Maria DiCarlo's Blog
32 Penny Lane, Stoneham, MA 02180
Everyone likes to keep their home smelling fresh. At the very least, it assures us that when our guests come they have a pleasant aroma that welcomes them into the home. However, fragrances can be beneficial in other ways.
Some are calming, while others stimulating and invigorating. They can help you set the tone you’re aiming for, whether it’s a relaxing bath or sitting down to get some work done in your office.
At one time, you didn’t have many options when it came to giving your home a pleasant fragrance. You could burn candles, which can be dangerous if you have children or pets running around. Or you could use a plug-in air freshener, which are expensive and smell artificial.
Recently, however, a third option has been gaining popularity--essential oil diffusers.
Essential oils have a number of uses. They’re in the cologne and perfume we spray on our bodies, they’re in the room spray we use to freshen up our homes, and they’re an ingredient in a number of other cosmetic and therapeutic products.
Many are said to have medicinal value, such as a decongestant or a sleep aid. Others are used simply because they smell great.
In this article, we’re going to talk you through using an essential oil diffuser in your home and what oils you might want to start with.
Methods of oil diffusion
There are a number of ways you can spread the aroma of essential oils in your home. One of the quickest and easiest ways is to put a drop or two of essential oils on a tissue and simply wave it around in the room.
For a more far-reaching effect, you’ll need to find a longer lasting way of diffusing the oils. Many people choose steam. You can either purchase a steam oil diffuser or just put a few drops into boiling water.
Another option is to use a heat source. You can buy tea light to heat the oils or, if you want to avoid open flames, buy an electric heat diffuser.
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and if you’re new to essential oils, it might be a good idea to start small by simply buying a starter pack of oils, smelling them to see which you like, and putting a couple drops in a boiling pot of water or dabbing them on a tissue.
A note of caution: essential oils are strong. Getting them on your hands or clothing, especially if undiluted, can mean your hands or clothes smelling like that oil for several days. You should also avoid putting them near your eyes or mouth as many essential oils can be dangerous.
Which oils to use
Oils have a range of scents--floral, citrus, earthy, spicy, minty, and so on. Knowing which oil you want for a given scenario is a matter of preference and trial and error. However, there are several blends or “recipes” that people prefer.
Common pairings include:
Orange and peppermint
Lavender and lemon
Bergamot and patchouli
Basil and sage
Cypress and cedarwood
Lemongrass and eucalyptus
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One of the biggest benefits to buying a home is that of the tax savings for you. You own a home now, so there’s no more monthly rental payments going out the window. All of your mortgage payments are going towards your financial future. There’s many different types of tax breaks that you can get from owning your home. Many home improvement projects that allow you an extra tax break are hiding right in the fine print! Tax breaks are known as “incentives.” These incentives are essentially what help people to get important things in their homes done without having a order placed on them. There are some hidden things that you may not have known could be used as tax write-offs.
From putting solar panels on your home to replacing appliances, there are certain tax breaks that you can get for making your home more energy efficient. There are lifetime caps on these deductions, but on a certain year, you’ll be able to save some extra money on your taxes. Some of the deductions that you might be able to claim include:
- Air-source heat pumps
- Biomass stoves
- Central AC units
- Water heaters
- Certain energy-generation systems which include an array of things like water heaters, solar panels, fuel cell systems, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps.
You can deduct somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of the cost of these improvements to your home. It doesn’t hurt to check on the updated standards that are introduced each year by the government. Your accountant can help you to understand your own deductions a bit more in-depth.
Modifying Your Home For Medical Needs
If you need to modify your home in order to accommodate medical needs, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. The modifications must not increase the value of your home and be medically necessary. If the doctor tells you to lose weight and you put in a home gym, you can’t deduct that. If you need a ramp put in your home for wheelchair accessibility, then that can be deducted. The cost of the modifications generally has to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, or 7.5% if you’re over the age of 65.
What’s Not Deductible
If you have done some major remodeling around your home, it’s sad to say that these improvements probably aren’t tax deductible. On the positive side, you will get a bigger return on your home when you do decide to sell it. This could help you to reduce any capital gains tax that you may have to pay on the sale of the home.
Remember that when you make improvements to your home, you’re doing it first for your own needs. Any tax write-offs that you may get are merely a bonus.
Keeping a vegetable or flower garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do during the warm months. It’s an excuse to get outside, grow delicious food, save money on groceries, and learn about the art of gardening.
One of the keys to a healthy garden is to maintain your soil quality. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, from buying fertilizer, to mixing in lime, manure and other additives. One way to improve your garden soil quality while also reducing household waste is to start composting.
In this article, we present a guide to garden composting that will help you grow healthier plants and find a new purpose for the waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
What is composting?
Composting is a lot like recycling. It’s nature’s way of reusing minerals and nutrients from organic matter by putting them back into the soil.
Most of us are averse to rotting fruit and vegetables, but they’re packed with the nutrients that your garden needs to flourish.
Benefits of composting
Aside from increasing the nutrients in your soil, composting can help in a number of other ways. It will help the soil retain moisture, meaning you’ll have to water less, it can help you save money on fertilizer, and it will yield healthier plants and fruit that have a higher nutritional value.
Better yet, aside from the cost of buying or building a composting bin, it’s a free resource.
Most homeowners who compost their organic waste do so by buying or building a composting bin. These range from simple wooden boxes to barrels built on a spit for rotating.
Generally, compost bins are either wooden (unstained) or plastic. Metal will generally rust, and you don’t want to mix rust into your garden.
The key to good composting is being able to move the composting matter around so that it can receive oxygen. However, you’ll also want to be able to keep it moist to encourage decomposition.
If you decide to start off with just a simple wooden box for your compost, make sure you have easy access to a shovel to mix the compost around.
In terms of location, you probably don’t want your bin to be too close to your home. Decomposition doesn’t smell great, and you won’t want the odors floating through your windows on a hot summer day.
What to compost
The number of things you can toss into your compost bin is surprisingly large. However, here’s a short list of some common compostable items:
Fruits and vegetables, coffee grinds, leaves and grass clippings, breads, and cereals.
There are more advanced composting methods that can break down things like newspaper, paper bags, and egg cartons, but it’s best to start with organic materials.
Maintaining your compost bin
There are a few key steps to maintaining a healthy compost bin. First, make sure you have a variety of materials in it. Putting only one type of organic matter in your compost bin will make it hard to break down. A mixture of leaves, clippings, and fruits and vegetables will yield better results than just grass clippings.
Next, make sure you keep it moist by watering the compost heap once a week, or whenever it seems like it’s drying out.
Finally, rotate or mix the composting material around with a shovel. This will help matter break down faster and more evenly.