Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Grass Clippings floating through the hot breeze.  Piles of flip-flops in the doorway.  Kids running through the sprinklers.  Hot dogs and hamburgers sizzle and pop on the grill.  Summertime.

Summer in Florida is fierce (and can be deadly), but there are so many ways to beat the heat AND the humidity, and not spend a fortune on your A/C bill.  

Did you know?  Air Conditioning in Florida can be 60-70% of your summer electric bill!

- If you have a programmable A/C thermostat, you can save by setting it CORRECTLY for the time of day:

6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 75 degrees
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 80 degrees
5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. = 75 degrees
11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 80 degrees*

- If you have central air, set your thermostat above 78 degrees, and each degree above 78 will save you up to 8% on cooling costs.

- If you leave your home for more than an hour, set your thermostat to 80 degrees, or turn it off completely. (It cools off again in 15 minutes or less, and uses less energy than leaving it running while you were gone.)

- Use a fan.  Ceiling fans can make a room feel 6-9 degrees cooler, and uses less electricity than your A/C, but make sure the fan is turning counter-clockwise, so that it's blowing down and not up.  Turn the fan off when you leave the room.

- Add curtains, blinds or both to your windows.  The sweltering summer sunlight creates about 20% of the heat in your home*, and comes in through the windows.  Try fitting it into your normal morning routine, eat a healthy breakfast, grab a water, and close all the blinds and curtains before you leave.

- Greener shade.  Plant some shady shrubs and trees near your windows, especially the West facing windows, to keep the afternoon heat from making your home about 10 degrees warmer.  Awnings over your windows can also be installed to block the heat.

- Run your most heat-making appliances at night during cooler hours, like the dryer and dishwasher.  The oven can also produce unnecessary heat in the home, so use your microwave, or even better- take it outside!  Use your charcoal grill to make dinner with some yummy recipes from DG.

- Use Energy Saver Fluorescent bulbs to reduce heat and electricity - they use up to 75% less energy and 90% less heat*.

- If you have a spare bedroom that rarely is used, close the vents that feed that room until you're entertaining guests.

- Clean or Replace your A/C filter MONTHLY!  A dirty filter makes the A/C work harder.

*-sources: www.thisoldhouse.com, michaelbluejay.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trash to Treasure, the video, Part I

You may have seen the garage sale finds, but you haven't seen how we got them... or what we did with them....
Take a look:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Saturday: Trash to Treasure

Saturday, June 13th at 3pm
Brooke Ernst's House
(where we had our first meeting)
Bring your "Trash" for advice, or show off your "Treasure!!"

Call Kerri or Brooke for more info.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Project: Trash to Treasure, Part I: Treasure hunting

Brooke and I went "Treasure hunting" on Saturday morning. We got an early start (with the help of some coffee) in the downtown area of Lakeland. It was quite an adventure. We had to maneuver a fallen tree full of bees, and field calls from our S.O.'s while trying to wheel and deal with the locals. There were so many signs around downtown and lake hollingsworth, we had our work cut out for us. The best part was getting to see all of the historic downtown area this time of year, when everyone's lawn is lush, flowers are blooming, and people trying to sell their junk in their yard!

Granted, the whole scenario of going to a yard sale is - there will be junk. Stuff NOBODY wants. Items you can't even identify. But then again, that's the thrill of the hunt! 

We lucked out at the first place we came to on NY ave. I found 2 small jar/vases with thick wire for hanging, one clear and one green - and immediately dropped the green one right after I paid for it.


Brooke found a cute lamp, like new, that was brushed silver with a white shade.

We spotted a wrought iron wall hanging candle holder, that she flipped upside down and I got IDEAS!

So we spent a total of $6, and got several projects. But the fun wasn't over then...

Through the course of the day we saw very few things that caught our eye amidst the junk and clutter (and beautiful houses), but as we were about to call it a day, I spotted a green metal chair on the side of the road on edgewood, Brooke saw it too. It was next to a pile of trash bags, and we maneuvered traffic to stop and ninja it from their yard. It was our coolest find of the day - and the best part - it was FREE! And so it was literally a trash to treasure day!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Interior Decor: Pottery Barn Style on a Wal-Mart Budget

Get to work on a summer DIY project that's affordable and fun, and hopefully it will spark your imagination to create even more DIY for your home.  

This month: Interior Decor.

So how in the world can we get Pottery Barn style on a Wal-Mart budget?  Here's some tips to get you started, and at the June 13 meeting, Brooke and Kerri will show you HOW we did it.

- Hitting garage sales, tag sales, and second hand stores is the first step to finding your treasure among the trash.  Look on Craigslist and in the classified section of the newspaper to find out what's going on in your area.

- Do some homework. Make a list of anything specific you are looking for, and how much you'd be willing to spend on it.

- Sharpen your eye: It might be tough at first to see a pieces true potential at first. Make sure you look at plenty of examples of what you want so you can easily recognize those that have potential as opposed to wasting $30 on something you think might work.

- Look for structure…not style: Upholstery and paint can drastically change a piece.

(we will have more tips for you at the meeting on June 13)

Now, go out and get started!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Women: you can't live without 'em.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  
~Albert Schweitzer

Can you tell the domestic goddesses love quotes? This one really touched me.  I was looking for some related to summertime, but as I was googling, this one hit me.  More than anything, because it rings true in my life.  I would say, without a doubt, it's my friends who have helped me through the toughest of times.  When emotions run wild, I turn to my girlfriends.  They are a pillar of strength and a fountain of wise words.  

Fostering friendships and bonding with other women is one of the keystones in the foundation of Domestic Goddess. We all lead busy lives, and the economy has put a strain on us all.  It's during these times that we need the company of other women to lean on, to confide in, to laugh and cry with.  We need reassurance, and reminders that everything is going to be ok.  Women tend to be emotionally stronger than men, and we identify with each others' needs, thoughts, doubts, and longings.

I know that from time to time, my fire goes out.  Work, work, work.  It takes us, pulls us into it's vortex and spits us out a weakling.  Days go by and I just want to sleep.  Eat comfort food in bed.  The last thing I want to do is "what's good for me" - Working, keeping my house up, cooking healthy meals - it takes a toll, and sometimes the things we SHOULD be doing seems like climbing a mountain.  But I end up calling or texting a friend, sometimes just to say hello, sometimes to vent, or let it all unload.  There's never been a time that I've felt worse after talking to a good friend.  The best ones will verbally smack you, and tell you to snap out of it!  

This is why we are here.  Even in our low times, or happiest times, the bond created between women cannot be broken easily.  Domestic Goddess strives to help make your life easier by doing fun things, but more importantly, we strive to build long lasting relationships, healthy friendships between women.

Summertime Printable Recipes

Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world.  
~Ada Louise Huxtable

Cooking and Entertaining Wrap-up

We didn't get to have our last meeting in may, but here are some things we would have covered:


When planning a get-together, whether it’s a backyard BBQ or New Years Soiree, you have to decide up front what is the most important to you…saving time or money. Because to some extent you can do both, but one will always dominate depending on your entertaining style.

When money is the issue, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or personal touch. In fact, the less you have to work with, the more creative and original you get to be. That is precisely what will make your party memorable.

At the same time, working a full-time job with or without a family can pose some time issues. In those cases saving time is much more important. Learn to make things ahead and follow the ideas of Sandra Lee and Semi-homemade. You can achieve a homemade feel with 70% store-bought and 30% fresh ingredients.