Budget-Friendly Kitchen Redos With Wallpaper

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A kitchen renovation is almost always a costly and time-consuming undertaking. The thought of ripping out and replacing cabinets, countertops and appliances is enough to stop you in your tracks. But a kitchen redo doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. Take wallpaper, for example.
Nothing enlivens an outdated kitchen more quickly or more easily than wallpaper. A bright, happy pattern like a toss of fruits or vegetables can play on the past with kitschy, retro-inspired style. Or you can modernize with patterns that mimic tile, stone and metal: a budget-friendly alternative to the real, more costly materials for backsplashes. You don’t have to worry about most stains because most wallpaper has a protective coating and is washable, even scrubbable. In fact, kitchen-friendly wallpapers are much lower maintenance than paint, which has about a three-year life span.
Wallpaper isn’t just for kitchen walls. Here are some ideas that can modernize any kitchen in an instant:
* With extra wallpaper or coordinating border, cover lamp shades on hanging fixtures to create a chic, pulled-together look.
* Wallpaper inset panels on cabinets and pantry doors.
* Paper the back of glass cabinets or open shelves and turn the display of everyday china into a work of art.
* Tap into your creativity: layer wallpaper with a coordinating border and removable wall decals. Or, if there’s a hard-to-reach angle where wallpaper won’t work, use a complementary wall decal to pull the look together.
* If the seating in your kitchen faces one wall, create an art installation by placing individual peel-and-stick wall decals in store-bought frames in a pattern on the wall.
To find additional information on wallpaper, visit www.yorkwall.com.

Prevent Pests From Feasting in Your Kitchen

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Nothing ruins a bowl of cereal more than insect remains floating in your milk. Unfortunately, a number of pests and insects enjoy eating the same stored foods as we do.
Pantry pests are some of the most bothersome because they contaminate our food by creeping onto countertops and into cupboards, nibbling their way into everything, even unopened boxes of flour and pasta. Plus, pantry pests aren’t seasonal — they can strike at any time of the year.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), there are four common insects that invade pantries and kitchens. By knowing what they like to eat, you can prevent an infestation and protect your food and your family’s health.
* Merchant grain beetles. These narrow, brown beetles have a sweet tooth. They prefer to indulge in cake mixes, cookies, chocolate and cereals. Merchant grain beetles have flat bodies with six saw-like teeth on each side. Make sure to clean up any spilled grains or dried goods that could attract them.
* Indian meal moths. These moths will feast on most dried goods, but home infestations tend to start with pet food or birdseed. Keep a look out for these shiny moths — their outer wings have a coppery luster. Storing food in tightly-sealed containers helps prevent Indian meal moths.
* Silverfish. These silvery, metallic bugs like feeding on paper items and glue, but they’ll also enjoy things like flour and oats. They’re usually found in moist, humid environments, bathrooms especially. Pest experts recommend getting a dehumidifier if you notice more silverfish at night. Repairing leaky pipes and drains is also a good idea.
* Varied carpet beetles. These beetles started off eating natural fibers like wool, so don’t be surprised to see them in closets, too. Now, they also feast on flour, cereals, sugar, corn meal, nuts and more. Typically, only larvae are found in dried foods because adults feed on pollen. Sometimes just the larval ‘skins’ remain, but this still indicates an infestation.
Knowing what you’re up against is beneficial, but real infestations should be handled by a pest professional. For more information about pantry pests or to find a pest professional near you, visit www.pestworld.org.

Hunkering Down With Home Improvement: 3 Projects That Make Sense Today

One thing for sure in this unpredictable economy is that homeowners are staying put. In fact, most people do not plan to move any time soon, according to a 2011 Harris Interactive poll. This shift from sell to stay is why it pays for homeowners to look beyond resale value when making home improvement decisions.

As Designer and HGTV Personality Lori Dennis explains, “People today are looking more holistically at home remodeling, choosing projects that add comfort, efficiency and functionality.” In this new era of home improvement, three projects stand out.

Window Replacement

How to Incorporate More Fruit Into Kids’ Meals

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Getting kids to eat fruit can be a challenge for many parents — but it doesn’t have to be.
Fruit is a great source of key vitamins, antioxidants and energy. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of American children do not consume enough produce.
Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian specializing in family nutrition, knows that parents are always looking for more ways to incorporate wholesome fruits into children’s diets. Here are some of her fruitful tips:
1. Let children pick their own fruit. Giving kids a few options to choose from will make them more likely to eat one of them at mealtime. Consider taking your child to a farmer’s market or the produce section of the grocery store so he can become familiar with the large variety of fruits available and pick a few new ones.
2. Serve fruit for dessert. Show kids that fruit can be just as tasty as candy or cookies for dessert. Try frozen bananas, mandarin oranges, or pineapple; mango smoothies, or watermelon balls for some fruity treats.
3. Make fruit a habit. Incorporating fruit into every meal makes it a routine that’s easy to keep. For breakfast, put berries or bananas into cereal or on top of whole grain waffles. For lunch, put pear slices on a peanut butter sandwich, serve “cantaloupe smiles” or let your child scoop out a kiwi. Filling up on fruit will make children less likely to be tempted by empty-calorie snacks.
4. Make it easy. Kids are more likely to eat fruit when it’s easy to “grab and go,” especially when it’s already packaged into manageable portions. Keep fruit front and center on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf, where kids can see and reach it.
5. Give kids a lunchtime option they already enjoy that includes fruit. The new Lunchables With Fruit (www.lunchables.com) provide a full serving of fruit with Dole Mandarin Oranges or Pineapple Tidbits in 100 percent fruit juice. The new line includes four kid-favorite varieties, including Peanut Butter + Jelly Sandwich; Turkey + Cheddar Cracker Stackers; Ham + American Cracker Stackers and Extra Cheesy Pizza.
6. Make fruit fun. Make fruit kabobs, fruit cut into shapes with cookie cutters and yogurt fruit parfaits to entice kids to eat more fruit. Working together in the kitchen with kids is time well spent.
7. Parents -; eat more fruit! Setting the example of eating more fruit is a powerful way to get your kids to also. Positive encouragement helps, too.

Shopping for a New Home? Check Out the Kitchen

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Buying a home is the largest investment most people will ever make, so it’s no surprise that such a big decision may seem daunting. There are, however, some simple guidelines that can help you find a home that you will be happy with for a very long time.

A recent study conducted by Merillat, a leading manufacturer of cabinetry, examined what consumers think about when they’re purchasing a home. The study found that the kitchen sways more minds than any other room, followed by the great room and the master bedroom third.

“The kitchen is the gathering place for special occasions, family functions and day-to-day activities, which is why it is so important for prospective buyers to ensure their new kitchen will meet the needs of their family from a design and functionality prospective,” said Paul Radoy, manager of design services for Merillat.

Try creating a checklist to help you decide whether a kitchen is right for you. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I like the layout of the kitchen? Consider the kitchen from an overall perspective, and keep all the items that will require storage in mind.

2. Does the kitchen look comfortable? Do I feel good when I’m in it? You should feel at home right away.

3. Does the kitchen help facilitate frequent casual interactions with family and friends? Consider the views into the surrounding rooms, like the living and dining areas. Can you easily associate with family and friends?

4. Is the cabinetry durable and well-built? Is the finish on the cabinetry smooth and consistent? Investigate the cabinet interiors to determine whether they’re covered with a durable water- and stain-resistant material or a lower-quality product. Make sure that the color of the interior complements the exterior.

5. Does the kitchen have visual impact or a good focal point like an island, cooking grotto or other unique feature? Islands are a useful feature that many homeowners desire. When examining an island, identify the tasks or storage functions it serves to decide whether it will meet your needs.)

6. Does the kitchen have adequate storage space and built-in features to accommodate my possessions? Merillat’s study found that, after remodeling a kitchen, many homeowners find that they didn’t include enough storage features. Make sure you don’t overlook features, like drawer organizers, pull-out trays and lazy Susans.

To more learn about kitchen design and storage features visit www.Merillat.com.

Six Tips to Prepare Your Kitchen for Entertaining

Nothing brings people together like a dinner party, potluck or barbecue – but entertaining can put strain on the kitchen as well as the host.
As you clean your home, consider giving your appliances tune-ups to keep them running more efficiently. The home economists at Whirlpool Corporation offer several quick tips and tricks to prepare the kitchen for entertaining:
1.    Change the water filter. Be sure to change the refrigerator water filter every six months to keep water fresh and free of contaminants.
2.    Use the dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, the U.S. government program that certifies energy-efficient appliances, washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using a dishwasher. Using an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing will save 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs and 230 hours of your time each year.
3.    Stop pre-rinsing dishes. When you pre-rinse dishes, the detergent doesn’t have any grease or grime to stick to. As a result, the detergent will attack dishes, making them appear cloudy, scratched or etched.
4.    Get rid of dust bunnies. Use a slender vacuum attachment or hosiery wrapped around a yardstick to clear out dust and debris from behind and underneath the refrigerator. Dusting will help the fridge run more efficiently.
5.    Switch to electric. Electric cooktops are about twice as energy-efficient as gas. Electric elements have high-efficiency insulation surrounding the element, and the close proximity to the pot or pan allows efficient heat transfer.
6.    Do a clean sweep. Cleaning appliances on a regular basis can keep unwanted odors at bay, since it has the tendency to exist anywhere moisture is present in a closed environment. Dishwashers and garbage disposals fit the bill — clean them every 30 days to prevent odors from leftover food particles and residue.
To help make this chore a little easier, Whirlpool Corporation developed affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner, the only two-in-one product on the market that removes unwanted odors in dishwashers and garbage disposals. Recommended for monthly use, consumers simply drop the tablets into the dishwasher and disposal for a convenient and affordable solution to unpleasant odors.
For additional information and product availability, please visit www.affresh.com.

Should Food Waste Go Down the Drain?

<b>Should Food Waste Go Down the Drain?</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans hoping to live “greener” lives often tackle the kitchen first — after all, separating the recyclables seems easy enough. But proper waste disposal can be more complicated than tossing cans in a blue box.

What’s the best way to get rid of table scraps? Should the food waste go in the trash bag? The compost pile? Or down the kitchen sink?

Putting food waste in the trash means it will be trucked to a landfill. Trucking food to landfills generates diesel fumes and emissions. And as food decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas.

Composting is a good option but not always practical for people who live in high-rise buildings or in colder climates. Plus, experts advise against composting certain types of food, like meat and dairy.

Numerous independent studies show using a garbage disposer is an environmentally responsible option. More than half of American kitchens have a disposer. On average, they cost less than 50 cents a year in electricity to operate and account for less than one percent of a household’s total water consumption. Recent advances in disposer technology, including the InSinkErator Evolution Series, make it possible to discard virtually any kind of food waste without concern about clogs or loud noises.

Once food waste enters wastewater treatment plants, it can be recycled into methane and used as a renewable source of power for the plant. Also, many wastewater treatment plants can process food waste into bio-solids, which can be used as fertilizer.

Here are some surprising facts about food waste:

* The average U.S. family of four produces about 2,000 pounds of food waste each year.

* According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the third largest category of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the U.S., accounting for about 13 percent of MSW material.

* Americans throw away more than 25 percent of the food we prepare, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those scraps are 70 percent water, which makes it easy for disposers to pulverize waste and send it through sewage pipes.

For more information on how grinding food waste in a food waste disposer is environmentally responsible, visit www.insinkerator.com/green.

Should Food Waste Go Down the Drain?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Americans hoping to live “greener” lives often tackle the kitchen first — after all, separating the recyclables seems easy enough. But proper …

Must-Do Kitchen Maintenance

<b>Must-Do Kitchen Maintenance</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As cooler weather approaches, folks start preparing their home for the long winter months, when entertaining moves from the deck to the kitchen.

As you clean your home, consider giving your appliances tune-ups to keep them running more efficiently. The home economists at Whirlpool Corporation offer several quick tips and tricks to prepare the kitchen for the holiday entertaining season:

* Change the water filter. Be sure to change the refrigerator water filter every six months to keep water fresh and free of contaminants.

* Use the dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, the U.S. government program that certifies energy-efficient appliances, washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using a dishwasher. Using an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing will save 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs and 230 hours of your time each year.

* Stop pre-rinsing dishes. When you pre-rinse dishes, the detergent doesn’t have any grease or grime to stick to. As a result, the detergent will attack dishes, making them appear cloudy, scratched or etched.

* Get rid of dust bunnies. Use a slender vacuum attachment or hosiery wrapped around a yardstick to clear out dust and debris from behind and underneath the refrigerator. Dusting will help the fridge run more efficiently.

* Switch to electric. Electric cooktops are about twice as energy-efficient as gas. Electric elements have high-efficiency insulation surrounding the element, and the close proximity to the pot or pan allows efficient heat transfer.

* Do a clean sweep. Cleaning appliances on a regular basis can keep unwanted odors at bay, since it has the tendency to exist anywhere moisture is present in a closed environment. Dishwashers and garbage disposals fit the bill — clean them every 30 days to prevent odors from leftover food particles and residue.

To help make this chore a little easier, Whirlpool Corporation developed affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner, the only two-in-one product on the market that removes unwanted odors in dishwashers and garbage disposals. Recommended for monthly use, consumers simply drop the tablets into the dishwasher and disposal for a convenient and affordable solution to unpleasant odors.

For additional information and product availability, please visit www.affresh.com.

Evict That Home Energy Hog for Good

<b>Evict That Home Energy Hog for Good</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In 1980, kitchen appliances accounted for nearly 44 percent of an average annual home’s energy consumption. With innovations in cooking, cleaning and preservation appliances, that figure is just above 10 percent today — and still dropping — much to the delight of consumers seeking green options throughout the home.

In a recent Whirlpool Corporation survey fielded by Harris Interactive, 84 percent of consumers said that energy — not water or time — is most important to them when it comes to home appliance efficiency. Despite the significant gains in efficiency over the last 30 years, nearly 70 percent of consumers cited a kitchen appliance as the one that consumes the most energy on a day-to-day basis.

“In the past, consumers did not need to look beyond the kitchen to find the home energy hog,” said J.B. Hoyt, Director, Regulatory Affairs and State Government Relations, Whirlpool Corporation. “Even today, cooking appliances are not ENERGY STAR qualified. However, recent innovations in appliance efficiency, particularly when it comes to the refrigerator and dishwasher, can really help consumers conserve resources.”

For example, the Resource Saver Refrigerator from Whirlpool brand uses less energy than it takes to power a 60-watt light bulb, exceeding federal efficiency standards by 30 percent. Moreover, the Resource Saver Dishwasher uses one-third less water and energy than dishwashers manufactured before 2000.

“Efficient appliances like these should help consumers save on their energy bills,” said Hoyt. “They are an important first step toward achieving an ‘eco-kitchen.’ However, homeowners also need to make sure to do their part to help.”

Small lifestyle changes can help appliances run at peak efficiency and conserve energy. For example, running the dishwasher late at night can help consumers avoid peak hours, and keeping the refrigerator stocked and at the recommended temperature can save energy as well.

Similarly, consumers can reduce energy when preparing a meal. Placing multiple foods in the oven can efficiently utilize heat, and selecting an appropriately sized pan for each burner can increase the efficiency of the range.

Cooking appliances also feature innovations to help conserve energy. The Whirlpool range with Energy Save mode conserves electricity when the oven is not in use, while the over-the-range Velos microwave can cook up to 47 percent faster than a traditional thermal bake oven when in SpeedCook mode.

To learn more about energy-efficient kitchen appliances, consumers can visit www.whirlpool.com.