Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top Tip$ for Back to $chool on a Budget

The Nest Effect ( recommends these

  1. Get Office 365 University: $79.99 USD for a four-year subscription
    At just $1.67 per month, college and university students can’t afford not to get 
    Office 365 University. Get the latest Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook) for two devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, or Windows tablets. A subscription also includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage, and 60 minutes of Skype PC-to-phone world calling per month. 
  1. Download OneNote: Free app for most popular computers, tablets, and phones and on the web
    This year, make OneNote the single place for all your notes and information. With this digital notebook you can type, handwrite, paste and insert class notes and research anywhere, and organize them in notebooks and sections that are automatically saved and searchable. Additionally, it’s easy to share and collaborate with classmates for team projects and group assignments. 
  1. Keep it in OneDrive: Free app for most popular computers, tablets, and phones and on the web
    Here are five reasons to cross that USB-drive off your shopping list and use 
    OneDrive:  1) You get 15 GB of cloud storage for free; 2) You can’t lose OneDrive; 3) You can easily store and share photos, videos, documents, and more; 4) You can access OneDrive on any device; 5) You get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage with an Office 365 Home or University subscription. 1 TB is the equivalent to approximately 50,000 trees made into paper and printed. That’s a lot of trees! 
  1. Use Office Online: Free on the web
    Who said nothing in life is free? Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that let you create, view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes. The best part is, no one needs an Office 365 subscription to work together on a team projects. With Office Online, students can collaborate on group assignments more easily, and parents can share the carpool schedule without having to send bulky attachments. 

Ceiling Fan Fact$

If your home has ceiling fans, you've probably never given them much thought.  But a ceiling fan can help you maintain a constant temperature in your home and prevent the air conditioner or furnace from working harder than necessary.

Did you know that in the summer the ceiling fans blades should be rotating counter-clockwise  and in the winter they should rotate in a clockwise fashion?  The different rotations redistribute the air bringing warm air to the ceiling in the summer and pushing warm air down in the winter.

Ceiling fans only cool YOU!  So turn them off when you leave the room!  And while you are at it--turn off that overhead light or reading lamp.

Fans are energy efficient--they require no more energy than a 100-watt lightbulb.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thing$ You Can Paint Instead of Replace to $ave Money

7 Things You Can Paint Instead of Replace to Save Money

You know a fresh coat of paint can give any room a quick and inexpensive facelift. But did you know that a little paint can also perk up carpets, appliances, and even vinyl floors?
Basically, if it doesn’t move, you can paint it. But only after you’ve paid special attention to prep — cleaning, patching, and sanding (generally) the area.

Painting isn’t brain surgery, but it’s not a breeze, either. Here are some rules of thumb:
  • Prime before painting. Primer will allow the paint to adhere better.
  • Most hard surfaces will take primer better if they’re roughed up a little with fine-grade sandpaper.
  • When using spray paint, multiple, thin layers are better than one, thick coat. Ease up on your trigger finger, and spray in short bursts.
  • Wait for the previous coat of paint or primer to dry completely before adding another coat.
With proper prep, you can paint just about anything. Here are seven of our favorite ideas:

1. Door, Drawer, and Cabinet Hardware

Spray paint can turn builder-grade brass locks and hinges into fashion-forward hardware with an oil-rubbed bronze, pewter, or stainless look.

1. Clean hardware with a fine steel wool to remove grease and grime.
2. Rough up the surface with fine-grain sandpaper.
3. Before you paint, insert a tiny strip of painter’s tape into the keyhole to make sure paint doesn’t gunk it up.
4. Prime with a metallic primer, then paint with metallic spray paint.
  • Insert the door lock’s spindle into a square of Styrofoam, which will hold it upright while you spray around the knob.

2. Brick Fireplace

When you paint your red brick fireplace, you transform the entire room. But beware! Once you paint brick, it’s nearly impossible to return it to the original brick color.

You can paint brick a single color, or achieve some variation — like the variations in real brick — by sponging on slightly lighter and darker hues.


1. Lightly sand away any loose bits of brick or mortar with 120-grit sandpaper.
2. Clean dirt and soot with a wire brush and heavy-duty cleanser.
3. Allow to dry completely before applying an oil-based, stain-blocking primer.
4. Paint with a semigloss latex.

  • Never paint the firebox.
  • Brick is porous and drinks paint, so buy twice what you think you’ll need.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves when cleaning anything with a metal brush.

3. Ceramic Tile

Imagine how sweet it is to update ceramic tile without having to bust up and cart away tons of old tile.

Play it safe and avoid painting tiles in high-traffic and high-moisture areas. Some good places are laundry room floors, backsplashes under cabinets (but not above ranges where pasta sauce splatters), and walls around tubs you rarely use.


1. Repair cracked or chipped tile with caulk or grout before painting.
2. Give patching material ample time to dry, then lightly sand before applying an epoxy or urethane bonding primer.
3. Sand after priming and between each coat of quality latex paint.
4. Wait several days for the paint to cure completely, then seal with two or three coats of clear, water-based polyurethane.

  • To get a smooth look, apply paint in zigzags, then roll down in one, smooth motion.
  • Use 240-grit wet/dry sandpaper for prep and between coats.
  • Don’t forget safety goggles and masks when sanding tiles.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Travel Tip$

When you pack a suitcase, wrap your shoes in a shower cap – This will prevent the soles from touching your clean clothes.

Call your credit or debit card company before traveling internationally so that you’re authorized for vacation purchases – The last thing you want is to be reported for suspicious activity and not have access to your money.

Store your loose cables/chargers in an old sunglasses case to keep everything in one place.

When packing your suitcase, roll your clothes to save space and avoid wrinkles.
TO safely "iron" your clothes in a hurry buy a spray bottle from the dollar store. -- Pack it in your suitcase.  WHen clothes are wrinkled, give them a quick spritz and SHAKE out.  Hang to dry.  Viola!  Wrinkles removed.  Empty the bottle for travel home.  
To use Google Maps offline, type “ok maps” and the current area on your phone will save for later – It’s good for important places you want to visit or need to go to when out of town so you have the info available in case you lose service.

If you’re heading to a theme park or the beach, put your phone in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting wet – A ruined phone is bad enough. A ruined phone on vacation in a different city/state/country is even worse.

Scan your passport, ID, and itinerary and email it to yourself so you have a digital copy in the event of loss or theft.  This is a good idea to do with your credit cards too (front and back)

To prevent bottles from leaking in your luggage, place plastic wrap over the container and then seal it with the cap.

Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and refill it after you pass security – That way you can drink H2O without having to spend $4+.

If you forget the wall plug-in for your phone charger, check the back of your hotel TV. There’s usually a USB port.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Clean up that Me$$

Getting rid of Grease stains

I occasionally get grease splatters on clothing when cooking.  To remove the grease from clothing I saturate the stain with dish washing liquid before laundering.  Be sure to check to see that the grease came out before placing your garment in the dryer.  If not ,l repeat the process.

Spill the olive oil on the table cloth?  Blot up as much as you can with a clean dry cloth.  Then,sprinkle salt on the mess to absorb the oil and lift some of the stain.  Treat with dish washing liquid and launder as usual.

To make cleanup easier when baking with items like honey or molasses I coat the inside of my measuring cup with cooking spray.  Less waste too.

Clean your cast iron skillets with a paste of coarse salt and water.