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10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

by Melissa Hayes Blume

Now that Old Man Winter is here, it is time to prepare your home for winter. 
Here are 10 easy tips for winterizing your home:

  1. Wrap those Pipes
    Before freezing nights hit, make certain the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and the lines are drained. You can also install Styrofoam cups with a screw attachment to help insulate spigots. Look for other pipes that are not insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces and wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores.
  2. Cover those Windows and Seal those Doors
    Check around windows and doors with a candle or a light piece of thread on a windy day too determine where drafts are. This will reveal problem areas in need of immediate attention. Remove and replace damaged caulk and weather-stripping. Self-stick foam and rolled rubber weather stripping are easy to install. An inexpensive method of weatherizing windows involves attaching thin, clear plastic film to the window trim inside of the house using two-sided tape. The film is then stretched tight using a blow dryer to remove wrinkles and creases. Closed shutters, window shades, blinds, curtains, and lined draperies all help save energy and insulate windows. Consider installing efficient replacement windows, or storm windows and doors to make your home more energy efficient.
  3. Check the Furnace
    First, turn your furnace on, to make sure it's even working. A strong, odd, short-lasting smell is natural when firing up the furnace, but if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional. Check your furnace filter monthly and replace it as necessary.
  4. Reverse Ceiling Fans
    Set your ceiling fan at its slowest speed and reverse it in order to gently push warm air down from the ceiling without generating a breeze.
  5. Don’t forget the Chimney
    A chimney should be inspected before use each year. Just ask for a Level 1 inspection, in which the professional examines the readily accessible portions of the chimney. Most certified chimney sweeps include a Level 1 service with a sweep. Buy a protective cap for your chimney, with a screen. This will keep out foreign objects (birds, tennis balls) as well as rain that can mix with the ash and eat away at the fireplace's walls. To keep out cold air, you should keep the chimney's damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. Add glass doors to reduce heat loss as the fire dies down.
  6. Check Smoke Detectors
    Check the operation and change the batteries on your home's smoke detectors. Test them with a small bit of actual smoke, not just by pressing the "test" button. Also, make sure your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
  7. Clean Gutters
    Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home's gutters, so that winter's rain and melting snow can drain. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house. Also, make sure the downspouts are carrying water away from the house's foundation, where it could cause flooding or other water damage.
  8. Trim Trees
    Take time now to trim any weak branches that look as if they could cause problems during winter storms. Trimming the trees during mild weather is much easier than trying to do it when it is frigid outside.
  9. Add Insulation
    Adding insulation is one of the best ways to save energy all year round. During the winter months, that extra insulation makes your home feel warmer. Most homes require 12 to 15 inches of insulation in their attic.
  10. Mind the Thermostat
    In the winter your home does not need to be quite as warm when you are away from the house, so remember to turn the thermostat down before you leave. You may want to invest in a programmable thermostat, which can tell your home’s heating system to gear up for your arrival after work, or to knock off a bit until an hour or so before you get up in the morning.

Black Friday Deals 2011

by Melissa Hayes Blume

Black Friday Deals 2011

Click Here to find out about Black Firday Deals at Wal Mart, ToysRus, BabiesRus, Best Buy, Target, K-Mart, JC Penney, Kohl's, Macys, OfficeDepot, Sears, Staples, Walgreens and More!!

Melissa's Top Christmas Toys for 2011

by Melissa Hayes Blume

Melissa's Top Christmas Toys for 2011 

1. Fijit Friends Interactive Robotic Toy

Ages 6+

 2. “Let’s Rock” Elmo

Ages 2+

 3. Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster

Ages 8+
4. LeapFrog’s Leap Pad Explorer
Ages 4+
5. Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Doll
Ages 4+
6. Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set
Ages 4+
7. Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game
8. Beyblade IR Spin Control Extreme Top System – Gravity Destroyer
Ages 8+
9. Disney Princess Castle Dollhouse
Ages 3+
10. Nintendo 3DS
Ages 6+
11. My Little Pony So Soft Pinkie Pie “Learns to Walk”
Ages 3+
12. Kre-O Transformers Bumlebee
Ages 7+
13. Xia Xia Pets
Ages 4+
14. Lego Ninjago Spinners Spinjitzu Starter Set
Ages 6+
15. Squinkies Disney Princess Packs
Ages 4+
16. Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Poppity Pop Musical Dino
Ages 6 Months+
17. Razor Riprider
Ages 5+
18. Monster High “Dead Tired” Dolls
Ages 6+
19. Smiggle Mini Slap Band Watch
Ages 8+
20. Syma S109G Apache AH-64 3-Channels Mini Indoor Helicopter
Ages 8+
21. Littlest Pet Shop Speedy Tails Radio Control Car
Ages 4+
22. Tonka Chuck & Friends Race-Along Chuck
Ages 3+
23. Jr. Animator 12” Bike
Ages 2+
24. Matchbox Smokey The Fire Truck
Ages 36 Months+
25. Disney Fairies Tri Scooter
Ages 3+
26. Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon 7965 by LEGO
Ages 9+
27. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel
Ages 3+
28. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Ultimate Optimus Prime
Ages 5+

Not Cooking on Thanksgiving? Restaurants Open to Serve You!!

by Melissa Hayes Blume

We have compiled a list of restaurants that will be open Thanksgiving Day. While we've made every effort to ensure accuracy please contact the individual restaurant to confirm their hours and options.

1. Capriccio Grill

The Capriccio Grill, located in the Peabody Hotel downtown will be offering a special dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. The dinner will include traditional fare such as turkey (or ham), dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. The cost for the meal is $40 per adult and $15 per child (ages 5-12)--tax and gratuity are extra. Reservations can be made by calling 901-529-4199.

2. Chez Philippe

Enjoy an elegant Thanksgiving dinner at Chez Philippe in the Peabody Hotel from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Menu will include roasted turkey breast, leek and herb stuffed turkey roulade, sweet potato soup, salad with port poached cranberries, and more. Cost is $70 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call (901) 529-4188 for reservations.

3. Cracker Barrel

If you are looking for a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner -- minus the home-cooking -- then Cracker Barrel may be your best bet. This national chain serves up surprisingly authentic southern fare and pulls out all the stops for Thanksgiving. Because the food is so good, though, expect a wait to be seated.

4. Frank Grisanti

Frank Grisanti's is best known for it's Italian fare but it serves up a mean Thanksgiving dinner, too. From 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. enjoy a special menu featuring turkey, ham, butternut squash soup, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin cheesecake, and more. Call (901) 761-9462 for reservations.

5. Grill 83

Grill 83, the elegant and chic restaurant adjacent to the Madison Hotel, will be serving up a variety of entrees from turkey breast and honey glazed ham to sauteed salmon and braised lamb on November 24th from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 901-333-1224.

6. Huey's

Huey's may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving dinner, but three of their locations will be open on Thanksgiving evening. You won't be able to get any turkey and dressing there, but as always, you can order some of the city's best burgers. Midtown Huey's at 1927 Madison will be open 6pm-2am (kitchen closes at 1:00 a.m.), Cordova Huey's at 1777 Germantown Parkway will be open 5pm- 2:00am, and Poplar Huey's at 4872 Poplar will open 6pm-12:00 midnight.

7. The Peabody Hotel

The Peabody Hotel will be offering a special Thanksgiving Day brunch from 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. The brunch will include hundreds of items, including traditional Thanksgiving fare. Cost is $55 per adult and $20 per child (ages 5-12)--this does not include tax or gratuity. Call 901-529-3668 for reservations.

8. Perkins

Perkins Restaurants are probably best known for their delicious pies, cakes, cookies, and muffins. But each November, Perkins adds Thanksgiving fare to their menu, including the familiar turkey dinner. Just be sure to save room for dessert -- you don't want to miss Perkins' pumpkin pie! There are four Perkins stores in the Memphis area to choose from.

9. Piccadilly

Piccadilly serves up a traditional Thanksgiving meal with favorites such as ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, and cornbread dressing. Or you can even take home a whole family dinner to-go for around $65.00. There are five Memphis area locations making it a convenient Thanksgiving destination.

10. Shoney's

Shoney's is always a popular destination for a hearty meal. On Thanksgiving, visit one of Shoney's three Memphis area locations for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. And of course, your meal comes with Shoney's famous soup and salad bar.

11. Cupboard Restaurant, 1400 Union (276-8015) , will be open from 10:30am until the food is gone.  Turkey and dressing or flame glazed spiral sliced ham, three vegetables, dessert and a drink for $14.99 plus tax.

12. Currents at the River Inn, 50 Harbor Town Square, serves a three-course meal on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for $49, adults, $12 children. Call 260-3300 for reservations.

13. Doubletree Hotel, 5069 Sanderlin, is offering a traditional Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $28.95 for adults, $12.95 for ages 7 to 12, children ages 6 and younger eat free.  Reservations: 322-6666.

14. The Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis will serve a Thanksgiving Day brunch in the Grand Ballroom, with seatings at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. ($31.95 for adults, $28.95

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4