Is a Pre-Paid Cell Phone Right for You ?

If you are anything like me, you have sat there staring at your cell phone bill wondering where the money goes every month and marveling how it manages to creep up over time. You’ve probably also thought about: switching carriers, plans, or looking at a pre-paid cell phone. Today we’ll take a deeper dive into that last point to see if that pre-paid cell phone you have been thinking of makes sense for you, or anyone in your family (Spoiler: for perhaps 15% of us it makes a lot of sense).

If you meet the following criteria, switching from a classic contract or post-paid phone with one of the big 3 carriers to a pre-paid cell phone will prove a good option:

– If you are a light user of your phone. Classic plans get cheaper at the unit level as usage goes up so heavier users benefit form being on a contract.
– If you are an inconsistent user of your phone. What is the point in paying for 500 minutes a month is one month you use 500 and the next you use 75 – and don’t be fooled by “roll over minutes” almost none of those get used, they aren’t giving you anything.
– If data is no big deal to you. Classic postpaid cell phone plans are the better option for heavy data users.
– If you want to make sure you absolutely never get hit with an overage. Or to control your child’s usage of a phone.
– If you do not use your phone for work.

What is above sounds like a pretty big group but in reality it is a small portion of the general cell phone using populous, but if you fit into that group the switch to a pre-paid cell phone is absolutely the way to go.

Is a Pre-Paid Cell Phone Right for You ?

If you are anything like me, you have sat there staring at your cell phone bill wondering where the money goes every month and marveling how it manages to creep up over time. You’ve probably also thought about: switching carriers, plans, or looking at a pre-paid cell phone. Today we’ll take a deeper dive into that last point to see if that pre-paid cell phone you have been thinking of makes sense for you, or anyone in your family (Spoiler: for perhaps 15% of us it makes a lot of sense).

If you meet the following criteria, switching from a classic contract or post-paid phone with one of the big 3 carriers to a pre-paid cell phone will prove a good option:

– If you are a light user of your phone. Classic plans get cheaper at the unit level as usage goes up so heavier users benefit form being on a contract.
– If you are an inconsistent user of your phone. What is the point in paying for 500 minutes a month is one month you use 500 and the next you use 75 – and don’t be fooled by “roll over minutes” almost none of those get used, they aren’t giving you anything.
– If data is no big deal to you. Classic postpaid cell phone plans are the better option for heavy data users.
– If you want to make sure you absolutely never get hit with an overage. Or to control your child’s usage of a phone.
– If you do not use your phone for work.

What is above sounds like a pretty big group but in reality it is a small portion of the general cell phone using populous, but if you fit into that group the switch to a pre-paid cell phone is absolutely the way to go.

Earn Points With Kellogg’s Family Rewards

Kellogg’s makes so many great products that we love! But now they have made purchasing their products all the more rewarding with their Family Rewards program. When you register and then purchase participating Kellogg’s products, you earn points that can be redeemed for rewards. Choose your rewards from their catalog featuring gift cards such as Starbucks, coupons, and access to special sweepstakes. Not only do you earn rewards on products that you likely already purchase, but you will also receive emails full of special offers, additional free rewards points, coupons, and recipes. If you are interested in signing up, simply click on the banner above and complete the registration.

*This article contains an affiliate link.

Tips on how to Improve Indoor Air Quality

When you figure in sleep, we spend more time breathing the air in our homes than anywhere else. Unfortunately that air is some of the most stagnant air we encounter. Today we’ll take a look how to improve indoor air quality. To set the table: one thing we won’t be talking about in this post are air purification systems. The ones that work are big, expensive, and typically needed by people with serious breathing issues who should consult a doctor. The readily available residential air purifiers at places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond either aren’t particularly effective or have harmful side effects like the production of ozone.

What are some simple things can we do to improve indoor air quality? What works? What is reasonably affordable? Where should we start?

HVAC Solutions:
First if you have forced air change those filters. This will has the added benefit of saving you money through more efficient operation, but mostly it will remove all that dust they have trapped previously. You should change these at least every 4 months, but more often in heavy use seasons.

Cleaning & Tools:
Clean or replace your vacuum. Many of us have old vacuums with dirty filters and brushes caked with hair/dirt, using them moves around the dirt rather than removes it. Stirring up dust and dirt creates more indoor air pollution more than it traps. Once every few months take time to clean brushes, filters, replace bags etc. You’ll be rewarded with a vacuum that works more effectively and with better indoor air quality. If your vacuum is beyond hope look at one of the new HEPA filter enhanced ones sold through major retailers like Target. One other trick is to run your recirculation fan on the HVAC system while cleaning. This will help the filters you previous changed trap the dust stirred up by cleaning.

Rather than sweep and push the dust around, switch to electrostatic dusters like “Swiffer” which do a much better job of trapping dust and dirt. Make a habit of dusting counters and shelves as well as moping at least somewhat consistently – this regiment is far more effective that just sweeping. Again on the days you cleaning run the fan on your furnace to pull any dust in the air through the filters to be trapped.

A Little Green:
So far we have mostly talked about how to clean and eliminate dust and dirt in your house. There is another simple, natural, and effective way to improve air quality, bring some greenery indoors. Plants help to clean the air by removing toxins and naturally help to humidify the air improving its overall quality. Plants are especially effective at removing VOC’s including: formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene. Here are some of the most effective plants for cleansing indoor air, there are many more listed in this Wikipedia article.

– Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) no non-toxic.
– Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) non-toxic.
– Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’) no non-toxic.
– Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata) non-toxic.
– Lilyturf (Liriope spicata) non-toxic.
– Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) non-toxic.

Thanks for the time today, what are some things you have done to improve indoor air quality in your house?

Becoming a better cook – Salt is Key

When in the kitchen and looking at things that can improve food and help you in your quest to becoming a better cook look no farther than Salt. It is one of the essential building blocks not only of flavor but of life as well. Today we’ll look at the cooking implications and types of salt you should have on hand. The uses for and approaches to salting food to maximize flavor. This piece really breaks into 2 parts – the “what” and the “how” of salt and salting. Let’s look at the what first, or more correctly the what you need. I’d recommend any home cook have three (yes I know it sounds silly) types of salt on hand at all time. They are:

– Basic Iodized Salt – This is the stuff you are very familiar with, fine grained, salty, ideal for baking and similar dishes.
– Kosher Salt – This is a much coarser grain salt and is the workhorse of my kitchen it is great for building flavor, layering, and seasoning items ahead of time.
Flake/Finishing Salt – Maldon or similar sea salt is ideal. It can get expensive though so you should shop around. This is primarily used for finishing dishes that high sprinkle on a completed dish before you serve.

Now on to the how of salting. This is just as important in producing tasting food and becoming a better cook. There are two main techniques that don’t get taught enough when it comes to the use of salt, and I learned both from the forwards of cook books by two of the greats: Thomas Keller and Alice Watters. I credit Keller with teaching me what I call the “high salt,” sprinkling salt on dishes from a shoulder height or higher level ensures that the salt spreads more evenly over the dish and doesn’t leave over and under seasoned bites. To Alice Waters credit goes the process of salting individual ingredients before combining them into a dish. Say you are making tomato sauce: chop each ingredient individually and salt them as such before combining. The try just adding salt to the already combined ingredients in a second batch. The first batch comes out brighter, more nuanced and much more flavorful.

Becoming a better cook – Salt is Key

When in the kitchen and looking at things that can improve food and help you in your quest to becoming a better cook look no farther than Salt. It is one of the essential building blocks not only of flavor but of life as well. Today we’ll look at the cooking implications and types of salt you should have on hand. The uses for and approaches to salting food to maximize flavor. This piece really breaks into 2 parts – the “what” and the “how” of salt and salting. Let’s look at the what first, or more correctly the what you need. I’d recommend any home cook have three (yes I know it sounds silly) types of salt on hand at all time. They are:

– Basic Iodized Salt – This is the stuff you are very familiar with, fine grained, salty, ideal for baking and similar dishes.
– Kosher Salt – This is a much coarser grain salt and is the workhorse of my kitchen it is great for building flavor, layering, and seasoning items ahead of time.
Flake/Finishing Salt – Maldon or similar sea salt is ideal. It can get expensive though so you should shop around. This is primarily used for finishing dishes that high sprinkle on a completed dish before you serve.

Now on to the how of salting. This is just as important in producing tasting food and becoming a better cook. There are two main techniques that don’t get taught enough when it comes to the use of salt, and I learned both from the forwards of cook books by two of the greats: Thomas Keller and Alice Watters. I credit Keller with teaching me what I call the “high salt,” sprinkling salt on dishes from a shoulder height or higher level ensures that the salt spreads more evenly over the dish and doesn’t leave over and under seasoned bites. To Alice Waters credit goes the process of salting individual ingredients before combining them into a dish. Say you are making tomato sauce: chop each ingredient individually and salt them as such before combining. The try just adding salt to the already combined ingredients in a second batch. The first batch comes out brighter, more nuanced and much more flavorful.

5 Cheap and Easy Home Decor Trends That We are Loving

Home decor trends are constantly evolving and changing. What is cool one year can easily look outdated the next. If you are feeling like you decor needs some refreshening your answer maybe as simple as incorporating a few new trendy items or colors into your rooms. Here are some of the top home decor trends that we are loving at the moment. Best of all these home decor trends are affordable and easy to find at your favorite home stores.

1. Copper and Rose Gold
The new “it” metal for 2016 is most definitely rose gold. It can be found in all sorts of home decor items such as wire baskets, servingware, utensils, clocks, wall hangings, and much more. If you want to really jump into the trend, consider incorporating a rose gold accent chair or side table into your room. Maybe even add a fun rose gold lighting fixture or chandelier.

2. Marble
Marble has a very luxe, elegant feel. In 2016 it is back in a big way. You’ll find it in all sorts of kitchen and bathroom accent pieces. Some people are taking the trend a step further and are choosing to use it for their countertops, because it is so timeless and will last for the long haul.

3. Acrylic
In 2016 many trendy homeowners are opting for a more clean, minimalistic approach to home decor. The rise of this look has created an interest in clear acrylic home decor pieces. Furniture made from acrylic is everywhere! From cool midcentury inspired desk chairs, to awesome end tables you will find that this is a simple and easy furniture trend to add to your home. Acrylic organizers are also very popular for storing everything in your home from makeup to panty items like cans and granola bars.

4. Gray Paint
When it comes to paint the hot must have color to try is definitely gray. You will see beautiful and elegant gray paint swatches all over Pinterest right now. The right shade of gray can create a calming atmosphere and it also looks great with a wide variety of color palettes. Plus paint has a hugely transforming effect on a room, taking it from drab to interesting without having to spend a lot of cash in the process. We are loving these stunning shades from Benjamin Moore.

5. Mirrored Furniture
Another 2016 trend that we are loving is mirrored furniture. It instantly adds elegance and glamour to a room. It is also very versatile and looks great with rooms of all color palettes since it is so neutral. Plus it adds some nice variation to the room providing an interesting accent piece to tie the room together. While mirrored furniture can be pricey, its surge in popularity has made it available at some really great discounted prices at stores like TJ Maxx, Homegoods, and Target.

*Photo collage created on Polyvore.com

The Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water Everyday

I am always looking for easy ways to incorporate healthy things into my daily routine. My days are usually very busy, and I tend to forget to take the time to incorporate healthy habits into my day. That is why I was very excited to learn that something as simple as drinking lemon water in the morning can have some real positive impacts on your health. Here are my favorite surprising health benefits of drinking lemon water.

1. It Aides With Digestion
The citric acid in the lemon helps your body with producing the gastric juices that break down your food. It also helps your body release toxins by stimulating the liver. Lemon helps to alleviate common digestion issues like heartburn, bloating, and gas. It can also help keep you regular.

2. It Gives a Boost to your Immune System
I am notorious for getting sick anytime I am around another sick person. My immune system just cannot handle it. Although I take vitamins daily, I am always looking for an extra boost to my immune system. Thankfully lemons are an excellent source of vitamin c. Couple that vitamin c with lemon’s ability to help your body flush out toxins, and you’ve got one powerful drink for the immune system.

3. It Helps Calm Inflammation
We now know that inflammation within the body is the cause of a lot of disease from arthritis to alzheimer’s disease. Eating a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar has an inflammatory effect on the body. Which is where drinking lemon water can help. When you drink it on a regular basis it can help lower the acidity of your body, which helps stave off disease. Plus it also helps reduce uric acid in your body, which is an acid that causes joint pain and can even lead to gout. Another exciting benefit is that studies show that cancer has trouble taking hold in an alkaline environment which is what your body becomes when you lower the acidity in your body.

4. It Helps Improve the Health of Your Mouth
Because of lemon’s anti-inflammatory effects plus its high concentration of vitamin c, it is helpful in preventing gingivitis. Plus lemons smell great making it a better choice for the breath than the usual morning cup of coffee.

5. It Makes Your Skin Look Great
The high concentration of vitamin c is a boost to your skin and helps keep it looking radiant. It can even help reduce wrinkles and damage from free radicals. Plus it is known to help with acne. This goes back to lemon’s ability to make the body more alkaline. When you body loses its acidity it will curb the production of some acne causing bacterias.

6. It Can Help You Lose Weight
Lemons can help curb your hunger cravings throughout the day. It contains a fiber that helps keep you full longer.

Can you believe that something as simple as lemon water has all those positive effects! The only downside that I was able to find is that lemon can be tough on the enamel of your teeth. Be sure that you drink the lemon juice with plenty of water to dilute it. Many people also recommend to brush your teeth before you drink it instead of after. Also, be sure to use fresh lemons and not the lemon juice you can buy in a container at the grocery store. Fresh is always the way to go. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze half the lemon into your water. Let us know if you decide to give this health trend a try. We’d love to hear if you experience any of these awesome health benefits.

Our Top 6 Winter Driving Tips

Every year that first winter storm hits and takes half the country by surprise – this year get ready ahead of time with LifeHomeLiving’s winter driving tips & prep. The biggest things when it comes to winter driving are preparation, practice and skill. Unfortunately only one of those can be solved with prior planning, so we’ll tackle that today. Much of this is common sense and comes down to not being “that guy” with bald tires or paying $10 for windshield washer fluid while you wait for yours to thaw.

1.) Tires, tires, tires. This is literally where the rubber meets the road and they are the most important part of successful winter driving. No amount of all-wheel-drive or electronic trickery will solve for bad/bald/incorrect tires. A Mustang with good snow tires will outperform the beastliest of 4WD SUVs with bald or summer tires on it.

2.) Wipers and Fluid – Melting snow kicks up an insane amount of mud, not being able to clear that effectively from your windscreen means you can’t see. No fluid (or frozen fluid because its full of water) will make it impossible to clean build up off you windscreen. Bad wipers hamper that, impede your ability to remove rain or snow as well – meaning you can’t see.

3.) Accessories – Not the power or jewelry kinds but things (aka gear) you need. Keep: gloves, a long ice scraper, sunglasses, and a cheap wool hat in your car. These things will make removing snow from your car, driving before the heater is warmed up, or dealing with winter glare much easier.

4.) Car Battery – make sure yours is in good shape. “Let’s see if we can make it through the winter driving season” is a recipe for it dying at the exact wrong time. Cold is the enemy of strong starting.

5.) Cooling system – Huh? Most cooling systems fail during the summer causing cars to overheat, but it is called anti-freeze for a reason. Make sure your cooling system is in good working order, filled up and has the proper ration of coolant in it to avoid a catastrophic freeze.

6.) Improve your skills – Go to a winter driving class, or at least when the weather is bad practice sliding and stopping your car in a safe place like a wide open parking lot. Practice makes perfect and having an idea of what your car might do is a low traction situation will help you immensely.

That sums up most of the easy stuff when it comes to winter driving tips – but if you have any tips or tracks that we omitted fell free to send them to us or leave them in the comments.

Our Eggnog Recipe – a delicious holiday treat.

As the holidays roll around a little eggnog is always a crowd pleaser, well at least for part of the crowd. So for those folks and for myself I have been trying out different eggnog recipes for years trying to settle on that perfect version. After all of my trial and error here is the Life Home Living Holiday recommended eggnog recipe for the holidays:

What You’ll Need:
– 12 Egg Yolks (splurge for good cage free eggs it makes a noticeable difference).
– 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon.
– 5 whole cloves.
– 4 cups of 2% milk (ultra pasteurized is harder to curdle so it is a safe way to go).
– 1.25 Cups of granulated white sugar.
– 3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
– 2.75 cups of good Spiced Rum (Mt. Gay is my personal favorite)
– 3.75 cups of light cream.
– 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

What You’ll Do:
1.) In a large sauce pan that is not yet on the stove, add:
– – 4 cups of Milk
– – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– – 5 Whole Cloves
– – All the Cinnamon
Place over heat and bring this mixture very slowly to a boil.

2.) Separately in a large bowl combine the following ingredients:
– – The Egg Yolks.
– – The Sugar.
Whisk these together until they are fluffy.

3.) Then whisk the hot milk mixture into the large bowl, pouring it back into the saucepan when you are done.

4.) Place this back on the over and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes making sure not to let the mixture boil (or it may curdle), stir constantly while doing this. Then turn off the heat and let it cool for a few hours.

5.) Then Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg.

6.) Refrigerate all of this overnight before serving.

There you have it a killer holiday eggnog recipe for those fans out there.

Happy Holidays!