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Home & Garden






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Home & Garden


from the editor

Where is the heart of your home? There’s nothing like that feeling when you get home having just fought your way through rush hour traffic after a long day at work. You are at home, in your place of peace, where you can wear your sweatpants and eat ice cream right out of the container. If you have a pet, you are greeted with either fits of tail-wagging or meows of hello, or both, and will witness bright eyes eager for a re-fill of the food dish or tossing of a treat. If you have kids that are similar to mine, you most likely will receive a grunt and a half-hearted wave from the sofa, where you will see eyes fastened downward, concentrating on that incheswide screen that seems to render them incapable of anything more. Nonetheless, after shrugging of my jacket and divesting myself of whatever

is a supplement to:

baggage I have gathered throughout the day, I head Jennifer over to the fridge to grab a bottle of water, trying to get a conversation started with the kids about their day. Momsense Again, the monosyllabic response of “good” to how was your day and “yep” to whether or not homework has been done is typical, and expected. Shrugging off the lack of enthusiasm about interacting with me, I set about getting dinner together, knowing we won’t eat until my husband gets home – fairly late – the kids are done with practice and I’m done with my evening workout at the gym. Usually the slow cooker will come into play, or if my husband is grilling, I will do things like getting the meat into some marinade and pre-cooking whatever starch will go with it so that I need only reheat it when we are ready to eat. The kids have now moved off of the sofa – one heads to the basement to play video games, the other upstairs to, most likely, continue staring at their phone. I get changed and head to the gym, trying to keep myself in shape and active when all I really want to do is lay on the sofa with the cats and watch TV. Upon returning, I find not much has


changed, other than it’s now dark out, and my husband’s home. After quickly whipping up dinner, I call everyone to the table and, as far as I’m concerned, that is when our real time at home starts. Even if it’s just cracking a stupid joke or talking about things of no real importance, this is when we all reconnect. It’s hard to explain, but this really is the time I look forward to all day long. And the funny thing is, it’s only about an hour or so out of the day, but it somehow recharges my batteries and helps keep me focused on what’s important. I realize I’m pretty lucky – I have an amazing husband who is not only a good provider and supporter of me in so many ways, but also is a great father. I have healthy kids who are smart and athletic and (most times) good-natured. My parents and mother-in-law live close by. I also have great friends, my work is fulfilling and I have a home that is comfortable and welcoming. A lot of people say the heart of the home is the kitchen, but in my case, it’s the table we sit around when we eat, with the cats underfoot, looking for scraps, the kids laughing and us adults just relaxing as we wind things down for the night. Does it get any better?

Jen’s gym chicken Here’s a favorite I make when I get home - it cooks while I’m picking up around the house, switching out the laundry, then going to the gym for a couple of hours.

2501 James St., Suite 100, Syracuse, N.Y. 13206 Phone: (315) 434-8889 Publisher: David B. Tyler Managing Editor: Jennifer Wing Circulation Manager: Lori Newcomb Creative Director: Sean Haney Baldwinsville Messenger Cazenovia Republican Eagle Bulletin Eagle-Observer Skaneateles Press Star-Review


4-5 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in 1 can chicken broth 2 cans cream of chicken soup 3 Tblsp minced garlic 1/2 onion, chopped 1 tsp paprika 1/2 cup orange juice 1/4 cup flour, mixed in 2/3 cup hot water (will be fairly thick) farfalle (bowtie) pasta salt and pepper to taste


Take skin off of chicken and place thighs in bottom of slow cooker. Pour soup, boullion and orange juice over

thighs. Add onion, garlic and paprika. Mix well with large spoon. Set to low and cook for five hours or until done, or set to high and cook for at least three or until done. Half an hour before serving, mix the flour and water together and add to slow cooker stir until gravy is at desired thickness, adding either water to thin or more flour mixture if it isn’t thick enough. Boil pasta, drain and serve chicken on top, with salt and pepper to taste. Note: It’s very hard to overcook the chicken, as it just gets more tender as it cooks. There will most likely be leftovers, which go great over biscuits as well.


Home & Garden



Home & Garden



petals Crocus blooms are some of the first seen in early spring. file photo

Early-blooming spring flowers


he arrival of spring is a welcome occurrence for many people. Budding flowers are among the harbingers of spring. Spring flowers can revitalize winter-weary people just when they need it most - and provide reassurance that brighter, warmer and longer hours of sunlight are just around the corner. Cold-tolerant flowers are hardy enough to start blooming before the last frosts have dissipated. Other flowers will begin to fill in as days warm a little bit more, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Home gardeners looking to warm up their gardens with early blooms can use these flowers in their early-season containers, window boxes and planting beds. Pansy: Pansies prefer cool weather, which can make them one of the best flowers to plant in early spring and late fall. Pansies come in a variety of colors, so there’s bound

to be an offering that will blend with any homeowners’ landscape design. Creeping phlox: Also known “moss phlox,” creeping phlox is a short groundcover that is a herbaceous perennial. Phlox produces small, fragrant flowers in dense clusters, which can attract wildlife, such as butterflies, to their mats across the soil surface. Snowdrops: Snowdrops can peek out even when there is snow still on the ground Ñ sometimes as early as January and February. But their name is actually a reference to their appearance, as snowdrops have three white petals that hang down like drops dripping off the stem. Violets: These flowers are closely related to pansies and, as a result, prefer cool seasons. Violets are generally slightly smaller than pansy blooms, but they can be just as beautiful. But as with pansies, violets will start to fade when the heat arrives.

Crocus: Crocus plants are relatively small, only reaching three to six inches in height. However, their grass-like leaves are some of the first sprouts that can be seen among bulb and corm plantings. Preferring full to partial sun, these gold, purple, lavender, white, or yellow flowers can be enjoyed during the earliest days of spring. Daffodil: Daffodil bulbs produce cheerful, yellow flowers in early spring. They’re one of the most recognizable flowers thanks to their familiar shape and fragrant aroma. Lenten rose: Hellebores, also called the Lenten rose or Christmas rose, can tolerate light frosts. These blooms get their name from the time of year when they bloom, which is typically around the Christian Lenten season. Despite their name, these delicate flowers are not actually related to roses, however. Early-blooming flowers give winter-weary gardeners hope that spring has arrived.

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Make your home a better house Annual CNY Home and Garden Show runs March 15-18

Central New York Home and Garden Show 2018 – one the largest events of its kind in the Northeast – runs March 15-18 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Hours are 4-7 p.m. Thursday, noon- 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. The show offers the

opportunity to visit hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the best and most innovative trends in home renovations, remodeling and landscaping. It’s a one-stop shop for homeowners to research companies, to learn about upgrading, repairing, maintaining and landscaping their homes, while enjoying

beautiful displays. “We have hundreds of exhibitors for comparison shopping, to help home owners find the company and product that’s right for them,” said the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Central New York Executive Director Mary Thompson. “It’s important to work with a reputable contractor. All of our members and exhibitors use contracts and have insurance. It’s so important to for home owners to do their homework!” Attendees can easily: 3Meet with industry professionals who have extensive knowledge related to all upcoming home improvement projects. 3Comparison shop several companies under one roof saving time and resources. 3Set appointments for project estimates on the spot photos courtesy hbrcny

Home & Garden Show


Page 14

Home & Garden



Home & Garden Show 2018 EXHIBITOR LIST List from The Home Builders and Remodelers of Central New York website and is subject to change; visit for updates. A Cozy Hearth Fireplace & Stove LLC, 533 a la Maison, 608 A Shade Different LLC, 930 A. Stein Landscapes, 2456 ABC Area & Oriental Rug Cleaning & Repair, 2164 ADT Security, 2453 Allstate Roofing and More, 2242 Alternative Power Solutions of NY LLC, 910 Amazing Products UK LLC, 2473 Amber Well DrillingLLC, 006 American Homes, 1007 American Sleep Therapy, 728 AmeriCU, 615 Arrow Fence, 518,624 ARXX Fox ICF Seaway Wall, 228 Ashley Lynn Winery, 2181 Atlas Fence, 208 Barden Building Systems, 726 Barry Best Seamless Gutters, 713 Bartlett Tree Experts, 003 Basement Waterproofing, 2161 Bath Fitter, 123,2117 Berkshire Hathaway CNY Realty, 319 Better Homes and Gardens Real EstateSelect, 815 BL McClellan Painting & Restoration, 403 Black River Furnishings, 1208 BR Johnson LLC, 812 Bruno’s Home Improvement, 607 Budget Blinds, 012 Busch Products Inc.007 C. Michael Exteriors, Inc & Betterliving Sunrooms, 2160 California Closets, 914 Cannon Pools & Spas, 014,118,119 Cazenovia Equipment Company, 2109 Cellular Sales / Verizon Wireless, 432 Central New York Glass Block, 222 Cheese Filled Company, 2322 Clean & Squeaky Inc., 2158 Click Heat, 729 Clipper Magazine, 224 CNY Cabinmasters LLC, 431 CNY Coalition For Animal Welfare, 2376 CNY by Usee builders,

2466,400 CNY Home Improvements, 100 CNY Sealing/CNY Creative Coatings, 1127 CNY SERVICE Home Team at Keller Williams Realty, 2178 CNY Solar Inc., 725 College Pro Painters, 504 Comfort Windows, 200 Concrete Renovators, 300 The Concrete Team, 226 Cooney Air Conditioning & Heating, 1001 Costco Wholesale, 931 Countertops & Cabinets Inc., 907 Countryside Stove & Chimney, 1132 Crawford Door & Window, 908 Creative Yard Designs Inc., 2100,2114 Critter Ridders, 034 Crown Construction, 004 Crown Valley Landscaping, 101 CSM Finishing, 1107 Curtis Furniture Co., 605 Custom Homes by Ron Merle, 932 Cutco Cutlery, 610 Cutting Edge Decks, 1014 Daniels LLC, 628,705,707 Digg It, 2252 DiMartino Construction and Remodeling, 2375,925 Dimon Construction, 735 Dupree Exterior Cleaning and Services, 1101 Emerald City Window Cleaning, 806 Empath Evolution- Michelle J. Howe, 2330 Empire State Painting & Contracting LLC, 805 Energy Savers Inc., 413 Everdry Waterproofing, 013 Evergreen Mart, 127 F.A.S.T. Contracting, 428 Falso Service Experts, 2477 Farmers Insurance - Joel Bower, 706 Feel Good LLC, 2233 Finger Lakes Power Systems, 2134 Fingerlakes Water Conditioning, 2152 Flagpole Farm, 2270 Foozy Socks, 2223

Frank Webb Home - Bath* Kitchen* Lighting, 601 Freestream Web TV, 2483 Fulton Savings Bank, 811 Gasparini Landscaping Co., Inc. & Gasparini Fence, 800 Geddes Federal Savings & Loan, 1135 Granite International, 1116 Green Mountain Energy, 710 Green Visions Solar, 510 Gutter Logic LLC, 2268 Haines and Haines Inc., 622 Hamilton Building Services, 508 Hammer Brothers Construction, 904 Harrington Homes, 614 HBRCNY, 2209,2323,2327 Hillside Children Center’s Foster Care Program, 2263 Holbrook Heating Inc., 027 Home Power Systems, 1018 home spa / Perfect Choice, 2182 Hustler Turf Equipment, 2284 InFocus Insurance, 1117 Installations Unlimited, 030 Invisible Fence of Finger Lakes, Midstate & Syracuse, 2183 Iron Horse Gutterworks, 611 Isaac Heating & AC, 724 Jackie’s Kitchen & Bath Design, 425 Jeremiahs Friendly Contracting, 2218 JK General Contracting, 1000 JMG Custom Homes, 419 Johnson Lumber Mill, 331 Kitchen Tune Up, 1133 KM Sherman Contracting, 328 Koster’s Wood Floor StoreLLC, 422 KR Communications/DirecTV, 033,2172 Krell Distributing Co., 041 Lakeside Interiors LLC, 819 Landscapes Unlimited CNY, 526 Lawn Care Solutions, 1025 Lawn- A- Mat of Syracuse Inc., 126 Laztek Companies LLC, 2442 LeafFilter Gutter Protection, 2283 Leafguard of Rochester, 2379 Lindal Cedar Homes, 900 Show exhibitors


Page 12



Home & Garden

Home & Garden Show 2018 EXHIBITOR LIST


From page 11

Liverpool Lumber, 501 Liverpool Pool & Spa, 128,232,918 Living Value Home Store, 404 Luxury Beauty Spa NY, 731 M&E Sales, 1034,2169,2171 Manwaring’s Lawn and Snow, 828 Marinich Builders, 230 Mark Antony Homes, 332 Martin Custom Homes, 700 Martin Water Conditioning, 308 Marvin Windows of New York Inc., 410 Mattress Firm, 110 McCandrew Construction & Seamless Gutters LLC, 825 McClurg Remodeling, 218 McKean Building & Remodeling, 314 MCO Industries LLC, 1013 Men and Women’s Garden Club of Syracuse, 2335 Mercantile Studio Inc., 824 Mid State Lawn & Tree Service Inc., 011 Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing, 327 Midstate Basement Authorities, 1119 Mirabito Energy Products, 109 Monkey Bars Garage Storage & Flooring, 823 The Mosquito Authority, 326 Mosquito Joe, 531 Mr Sandless Hardwood Floor Refinishing, 321 Murtaugh Restorations Inc., 807 MWG Custom Homes, 813 My Pillow Inc., 330 Nationwide Lifts, 712 New York Custom Hardwood Floors, 1115 New York Homeowners Construction, 325 New York Life, 929 Nhance Wood Renewal, 2474 Nickels Energy Solutions LLC, 818 North Shore Oil Company Inc., 427 Northeast Stihl, 2274 Northern Nurseries Stone & Design Center, 938A Northstar Lifts LLC, 506 NP Environmental LLC, 312 Nu-Crete Inc., 2363 Nu-Look Cabinet Refacing, 612 Oceane Beauty, 407 OCRRA, 2342 Olum’s Appliances/Olum’s Furniture,

2384 Onondaga County Save The Rain, 2111 Outback Survival Gear, 304 Overhead Door Company of Auburn/Syracuse, 2439 Pace Windows and Doors, 2338 Pampered Chef, 2326 Peckham General Contracting, 2253 Prime Heating and Air LLC, 2374 Pro Home and Sunrooms, 2352 Profashion Inc., 429 Pure Water Source, 714 Quality Work Home Services, 2138 Rainbow, 035 Recrete Solutions LLC, 1022 Reid Roofing & Siding, 318 Renewal by Andersen of CNY, 500 Rentals To Go, 2480 Res-Com Heating & AC, 106 Residential Construction Career Fair, 000 Roma Tile, 618 The Roofing Guys Inc., 801 Ryan’s Windows & Doors, 830 Scalice Custom Homes and Remodeling LLC, 2337 Sciuga Custom Builders, 718 Seamless Gutter & Supply, 329 Senke CNY Garage Door, 2166 Shine Essentials, 2265 Sit Means Sit Syracuse, 1033 Sky High Turf Farms, 2465 Sleep Number, 2275 Smolen Homes Inc., 434 Solvay Bank, 704 Stamped Concrete Inc., 2185 Stanley Steemer, 306 Steps Plus, Inc., 2459 Steve Khanzadian Construction Inc., 722 Stone Hammer Homes, 826 Students Showcasing Residential Construction, 2413,2421A,2433,2435

Sun Chevrolet, 2190,2192,2491,2493 Sunesta Awnings/Barry Best, 711 Sunspace Sunrooms by Brian Townsend, 2438 Superior Insulation, 2175 Superior Seal & Paving Inc., 036 Superior Sleep Experience, 2222 Swimm Landscape, 426 Syracuse Dog Fence, 038 Syracuse Fence, 124 Syracuse Habitat for Humanity, 2332 Syracuse Haulers Waste Removal Inc., 1029 Syracuse Media Group, 2264 Syracuse Police Department, 2362 TAG Mechanical, 600 Tarson Pools, 418,514 Temperature Pro of CNY, 2126 Three Peaks Energy Corp., 333 Titanium Group, 1031,2237 Top Fabricators Inc., 433 Top Notch Building Components LLC, 2361 Touch of Purple, 323 True Color CNY, 040 Tupperware, 2329 Tyler Construction Services, 423 Universal Windows Direct of Syracuse, 2452 Upstate Systems Inc., 324 US Drone, 2224 V&M Imports, 2271 Vision Auto Glass Inc., 927 Walker Roofing LLC, 405 Wayne Dalton of Syracuse, 604 Wet Basement Solutions LLC, 723 White’s Farm Supply, 2236 Wicker World, 529 Window World, 632 Wood-Mizer, 2434 YeYa, 926 Young Living Essential Oils, 2333

Home & Garden



Build a better future at the Home and Garden Show Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Job Fair to highlights construction trades The CNY Home and Garden Show will host a Residential Construction Job Fair from 9:3011:30 a.m. Friday, March 16, in the Center of Progress building at the NYS Fairgrounds. With demand for skilled tradespeople on the rise, there’s no better time than now to look at jobs in residential construction, say event organizers. Job fair attendees will have the opportunity to network with dozens of companies looking to hire in construction fields including masonry, HVAC, carpentry and electrical trades. These fields have all experienced an increased demand for skilled individuals, proving that a college degree isn’t the only road to success.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics Survey data and analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the 2015 median annual wage of most positions in the residential building sector was $39,500 – 10 percent above the U.S. median annual wage of $35,540. The median average annual salary in New York State for most residential construction jobs is $55,720. Admission to the job fair is free. Attendees of the job fair receive a free ticket to the CNY Home and Garden Show. The BuildingTomorrow’sWorkforce Job Fair is presented by the Home Builders & Remodelers

of Central New York, The C N Y

Home and Garden Show and The Parade of Homes. For more information, visit careers.

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Home & Garden


Home and garden show l From page 10

or gather information and contact companies at a later time. 3Save money with show-only specials and incentives. 3Learn about all the latest products for home and family. 3Meet face-to-face with experts. 3Get to know companies before working with them in their homes. Features of the show will include: · An up-close look at solar energy · Building Tomorrow’s Workforce – jobs in the residential construction industry Exhibits include: · Windows, doors and counter tops (marble, granite, quartz and more) · Landscaping and lawnmowers · Sheds and saunas · Hot tubs, spas and pools · Water softeners, plumbing supplies and water proofing · Solar energy systems · Kitchen and bath updates · Home gutters · Builders and remodelers · Live product demonstrations Displays include:

· An outdoor living oasis, outdoor kitchen, fireplace, bonfire pits · Flowers and plantings · Custom-built pergolas · Outdoor sheds, lawn mowers and fencing · Landscaping retaining walls · New durable and low-maintenance products for 2018 Whether building, remodeling, landscaping or redecorating, the Home & Garden Show offers fresh ideas to add comfort, beauty and energy efficiency to the home. Tickets are now on sale at, and a buy one get one free ticket good for Saturday, March 17, only are available. Limited to first 500 tickets. Sponsored by Wet Basement Solutions. Tickets will be $10 at the door, good for day of purchase. Children age 16 and under enter for free. Parking is free, with free shuttle bus service from the parking lots to the Center of Progress and Exhibit Center on the New York State Fairgrounds.

Thinking of remodeling? Think about long-term beauty and durability. Think about energy efficiency, comfort and quality craftsmanship. Don’t settle for anything less than Marvin® Windows and Doors for your remodeling project. At Ryan’s Windows & Doors, Inc., we’ll help you think and rethink all the possibilities. Explore your options and get started today.

About Home Builders & Remodelers of Central New York The HBR of CNY has more than 200 members engaged in the residential construction industry. It is more than a trade association: it’s a community of hard-working individuals focused on providing, upgrading and maintaining homes for our neighbors in Central New York. HBR of CNY provides educational sessions to members to ensure they are up to date on industry codes, regulations, laws, products, services, and trends, and are informed on best business practices. The association actively supports our community with projects that make our region a vibrant place to work, play and live. For more information on the home and garden show, visit cnyhomeandgarden2018. com or visit the Facebook page at facebook. com/ centralnewyorkhomegardenshow/. For more information on the job fair visit

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Home & Garden




Home & Garden


Hot Peppers to try this year By Melinda Myers


urn up the heat and add a bit of spice to your meals with hot peppers. Add them to your garden, flower borders and containers for added beauty and easy picking. Your biggest challenge will be narrowing down your choices. Let All-America Selections (AAS),, winners help. This nonprofit organization tests new edible and ornamental varieties nationally for their suitability to home gardens and containers. Grow a few cayenne peppers if you like Mexican, Cajun and Asian cuisine. They also add a bit of zip to dips, stews and marinades. Brighten your meals and garden with the brilliant red and tasty fruit of Red Ember. This 2018 AAS winner is pretty enough for flower gardens or containers. You’ll be harvesting earlier and longer, providing more time to use and enjoy them. For a mildly spicy option with the same great flavor try Cayennetta. Its heat and cold tolerance makes it a great choice no matter where you garden. If you like it even hotter, include a few habaneros in the garden. Then add heat and flavor to jerk chicken, chili, jam and other recipes. For those that like the flavor of habanero, but can’t stand the heat, try Roulette habanero. It looks and tastes like a habanero in every aspect except its not hot. Roulette is the perfect solution for families with different heat tolerances. Add a full spectrum of color to containers and small space gardens with the early ripening Hungarian Mexican Sunrise and Sunset wax peppers. The conical shaped fruit transition from green to yellow, then orange and red. The fruit can be harvested and eaten at any stage. But the longer it is on the plant, the better the flavor. Mexican Sunrise is semi-hot while Mexican Sunset is for those that like a bit more heat. Both can be eaten fresh, stuffed, baked, grilled or pickled. Grow a few Aji Rico peppers to add warm heat with a hint of citrus to your dishes. Eat them fresh or cook into salsa and hot sauces. Control the heat with the

number of seeds left in the fruit. The more seeds that remain; the greater the heat. Roast them, use them fresh or string a few Giant Ristra peppers together to dry and use throughout the winter. Don’t be fooled by its appearance. This 7-inch chili pepper looks like a sweet Marconi but has the spiciness of a cayenne. For those who want to crank up the heat try Emerald Fire at 2,500 Scoville units. Not the hottest pepper on the market, but this jalapeno is certainly one to respect. The deep green fruit resists cracking and matures to red. Use them fresh, stuff with cream cheese, grill or can for later use. If your taste lies on the other end of the heat spectrum start with Chili Pie and work your way to some of these hotter varieties. These miniature bell peppers are mildly hot when the fruit turns red. Be careful not to mix them in with your sweet bell peppers. Heed this warning when growing and using any hot peppers. Clearly mark or better yet grow your hot peppers away from sweet peppers to avoid an unwelcome surprise. Keep your hands away from your eyes when working with hot peppers and wash them thoroughly when done. Most importantly, have fun growing and using hot peppers in your garden, containers and meals. These beauties combine nicely with other vegetables, herbs and flowers to create stunning garden beds and containers. And their spicy flavor is sure to help you create memorable meals this season.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by AAS for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ web site is

Pictured: Red Ember, a 2018 All-America Selections winner, is full of flavor and adds beauty to gardens. All-America Selections

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bug out SPRING 2018

Don’t How to control this season common spring pests


ust when winter thaws out and people are anxious to enjoy the blooming flowers and luscious lawns of spring, pesky pests can appear and impact comfort levels and safety. Many pests resume their levels of activity as spring draws closer and temperatures warm up. The presence of these insects and rodents may cause problems in and around a home, which makes it essential to recognize them and avoid issues. The following are some of the more common spring pests and how to remedy infestations.

Pavement ants

Pavement ants are some of the most common pests residents encounter inside and outside of their homes. These ants are light brown to black with appendages that are lighter than the rest of their bodies. Small in stature, pavement ants have parallel lines on their heads and thorax, according to pest extermination company Orkin. Although pavement ants nest outdoors, they can enter homes through small crevices in search of food scraps. Their large colonies may not disappear until treatment is introduced. Keep foods in tightly sealed containers, clear counters and floors of crumbs, and address water sources, such as leaks. Pesticides may be needed in extreme conditions.


Fleas are tiny, jumping, biting pests that must find a host upon which to live. As ectoparasites, they feed on blood while living on the body of living hosts. Pets can bring fleas inside the yard and home in warm weather. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program,

flea larvae develop more quickly at higher temperatures. At normal room temperatures, the entire life cycle of a flea is about 18 days. Several flea control products are available to control fleas on cats and dogs. There also may be powders and sprays to alleviate flea infestations in the home. Vacuuming is also very effective in killing larvae in the carpet and at picking up adults.


An errant wasp, hornet or yellow jacket may have survived winter and ridden out the colder temperatures within a home. Once the weather warms, queens will begin to look for places to lay eggs and establish colonies. Treating areas where wasps are seen entering and leaving the home is key. Seal holes as soon as possible. Although wasps help control other insect populations, their painful stings and potentially aggressive nature can make them challenging to have around a home. If a nest is found, hire a professional to remove it.


Many spiders are not harmful enough to humans and pets to be much of a problem. In fact, spiders can be helpful to have around to control the populations of other insects. Still, many homeowners would prefer these web-slinging friends remain outdoors. Therefore, sealing cracks in a home’s foundation and repairing small openings around windows and doors can help keep spiders out. Also, alleviating moisture issues in basements, garages or attics may keep out other bugs that would be prey to spiders. File photo Homeowners can take the steps necessary to cut down on pests in and Ants are a nuisance that become more active as the weather warms. around their homes.


Home & Garden



Home & Garden


Simple ways to avoid injury while gardening


uring the winter, many people anxiously await the arrival of warm weather so they can get back to their gardens, but, like other activities, gardening carries certain safety risks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that gardeners suffer thousands of injuries every year. Many of these injuries involve lawn and garden equipment or accessories used while tending to plants. To reduce their risk for injury, gardeners can follow these important safety precautions.

R Plant

gardens in raised garden beds and containers to reduce the need to stoop down to tend to plants. Raised beds are easier on gardeners’ backs and knees. R Wear long-sleeved shirts and durable pants to protect arms and legs from branches, thorns and insects. R Remove tripping hazards, such as roots, lumber, rocks, and loose gravel, from the yard at the start of gardening season. R Wear gloves to prevent blisters


from forming and to protect hands from any chemical products used in the garden. Gloves also can keep hands clean, ensuring bacteria and fungi do not find their way into open cuts or scrapes. R Vary activities and take periodic breaks so prolonged repetitive motions do not contribute to soreness or injury. R Follow instructions for tools, and always use the right tool for the job.

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STORAGE EDITION Create more closet space without major renovations


loset space is at a premium in many homes and apartments. Many older homes were not built to accommodate large wardrobes, while rental properties are often designed to maximize living space at the expense of storage. Closets vary depending on the size of the home, but many tend to be a minimum of 24 inches deep so they can store garments without the clothes brushing against the walls. Bedroom and hallway closets can be four feet in length or more. Walk-in closets are the largest options, but such spaces tend to only be available in modern homes or custom-built properties. It is not always practical or possible to undergo renovations to create more closet space. Apart from moving to a new residence, homeowners or renters must evaluate the space they have and make some more efficient choices in how they utilize available areas.

Clear out clutter

The first step to more closet space is to eliminate unused items. Clothing that no longer fits or items that can be stored elsewhere should be removed from the closet. Donate as much as possible. Some organizations will even pick up donations at your convenience.

Upgrade hangers and rods

Replace existing hangers with slimmer, more uniform alternatives that more easily fit into your closet. In addition, remove empty hangers, which are likely

just taking up space. Consider dual closet rods if space will allow them. Hang the second rod below an area reserved for shorter clothing to achieve a two-tiered design. Grouping short items together also can free up valuable floor space.

Stack taller

Many closets are as tall as the ceilings of the rooms where theyÕre located. However, the upper area may go unused because if it is not easy to reach. Install shelving above the closet rod with small swing-out style cabinet doors to offer access. In such areas, store seasonal items that you wonÕt need to reach for each day. Keep a step stool close by for easy accessibility. In small rooms, homeowners may want to find another way to utilize vertical space. A loft bed, which raises the bed up to a level where it might be on the top bunk of a bunk bed, will free up plenty of storage space beneath the bed. This can be turned into a floor closet.

Create storage for small items

Bookends, bins, boxes and drawers can be used to contain items that donÕt easily conform to closets. These may be purses, scarves, ties, and more. DonÕt overlook the possibilities of hanging items on the wall inside the closet or on the back of closet doors. When finishing closet makeovers, be sure to install lighting inside the closet so items are more visible.

Corral foyer clutter

A home’s foyer is the first thing guests experience when coming inside, but also can be the first place for belongings after long days at school or work and can quickly be consumed by clutter. Homeowners hoping to clear their entryways of clutter must first decide if the space is simply a decorative spot with home decor on display or is functionality the primary goal, then decide which items, such as shoes, keys, umbrellas or coats, need to be in the area. Next assess storage needs and what’s already available to see if user-friendly storage items need to be purchased. These ideas can help bring order to the entryway: 3Create a central location where items are neat, orderly and within reach. Use a bulletin board, dry-erase calendar or something that can house schedules and important notices. Hooks can hold keys, chargers and more. 3Keep it covered. Covered bins can serve as a seating area and also a place to store shoes, hats and scarves. 3Store items in cabinets so they are organized but out of sight. This way belongings are not just left on an entryway table. 3Create another drop zone. If the entryway is too small to serve its purpose, outfit another room or area, such as a mudroom or laundry area, that also can do the job. Install shelves, a bench, cabinets and hooks. Just be sure this space is close enough to the entryway to make it useful. 3An easy way to keep things neater is to remove items from the floor and embrace vertical storage. Shoe racks, hooks for purses and a cabinet for coats may do the trick.

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Calling all weekend warriors

These home improvements can be done over the course of a few days


ome improvement projects ramp up when the weather warms up, as homeowners channel the rejuvenating feelings of spring and tackle their home todo lists. Large-scale renovations can greatly affect a home, but smaller projects can yield impressive results and be completed over the course of a single weekend. If time is of the essence, these weekend or one-day projects may satisfy homeowners’ desires to fix up their homes. Create an accent wall. Painting a focal wall in a home can create a serious impact. The bonus is it will not take as long or require as many materials as painting an entire room. Accent walls frequently feature a bold color, so decide on placement and tackle this project in less than a day. Install stair runners. Dress up hardwood stairs with decorative carpet runners. Runners come in elongated pieces of carpeting or individual pieces that can be placed on each step. If carpeting doesn’t fit with the home’s design, painting

individual stair treads also can create visual appeal. Dress up the entryway. An entryway is a guest’s first impression of a home. Many entryways can use a minor overhaul, both inside and outside. Paint the front door a different color so it pops from the curb. Install a new mailbox or decorative house numbers. A new welcome mat can change the look as well. Inside, consider laying a new floor. Resilient vinyl tiles come in many different patterns and can mimic the look of wood, travertine or marble. Installing a floor can take a day or two. Install a new faucet. Instantly improve a kitchen or a bathroom with new fixtures. New faucets can provide aesthetic appeal and low-flow faucets can help conserve water. Create a gallery on the staircase. Gather and arrange framed photos, artwork or wall accents so that they ascend the wall of a staircase. This creates a designer touch and can dress up an often barren

area of wall space. Install a fresh light fixture. Improve drab spaces with a little illumination. Better Homes & Gardens suggests replacing an existing fixture with something new and vibrant. If hanging a new fixture is not within one’s skill set, free-standing table or floor lamps also can cast a new glow on a space. Add molding. Molding can add instant aesthetic appeal to a room. Molding is appropriate near the floor, at the top of walls where they meet the ceiling, or even mid-wall as a chair rail. Some homeowners like to create framed molding on walls in formal living spaces. Update kitchen or bathroom hardware. Replacing hardware is a fast and easy project, but one that can have immediate impact. Swap out tired or outdated hardware for newer brushed metals and more impactful shapes and designs. Home renovations do not need to take weeks or months. Many projects can be completed over the course of a weekend.

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Party on the patio!

Items to improve outdoor living spaces


he popularity of outdoor living spaces has been growing for years. A 2014 study from the home remodeling and design platform Houzz found that 56 percent of homeowners were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining. Similarly, nearly 60 percent of architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects in 2016 said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built. Outdoor living spaces may also be sound investments for homeowners looking to improve the resale value of their properties. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2017 “Cost vs. Value” report, outdoor living spaces returned between 55 and 71 percent of homeowners’ initial investments at resale. When planning an outdoor living space, homeowners with ample backyards have much to work with. However,

to make the most of the space while simultaneously hoping to get as strong a return on their investments as possible, homeowners should look to create spaces that offer broad appeal and are not too personalized. The following are some popular outdoor living space features homeowners may want to consider.

Outdoor kitchens

Outdoor kitchens allow homeowners to prepare more than just traditional backyard barbecue fare. A standalone charcoal grill in the backyard might get the job done, but a built-in gas grill complete with burners and surrounding granite countertop makes for a more functional outdoor entertaining space.


Indoor entertaining areas often include bars, so it makes sense that homeowners want to include a place to prepare and serve beverages to their guests. Homeowners with room in their budgets may want to install wet bars where they can rinse mixers, glasses and other items needed to prepare drinks for their guests.

Warming features

Features that can keep homeowners and their guests warm after the sun sets include outdoor fireplaces and firepits. A 2016 survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that fireplaces and firepits were the most popular outdoor design element in 2016. Such features can provide a focal point in the backyard while also extending the outdoor living season into autumn and even early winter.

Porch space

Outdoor living spaces are often found in the backyard, but homeowners with bigger front yards than backyards may want to expand or open their porch spaces to create more space outside. Porch swings and rocking chairs provide a great place to relax, and porch spaces are covered, meaning homeowners can continue to enjoy time outside even when it begins to rain. Outdoor living spaces are growing in popularity. Homeowners who want to capitalize on this trend can do so in various ways.

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Transform bathrooms with technology


echnology is infiltrating every room of the house. Many new home buyers are millennials, and this techsavvy demographic covets technological innovations. A recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate indicates 77 percent of Generation X and Y home buyers want their homes equipped with the tech capabilities they have grown accustomed to. Many of these involve smart innovations, including those that can transform one of the most private rooms in the house -the bathroom. According to the home improvement resource The Spruce, bathrooms have the most potential of any rooms to be improved with technology. The following are just some of these bathroom gadgets and gizmos:

Automatic faucets

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Instead of having to blast the volume on the portable speaker you use in the bathroom, a wireless speaker is built into some showerheads. This enables those who like to sing in the shower or listen to podcasts while washing up to enjoy this luxury effortlessly.

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Bathroom scales have gone high-tech as well, with various options enabling users to measure weight, BMI and body fat percentage before sending the data wirelessly to a phone, tablet or computer. This can put you in greater control of fitness goals.

High-tech toilets

Borrowing ideas from bidets and trends around the world, modern toilets do not require hands or paper.

These toilets have temperaturecontrolled water, spritzing wands and air dryers to clean and sanitize. Self-cleaning toilets help busy professionals save time and are ideal for those who always want their bowls as clean as possible. And if you desire extra comfort, toilet seat warmers are available, while LED lights can make nighttime restroom visits easier.

Soaking tubs

As fast as stand-alone showers were introduced to the modern bathroom, tubless designs have been replaced with streamlined soaking tubs. Tubs come with different features, including chromatherapy, which employs colored lights to enhance mood. Air baths are controlled electronically and provide different levels of sensation for those who are skipping the hot tub. Round out these innovations with automated lights, chilled medicine cabinets and aromatherapy, and your bathroom will indeed become a technological spa.

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Home and garden spring 2018  
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