Table Talk

Getting your family speaking to each other at the dinner table can be tough.  We are all so busy that if we are lucky enough to all sit down together, many times all you’re hearing is the sound of utensils clanging against the plates.  In our home, we try to have family dinners every night, and with four children that can be tough. Those of you with teens and pre-teens, you know getting them to speak for more than 3 seconds at a time can be quite a challenge.  Our answer to this is to discuss the best things and worst things about our day. Once we are all seated, we say a little prayer, then each of us says at least three positives, and no more than three negatives about the day. Positive things like; “I got a good grade on my paper at school,” “we’re having a delicious dinner,” or “our basketball team won the game.” Now, at our house you do not have to have a negative, but you cannot pass on your turn.  It’s our attempt to not only keep us all connected, but a way to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, something I think we should all do more often than not.

Today Show Ask Lou: Rusty Tools, Protect Glass While Painting and Bringing the Luster Back to Marble Countertops.

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What is the best method to remove rust from old tools?

One way to keep those older tools looking new is to attach a wire brush to the end of a drill. Safely turn the drill on and begin rubbing the rusted tool sections with the wire brush. The rust should disappear as you do so. Another option is to use naval jelly to wipe rust away.

Is there anything I can use to protect window glass instead of tape when I am painting the wall around it?

Consider purchasing Masking Liquid H20 and applying the liquid to the glass. Don’t panic, it will dry clear! Then paint the wall around the window. If any paint gets on the glass, you will be able to peel the paint off once it dries because of the liquid.

I used a cleaner that ruined my marble counter tops and now they no longer shine. How can I get the shine back?

Losing the shine on marble counter tops is a common issue. I suggest getting that glossy finish back by applying car wax onto the surface. This should make the surface regain its lost shine.

Make Sure Your Holidays are Merry and Safe

We have four children, two at home and two away at college.  My wife and I so excited to have everyone home for Christmas. Our house is decorated and ready for the festivities to begin. I have also made sure that the home is safe, and you should too.  Below is a checklist of items to check off your holiday safety list.  Happy Holidays! [Read more…]

Make Your Home Easier to Maintain!

Here are ten products you can install and use to update your home, and make it easier to maintain. Most of these items can be found at your local participating Ace Hardware store.

1.     Honeywell WIFI Programmable Thermostat. This device installs like a standard thermostat, and allows the user to control the temperature in your home from any WIFI enabled device, $249.

2.      Whole house gas generator.  These units can power your entire home in the event of a power outage.  They run off of natural gas or propane, and will kick on in as little as 30 seconds when the power goes out, and can run indefinitely.  This unit does need to be installed by a seasoned DIY’er or professional. They cost around $4,000-$6,000, depending on the size. [Read more…]

Today Show Ask Lou: Clean Your Deck, Cracked Grout, Countertops and Stink Bugs!

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Lou talked to Kathie Lee and Hoda this morning about easy ways to clean your deck, fix cracked grout in your shower, stink bugs and how to select the best material to use for your countertops (oh, and linguini!).

Rust-Oleum Restore 10x

Countertop Material
Corian Counters
Cambria Quartz
Granite featured from New York Granite Corp.

Stink Bugs
Terro Stink Bug Killer
Ortho Bug B Gon

Keeping the House Guests Out!

I am not talking about your family and friends, although I know some of you may want to limit who comes over.  I am talking about rodents!  As the weather starts to change and things cool off, rodents are going to look for warmer places to live.  Here is a checklist to make your home a not-so-desirable place for them to spend the winter: [Read more…]

Today Show: Ask Lou – Winterizing Your Lawn Mower, Gutters and Creepy Crawlers!

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Lou shows Kathie Lee and Hoda a few quick tips to prepare your home’s exterior for the winter months ahead. Here are some of the products featured!

Winterize Your Lawn Mower:
Toro Lawn Mower
Sta-Bil Fuel Treatment by Gold Eagle


Spiders and Crickets:
Bonide Cricket Powder and Spray
Miss Muffett’s Revenge

You Need a Backup Generator!

Do you know when the best time is to buy a back-up generator? On a bright, sunny day! But when do people buy them? When the power is out, and they are desperate to get the juice flowing again. The problem with the latter is that the selection is poor, so you may buy the wrong one, and you may pay more for it too. Here is some advice on what to buy, and how to use it. [Read more…]

The Summer is Winding Down

If you are a parent like my wife and I, I am sure you had lots of fun with your children this summer. Soon, they will be heading back to school and all that fun means your home may need a little organizing. The first place to start is in the garage. At our house, we have more basketballs than I know we paid for. If you can identify who they belong to, put one of your kids on a bike to deliver them to the rightful owner. I have found the best way to clean out the garage is to take everything out. Your neighbors may think you’re moving, but this way you can start with a clean, open space. If you have ever wanted to put an epoxy finish on the floor, now is the time. Rust-Oleum (one of our sponsors) makes a terrific system called Epoxy-Shield that is easy to apply and will give you awesome results. Then it’s time to thin out the herd. Look at all the bikes, balls, toys, and tools. If you have not used it in the past 12 months, then donate it. While you can spend a lot of money on garage organization systems (and they do work!), you can make a huge difference with well-placed hooks. Hang the bikes, hang the tools, and install some plastic snap-together shelving kits that sit on the ground and can hold up to 500 lbs. In one afternoon you can transform your garage from the mess that it is — into a place where you just might be able to park your car.

Today Show Ask Lou: Non-slip Rugs, Gutter and Downspouts and Painting Over Wallpaper

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This morning Lou Manfredini (which rhymes with tortellini as Kathie Lee and Hoda point out) answers YOUR questions!

Q: What kind of caulk can you put on the bottom of rugs to prevent slipping?

A: None. The trick is not caulking, since that can potentially damage the flooring. The best options are non-slip mats that can be cut to size, or double-sided carpet tape that you can apply to the back of the area rug. If using a mat, cut it about 2 inches narrower than the rug, so it will lie flat and not become a trip hazard. If using the tape, apply it to the corner of the rug. It will stick to the floor, but will allow the rug to be moved later with minimal or no adhesive residue on the floor. If any residue does remain, lightly swab the affected area with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.

Q: I’m replacing my gutters and downspouts. What can I use to avoid having the black coils throughout my landscapes to move the water away from the house?

A: To avoid having these unsightly plastic pieces running along your yard, opt for a downspout that extends underground instead. When pitched correctly (for example, by a landscape contractor), these lines can be extended for 20 feet or more. At the end of the run is a small, pop-up head called a bubbler pot that will spring up and allow water to drain, then go right back down. It’s so inconspicuous and out of the way that you can even run your lawn mower over it without any issues. (If you’re in the Chicagoland area try PermaSeal!)

Q: Is it okay to paint over wallpaper instead of removing it and then painting?

A: While you can certainly paint over wallpaper, it’s not an option that will last you in the long run. The wallpaper will lift, and the water-based glue that keeps paper on the wall doesn’t hold up very well when paint is introduced. If you choose this option, be sure to wash the walls first before painting, and know it’s only a temporary fix. The best thing to do is to strip the wallpaper before you begin to paint. To do this, make holes in the wallpaper by making small, circular motions with a tool called a Paper Tiger. Once you make the holes, spray them with a wallpaper stripper called Chomp, allowing the product to soak in for about 20 minutes. Then take a scraper and peel off the paper. After all the paper is off, wash the walls — now you’re ready to do a paint job that will look great and will last for as long as you need it to.