April showers are ending and that not only means May flowers it also means that it is time to tackle some of those spring chores.  The cold and wet weather have probably done a number on your deck or patio.  Check out our archive from a couple of weeks ago to learn how you can get it back in shape for the season.  We are in our third season and there are a bunch of stories and tips in our archive to help you with some of your projects.  Enjoy the nice weather!

Cascade Flooring – Idea Fair

Cascade Flooring America has a great business.  It is family owned and operated; that means they really want to take care of their customers.  This weekend you get a chance to meet with them and see what is new in flooring, shades and counter tops at the 20th annual Clark County Idea Fair at the Clark County Events Center.  The big benefit this year is the cost savings.  Because of the economy the manufacturers of some of the biggest flooring companies have made some deals to move out some quality carpets and other materials so they can keep their factories running.  You can stop by the Cascade Flooring America booth and they can fill you in on the deals.  While you are there you can pick up an invite to their special ‘invitation only’ one day sale.  You can get your invitation at the show.  The invitation is actually a flashlight that you get to keep!  Sunny called it his ‘spotlight value’ light.  If you are looking for new flooring, counter tops or shades, stop by and see them this weekend and get your invitation to this great sale.

Unusual Slip Covers

You can re-decorate easily or just change the look of something by using slipcovers.  Now, I’m not talking about the big ones that you see on old furniture (just like at Grandma’s house). These are slip covers with a twist!  We found out about these from Sara Tetreault who writes the website GoGingham.com.  She finds these cool ideas and then shares them with her readers.  Her twist on slip covers is to use them for the ‘unusual’ pieces of furniture and décor.  She started by showing how well they can change the look of something.  She had an older table in her bedroom and she simply made a slip cover to go over the top and it made the piece look totally different and she didn’t have to refinish the piece!  But the real interesting part was coming up.  Sara took us to her dining room where we saw how she made slip covers for Kleenex boxes.  You only need 3 pieces to make the cover and you can get a copy of her pattern on her website ().   These are great décor items.  You can use these patterns to match your décor for any time of year, including the holidays!  Check out her website for more ‘Stylishly Frugal Living’ ideas.

NYC – Wild King Salmon with Grilled Spring Medley

In this week’s ‘Now You're Cooking’ segment we went back to the grill.  We were joined by Chef Josh Gibler from Salty’s on the Columbia and he had something that was light, easy and quick to make.  He grilled a wild king salmon filet with some grilled spring vegetables.  The vegetables included some asparagus, heirloom carrots, and king trumpet mushrooms.  Chef Josh just sprinkled some ‘citrus salt’ on the king salmon before he put it on the grill.  He makes the citrus salt by taking dried lemon and lime zest and mixing it with kosher salt.  He also added the salt mixture, oregano and some olive oil to the vegetables as well.   Then after the salmon had been going about 3-4 minutes, he put the vegetables on the grill.  This is to make sure that they were done at the same time as the salmon.  The grill we were using today was the Fuego Grill which is a perfect grill for the small decks and patios that some people have now days.  It has a dual burner system with an outer and inner ring that is independently controlled so you can adjust the heat and cooking surface to your liking.  It also heats up very quickly so you don’t have to wait and waste a lot of fuel too.  If you are interested in the grill you can stop by the NW Natural Appliance center or check out the link here to the recipe.

Toxins in the Home

Your home could be getting you sick.  There are lots of different ways that you can be exposed to toxins in your home.  You don’t need to worry; there are ways you can test to see if you have any potential dangers.  We found a series of tests at the local hardware store that can help you assess your home for problems.  One of the most common problems is mold.  You can usually see this one around your windowsills or on your walls.  If you have mold it can cause respiratory problems and rashes.  We found a test that will allow you to find mold whether you see it or not.  You can either place the test in your home and once the mold cultures are grown you can send it in for testing.  Or if you find some mold you can take a sample and send it in.  The results will tell you if you have a ‘problem’ mold and whether you should clean it or not.  Another common problem in the home is radon gas.  Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is formed by the break-down of Radium in your soil.  This gas can seep into your home and cause lung problems.  In fact, radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.  This test involves leaving the test canisters out in your home for a period of time and then seal them up and send them in for testing.   The next stop on our testing tour is the kitchen.  Here we talked about a test for lead in your drinking water.  Most cities have continuous testing for lead in their water systems, but you still can get lead in your water from lead solder in pipes leaching in to your water.  You may also have lead if you have a well and your water is compromised.  There are also other tests for water that will tell you what different types of minerals and other dissolved solids you have in your water.  You can also buy little ‘lead indicator sticks’.  These sticks can just be wiped over a surface and if there is lead, it will change color.  This is good to use on cooking utensils, paint on walls, plates, silverware and toys.  Some of these tests require a lab fee for processing and some you can get the results right away.  Check the packages for details.   

Budget Kitchen Makeover – Structure

You don’t have to break the bank to redo your kitchen.  If you take small steps, get creative and do some of the work yourself, it can be pretty inexpensive.  Linda from Rejuvenate Your Home (503-803-8000) is redoing her kitchen and she walked through the first steps of dealing with structural issues.  The reasons for changing her kitchen were to add room, create a more open space and to make it easier to use.  To get started you need to do a lot of shopping and planning.  We said shopping, but not buying.  The shopping is to help you narrow down choices in new appliances and countertops and to get measurements and ideas.  Next you want to get your plan into writing.  If you are looking at major changes you will need to have a more formal and detailed plan and you may need to get a permit. 

The major considerations include gas, water, power and load-bearing walls.  Moving any of these will require an expert and we recommend that you contact a licensed and bonded contractor to do the work.  You can avoid future problems if this work is done right the first time.  This will also become your largest expense.  For Linda, unforeseen problems with a major electrical move cost more than she budgeted for, but they had also penciled in a contingency fund for cost overruns.   Linda used Mike Nicoletti from ‘One Last Caress Construction (503-810-5870) as her contractor and he was able to help her determine what needed an expert and what she could do on her own. 

Finally, you have to be prepared to live with a mess for awhile.  While having a full-time contractor can make the job go faster you will still need to deal with the noise and the dust for a few days or weeks (or months in some cases) so have your microwave and outdoor grill ready for use.  By doing most of the work themselves, Linda and her husband are spending $5,000 instead of $50,000.  But if you are willing to take the time and put out the effort you could have a new kitchen in no time and still have money in your pocket.

Coffee Filter Tips

The coffee filter… it keeps your coffee grinds out of your cup, but did you know that there are a ton of other uses for this common household item?  They are designed to get wet, yet still hold their shape and not fall apart.  The first tip came from David and it involves wine.  If you are opening a bottle of wine and you get some pieces of cork in the wine, you can use the filter to strain the pieces out.  Robin showed us how you can use them as a bowl for foods like popcorn or crackers.  David also uses it as a holder for tacos and burritos.  Another use is to use them on the bottom of your planters to keep the soil from running out.  Filters are also good for keeping splatters from messing up your microwave.  Just cover the bowl with a filter when cooking.  They will also hold up longer then a regular napkin.  One final tip from Robin… you can use them to keep your fine china plates and saucers from knocking into each other and chipping.  A very cool idea.   Try coffee filters for some chores around your house and let us know if you find some other uses for them!


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This page last modified
May 06, 2011.