The summer has finally arrived. If you did the weatherization tips we showed you this past spring your home should be ready for the hot days coming up. Here are a few more tips for keeping your home cool for the next few weeks. Open your windows first thing in the morning. This will allow the cooler air to get into your home. Once the sun gets a little higher in the sky, around 10 or 11am, you will want to close the windows and close the curtains as well. This will hold that cooler air inside. If you have a fan, find the coolest place in your home and let it run. Now, get a glass of water and a misting bottle and find a place in front of the fan. Stay hydrated and mist yourself with water to stay cool. If you have pets, make sure they stay cool as well.

Plan your activities for early in the morning and the early evening.

Buffalo Shepherd Pie

What's for Dinner!?! That s probably one of the most heard phrases in the home when it gets close to dinner time. To help answer that question we checked in with Mr. Mom, Dave Lilja. Dave is a stay-at-home dad who had to deal with that question all the time and so he came up with a bunch of easy, nutritious recipes that he recently published in a great cookbook, 'Mr. Mom's Favorite Family Meals'. His recipes are really interesting... in fact the one he did for us is a Buffalo Shepherd Pie. The reasons for the buffalo instead of beef, it is lean, it is cheaper, and the flavor is outstanding. Dave started by browning the buffalo, then he steamed some cauliflower which was mashed to look and feel like mashed potatoes. Once the buffalo is browned, it is added to a casserole dish and mixed with chopped carrots. The mashed cauliflower was spread over the top and grated cheese was sprinkled over that. It was baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and it was done. If you would like to try this recipe, you can click here or you can get a copy of Mr. Mom's cookbook at his website or call 303-800-1603.

Rhubarb Margarita

Earlier Chef David showed us how to make a wonderful and tasty rhubarb soup.  Now he showed us how to use that same recipe to make a cool and unusual cocktail for your next party.  First he took the base soup and strained it to get more of the fiber out of it. Then he added Triple Sec, Tequila and lime juice.  He also added a little bit of chopped rhubarb to give it a tiny bit more ‘bite’.  Shake it up and serve it over ice and enjoy yet another taste from your garden! Check out the recipe here.


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.

Painting Your House

Painting your own house can be a daunting task. But David showed us a few tips for doing it right the first time. We were working with pre-painted wood siding. If you have vinyl siding you may have a few extra steps in the process. To begin, you need to have at least 3-4 days of dry, warm weather; at least 50 degrees for the paint to cure. First he gave the house a good cleaning. A power washer set on a broad spray helped knock off all the dust and dirt. Don’t use too much pressure or you might damage the surface. Next look to scrape off the loose bits of paint and caulk the cracks and fill the holes with a paintable caulk. Find rusty spots (nail holes to weather stripping) and sand them down. Touch up those sanded areas with a good primer. Now you can hit it with the paint. We use a good latex paint that is breathable, will give us good coverage, and is easy to clean up. We apply the paint with a painting pad. This gave us a good coat and eliminated the need to do touch-ups. Some people like applying the paint with a sprayer, but that can sometimes leave too thin of a coat and then you have to back-roll to get good coverage. Finally we went around and did some touch ups with a 1-2 inch brush. Of course these are just basic tips and you should always check with your local paint supplier for more tips and information.

Replacing Your Faucet

Robin is looking for a change! In her bathroom, that is. She was tired of the ‘look’ and she wanted to change the décor, and one of the easiest ways to change a bathroom is by changing the plumbing. We mean the faucet. Replacing a faucet is easy, or so we’ve been told. To learn how to do it we stopped by George Morlan (503-224-7000) to get some tips from Dave Charvet. Dave had a lot of questions for Robin before she made her decision. First what type of sink did she have? There are different combinations of holes in the top of the sink for the pipes. There are 4 inch, 8 inch and single hole models of sinks. Know your measurements! Second, determine the finish of the faucet. What style do you want, and don’t forget the rest of your hardware; towel bars, tub and shower fixtures may also need changing.

Next we moved to tools. There are specific tools that will help make the job easier. Dave met with David in the parts department to help him find the right tools for the job. The first tool we saw was a ‘basin wrench’. This will allow you to tighten and loosen the nuts around fixtures in those tight spots. You may also need to replace the shut-off valve under the sink and the water supply tubes. Check the condition of those before you make your first trip to George Morlan. Know the size of those tubes as well by measuring the connector. You will also need some Teflon tape, silicone sealer and plumber’s putty to help seal your connections when you install everything.

Next week we will see if David can install the faucet!


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This page last modified
August 09, 2012.