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Tick and Mosquito Protection

For years I've protected my family from ticks and mosquitoes using a natural solution which is safe for people, pets, and wildlife.

The solution is called Mosquito Barrier and I recommend applying it with a gas-powered backpack sprayer (hand-pump sprayers generally get clogged with the solution and require stopping several times - in the midst of an application - to clean their filters).

Apply at least every three weeks and you'll be working towards mitigating the numbers of ticks and mosquitoes on your property!
Recent posts

Trash / Recycling

solution: simplehuman receptacles
cost: $70 - 300

When my wife, Kristen, and I moved into our home in 2008, one of the first things we took stock of was the amount of cabinet space in our kitchen. While we actually have a decent amount of over-the-counter cabinet space and drawer space, what we didn't have was enough under-counter cabinet room to store trash and recycling. This meant putting a trash can out in the open and recycling in brown paper bags, on the floor (which, for anyone who knows me well, was completely frustrating).

In my quest to prove the theory that a clean home is a happy home (and holy home, I believe), I looked into using some of our wedding gift money to purchase a couple of stainless steel trash and recycling bins which would look nice out in the open. And I found them, through the brand simplehuman.

Their tagline, "tools for efficient living" just struck a chord with me right away. Everything simplehuman sells is designed to save space and be eas…

Pet Care

solution: pet door price: $10 - 100

Meet Milo. Milo is our three-year-old Domestic Shorthair (I usually call him our "cat").

While Milo looks pretty calm in that photo and spends most of his day doing this ...

... the truth with Milo is that he loves to run around. And he loves to be mischievous:

Case in point: My wife and I often need to run down to the basement of our home, for laundry and house supplies. Milo, would immediately sprint down the stairs each and every time we went down there. Why? We don't really know (we think he just liked going down there because he usually couldn't, since the door was always closed).

The trouble with that for us is that the door leading to our cold basement is located directly across the hallway from our thermostat, which would set off the boiler, even if the rest of the house was warm enough. This means that each cold day Milo ran down into the basement we had to chase him back upstairs or bribe him with a cat treat to come back …


solution: Roomba
price: $150 - 600

I know you've seen the Roomba in action by now. It's been around for years (I don't mean to offend you if you haven't, so click here to see mine in action in our kitchen). But I'm here to tell you this: Make the investment. Do it for even a used Roomba if you like saving time, if you like clean floors, and especially if you have a pet (my wife and I have a cat).

Meet "Roombie".

This is the name I've given our Roomba Pro, the original floor-vacuuming iRobot creation.

Now I'll tell you straight-up my Father-in-Law gave this to my wife and I, after buying it for $5.00 at a tag sale. It had a weak battery, so I purchased a new one from iRobot for about $65. So our investment was less than yours will be, but I would definitely pay at least $300 to buy a new unit, knowing what I know about how much it has helped us keep our home clean and saved me time.

Part of my excitement about the Roomba has to do with the fact that…

Cable Organization

solution: cable staples
price: $1 - 5 at

Cables are an essential part of today's home. They do a magnificent job of connecting us to the world through television and high-speed Internet. It's tough to imagine life at home without the T.V. or the laptop!

Cabling, when installed properly, can look crisp and neat in your home. But, if you're like my wife and I, you've moved where the television is or where you like to set up your desktop computer or wireless router.And this means moving some cables around, wrapping them around corners, and doing our best to hide them.

Enter today's Efficiency by Erik solution: cable staples.

 Cabling in our general living quarters wasn't too big of a deal. The cables were usually hidden behind furniture, out of sight. But the cables ran into our basement, where it was a different story.

Picture (I wish I had taken one to show you) a modem for phone and Internet and, to that modem - a few wires for the television input, In…

Plant Watering

solution: AquaGlobe
price: $6 on

Plants are good. They provide fresh oxygen. They provide an aesthetically-pleasing environment. All they ask for is a little water and a little sunshine. The sunshine part is easy - stick it in a window. But my fiance and I, with our busy schedules, have not been so good about the water. Funny thing happens when you don't water plants for weeks...or months. They die. This has been a big problem for us - until now!

I give you the Aqua Globe. Yes, this is the same Aqua Globe you have seen on those T.V. infomercials. I am not usually one for "As Seen on T.V." products (they're typically not even half as good as the brilliant stagehands and videographers make them look), but this one is good. It's constructed of decorative blown glass and actually works with the plant to water it when it needs a drink. Just fill your Aqua Globe with water and stick it in the potting soil. As the soil dries, it releases gases. The gases bubbl…