Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Natural Room Scents

Who says you have to spend a fortune to cover odors in your home and make it smell wonderful? Actually, you don’t have to spend anything on air fresheners when you can just make them yourself. The Yummy Life has a great tutorial on how to make your own natural room air fresheners and you make them with things that you pick up at the grocery store or just outside in your yard. They are cheap, easy to make and smell wonderful and because they take little effort to make, you can change the scents every time you want a little something new.
There are many harmful ingredients in artificial air fresheners. Particularly they are hard on people with asthma, hay fever and allergies.

 Fragrant items for naturally scenting your home:

  • citrus - Lemons and oranges are particularly fragrant and have the best staying power in these scented waters.
  • herbs -- Any herb can be used for making a room scent, but the ones that are sturdier and on woody twigs hold up the best. Use rosemary and thyme.
  • pine or cedar twigs/needles -- There may be other fragrant trees that will work, too; pine and cedar have the most appealing, fresh fragrance.
  • extracts -- A touch of vanilla or almond extract improves most room fragrance mixtures. Mint extract has a nice fresh scent. You can also use whole vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract; pricey but amazingly fragrant.
  • spices -- You can use ground or whole sweet spices. The whole spices look prettier, if your scented water will be in a location where it will be seen. Cinnamon sticks and whole cloves have the most scent staying power. Cinnamon sticks can be rinsed off and reused several times. They keep on giving. 


Scent #1: Oranges, cinnamon & cloves (allspice and anise are optional). This scent carries into multiple rooms better, and it can be reheated to scent your rooms for several days.
 Scent #2: Lemon, rosemary, & vanilla. It has a lovely freshness to it.
Scent #3: Lime, thyme, mint & vanilla extract. This combination has such a fresh, pleasant scent. Mint is optional.
Scent #4:
Orange, ginger (fresh or powdered), and almond extract. This is a sweet, delicious scent.
Scent # 5: Pine or cedar twigs (or other fragrant twigs), bay leaves, and nutmeg. These scents combine for a complex aroma. If you have whole nutmeg, use a microplane to grate off the outer surface--this will release the scent. Add the whole nutmeg piece along with the gratings. 

Stove Top Method:

It's easy as can be. Simply combine the ingredients in a pot on the stove, bring them to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. They will immediately begin to scent your kitchen and spread to other rooms. How far the scent spreads depends on the size and layout of your house. A simmering pot like this makes all four rooms on our first floor smell good. The only drawback of this method is that you have to keep a close eye on the water level. If the pan dries out, you'll be smelling burned citrus instead of sweet, fragrant citrus.  NOTE: For a stronger scent, simply double or triple the recipe in a larger pot on the stove.

Uncovered Slow Cooker Method:

Use a mini slow cooker--the kind made for keeping dips and sauces warm. Some have only one low heat setting. The mixture never actually bubbles and visibly steams. Leave it uncovered on your kitchen counter to slowly release scent throughout the day. It's subtle, but creates a pleasant smell in your kitchen and a hint of scent in surrounding rooms. It's easy and uses very little electricity. Fill in the morning; it won't dry out for an entire day. If you're concerned about accidentally letting it run dry, you can put a lamp timer on it so that it automatically shuts off at the desired time. Put a scented jar mixture in the microwave for 2 minutes to get it really hot before adding it to the slow cooker. That gives it a jump start on releasing the scent.  NOTE: For a stronger scent, simply double or triple the recipe in a larger, full-size slow cooker and set it on high.

Fondue Pot Method:

 If you have a fondue pot, then you have a portable scent station. Set it up in any room you'd like to scent. Below is a small ceramic fondue pot that uses a tea light for heat. So, this will only remain warm as long as the candle lasts--3-1/2 to 4 hours. Like the slow cooker, this is a low level of heat and releases a very subtle scent--enough for a small room. Get the scent mixture boiling hot before adding it to the fondue pot.

Find out more at The Yummy Life

Photos from The Yummy Life

Natural Room Scents is brought to you by House Smart Home Improvements. For professionals in windows and doors installations, furnace and heat pump installations, call for a Free In-Home Consultation today. 604-585-2020 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Use a Thermal Reusable Bag when Buying Meat

Here are a few facts about plastic bags to help demonstrate the value of reusable bags—to consumers and the environment:

  • Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable. They actually go through a process called photodegradation—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic particles that contaminate both soil and water, and end up entering the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Of those, approximately 100 billion are plastic shopping bags, which cost retailers about $4 billion annually.

  • According to various estimates, Taiwan consumes 20 billion plastic bags annually (900 per person), Japan consumes 300 billion bags each year (300 per person), and Australia consumes 6.9 billion plastic bags annually (326 per person).

  • Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine mammals die every year after eating discarded plastic bags they mistake for food.

Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.


But what about when you buy meat? Even though you have brought your own reusable bags, you are always tempted to put the meat in a separate plastic bag
anyway to protect your family from bacteria such as e.coli and save your bags from becoming contaminated. This concern is certainly important and well noted. So why not always bring one thermal bag? It can be washed out with soap and water home and reused for things like buying meat! Problem solved.

This environment tip brought to you by House Smart Home Improvements. We are the professionals for home replacement windows and doors, energy-efficient furnaces and heat pumps. Call Today for a Free In-Home Energy-Saving Estimation with No Obligation.604-585-2020 http://www.housesmarthomeimprovements.com