Spring Car Maintenance DIY Guide

Used Car Tips

It’s that time of year again.  Flowers, pollen, rain, rain, and more rain.  Spring is a great time to be outdoors and enjoy life (with allergy medicine!) but it’s also a great time to do a check-up on your car.  That’s right car maintenance.  This Spring Car Maintenance DIY Guide is brought to you by AppleValleyHyundai.com.

While you could go to the auto shop and pay someone to look over your car, you could do a couple of things yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Check Your Spark Plugs

From what I’ve read most spark plugs require that they be replaced after driving about 30,000 miles and changing them isn’t a complicated process once you understand it.  You could read online about replacing your own or go to the ever popular YouTube and find a mechanic who knows his stuff.

Get an Oil Change

Or maybe I should say, give yourself an oil change.  Car experts vary with their recommendations but most say that you should change your oil somewhere between 3,000-5,000 miles.  This seems like common sense but because I don’t always think things through myself I’ll say it anyway, when changing your oil make sure not to do it when the engine is still hot.  You don’t want to get scalded.  A trip to the ER will not help you save money.

Check Your Battery

Get a battery tester or take it to an auto place where they can quickly check it for free.  It’s important for a battery to be clean and free of rust and dust to avoid unnecessary problems.

Check Your Tire Pressure

This is easy to do at home and you can go to most gas stations if you need to inflate them with air.

There you have it!  There are some simple ways to give your car a spring maintenance check up.

4 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Replacement Hot Tub Cover

This guest post comes from my friend Kim who knows her stuff when it comes to hot tubs.  Don’t overpay on the wrong cover, check out her tips.Hot Tub Covers

Hot tub cover damage isn’t uncommon. When repairs are no longer an option, it is time to start looking for a replacement hot tub cover. Finding a hot tub replacement cover can be a challenging task, because you need a cover that is the perfect fit for your hot tub, and there are thousands of different makes and models of hot tubs around. I recommend you take a look at SpaMate.com. They have been making custom fit hot tub covers for more than four decades and have made covers for every hot tub model ever produced.

If you are in the market for a replacement hot tub cover, you probably want to consider the things that you didn’t like about your old cover. Maybe your old cover wore out really quickly, or it didn’t keep your hot tub as warm as you’d like; this is the perfect time to get a hot tub cover that meets all of your needs. Here are four things that you should consider when getting a hot tub cover replacement.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing A Replacement Hot Tub Cover?

 

1.  Durability

You don’t want to be replacing your hot tub cover every couple of years. Instead, you will want a cover that will last you a long time. To find a durable spa cover, you should first start by looking for a cover that has internal supports made of a strong metal like steel. These supports provide your spa cover with the strength to keep it sturdy under the weight of any debris that may fall on top of it in your yard.

In addition to the internal supports, your hot tub cover should have strong hinges made out a rust-resistant material. A continuous heat seal at the hinges could also help with keeping the heat inside your hot tub while it is covered. Over time, this will save you a lot of money on heating bills.

Wind straps should also come with your hot tub cover to keep the cover secured to your spa during inclement weather and high-wind conditions. Properly securing your cover to your hot tub could prevent it from getting damaged.

2.  Insulation

The foam insulation inside your hot tub cover keeps the heat in the spa when it isn’t in use. Even when it is bitterly cold outside, the insulation should keep your spa’s water toasty and warm. There are a few different factors that affect how well your cover keeps in heat. First is the thickness of the foam.

Thin foam won’t be able to keep the water in your hot tub warm when the temperatures dip to extreme lows. Typically, a quality hot tub cover will contain foam insulation that is between four and six inches thick.

The second consideration you should make when it comes to insulation is the climate in which you live. If you live in an area that gets really cold, you will want to go with the thickest insulation available to keep your hot tub water nice and warm. In warmer climates, you will need less insulation so that you can go with a thinner foam insulation option. Regardless of the climate, a replacement spa cover should contain at least three inches of foam insulation.

Hot Tub Cover

3.  Fit

For a spa cover to properly insulate hot tub, you need to make sure that it is a perfect fit. It isn’t always easy to get a hot tub cover that is the perfect fit, so you might want to look for a company that can take the make and model of your spa and create the perfect hot tub cover. If that isn’t an option, you can measure your spa to come up with perfect measurements. It may be very difficult to get precise measurements, so you should talk to the spa cover manufacturer about how to get the best measurements.

4.  Material

Spa covers need to be made out of a material that can stand up to constant contact with water, the elements, and sun exposure. For these reasons, marine vinyl is the best option when it comes to a spa cover material because it is resistant to fading, discoloration, and UV damage. Marine vinyl also contains mildew inhibitors that prevent the growth of mildew and mold on the cover to prevent illnesses to those who use the hot tub. Mildew inhibitors also very bad odors in the cover.

Purchasing a replacement spa cover is no easy task. If you have been burned by a spa cover in the past, you are probably hesitant to pull the trigger on a new purchase. However, with these tips, you can go out and pick a new spa cover with confidence.

 

8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree

This post is brought to you by Warsawchryslerdodgejeepram.com and contains affiliate links.

Car Care Items from The Dollar Store

I love the Dollar Tree for party supplies, craft supplies, gardening tools, and the occasional odds and ends I don’t realize I need till I see it.  Did you know that the Dollar Tree is also a great place to save on car care items?  Taking care of your car can add up quickly, but before you head to the nearest auto store to buy your supplies, check out these common needs that you can have filled for a dollar at your nearest Dollar Tree.

Here are 8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree:

Utility Rope

Utility Ropes
In case of emergency, keeping ropes in your vehicle is a great idea.

Auto Protectant

Auto Protectant
You can really save some dollars here. This solution is for vinyl surfaces to protect and restore shine.

Flashlights

Flashlights
In case of emergency or if you need to do some repair, the flashlights will suit your needs well. Who cares if it gets lost or dirty?

Windshield Washer Fuild

Windshield Washer Fluid
You can save a pretty penny by refilling your own windshield washer fluid… for a dollar. This fluid acts as antifreeze and de-icer, making your car safer.

Steering Wheel Cover

Steering Wheel Cover
Snazz up your car, avoid a dirty steering wheel, and protect your hands with the steering wheel cover.

Funnels

Funnels
Although you’ll find this in the kitchen section, it’s perfect for guiding fluids during routine checks.  Plus, they come in packs of three so you could divide them between your kitchen needs and car needs….just don’t use one for both. 😉

Snow Scraper

Snow Brush with Scrapers
Scraping your windshields is an important step of winter car safety.  Save your credit cards and buy a cheap scraper that can get the job done even quicker.  Keep your car’s paint job safe too with the brush feature.

Brake Fuild

Brake Fluid
If you’re your own mechanic, this deal is sure to impress. Refill your brake fluid for a buck.

Do you have any ways to save on car maintenance?  If so, please share in the comments.

5 Steps to Remove Clutter From Your Life

All of us end up with a clutter filled home and mind throughout our life. With the busy times of keeping up with a career, raising kids and keeping a marriage afloat, there’s no wonder that many of us end up feeling overwhelmed and cluttered. When you realize that clutter has taken over your life and home, there are a few things you can do to help remove this clutter from your life, today I am sharing a few tips to help you become clutter free and in turn feel less stressed.

5 Steps to Remove Clutter from your Life

Tackle Junk Drawers

Most people have a junk drawer in the home that’s full of odds and ends. The first tip to removing clutter from your life is to tackle the junk drawers. Organize each item into a category, then donate or recycle any items that won’t serve a purpose in your life.

Take a Relaxing Bath

If you find that your mind is cluttered, taking a relaxing bath once a week can help to alleviate this clutter in the mind. With our busy lives, we tend to hold so much in our thoughts and in turn can feel overwhelmed and tense. A relaxing weekly bath will remove clutter from your mind easily.

Revamp Daily Routine

As time goes on you will find that your routine becomes cluttered and you simply kept living life every day adding more things to your routine. In time, you have to pause to reflect upon what your daily routine involves. Cut some items from that routine and revamp it so that you feel more relaxed.

Clear off Flat Surfaces

If your home is like mine, the kids and others tend to drop items on that open countertop in the kitchen or the dining room table. Flat surfaces are famous for gaining clutter and it’s time to take back that surface! Make it a rule to never place any items on flat surfaces in the home, put them in their place. (You may also like our Tips for Organizing Kitchen Cabinets)

Designate a Space for Everything

Lastly, in order to maintain your clutter-free lifestyle, you will have to make sure that you have a designated space for everything. Have a family meeting to discuss these changes so that everyone is held accountable for removing the clutter from your life.

There you have it, 5 steps to remove clutter from your life. These tips are meant to inspire you to make a change and work towards living a reduced stress lifestyle. Once you implement these tips, you should feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders and in time feel great about living a clutter-free lifestyle.


How to Stay Strong with Resolutions for New Year

If you made a New Year’s resolution this season, then chances are you may be among the many people who swear to make a change but often end up giving up at some point in the first quarter of the year. New Year’s resolutions come with the right mindset, a person wants to be better, do better and such but they lack the necessary thought process to ensure their resolution sticks. Today, I am sharing some tips on how to stay strong with your resolution this year.

How to Stay Strong with Resolutions for New Year

Small Changes

The first steps to ensure you stay strong with your resolutions this New Year is to commit to small changes. Perhaps your full resolution is larger than life and in turn, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Take that resolution and break it down into smaller changes and you’ll remain strong.

Reward Yourself

As you achieve each small change during the process of staying strong with your resolutions for the New Year, reward yourself. Having some sort of reward system in place for every successful step will ensure your mind stays on the ultimate goal; your full resolution.

Write Resolution

Have a pad of small note paper near your desk or in the kitchen, keep it in a place where you can access it on a regular basis. Write your resolution every day so that your mind is focused on that end goal of whatever you’ve set your mind to for the New Year.

Know the Why

Anyone who remains strong with their resolution in the New Year has a strong why behind their resolution. Think about why you want to achieve this resolution.   Once you have your big why write it down and keep that reason awake in your mind so that you remain strong and committed to this change.

Accountability Partner

Consider gathering a group of people who want to stay strong with resolutions for the New Year too. This group will help you to hold yourself accountable as you travel along the path that is a positive change in your life.

There you have it, a few tips on how you can stay strong with resolutions for the New Year. Each of these tips will surely help you be successful with whatever you’ve set your mind to achieve this year.

Tips to Declutter your Mind

This post contains affiliate links.

Tips to Declutter your Mind

Do you feel like your mind is on full? Has life simply become very overwhelming and you have difficulties focusing on daily tasks? This happens to the best of us. With the busy lifestyle so many live these days it’s no wonder we neglect to take care of our own minds. While tidying up your home may feel great and be necessary, there’s another area in life that we must declutter in order to keep our life stress free. Today, I am sharing tips to declutter your mind because once you’ve decluttered the home; it’s time to clear out those thoughts that hold you back from living to your full potential.

Post-it Sticky Notes

Use Sticky Notes

When you’re raising a family often times there is a lot more stress on your shoulders as you try to remember everything for everyone. You aren’t a robot and you don’t have to keep all data in your mind. Use sticky notes to jot down daily to-do lists or events that are coming up until you can transfer them to a calendar. This will help declutter your mind and make room for other thoughts that help you regain inner peace.

Journal

Let go of Worries

Use a journal to write down your worries or things that kept your mind full during the day. Having a journal that you write thoughts into each night will help declutter your mind as you pull them from the brain and place them on that paper. You can use an actual journal (the beautiful one above is only $20 on Amazon) or a pad of paper by your nightstand and get into the practice of writing down worries every night before bed.  The Zebra Sarasa gel pens come in an array of beautiful colors and they make writing so much more fun for me.  If writing your thoughts is difficult to begin with try writing with a fun pen and keep writing and doodling till it comes more naturally.

Multitasking

Focus on One thing at a Time

This is the perfect step to decluttering your mind because you let go of the bigger picture and only focus on one thing at a time. If you have a large to-do list every day, make sure you focus on one task at a time and move onto the next task once the first one is complete. This will easily allow you to let go of multi-tasking to the point that you’re stressing yourself out.  As it turns out, studies now say that multitasking isn’t really good for you anyway.  #Mono-tasking

Declutter Your Mind

Pay Attention to Important Stuff

Only allow thoughts that matter to take up space in your mind. We can get into information overload easily with social media and family but in order to fully declutter your mind, you’ll have to learn to only pay attention to the important stuff. Each day we hear so many things that aren’t important and they consume a large part of our mind, let that nonsense go and only hold important thoughts in your mind.

There you have it, tips to declutter your mind so that you can have less stress, less worry and in turn live a more peaceful life. These tips should help inspire anyone to get a head start to decluttering their mind for happier living.

Things to do With Leftover Christmas Cards

Now that the holiday season is over, you may find that you have an abundance of Christmas cards laying around the home. Throwing these Christmas cards away may seem like a horrible idea because you want to recycle and reuse them to cherish the memories of this past Christmas season. Today, I am sharing a few things you can do with leftover Christmas cards so you can hang onto those memories forever.  This post contains affiliate links.

Things to do With Leftover Christmas Cards

2 inch blocks

Christmas Card Wooden Blocks

Gather up some 2” wooden blocks and spray paint them in various colors. While the wooden blocks are drying, cut out the letters from Christmas cards that have words like “joy”, “merry” and similar words. Use a tool to cut the square blocks of plain color cardstock and use adhesive to apply the letters one at a time to the cardstock.  Spray adhesive or Mod Podge would work. Then apply the cardstock (or you could skip the cardstock step) with letters and other décor pieces from the Christmas cards onto each wooden block on all sides to have a decorative design that showcases your cards.  A layer of Mod Podge would be good to coat the entire block again…the glitter Mod Podge could look really nice!

Christmas Card Picture

Pick up some frames from a thrift store or find some that are being unused within your home. Cut the best Christmas cards out in a way that will allow them to fit into the frame. Find a background that you like from on hand craft supplies, like cardstock or colored paper. Match it up so that you can apply the cutout from the Christmas card to this colored background. Then place this into the frame with a ribbon on the top to hang from the wall.

Christmas Card Postcards

Take some of the Christmas cards that are empty on the inside of that front cover and cut them down into a postcard size. Keep these on hand to send out throughout the year to make someone’s day special. Receiving snail mail is a great way to brighten someone’s day and this is a fabulous way to reuse your Christmas cards and spread that joy to others throughout the year.  We learned this trick from an old Mister Roger’s episode.  🙂

Christmas Card Placemats

This will be a fun project to do with your kids. Create placemats for your dining room table with the old Christmas cards. This is a great way to create décor for holiday gatherings, birthday parties and other social events you host within your home. The kids will enjoy cutting out old Christmas cards with you and placing them together in a way that creates a new decorative placemat for your family to enjoy.  A laminator would come in handy for this or maybe a healthy dose of Mod Podge.

Christmas Card Bookmarks

My kids love books so bookmarks are always on short supply.  That’s why homemade bookmarks are a favorite craft around our home.  You could cut along a lovely pattern and even hole punch it and add some matching string through the top.  Not only would these be great to keep for yourself but they would make great gifts for others too.

Christmas Card Family/Friend Reminders

This is a great way to remember to write, call, email, and/or pray for your family and friends through the year.  You could hole punch them and put them on a ring to cycle through throughout the year.  This is what our family does and I absolutely love this tradition.

There you have it a few things to do with leftover Christmas cards so that you can use them throughout the year. You can also use these ideas to spread joy to loved ones and friends throughout the year. It’s a great way to spread kindness by sharing the joy you felt when that Christmas card first arrived in your home.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Review

This post contains affiliate links.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Like many of you, I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up four years ago and was pleasantly startled by her fresh perspective of decluttering.  She attacked categories at a time and not locations.

My favorite quote from the book, “People cannot change their habits without first changing their thinking.

It forever changed the way I thought of things.  Now I try to keep and buy only things that spark joy.  I’ve recommended it to friends and readers for years.  Recently, in our Live With Less Facebook group someone mentioned a Netflix original called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.  What?  Perfect timing!  People are now feeling uncomfortable with the amount of extra stuff from Christmas and are making New Year’s resolutions to live with less.  Well timed, Netflix, well timed!

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

When we turned on Netflix tonight we saw an ad for the show and not having any series that we’re currently binge watching, we decided to give it a try.  Our thoughts: it sparked joy. 🙂  See what we did there?  We only watched the first episode but it really hit home.  It was nearly identical to my family’s situation.  My husband is naturally more organized than me, I can get so overwhelmed with daily activities that decluttering seems challenging at best, I dislike laundry,  and we have two small kids like they did.  It was a good show and I’m glad we watched it.  I’m still not a fan of talking to inanimate objects but looking past that I loved it!

I’m excited to watching the rest of them with my husband. To give you a little background, my husband never, and I mean never, watches decorating or yardsale/purging shows and he enjoyed it enough to want watch another one tomorrow. We both have a desire to live with less and watching someone declutter their home and deal with the emotions of it all was incredibly motivating.

So far, I’m loving the series. It’s inspiring me, it’s challenging me, and it makes me want to pause the TV and go fill a box of my unwanted belongings before watching more.  If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

If you’re looking for more decluttering motivation feel free to join our Live With Less Facebook group and say hi!

January Decluttering Challenge 2019

January Declutter Challenge

It’s easy to collect things through the year.  Things we don’t need.  Things others could use.  Things we can sell.  Things we need to find and just put to use.  At least my family does this.  If you have too much stuff and your house could use a decluttering jump start then this challenge is for you.  This January Decluttering Challenge is a daily checklist for you to easily remove things from your home that you no longer need.  Feel free to donate, gift, recycle, or use up these items before opting to throw them away.

We have an active and encouraging Live With Less Facebook group that I would love to have you join.  You can share before and after photos, ask for advice, and share encouraging photos of things you’re letting go of.  You can join by clicking here.




























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Happy New Year!  I hope you’ll join our Live With Less Facebook group so we can connect and chat!

You might also like our 200 Things to Throw Away post.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions

Car Related New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s is a great time to evaluate your life and replace your bad habits with new ones.  Keep in better contact with family, live in the moment, prioritize your health, and the list goes on and on.  There are hundreds of ways that you can improve your life but what about the life of your car?  If you would like to see your car live a good long and healthy life read on for some New Year’s Resolution ideas.

This post is brought to you by Thompson Toyota.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions for Drivers

  • -Get your oil changed regularly (mark it on your calendar)
  • -Research how to be fuel-efficient (click here for a good place to start your research)
  • -Save money on gas by using apps to find the cheapest gas (see my full list of gas apps here)
  • -Use the Waze app to carpool with others (see my full list of map apps here)
  • -Be more patient with other drivers
  • -Practice being a courteous driver more
  • -Check your tire pressure monthly
  • -Change your wiper blades before they’re unusable (this is a good one for me)
  • -Keep your car’s interior clean (you might want to check out our list of 7 ways to remove car odors)
  • -Get a monthly plan for the car wash (we started that this year and love it!)
  • -Stop leaving your vehicle idling
  • -Start locking your car when you leave it
  • -Stop speeding
  • -Take your car in for regular maintenance (see how to winterize your vehicle here)
  • -Start saving for upcoming repairs/service and for your next vehicle!

What car related New Year’s resolution could you add to the list?  Personally, I want to add write down which CDs are in the CD changer.  Yes, we have an old van but I love it dearly.  …but for the life of me I can’t keep which CD is in which spot straight.  It’s always the last one I check.  Always.  Happy New Year’s, everyone!!