What a packed fall. It just seems like the calendar is full of family events, fix it projects and the normal chores and activities around the house. It is hard to figure out what to do… That is why you have Fusion. We will try to get you going on the right track! So, while the weather is good, sit back and learn a little from the Fusion crew.

Back to School Organizing

Now that the kids are back in school you have a lot more to worry about when it comes to organizing. Dan Lerma from The Container Store (503-620-5700) showed us how you can keep everyone on task and prepared with all the activities that are going on. The first thing that Dan recommended was a calendar. Having one calendar that everyone can see is very important. It becomes easier if you color-code activities and/or people as well. Next, make lists! Create a to-do list, a shopping list or even a chore list to help everyone save time. Then what do you do with all the paperwork?? Dan recommends a bin or storage area for all the paper work that makes its way home. This will make sure that Mom gets the permission slip or class schedule and they won’t get lost at the bottom of a backpack. Then we move into the ‘meat’ of organizing, lunches and breakfasts. Dan showed us how you can create and store lunches and even had a container that you can use for breakfasts on the go! Speaking of ‘on the go’, we also saw a ‘on the go’ bin. This is a bin that you can use to place items that you need to take with you on your next trip. This could be movies that have to be returned, gloves, library books, scarves and even those signed permission slips. You can also have a smaller bin near the front door that can hold you keys, sunglasses, cell phone and even your wallet, all those things that you can easily forget when you are in a hurry. Finally we check out a system for organizing for all those after school activities. This larger unit had individual bags that you can use to store soccer, ballet, football stuff and even after schools snacks if you need them. For more organizing ideas, check out the products at the Container Store.

Pea Soup

It is cooling off and that means it is soup time to keep the family warm and healthy. You can fill them up and keep them healthy with this great recipe which you can use fresh, late season peas or frozen peas. Chef David walks us through this recipe for pea soup that he had put together that includes peas, shallots, leeks and chicken stock. He added some butter and oil to the pan. Next went in the shallots and leeks, which were cooked until soft then we added the chicken stock and let that cook until it boiled. The peas went in next and once 5 minutes had passed we blended the mixture until smooth and then we put it in a bowl. We added mint oil and sour cream and we were done. If you are looking for a new and fresh taste for your family, give this recipe a try. Click here for the full recipe.

Garlic Gadgets

Just about any recipe can benefit from the taste of garlic. To help you get the garlic ready for the kitchen we stopped by Sur La Table (503-968-8015) to check out the latest garlic tools. Laura showed us 3 different gadgets that you can use to make peeling and preparing your garlic easier. The first gadget helped to peal the skin off the garlic clove. All you have to do is insert the clove and roll it on the counter. Next we saw a garlic press that can mince and slice a clove. All you do is drop it in and press! Finally we saw Laura’s favorite the Rosle garlic press. This one works well and it easily comes apart for easy cleaning, no more using a toothpick to clean out the little holes!

Basic Plumbing Tools

Dealing with plumbing can be nerve wracking, but the real frustration comes with a plumbing emergency and not having the right tools to make a repair (or limit the damage). We found all the right tools at the parts department at George Morlan Plumbing (503-224-7000) and the always friendly Dave Charvet to teach us about them. The first tools in our bag of tricks were shut-off tools. If you have an emergency you will want to know where the water shut-off is. It could be near the street, in your garage or even under your house. Once you know where it is then you can get a meter key to help you shut of the valve. You should also have a meter key for your gas line in your kit as well. Next we talked about X-treme Tape. This is a tape that sticks to itself, creates a water-tight seal and can stop most leaks for quite awhile. To perform simple repairs to most pipes we talked about SharkBite fittings. These fittings are pressure sealed once you use them and are a permanent repair for most jobs. You can use the SharkBite fittings with flexible PEX pipe for jobs that need a bigger repair. Next we looked at tools for drain clogs. The first one was a pressure valve that uses water pressure to force the clog away instead of using chemicals. The other tool was a Closet Auger. This is a mini-snake that is easier to use and easier to store.

Energy Efficient Windows

Did you know that you could be losing up to 40 percent of your heat energy out of your windows? Glenn Ziegler joined us from Milgard Windows (1-800-Milgard) to show us how they produce the most energy efficient windows on the market. These windows are produced in Tualatin and they can make over 4 million combinations of windows at the factory with all the different styles and materials they have. The manufacturing process that Milgard uses includes using a spacer that is extremely energy efficient. It helps prevent heat transfer between the panes of glass they use. Plus the glass is a ‘sun coat’ glass that blocks out solar heat gain. This type of glass also reduces the amount of UV rays coming through the glass which is better for you and your home furnishings. The best part is the quality of the work. The guarantee is the best in the business. Right now the federal government has some tax stimulus moneys available, so these windows are the most cost effective than they have ever been. To learn more you can attend a free Milgard seminar. Check with Milgard for the time and place of the next seminar.

Garage Door Testing

The garage doors and their maintenance are one of those projects that we never do, but these doors are important access points to our homes and should be checked once a year or more. David walked us through the different steps to see how that they are working properly. The first step is to check the ‘balance’ of the garage door. Disengage the door from the track by pulling the cable release. Then pull the door up and down. It should be easy to pull and it shouldn’t move on its own without your help. If it sticks it could mean a problem with the cables or springs. The springs and cables can be under a lot of pressure and so you shouldn’t try to work on these by yourself. They could snap loose and cause you and the door some serious damage. Next we tested the safety reversing mechanism. Place a 2x4 or a 2x2 under the door. Activate your opener, the door should close, hit the obstruction and reverse open. This means that the reversing mechanism is working. Next you want to test the sensitivity of the reversing mechanism. Stand with your arms out and close the door. When it hits your arms you should give a little resistance and see if the door reverses. This is one of the most important features of the garage door. You can adjust the sensitivity so it reverses easily. This is to protect children, pets and property from getting crushed if the door closes on them. Also, if you have a photo-electric eye sensor near the floor, make sure that works as well. If you get in over your head, check with a qualified professional.

Quick Tip – Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips

We caught up with Tyler Paulson of Paulson’s Floor Coverings (503-620-7080) to learn about cleaning your hardwood floors without damaging them. Tyler said the worst thing you can do is to use too much moisture. The rule is ‘less is more’, the less moisture the better. Vacuuming and sweeping is the best for normal cleaning. If you need to use a cleaning product you can use ‘Bona’ Hardwood Floor Cleaner and use it in smaller areas, working in a 3x3 foot space so the material doesn’t set too long on the floor. If you can’t get the Bona product, you can use a Swiffer or and light soapy water, but don’t do a large area, remember that less is more. We are hitting our stride. The fall chores are piling up and we are just plugging along getting them done and ready for winter. This week is no different as we cover some basic tools, tasty recipes and even a cool gadget!



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This page last modified
March 06, 2010.