How to Host (and Enjoy) Your Next Cookout

What’s more fun than grilling out with friends – especially on a warm summer evening? No much, unless you are the cook. Unfortunately, one of the most heard complaints about hosting a cookout is the cooks do more cooking than enjoying the party. It is hard to fix appetizers, grill the meat and enjoy your company all at the same time.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC0301-150x150Here are some tips to avoid that this year, to keep the cookout easy and enjoyable for everyone – even the cook.

#1 Plan Ahead

If you are going to host a cookout, plan your menu days in advance. The name of the game is to have fun (even at your own cookout), so planning as much as you can ahead of time will help you accomplish this.

#2 Serve Appetizers

Appetizers and small finger foods give guests something to munch on while they wait for the main course to come hot off the grill. Keep appetizers small – especially if you are serving a variety of food. Why not try a vegetable or fruit tray with a low-calorie dip? This doesn’t have to be difficult; just order a veggie tray from your local grocery store.
Punch is always a refreshing drink at a cookout where there will be children and adults. If the punch is meant to be sparkling (adding soda), chill the punch first (without the soda) and then add it just before the guests arrive.

#3 Punch – A Knock-Out Idea!

This way, your punch won’t lose its fizzy kick while in the fridge.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC0282-150x150#4 Pre-Cook Chicken

Keep in mind that chicken takes a long time to cook on the grill. To eliminate the long grilling time, you can pre-bake your chicken before the party – and heat it up on the grill just before being served. Not only will this reduce the overall grilling time, but it will also ensure that your guests don’t fill up on everything else – while waiting for the chicken.

#5 Side Dishes

When you take a little extra time to prepare, a backyard cookout can flow smoothly and be just as fun for the cook as it is for the guests.Side dishes and salads can be prepared a few hours before the cookout even starts. Side dishes are usually good for at least an hour and salads for two. This cuts down on the amount of prep-work you, as the host, need to do once the guests arrive – allowing you to sit and visit with your friends and family while the meat is grilling.

Bathroom Remodel Schwenksville, PA

Add Interest with These Bathroom Flooring Choices

When it comes to Bathroom flooring choices these days, you have hundreds of choices – carpet, tile, wood, laminate, linoleum and stone … just to name a few. And when it comes to installing a new floor in your bathroom, you may have an idea or two of the options you want to investigate further to see which will work best for your home.

But picking out the right flooring option for your bathroom is more than liking a sample you saw at the home improvement store. You’ll want to consider the entire picture: the wall color, the bathroom fixtures, and the natural and artificial lighting.

One of the more popular flooring choices for the bathroom is ceramic tile. Not only is it durable, it is also easy to maintain and keep clean. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and is much less slippery than traditional high-gloss tile.

Before you decide, however, consider these interesting flooring choices – which may (or may not) work for your bathroom.

b2ap3_thumbnail_wyher-150x120Marble Tile

Marble has always been an elegant choice for bathroom floors. For starters, marble is extremely versatile, and it also works well on walls and counter tops. Like ceramic tile, marble is available in many shapes and sizes, so you can create an interesting “art” focal point on the floor

Glass Tile

Glass tile is quickly becoming a popular choice for bathroom floors. It comes in all shapes, sizes and colors – in either high-gloss or a more matted finish. And some tiles are made from recycled material, making them one of the more environmentally friendly options.

Wood

Many people do not think of wood as a viable option for a bathroom flooring, but it can be. Hardwood floors have always been one of the most popular choices for new flooring, and the bathroom is a great place to install them,

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0037-150x150Modular Carpeting providing you are willing to put in a little more work into taking proper care of them. They can easily be restored and refinished, increasing the practicality and longevity.

If you are looking for a soft, plush option, then this is the way to go. These carpets are specifically designed to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold when they become wet, and are relatively cheap to install.

Bamboo and Cork

These Bathroom flooring choices are great alternatives for “green-conscious” homeowners. When removed from their habitat, these materials are able to replenish themselves in just a few years. Additionally both bamboo and cork are naturally resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew.

No matter what option you decide upon, there are endless possibilities and choices to make your bathroom have the look and feel that you’ve been looking for.

Designing Your Remodeling Project

“Plan your work, then work your plan.” This statement makes perfect sense, especially in the world of remodeling.

However, many people, when they hear the word design think only of textures, paint colors or fabric.

We at Gehman Custom Remodeling try to incorporate design into every aspect of all of our projects. Kitchen projects, Bathroom projects, Specialty projects, all have elements of design to varying degrees.

We put a lot of emphasis on design, so much so, that we have our own interior designer on staff. We also have a team of project planners that pride themselves in putting a lot of thought into a project before anyone is even on site.

Here is a list of design elements that should be considered as you enter into any home remodeling project…

1. Lifestyle Issues; how do I want my home to function and serve my particular lifestyle needs?
2. Traffic Flow; how does the remodel effect the flow of persons in and around my home?
3. Environment; what type of environment do I want to create for my family and guests?
4. Style; does the proposed project fit with the style of my home and/or my personal style?
5. Construction; is what I want to do physically possible?

As you see from this list, not all design has to do with sticks and mortar or even with color and texture. While the interior design is an important element of making the finished product beautiful, if it isn’t well planned and thought out, no matter how beautiful a space is, you will not be satisfied. We may revisit any of the above topics individually if you want to respond with specific questions.

Gehman Custom Remodeling looks at design as a well thought out plan of execution that incorporates the elements of space planning, lifestyle impact, interior design in addition to the actual construction phase. We are confident that, if you make sure that these areas are addressed, you will enjoy not only a smoother construction process, but you will also enjoy your newly remodeled home in all of its remodeled beauty.

Next Time…Selections Process

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Kitchen Remodel: Getting the Kitchen You Want

When it comes to home improvement, one of the best bangs for your buck is a Kitchen remodel. Whether you are looking to remodel your entire Kitchen or just give it a face-lift, upgrading your Kitchen is one of the most noticeable – and pleasurable – changes you can make to your home.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Kitchen-150x150Before you get started with your Kitchen remodeling project, though, it is important to do your research. A Kitchen remodel has many “layers” to it – full of features and functions. You can become easily overwhelmed with the vast array of choices, so do not rush into any spur-of-the-moment purchases or decisions. This is not a room to “piece together” without the full vision in place.

A Kitchen remodel can involve everything from tearing down walls to simply painting cabinets and adding new hardware. Before you begin, you must determine your goals and your budget. Once you have your budget in place, you should review your goals for the space. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want more countertop space, more storage or simply a new look (or all three)?

Another way to approach it is by asking, “If I could wave a magic wand, what three things would I change instantly?”

And finally, depending on the scope of the Kitchen remodel, your level of skill and the time you have to devote to the project, you need to determine if you are going to hire a contractor – or do part (or all) of the work yourself.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0217-150x150Once you know your goals for the space for the Kitchen remodel, it is time to begin your research for the changes you want to make in your Kitchen. Start with your top priority and determine the cost. Deduct that cost from your budget and continue onward in order of importance. You may find yourself making adjustments and changes as you move through this process, in order to get the Kitchen you want.

Before making any final purchases, you should also consider the cost, quality, functionality and durability of your items. Make sure that all items function well together and that, when installed, they will add value to your home – and years of enjoyment to your Kitchen.

Pest Control Alternatives for your Vegetable Garden

One way to practice a more sustainable lifestyle is by eliminating harmful chemicals from your garden. This is actually easier to do now than it was a few years ago, because many companies are responding to the demands of home gardeners to grow their vegetables organically – free of chemicals.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your garden producing fresh fruits and vegetables without using harmful chemicals to keep those pesky critters away.
Pest Control
If your garden is plagued with pests, there are several things you can do before resorting to “pest control” chemicals.
First, several plants will actually deter predators from your garden. For instance, planting marigolds around the perimeter of your garden will help repel bugs and small critters. Check with your local nursery to find out what plants can repel the pests you have in your yard.
b2ap3_thumbnail_pest-controlOther barriers can also be created to prevent rodents from getting into your garden. Chicken wire with small holes can be added around your garden area to keep rabbits out, and taller “cages” around your plants will help keep squirrels away.
Electric fences can also prevent unwanted guests; most of these are designed to surprise critters without harming them. While this may be a last resort, it could be deemed necessary if you have extreme problems with squirrels.
For an infestation of grub worms or insects, you may want to consider organic pest control. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a type of bacteria that can be purchased in spray or powder form. Bt is a natural way to kill off insects, yet it is not harmful to humans. It can be purchased at your local nursery.
b2ap3_thumbnail_lady-bug-150x150Don’t forget about those natural predators in your garden. They can also be used to help get rid of unwanted pests. Adding ladybugs to your garden, for example, will help eliminate aphids from attacking plants. Having a pet dog or cat can also help get rid of unwanted rodents.
Not all invaders to your garden should be considered unwelcome, however. You actually need insects to help pollinate plants and decompose the soil. Earthworms are excellent at helping to decompose organic matter in the soil and provide nutrients for plant growth.
A general rule of “green” thumb is that unless insects are eating your plant leaves and harvesting your veggies before you get the chance, you may want to leave them alone. Part of living a sustainable lifestyle is learning which organisms can actually promote plant growth and a viable ecosystem.

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