Things to do in December

Things to do in December

 

Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting

Friday, December 1st, 6:00pm

 

Join friends and neighbors and celebrate the start of the holiday season in Leesburg at the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony on the Town Green. The festive ceremony will feature performances from local groups and a holiday message. The crowd will be encouraged to join in the festivities and view the lighting of the Christmas tree and menorah.

Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Ida Lee Recreation Center

December 2nd, 9:00am-4:00pm and December 3rd, 10:00am-4:00pm

 

No big-box shopping here! This show features over 90 local and regional artisans selling hand-made items including candles, stained glass, carved wood, jewelry, leather products, table linens, and much more. Find something for everyone on your shopping list and a little something to brighten your home this season. Admission and parking for this show are free.

 

Annual Christmas and Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 9th – 6:00 pm

 

On the second Saturday of December, the holiday spirit will be in full swing as Leesburg hosts the annual holiday parade starting at 6 pm. The parade will usher Santa and his friends down King Street, through Historic Leesburg. The parade will begin at Ida Lee Drive and end at Fairfax Street. Parade participation is open to the public, including businesses, civic groups, teams, organizations, and community groups- click here for the registration form. Be sure to mark your calendar and plan to celebrate the holiday season in Leesburg.

 

Jingle Jam Concerts

Saturday, December 9th – 11:30 am Junior Jam, 2:30 pm, and 8:30 pm

 

Leesburg’s holiday rock n’ roll concert features many local and regional artists playing traditional holiday tunes- with a little edge. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Tickets will go on sale on November 13, 2017, at 5:00 am at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, in-person sales only with a 5-ticket limit. Matinee and evening tickets are $25; Junior Jam tickets are $5.

 

Sounds of Christmas Downtown

Saturday, December 9th & 16th – 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

 

Come to downtown for Leesburg’s popular horse-drawn carriage rides, strolling carolers and photos with Santa at Coldwell Banker! Historic downtown Leesburg will be dressed up in its finest holiday décor to welcome visitors to celebrate the season.

 

Rockin’ with Rudolph and Friends!

Friday, December 15th – 6:30pm – 8:00pm

 

Children up to the age of 8 years old are invited to this wonderful event at Ida Lee. Bring your camera and dancing shoes! Santa will be on hand for picture opportunities and to hear wish lists. Then join Rudolph and Frosty as they rock out to holiday favorites and other kid’s tunes while dancing the night away! Pre-registration is required for this event. $12 for children 2 years old and over and $8 for under 2. Registration can be complete through WebTrac, in person at Ida Lee or via phone.

For more details about Holidays in Leesburg or any of the activities, please call 703-777-1368, go to www.leesburgva.gov or contact the Historic Downtown Leesburg Association. Plan to catch your holiday spirit in downtown Leesburg and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

INFORMAL HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE

 

INFORMAL HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE

 

Where: Onsite HOA Office

When: Friday, December 15, 2017

Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

 

Please stop by and join us for the holidays to say hello and grab a quick holiday snack.

 

See our holiday tree which has been decorated this year

by our local Girl Scout Troop 4355.

 

If you have any questions, please call 703-669-2969.

 

Happy Holidays~

 

15 Items You Didn’t Think You Could Recycle

15 Items You Didn’t Think You Could Recycle

The Family Handyman

Nick Gerhardt


Bras

The Bra Recyclers have started a recycling campaign where bras can be sent in for reuse. Bras must be wearable and washed prior to being sent. The Bar Recyclers donate surplus bras to nonprofits who need them. Bras that aren’t useable get sent to businesses that can repurpose them, like one that sells the wire. Other businesses can recycle the fabric for carpets or textiles.

Hair

That hair you find in the drain still isn’t good for anything other than headaches but salons have found there’s value in recycling hair. Hair is needed for wigs for patients, cleaning up oil, mats to grow plants and provide bedding material. Green Circle Salons repurposes hair salon waste.

Packing Peanuts

Packing peanuts aren’t going to go into your curbside pickup container but places like UPS and other shipping retailers will accept packing peanuts for recycling. Recycle packing peanuts at home in your garden needs

Batteries

Contact your local solid waste center for recycling household batteries. For portable rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, contact the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. (rbrc.org). The RBRC Web site lists drop-off sites for recycling the batteries commonly found in cordless power tools, laptop computers and digital cameras.Learn more about battery recycling at home.

Brita Water Filters

Brita makes recycling old products fairly simple. You can send in old Brita equipment to TerraCycle. Just print off a free shipping label from the Brita website. Find the best water filter for your home.

Nylons

Nylons need to be cleaned before getting recycled because it melts at a lower temperature. That lower temperature means bacteria can survive.Timbuk2 will send you a coupon if you choose to recycle your bag from them. Just send your bag to them and once they get a pallet full of bags, they send them to TerraCycle for recycling.Bureo takes old nylon fishing nets and makes them into skateboards and sunglasses. Use those nylons to clean around the house.

Mattresses

California, Connecticut and Rhode Island have enacted mattress recycling laws. Mattresses are cut open, layers separated and materials organized. Foam, fiber and other material gets compressed while metal is sent to scrap recyclers. Up to 80 percent of a used mattress can be recycled, according to the Mattress Recycling Council.Try these tips for moving furniture like a mattress.

Backpacks

The collected waste is separated into metals, fibers, and plastics. Metals are melted for recycling. The fibers (such as paper or wood based products) are recycled or composted. The plastics get molded into new recycled plastic products.Check out Milwaukee Tool’s backpack if you’re in need of something.

Keys

Bring keys to recycling centers and place them in the metal recycling bin. If you’ve got plastic around your key or have an old remote, you can still recycle it. Remote Recycle offers cash for key FOBS or remotes. Several charities also run key donation programs that they ended up recycling. Got a twisted key, learn how to fix a bent key

Hearing Aids

The Starkey Hearing Foundation runs a hearing aid recycling program to help internationally. The recycled hearing aids get distributed in foreign countries to help others. Starkey asks that people place a hearing aid in a secure package and send it in.Learn how to make your own earbuds.

Inhalers

The Complete the Cycle recycling program is available in pharmacies across the country. Pharmacies have collection boxes set up for people to donate. The donated inhalers aren’t remade into new inhalers but the material gets reused. Find out where you can donate.

Tyvek envelopes

DuPont created a take back program for tear-resistant Tyvek envelopes but they can’t go in the recycling bin at home. Contact DuPont at at 1-800-44-Tyvek® or 1-800-448-8983 for more information.Find the right place for those envelopes and more with home office storage solutions.

Shoes

Nike started a shoe recycling program years back and has drop-off locations at its stores. The old shoes get transformed into a material that the company calls, Nike Grind, which then gets used to create playground surfaces. Find a place for those shoes with a shoe cubby at home.

Apple Products

Recently upgrade your iPhone? Apple will take that old one, thank you very much. Apple products that still operate can be resold and those that no longer function can be sent into the Apple Recycling Program. If you product qualifies, you could get a gift card from Apple for recycling it. Turn your home into a smart home with cool apps.

Cosmetics Packaging

TerraCycle and Garnier have a partnership where Garnier products are recycled and users reap points with TerraCycle. A point is equal to a penny and shipments over 10 pounds are worth two points. Plastic bottles must be emptied and dry prior to shipping. Once collected the bottles get made into plastic pellets for new materials. Items such as shampoo and conditioner caps, hair gel tubes, hair spray triggers, lip balm tubes, soap dispensers, mascara tubes, powder cases and eyeliner pencils can be recycled. Find out about the best soaps to use to reduce soap scum.

10 Tips to get More Kitchen Counter Space

10 Tips to get More Kitchen Counter Space

The Family Handyman

Elizabeth Flaherty

 

Cover the Sink

One of the most cost-effective ways of creating more kitchen counter space is to place a large cutting board over the sink. This additional space is perfect for food washing and prep.

Moveable Counter Space

If you don’t have the kitchen counter space for your dream kitchen island, consider a small kitchen cart on wheels. The mobility will allow you to move to where you are working and roll to the side when not in use. And you’ll also benefit from the additional shelf space to store appliances and kitchen tools.

Pull Out Chopping Board

Pull-out solutions are perfect for small kitchens as they allow a decent amount of extra kitchen counter space with a very small footprint. And a pull-out cutting board is perfect for food prep, cookbooks or for extra storage. Plus, when you are done, you can simply slide it back into the cabinet.

Collapsible Counters

Part countertop and part table, a drop leaf surface is a great way to maximize kitchen counter space. And install on the wall or on the side of a base cabinet to extend the length of your fixed countertop.

Hidden Storage

The best way to maximize kitchen counter space is to store bulky items elsewhere. With this cabinet door knife block, you can reclaim lost counter space and keep your cutting implements handy when you need them.

Drop-Down Storage

This drop-down storage tray is ideal for keeping your cookbook or tablet dry and out of harm’s way while cooking your favorite recipe. Best of all, it’s simple to make.

Utilize Wall Space

Fruit bowls can be pretty, but they take up a ton of kitchen counter space. Want to know what else looks pretty? This off-the-counter produce basket that is easy to make and hangs on the wall to create more counter space. We call that brilliant.

Fill Gaps

If you happen to have dead space between cabinets in your kitchen, but don’t want the expense of replacing your countertop, consider filling it with butcher block, cut to size and supported by legs. Butcher block will look right at home paired with any countertop. And you’ll love the extra kitchen counter space you gain.

Be Creative

Every homeowner wants to keep their tools organized—and that includes home chefs! A rolling toolbox is a perfect alternative to a kitchen cart, is mobile and looks pretty good to boot.

Move the Microwave

If your microwave is currently taking up kitchen counter space, you’re losing a lot of potential real estate. Getting your microwave off the counter is a space-saving solution that will extend your countertop and create more room to work. Whether placed above the stove, in a custom-built alcove, or on a cart, you won’t regret the space you gain.

9 common bathroom problems and how to fix them

9 common bathroom problems and how to fix them

ImprovementCenter.com

U.S. homeowners are spending an average of $16,724 on mid-range bathroom remodels this year and can expect to recoup about 70 percent of that outlay when they sell their homes, according to the 2015 Cost vs. Value report. Surprisingly, this report shows that “upscale” bathroom remodels cost an average of $54,115, but homeowners are estimated to recoup less than 60 percent of that cost if they put their home on the market.

If you’re thinking about a bathroom remodel, you may be researching claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks, but don’t forget about some of the other essentials that make a bathroom fully functional.

1. Lighting.

Sconce lighting near vanities can provide uniform light, without casting shadows. ENERGY STAR recommends bath light bar fixtures on either side of the mirror, with a ceiling fixture to illuminate the entire room. Adding a light can in the shower can be helpful as well. Upgrading lighting may involve hiring an electrician or contractor and the cost will be determined by the price of any fixtures that you select. Andy Bardo, an independent handyman with 40 years’ experience, estimates that homeowners typically spend between $300.00 and $700.00 on lighting and installation for an average bathroom.

2. Storage.

It is impossible to have too much storage in a lavatory, and many bathrooms offer insufficient storage options. If you are trying to work within your existing space to carve out more storage, you can add a simple white tower from IKEA for $200.00 or a handsome floor cabinet from Pottery Barn for nearly $900.00. Recessed medicine cabinets can be helpful, and Kohler has options ranging in price from $47.00 to $857.00.

If you are gutting your existing bath and installing custom cabinets with built-in towers, expect to spend at least $2,000 on good quality storage solutions for an average-sized bathroom, or, you may be able to find good quality ready-made cabinets and have them installed for about $600.00, Bardo estimates.

3. Hair appliances.

Do you walk into your bathroom and trip on cords from blow dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners? They’re hot when you finish using them, so shoving them in a drawer isn’t viable. This is a relatively inexpensive fix, and you may be able to install a hair appliance organizer yourself. For less than $25.00, you can hook a small organizer on the inside of a bathroom cupboard door, or you can purchase a gliding under-cabinet drawer for about $150.00.

4. Power.

Building codes regulate power outlet positioning relative to water sources, but you may be able to add a few outlets that enable you to avoid extension cords stretching throughout the room. While you are talking to your electrician or contractor, find out how much it might cost add an outlet for a television, install a few outlets in your storage towers, or hard-wire a towel warming rack right next to your shower. Bardo estimates the cost to add a single outlet may approximate $150, assuming there are no special electrical challenges.

5. Towels.

Europeans have this figured out: Warm towels are much nicer than damp cold ones. If you loved the feeling of a warm towel after your last trip to Scotland, consider bringing that luxury home. You may need your electrician to install a wall-mounted towel warmer, but free-standing towel warmers and countertop hot towel cabinets are available for less than $200.00.

6. Floor temperature.

It can be startling to step on an ice-cold floor in the middle of the night, during the winter. If your floor is dated or damaged and needs updating, consider installing radiant floor heating underneath your new tile. There are even heated mats that go under your shower floor, and the cost doesn’t have to be significant. Bathroom floor heating systems begin under $130.00 and you may find one on sale for about half that price. If you purchase a thermostat with timer for about $130.00, you can program your floor to be warm exactly when you want.

7. Laundry.

Kids and the occasional spouse can be sloppy when they are rushing to shower, leaving piles of clothes on the floor. If you are working with a cabinet maker to build cabinets that function well in your renovated bathroom, consider creating a tilt out or pull out cupboard for laundry containment. Or, if you have the floor space, you can buy a free-standing laundry cabinet for less than $220.00 that looks nicer than that mountain of socks and underwear.

8. Ventilation.

Is your existing bathroom ceiling fan loud and ineffective? ENERGY STAR rated bathroom ceiling fans may be smart enough to detect when humidity is high and can operate quietly only when necessary. Many homeowners may be able to install a new ceiling fan themselves, spending less than $150.00 on a product that helps reduce mold buildup.

Placing all bathroom fans on a timer switch can avoid having fans running longer than intended. A simple and inexpensive timer can be installed in place of your fan’s wall switch. That way, when someone turns on the fan, he or she is required to select how long the fan will run.

9. Shower comfort/safety.

If your shower lacks a built-in seat, one can often be added to even a relatively small shower. A wall-mounted folding shower seat flips out of the way when not needed, and folds down when desired. Prevent slips when shaving by sitting on the seat, or use the seat for a family member who is recovering from an injury. Costs for these products range between about $60.00 to more than $300.00, but a good quality seat can be obtained for close to $150.00.

Most of the above problem areas have relatively inexpensive solutions and implementing them may make the difference between your bathroom functioning more like a spa than a locker room.

8 Wise Ways to Winter-Proof Your Home for Practically Nothing

8 Wise Ways to Winter-Proof Your Home for Practically Nothing

Install Storm Doors

A storm door is an additional outer door that adds protection in harsh, winter months. Typically made from wood, plastic, or aluminum, storm doors provide an additional layer of insulation around your home’s entry points. That means you’re losing less warm air and keeping cold air out of your home.

Caulk the Gaps

To stop cold drafts from chilling your home, get your caulking gun. Check for little gaps along doors and window frames. To find where leaky spots, have someone blow air from a hair dryer through suspicious gaps, while you hold a candle along the inside of window and door frames. If the light flickers, there’s a draft. Caulk over the leaky portion to save on heating costs and stay warmer all winter.

DIY a Draft Snake

Draft snakes became popular during the Great Depression. There’s a good reason why: They are a cheap way to keep the cold at bay. You can buy draft snakes in stores or online, but it’s just as easy to make your own by sewing fabric into a     long tub and filling a pouch with sand or rice.

Bubble Wrap Your Windows

Inefficient windows are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to winter heating loss. If yours are old, chances are they’re not up to the job of keeping necessary heat inside your home where it belongs. Replacing those outdated windows, however, is expensive. Luckily, there’s a temporary solution to prevent cold air from leaking through your windows. Try covering them with bubble wrap. It may look odd, but the bubble wrap will trap cold air pockets, while still allowing light to shine through the glass.

Watch Your Thermostat

Though you may be tempted to set the thermostat to a toasty warm temperature, doing so can mean an uncomfortably high energy bill. Instead, turn down the thermostat when you’re away from the home, and also before heading to bed. A programmable thermostat can be set to coincide with your alarm clock and your work day so the heat is already on as soon as you need it.

Add Extra Insulation

We’ve all heard that heat rises. Translation: If your attic isn’t insulated, all that warm air is escaping from your home. Adding extra insulation in the attic, in the walls of an attached garage, or in the basement ceiling are some of the best ways to keep your house warm and cozy this winter.

Change the Direction of the Ceiling Fan

Chances are you only use your ceiling fans in the summer and leave them switched off all winter. However, if you change the direction of the fan, you can actually help distribute warm air in the room. Counter-clockwise rotation creates a cool breeze, while clockwise rotation pushes warm air into the room.

Remove Your A/C Window Unit

It may seem like extra work, but taking the time to remove the A/C unit from your window prevents cold air from sneaking through cracks. If you can’t manage to remove it, invest in a heavy tarp to cover the unit during the winter.

7 Reasons You’ll Love Leaf Mulch

7 Reasons You’ll Love Leaf Mulch

Mulch energizes your landscaping. It not only protects your garden and yard, but also it helps them flourish throughout the year. There are a variety of mulches to choose from, but one you may not be aware of is leaf mulch. This organic alternative to natural mulch provides your landscaping with a number of enhancements. Leaf mulch is only available in Virginia.

Leaf Mulch Moisturizes Soil

Applying leaf mulch around your plants reduces the rate of evaporation. The mulch creates a barrier between the soil and the sun which leads to the area retaining greater amounts of water.

Leaf Mulch Enriches Soil

As the leaves begin to decay, they emit various nutrients that help enrich the soil in your garden. Leaves that have fallen off trees retain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients collected for the tree, so all that material returns to your soil when the leaf mulch decomposes.

Leaf Mulch Hinders Weed Growth

Deeply embedding the leaf mulch into the soil can help prevent the emergence of weeds. The mulch restricts the growth of existing weeds by blocking the shoots from the sun. The leaf mulch also keeps weed seeds from landing on the soil, blocking the germination of new weeds.

You will need a layer of mulch at least 3 inches thick for maximum weed suppression.

Leaf Mulch Keeps Heat in

Not only does leaf mulch protect against the sun, but also it insulates the soil when the weather is on the chillier side. Your plants need to retain that heat to thrive.

Leaf Mulch Prevents Crusting

Leaf mulch can stop the soil in your garden from crusting. Crusting happens when the soil dries out and clumps together. Unfortunately, crusting can have an extremely negative effect on your plants. Thankfully, the water absorption rate of leaf mulch helps the soil in your garden maintain a high moisture level.

Leaf Mulch Reduces the Need for Mulch

Since leaf mulch decomposes quickly, you will initially need to replace it more often than inorganic mulch. However, the added nutrients from leaf mulch usually cause your garden to fill in at a greater speed, which in turn results in the use of less mulch in the long term.

Leaf Mulch Attracts Earthworms

Earthworms are the workhorses of your soil. Their nonstop digestion of debris in your soil concentrates nutrients. They also improve soil structure. They create channels that water and roots can trickle through.

If you’re interested in learning more about leaf mulch or you would like to purchase some for your garden, please contact us today, and remember we offer FREE delivery to your home.

Winter Preparedness Information

Winter Preparedness Information

 

With the likelihood of winter weather impacting our area, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue reminds residents to take additional safety precautions for your home and personal safety. Some critical information to remember during extreme winter weather include:

  • Stay informed! Sign up for Alert Loudoun atwww.loudoun.gov/alertand receive emergency information, news releases, traffic information, and more. Additional weather-related and safety info is available at www.loudoun.gov/winter or www.ready.gov.
  • Make an Emergency Communications Plan. It’s important to know how you will contact one another in case of an emergency. Keep chargers on hand for phones and electronic devices.
  • Be aware of current road conditions and plan accordingly. If travel is necessary; slow down; don’t travel alone; inform others of your schedule; stay on main roads and make an emergency kit for your vehicle.
  • To prevent pipes from freezing, locate the faucet the greatest distance from your main water shut off valve and allow faucet to drip cold water slowly.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Keep devices at least 20 ft. from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • Test all smoke alarms in your home monthly and change batteries if necessary. Smoke alarms should be installed in each bedroom or sleeping area and on every level of the home.

 

Winter Preparedness Information

  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them inspected and serviced annually.
  • Use caution when disposing of fireplace ashes or flammable materials in or around your home. Fireplace ashes, cigarette butts, and grill/fire pit remnants should be placed outside in a closed metal container, a safe distance away from any structures.
  • To avoid slips and falls in icy conditions, keep walkways clear and treated, wear proper foot gear with good traction and step slowly and carefully.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. If you do shovel snow, stretch before going outside, push snow instead of lifting when possible, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Make sure that pets and livestock are protected from the cold and that their sources of drinking water are not frozen. More information about emergency preparedness and animals is online atwww.loudoun.gov/animals/preparedness.