Yuck…my sink stinks!

Just thought I would repost this for those that are ready for camping season.

Cleaning your garbage disposal is a quick and easy way to help keep your kitchen smelling fresh and your sink drain working properly. Although well-maintained garbage disposals that are used correctly should generally clean themselves, the following tips will help keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape.  Remember, never put tools, kitchen utensils or hands in a disposal unit.  If it is absolutely necessary, please unplug the unit from under the cabinet.

1. Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

Most garbage disposals are made of a metal cylinder equipped with rotating impellers. Many newer units include a series of grinders on the sides or bottom of the metal cylinder that grind down the contents of the garbage disposal. In either case, the insides of a disposal can quickly become covered with sludge and debris. No matter how hard you try to protect your disposal, items unsuitable for disposing will find their way down your drain. Glass, metal, rubber objects or highly fibrous food materials like corn husks, shrimp shells, peach pits, artichoke leaves or large bones will need to be physically removed from the disposal. In all cases, items that become lodged or left within your disposal will breed odor-causing bacteria and compromise the performance of your garbage disposal and drain. There are a few ways to clean sludge and debris:

Clearing Items Out of the Garbage Disposal

Safety is important when clearing your garbage disposal. Before you start, be sure to turn off the fuse that regulates power to your garbage disposal to ensure there is no chance for the unit to turn on while you’re clearing it. Using tongs or pliers, you may be able to remove any non-disposable items stuck inside your garbage disposal. You should try to avoid sticking your hands inside of the disposer, but if it becomes necessary to use your hands, be sure that the power to the unit is disabled.

Cleaning the Grinding Elements Using Ice and Rock Salt

You can combine two cups of ice cubes and a cup of rock salt to make a great cure for malodorous garbage disposals. Fill the garbage disposal with the ice cubes and then pour the salt over the ice cubes. Run cold water and turn on the garbage disposal for approximately 5-10 seconds. The combination of ice and rock salt will help knock sludge and debris off of the grinding elements so that they can make their way down the drain. If you don’t happen to have rock salt, substituting a cup of vinegar will also work.

2. Clearing the Drain Line

Good general garbage disposer maintenance includes a periodic purging of the drain line leading from the garbage disposal. You should also purge the line after removing sludge and debris because it ensures that all dislodged items make their way down the drain. This can be accomplished by plugging your drain, filling your sink with 2-4 inches of water and then removing the drain plug and turning on the garbage disposal. Then all of the collected water gets pulled through the line. In addition to being a part of good maintenance, you should also clear your drain line each time after you dispose of particularly fibrous foods. It will help ensure that all of the food particles make their way down the drain.

3. Freshening up your Garbage Disposal Using Citrus Peels


After you’ve cleared and cleaned your garbage disposal, you can use citrus peels (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit) to help freshen up your sink. Put a handful of citrus peels into your garbage disposal, run the cold water and turn on the disposal. The citric acid will help deodorize your disposer and leave your kitchen smelling fresh.

It’s especially a good idea to clean your garbage disposal before you leave your house for a few days. Having food, sludge and debris sitting in a moist garbage disposal that isn’t being used is a sure-fire recipe for breeding odor-causing bacteria. Following these easy steps will help keep your garbage disposal working properly and your kitchen sink smelling clean.


holiday safety tips

Here are some great holiday safety tips from our friends at the Calgary Fire Service regarding Christmas trees:

  • Get a freshly cut tree. It stays green longer and is less of a fire hazard
  • Consider an artificial tree, they don’t smell as nice, but they are a lot safer
  • Always test for freshness before buying.  A tree with high moisture content is safer.  Very few needles should fall when the butt of the tree is tapped on the ground.  Needles should bend, not break, and the stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Use a tree stand with a broad base for better balance and a large water reservoir to immerse the tree butt.  Make sure the base of the tree is always in water
  • Do not set up your tree near a heat source such as a radiator, TV, fireplace or heating duct
  • Never use lit candles on a tree
  • After the holidays, properly dispose of trees as soon as possible.

4 things to do with your Pumpkin after Halloween!

Pumpkin Purée!

Pumpkin purée is the No. 1 use for the fleshy insides of your pumpkin, and it’s super easy to make. Start by cutting your pumpkin down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and guts, and set them aside for later.

Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Then, simply scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor.

Once you’ve made your pumpkin purée, it’s ready for use in all your favorite pumpkin recipes, from pies to pancakes. Any extra can be stored in the freezer for several months, which means you can ditch all that canned pumpkin when Christmas comes around. Continue reading

Bill and his children are one of our new Habitat families

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting a father of four, who will be taking possession of one side of the duplex Gold Seal Homes is building for Habitat for Humanity (Southern Alberta region).  Bill was seen on site all weekend with other volunteers building fences , installing siding and painting walls.  We also had volunteers from our local Lions club and members of the Town of Carstairs staff.

Bill has 5 children, Jasmine (12), Josh (11), Brandon (11), Keira (6) and daughter Paige (4). Paige lives with the family part-time. Bill is a single father from Didsbury that looks forward to providing a stable and secure environment for his children. Bill works for Mountain View County in waste management and looks forward to a career that will see him rise to management one day.

Bill seen here building his fence

The home the family currently lives in is small and in need of repairs, Bill sleeps on the sofa so his girls can have their own room. Bill is concerned about safety for his family as the area they currently reside in is not the safest.

His partnership with Habitat Mountain View County Chapter in Carstairs now has Bill hopeful about his children’s futures and they are all very excited that they will finally realize their dream of having a home they can call their own. The kids look forward to having their own rooms and a play space and look forward to getting a new puppy and friend for their pet turtle Iris, who is named after their great-grandmother. Bill’s family and friends are excited and supportive with this new step on the family’s journey to a brighter and better future.

With the help of Habitat for Humanity, a home will provide this wonderful family with the stability they need to achieve their goals and dreams.

Meet one of our Habitat Families

This weekend I had the pleasure to meet and work with our two families that have been selected for the Carstairs Habitat homes that Gold Seal Master Builder is coordinating on Mackenzie Way in the Havenfields community.  Our first family is a young mother of two:

Amanda has two children, Landon (5) and Emily (3). Amanda is a hometown Carstairs girl who has recently come home from Texas. Her family and friends are overjoyed to have her back home and are excited that she now has the opportunity to provide stability and security for her young children after a difficult few years. Amanda is now on a journey to improve and change her and her children’s lives, and is currently enrolled in a Teacher’s Aide program which she will finish in June.

Amanda lives in fear that she and her children will be homeless as they are currently renting month- to-month and the owners are looking to sell the home. She is unable to afford to move into another rental as her income is limited at this time due to attending school. Amanda volunteers at the local Baptist Church and believes in giving back to the community, believing that that ability to give to others is a wonderful gift to both her and to the people she helps.

The ability to partner with Habitat Mountain View County Chapter in Carstairs is very exciting for Amanda and her family; she is full of gratitude for her family’s new home and is excited to start a new chapter in their lives.

World Habitat Day 2012

Habitat for Humanity International - World Habitat Day Habitat for Humanity’s theme for World Habitat Day 2012, “Many Homes, One Community,” highlights the vital role that decent, affordable housing plays in community stabilization and development. The focus is on the importance of homeownership in a neighborhood’s progress.

Beginning on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, and continuing throughout October and November, Habitat for Humanity and affiliated organizations will host hundreds of local events — from builds and flash mobs to parades, contests, housing forums and everything in between — to draw attention to the need for safe, decent, affordable shelter for all. The two-month observance of the need for safe, decent and affordable shelter and the pivotal role of housing in community development will culminate with Habitat’s flagship annual event, the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The 29th annual Carter Work Project returns to Haiti as part of its two-year effort to strengthen and support Habitat’s work there.

The United Nations established World Habitat Day in 1985 to spotlight the need for adequate shelter worldwide. On the first Monday in October each year, Habitat for Humanity affiliates and national organizations raise their collective voice, taking action to change the systems, policies and attitudes that lead to poverty housing, and engaging partners in solutions.


First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credits

The First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit was introduced as part of ‘Canada’s Economic Action Plan’ to assist Canadians in purchasing their first home. It is designed to help recover closing costs, such as legal expenses, inspections, and land transfer taxes, so you can save more for money for a down payment.1

The Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, at current taxation rates, works out to a rebate of $750 for all first-time buyers. After you buy your first home, the credit must be claimed within the year of purchase and it is non-refundable. In addition, the home you purchase must be a ‘qualified’ home, described in more detail below. If you are purchasing a home with a spouse, partner or friend, the combined claim cannot exceed $750.2

Filing your First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

To receive your $750 claim, you must include it with your personal tax return under line 369.3

How do you qualify for the First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit?

In order to be eligible for the First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, your home must meet the following requirements:

  • Be within Canada
  • Be an existing or new home
  • Be a single, semi, townhouse, mobile home, condo, or apartment
  • Can include a share in a co-operative housing corporation that      gives you possession of the home
  • You must intend to occupy the home within one year of purchase3

To personally be eligible for the First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • You or your spouse must purchase a qualifying home
  • The home must be registered in either your name or your      spouse’s name
  • You cannot have owned a home in the previous four years
  • You cannot have lived in a home owned by your spouse in the      previous four years
  • You must present documents supporting the purchase of the home3

Home Buyers’ Tax Credit for people with disabilities

If you have a disability and are purchasing a home, you do not need to be a first-time home buyer to claim the Home Buyers’ Tax Cedit, where a person with a disability is defined as a person who can claim a disability amount on their tax return in the year the home is purchased. The Home Buyers’ Tax Credit can be claimed if the home purchased is suitable for the disabled person’s needs, and the disabled person occupies the home within one year from the date of purchase.4

[1]”Canada’s Economic Action Plan”. Government of Canada. Government of Canada. Web. 26 November 2010. [2]”2009 First Time Home buyer’s Tax Credit”. Homelegalcost.com. Stephen H.  Shub Professional Corporation. 1 January 2008. Web. 26 November 2010.[3] “Fact Sheet: First Time Home buyer’s Tax Credit”. Canada Revenue Agency. Canada Revenue Agency. 25 February 2010. Web. 26 November 2010.[4] “The First-Time Home buyer’s Tax Credit”. Meredith Norton. Remax Shuawap Realty. 26 February 2009. Web. 26 November 2010