Spring is here and the light at the end of this wintery tunnel has begun to shine. It is time to freshen up your home, which has been collecting dust and grime all winter. Some people enjoy this time for a deep cleaning while others, not-so-much. Either way, there are tricks to help you get started on the right foot.
When cleaning your kitchen, circle clockwise around the room. With the stove usually being the most affected with grease and grime, you should clean it last to avoid spreading it around entire kitchen. For your stainless steel appliances, you can use a stainless steel specific cleaner. If that is not readily available to you, white distilled vinegar and mineral oil will work just fine. You will want to rub in the direction of the grain to clean effectively and for a shiny appearance.
Hard water build-up around your faucets? Lay paper towels soaked in white distilled vinegar and let rest for one hour. This will soften the deposits and will make for easier removal.
Is your sink food disposal starting to smell and infiltrate your kitchen? Take a couple lime or lemon rinds and put them down the disposal. Run your disposal with hot water. This will disinfect and leave a fresh citrus scent.
Don’t forget to run your oven on self-clean after you have cleaned up any spills inside. Never run this cycle while you are not home. It is best to do this first thing in the morning to avoid your AC working overtime to compensate for the high temperatures during the heat of day.
The bathroom is often most people’s biggest fear when it comes to cleaning and with good reason. The grout in your bathroom is highly susceptible to harboring bacteria due to its porousness. It is recommended to dip an abrasive brush in undiluted bleach and scrub directly on the grout. Rinse well when finished.
Has your once crystal clear glass shower door turned opaque from what seems like an indestructible film? We know, it is unpleasant and very difficult to remove. Hard-water, dirt and soap scum create this unsightly residue. To remove, a good cook top cleaner should do the trick. To prevent these stains in the future, try using Rain-X. This will allow the water to bead up and fall right off the glass. Reapply every 6 months or so.
Your Washing Machine
The washing machine is frequently overlooked during cleaning rituals. How dirty could it be when it cleans your clothes? Over time laundry soils, soap, and hard water deposits build up and can develop an undesirable odor and bacteria.
For top loading washers, add 4-cups of white distilled vinegar and run the highest and hottest cycle. Mid cycle, pause the wash and allow the hot vinegar water to soak in machine for one hour. After one hour has passed, complete cycle. Begin a new cycle after first one is complete, using 1-cup baking soda instead of the vinegar. Wipe inside of machine after cycles to remove any build up. For front loading washers, select your hottest setting and add 2-cups of white distilled vinegar into detergent dispenser and run a full cycle. Once complete, run another cycle on your hottest setting only this time adding 1/2 – cup baking soda into the drum and run complete cycle. Once complete, wipe down any remaining residue. It is recommended to repeat this process every once every 6 months or so.
Share Your Cleaning Tricks
Changing your decor based on the season is a fun way to ensure your home looks fresh and exciting all year long. Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner, so now is the time to add a touch of cool to your lovely home-sweet-home. You don’t have to be a professional interior designer to redesign your home for the season.
Here are a few tips for interior decorating for spring and summer.
Color Brings Your Home To Life
The PANTONE® Fashion Color Report Spring 2016 is a great source of inspiration. Buttercup, Rose Quartz, Green Flash, Limpet Shell and Fiesta are a few of the great colors you can use to brighten up your sanctuary. You can sprinkle color throughout your home in the form of pillows on your couch, a bedskirt in the master bedroom, a lampshade in the office or curtains in the kitchen window. Remember, decorating is fun so get creative.
April Showers Bring SPRING Flowers
Flowers are a beautiful yet simple way to change the look, feel and even the smell of your home. Synonymous with spring, flowers are a breeze to find. You can easily bring the outdoors in with a rainbow display of tulips or large vases of sunflowers. Experiment with different containers (watering cans, rain boots, baskets or plastic bottles) for added appeal.
It’s A Beach Life
Another creative way to switch things up is to incorporate a coastal or beach theme to pair with the season. Transform your home into your very own beach retreat. Put out a basket full of colorful whelk, calico scallop and cowry shells. Add in a sand dollar or starfish for added flare. Redesign your walls with driftwood art and your doors with seashell wreaths. To embrace the beach theme, include some actual water-related items such as oars or life preservers to add a nod to beach life.
A Season For Change
If you want a way to brighten each and every day, decorating your home for spring and summer is the perfect way to go. Let the PANTONE® spring colors soothe your soul. Relax with the aroma of fresh-cut flowers. Or you can unwind as you walk through the door of your beach-based getaway. You can put your interior decorating skills (whether you are an amateur or a pro) to work in many different ways to unleash the beauty of a newly designed home for the spring and summer seasons.
Never underestimate the power of curb appeal. Spring is a good time to spruce up the landscaping and make your yard more inviting. Plus, you can enjoy the spring weather and fresh air. Let’s look at some recent landscaping trends and homeowner-friendly DIY projects to help your home make a good first impression this spring.
Research Is Key
Before you buy all those beautiful flowers from the store, make sure you do some horticultural analysis to determine which plants are best suited to your landscape. Some plants thrive in the shade; others enjoy full sun much of the day. Another factor to consider is wildlife. Is your neighborhood prone to deer or rabbits? You may have to avoid certain plants so you don’t attract them – or other pests and critters. You don’t want to go a lot of trouble for your garden only to have all your newly planted flowers wither or get eaten.
Texturize Your Terrain
Adding texture to your garden will enhance its dimension and provide a beautiful, woodland feel. Texture also adds a great contrast to soft florals. Try choosing a couple of large boulders (rocks never seem to be singular in nature) and selecting a location a little off the path. An odd number looks best for your outdoor décor. For a natural feel, plant them in the ground as opposed to just sitting them on top. Pro tip: buy your boulders locally. Multiple boulders are extremely heavy and shipping costs can add up very quickly.
Dress It Up
Is your exterior lackluster due to years of neglect? One sure way to liven up your yard is to introduce bright colored ceramic or decorative planter pots. They can be filled with colorful flowers and plants to make the colors pop. Another benefit is that if you later decide on a better spot for them, you can move them relatively easily. Experts advise using varying heights to create a smooth flow and ambiance. Looking for another fun way to add a touch of whimsy to your landscape? Check out this article on making your very own hanging chandelier planter.
Have you recently completed your landscape improvements and feel your yard is looking its best? Don’t let all that hard work go to waste when night falls. Strategically placed lighting can accentuate the best features of your home and create a wonderfully inviting atmosphere in either the front or back yard. You have a number of options when it comes to lighting. Solar-powered lights are so user friendly that you can easily install them yourself. Looking for something more elaborate? Contact a professional for advice and assistance with your lighting installation needs. If you’re looking for something easy, consider string lights or lanterns to give a warm, eclectic feel. They are also a fantastic quick fix if you have guests coming over for the evening.
Tell Us Your Thoughts
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Last winter’s snows are a fading memory. The heat of summer is yet to oppress us. Right now, temperatures are moderate, the days are lengthening and the crowds are light. All of which makes spring the perfect season to visit Indiana.
One of the smallest Midwestern states, Indiana offers a diversity of experiences for visitors, from first-timers to locals interested in exploring their own back yard.
We took a look around Hoosier land and found five activities that travelers can enjoy during a short seasonal sojourn.
Take a hike!
Who wouldn’t like to get outside and fill their lungs with fresh Midwestern air? One of the most popular places to lace up one’s athletic shoes is Indiana Dunes State Park. Established in 1925 in Porter County, it offers 2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful and historic Hoosier landscape, including 3 miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. Impressive sand dunes tower nearly 200 feet above the great lake.
Hikes range from an easy 3-mile stroll to see spring flowers and ferns to a short (1.5-mile) but rugged trek over three of the highest dunes.
The rolling hills of the Hoosier National Forest offer more than 260 miles of backcountry trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The best part: it’s located within easy driving distance of Cincinnati, Evansville and Indianapolis,
Rugged hiking trails are the hallmark of Turkey Run State Park, where steep ravines and sandstone gorges showcase 300 million years of history and nature’s effects on the land. Sugar Creek, one of the state’s most popular canoe streams, runs through the park.
Visit Santa – and Lincoln
The town of Santa Claus, known as America’s Christmas hometown, is a delight when the weather warms up. The jolly old elf himself might be working on toys – or he could be riding the roller coasters at Holiday World or cooling off at Splashin’ Safari. At Pioneer Village in nearby Rockport, Abe Lincoln is the star attraction. Re-enactors portray him as both president and in his younger days when he was growing up in Spenser County from 1816-30. Spring Heritage Days, held in late May, feature historic re-enactors, period demonstrations, sheep shearing and other family-friendly fun.
Not all attractions are on the surface. Sometimes your journey takes you down toward the center of the earth.
The Indiana Cave Trail highlights four accessible underground adventures, all between Indianapolis and the Kentucky border. Bluespring Caverns feature a boat tour on a subterranean river. Indiana Caverns, the newest to be opened to visitors, is the state’s longest cave system and part of the 11th-longest system in the nation. Marengo Cave offers easy walking tours, and Squire Boone Caverns was discovered in the 1790s by Daniel Boone’s brother.
Don’t forget your jacket – the temperature is a steady 56 degrees year-round. If you visit all four though, and have your cave passport stamped, you can get a free T-shirt.
Wine, wine, wine
Corn, soybeans and wheat dominate the Indiana agricultural scene, but this versatile state also produces grapes – including the kind used to make wine.
A wealth of wineries dots the state, from the suburban northwestern corner on the shores of Lake Michigan to the scenic forests and rolling fields of the south. They’d all like to pour you a glass of their favorite or newest vintage. Many also offer tours and occasional events, while others have cafes on site.
In the Indianapolis area, you can check out the Indy Wine Trail, an association of seven wineries all within minutes of downtown and all with something different to offer. Have your trail passport stamped at all seven to receive a gift.
Start your engines!
Spring is when the racing world gears up for another season of internal combustion exhilaration and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the perfect place to explore this high-octane activity.
Start in the museum, a 30,000-square-foot temple to automobiles and auto racing. Its collection includes vehicles from IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint and Midget racing, as well motorcycles and drag racers. And of course, here in the racing capital of the world, you have to satisfy your need for speed! Check out the Angie’s List Grand Prix in mid-May or, for the ultimate in auto excitement, be part of the automotive glory of the Indy 500 over Memorial Day weekend. This year is the 100th running of what many consider the greatest spectacle in racing.
Whether your ideal getaway involves machinery screaming around an oval track or the quiet rustle of a breeze through the leaves, you’ll find that spring is always a great time to visit Indiana, the crossroads of America.
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