4 tips for cleaning hardwood floors

 

As a professional dog breeder and forever dog carer, I can state for sure that dogs not only require your love but also your full attention. Keeping dogs inside the house is even trickier if you want to have your house clean. And, when you also care about your hardwood floors, things get even more complicated. So, if you’re looking for the right cleaning tips for your hardwood floors, you have come to the right place. Here is what I recommend.

 

Getting the tools you need

Don’t even think about cleaning without requiring a high-power vacuum to help you with all the dirt, debris, and annoying pet hair. I’ve tested the Ergorapido from Electrolux and I was really pleased with its high-power motor, the lightweight design, and the accessible price. This is a great tool for everyone who wants to keep their house clean and shiny as often as possible. The item is easy to deposit and, thanks to its small dimensions, is also extremely portable and comfortable to work with.

There are other powerful products available on the market for a good price, so I suggest to keep looking until you find the item that suits your needs the most. I strongly suggest a cordless design if you don’t want your dogs to have an extra item to chew on.

DIY looking-after solution

There are countless of DIY cleaning solutions for hardwood floors but do they really work or are they going to damage your floors even more? The eco-friendly movement has started for quite some time now and the global trend is to look for DIY solutions and homemade products to solve your daily problems.

Although I do encourage a responsible life and extra care for the environment, I wouldn’t trust any natural and “brilliant” solution that comes off the Internet, especially when talking about hardwood floors. There are plenty of websites recommending using a combination of water and vinegar to clean the floors but that would be a horrible idea.

The reason is that the vinegar, regardless of how much it’s diluted in water, is still too astringent and acid for your floors, so using it to clean your floors might actually result in staining them beyond repair. Not to mention the smell you’ll have to deal with otherwise.

Lemon juice, baking soda, and tea bags are also great no-nos if you care about your wood floors.

 

What to do then?

What you can do is to vacuum as often as possible. Clean with a damp cloth and wax every few years, depending on the traffic on your floors. Don’t use the mop either or any type of soap-based products because they will also damage your floors.

 

I decided to buy an automatic dog feeder

 

 

I finally decided to buy an automatic dog feeder, and I have to say that I’m glad that I did. It is a convenient contraption, and once my poor dog got over his initial fear, I think he loves being in charge of his feedings. I did carefully research several makes and models before I found the right one, and there are a few things that I discovered. One of the most important ones was that not all automatic dog feeders are the same. If you’re considering investing in an automatic dog feeder here is what I have learned.

 

 

Make sure that it is automatic

To my surprise, I learned that just because the packaging states that the machine is automatic, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. I guess the word means different things to consumers and some manufacturers. For me I want “automatic” to mean that I can set a timer and a specific amount of kibble pours into the bowl. I don’t want my dog pressing a lever every time he thinks he is hungry. Not only is this not healthy, but the cost of constantly replacing his food would also drive me into bankruptcy.

 

Check the settings on the timer

Some dog feeders come with timers that can only be set for one meal, while others allow for several. Since I’m only away for a few hours this wasn’t a concern for me, one setting is plenty. If you spend long hours at work or travel overnight you will want to spend a little more on a model that lets you set the time for multiple feedings.

 

Size of the automatic dog feeder

The reason I don’t consider this one of the more important considerations is that it should be obvious. The feeder should be large or small enough to meet your dog’s needs. By this, I mean that you don’t want to buy one that only holds a few ounces of kibble if you’re trying to keep your Great Dane happy and fed throughout the day. This also applies to small dogs. There is no reason to waste your money on super-sized dog feeder if you own a Chihuahua. You might come home to find your dog swimming in his food.

 

Features

Yep, automatic dog feeders can come with a few features. This really shouldn’t be surprising considering our canine companions are a part of the family. Some models can also be used with wet food, though this can be messy and smelly. You can also find some that come with a convenient ice compartment, so your dog’s food stays fresh.

My personal favorite are the models that come with small recorders so you can leave your pooch a message. Every time the unit dispenses food your dog will hear the recording that you left.

How I make homemade dog treats

 

 

Chances are you feel the same way about your dog as I do about mine. To put it simply, my dog is a part of my family. This means that what I feed him is important since I want my furry companion to live a long and healthy life. I’m not saying that I don’t spoil my dog by giving him treats, I just make sure I know exactly what goes into each one. No, I don’t compare ingredients at the store, I make my dog’s treats at home.

Before you raise an eyebrow and mumble that I am spoiling my canine, homemade dog treats actually have several advantages. They are less expensive than store bought varieties, definitely healthier, and best of all I found a couple really quick and easy recipes. If you’re like me and want to spoil your “best friend” while still being healthy, here are two of my dog’s favorite homemade treats.

 

 

“Trail Mix”

 

Some people call this “leftover” trail mix, which is just as fitting since you are basically using a few items from your refrigerator. It is important to remember you are not cleaning out your fridge, and your dog is not a furry garbage disposal. You only want to use ingredients that are safe for dogs, and this typically only includes a few items. The ingredients I use for the trail mix usually include,

  • Potatoes
  • Any vegetable other than onions
  • Fruit that doesn’t include grapes or raisins
  • Any suitable meat (preferably non seasoned)

All that’s left to do is to cut everything into smaller pieces and either place in a food dehydrator or on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees until the food is dried. Once it has cooled, place it in a sealed bag and you have a quick treat that you can take with you. I usually take this trail mix with me when I take my dog on long hikes.

 

“Frozen peanut butter treats”

 

Almost all dogs love peanut butter, and as long as it doesn’t contain artificial sugars it is a safe treat to give them. I have several friends that use peanut butter to coat their dog’s medication. You can also use it to make a cool treat for your dog, and it only takes a couple of minutes to prep. You will need 1 cup of peanut butter and 32 ounces of vanilla yogurt. After you have melted the peanut butter in the microwave, mix it with the yogurt. Pour the mix into cupcake papers and freeze. It is a safe and inexpensive treat that your dog will love.

 

If you have any other recipe ideas for easy homemade dog treats I hope you will feel free to share them.

 

 

Homemade cleaning products that actually work

 

Buying cleaning products at the store can quickly get expensive. Then there is the worry about all of the harsh chemicals they contain. While these harsh ingredients might be able to kill germs and bacteria, they can also be harmful to us and the environment.

After realizing that manufactured cleaning products are a relatively new invention and that people have been keeping their living area dirt and grime free for centuries, I decided to see if there were other alternatives. After careful research and a lot of trial and error, I discovered what thousands of others already knew. There are several items in my pantry that can effectively clean my home without harsh chemicals or a high price tag. Here are a few of my favorite homemade cleaning products that actually work.

 

Diluted white vinegar

Soap scum and hard deposits literally dissolve in front of your eyes with diluted white vinegar. It is also a natural deodorizer which is a bonus when you are cleaning the bathroom or an area where you keep your kitchen garbage. Simply mix the diluted white vinegar with a little water and you have a safe, inexpensive and affordable household cleaner.

 

Baking soda

Almost every pantry has a box of baking soda in it and it makes a great cleaner. When it is sprinkled on a damp sponge you can effectively remove dirt and grime from showers, bathtubs and sinks. It is also a natural deodorizer and can dumping some down the drain can neutralize strong smells. Add a little to your washer to give your clothes a fresh smell.

 

 

Rubbing alcohol

 

If you are looking for a cheap and easy way to clean your windows consider using rubbing alcohol. It works just as well as the industrial cleaners without the expensive price and harsh chemicals. Best of all rubbing alcohol not only cleans windows and mirrors, it can also polish your metal fixtures. Surprisingly, I also discovered that it is a great way to keep my ceramic tiles looking like new.

For windows that are particularly dirty you might want to try cleaning them with ammonia. It is still safe to use, only it is a little stronger than rubbing alcohol. One thing I did learn was to choose a non-sudsing type of ammonia. The sudsy bubbles might look effective, but they are hard to completely rinse away.

These are only a few of the effective homemade cleaning products that I have discovered really do work. If you have a particular favorite that you use at home or have a recipe, I would love to hear from you. After all, everyone can benefit from a cheaper and safer way to keep their home fresh and clean.

Why Homemade Greek Yogurt Is the Best

 

http://www.daringgourmet.com/easy-homemade-greek-yogurt/

 

In my endeavors for eating healthy and making my entire family eat healthier, I discovered how to make a delicious food that should never be amiss from your daily diet. I am making my own yogurt at home, using one of those yogurt makers they sell in stores, and recently, I even upgraded to making Greek yogurt. I found the taste of homemade Greek yogurt absolutely exquisite, and I am glad I can make my own at home, because I know very well that I will not be adding any preservatives, sweeteners, or whatever yogurt manufacturers add to their recipes only to prolong shelf life.

Greek yogurt is a great source of healthy protein, and, since I am not so young anymore, I really need to sustain my muscle mass with proper nutrients. I am having plenty of activity every day, as I walk my dog, Betty, every day in the park, but I also need to eat properly. Did you know that a single serving of Greek yogurt, made with no added preservatives, has no less than 15 to 20 grams of protein? For the same amount of regular yogurt, you only get 9 grams of protein, so I find this very interesting and beneficial for my health. This healthy source of protein helps me keep my weight in check, because it helps me feel full, and I do not feel the need to overeat.

 

http://kitchenettejen.com/best-greek-yogurt-maker/

 

For an aging person, like myself, getting too much sodium from diet can be very problematic. Sodium is responsible for water retention, and also for playing a role in the development of hypertension. I wish to keep myself as healthy as possible for as long as possible, which means that I need to cut down on sodium as a rule of thumb. Greek yogurt helps me do exactly that because it contains very little sodium, even when compared to regular yogurt, which is already a healthy choice. With only 50 mg of sodium per serving, you would need to eat a lot of Greek yogurt to exceed the recommended daily limit of 1.5 grams of sodium.

Homemade Greek yogurt is great for your gut health. I didn’t use to be so concerned with what I was eating and how that was going to impact my health, but now I am much more aware and I know that good health starts with a functional digestive system. This is a great source of probiotics, which are essential for having good gut health. Actually, ever since I have been eating Greek yogurt regularly, I started to lose a bit of weight, and, overall I feel great and more energetic. Betty definitely appreciates seeing me so determined to walk her to the park every day.

Simple Tips for Organizing a Successful Raclette Party

 

 

Recently I have found a new passion in creating raclette menus, and I decided that I should also throw some raclette parties, too. If you are not familiar with what raclette means, of my knowledge, it is a Swiss type of meal that consists of fondue (or melted cheese), and grilled veggies, meats and fish. Any combination is possible, as long as you abide by its simple rules.

http://www.aglugofoil.com/2013/08/raclette-dinner-party-recipe-ideas.html

First of all, in my quest for the perfect raclette party, I got myself a raclette grill, one sizeable enough to allow several people around it. The fun part of having this type of Swiss meal is that you actually allow your guests to create their own menus. My raclette grill comes with a bottom area where the dishes needed for all the guests are nicely organized and on which they can melt their cheese. On the top grill, we are cooking all kinds of meats and veggies, and, sometimes, shrimp and fish. I am fond of eating healthy, and this kind of meal is not only healthy, it is extremely tasty, as well.

Here is a piece of advice for hosting a successful raclette party. Make sure to stock on plenty of ingredients in advance. The last thing you want is to leave your guests feeling hungry, just because you were not careful enough to purchase enough of each necessary ingredient. Your grocery list should include cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, any other vegetables you might like and can be grilled, chicken meat, ham, sausages, fish, and shellfish. Of course, if any of your guests has certain dietary restrictions, make sure to learn in advance, and organize the raclette party so that they are well accommodated. In my own experience, the more options you offer your guests, the better, because they will always be able to choose their own combinations.

Now, let’s get to organizing the table. Make sure that the raclette grill is placed in such a manner that everyone around the table has access to it. Slice and chop all the ingredients, and place them on plates around the raclette grill so that they can be easy to access. Place some small bowls with sauces that go well with grilled foods on the table, as well.

The cheese must be placed in the raclette cooking pans that should be enough in number for accommodating all the guests. You can preheat the raclette grill, prior to your guests’ arrival, and have some of the veggies and meats already on the grilling area. This way, your guests will know what to expect and they may start eating right away.

This is what I know about hosting a raclette party. Let me know how yours went!

If you need ideas, Pinterest can help you!