Use weatherstripping or tape to keep bugs away from your window air conditioner

If you've recently installed a window air conditioner to keep your house cool during the summer months, you might be experiencing a common problem with mosquitoes and other pests flying in through the small holes left between the air conditioner and the window. 

This issue is small, but substantial, as nobody likes the idea of nasty insects crawling into the house, especially the kind that can give you uncomfortable bites like mosquitoes or flies often do. Depending on your AC, the unit may not have come with a dedicated sealant that fills these small gaps, leaving it vulnerable to the intrusion of flying insects or ants. 

But if you're experiencing this problem in your house, you don't just have to live with it. Instead, there is a quick fix that will enable you to enjoy a cool home without making it vulnerable to the elements and bugs that might want to move in. 

Many models come with weatherstripping that you can install around the window, which will block the extra spaces, but if yours does not have this as an accessory,  you can purchase it from your local hardware store. Ask a store clerk tell you specifically how to install this, but it's known for being easy to use, so you shouldn't have many problems. 

Other people have had good luck by using AC tape or duct tape to block these spots, as this is often an even more inexpensive solution to your bug problem. Though, people who are aesthetically uncompromising might not be as impressed with the way it looks. 

There are plenty of ways to get a tight seal around your window air conditioner, which will prevent bugs from coming in and ruining your home. 

Mosquito season is already going strong in Michigan

Recently, we've covered the fact that mosquitoes seem to be appearing in the backyards of Americans earlier and earlier every year. Depending on where you are in the country, you might not even get to enjoy the mild weather of spring before these bugs come buzzing by your front door. 

According to local news source WNEM, mosquito season is already well underway in Michigan. Thanks to an early spring and the nickname "The Great Lakes State," residents are already making sure to slather on the bug spray before heading outside in the hopes of diverting these pests from their original path. 

In addition to a mild winter – a known predictor for a bad mosquito year, the area has also been experiencing a rainy, flooded spring, making the entirety of the state an ideal breeding ground for these potentially dangerous insects. Randy Knepper, who represents the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission, told the publication that this summer could be particularly bad for the bugs. 

While the local area government has begun spraying to try to reduce the population of these pests throughout the state, experts are recommending that homeowners arm themselves against the coming insect onslaught as well. 

Getting a mosquito zapper for your backyard can help to keep these potentially harmful and always obnoxious bugs off your back so that you can enjoy a wonderful summer without staying inside because you're worried that you might get bit by one of these horrible winged insects. Make sure that your home is protected, because with a bad year like this one coming up, you can be sure that the rest of your neighbors will have their prevention in line. 

Make sure you have enough repellant for the whole summer

With the weather getting warmer and more tolerable every day, now is the time to decide to be proactive about the pest problem that you know is going to arise in your backyard. Scientists are already predicting that it will be a record summer for mosquitoes in a number of states because of the unusually warm winter that these areas experienced. 

Especially if you live near standing water like a pond, lake or reservoir, you can all but guarantee a bad summer in terms of bug bites. But there's no sense in letting these nasty pets and the threat of their annoying bites and the diseases they bring keep you inside all season. Instead, make the proactive decision to use a product like a mosquito zapper to keep these nasty insects away before they become a problem. 

Thermacell makes an entire line of incredibly effective and inexpensive options for repelling bugs. Though they work in a number of different styles, these use butane-filled cartridges that naturally confine insects out of a designated vicinity. No matter which one you have, you'll eventually need to refill the butane cartridge that allows it to work. 

That's where the Thermacell Summer Pack comes in. This innovative package contains 10 butane cartridges so you can enjoy a wonderful summer without the worry of a bug in sight. Each cartridge can last up to 12 hours, and with a package of 10, you can afford to install a new one each time you head outside if you wanted to. It's amazing what you can do with 120 hours free from horrible buzzing mosquitoes. 

Don't wait until the insects have made your backyard their home. Instead, do something about it before it becomes a problem. 

KitchenAid accessories make a great Mother’s Day gift

Recently, we have been reminding our readers that Mother's Day is just around the corner, on May 12. This special holiday gives you a great opportunity to say thanks to the woman that you love for everything she does. Whether she holds the family together by doing the cooking and driving or she is more of a symbolic figurehead in your home, this is a wonderful chance to honor mom for all she does. 

There are a number of gifts that are sure to make your mother smile this Mother's Day, but only you know which one she will like best. If there are small children in your family, she might love a present like the exciting game Suspend, which we talked about yesterday. But if your mom is more of an avid baker, get her a present she will really use from the KitchenAid brand. 

This company has a long history of creating some of the nicest and most reliable kitchen appliances around. From the iconic Stand Mixer to the hand mixers, blenders and accessories that go with each of these products, she's sure to love a brand new tool like this. 

Whether you want to give her a new capability for her existing appliance or commemorate your love for her by providing her with an exciting new helper, you can make this Mother's Day special with a KitchenAid product. To make it even nicer, give the woman you love the ingredients to bake her favorite dessert as well, and help her to do the baking. 

This way, she'll feel loved and appreciated. Turning a gift into an experience is always the best way to commemorate an occasion, and Mother's Day is no exception. 

Install your window air conditioner the right way

Across much of the country, the warm weather is here, meaning that it's time to get out that window air conditioner so it can keep you cool through all of the heat waves this summer is sure to bring. But many individuals are nervous about installing their unit, because it can be somewhat difficult to move this heavy and precarious device into the window without having it plummet to the street below.

But there's no need to be nervous. Here's an easy step-by-step guide for installing a window air conditioner safely. 

1. Grab a friend – Due to the unusual balance of this kind of appliance, and the fact that it's pretty heavy, it's best to install your unit with a friend. That way, they can hold it in place while you secure it or vice versa. 

2. Check your user's manual – If your AC is not new, you can skip this step, but if it is, you may need to add on the window extensions before installing it, while other models come with them pre-attached. 

3. Open the window and slide the air conditioner in – This is where it comes in handy to have a friend help you, as they can keep the unit steady while you work on securing it. Next, lower the window so that the AC is held in place, and go about fastening it and putting the extensions in place. Check your user's manual to ensure that it was properly installed. 

4. Seal with weatherstripping – Most air conditioners come with weatherstripping to keep rain out. You can install this on the inside of your window to help your appliance to be more energy efficient. 

5. Plug it in – After that, you're all set, and once it's plugged in, you will have an efficient air conditioner keeping you comfortable all summer. 

Don’t forget to spring clean your space heater

As the weather begins to get warmer, many Americans capitalize on this time of the year to deep clean the parts of their house that they've been neglecting for a while. After a long winter inside, there are likely plenty of spots in and around your residence that could use a little extra elbow grease. No matter where in your home you spend your time while you take on your spring cleaning task list, there are a few objects that you should remember to clean. 

Lucky for you, we've compiled a simple list of three areas around the house that you don't want to forget while you work on cleansing the entire dwelling in anticipation of summer: 

1. The inside of your appliances – While this task may seem tedious and unnecessary, especially if you have hard water or another problem with the quality of the water that comes out of the taps in your house, you probably need to clean the inside of your dishwasher and washing machine as well. Simply turn the machine on while it's empty with the necessary detergent or one specialized for this task and your clothes and clean dishes will thank you later on. 

2. The top of your refrigerator – Because few people are tall enough to see the surface up here, it can go entirely uncleaned for years, and the cooking grease combined with layers of dust can make it especially gross up there. Luckily, you can clean this surface easily with disinfecting wipes. 

3. Your electric heater – Whether yours comes out only during the winter, of you prefer to use it all year, your space heater can gather dust over time, but it's portability might have caused you to forget to clean it. All this product needs is a damp rag and a little TLC. 

Get a mother’s day present that the whole family will enjoy

Between the ongoing cold weather in much of the country and the rash of recent troubling world events, you may have forgotten that Mother's Day is just around the corner. But, this wonderful holiday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the female that holds your family together by getting her a thoughtful present, cooking on her behalf or taking her out for a quality meal. 

Because moms do so much for us – even after we've left the nest – this holiday is an important way to say "I love you" and show her how much she means to you. 

If you have small children, however, this can be a little more complicated. While you'll certainly want to teach your little ones about the importance of thanking their mother for being there for them always, the reality is that kids require a lot of attention, and that doesn't just go away when it's Mother's Day. 

Rather than sending the young people in your family away, it's best to plan a day for mom that everyone can be a part of and will also keep your little ones entertained no matter what. Therefore, you should think about giving the special mother in your life a present that the whole family can enjoy. Consider making her breakfast in bed and encourage her to open presents right away, that way, you can spend the rest of the day playing with them. 

A fun and family-friendly game is an ideal present from the kids, and they will have so much fun enjoying this present with mom! A rousing but still easy game, like Suspend, is perfect, and your family will have so much fun spending the day playing together. 

Evaluate your carbon footprint in honor of Earth Day

Forty-three years ago, a group of leaders came together to discuss the environmental problems that had been plaguing the planet since the industrial revolution. Pollution of air and water had become major issues that were effecting the day-to-day lives of people all over the world. In order to raise awareness for the issues caused by consumer culture, a simple idea was formed: Earth Day. 

The international celebration looks at sustainability worldwide, and while each country and region might be fighting a slightly different battle, everyone has the end goal of preserving the Earth that we live on for future generations of humans. 

Here in the United States, there are dozens – if not hundreds – of ways to celebrate this holiday. From cleaning out your cabinets and making the decision to banish chemical cleaners in your kitchen, to taking a look at your electric bill doing what you can to cut it down, you can make changes both inside and outside of your house that create a real difference in the environment. 

Using compact florescent light bulbs instead of the traditional incandescent kind is a surefire way to lower the monthly cost and environmental impact associated with brightening your house every day. 

But there are other ways to make a difference as well. For instance, if you live in a large house, it might be expensive and unnecessary to heat the entire thing. A number of people have been able to reduce their carbon footprint by turning their thermostat down, and using an electric heater instead. Not only will this save you money, but since it uses less energy, it will shrink your carbon footprint as well. 

Ugly Dolls are getting high-tech updates

In recent years, Ugly Dolls have taken off in popularity among youngsters and adults. These cuddly toys are adorable, even though they're not traditionally cute. Many children love the hopeful message that they give through their encouraging story and, most of all, enjoy the dolls for their softness. In order to drive home the idea of individuality, there are several varieties of Ugly Doll on the market so that each child can have one that best suits them, or they can collect them all. 

But Ugly Dolls are no longer just a set of cuddly toys. This brand has expanded to incorporate a number of other accessories, including key chains, school supplies and even a line of story and comic books telling the tales of each of these beloved characters. 

Now the Ugly Doll empire is planing to expand a little further. According to technology resource website SlashGear, the company is increasing its line of flash drives decorated with the beloved characters. The new offerings include the character Big Toe, who had previously been left out of the series, as well as a new 128 GB size for all characters – enough to store all of the files you need. 

Not only can you keep important data stored safely on these 128 GB flash drives, but they also come with wallpapers, avatars and icons that users can download onto their computer and use to show their personality in addition to their love for these adorable characters. 

If someone in your family loves Big Toe, they'll be thrilled that this great character is now available on more Ugly Doll-related accessories. His silly face looks great on a flash drive, and makes for an easy way to store files. 

Allay spring allergies by making sure you have a dehumidifier

While the presence of flowers and budding trees is certainly a welcome sight after a winter that overstayed its welcome, the downside of everything finally turning green again is that it means the pollen from these plants will aggravate the allergy symptoms of many. 

If you're allergic to pollen, the springtime may cause your symptoms to worsen. Since the weather is nicer, you'll be tempted to spend more time outside, but the presence of these buds typically means that there will be  a lot of allergens in the air. And while there's little you can do to keep it from filling the air outside, experts recommend that reducing indoor allergens can be effective in relieving the symptoms of those who suffer from seasonal aggravation. 

One easy way to improve the air quality in your home is to use a dehumidifier. These simple appliances work by reducing the moisture in the air of a given space, thus limiting allergens that might be present from mold or mildew and making the air much more pleasant to breathe. Allergists frequently recommend these devices to their patients, especially those who suffer from allergic asthma. 

During the spring, an increase in rain combines with a thaw of ice and snow. This can lead to flooding in basements and a lot of humidity. Even if your allergies are worse outdoors, the presence of these problematic allergens indoors will often aggravate your symptoms. 

If you have seasonal allergy sufferers in your home, protect them by making sure you're doing everything you can to ease their allergies. Keep windows closed and use an electric fan to circulate air instead. Then be sure to keep the air as clean as possible with the help of a dehumidifier.