Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tips To Stay Cool During The Storm

“Isaac” is knocking at our door. The first feeder bands are coming over our area. Soon it will be storming outside the window. There may be big flashes of lightning, booming and rolling thunder, crackling, sizzling, and popping noises, and the sound of rain and water rushing from the rain gutters, wind tearing at the structures. All that may be a bit unsettling. We remind ourselves that this is no “Katrina”, but listening to the continuous feed of all the news stations and hyped up weather forecasters can rattle the nerves.

Conditions after a storm can be just as dangerous and damaging when residents don’t take the needed precautions. It’s a fact that the majority of people who die in a storm don’t die during the storm itself, but after or before the storm, when they think the risks are lowest. Flooding, and other hazards, can be more damaging and dangerous than the storm itself.

Don’t let the potential stress of the situation rob you of your common sense.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid danger and keep your cool:

  • Stay Inside Away From Windows

Lightning strikes, flash flooding, high winds can potentially knock a grown man down, flying debris can hit and injure you outdoors. During bad weather stay indoors in a safe place away from exterior windows. It can be fascinating to watch the electrical show of a storm, witnessing its awesome power and destructive capability. Flying debris, loose roof shingles, tree branches, pebbles and rocks and even super harsh winds and water, can all break windows. Stay safe in interior rooms away from windows, and exterior walls if at all possible.

  • Do Not Drive

It should make sense not to drive when it is advised not to go outside. Flash flooding can be very dangerous. It is hard to see how deep water in the street is. A car can stall, or worse, get washed away with you in it. Drowning can become a real possibility.  Also, remember to be courteous to your neighbors. If you find yourself driving through water, you may be pushing that water into somebody’s house. You would not want anybody to do that to you, causing you stress and damaging your property. If you get bored: maybe read the book you’ve been planning to pick up. Just find something safe to do indoors.

  • Minimize Electricity Use

A lot of electrical activity or wind often comes with a storm. It’s safer to keep your electronics UNPLUGGED, not just turned off. A lightning strike can fry your equipment.

  • Minimize Water Usage

Do your laundry, and clean the dishes before the bad weather hits. Try to minimize showers and baths during a storm. You don’t want to be caught in the shower when lightning strikes. Also, the sewer system may be overloaded with all the rain water. Nobody wants sewer backing up into the house. Nobody.

  • Stay off the Phone

Telephones, especially those plugged directly into an outlet, use electricity that is separate from the electricity in your home. With a corded phone that is plugged into a jack, you will likely still have phone service, even if your electricity is out . Reserve it for emergencies only. You may be shocked through a phone line when it’s plugged into a live phone jack.

Cell phone towers often lose signals or networks get overloaded when storms are brewing and in the time after.  To keep safe in a storm, have both a cell phone and a corded phone to use in case of an emergency. It’s best to let friends and family know where you are going to be and how to reach you before the weather turns bad.

  • Have Bottled Water or Fill Safe Containers With Filtered Water

Having fresh water that is safe to drink is one of the most important things during bad weather or a storm. Clean water becomes absolutely essential if you have a baby, somebody who is ill or elderly living with you. Your city may have to issue an order to boil water in the aftermath of a storm. If the power goes out that may be tricky.

  • Protect Your Pets

You need to find a way to bring your pets inside or under shelter during a storm. They are your responsibility. A barn, covered porch, storage shed, laundry room, or other safe room should work for your animals if you don’t want them in your home.  In addition to doing the right thing, you will help prevent the spread of disease caused by animals eating decaying things, or worse, from dead animals that animal control officers don’t get to before people and children start getting out and about again after a storm.

  • Remove Potential Debris

Any loose items can become projectiles in a storm; lawn chairs, umbrellas, plastic chairs, BBQ equipment, lawn equipment, potted plants, and even items you would consider heavy. Secure them indoors or in a sturdy storage. That should include extension cords, decorations or other semi-permanent lighting outdoors.

It is always safest to leave and leave early to avoid the traffic headaches. If you stay, or find yourself away from home worrying about your house, your loved ones… find ways to keep yourself occupied and calm:

  • Don’t Overload On Coffee, Soft Drinks High in Caffeine or Alcohol 

Most of us like our cup of coffee there is nothing wrong with that. Know yourself. Too much coffee or caffeine can make you anxious. A storm will most likely rattle the nerves already, don’t make it worse. A cup of mint or chamomile tea could be just the thing to soothe the nerves, help stay calm, and deliver a satisfying taste, hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened, with or without lemon, ginger, the possibilities are endless.

It can be tempting to have a glass of your favorite beverage to soothe the nerves. Don’t overdo it, during a storm emergency situations could come up quickly. You don’t want to be impaired by alcohol when you need to react in an emergency. Also, sometimes people make questionable choices under the influence, getting bored and deciding to go joy-riding, for instance, could prove to be especially dangerous.

  • Find Ways to Keep Yourself Occupied

While it’s important to stay informed about the weather and ever-changing situations, staying glued to the TV for extended hours of the day, watching the non-stop broadcast and hyped coverage may not be healthy for you. It could be worse for small children who will feel frightened and helpless not understanding what’s going on. Books, board games, story-time, etc. away from the TV, in a safe part of the house, will be good for them and you to pass the time and get your mind off the weather for a little while.

Add A Gourmet Touch With Delicious Herb Butter

Herb butter is easy to make and great to use with many dishes: pasta, steamed vegetables, baked potato, corn-on-the-cob, fish, toast, etc.  It keeps well in your freezer, and is great to keep on hand for jazzing up those last-minute meals, or add a gourmet touch on special occasions.

1. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.


2. Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (fat-free works fine as well)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Dash pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon zesty Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Try this zesty butter on a slice of homemade bread hot from the oven. There is nothing better! The fresh herbs make a little go a long way. You will use less but still get great flavor. It’s also amazing on baked potato.


3. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne

Mix all ingredients until evenly combined.

Lay about a foot long section of plastic wrap or wax paper on a work surface. Put the herb butter on the bottom center, and form into a mound about 8 inches long. Fold the bottom edge over the butter and roll forward until completely wrapped, forming a tube of butter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Twist the ends together. Refrigerate until firm or freeze for up to 1 month. Slice as needed.

Go ahead and experiment with herb combinations: Parsley, sage, or a combination of parsley, chives, basil, thyme and tarragon. Chives, chervil, salad burnet, tarragon, cress and capers make a tasty combination as well. Also delicious are: parsley and chives with small amounts of thyme, dill, basil, oregano or rosemary.

Add Shine And Fabulous Red Undertones To Your Hair With Red Tea

Ready to update your look? Chemical dyes open the hair shaft, and can damage the hair, causing dryness, frizz and breakage.  Dying your hair naturally eliminates the need for chemical processing at a fraction of the cost. Brewed tea enhances hair color and protects from damage, while gently brightening hair and hiding greys. Red tea, commonly called  rooibos, is ideal for those with red or light brown hair when applied as a rinse.

  1. Fill about 6 to 8 ounces of water for each teabag you intend to use in a large pot.  2-3 tea bags for short to medium length hair, for longer hair, you will need more water and extra teabags. Bring the water to a boil. Add the tea bags to the pot and cover. The more teabags, the stronger the brew. Let the tea steep until the water is room  temperature.
  2. Put an old towel around your shoulders and secure under your neck to protect your skin and clothes from the tea. Tip your head over a tub or sink, and pour the tea over your hair, beginning at the roots. Massage the tea into your hair, the same as shampoo is applied. Leave the tea on for a minimum of three to 10 minutes and a maximum of  30 minutes. The effect of the tea is more intense the longer it stays on. Rinse hair thoroughly and apply a conditioner. Rinse hair again and style as usual.

Applying the red tea rinse in great frequency and lengths of time will increase the effect. Use with caution as to avoid brassiness.

Chamomile Hair Rinse For Sun-Kissed Highlights

If you like those sun-kissed highlights, but the salon price kept you from getting them: Try a chamomile hair rinse.  Why spend a lot of money at the hair salon to highlight your hair when natural products and the sun can do it for you. Is your hair blonde or light brown, or tends to have light highlights?  A chamomile rinse will make the lighter strands pop, giving you those sun-kissed highlights with very little time or money.

Try this:

  • Make a large pot of chamomile tea stronger than you normally would to drink. Steep the chamomile tea until cooled to room temperature and pour into a large bowl.
  • Shampoo and condition hair. Rinse with warm water and squeeze excess water from hair. Don’t use hot water, it can dry out hair. If you suspect you have product build-up on your hair, rinse it with equal parts vinegar and water before proceeding.

  • Saturate hair with cooled chamomile tea, allowing to soak. Keep your hair in the bowl or wrap saturated hair in a towel for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Let your hair dry naturally, in the sun if possible to boost results. This will bring out the natural blonde and golden highlights in your hair.
  • For an overall lightening effect, or to get the “dull” out: mix chamomile tea with conditioner and apply to hair, leave on for about 30 minutes like you would when coloring hair with commercial products. Rinse out. Done. Chamomile is gentle to your hair, so you can use it whenever you like.

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