Owning a home is the single most important investment most of us will make, and understanding how your home is constructed, as well as how the systems in the home operate is important. YOUR SkyTech Team is constantly striving to make sure that you are equipped with the knowledge and understanding that will allow you to keep your home in good condition for years to come.
Here are some informational and technical articles and documents that we hope you and your clients will find interesting and helpful. Fee free to browse our technical library for any information that you may find interesting, informative, and helpful. It’s just one more way that YOUR SkyTech Team is looking out for YOU!
Reminder it’s time to change our clocks again. Yeah! We gain another hour of daylight at the end of the day. Who’s ready for that? We sure are!
Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. The first day of fall and again on the first day of spring is a great time to do your smoke detector check. These are dates you will remember. Some people use the time change dates in spring and fall. It doesn’t matter what reminders you choose, just check your smoke detectors twice a year.
If you do not have smoke detectors get them today. the information here and the information on the NFPA site will help you get started installing the smoke detectors correctly.
In 2012-2016, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no working smoke alarms (17%).
No smoke alarms were present in two out of every five (40%) home fire deaths.
The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths vs. 5.7 deaths per 1,000 fires).
In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.
Safety messages about smoke alarms
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
A closed-door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
NFPA is aware of research indicating that sleeping children don’t always awake when a smoke alarm activates. While this research is worrisome, we shouldn’t allow them to obscure the fact that smoke alarms are highly effective at reducing fire deaths and injuries.
NFPA reaffirms the value of the smoke alarms already available to protect people from home fire deaths and voice its concern about the number of U.S. households without these early warning devices. While 96% of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, no smoke alarms were present or none operated in two out of five (41%) of the reported home fires between 2003-2006. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
NFPA emphasizes the need to continue planning and practicing home fire escape plans and to make sure everyone in a home can be awakened by the sound of the smoke alarm. NFPA suggests practicing the escape plan during which the smoke alarm is activated so all family members know its sound.
Every home fire escape plan is different, and every family should know who will – and who won’t – awaken at the sound of the smoke alarm. If someone doesn’t wake up when the alarm sounds during a drill, the family should design an escape plan that assigns a grown-up who is easily awakened by the alarm to wake the sleepers, perhaps by yelling “FIRE,” pounding on the wall or door, or blowing a whistle.
Get everyone in your household together and make a 788. Walk through your home and look for two ways out of every room.
Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and doors and windows open easily. Windows with security bars or grills should have an emergency release device.
Plan an outside meeting place where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place is something permanent, like a tree, light pole, or mailbox a safe distance in front of the home.
If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency.
If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside, and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.
Try Simple Things To Troubleshoot Before Calling Your Service Technician
your furnace or air conditioning units aren’t working or if you feel that they are not working efficiently you may need to call a technician. before you do that here is a simple checklist of things that you can do to check if there is a simple do-it-yourself fix to resolve the issues. Remember that regular maintenance of your systems will help to prevent the need for a service call and extend the life of your units.
Gas Furnace Equipment Checklist
Our heating units have been running a lot lately. There are still going to be some cold days ahead. If you are experiencing an issue with your heating unit follow this checklist to troubleshoot before you call for a service technician. Performing the simple regular maintenance tasks on the checklist will help maintain your systems and help to prevent the need for a service call and extend the life of your units.
Check to make sure that your thermostat is set in the “heat” position.
Make sure that the temperature setting on the thermostat is set above (or higher than) the indoor temperature showing on the thermostat.
Ensure that there is power to the furnace.
Try turning the fan to “ON” using the fan switch on the thermostat to test for power to the furnace.
Check the circuit breakers at the electrical panel.
Check the SSU switch (it looks like a light switch on a gray box located at the furnace) to be sure it is in the “ON” position.
Check to ensure the furnace filter isn’t in need of replacement.
All one-inch-thick furnace filters should be replaced monthly.
Wider two-inch thick and other high-capacity pleated filters can most likely be changed every other month or just six times per year.
If the system is running but you have not changed your filter, the filter needs to be replaced.
Check all return air grilles to make sure they are not blocked by furniture.
Check all supply air registers to make sure they are open and blowing air. (The return air grilles are normally located on your walls and are wide and flat).
Troubleshooting Your Air Conditioning Unit
Believe it or not, warm weather is on the way. Now is a great time to troubleshoot and perform maintenance tasks on your air conditioning unit. Follow this checklist for simple steps to ensure the unit is functioning at peak efficiency.
Check to make sure that your thermostat is set in the “cool” position.
Ensure that your outdoor air conditioning (condensing unit) is running.
Check the circuit breakers in the circuit breaker box (or electrical panel), most likely mounted to an outside wall in the back of the house. Make sure they are all in the “ON” position.
Check the outdoor unit “disconnect switch” to make sure it is in the “ON” position. The disconnect switch is located near the outdoor unit. (Normally a grey 8″ wide x 16″ high x 4″ deep box mounted to the wall).
Ensure that the blower motor in your furnace is running. (If the thermostat is in the “cool” position, the furnace blower should be running.)
If not, check to make sure the on/off switch at the furnace is in the “ON” position.
Be sure that you have changed your filter in the furnace recently.
An extremely blocked filter can cause your outdoor air conditioner unit to shut down due to a lack of proper airflow.
Check all return air grilles to make sure they are not blocked by furniture. Furniture should be moved at least four inches away from return air grilles to allow for adequate air supply.
Remember that SkyTech provides Lifetime Technical Assistance to our clients.
We love our pets. They are family members. We often do not realize that every year, tens of thousands of Americans contract diseases from their pets. Combine that with the fact that 85 million U.S. families (or 68% of all households) own at least one pet, and you’ve got a reason to be concerned. Though they are rare, these pet-borne diseases – known as zoonotic diseases – range from salmonella to the plague, and can be contracted directly or indirectly. Luckily, there are simple measures that homeowners can take to ensure their family’s and their pet’s health.
Aquarium fish inhabit their own self-contained spaces and, as such, tend to be safe for the household. But Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium that causes skin infections in people, still manages to invade the home via contaminated aquarium water. Affected fish may have lesions, scale and fin loss, and/or a lack of appetite, though they do not always exhibit symptoms. When purchasing a new fish, pay careful attention to ensure that your prospective pet inhabits clean, clear water, is energetic, is eating properly, and displays the typical coloring for its species.
Mycobacterium marinum is usually spread to humans through exposure to contaminated water via accidental consumption or an open wound, so cover all wounds when handling the aquarium, and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.
Cats are the second most popular pets in the United States. They can be indoor, indoor-outdoor, or stray. Among the most common diseases transmitted by cats is toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a parasite that infiltrates the cat’s system through the consumption of contaminated raw meat or infected rodents. It can spread to people through the cat’s food or from exposure to the infected cat’s feces.
Healthy people who suffer from toxoplasmosis usually only experience flu-like symptoms. However, those with compromised immune systems can endure confusion and even seizures. Pregnant women are at the greatest risk, which is why they’re discouraged from coming into contact with cat litter boxes. A fetus that contracts the disease during the third trimester may die in utero. Most affected newborns show no symptoms at all but may develop deafness, blindness, and/or mental disorders later in life.
Avoiding the threat of toxoplasmosis is easy, however. You can opt to keep your cat indoors. Regardless of whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, you should also regularly clean its litter box, ensure that all food (both human and pet) is properly stored, and maintain your home’s cleanliness to keep it pest- and rodent-free.
Cat-scratch disease isn’t quite as easily avoided. It’s caused by Bartonella henselae, a bacterium that 40% of all cats will carry at some point in their lifetime, although kittens are the likeliest carriers. Symptoms in people include infection at the site of a scratch or bite, swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, lack of appetite, and exhaustion.
The best way to avoid cat-scratch disease is by deterring scratching and biting behavior so that an injury doesn’t happen in the first place. If you wind up getting scratched, disinfect the wound and dress it properly, even if it’s small.
Both MRSA (a type of staph) and hookworm (a parasitic nematode) are passed from animals to humans through direct contact. Your cat can carry MRSA without any symptoms. On the other hand, with hookworm, your cat may suffer anemia, weight loss, and perhaps eventual death if left untreated. Prevention in both cases entails sanitary practices (i.e., the use of gloves when handling feces), keeping your cat indoors, scrutinizing your cat for any observable changes to its health, and scheduling regular visits with the veterinarian.
Last but not least is the family dog. Because of its exercise and toilet requirements, it’s not practical to keep your dog indoors in an attempt to eliminate the risk of their coming into contact with bacteria or parasites. So, there’s no shortage of possible health concerns that must be addressed in order to protect the lives of people and their canine companions.
The best-known threat is rabies, a virus most often passed through bites from infected animals. Symptoms can develop within days or months after the initial exposure. These include fever, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, anxiety, confusion, hallucination, and paralysis.
One crucial way to avoid rabies transmission is to supervise your dog when it’s outside. Hunting dogs are particularly vulnerable to rabies exposure by both prey and predators. So, be sure to familiarize yourself with the area around your property, and find out if there are any caves or other natural features that may attract a concentration of wildlife.
Salmonella is another threat, and, oddly enough, you are most likely to be exposed to it through your pet’s food. Both raw and dry pet food can become contaminated, so handle it with care, and ensure that small children do not have access to it.
What It All Means
It goes without saying that this is not an exhaustive list. Efficient and diligent sanitary practices are your first and most effective line of defense against pet-borne parasites and bacteria. Regularly observe and maintain the health of your pets. Wash your hands after handling their food, toileting materials, and their toys and equipment. Maintain the cleanliness of your home by sweeping, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces. And supervise your pet when it’s outdoors.
As is always the case, the start to a healthy home is an attentive and engaged homeowner — especially when that homeowner has a pet. And don’t forget to contact your InterNACHI®-certified home inspector to get an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection to keep your home safe and in top condition year-round.
Credit: Pet-Borne Diseases in the Home originally posted Posted by InterNachi on by Nick Gromicko, CMI®, Mary Greenway, and Kate Tarasenko view original article https://bit.ly/2MBOFZw
Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old and damaged appliance cords immediately.
Use electrical extension cords wisely and don’t overload them.
Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
Don’t allow children to play with or around electrical appliances, such as space heaters, irons, and hair dryers.
Keep clothes, curtains, and other potentially combustible items at least 3 feet from all heaters.
If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch, as well as lights that flicker. Use safety closures to childproof electrical outlets.
Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke or sparks.
If you are experiencing and issues or plan on buying or building a new home hire a certified InterNACHI inspector or licensed electrician. InterNACHI inspectors must pass rigorous safety training and are knowledgeable in the ways to reduce the likelihood of electrocution.
Information courtesy of The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), is the premier non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace. Click here to learn more about electrical safety at their website.
Areas of New Mexico have significant amounts of radon. SkyTech Of New Mexico would like to spread the word about how important the environment is when it comes to your health. We encourage you to learn more about the potential health effects of radon exposure and how to check your home for this potentially dangerous gas. Since it originated in 1970, Earth Day has served as a platform for education and advocacy efforts in support of a better world, cleaner air, and fresh water. Keeping with the spirit of the observance, we to learn more about the potential dangers of radon exposure and the various ways environmental factors play a role in one’s health.
SkyTech of New Mexico is IAC2 certified. We are experienced and qualified to administer radon testing, indoor air quality testing, and environmental testing. We test all types of commercial and residential properties. Not just properties that are being sold or purchased. Properties that are currently occupied (and have been for a significant amount f time) can still have radon issues. Radon testing is a stand-alone service. Contact us today if you have questions or to schedule a consultation or testing.
The Danger of Radon
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. You can’t see or smell radon. Testing is the only way to know your level of exposure. Radon can have a big impact on indoor air quality. Radon gas in homes is a health risk. Santa Fe County, like Bernalillo and many others, show up on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s radon maps as a Zone 1 county. That means homes can have a predicted indoor radon screening level above 4 picocuries per liter, the EPA’s recommended safe limit.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas resulting from the radioactive decay of uranium, which exists in most soils. Radon enters homes and buildings from the soil under the slab, from the crawlspace, basement, etc. Radon can also be found in some water supplies entering the home or building. Because radon is radioactive, it’s breakdown to other elements releases alpha, beta, and gamma radiations which can be physically damaging. When radon, and especially these decay elements, are inhaled, the lungs can be seriously damaged by this radiation. Studies have determined that as a result of this damage, radon is the overall second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is also believed to be the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Nearly 1 out of 15 homes in the US is estimated to have elevated radon levels. In New Mexico, the north-central part of the state including Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties are considered high-risk areas. Up to 30% of homes tested in Albuquerque and 40% in Santa Fe have shown radon levels that exceed the EPA recommended norms.
All houses can have radon; even those in areas of low radon potential can have elevated radon levels. The probability of finding radon in your home is less in low radon potential areas; however, radon levels can differ dramatically from one home to the next. The only way to know if you have radon is to test your home.
Individuals are exposed to elevated radon primarily in indoor environments, homes, offices, schools, etc. Any home or building, old or new, can have a radon problem. The only way to determine if a home or building has elevated indoor radon is to test.
How does radon enter your house? Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil around and under your home. Because the pressure is lower inside, radon is sucked into your house through cracks or holes in the slab or foundation. If you have elevated radon levels you can fix your home. If you are building a house in an area of moderate or high radon potential we recommend using radon-resistant building techniques.
The radon in your water supply poses an inhalation risk and a small ingestion risk. Most of your risk from radon in water comes from radon released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes. Research has shown that your risk of lung cancer from breathing radon in the air is much larger than your risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon on it.
Radon in your home’s water is not usually a problem when its source is surface water. A radon in water problem is more likely when its source is groundwater, e.g., a private well or a public water supply system that uses groundwater. Some public water systems treat their water to reduce radon levels before it is delivered to your home. If you are concerned that radon may be entering your home through the water and your water comes from a public water supply, contact your water supplier.
SkyTech of New Mexico is IAC2 certified. We are experienced and qualified to administer radon testing, indoor air quality testing, and environmental testing. Contact us today if you have questions or to schedule a consultation or testing.
Home Buyers and Sellers can find a comprehensive resource guide put out by the EPA here.
New Mexico Radon Zone Map by county courtesy of EPA
The EPA recommends action be taken to reduce radon levels in homes with
concentrations higher than 4 pCi/L.
(pCi/L = Pico curies per liter)
Make Sure Your Property Inspection Includes Infrared Technology
Infrared thermography inspection uses infrared imaging technology that allows SkyTech of New Mexico, Inc. inspectors to point out concerns about a structure that no one can show you using other inspection methods. This infrared imaging produces images of invisible heat energy emitted from objects and systems in the building and allows us to see it in a picture. As we inspect properties in New Mexico, we use infrared technology to find hidden problems that you may not even know about. This is a non-invasive, non-destruction inspection. Infrared imaging is a limited scan and most home inspectors are not Certified Thermographers, but the inspectors at SkyTech, Inc. are all certified in this technology.
Using Infrared technology to help find hidden damage or moisture can assist you to know hidden damage before you sell your home or detect damage in the home you are purchasing. Home inspections are conducted for many reasons. It is important in both the buying or selling process to know the condition of the property to assure that the sale process goes as smoothly as possible. Of course, not all inspections are the same – some of these inspections are better than the others. SkyTech has almost 20 years of experience and we pride ourselves in providing the most professional, comprehensive, and accurate inspections in New Mexico.
SkyTech uses infrared technology to identify hidden damage or moisture in a property. This is what every professional property inspection company has in its arsenal of tools and SkyTech of New Mexico is no exception. Infrared cameras detect thermal anomalies that help to determine different temperature levels and convert them into a film or video image. The images are used to interpret moisture, energy efficiency, insulation value, and more. Since infrared is outside of the scope of a normal home inspection, most home inspectors typically do not have the tools, training, or certification to conduct and properly interpret infrared survey images. Infrared technology is standard in a SkyTech of New Mexico residential or commercial property inspection.
Ordinary property inspections where IR devices are not used will determine problems that are visible. With an IR device, you will bring the property inspection to another level and find problems that are not visible to the naked eye. For instance, if you suspect that there is a problem with moisture in your property, but you cannot detect the source, you’ve got two options – to drill holes in the walls or to use an IR device. Obviously, the latter is preferred. As we all know, moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, and mold is associated with many illnesses. In addition, mold and mildew can damage the structure of your home. But, moisture issues are not the only thing that you can detect with IR technology. An IR inspection can help property owners detect conditions like unbalanced loads, open circuits, loose connections, overloads, defective equipment, active ceiling stains, collapsed glass, assessment of heated floors, tiles shower leaks, insulation problems, electrical problems, and more. Whether it is a pre-sale property inspection or a buyers inspection, infrared inspections can lower repair costs because you will know exactly where the problem is located.
If you are planning on using property services, make sure that the home inspector uses infrared technology. This is by far the best home inspection in terms of effectiveness and convenience.SkyTech of New Mexico Property Inspectors is offering high-quality IR services to every property owner in New Mexico. The best part is that this activity is part of the regular property inspection.
Contact SkyTech of New Mexico today to schedule an inspection.
There are a lot of steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency, and there is a lot you can do to damage it too. Make the most of your energy spending this winter by avoiding these 10 common home heating mistakes.
Heating An Empty House
If you’re out of the house at work most of the day, or if you’re away for the weekend, don’t heat the house the way you would if you were lounging around there. Spring for a programmable thermostat, which will save you money on energy bills. Set it to turn down the heat while you’re away and warm up the house right before you return.
Not Locking Your Windows
Of course you keep your windows closed in the winter. But do you remember to lock them? If your windows are not sealed tightly, cold air can infiltrate your home and the warm air your furnace is producing could leak out. Be sure to lock all your windows during the winter months.
Cranking Up the Thermostat
Don’t make the mistake of trying to heat your home faster by cranking up the thermostat further than it needs to go. Turning your thermostat too high has no effect on how fast your home will heat up. Your furnace will just end up running longer—which will translate into a higher utility bill.
Not changing furnace filter
When the air filter is dirty, your furnace has to work harder and will use more energy doing so. Make sure you change out the air filter on a regular schedule. Your system will work more efficiently—and economically.
Ignoring Leaks and Drafts
Don’t underestimate how much heat your home could be losing as a result of leaks and drafts. Check all the doors, windows, and exterior walls for drafts. Seal and caulk any areas where cold air is coming in and warm air could leak out. Pay special attention to the basement and attic. They are generally the worst offenders.
Closing Vents In Unused Rooms
You might think it would make sense to close the vents in unoccupied rooms to save money. After all, why heat a room that’s empty? Well, the fact is that the ductwork for your heating system is sized to provide even heating throughout the house, and the system won’t work efficiently if you disrupt that balance by closing vents.
Every year we all know someone who could use a little extra care at the holidays: maybe it’s a friend going through a tough time or someone who can’t be with their loved ones during the holidays. Or maybe it’s a family member who would love a military care package or a teacher or healthcare professional who deserves a big thank-you. A holiday care package is a personalized gift with some extra thought that can really brighten spirits. This is especially true in 2020. Looking for some ideas to show that you care? Maybe it’s you that needs a little treat or pampering this year. Here are some inspirations for you. This is especially true in 2020. Looking for some ideas to show that you care? Maybe it’s you that needs a little treat or pampering this year. I want to share ideas so we can all care for the people around us this holiday season. Here are some inspirations for you.
Holiday Care Package Basics
A care package can be a box brimming with things you know someone needs or loves. Or the contents can come together to tell a story. Or give your friend all the elements of an experience. Whichever way you go, here are some go-to gifts for holiday Christmas care packages.
Treats: Start with their favorite beverage, cookies, candy, or snacks. A way to treat themselves: Throw in a gift card to their favorite restaurant, shop, theater, or online service. Something helpful or useful: Give a holiday wine stopper with that bottle of wine, a pretty plate with cookies, or a cute card wallet with a gift card. A little comfort: Add cozy socks, a candle with a relaxing scent, or a chunky mug. Personal touches: Include a gift or keepsake that tells a story or adds a personal touch, like an ornament or picture frame (picture included). The card: Because there’s no better way to tell them how much they mean to you.
Holiday Care Package to Say “Thanks”
Think about all the folks who make your life better and easier all year long: teachers, coaches, healthcare professionals, delivery folks, mail carriers, and your hairstylist. With these ideas, you can say thanks to all of them. These people have worked hard this year under trying circumstances to take care of all of us.
Teacher care package suggestions: Grab a gift card, their favorite treats, a teacher ornament, some good pens and pencils, teacher themed journal books, notepads and stationery, homemade cocoa mix or cookie mix, a good book, a quality teacher themed mask, fun smelling hand soap or hand sanitizer. fuzzy or fun socks, helpful classroom supplies, and a handwritten card from your kiddo. Coach care package ideas: For a sweet treat, fill a water bottle with wrapped candies and wrap it all in a box with a lanyard for a bow, a unique clipboard, a personalized coach t-shirt, and a handmade card from your child. Neighbor care package ideas: Start with a holiday card and cute neighbor ornament and add a batch of cookies or (and?) a bottle of wine. More ideas: fairy lights or candles or garden tools, local chocolates, gift cards to local coffee shops, or a cute keychain. Hairstylist care package ideas: Say thanks with a card and ornament made specifically for fabulous hairstylists. Doubling the usual tip is the traditional gift for a stylist, but a gift is an appropriate substitute if you know what they like. Consider a box of gourmet chocolates, a bottle of their favorite adult beverage, or a gift card to a nearby lunch or dinner spot.
Delivering Your Holiday Care Package
To make sure your gift of Christmas cheer arrives on time, think about where, how, and when to send it.
Where? And how? If you’re carrying presents across the street or across town, a festive gift basket, bag, or box stuffed with tissue might be plenty. If you’re shipping it across the country or across the ocean, you’ll obviously want to package for safety. Think about ways you can make the padding part of the gift: socks, mittens, scarves, wraps and throws all work for cushioning fragile items. When? Lower your stress level by building buying, baking, packing up, and dropping off into your busy holiday schedule. Check shipping times (along with prices and other info) with your shipper.
Holiday Packages To Lift Spirits
Who doesn’t need a little comfort and joy during the holidays? If your loved one is missing someone, has a hall in need of decking, is feeling more stressed out than usual, or could use some holiday cheer, try putting some of these gifts together. You really don’t have to spend money to show someone you’re there for them, but giving a little gift can mean the world to someone who’s having a difficult time. 2020 has been hard on a lot of people. And if we’re being honest, sometimes it’s just nice to give yourself something sweet, too!
Comfy Cozy Package
Here are some ideas for packing a little extra warmth for someone feeling low:
hot cocoa mix and marshmallows
a cute mug
a holiday-scented candle
a new book
a cozy blanket or wrap
Sweet Holidays Care Package
Remind someone you think they’re sweet with sugary surprises:
sugar or gingerbread cookies (or mix) and supplies to decorate them
hot cocoa with candy cane stirring sticks
Deck the Halls Care Package
Help someone festive-up their office, dorm room, or apartment with some of these (click on the text for the how-to text):
Cheers to Christmas
We call this one the “holiday survival kit”: gather the ingredients for a holiday cocktail, a pair of stemless wine glasses, cocktail napkins, crackers or cookies or chocolates or all of the above.
Care packages that say “I get you”
A themed care package is the perfect way to show you truly appreciate your friends’ favorite hobbies or interests.
The Happy Hour Pal
For the friend who knows where to get the best cocktails and which restaurant has the best charcuterie platter, bundle their favorites:
a bottle of wine or liquor
charcuterie board ingredients: cured meats and cheeses if you’re gifting locally, or gourmet crackers, good jams or
mustards and a jar of olives if you’re not
funny cocktail napkins, like these or these or these
The DIY Fan
If you know someone crafty, give a DIY bundle with the supplies to create their own (click on the text for the how-to text):
hot cocoa, candy canes for stirring and mini-marshmallows
the link to a family dance party music playlist
The Finishing Touch
Once you’ve assembled all the items for your Christmas care package, add an extra touch of holiday wonder by arranging and wrapping your package in a festive way, and handwriting your message in a holiday card. You’ll end up with a gift that’s not only unique but really shows you know someone and care about them.
Originally published on Hallmark ideas and inspiration By Meghan Craig on October 22, 2020
National Cookie Day on December 4th serves up a sweet treat. Bakers across the country warm up the ovens for holiday baking, and we enjoy giving tins of cookies to friends and family all season long.
We can thank the Dutch for more than windmills and tulips. The English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word koekie, meaning “little cake.”
Hard cookie-like wafers have existed for as long as baking has been documented. Not surprisingly, they traveled well, too. However, they were usually not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern-day standards.
The origin of the cookie appears to begin in Persia in the 7th century, soon after the use of sugar became common in the region. They then spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. Cookies were common at all levels of society throughout Europe by the 14th century, from the royal cuisine to the street vendors.
Cookies arrived in America in the 17th century. Macaroons andgingerbread cookies were among the popular early American cookies.
In most English-speaking countries outside of North America, the most common word for cookie is “biscuit.” In some regions, both terms, cookies, and biscuits are used.
Cookies are classified into different categories, with the most common ones being:
Bar cookies – Drop cookies – Filled cookies
Molded cookies – No bake cookies
Pressed cookies – Refrigerator cookies
Rolled cookies – Sandwich cookies
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalCookieDay
Pick up some cookies at your local bakery. Remember to share some of your cookies with your family and friends! A great way to get started is by making a list of your favorite cookies to bake and enjoy. Then organize your baking tools and start your assembly line.
NATIONAL COOKIE DAY HISTORY
In 1976, Sesame Street included National Cookie Day on its calendar for the first time on November 26th. The Cookie Monster also proclaimed his own National Cookie Day in the 1980 book The Sesame Street Dictionary.
Then in 1987, Matt Nader of the Blue Chip Cookie Company out of San Francisco created Cookie Day, celebrating it on December 4th.