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  • How to Choose a New Stove and Oven

    A cook enjoys a professional range top.
    By Cris Carl, Networx

    "Considerations when picking out a new stove often have to do with whether you are buying one for the first time or not," said Josh Gralenski, assistant sales manager for Central Appliance in Greenfield, MA. "If you've purchased a stove before, you often have a better idea of what you might be looking for," he said. Gralenski said that people buying their first stove "especially in this economy," tend to just go for the least expensive model available.

    Gralenski said that naturally, you need to know what your apartment or house will support, gas (natural or propane), or electric. Some homes, such as mine, are set up to support either. In fact, Gralenski discussed a newer model stove that has a gas cook top and an electric oven. "People like being able to control the flame on a gas stove and have the typically more even baking results of an electric oven. A dual model stove gives you the best of both worlds," he said.

    If you are purchasing a stove for

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  • Hyperactive Child in the House? the House Itself Could Relieve Symptoms

    By Cris Carl, Networx

    "The first thing your home needs if you have a hyperactive child is to be as free of clutter and chaos as possible," said Dr. Sharon Saline PsyD. Saline has a practice in Northampton, MA and has been a school consultant regarding children with hyperactivity disorders. "To help these children you need to create a calm, consistent, clean space," she said.

    What are the specific challenges of a hyperactive child?

    A child with a hyperactivity disorder generally takes a longer time to develop organizational skills as well as the ability to focus and put activities and objects in a sequential order. Saline said that these skills are developed in our frontal lobes, are referred to as "executive function," and are not fully developed in an average human until approximately age 25.

    "They have a challenge with organizing both their internal and external space," said Saline. The following are ways you can help your hyperactive child stay calmer at home.

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  • Create a Cozy Outdoor Autumn Room

    Photo by Erica Glasener for Networx
    By Erica Glasener, Networx

    As summer fades and the days begin to cool off, fall offers the ideal time to enjoy the outdoors. Take full advantage of this season by creating a cozy outdoor space where you can relax and take time to experience the aromas, sounds and colors of autumn.

    The first thing to think about is siting. If you have an existing patio, porch or deck, you are off to a good start. If you don't, why not add a small paved area (DIY it or call a local concrete contractor), using materials that relate to the materials your house is constructed of? We live in a granite house and added a low granite wall in our front garden which helps define the space and offers casual seating too.

    Having at least a portion of your outdoor room under cover means you can get maximum use out of the space, even on cool, rainy days. An umbrella is a less expensive alternative for providing instant shelter. Unlike summer, when the need for covered areas to provide shade is critical, sunny

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  • How to Use Herbs to Freshen Your House

    Jozsef Szoke/
    By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

    Our sense of smell is one of the strongest ways we connect to our memories. Pine needles conjure up the holiday season, this or that soap takes you right back to Grandma's house, wet earth for spring and pumpkin spice for autumn; it goes on and on.

    Surrounding ourselves with pleasing scents is an easy, effective way to provoke feelings of comfort and calm. Commercial air fresheners exist, but they're chock full of chemicals - some potentially carcinogenic, some certainly toxic, and many that are known allergens. Using fresh or dried herbs instead is a natural way to fill your space with the scents that you love the most. Here are 7 simple ways to get your groovy fragrance on:


    Spices such as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, etc, can be boiled in a pot on the stove. They'll fill every nook and cranny with a warm, spicy, autumn-y aroma. To shake it up a bit, throw some orange slices in there.


    During the

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  • No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

    FryKitty/Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License
    By Linda Merrill, Networx

    As autumn sets in, the nights are cooler and days are shorter, and pumpkins are waiting in the pumpkin patch. Our fall tradition of decorating our homes with the autumnal colors of orange, yellow and brown is in full swing. Pumpkin carving is a time-honored tradition, but it's time consuming, takes a certain bit of skill and it's only a matter of time before the pumpkin begins to rot. Beyond the knife, there are many ways of dressing up the pumpkin to celebrate the season. Here are a few to get you started:

    Sharpie: If you love the classic "Jack-o-lantern" look without the bother of the carving process, simply draw in the eyes, nose and teeth in your favorite scary expression. The pumpkin will last all season. Plus, you've created your roadmap should you wish to carve it out for halloween.

    Paint: A little bit of craft paint and some imagination will transform any size pumpkin into a work of art. Because the pumpkin shape is as iconic as it's color,

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  • Infographic: The Garden -- a Living Coloring Book

    Infographic: The Garden -- A Living Coloring Book

    This infographic is reprinted with permission. See original post.
  • 6 Amazing Waffle Makers

    Make delicious waffles in an amazing waffle maker.
    By Linda Merrill, Networx

    The waffle has been around in some form since the 10th century and it's origins are in the communion wafer irons that came into use at that time. It was another five hundred years before the addition of beer yeast for leavening brought about the recognizable grid motif of the modern waffle. From the beginning, however, the popular waffle has often sported more decorative patterns than the simple grid and there have long been waffle irons to create a myriad of patterns in this delightful treat.

    All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker at Williams-Sonoma: The All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker producers four triangular waffles with rounded edges. This appliance features a steam release system to prevent condensation build-up while the waffles are cooking. $129.95

    Flip Side Belgian Waffle Maker by Presto: The Flip Side waffle maker features a rotating design that has extra thick grids to produce the traditional thick Belgian style waffle. The waffle make flips 180

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  • Easy Tips for Greening Your House

    Buying food in bulk is one way to green your house.
    By s.e. smith, Networx

    Sometimes it seems like greening your home requires a master's degree, a lot of money, and endless amounts of time. Fortunately, there are actually some very easy ways to green your home to make it easier on the environment, and on your pocketbook. You can save money on utilities, cut down on waste, and maybe even get a little decluttering in while you're at it.

    Inside the house, there are a lot of ways to cut down on utility use. Water consumption can be a big problem, especially in a larger household. Take small steps like installing a toggle switch in the shower so you can set the temperature and then turn the water off while you soap up, shave, and perform other tasks instead of just letting it run. Remember not to leave the water running while brushing your teeth, and do the same for dishes; only have the water on if you actually need it to rinse dishes, and consider upgrading to a high efficiency dishwasher in the long term.

    Laundry can be a huge

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  • What to Know Before You Hang a Flat Screen TV

    What to know before hanging a flat screen TV
    By Phil Schmidt, Networx

    If you've ever been to Graceland, you've undoubtedly seen the "TV room" with its three televisions built into the wall. Back in the 60s you had to be the King of Rock n' Roll to have such a groovy setup. Now you can buy everything you need to do this while shopping for groceries at the local discount warehouse. Not only that, your wall-hung TV can do something Elvis' never could: It can move. Hanging a flat screen TV really is no big deal, but before you get lost in dreams of kicking back on your overstuffed sectional to catch some Bonanza reruns, there are a few important considerations to making sure you get the installation right.

    Mounting Hardware

    The big "hanger" that actually mounts your set to the wall is a TV mounting bracket. These can range from $50 to upwards of $250, but you absolutely have to have one. Don't try to hang your TV with anything else. There are three basic types of TV mounting brackets: flush-mount, tilting, and full-motion.

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  • Selling Your House After a Natural Disaster

    It is possible to sell your house after it is flooded.
    By Linda Merrill, Networx

    Selling a house these days is not an easy process. While things seem to be looking up in some regions, there are many areas of the country where the glut of houses up for sale make it a buyer's market. When buyers know they have lots of choice they can get very, very picky and every real and perceived flaw is noted. If your home experienced a fire, floor or other natural disaster, selling it down the road will be tricky indeed.

    Assuming you're looking to get the best price you can, as opposed to unloading the property at any cost, you must first and foremost completely document the problem and then repair the damages. Certain repairs will require documentation as well so that you can prove that everything was done properly. Every state has its own laws regarding real estate transactions and required disclosures and anyone faced with this situation should do the research ahead of time to know what is expected of them.

    Damages caused by an "Act of God"

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