Better Home Living for December 2013

To keep the bedroom healthy, keep on dusting

The dust that accumulates on your furniture, floors and knickknacks has nothing to do with poor housekeeping. It’s a natural and continual collection of stuff caused by microscopic dust mites, the breakdown of fibers from household fabrics and furniture, and human and animal dander (skin flakes).

The average house in the United States collects about 40 pounds of dust each year, says allergist William Berger, author of Asthma and Allergies for Dummies.

Dust is a large part of indoor air pollution, mainly because people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, says the Environmental Protection Agency. And dust can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.

While you can’t eradicate dust altogether, there are steps you can take to reduce its accumulation. The first step is getting rid of clutter.

Things like books, clothing, and stuffed toys are big collectors of dust. So are pennants and posters kids tack to their walls.

Molly Hooven, an EPA spokeswoman, suggests concentrating dust-fighting efforts on bedrooms, because you spend about one-third of your time there. Some things you can do:

  • Remove extra furniture and any objects that will give dust mites a place to land on.
  • Vacuum the bedroom carpet using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Vacuuming can eliminate dust mites that have settled on the floor.
  • Clean surfaces such as your vanity, television, side tables and headboards with a damp cloth or a cleaning furniture polish. Close closet doors.
  • Wash your bedding. Use 140-degree water to eliminate dust mites.
  • Place stuffed animals and fabric items that can’t be machine-washed into plastic bags and freeze, which will eliminate dust mites.

Operation Santa Paws, December 1-21

During the holiday season extra help is needed for abused and abandoned animals in local animal shelters.

One grassroots organization, Operation Santa Paws, is helping by spreading the word about a canine-feline toy or treat drive to benefit less-fortunate pets this season.

Animal lovers are encouraged to purchase a new dog toy, cat toy, food or food treats that will be delivered in time for Christmas to a local shelter and rescue organization.

Think about a sad puppy who knows nobody loves him, a beautiful cat that has lost her family for some reason, or a mature dog that had a loving family until they had to move and could no longer care for him.

On Christmas, a toy or a food treat will make them joyful for the day, and you will feel joyful for making it possible.

Holiday greetings, best wishes … and thanks!

It’s hard to believe that another year is almost ended. But it’s true, holiday time is here again!

We’re thinking about you and wishing you a wonderful holiday season. But more than that, we want to express our hearty appreciation for both our clients and employees in 2013. Holiday festivities are more special when an organization is connected to people like you.

There are many ways for individuals to celebrate this season. Gathering with family is one central theme, and it may include music, kids who still believe in Santa Claus, gifts and plenty of good food.

If this is a season of faith for you, we hope you have a beautiful gathering and celebration.

Many of our people also celebrate in a secular way. They observe their own traditions which are equally joyful and satisfying.

To you, and especially you, we say:

Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays.

Happy Hanukkah.

Happy New Year.

Best Wishes.

Joy to the World!

Do You Know…

… someone that could use our services? Perhaps a friend, family member, co-worker, or someone from church?

When a new client signs up for regular cleaning services at your recommendation; you will receive $40 after their 3rd cleaning!

If you would think of 3 or 4 people that could use our services, then don’t hesitate to call them and give them our name and phone number. Be sure to have them mention your name when they call so we can send your $40 Bonus!

Thanks in advance for your help and we look forward to sending cash your way!

Thanks a Bunch!

“Did a good job on first cleaning. Seemed to really want to know exactly what it would take to exceed our expectations.”

-Jeremy H.
Hudsonville, MI

After the first cleaning, I came home and walked through. I think I said “wow!” 10 or so times. They did a beautiful job. This has taken so much stress off of my mind. I am very pleased.”

-Betsy R.
Grand Rapids, MI


Holiday Cream Pesto Pasta

Holiday cream pesto pastaWhen you’re involved in holiday preparations, menu ideas for a family dinner are far down your list, but any recipe with pasta in the title signifies easy, time-saving and satisfying.

Pesto is Italian green sauce that gets its name from the process of crushing basil, garlic and pine nuts in olive oil with a mortar and pestle.

Here’s an effortless pesto pasta recipe bound to please your family or guests any day of the month, but made doubly so, because it uses the already prepared sauce found in the refrigerated section of your grocery stores.

Holiday Pesto Pasta – (serves 4-6)

1 16-oz of your favorite pasta, or 2 9-oz packages of refrigerated fresh fettuccine

1 container (7 ounces) refrigerated pesto with basil

A few fresh basil leaves

10 baby spinach leaves

1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts), toasted

1/4 cup freshly shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

While waiting for pasta water to boil, wash and halve tomatoes and toast the nuts in a small skillet over high heat until browned. Then stack a few basil leaves, roll up like a cigar and slice diagonally into thin strips. Do the same for the spinach leaves.

Cook the pasta, and drain, saving 1/4 cup of the cooking water for thinning the pesto, if necessary.

Add the tomatoes to the hot pasta and stir a couple minutes to slightly soften them.

Heat cream and butter over low heat and stir into pesto.

When your guests are seated at the table, fold in the cream pesto and swirl until the pasta is evenly coated. Toss in the shredded fresh basil and spinach, leaving a few of each for garnish. Serve immediately on a heated platter and top your masterpiece with the nuts and shaved cheese (you could also add plump, ready-cooked shrimp). Enjoy!

In 2014, mandatory tips will be gone

For many years, restaurants have tacked a mandatory tip on the bill of any large party, usually 15 percent. Some restaurants add the tip to every bill.

But a recent IRS ruling will probably end mandatory tipping.

The ruling that takes effect in 2014 classifies automatic tips as wages rather than tips, so the restaurant would have to pay payroll taxes on a mandatory gratuity. The ruling pretty much guarantees that most restaurants will stop mandatory tipping.

This ruling makes it more risky for waiters, who will be gambling that a table of 10 likes the service — and is willing to tip for it, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Diners are likely to see suggested tips on menus and bills of 15 to 20 percent.

Cruise ship tipping is still a question but it might apply to ships registered in the U.S. Cruise ships apply a daily gratuity to travelers’ accounts.

Tips Cartoon

Practicing mindfulness: For health and success, be in the present, not somewhere else

How many times have you found yourself driving or doing something routine and realized you had no idea what just happened?

Autopilot can make some routine tasks easier but it’s not always a good thing. Sometimes automatic functioning can harm relationships and even make you anxious and depressed.

Practicing being present in the moment can often help people with chronic conditions see themselves as whole people.

The Mayo Clinic developed Stress Management and Resilience Training to enhance resilience and the ability to thrive in spite of adversity.

You don’t have to go through formal training to begin your mindfulness practice. These steps can get you started:

  • Paying attention. Learn to place yourself fully in the present moment. Use your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? Practice it everywhere. Note what you see and feel: At bedtime, the cool, soft sheets, the blue light of night out of the window, the quiet.
  • Removing judgment. Observe the world, your tasks, other people and yourself without criticism. Try not to attach strong feelings to a task: I hate this.
  • Breathing. Forget everything else for a moment and feel each breath. You can observe your breath from your nostrils, chest or belly. Feel the sensations that accompany your breath and breathe with rhythm.
  • Meditating. Set aside a time and place for doing nothing. Once you have assumed your favorite posture, focus on your breathing. It’s like exercising your mind, honing its focus and concentration.

The more you learn to be mindful, the more you can appreciate the fullness of life.

Stay healthy
A Christmas gift for yourself

Don’t wear yourself out in December over-preparing for family, friends, and fancy dinners.

Here are some tips to give yourself a Merry Christmas:

  • Decorate for yourself. If you love your Christmas village, then why not do it early, even before Thanksgiving, so you can play with it and enjoy it longer?If you don’t care a thing about a big tree with fancy decoration, deck the halls with something you do like and skip the tree.The main idea is to do the decorating that means the most and skip the stuff that just drains your energy.
  • Get some rest. Your family and friends want to see you happy, not frazzled and worn. Plan ahead to have some fun yourself.
  • Keep dinner simple. Even for formal dining, keep your menu to five items. Make those items special. Forget the rest.
  • Simple shopping. Studies show that, overwhelmingly, the gifts people like most are gift certificates or money. These don’t work for kids, but they’re a convenient and appreciated gift for adults like your mother, your best friend, your sister, aunt or your uncle.

Heart Association tells woof-woof health benefits

The latest evidence that pets are good for your health comes from the American Heart Association.

  • People with cardiovascular disease who own a dog live longer.
  • Pets relieve stress. Even in offices, a dog increases morale and cooperation. Pets enhance emotional and psychological well being. They don’t replace relationships with humans, but they complement them.
  • Pets add structure to your life because you have to care for them.
  • Pets are good for kids. They learn responsibility and get companionship. Children raised with dogs and on farms are less likely to develop ear infections, allergies and asthma.
  • People with dementia show less agitation when a dog is present.


Free Holiday Wreath

Print coupon here


“To strengthen the muscles of your heart, the best exercise is lifting someone else’s spirit whenever you can.” ~ Dodinsky, author.

Click here to download this article as a PDF.