Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stop, Drop and Clean out your dryer hose

We have been having trouble with our dryer working properly. Our clothes were still damp after the dryer cycle. It is only three years old, so I wasn't expecting any problems. Our appliance repair man was out to do a checkup on our washer, so I asked him about the dryer. He suggested that we clean out the dryer hose that is connected to the back of our dryer. So Greg and I took a few minutes to do so. I cannot tell you how much lint and other disgusting things had built up in that hose. (the picture to the left isn't our dryer. This one is "clean" compared to ours!) It filled our vacuum cleaner bag (that I had just changed). Can you say "fire hazard". I'm careful to always clean the lint trap so it was hard to believe that much lint had built up in the hose after only three years.

If your dryer is taking longer than normal to dry your clothes, a buildup of lint may be the problem. Even if your dryer seems to be working just fine and its been a few years since you did this process, take a few minutes, pull out your dryer, use the wand attachment and clean the floor and wall behind the dryer and the back of the dryer itself. Then remove the hose from both the wall and the dryer. Take it outside and shake it into a garbage bag. Greg made the mistake of dumping all the lint on the floor of the laundry room. He got some angry eyes. Use the wand attachment and clean out any lint that you can see inside the wall and just inside the dryer. If needed, a chimney sweep can also help get any that is in the wall you cannot reach.

Not only will this help save you time and money, it may save your life.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.

This is from the CPC website to help prevent fires:

Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked.

Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer. Remember to reconnect the ducting to the dryer and outside vent before using the dryer again.

Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.

Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.

Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and, preferably, hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a laundry basket.
Where to clean your dryer to prevent fires

Hanging on to Childhood with Hangers?

Teal Space Saver Hangers - Set of 10I'm embarrassed to say it but I never bought my big boys new hangers. Yes, we were still using those free hangers that came with their toddler clothes. Many hangers say 4T! I have no idea why I had not replaced them except that maybe I was unconsciously hanging on to their childhood! Oh dear! Their man-sized clothing was falling off of the hangers and it was time to replace them. I had purchased wood hangers for our master closet years ago and it made everything look so neat. Wood hangers are great but expensive. I didn't want to make such a big investment in their hangers. Especially because they are going to walk off and go to college with them in a few years. I redid a friend's closet and found some great hangers. Bed, Bath & Beyond has a great supply of organizational stuff right now with everyone preparing for college. I found these hangers and snatched them up. They come in great colors (silver, teal, spring green, white, pink and blue) and have built in hooks to attach the hangers together in a long chain to save space (if you like). They also have hooks at the top to keep straps from slipping off. They are only $3.99 for ten (10) hangers which makes them mucho affordable. You can find the white hangers here and the teal hangers here. My boys picked the silver hangers. While I hung up the clothing on the new hangers, we did a quick clean out of clothing that didn't fit any more. It is an inexpensive way to make a closet look orderly and maybe help momma let go a little bit.

Attachable Hangers (Set of 10)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homeschooling a High Schooler - It isn't an olympic feat people!

It is hilarious to me (now) that two years ago I was terrified of the idea of homeschooling a High School child. It isn't as daunting as I imagined it might be. Arming yourself with information is key.

Let me say, if you are contemplating homeschooling a child during their High School years, I would encourage you to take the leap. If you have homeschooled the child during several of his elementary years, now is the time you get to reap huge rewards friend! Consider this... by this age they will be mostly independent learners who have a fair idea of what talents God has blessed them with. These are truly the fun years (except for the occasional grouchy day)! You can point them in the right direction, with a little guidance and encouragement and watch them bloom. Take advantage of outside classes available to homeschoolers in your area to supplement those areas you are weak in. We have been very blessed to have our children take foreign language, science, speech and debate classes. If these classes aren't available in your area, organize them yourself! You might be surprised at the talent lurking amongst your circle of friends. Use social networking sites to search for teaching talent amongst your friends and family. Join local homeschool groups to find out what is available in your area.

We initially went to the websites of the colleges my son was interested in and printed off the minimum required coursework as a guide to what he needed to study during his High School Years. We attended a local seminar on homeschooling your High School student to gain some knowledge in the area. I organized a Q&A session with experienced homeschool moms in our area whose children had successfully graduated and gone on to college. It was wonderful to ask questions and get practical information and encouragement.

Other benefits:
Homeschool graduates are considered the top 10% of their graduating class which gives them a leg up on college entrance and scholarships. Colleges are actively recruiting homeschool students because they are excellent students! Family relationships are strengthened because siblings and parents are present in the teen's life. You can build your teen's self worth because you get to speak into their lives 24-7. No peer pressure (most of the time... my oldest son complains that he gets the most peer pressure from me because I balk at lack of fashion sense when picking out new clothing "Those pants are too homeschooly. We are not getting them!" Oh well!) Time for internships and volunteer work, both of which look great on a college transcript! Time for more travel. Graduate in less than four years if it is so desired. Time for work outside the home. More sleep! NO HOMEWORK! No wardrobe pressures (except the aforementioned fashion conscious mother). No problems with school administration (unless you aggravate mom). Did I say NO HOMEWORK! Yeah, that's a biggie!

Don't miss out on the golden High School years dear friends!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More about Users and Abusers

In 2008, I wrote about Users and Abusers  and the toll it takes on the lives of those who try to minister to them. As God is growing me in this area, I have come to recognize that not only does this type of person suck the very life out of those trying to minister to them, but continuing to try to assist these people is actually a deterrent to their healing and growth. Let me explain. I have come in contact with several people who for years have been telling the same sob story (usually in great detail) of how they are such victims. The whole world is against them. They even sometimes admit to making bad decisions to garner sympathy. I have seen them wear out their welcome in church and homeschool groups. They will even circle around after a few years to the same churches and homeschool groups when there is a fresh batch of people whom they haven't had a chance to bleed dry. That's where church and homeschool group leadership comes into play very well here. They know the stories and the people. Directing these people to leadership is the best thing that can be done to speed the healing. People in leadership are well versed in how to deal with this type of person. They have the spiritual maturity to recognize the signs. They know that while it is a hard decision, sometimes not assisting is the best thing. Experiencing consequences to habitual poor choices is the best teacher there is. How are these poor people ever going to learn to make good choices if you are always swooping in and saving them? Back off and pray for them. Of course, if the Lord calls you to assist, you should do so but be careful that this isn't just a kneejerk reaction to someone in trouble. Pray first! Of course, I would never let anyone go hungry or let a child suffer.

I would love to hear from readers about their experiences here. Has there ever been a time that you realized that stepping in and "saving" someone only prolonged their suffering?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Office Redo or what I did with the first part of my summer

When we first moved into our home twelve years ago, my dear husband tackled painting and putting up a wallpaper border in his office. Borders were still in style way back then but I still hated them. It was his office, so I let him make all the choices. I remembered that he had sanded down the texture of the wall before putting up the wallpaper, so I knew there was probably going to be trouble when I tried to remove it. There was. I'm so glad it was just a border.

Rabbit trail: After helping a friend redo her bathroom by stripping out all the wallpaper, I realized what a pain this stuff is if the wall isn't prepared properly. She purchased the house and inherited the nightmare that was the wallpapered bathroom. The wallpaper hanger put the wallpaper directly on the sheetrock WITHOUT PAINTING THE WALL. Big, big mistake. We were careful, but ended up taking off the first layer of paper that covers the sheetrock and had to make many repairs before we could paint. Now we know why someone opted to paint over the wallpaper and not remove it. We didn't have a choice at this point in time as the wallpaper was in a moist bathroom (who does that?) and it was falling down in places.

Back to the office redo: I put the texture back on the top of the walls. I picked out a beautiful mossy green color that was used elsewhere in my house. I also took a risk and painted right over the moulding trim that was decoratively applied to one wall. I really like the effect. His office feels cool and peaceful now. I was so done with the red color which I felt was too busy for an office. I covered his existing love seat with a chocolate velvet cover and I got rid of his oddly placed and outdated artwork. We also removed the area rug which didn't go with the new color scheme. He was pleased with the outcome. We have some new drapes that still need to be hung, but we are calling it completed.

BEFORE - note the ugly wallpaper border

AFTER - no more border and new artwork


AFTER - his furniture looks great against the new color


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