Category: Around the House


For some reason saunas are simply not as popular as they are in many other countries around the world. People from Finland, Russia, and Estonia more or less have regular sauna visits engrained in their culture. It’s for good reason too, a nice trip to the sauna can leave your body feeling incredibly relaxed, revitalized, and ready to take on the next day.

Choosing Your Sauna

If you’ve put any thought into buying a sauna, you’ll certainly have noted that they come with a hefty price tag. They take a lot of wood to make and the heater draws an awful lot of energy, so it’s important that they are made with quality components.

When you’re buying a sauna there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. The quality of the heater is probably the most important. All too often saunas are sold with undersized heaters that will not only take a really long time to get to temperature, but they also might not even get hot enough to provide the sauna experience you’re looking for.

The other main thing to consider is how large you want your sauna to be. Is this something that your whole family is going to use, or is it more for your use alone? The size of the sauna is going to drastically influence the price. Since they aren’t cheap, you don’t want to plan on upgrading your sauna at a later date if you can avoid it.

A few other large things to consider before you make your purchase. The first is that your sauna will likely require a 240V connection, meaning you’re going to have to consult an electrician to do the installation. If you’re buying an infrared sauna that may not be the case, but it’s almost certainly true with traditional sauna styles. The other thing to consider is the wood that the sauna is made from, but we’ll dig into that a little more in a second.

Consider Going Infrared

If you haven’t heard about them before, infrared saunas are definitely worth checking out. They offer many of the benefits that traditional saunas do, but they are available at a fraction of the cost. Like traditional saunas, they can be found in a range of sizes from a one-person capacity to a four-person capacity and beyond.

They can also be made in a variety of different wood types much like traditional saunas. You can opt for hemlock and cedar if you like, but based on user experience many people find that the odors that these woods create can be offensive and even downright nauseating.

The advantages of woods like cedar and hemlock are obvious – they have superior rot protection and they may even ward off insects. However, the rot protection is probably not even necessary in a sauna, as they should be relatively dry from all of the heat that they put off. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your sauna then the wood choice is something you should probably take seriously.

If you’re interested in bringing a sauna into your household an infrared design is worth considering. They may not be a perfect fit for you, but they shouldn’t be disregarded nonetheless.

What Is Best For You?

Truth be told, an traditional sauna is most likely going to be the preferable option for most people. They are the tried-and-true technology that people have been relying on for centuries – especially in the northern countries. That said, there are definitely reasons that you might want to go infrared instead.

First of all, they are much more affordable which puts them within the budget of more people around the country. Secondly, they operate at lower temperatures so they can potentially put less stress on your body. If stress on your body is a concern for you, this may be a better route to go. As always, make sure you talk with a doctor if this is your concern as no one else will know better than them.

Garage Door Opener Maintenance Made Easy

Having a garage with a self-opening garage door opener is a huge luxury that we may take for granted once we get used to it. I don’t know about you, but I can remember the days where I had to park on the street in front of my metropolitan apartment. Especially during the freezing cold winter days, this was such a burden. If it snowed, I’d spend hours digging myself out and I’d be lucky if someone else hadn’t taken my hard-earned spot by the time I got home for the day.

I’ve since evolved, and I’m forever grateful for it. I love the fact that I can just walk out to my car from my house without ever having to go outside. What if all of a sudden that was taken away from me? I’d certainly be disappointed and taken aback. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of some minor maintenance tasks to make sure your garage door is always working at peak performance. This way, you’ll never be left parking out in the elements. Here are some routine garage door opener maintenance precautions I take in my home.

Inspect, Clean, and Lubricate the Chain

At least once a year (usually in the spring) I’ll take it upon myself to inspect the chain that the garage door opener uses to lift the door. If I see any debris caught up in the chain, such as pine needles, balls of hair (gross), or similar, I’ll disconnect the power and make sure to remove them. I wouldn’t want them getting into the gears and causing further issues. Most of the time I can get the chain plenty clean with a vacuum cleaner, but sometimes it will need to be removed more directly with my hands. I’ll put on gloves for this because it’s a bit messy. When that’s all said and done I’ll lubricate the chain to make sure it stays in good working order for the upcoming year. I personally have a LiftMaster opener, and I simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re looking for a new opener, they’re a great brand. You can read more about the at

Fine Tune The Opener Travel

This one I started paying attention to when I came home for the day and my wife’s side of the garage door was wide open. I thought she must have just forgotten, but when we spoke about it later that night she was certain she had closed the garage door as she always had. Sure enough, as a few days passed the garage door simply wasn’t closing properly. It would get all the way down to the closed position, then turn around and go right back up. It turns out there is a travel setting on garage door openers. If you have the machine set too far, then the garage door will drive into the ground, think it’s hitting a foreign object, and turn around as to prevent hurting the object. This was a simple fix – backing off on the adjustment screw a full turn was sufficient. It made me realize though that the travel should be optimized from time to time. Not closing properly is one problem, but what about not closing completely? If the problem were in the opposite direction there would be a small gap at the bottom of the garage door where rodents can get in. This would be undesirable to say the least!

So, these are two quick and easy ways that I stay on top of my garage door opener’s performance. Am I missing anything? I’d love to hear about your experiences too, if you are interested in sharing please do!

Choosing The Right Dog Food For Your Family’s Best Friend

With its multitude of options, the pet food aisle can be a daunting place. One can of wet dog food might promise a “gourmet beef entrĂ©e” while another package of dry food might advertise “all natural ingredients” in big, bright lettering. You want the best for your dog, but where do you start?

The truth is that every dog is unique. Your dog’s breed, age, and personality can all affect his or her nutritional needs. There are some things all good dog foods have in common. However, to make the best dietary choices for your dog, you’ll have to consider your dog’s individual nutritional needs.

General Guidelines

The first thing to keep in mind is that your dog is an omnivore. It doesn’t take a veterinary degree to know that dogs love meat, but they also crave a well-rounded diet with nutrition from grains, fruits, and veggies. A balanced diet is the key to a dog’s health.

To ensure that balance, you’ll want to carefully examine the packaging and the label of your dog’s food. The ingredients list is an obvious place to start, but even the marketing and advertising on the package are worth reading. For example, a package advertised as a “beef dinner” or “beef platter” is only legally required to contain 10% beef, whereas a package advertised as “beef” alone must contain at least 70% beef. The same regulatory standards are applied to other ingredients, too.

Certain kinds of advertising, on the other hand, are basically meaningless. Many popular marketing terms like “gourmet” and “all natural” are unregulated by either The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means you can print those labels on just about anything. The next time you pick up after your dog, feel free to slap a sticker reading “all natural gourmet” on the bag!

The last, and best, general guideline is to consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet. Your vet is an expert on your dog’s nutritional needs. No matter what you’re considering or questioning, you’ll never go wrong asking a veterinarian for advice.

Excess Oil and Fat

A great rule of thumb is to check the first four ingredients listed on your dog food packaging. If you see oil or fat listed as one of those initial four, put the package back on the shelf. Not only are dog foods high in fat generally unhealthy, but they also put your dog at increased risk of bloat, a condition in which your dog’s digestive system fills with gas that has no means of escape. Within a couple of hours, bloat can be lethal for your dog.

Large or Small, Old or Young

Your dog’s size and age are two of the most crucial factors to consider when picking out dog food.

Large breed dogs are at higher risk for orthopedic diseases like arthritis. That means joint health supplements like glucosamine will be especially beneficial for larger dogs. As puppies, larger breeds are also in danger of certain developmental orthopedic diseases (DOD) which are caused by rapid, excessive growth. In these puppies, excess supplements can lead to growth at a rate their bodies can’t handle. The best dog foods for large breed puppies are lower in fat, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D to compensate for these risks.

In contrast, the greatest risk for small breed puppies is hypoglycemia. Their tiny bodies have high metabolic rates and fewer reserves of sugar and body fat. A small breed puppy’s meal should be packed with calories and, just like with small breed adults, should not contain chunks large enough to present a choking hazard.

Although the AAFCO and FDA don’t recognize a specific category of dog food for senior dogs, growing consensus suggests that senior dogs have unique dietary needs. Many of these needs will be dictated by health conditions your dog develops over time. Again, the best source of advice is your veterinarian, who already knows which conditions your senior dog is up against and will have the most up-to-date information regarding specialized senior diets.

Wet Versus Dry

Whether or not to feed your dog canned, wet meals or dry kibble is entirely up to you. The need to refrigerate opened cans of dog food and the affordability of kibble make dry meals a common choice for dogs. On the other hand, many dogs find wet meals more palatable. If your dog is a particularly picky eater, or if he or she struggles with a diminished appetite, the flavor boost of wet dog food might be the perfect solution. If you’re still on the fence, there’s no rule against feeding your dog a combination of wet and dry dog food.

Myths, Trends, and Reality Checks

Misinformation about dog food is all too common. It’s important to be thorough in your research to make sure you’re making sound, healthy choices for your dog.

Many dog families are wary of animal byproducts in their dog food, but dog food packed with hooves, hair, and manure is the stuff of urban legends. Today’s regulated animal byproducts include materials like organs and entrails, which are perfectly safe for your dog. If you’re still concerned about just what qualifies as an animal byproduct, call the brand of dog food you’re considering. Any dog food company worth their salt will volunteer that kind of information without any hesitation.

Some human dietary trends are hastily forced onto dogs. Gluten-free diets, for example, are almost always unnecessary for dogs, who very rarely have allergic reactions to wheat gluten. Other trends, like raw diets or home-cooked dog food, pose considerable risks to your dog’s health. Yet again, the best advice on any of these diets will come not from your neighbors or your Facebook friends, but from a trained veterinarian. If you’re absolutely sure about a special diet for your dog, the only responsible way to implement that diet is to consult with your vet first. If you don’t, you could do real harm to your dog, no matter how good your intentions may be.

Ultimately, the best way to know whether your dog’s diet is working as intended is to pay attention to your dog. A dog with healthy body weight will have a visible waist and ribs you can feel with your hand. If your dog is active, happy, and free from the any signs of digestive distress, you’ve probably made the right choice for your family’s best friend.

Spice Up Your Life With These Potted Plants

When it comes to choosing potted plants for your home, you will want to choose plants that are suited for the environment and climate around your home. Some plants require indirect sunlight and lots of shade while other plants require a healthy amount of sunlight every day to remain healthy. Below, you will find four of the most popular potted plants to add color, beauty, and spice to your life as well as their individual care requirements.

Aloe Vera

An aloe vera is a wonderful potted plant for someone who has very little experience caring for potted plants. It is a hardy plant that is very low maintenance. It only needs to be watered when the soil becomes dry. In a humid home, an aloe vera plant can go without being watered up to three weeks. If you live in a dry area, the plant will require water more often. The benefits of having an aloe vera plant in your home are numerous. Aloe vera is a plant that has many medicinal uses including skin relief for minor burns and soothing for cuts.

Busy Lizzies

Busy Lizzies re a popular type of blooming flower that are chosen as decoration for both homes and public areas. They are a perfect addition to any garden or as a companion piece within your home. Small with vivid colors, Busy Lizzies will bloom from May until October. They require a low amount of maintenance and thrive in small containers such as flower pots. They are sensitive to cold and frost, so be sure to bring in your Busy Lizzies at night if a drop in temperature or a frost is in the forecast. They will wither under direct sunlight, so keeping them in your home or in a shady area of your garden will give them the proper amount of care required to bloom to their fullest and most beautiful of colors.


If you’re looking for a potted plant that’s more exotic than the traditional flower or ivy variety, a bromeliad is a plant that will surprise and amaze your senses. A bromeliad starts out as a plain plant with large green leaves that are flat and wide like a sword blade. In the center of the plant is an odd-looking stem that will grow and blossom throughout the life of the bromeliad. This stem will blossom into a brilliant flower that looks like its been plucked directly from the tropics.

What makes these plants even more astonishing is that near the end of its life cycle, it has the chance to produce a flower that differs from the usual color and shape. Additionally, a bromeliad plant will produce little pups of itself near the end of its life as well. Although this plant only lives for a year or two, you can obtain a healthy bromeliad family from just a single plant if you properly transplant these bromeliad pups into their own pot. From its humble beginnings to its impressive end, a bromeliad plant will add plenty of tropical spice to your life.


Clematis vine plants are a striking and vibrant addition to your home or garden. They can be grown in a flower pot with ease. A flower pot is often an ideal place to keep a clematis plant since they have diverse needs in order to grow and bloom. A clematis plant requires at least six hours of direct sunlight a day while requiring its soil to remain cool. This balance of sunlight and cool soil is difficult to attain. In a flower pot, this can be accomplished by adding a cover over the top of the flower pot.

One thing to keep in mind is that a clematis plant is a vine, so it will need something to cling to and climb in order to reach its full beauty and remain healthy. Keeping your clematis flower pot near a lattice inside of your home or near an indoor tree can not only provide the clematis vine somewhere to cling but will also add a charming natural aesthetic to your indoor home decor. Clematis plants can begin blooming in early spring through to late fall, so depending on the type of clematis plants you have, you can enjoy their beauty for most of the year.