Goodwill and Giving

♥ ‘Tis the season of giving and goodwill. ♥
How will you show your holiday spirit? We’ve got some great ideas for you!

Charity

  • Volunteer for the Salvation Army. Reach out to your local office to find out all of the opportunities in your area such as toy sorting, assisting truck deliveries and food basket deliveries.
  • Reach out to your local hospital and see how you can volunteer or visit the patients.
  • Share some love with furry friends and the MSPCA. Spend some time giving attention and love to local shelter animals. Donating old blankets, pillows and animal toys would be great!
  • Volunteer at your local homeless shelter preparing and serving meals to the homeless.
  • Bring some cheer to senior citizens so no one has to spend the season alone or without a home cooked meal.
  • Make a difference in the life of a child with a life-threatening medical condition with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
  • There’s always the timeless tradition of caroling. Check with your local community centers and neighborhood groups or rally a crew of your own. You could even merge this with the senior and hospital suggestions above! Make it even more fun by dressing up as holiday characters!
  • Reach out to your local food pantry and see if you can help deliver holiday meals.
  • Check out Volunteer Match.
  • Pay for someone’s layaway anonymously.
  • Buy the coffee order for the person behind you.
  • Pay for someone’s dinner tab.
  • Bring a panhandler a brown bag lunch.
  • Enjoy a street musician’s talent and pay them for the show.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation in a friend’s name

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge

December Home Maintenance

Decorations, strolls, carols, parties, football and the start of winter weather – December sure has a lot going on! We’ve simplified this month’s maintenance to-do list so that you can focus on the beauty of this special time of year. From our big Whalen Restoration Services family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Bulb

  1. Test all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  2. Unpack and test all electrical holiday decorations. Repair or discard any that do not function properly.
  3. Review the family fire escape and emergency plans with every household member.
  4. Check your fire extinguisher’s expiration date and the gauge to ensure that it is fully charged.
  5. Check that there is still insulation around all exterior pipes and make sure that water cannot seep under the insulation.
  6. Detail clean your dishwasher, trash compactor and countertop appliances.
  7. Clean your range hood and either clean or replace the filter.

Printable version: December Home Maintenance Checklist

Holiday Safety

With all of the decorating, cooking, company and busy schedules it’s no secret that the holiday season brings a large increase in property damages and injuries.  We’re here to help those numbers go down! Before you deck the halls, light the menorah or ring in the New Year with a crowd read this refresher on holiday safety.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking

  • Think twice before frying your turkey. Yes, fried turkey is delicious, but it’s one of the most dangerous methods you could ever try. If you do plan on frying up the main course don’t overfill the pot, turn off the flame when you lower the turkey into the pot, fry outside far away from the house and shed on a flat, level surface that is not wood, make sure the turkey is properly thawed before dropping it, and keep a grease-fire-approved extinguisher (Class B Dry) close by just in case! See what can happen.
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended. Cooking a turkey in the oven takes hours but please resist the urge to leave, even for just a few minutes. If baking, simmering, roasting or broiling make sure to check on the food often and stay in the kitchen. If you need to step away even for a short period of time, turn it off.
  • If you have pots and pans on the stove make sure you turn the handles away from you and keep kids and pets away from the stove and oven.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is not expired, that it’s fully charged, and remember the PASS instructions (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep).
  • Keep knives, matches, lighters and hot things out of reach of children.
  • Keep your floors clear of tripping hazards.
  • If you end up with a fire in your oven turn the heat off and keep the door CLOSED.  

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Decorating

  • Location, location, location – Make sure decorations and candles are kept at least 3’ away from the reach of kids and pets. Keep your tree at least 3’ away from any heat source or electrical.
  • Keep your tree hydrated – A dry tree is a major fire danger. Preventing a fire starts with selecting a fresh tree that keeps its needles when touched. Lowe’s helps us select the perfect one! After you cut the tree to size you need to check it daily and add water as needed. Set yourself an alert on your phone to remind you, or purchase a Tree Nanny!
  • When the tree starts to lose needles and dry out make sure to quickly dispose of it away from your house, garage or shed.
  • Before plugging them in inspect every inch of each string light to make sure there are no breaks or tears. Discard damaged ones. Every string has a limit set by the manufacturer of how many can be connected together before you’re risking electrical shock or fire. Mark each set with a tag indicating that limit and connect no more than recommended.
  • The fire is so delightful but putting anything near it can end up frightful! Just as we said with the kids and candles you want to keep things clear of your fireplace as well. If you light fires under your mantle hang your stockings elsewhere. Consider purchasing flameless candles instead of lighting real ones.
  • The Ooohs and Ahhhs for your outdoor display are not worth the risk of an overloaded electrical outlet. This coincides with only connecting the maximum amount of strings that the manufacturer recommends. Refrain from using extensions or outlet splitters.
  • If your string lights have loose connections toss them out.
  • Indoor, outdoor, but never both – Pay close attention to the type of lights you’re buying and where they should be hung. If you’re not storing them in their original boxes make sure to label them for next year. Here are some great decoration storage ideas!
  • Before you leave the room or fall asleep make sure to turn off all lights and extinguish all flames first!
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights, like these Command Clear Decorating Clips.

 

November Home Maintenance

We can smell the Turkey already! Within the hustle and bustle of planning your Thanksgiving holiday celebrations and Black Friday shopping lists, work in these maintenance items to stay on top of your game.

November Colors

  • Daylight savings ends this month. Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you change your clocks.
  • Shut off outdoor water spouts and empty hoses for storage.
  • Make sure everyone in the household knows where the main water shut-off is and how to use it.
  • Drain or stabilize the fuel from your gas powered lawn equipment that you won’t be using for the winter season and test your winter equipment.
  • Inspect your automatic garage door opener and lubricate it according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Reprogram your thermostats for the winter season and reverse the direction of your ceiling fans.
  • Clean your refrigerator inside and out removing all food, shelves, trays and old ice from the ice maker. Replace the baking soda.
  • Restock and update your severe weather emergency kit. Check expiration dates on first aid and supplies.
  • Back-up your computer files either on the cloud or on an external hard drive that you keep in a weather tight place.

Printable Version: November Home Maintenance Checklist

October Home Maintenanace

Boo! Did I scare you? No? Well, these maintenance items aren’t so scary either. We’ll stick to providing good home maintenance advice and leave the scaring to the trick-or-treaters, haunted houses and horror films. Happy pumpkin spice EVERYTHING season!

Picture_Fall_Leaves

  • Test all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • If you haven’t already done it from our June list, have your chimneys and wood stoves swept and inspected by a professional.
  • Add extra insulation to any exposed pipes in unfinished rooms that may drop below 65˚F.
  • Vacuum and clean dust from vents, baseboard heaters and cold-air returns.
  • Clean your windows and if they aren’t double pane replace screens with storm windows.
  • Once the leaves have fallen clear your gutters and downspouts. Consider replacing old gutters with new ones that include built-in leaf guards.
  • Clear your lawn of all debris from trees and shrubs. If the health of a tree looks questionable contact a tree professional and consider having it removed.
  • Check your windows and doors for air leaks and apply weather stripping and caulk where needed. Incense is a great tool for identifying the source of drafts. Don’t forget the basement!

Printable version: October Home Maintenance Checklist