepared from beginning to end in front of my eyes.

    I’m not really one to follow recipes. I prepare by using the method of cook to taste which works well for me because who better than myself to be the judge of my own cooking.

    So what did the food network teach me? It didn’t exactly teach as much as giving me ideas. It got my creative juices flowing and opened my mind to healthier options.

    For the first time in my life I started using olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh vegetables, chicken broth etc…

    I sauté, grill and bake things in ways I never thought of preparing before. I’m cooking vegetables like, squash, zucchini, colored bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower on a regular basis. I even tried broccolini courtesy of my sister, but I didn’t particularly care for it. But I tried it and that’s what matters.

    I’m using new phrases like EVOO-extra virgin olive oil for you amateurs out there. And I finally figured out what a reduction is. And that one had me stumped for a minute.

    The food network is great but I would also like to give honorable mention to Top Chef courtesy of the Bravo network. I watch for entertainment purposes in addition it has introduced me to new techniques that I’ve never heard of.

    Lastly, I would like to give an honorable mention to Hell’s Kitchen courtesy of the Fox network. It provides me with non stop laughter and several ways on how not to do things in the kitchen. And for some reason I like Chef Ramsey.

    Until next time Bon appétit!

  • Tech

    Next Generation Hard Drive Technology

    Hard Drive Technology photoSolid-state technology for computer hard drives is relatively new for PC consumers. Although military applications and industry have been using solid-state technology for some time, the first solid-state computer hard drives really only became affordable for everyday personal computing on desktop machines in late 2008. So, you may not yet be familiar with what a solid-state computer hard drive is or why it is much better than a conventional hard drive.

    What Is a Solid-State Computer Hard Drive?

    Unlike conventional computer hard drives, which use a motor to drive a spindle with a magnetic head to encode and read information from a magnetically coated disk (platter), a solid-state computer hard drive contains no moving parts. Instead, these hard drives, such as the Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive, use only flash memory, a CPU and a battery component.

    Many smaller devices, such as flash drives and camera memory cards, already use solid-state technology for portable data storage. This year, however, solid-state technology is becoming popular for more than just flash drives, and with good reason. In fact, with entry of affordable solid-state computer hard drives onto the market, some industry experts are predicting the death of the traditional computer hard drive.

    Advantages of Solid-State Technology

    Their unique design gives solid-state computer hard drives a decided advantage over other computer hard drives. Don’t take my word for it, however. Learn the facts and decide for yourself.

    Here are some of the benefits that you can expect from a solid-state computer hard drive:

    • Lower Failure Rate – You have probably already experienced at least one computer hard drive failure. In fact, with a mechanical hard drive the moving parts make eventual failure somewhat likely. Even something as innocent as dust getting in the mechanism could cause problems. Since there are no mechanical parts to solid-state drives, the failure rate is much lower.
    • Longer Life – With a conventional hard drive it is usually not a matter of whether the drive will fail; it is a question of when. Most hard drives fail after several years and can be severely damaged if dropped or shaken. In contrast, with a solid-state drive there are no mechanical parts to wear out. In addition, advanced products such as the Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA employ wear-leveling algorithms to extend the life of the drive.
    • Environmentally Friendly – A traditional computer hard drive needs a fan to cool the motor down. However, there is no cooling requirement for a solid-state hard drive, as it consumes less power and is easier on the environment than a traditional hard drive. The lower power consumption means that a computer with a solid-state hard drive costs less to operate, too.
    • Faster – You may think that your traditional hard drive is fast, but a solid-state hard drive can access data in a fraction of the time that a typical hard drive takes. For example, a typical hard drive can take as long as 10,000 microseconds to access data. The read latency for the Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA is only 75 microseconds. That makes the solid-state drive 133 times faster!
    • Quieter – Traditional computer hard drives have gotten quieter over the years, but if you listen carefully you can probably still hear your computer hum (something that you won’t hear with a solid-state machine). The mechanical parts of the computer drive cause that hum.
    • Lightweight – A solid-state drive weighs much less than its traditional counterpart, making it easier to ship and store. The lighter weight also gives your computer equipment a much lighter footprint and makes your computer easier to install and move.

    A Word About Cost and Size

    If solid-state technology is so wonderful, you might ask yourself – why are we still using traditional hard drives? Why don’t all computers have solid-state drives?

    Until recently, a relatively high cost and low memory size kept solid-state technology drives from dominating the personal computing market. However, the newest generation of solid-state hard drives offers both reasonable cost (less than $1,000) and larger storage capacity.

    With recent technological advances, solid-state technology is not just for flash drives any more.

    What to Remember When You Choose a Solid-State Computer Hard Drive

    As the solid-state computer hard drive technology market starts to heat up, dozens of players are bound to enter the consumer market.

    However, your best bet for finding a reliable solid-state hard drive is to look for a company that has decades of memory engineering experience and a solid reputation for design and reliability. Doing your homework and carefully choosing the right vendor is crucial to getting the right computer hard drive for your needs.


  • Home

    Setting Up a Personal Filing System

    Personal  photoWith all of the information that is out there and circulated to the home (car payments, bank statements, and utility bills) paperwork can get to be overwhelming. There is the question of what to save and file and what to discard. Anything other than advertisements seems important and should be either read or saved. A personal filing system can help keep everything in perspective.

    Choosing a Filing Cabinet or Other Type of Filing System

    The type of filing cabinet that is chosen goes according to the quantity of materials a person has. A college student may require a small portable portfolio for tuition bills and other small bills. A person who has more information (say from years of home ownership or divorces) may have more paperwork and is going to need a larger filing system (something like the metal ones used in offices, but on a smaller scale).

    There are plastic filing systems and more simplistic filing systems (racks for folders) that can also be used. Some may be happy with storing information in a small vault or drawer. A drawer might not be the most practical way to organize as items need to be separated and easy to view. Considering where to place this filing system is another challenge. Finding a small corner in a home office is ideal.

    Separating Bills, Taxes, and Other Papers

    Before filing items that include bills, taxes, and other important papers (doctor bills, any financial statements and letters) the information needs to be separated and files need to be clearly labeled. The system is personal and has to work for the person organizing it. Large black letters may be used (written or typed) indicating what is in each file. Red tags or removable notes may be inserted where there is something important to follow up on.

    Maintaining and Cleaning out the Filing System

    As things are neatly stored away in the personal filing system and kept up to date, items should also occasionally be cleaned out. Papers can quickly pile up and take up too much room. When this happens, cleaning is necessary. When sensitive items pile up (tax information, financial statements, and other items containing social security numbers) shredding is in order.


    These days, throwing papers out with sensitive information on them is risky because of identity theft, so it has become very common to shred sensitive documents. To solve the problem, shredding services may be hired or small shredders can also be purchased at almost any office supply store. To speed up shredding, do not file papers away with a lot of staples in them (they’ll have to be taken out later, unless the shredder can shred staples).

    A personal filing system can keep private information handy and accessible. Making sure the right type of system is chosen for personal belongings is necessary. Keeping track of everything and cleaning out once in awhile will keep things in order and up to date the next time something needs to be retrieved.

  • Foods

    Gyminee.Com – Workout and Food Tracking

    Food  photoWith exercising and eating properly becoming more important than ever, a great way to track your progress is to use an online diary such as Gyminee.com. The site is free to join and provides a wealth of information to help you achieve your diet and exercise goals.

    One of my favorite parts of the site is the workout programs and exercise instructions. By entering information about yourself, Gyminee helps you to create cardio and weight training workout routines to achieve individualized results. If you do not want to spend time to create your own routine, you can use other routines that users have shared. Gyminee’s library has tons of different exercises. Everything I could think of was included. A great feature is that they have video showing you how to do each exercise properly to maximize results and minimize injuries.

    The site allows you to track your exercising such as the sets, reps, weights, distance, heart rate, and more. I find it very quick and easy to enter this information after my workout because there aren’t a lot of complicated options. Gyminee even provides graphs for you to look at to see your progress.

    Another of Gyminee’s major features is its online food diary. I used to keep a paper diary but found that I am much more likely to keep it up to date on the computer. The database has 67,000+ foods so almost everything you can eat is included and if it’s not you can add your own. The nutrition labels for the foods you eat can be viewed on the website. The site tracks your intake of calories, fat, carbs, protein, and other things to help you manage your goals.

    A neat feature that many similar websites do not have is GymBuddies. You can have an online partner who will support you when you are doing well and provide support when you have having trouble. There are also fitness groups for all different kinds of activities where you can connect with other people who share your goals.

    There are a variety of friendly fitness and weight loss challenges where you can compete against other users. I find this really keeps my motivation level high because I like watching my name moving up the rankings.

    I have been using Gyminee for a couple months now and have found that it really helps me track my progress. I am much more likely to watch what I eat if I know I will be recording it later. The competition and fitness companions motivate me to exercise even on days when I do not feel like it. I recommend this website as a valuable tool for anyone who wants to take better care of their health.

  • Foods

    Sea Meat the Wonderful Food

    Meat  photoIf I were to list the food I love to eat

    Without a doubt it would be sea meat.

    Sea meat, sea meat is this some new fad?

    No It isn’t it’s the best you’ve had.

    The meanies at PETA call them sea kitties

    But they have no idea and that’s such a pity

    All slimy and gooey on their shiny outside

    Yummy and tender baked broiled or fried.

    So get a sharp hook and a small piece of bait

    And get yourself sea meat, oh boy I can’t wait.

    Omega fats and protein sea meat is so high

    But with bad things it is low and I tell you this why?

    Sea meat is so good with any old dish

    Eat all you want all the sea meat you wish.

    But be careful of what type you will eat

    Not all is the same, this is true with sea meat.

    Some sea meat is bad if you love the planet

    Choose wise the sea meat you feed your aunt Jeannette

    Mackerel is great a sustainable fish

    Swordfish is bad so low on my list

    Tuna is yummy but it pays a great price

    And salmon is great, but you had better think twice

    Orange Roughy is totally off of my roll

    That sea meat has really taken a toll

    Pollock from Alaska, now that’s a good one

    And hybrid striped bass my my such fun

    Eat herring and sturgeon that is raised on a farm

    So you eat your sea meat and your causing no harm.

    So be a good buyer and fisherman too

    Then all can have sea meat, we all can thank you.

  • Tech

    A Threat in New Technology: The Kindle Fire

    Technology photoThe Kindle Fire was announced on September 28, 2011, making it a fairly new technology. The use of the Kindle Fire brings thousands of books as well as movies and TV shows right at your fingertips. The positive and negative effects that the Kindle Fire has on our society and our economic change are many. While it is easier to get ahold of out of print books and published books, it decreases the sales of book stores worldwide. In September of 2011, Borders, a popular book store closed its doors. This is not to say that the Kindle Fire is at fault, but the advances our technology has made in the recent years has made it hard for franchised stores to compare.

    The technology of the Kindle Fire contributes to our society by allowing books and other sources of media easy to access. In turn, it has made a reader out of essentially a non-reader. Without leaving the comfort of your own home, you can download any book you wish to have at your fingertips. Downloading books are also cheaper than retail prices, leading a sociological epidemic in the fast-paced world of technology.

    The negative effects that the Kindle Fire has on our society, in my opinion far outweigh the positive effects. As a writer, I love the feel and smell of a physical book in my hands. The Kindle Fire takes away this simple pleasure of well-worn pages, musty scents and book cover illustrations, leaving only black and white words on a blaring computer screen. While this is only my personal opinion, the social epidemic for immediate downloadable items has become the “next new thing.” Pretty soon, book stores might be scarce and finding a physical book might come far and in between. With the increase in sales of Kindle Fires and other similar technologies, the demise of books and book stores begin, leaving writers, book lovers, avid readers and the like, forced to join this movement of technology.

    In conclusion, the Kindle Fire drives a large sociological change. Whether you agree with this movement or refuse to look at the possible future outcome of books in general, Kindle Fires are here to stay, and hopefully, books are as well.


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  • Foods

    Food Choices and Preparation Tips to Reduce Stress, Depression and Anxiety

    Food  photoWhen stress hits, my first instinct is to run for McDonald’s. I crave greasy food, or at the very least, food that is carb heavy. This is certainly one instance when my gut instinct doesn’t lead me in entirely the right direction. While I may crave carbs or greasy food, there are better diet choices when I need to relieve stress.

    Make a fresh fruit salad.

    Fresh fruits rich in Vitamin B (like those that are yellow and orange, as Oprah’s Dr. Ro points out) are great choices when you are trying to fight stress and anxiety. Head to a local farmer’s market, or visit a grocery store. Stock up on fresh fruits and combine them into a delicious fruit salad. For a twist, add a bit of orange juice for an extra kick of Vitamin B, make individual serving sizes, and freeze them.

    Switch to brown bread and rice, instead of white.

    Generally healthier for you than the empty carbs in white bread and rice, brown bread and rice can also help you avoid depression, stress, and anxiety. As the Telegraph reports, whole grains are also rich in Vitamin B, and are some of the carbohydrates that can help relieve stress. If you’re having a difficult time making the switch, consider adding fresh vegetables to your brown rice, or eating your brown bread with butter. Holistic Online also notes that whole grains help release serotinin, a common neurotransmitter mentioned for people suffering from depression and anxiety.

    Fill your plate with broccoli.

    Broccoli is another food that helps relieve stress. Boiled, steamed, with or without butter – the choices are limitless for this versatile vegetable. Broccoli is rich in vitamins and minerals and Holistic Online notes that vegetables such as broccoli not only help with stress, but with general health and well-being. Add a side of broccoli to chicken or steak to complete and highlight any meal.

    Drink more water.

    The addition of water alone isn’t enough to decrease stress, but it can be an essential component in a healthy diet, especially when taking the place of soda or alcohol. While soda (and other caffeinated beverages) and alcohol can intensify the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression, water simply quenches your thirst. Replacing less healthy beverages with water can help relieve your stress.

    Bake meat, rather than fry.

    Meats can help reduce stress in a variety of ways when you make them correctly. While burgers with full fat and fried chicken can actually work to increase stress and anxiety, baking your chicken in lemon juice and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper can actually help reduce it. Not only does meat cooked in low fat ways help reduce stress, but the simple act of cooking can create a stress-free environment.

    While I may crave carbs or greasy food, there are better diet choices when I need to relieve stress. Focusing on healthy food choices and the manners in which you prepare your food can work wonders towards relieving your stress on a daily basis.

    Holistic Online; http://www.holisticonline.com/Stress/stress_diet.htm
    Oprah Radio; http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahradio/bgreene/bgreene_20080426
    The Telegraph; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/5061370/How-diet-affects-your-stress-levels.html

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  • Foods

    Food is Good

    Food  photoSome people are just like me
    They will always eat broccoli

    Carrots are a tasty treat
    Doesn’t matter if you have meat

    Onions are great whether raw or cooked
    Just be sure on Hotdogs you don’t get hooked

    Spinach is good in salads or quiche
    But it’s not in everyone’s food niche