Archive for the 'Seasonal' Category

Jan 06 2014

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

New Year’s Resolution: Enjoy the Great Outdoors – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Activities,Seasonal

Mount Rainier National Park The Garage Plan Shop is making a New Year’s resolution to enjoy the great outdoors in 2014, and we invite you to join us. Whether you never go outside for fun and enjoyment, or you take an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors every chance you get, we are certain you can find a few things on our list that you’ll enjoy doing outside throughout 2014. Our world is full of exciting places to see and fun things to do that are centered on outdoor activity. You can find them anywhere from your own backyard and neighborhood to neighboring states and all the way across the country. Below is just a sampling of the things we hope your do this year to enjoy the great outdoors:

  • Plant a garden this spring/summer (flower or vegetable) and cultivate it throughout the growing season.
  • Teach a child to play baseball, soccer, freeze tag or another childhood game in your backyard.
  • Visit a state park.
  • Visit a national park.
  • Plan a road trip to another climate zone or geographic region and explore how it is different from where you live.
  • Take a float trip down one of our country’s scenic rivers.
  • Go camping with your kids and show them how to roast marshmallows or make S’mores.
  • Ride your bike on a bike path you’ve never been to before.
  • Enjoy more outdoor meals. Grill and dine outside with your family on the porch or deck.
  • Take up outdoor photography.
  • Try going birding at a nearby park, wetland, nature area or conservation center.
  • Go boating with friends and/or family.
  • Share your knowledge about hunting or fishing with a child and take him or her on an outing to experience your love of the sport.
  • Try something you’ve never done like backpacking, wind surfing, or snow skiing.
  • Visit another state and learn to identify unfamiliar wildlife, trees, flowers and other natural elements.
  • Spend a weekend afternoon at a winery.
  • On workdays, pack your lunch and eat outside instead of going to the lunch room/cafeteria.
  • Spend an afternoon walking around a historic or quiet country town.
  • Host a backyard barbecue for family, friends and neighbors.
  • Volunteer to help at an organized event to clean up local streams, lakes or hiking trails.

This list is just the beginning of all the fun activities you can do outdoors by yourself or with your kids, neighbors, friends and co-workers. We are sure you’ll think of many more things you might like to do outside. So join us in 2014 and make an effort to spend more time outside and enjoy the great outdoors!

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Dec 17 2013

Profile Image of M.K. Tenney

Prepare Your Home for the Holidays – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Safety,Seasonal

Flashlight and NightlightThe holidays are an exciting but hectic time of year. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season override the safety of your family and guests. Prepare your home ahead of time and embrace the holiday cheer. Below are some tips to help you:

  • Light the Way – Welcome your guests and reduce the risk of falls with bright outdoor lighting on steps and walkways. Help overnight visitors find their way around your house with ample use of nightlights or flashlights if need be. Avoid the use of candles especially around children. The addition of holiday lights and decorations bring the hazard of extension cords. Make sure that they do not cross the floor where anyone might be walking and do not cover them with rugs.
  • Watch the Pot – Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. Entertaining can pull you away from the kitchen, so designate a pot watcher who can also keep the little ones from underfoot and away from the heat.
  • Mind the Fire – Of course it is so cozy to fire up the fireplace, but do so only if someone can stay in that room to mind it. Of course you will want to follow all the rules of fireplace safety, like having the chimney cleaned and inspected. Don’t allow anyone to throw paper plates or wrapping paper on the fire. Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Childproof – Even if you already have children in the house, prepare for visiting children who may not know or follow your rules. Lock up any potential poisons like cleaners and medications and don’t forget that some plants can be poisonous also. Be mindful that toddlers are fascinated by holiday decorations that could hurt or burn them. Keep an eye out for choking hazards like small toy parts, leftover foods, alcohol, and cigarette butts.
  • Senior-proof – Eliminate tripping hazards like throw rugs and hallway runners. Be wary of what an older person might touch to steady themselves, and remove items that teeter or roll. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and consider installing grab bars in the shower if they will have an extended stay.
  • Pet-proof – You may already know what not to feed your pets, but your guests may not. To be safe, remind them to avoid feeding pets any “people food,” including coffee, alcohol, and candy. Be aware of new hazards like glass ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, plants, and chemicals in the tree water. Pets may need to be isolated in another part of the house, if the excitement of company is too much for them.

Keeping these tips in mind, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!

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Oct 08 2013

Profile Image of M.K. Tenney

Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Maintenance,Seasonal

Gutter CleaningGetting your house ready for winter begins as the leaves begin to fall. Inspecting your home and performing routine maintenance now can prevent costly repairs later. Below is a suggested checklist of home maintenance tips you can use this fall:

 

Gutters – Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of debris prevents them from backing up and damaging roofing especially when cold temperatures cause freezing. Water running behind the gutters can cause problems with rotting, pest infestations, foundation damage and wet basements, so repair or replace gutter hangers and brackets if needed. Check where the water drains to make sure it isn’t collecting in a place that will be damaged or dangerous when frozen.

Chimneys – Make sure the flue is operating properly and the chimney gets cleaned properly if you plan to fire up that fireplace this winter. Also, inspect outside to determine if any tuckpointing or flashing needs attention. If you use a chimney cap to protect the top of your chimney, make sure that it is still attached securely.

Doors and Windows – Lower your heating bills by repairing air leaks around windows and doors. Don’t forget to replace the screens the storm windows and doors. The cooler days of autumn are an ideal time to replace peeling paint and caulk as well.

Plumbing – Drain the spigots and close the valves to outside faucets to prevent freezing and bursting pipes. Insulate the cavities and don’t forget to drain the hose of water.

Attic -Look in the attic after a good rain. This is one way to catch any leaks especially around chimneys and vents. Also check for adequate insulation and seal any air leaks.

Heating – Replace the furnace filter. Do a test run before it gets extremely cold, to ensure that everything is working properly. In the long run, it may pay to have your heating and cooling company clean and inspect your system.

Yard – This is a good time of year to fertilize and reseed lawns. Pay attention and trim any limbs that are close to the roof or power lines. Heavy snow and ice can cause them to fall and do great damage during winter storms. Bring in or protect your outdoor furniture, umbrellas, grills, etc. Make sure all of your outdoor lights and motion detectors are working properly and change their schedules if needed as the days get shorter.

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May 18 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

7 Summer Vacation Road Safety Tips – The Garage Plan Shop

Road TripSummer is finally here! Changes are you just might be taking a road trip this summer. Whether you are heading to the beach the mountains or Grandma’s house somewhere in between it is important to practice safe driving and travel habits. The Garage Plan Shop recommends following this helpful tips from a traffic safety researcher.

 

1.    Get your car in shape – Before you set out on your road trip, make sure your car is in tip-top shape. Have your oil changed, check your tire pressure and make sure your radiator is working.

2.    Map your route – Map your route before you leave. Know which highways and roads you’ll be taking. Check traffic websites and other sites like Google Maps to help you plan your route and navigate construction zones. If your road trip is going to take more than a day’s travel time, check travel websites and book hotel rooms along your route. Don’t forget to pack your maps and any hotel confirmation numbers.

3.    Know the safe times to travel – Studies show roadways are most dangerous late and night and early in the morning when drivers are more likely to be intoxicated or tired. Plan to depart around 7:00 AM and arrive at your hotel or destination no later than 10:00 PM.

4.    Plan for kids and pets – If you’ll be brining your kids or your pets on your road trip, it takes a little extra planning. Pack a cooler with snack and drinks for the little ones. Also bring card games, books, handheld games, favorite music CDs, books on CD or a few small toys to entertain the kids. Plan on playing travel games in the car to pass the time. Do not for get to bring food and water for your pets.

5.    Plan to take breaks – Plan to pull over every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs, give your eyes a quick break and recharge. Take a restroom break. Let the kids run around for a couple minutes and walk the dog. Everyone will feel better about getting back in the car again. If you are traveling with another driver, take turns driving in shifts so no one experiences fatigue.

6.    Do not drink – It is illegal and it is not safe to drink and drive. Research indicates just one alcoholic drink may cause important changes in cognition affecting your ability to drive and make good judgments. Avoid any alcoholic drinks while your road trip is in progress. Wait until you get to the beach or the mountains and enjoy your favorite adult drink with dinner.

7.    Wake up or catch up on sleep – According to statistics, in 2009 over 100,000 car crashes resulted due to drowsy driving. If you are driving in shifts with another driver, take a nap while the other person is behind the wheel. If not, pull over in a safe well-lit place and take a quick power nap. Better yet, plan to check into your hotel early in the evening so you can go to bed early and be refreshed for the next day’s drive.

 

We all look forward to summer vacations and perhaps road trips make for the best memories. Take these precautions to make sure this summer’s road trip is safe and memorable.

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Dec 30 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Easy Dips for Holiday Parties

Ranch Salsa DipThe holidays are here. Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, we are often asked to bring a dish, snack or appetizer to a holiday gathering. These recipes are simple to make and tasty to eat. Try one of these the next time you’re asked to bring something to a gathering.

 

 

Ranch Salsa Dip

 

Ingredients:

1 16 oz carton of sour cream

¾  cup thick and chunky salsa

1 packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dip Mix

1 bag of nacho chips

 

1.    Mix sour cream, salsa and ranch dip mix in a medium bowl.

2.    Chill or serve immediately with nacho chips.

 

 

Hummus

 

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 cup roasted red peppers drained and rinsed

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 garlic cloves minced

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Crackers, veggies or pita chips

 

1.    Add chickpeas to food processor and puree.

2.    Add roasted red peppers and remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth.

3.    Refrigerate.

4.    Serve with crackers, veggies or pita chips

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