Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/20/2019

When it melts in your mouth, it tastes is so good! Men hoard it, kids always want more, women adore it, and for most people, Valentine's Day isn't complete without eating it. Wondering what that could be? It is the beloved, darling chocolate.

Chocolate is food produced from the seeds of a cocoa bean, and it is a crucial ingredient of different desserts like cake, candy, ice-cream, etc. Chocolate has some fun facts that are not well known. Here are some of them:

1. The chocolate bar is more than 100 years old. The original chocolate bar was made in England way back in 1842, by the Cadbury Company. This company still exists and is famous for its delicious Easter-themed chocolates treats amongst other different assortments of goodies.

2. Cocoa beans once served as currency. Cocoa beans were so valuable to early Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as currency. The Aztecs could buy a turkey for 100 cocoa beans, a rabbit for four cocoa beans, and so much more.

3. Chocolate is food for the gods. The botanical name of Cocoa, "Theobroma cacao" means food of the gods.

4. A chocolate bar could cost more than an iPhone X. The world's most expensive chocolate bar is the "Wispa Gold." It is wrapped in an edible gold leaf and costs a staggering $1,430 per bar.

5. Chocolate prevents heart disease. Eating dark chocolate can decrease the odds of suffering heart disease by over 30 percent. Also, dark chocolate improves blood flow and lower blood pressure. However, overeating chocolate is also bad for health.

6. A chocolate bar could weigh more than an SUV. The world's biggest chocolate bar weighed 5,792.50 kg. Created by Thorntons PLC, the ingredients used for making this massive bar of chocolate were sugar, milk, butter oil, cocoa butter, emulsifier, and cocoa mass. 

7. Africa is the new home of cocoa. Despite its Amazonia roots, nearly 70% of the world's supply comes from Africa. Cote d'Ivoire is the largest single producers providing about 30% of the world's cocoa.

8. Making chocolate is hard-work. Eating a bar of chocolate will probably take a few minutes, but making it takes time and require a lot of effort to finish. It takes four hundred beans of Cocoa to produce one pound of chocolate.

When next you are enjoying a cup of chocolate or a piece of chocolate pie, remember all these cool facts about it.




Tags: food   family fun  
Categories: food shopping   family fun  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/13/2019

One decorating principle thatís a huge help for any homeowner is that of layered lighting. This is the different aspects of lighting that youíll use in different rooms of your home to complete your lighting needs. The layers of light create a basis for the design of the room. These three main aspects of lighting also have a practical purpose which is nice as well. Below, youíll learn more about the three main components of lighting for any room of the house and how to best use them. 


Ambient Lighting


Ambient lighting is often the base of where people start with their lighting design in a room. This type of lighting allows you to get the overall feel for a space. The brightness level should be good enough for anyone to walk through the room without walking into things. The illumination may not be bright enough for activities that require a lot of focus like reading or chopping vegetables.


Accent Lighting 


If you think of a retail store and how the shiniest things have the brightest lights focused on them, youíll discover that you can use this type of lighting right in your home. Think of a chandelier hanging over a massive dining table. Accent lighting is usually for decorative purposes. The lumens that are given off are typically not enough for any other purpose than to attract attention to the item the light is shining on. This type of lighting is best used for things like display cabinets, statues, and china closets. The bottom line is that the accent light will add some drama without actually adding much practical use. 


Task Lighting


This type of lighting is important because itís what ensures that you wonít chop your hand off while youíre chopping up vegetables in the kitchen. Task lighting varies widely from room to room and can be anything from a desk lamp to a reading lamp to lights on the vanity for shaving and putting on makeup. Task lighting is all about being functional. When youíre trying to decide where to put your task lights think of everything from safety to convenience. The last thing you should worry about with task lighting is the look. While these lights are great under cabinets, for example, so the more creative you get with where to place your task lighting the better the look will be.  


Using this simple yet useful design principle can help you to light your entire home correctly. The right lighting can truly transform a space and give it the depth that it needs.            





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/6/2019

??Finding the house of your dreams is a process that requires a lot of clarity, diligence, and patience. While it is possible for the first house you look at to be the ideal choice, it's a lot more likely you'll have to look at a dozen or more houses before finding the one that matches your requirements and feels like home.

Whether you're searching for your first home or your tenth, your decision will primarily be based on four factors: affordability, practicality, emotional appeal, and prevailing market conditions.

Affordability is a vital element in the mix because it's difficult to enjoy a beautiful new home if you're always stressed out about whether you'll be able to make the next mortgage payment! Developing a realistic and well thought-out budget is one of the first preliminary steps involved in launching a full-fledged search for your next home. In addition to being able to cover your current expenses and the cost of mortgage payments, you'll also want to ensure that there's a cushion in your budget for things like home maintenance, repairs, improvements, HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes, school taxes, and homeowner's insurance.

As far as practicality goes, your new home should -- at the very least -- live up to your basic needs and expectations. Ideally, all systems should work properly and be in good condition. Proximity to key locations, such as your job, shopping, and essential services can also have a direct impact on your quality of life. Long commutes, cramped quarters, or being buried by an avalanche of repair bills can definitely take some of the pleasure out of home ownership!

The majority of houses you'll look at will probably need some degree of updating, decorating, or repairs, but ideally, you'll want to tackle those projects over the next couple of years, rather than the immediate future! Having an experienced home inspector do a thorough inspection of the home you're interested in will help ensure you're not buying a home riddled with flaws, headaches waiting to happen, and other problems.

Although cost and practicality are vital aspects of buying a new home, you can't (and wouldn't want to) ignore factors such as aesthetics and emotional appeal. If you can't imagine you and your family living in and enjoying a house you're considering buying, it might be time to continue your search elsewhere! The house you ultimately choose should support your lifestyle, provide sufficient space for your family to grow and thrive, and be situated in a neighborhood in which you feel comfortable and safe.

To make the most of your available time and money, find an experienced real estate agent who's responsive to your needs and knowledgeable about the local real estate market. They will help you streamline your search, find houses that meet your criteria and negotiate the best possible price on your behalf.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/29/2019

There are a lot of factors that can cause one house to sell quickly, while others in the neighborhood languish on the market for months.

In many cases, homes are scooped up because of a desirable location, a great school district, or irresistible curb appeal.

While all buyers have their priority items and wish lists in mind when shopping for a new home, final decisions are often based on psychological factors, emotions, and gut feelings -- not just cold, hard facts!

If you're getting ready to put your house on the market, here are a few strategies for improving your chances of making a fast sale:

Good feelings help sell houses. Prospective buyers are going to be drawn to your house if it looks impeccable from the street and well cared-for on the inside. When your home conveys a sense of pride in ownership and attention to detail, it sends a positive psychological message to house hunters. Very often, the power of suggestion can work in your favor when you're trying to make a favorable impression on potential buyers. Displaying fresh flowers, an appetizing bowl of fruit, or even table settings in your dining room or kitchen can help create a more inviting, appealing atmosphere. The right furniture arrangements can conjure up images of family gatherings, intimate conversations, or relaxing afternoons on the backyard deck.

Clutter creates discomfort. If you notice visitors side-stepping past your furniture or walking through your home as if they're navigating a maze, that's a sure sign your house is cluttered. Too much furniture or furniture that's too large and bulky for the space it occupies will make your rooms look and feel cramped. Creating a feeling of spaciousness and openness, on the other hand, helps bring out the best in all areas of your home.

Small touches make a difference. Displaying vases of fresh-cut flowers, an appetizing bowl of fruit in the kitchen, or colorful, new towels in the bathroom can help enhance the ambiance of your home. When conditions permit, the smell of fresh muffins, bread baking, or coffee brewing can infuse your home with a comforting and inviting fragrance. A house that looks and smells clean will also help create a positive multi-sensory experience for your visitors.

The right price can clinch the deal. Ideally, the price of your home should be based on comparable properties in your neighborhood and what they recently sold for. If your home is not in the same ball park, you could easily scare away qualified buyers who would otherwise be ready to make an offer. Working with a real estate agent can help ensure that you're house is competitively priced and that it doesn't linger on the market longer than necessary. Once you get caught in that cycle, the perceived value of your home and it's overall desirability can begin a downward slide. Take steps to prevent that from happening by having a comparative analysis done.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/22/2019

There are plenty of things to worry about around your home when you have kids. One of your top priorities should be safety for your kids. If you look closely, youíll find some hidden safety dangers around your home that should be addressed. The top culprits can be found described in detail below.


The Dishwasher


Your dishwasher is something that you probably use every single day. There are a few considerations that you need to make about the dishwasher when you have kids. First, the door should have a good locking mechanism. If the door to the dishwasher doesnít shut properly, all if takes is a little tap for the door to release and fall right on top of your child who is either walking or crawling around the house.


The other point to consider about a dishwasher is the actual contents of the dishwasher. Silverware, especially sharp objects, should be left pointing downward. This is in case the washer is left open and the child gets at it. You donít want sharp knives pointing upward that could cause an injury to your child. The detergent can also be a hazard to your child. Whether you are using pods, liquid detergent, or the powdered kind, all pose poison control risks and choking hazards to your kids. Keep the dishwasher closed and locked when it is not in use. Also, be sure to wipe down your dishwasher in case of any debris thatís left from your detergent. 


Ovens And Ranges


If your range or oven is not installed properly it could cause serious harm to your kids. For safety, be sure that ranges have anti-tip brackets installed. This way if the child leans on the stove or climbs it, the unit will not fall on them, posing the risk of serious injury. 


Wall ovens should be secured as well. Make sure that the door of the oven locks and cannot fling open easily. When cooking, use the back burners in stead of the front. You should also keep the pot handles turned inward so they arenít as easy for kids to reach.  


The Nursery


The nursery is where your child will spend a lot of their time. First, you should start with the crib. The crib needs to be firm and nothing should be in the crib other than the mattress and a tightly fitted sheet around the mattress until the baby is old enough. The crib should also be sturdy. Itís preferable to have a new crib for the baby as occasionally, hand me down cribs can be missing parts or have faced major amounts of wear and tear. The nursery should also be free from excessive cords and be equipped with window locks. This way, youíll be able to put your child to sleep with peace of mind.         





Categories: Child Safety