Here is what's really behind the spooky tales of strange voices, creepy visions, and objects that move by themselves.
Unsolved Mystery: Doors Opening Spontaneously
What It Could Be
Your door is breathing. No, not the come-alive-holding-a-butcher-knife breathing. Most claims of this type of paranormal activity in the northern United States are made between the months of October and March, says Grant Wilson, cohost with Jason Hawes of the Sci Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters. Here's why: "In the winter, the heating system evaporates moisture in the wood, making doors contract and causing them to become unlatched."
A small draft. When a door opens or closes, it can raise or lower indoor air pressure, causing another door to move.
Bad hardware. "Not long ago, we went to a lady's house where, during really humid days, her door's latch would be a hair off, so that it didn't fully close," says Wilson. "On particularly windy days, the door would open by itself." (See Home Upgrades That Pay Off)
Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine
Here is what's really behind the spooky tales of strange voices, creepy visions, and objects that move by themselves.Read More »from Haunted Houses: Fact or Fiction?
- Real Simple Magazine | Shine Food – Sun, Oct 12, 2008 5:09 PM EDT
Caren AlpertWhether you're hosting a formal party or just throwing together snacks for drinks with friends, we've got ideas for transforming carryout into crowd-pleasing cuisine. Everyone will assume your sink is stacked with dirty pots and pans. (And if you keep them out of the kitchen, they'll never know the truth.)Read More »from Fake It with Takeout: Chicken- or Shrimp-Boat Hors D'Oeuvres
Chicken- or Shrimp-Boat Hors D'Oeuvres
Start with: Your favorite chicken or shrimp Chinese stir-fry.
To make: Mound spoonfuls of stir-fry into the cuplike center leaves from a head of Boston lettuce. If desired, top the boats with chopped nuts or scallion slices.
Also try: Asian-Mexican fusion. Roll the dish with rice and some soy sauce in a giant tortilla. Slice into single-serving pieces.
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Package Leftovers to Go
Yunhee KimShop SmartRead More »from Efficient Dinner-Prep Tips
Sort groceries before you get home. At the market, ask the bagger to put all the perishables in one bag, the snacks in another, the canned goods in a third. You can help the process along by loading like foods together on the conveyor belt. At home, unloading will go far more quickly and be easier to delegate. (See 6 Ways to Save on Groceries)
Prep meat and fish. The few minutes it takes to trim or pound meat can be sandwiched in between the flipping of the breakfast pancakes or afternoon calls to doctors and plumbers. Come suppertime, just pull your pan-ready fillets from the plastic bag and cook.
Meat can sit in an oil-based marinade for about 24 hours in the refrigerator, so you can set up the next day's dinner before hitting the sack; fish, with its more delicate flesh, should sit for no more than 4 to 6 hours, so this is something you might do at lunchtime. Place the meat or fish and the marinade in a resealable plastic bag, pop it into the refrigerator,
Marcus Nilsson Packed with vitamins A and C, this dinnertime favorite begins its peak season now. Here's how to make the most of it
How to Choose: Look for heads of broccoli that have firm stalks and tight, dark green clusters of buds. Yellowing florets and woody stalks with holes at the base are signs that a head is past its prime.
How to Store: Refrigerate unwashed broccoli in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.
Shelf Life: Broccoli will stay fresh for up to five days.
How to Use It
- Broccoli Almondine: Toss steamed broccoli with butter and fresh lemon juice; sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.
- Broccoli Dip: Puree steamed broccoli with sour cream and grated Parmesan. Serve with pretzels and raw vegetables for dipping.
- Broccoli Salad: Toss cooled steamed broccoli with chickpeas, halved grape tomatoes, crumbled Feta, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
- Broccoli Soup: Saute chopped onion in olive oil. Add broccoli and enough chicken broth to cover and cook until tender.
Rick Lew1. AudiogramRead More »from 5 medical tests every woman should have
Why You Need It: To find out if you are one of the more than 28 million Americans with measurable hearing loss -- and, if so, to take steps to keep it from worsening.
When and How Often: Schedule an audiogram if you have trouble making out what people are saying, hear ringing in your ears, feel a plugged sensation, or have a family history of hearing loss. Otosclerosis, a genetic disorder that prompts abnormal growth of the bone of the middle ear, is more prevalent in women and often surfaces when a woman is pregnant or between 15 and 30.
What to Expect: You wear headphones while a licensed audiologist or ear, nose, and throat doctor has you listen to sounds. "We check for your ability to discriminate between tones of different frequencies," says David Fabry, Ph.D., a former president of the American Academy of Audiology.
What the Results Mean: If your audiogram is normal, you'll come back every two to five years for a follow-up test. If your audiogram shows you have
Adam Howling Consider This:Read More »from How to negotiate discounts on medical bills
To maintain cash flow, "many doctors will knock 5 or 10 percent off if you pay up front," says health-care consultant Rocky Fredrickson. Uninsured patients can get even bigger discounts ("50 percent or more," says gastroenterologist Martin Bashir) for procedures that doctors and dentists usually bill to health plans, because medical practitioners are used to getting less than full price from insurance companies. "The discounted rate doctors give a patient is still far better than what an insurance company pays," Bashir says.
Try This: Find out what doctors and dentists typically bill for services and how much insurers pay at www.vimo.com. Negotiate the bill before your procedure. Offer to pay up front in exchange for a discount.
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Francesco Lagnese Three tips to choosing a carve-worthy pumpkinRead More »from How to Select a Pumpkin to Carve
When choosing a pumpkin for carving do, be sure to:
Examine the rind.
It should be firm, uniform in color, and free of cuts, bruises, and blemishes.
Make sure that the stem doesn't look brown and dry.
And don't use the stem as a handle, since even a healthy one can break off. Pick up a pumpkin by its base instead.
Give the pumpkin a knock. A thumping sound means the pumpkin is solid, with no internal defects, rot, or soft spots.
Essentials for Hosting a Pumpkin-Carving Party
Make Centerpieces from Pumpkins
Choose the Right Thanksgiving Turkey
- A green clown wig + a schoolgirl outfit = Broccoli Spears Cheryl Zibisky
- A plastic laundry basket with holes cut out for legs + white balloons + a shower cap = Bathing Beauty
- A white dress + a pipe-cleaner halo + leaves in her hair and "dirt" on her face = Fallen Angel
- Black clothes + yellow electrical tape down his torso + toy cars + Velcro = Highway
- A pig nose + a blanket = Pig in a Blanket
- A blue T-shirt + cotton balls + tape + a water gun = Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Rain
- A polo shirt + khakis (or madras shorts) + a name tag = Jay Crew
- A clear umbrella (preferably dome- shaped) + party streamers or metallic ribbons = Jellyfish
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Essentials for Hosting a Pumpkin-Carving Party
Last-Minute Survival Guide for ParentsRead More »from Quick, Easy Halloween Costumes
Jeff McNamaraColleen and Michael Cooney's second bedroom had always been primarily a home office and a stowaway zone for everything from golf clubs to books and files. When the couple learned they were expecting their first baby, they realized that their space was about to get even tighter. Although there was no way to keep the extra bed in the room (which measures 11 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 9 inches), the Cooneys did end up with a calm, airy space for doing business and bringing up baby.Read More »from Big Solutions for a Small Nursery/Home Office
Unify and divide. An energetic yet soothing color enlivens and enlarges the room. The contrast between the white molding and the blue walls makes the window seem larger, too. Keeping the office on one side and the nursery on the other enables them to coexist peacefully in tight quarters. With less clutter (and no double bed crammed into a corner), each side has room to spread out a little.
Always look under the bed. No need to let the space beneath the crib go to waste. It's the perfect spot to
Antonis AchilleosThese three key steps will get you on your way to making order in your home using basic everyday items:Read More »from 3 Clutter-Busting Concepts
Enough storage space is, of course, the Holy Grail of any household. But solutions to the problem are probably littering your closets and cupboards right now. Use monochromatic boxes, wooden crates, berry baskets, and empty jars to stash anything from mementos to old files, paper clips to dried spices. (See Space-Saving Tricks)
Transform stray containers or collectibles into a decorative tableau by clustering like objects. Consistency produces a neater look than a random assembly does -- and while one or two may look arbitrary, a group looks like art.
Although your lidless sugar bowl and your wobbly chair no longer serve their original purposes, they're far from useless. You can eke a second life out of idle treasures by assigning them new functions -- and, in so doing, add style to the surfaces they grace.
Clutter-Busting Secrets of