Day: April 13, 2019

Irish Christmas Traditions and Customs

Ireland is a magical country, filled with tradition and folklore dating back many years. Christmas in Ireland is an especially magical time of year. Many Irish Christmas traditions have become part of the Christmas celebration of many nationalities and have made their way into main stream American Christmas customs.

In Ireland people say “Nollaig Shona Duit” pronounced NO-Lihg HO-nuh ghwich. This Irish Christmas greeting literally translates to Happy Christmas.

One beloved Irish Christmas tradition is that of the Christmas plum pudding. The traditional Irish Christmas plum pudding has had humble beginnings. Plum pudding was originally a porridge flavored with scraps of leftover meat or fish, thickened with bread crumbs and bound together with eggs, fruit and spices. During the Tudor and Stuart period in England, dried prunes were added to the pudding mixture which became known as a plum porridge. Eventually becoming called plum pudding.

Another very common Christmas custom in Ireland is the candle window. The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practiced today and has become an American Christmas tradition as well. The candle in the window has a number of purposes. One of its primary meanings is as a welcoming symbol to Mary and Joseph as they traveled looking for shelter. The candle also indicated a safe place for Catholic priests to perform mass during the penal times when Catholic masses were not allowed. Another part of the tradition is the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the family and should only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name Mary.

In Ireland celebrating the Feast Day of St. Stephen’s is usually accompanied with the Wren Boy Procession. Saint Stephen’s Day celebrated on December 26th, also know as the Day of the Wren is a national holiday in Ireland.

During Penal times there was a plot in a village against the local soldiers. The soldiers were surrounded and about to be ambushed when a flock of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened them in time to defend themselves. The plot failed and the wren became known as the “Devil’s Bird”.

On Saint Stephen’s Day a procession takes place where pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes with blackened faces. In olden days an actual wren bird was killed and placed on the pole. This custom has largely disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephen’s has survived and is a large part of the Irish Christmas celebration today.

Last but not least a fabulous Irish Christmas tradition that hasn’t made its way to the states is called “Women’s Christmas”. In Ireland on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, is when traditionally the Irish finish celebrating Christmas. It is also known as “Nollaigh na mBean” in Irish or “Women’s Christmas”. Tradition has it that women get the day off and the …

Time For Home Improvement

As summer nears its end a lot of home owners start to think about the last few home improvement task that they want to carry out before it starts to get cold and wet outside. The next few months are perfect for these last changes and some home improvement tasks that will make winter a whole lot nicer to spend in your home.

Gardens are always a big issue with home owners, just before fall hits a lot of people who enjoyed the summer in their garden start to think about what changes they can make so that it will be nice to spend time in the garden in the next few months too, it usually means that you will need to move some of the plants and position any sitting chairs and table you have closer to the house, it also means that you will want to create as much open space in your garden as you possibly can , so it will be easy for you to dispose of the all gifts fall brings with it.

It is not tool late to check your roof and see if you should make any improvements before the rain start pouring down on the house, in many areas home owners do a routine check to the roof to make sure they know what is the situation up there before the winter starts, this sometimes calls for a professional help so you may want to think about costs before doing that.

The kitchen is one place you will want to make some home improvement changes, during the winter months the kitchen becomes the heart of the house and there is no doubt that making necessary changes in the kitchen will make life nicer and easier, from the kitchen cabinets to the countertops, a kitchen can be upgraded easily with some thought and creativity. Another thing you can do is paint your walls, a minor home improvement trick that makes your house look new and clean, it does not take a lot of time to do and the income is almost always enjoyable.

The last thing you would want to do before winter starts is examine your window shutters, if you have wood shutter you can simply purchase some paint and apply a new color to them, changing the outside of your house a little and adding a protective layer of paint on the shutter against rain. When checking your shutters you can also make sure that they are well placed and are in good condition, changing shutters is not a big deal and is not very pricy either so it is better to find out that you need to replace a broken shutter before you have an emergency on your hands.

With a few minor check and some home improvement tasks your house will be ready for winter, the nice thing is that once you finish with all these home improvement tasks you will have time to start organizing your home from …

What is the Cost to Build a Basement?

The cost to dig a basement hole on our 1800 sq. ft. house was only $790. However, I have a feeling you want to know more than simply the cost of digging the basement hole.

Some of the other costs that you likely want to know about are:

– You need to dig the basement hole, which as I said was $790.

– How about pouring footings and foundations, which costs $6 to $7K

– Then there is pouring flatwork cement for a tune of $1.00+ per square foot x 1800 sq ft = $1800.

– Putting in sub-rough plumbing which can be $1,000 plus the cost of gravel and the excavator’s charges.

– There’s the windows for your basement which includes window bucks of close to $500 (4 windows) and the corrugated window wells of $500 …total $1000 + or -.

– The actual windows cost $400+ depending on if you have a walkout basement with sliding glass doors, which would be plus the cost of the sliders.

– Sealing the basement walls to prevent water leakage through the walls will be another several hundred dollars.

– The cost to backfill around your basement adds a few hundred more.

– Now the last question is how big is your basement going to be?

That $790 figure of digging a basement suddenly became a whole lot more didn’t it? The reality is, however, that the real cost only involves a few of the above: digging the hole, flatwork cement, and windows, window bucks and window wells.

You still have to either poor a cement slab, or put in footings and foundations, which in the case of the later, go down to frost level. You still have backfill whether you have a basement or not. You still have sub-rough plumbing, with gravel before the slab. With a slab you will have furnace ducting to consider too.

Even though you have all the above items to consider in building a basement, it is still only a few thousand dollars more to add a basement, in comparison to the total cost of building your home.

Considering that your home may be worth $250 thousand to $400,000, your basement will probably only cost $7K-$10K+ added to the cost. All things considered, there isn’t a better investment for that extra 10K in comparison to doubling the living space of the first level, that a basement adds.

As an example, consider the storage space it adds to your home. If you didn’t have to rent storage space, what would it save you each month? Or wouldn’t it be nice to park the car in the garage instead of using it for storage space?

In addition, the basement maintains an even temperature of around 59 degrees all year, so the cost of air conditioning in the summer is drastically reduced when compared with air-conditioning an upper story with the same amount of floor space.

If you build your home on a hillside, a walkout basement makes for …

How To Power Wash Your Shed

When you have found one of the many sheds for sale, the next step is to keep it preserved. The most important thing to consider in the upkeep of your garden storage shed are: Time, Cost and Methods. All of it comes down to repairs and approaches to schedule them correctly along with how much you want to pay for them. Here we’re going to discuss strategies to keep your shed in good working order as well as how to do it on a budget.

One thing that will quickly ruin you shed is dirt and grime accumulation. Dirt will most probably occur regardless of whether you prefer it or not, but the important thing is to stay in front of it. Make sure to differentiate dirt from black mildew. Black mold will take place even when it is hot and dry. The good news is that dirt and mold can be quickly cleaned off using an electric power washer. Although the paint is peeling, go on and power wash that shed just before repainting a shed. If there is green mildew it means there is moisture trapped somewhere. Before you electric power wash consider and discover the source of the trouble. Check and make sure all mold, dirt and debris are removed before you prime and paint. The most beneficial cleaner to make use of for power washing is bleach mixed with drinking water. Make sure you check your concentrations and protect your skin and eyes before starting.

Probe the wooden exterior and interior of your shed to test for strength. If the wood looks gentle or soft, you could be subject to wood rot. Checking for wooden rot is very important to accomplish any time after a tough rain or simply a rainy season. Should you uncover wood rot: under no circumstances fear! Repair is easy as well as not very expensive to resolve. You should remove all rotten wood areas as well as test the surrounding wood to ensure the rot hasn’t spread. Swap the region with new sound wooden and prime and paint. It is actually always much better to repair wood rot mainly because wood rot is usually localized and would not require a whole replacement of siding.

The overall cleanliness within your garden shed is important to its longevity. Use insecticides on the inside and exterior of your garden barn to help keep out carpenter ants and bees which can damage the wood and add to wood rot. Aside from chemicals to keep wood destroying insects out, a little bit of elbow grease and a keen eye are all you need to keep you new shed or pole barn looking good for years to come. If you do start to notice some determination, hopefully you can follow our simply steps to rectify the situation and keep on enjoying your new garden shed.…

Finding a Low Interest Home Improvement Loan

When you want to make improvements to your home, the idea of ​​a low interest home improvement loan comes to mind. After all, the major part of any loan is the interest rate, so if you can get a lower interest rate, the monthly payments and the total cost of the loan are going to be substantially lower. Do not choose the bank where you have your mortgage simply because it's convenient, but check around to find a low interest home improvement loan.

The importance of research

Just like any other loan, you want to be sure to do some research before you choose a lender. Failing to research before you obtain your loan can make the difference between finding a low interest home improvement loan and paying a higher rate of interest.

One of the worst mistakes that borrowers make is thinking that every lender charges about the same rate of interest, especially within the same regional area, and this is far from being factual information. First, different types of lenders have different interest rates.

For example, a finance company is going to charge a much higher interest rate than a bank, so the reason it is easier for those with bad credit to obtain a loan from a finance company. On the other hand, many credit unions charge a lower rate of interest than banks.

Choosing a lender

If you want to find a low interest home improvement loan, you will need to do some research outside of your local or regional area. That does not mean that you will find the lowest interest rate outside of your regional area, but if you do not do the research, you will not know if you have the lowest rate on a home improvement loan that is available. In addition, sometimes you can present a lower quote to a local lender, and in order to keep your business, they will match the lowest quote you received.

If you have good credit and are a long time customer of a particular lender, they will not want to lose your business to someone else over a difference in the interest rate. You want a low interest home improvement loan, and they want to maintain your business, so you have a tool for negotiation.

Is the best rate always the lowest rate?

When you begin to research lenders, you have to look at every aspect of the cost of the loan and not just the interest rate. Of course, the interest rate is the first thing you will see when looking for a low interest home improvement loan, but you have to look at everything that adds to the cost of the loan. For instance, one lender may charge a lower interest rate but has an application fee and prepayment penalty.

Another lender may have other kinds of additional charges, such as required insurance, that will add to the cost of the loan. Researching every aspect of the loan in order to find …