Setting Limits on Technology for your Children

kid on computer While iPads, smartphones, and other devices can conceivably be educational, they often hinder children’s ability to learn how to read, write, and spell. Young children often learn how to use smartphones and touchpad devices before they are able to learn how to write with a pencil. Some parents don’t spend time reading to their children and use technology as a way to distract and entertain their kids. Technology can be a welcome addition to the home, but it should be used in moderation.


Watch Your Behaviors


It’s important to remember that children will mimic their parents’ behavior. If you are always on your smartphone or playing on the iPad, your kids will want to do the same thing. Be mindful of your technology behaviors and make it a priority to spend quality time with your kids. To show your kids that they are more important than technology, do not use your phone or other devices during dinner or when you are outside playing with your kids. Be mindful of them watching you, and make sure you are focused on engaging with them.


Set Rules


If you have school-aged children that know how to read and write, there is a good chance they already play video games and enjoy watching movies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend less than 2 hours watching television each day. You need to make sure you are setting limits on how much time your kids can watch TV and play with their devices. There are some apps and other programs that do help children learn, but you want to minimize how long your kids use computers.


Set rules on their use of technology and focus on engaging with your kids. Several devices come with timer programs that allow children to know when they need to stop using them. This can help parents avoid a frustrating struggle to get their kids to put down the iPad and go outside to play. If you have kids that fight you or whine about stopping their playing time, it might be a good idea to consider taking away all technology for a week to show them how much fun they can have without being dependent upon technology.


Learning to Think


Sometimes, the hardest kids to talk to are teenagers. They love to use their smartphones, which can be an expensive problem for parents. It is important that you understand what your teen is doing on social media and other sites. You need to remind them of the importance of privacy and discretion. Teach your teen to learn how to think about social media by talking about their texting behaviors: Have they ever sent out a message they regretted? Did they ever become bullied or offended by text messages and social media posts? The goal is to help teens learn how to establish socially appropriate behaviors when they use their phone. Teens still look towards their parents for social guidelines, so if you are texting during dinner, or if you keep your phone on during a movie, they are likely to do the same.


Byline: Alysha Linton purchases all technology for her family from at affordable prices.




Winter Cleaning: Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Involved

child sweeping It’s fast approaching Christmas and it’s also time for that dreaded big winter clean-up. There’s no getting
away from it; every season seems to bring about a quarterly review of the household, and that could also mean that you have a big clean to do, every three months. The question is: are you resigned to this job to undertake yourself? Maybe it’s time to put your cunning to the test and rope the whole
family in on this winter’s clean. And here some basic tips on how to do it without creating more chaos.

The best way to do things is to try your best to make them fun. This is no easy task – brain surgery might actually be easier in most cases (we all know that tidying is rarely fun), so you’ll have to think outside of the box, and tailor the fun and potential rewards to you would-be team of cleaners.

You need to do a quick inventory of what the job will actually involve. Here’s a quick checklist to aid your initial task:

Are you utilizing storage and cupboard space well?
Is the house full of clutter?
As a household, are we guilty of hoarding?
What are our plans over the winter period?

You might be able to guess what I’m about to say, but here goes: clutter is the route of all messy households. There’s a distinct possibility that Christmas will create allot more need for extra storage space. That means out with the unused to make space for the new. Your old clothes and items would make someone very happy so give as much as you can to your local charity shop.

Now it’s time to lure them in.  It’s important to appeal to your children’s – and spouse’s – sensibilities. Bribery might work but ensure that this doesn’t involve anything that will cost you money. Make sure that everyone is free and get your plan underway. Like most things in life, tasks are much easier if you make the people involved feel like they have some ownership of the task. Give your little one’s elaborate titles, and put them in charge of their own rooms. Entertain the idea that they need to make space for potential new toys, and that giving older, unused toys would help other children out this Christmas.

A sweet and treat allowance could be suggested, but ultimately approved by them. A larger treat for the end of the task might be an idea as it gives them a goal to work towards. Put their favourite music on to keep their spirits high and a few breaks to keep the energy levels up; remember – you’ll also need a rest-bite here and there.

Most of all – try to enjoy the process. A chore is only a chore if it is done in a negative way. After the big tidy comes the best part: decorating the tree. Hopefully you won’t have started this until you’ve had the big clean-up!

Getting everyone involved will help to speed up the process, and in a strange way, have fun with the whole family. I wish you luck in your task ahead.

Biography Paragraph:  Whatever way you clean you can utilize some professional help with your local man and van service. They offer a range of services as well as their man and van service, like storage for items you want to keep but don’t have enough space, maintenance and repairs, and many more. Some jobs are better left to the professionals to ensure they are done safely and efficiently.







Hysteria or Common Sense? Closings Caused by Bed Bugs

bed bug Bed bug infestations have become a growing concern throughout the U.S. in recent years.  The reason why these infestations have become so common is because they are so easy to go unnoticed.  Bed bugs are tiny pests that are difficult to spot and even harder to kill.  Even if only a few bed bugs are in your home they can breed very quickly, turning a small problem into an infestation.


This is why an emergency room in New Port Richey shut down their entire facility for a day after a patient came in crawling in bed bugs.  You might ask yourself, was this really necessary since only one person came in with bed bugs?  The answer is an astounding yes because without proactive treatment bed bugs can quickly infest an entire facility leaving others in harms way.  No matter if its a hospital or your own home, not treating the situation promptly can lead to a much bigger problem that can become both expensive and unhealthy for those who live there.  The key to avoiding an infestation is to understand what causes bed bugs to enter your home and what you can do to prevent an infestation from growing.


Causes of Bed Bug Infestations

The reason why bed bug infestations have become so common is because the bed bugs themselves are very small and difficult to spot. Most bed bug infestations also go unnoticed because bed bugs leave few signs of their presence to the untrained eye.  Able to fit into spaces that are no wider than the edge of a credit card, bed bugs will hide until they need to feed, which is only once every three days.  Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, will need to eat more frequently but they are so small you can hardly see them with the naked eye.  When a bed bug eats, it usually sucks blood from a human when they are most vulnerable which is when they are sleeping.  What makes them so hard to detect is that most people will not feel the feeding process.  The only traces they will leave behind are small bite marks on a person’s body.  Over time, even a small amount of bed bugs will grow into an infestation if gone undetected.

Detecting Bed Bug Infestations

The good news is there are some distinct signs that reveal the presence of bed bugs in your home.  When bed bugs feed, they leave a pattern of bite marks on their victims in the form of a line.  Although not everyone will have severe reactions to the bites, you can still spot the bites if you look carefully.  Another sign to look out for is bed bug excretion. After a bed bug feeds it will excrete small black dots which you can spot on your bed or infected furniture.  These small dots will be easy to spot if you take a moment to do a full examination of your mattress.  Also be sure to look our for the distinct musty odor they excrete and the spot of blood they leave behind when crushed.  If you feel you have witnessed any of these signs you should contact a professional for an assessment in order to avoid an infestation from growing.


Treatments for Bed Bug Infestations

If you think you have a bed bug infestation after conducting a thorough inspection, there are many ways to exterminate them.  Although home remedies are an option, it is recommended to contact a professional bed bug exterminator to ensure procedures are done correctly.  Professionals will use a number treatments to eradicate the bed bugs from your home.  The first and easiest is to remove all infested items.  Although this can be the easiest, it is often unnecessary and can be costly.  Another common treatment is chemical spray.  Chemical spray will fill a room with toxic gas that can kill most all of the bed bugs and has been a standard in the industry for decades.  The third and most modern treatment is using heat.  A bed bug exterminator will use special heating machines that raise the temperature of a home to around 140 degrees.  Once set, they will maintain that heat for up to three hours to ensure all bed bugs either flee the property or die due to the heat.  This option is a very effective solution to kill bed bugs and provides the least amount of health risk as well.  No matter what method you find to be the most effective, it is key to attack the problem as quickly as possible, because even a few small bed bugs can turn into an infestation in no time.


Bed bugs can effect anyone, and without proactive detection can grow to an infestation in no time.  In order to keep your home bed bug free be sure to look out for the key signs these small pests leave behind.  If you notice any suspicious signs of bed bugs, contact a professional exterminator immediately to ensure they are removed from your home and don’t grow into a frustrating and expensive problem.


About the Author:


Daniel Mackie, owner of The Bed Bug Tracker, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.







Best Microwave Ovens

Find the Best Microwave Oven for You


I remember when microwave ovens first became popular in the 70’s. I was a kid and some of my friends had them in their homes. I was fascinated by those big, bulky, loud boxes that could cook so much faster than the stove. Microwaves have come a long way since then. Now there are so many styles, options and sizes to pick from.

Finding the best microwave oven is dependent on what is important for you and your household. There are so many options out there, you need to be aware of what is available before you make your decision.

Some of the things to be on the lookout for:

Wattage for microwave ovens range from 500 watts to 1250 watts. The higher the wattage, the faster the food will cook. Most recipes are for 800 watt microwave ovens.

How much space do you have in your kitchen for your microwave? And are you going to cook a whole chicken on a regular basis in your microwave or just heat up soup? Think about these things when choosing your microwave.

Do you need a combo microwave that cooks like a regular oven too? Or maybe one that has a grill function? These combo microwaves will cost you more but they are more versatile than just a plain microwave oven.

How much do you want to pay for your oven? Microwave ovens range in a wide variety of prices from about $40 to well over a thousand dollars. You do get what you pay for but there are quality microwaves in the lower end price range too.


Best Microwave Oven Deals for 1,200 Watt Microwaves

1200 watt microwave ovens are the most popular. They are powerful and cook fast. They really don’t use up more electricity than the lower wattage ovens since they will cook the food faster.

1000 watt microwaves are the next most popular microwave oven.

Oster OGG61403 1-2/5-Cubic-Feet Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel

The Oster OGG61403 has 10 power levels and a programmable child lock.


Panasonic NN-SD681S Genius “Prestige” 1.2 cuft 1200 Watt Sensor Microwave with Inverter Technology & Blue Readout, Stainless Steel

This Panasonic has Inverter Microwave Technology which cooks foods more evenly. It also allows for more interior space inside.


Sharp R-520KS 2-Cubic-Foot 1200-Watt Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel

Big enough to cook most any dish in, this sleek stainless steel beauty has gotten great reviews.


Frigidaire FFCE2238LW 2.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave – White

A large capacity oven, big enough to hold a 13″x9″ baking dish! It has 10 power levels including a Keep Warm feature.


KitchenAid KCMS1655BSS 1.6 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven with 1200 Cooking Watts, 9 Quick-Touch Cycles, Recessed Turntable and Optional Trim Kit: Stainless Steel

An upper end, heavy duty microwave with 9 power cycles and a kitchen timer.


What Is the Best Microwave Oven for Home Use?

Some things people are thinking about when shopping for a microwave oven are:

  • Safety – Is it well made? Will this oven leak harmful radiation? Will my young child be able to turn it on and damage it?
  • Quiet- How quiet is it? Be aware that the larger wattage models are also louder. Fortunately they also cook faster. Also does the microwave have a loud ring when it’s done and does it keep on ringing until you open the door and take the food out.
  • Portability- How portable is it? Can it be easily moved from place to place in the kitchen if need be?
  • Size- Is it the right size for me? A single person household or a family who just uses the microwave to reheat stuff will probably do fine with a small model where as a family or someone who does a lot of microwave cooking will need a larger model.



Best Microwave Ovens for Baking or Grilling

Today’s microwaves can do more than just nuke your food. Some have options to grill your food or bake your food like a regular oven would.

Sharp R-820JS 0.9-Cubic Foot Grill 2 Convection Microwave, Silver

A versatile microwave that will eliminate the need for many other kitchen appliances. This baby microwaves, grills, roasts and bakes. It has 11 power settings.


 Sharp SuperSteam Microwave Oven

This oven will steam food and work as a convection oven along with being a typical microwave oven. It also includes some cookware such as a steam basket and several racks and baking trays.


Panasonic NN-CD989S Genius “Prestige” 1.5 cuft 1100-Watt Sensor Convection Microwave with Inverter Technology, Full Stainless Steel

This large capacity oven is also a convection oven so less need to heat up your stove’s oven.


Sharp 12F639 Microwave, 3 in 1, Steam and Grill

Not only microwaves, this oven also grills and steams. It comes with 2 steam trays and a grill rack.



Best Low Cost Microwave Oven

Microwave Ovens for Under $100

Oster OGZB1101 1.1 Cubic Feet Digital Microwave Oven, Black

The Oster has an easy to use keypad and 6 cooking options.


Sunbeam SGS90701B 0.7-Cubic Feet Microwave Oven, Black

Small and compact, this great looking oven has 6 cooking options.


Haier MWM0701TW 700 Watt Countertop Microwave, White

10 power levels and child locks.


Magic Chef Mcm770B .7 Cubic Feet 700-Watt Microwave with Digital Touch

10 power levels.


RCA 0.9 Cubic Feet Microwave Oven, Black

Gorgeous with 10 power levels and child locks.


Best Microwave Oven Brands

I have shown you several of the more popular brands of microwave ovens but there are more. The top searches for microwave oven brands are:

  • GE (General Electric}-GE has been around for more than a hundred years and is known for quality products.
  • Sharp– Sharp is known as an innovative leader with their products.
  • Panasonic– is best known for their electronics but has ventured into kitchen appliances too.
  • Whirlpool– has been making quality home appliances for many decades.
  • Kitchenaid– has always specialized in making great kitchen appliances.
  • Amana– is known for its strength in “the art of common sense”.
  • Samsung– Another company that makes great electronics, they also make pretty nice kitchen appliances too.
  • LG– is a Korean company that specializes in durable, low cost appliances.
  • Sunbeam– has been around since the 1800’s.
  • Oster– is known for their quality products,
  • Haier– is a Chinese company that is known low cost products.

Click on any of the company name’s above to be taken to their line of microwaves for sale.


How to Clean a Microwave Oven



Article by Cathy Ratcliffe