Cranberry Caveat

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April 16, 2011

Cranberry juice may not be the preventive many of us thought-at least for urinary tract infections. A study of 319 women found those who drank the juice twice a day for six months fared no better than those given another fruity drink that didn't have the compound (proanthocyanidin) believed to be the magic anti-UTI agent. Both groups had lower recurrence rates than expected, so scientists may have misidentified the infection-fighting compound, and the dummy juice could have inadvertently contained a nutrient that offered protection. Or the women may have been drinking more fluids and urinating more often, which can decrease bacterial growth and or reduce symptoms.

A Mother's Day Worth Save-oring

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April 11, 2011

Mother's Day is often celebrated by showering mom with a special gift to show you care-but that's no reason to break the bank. Plan ahead and surprise you mom with a real gift from the heart, such as a homemade baked treat or a time-spend craft. You'll save a bundle and show your mom just how much she means to you. Here are some gift-giving ideas to ensure her devoted day is one worth savoring.

TIP SAY IT WITH FLOWERS Present her with a beautiful vase, overflowing with freshly picked flowers of her favorite variety.

TIP SET A LUNCH DATE Pick a place both you and your mom love and treat yourselves to a lovely luncheon for just the two of you.

TIP FRAMED FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH Flip through your family photo albums and choose a shot that reminds you of a fond memory. Take it to a camera shop and have them blow it up, change it to black and white, and it mounted in a nice frame.

TIP GIVE HER A HAND Take over the household chores for the day and spend a few hours cleaning up for her.

Dryer Needs Cleaning Beyond Lint Trap

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April 05, 2011

You probably peel the lint out of your clothes dryer's lint trap after every load of laundry. But that's not enough to keep the appliance from posing a fire hazard for your home. Add a new more maintenance checks to your laundry-day routine, including:
  • Notice how long it takes the dryer to dry your clothes. If they're still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle, or if it's starting to take longer to dry clothes, your lint screen or exhaust duct is probably blocked.
  • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct at least once a year. The duct is the coil that sends the hot dryer air to the outdoors. The vent is the hole where the hot air leaves the house. Both can get clogged with lint and overheat, send dirty, moist air back into your home, or even catch on fire. You might have to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer and from the vent to remove a blockage.
  • Sweep behind your dryer regularly. Lint can accumulate there and also underneath. Move the dryer and clean the back of it. This might be a job for a service technician rather than for a do-it-yourself.
  • If your exhaust duct is plastic or foil, replace it with a rigid or corrugated, semi-rigid metal duct. Plastic and foil are too flexible and trap lint easily. They're also easier to crush, which will prevent air from flowing through the vent.
  • Avoid throwing gasoline, oil or chemical-soiled clothes and towels into the dryer. Instead, wash them several times and line-dry them. If you have to use the dryer for them, choose the lowest setting, and remove them the minute the cycle is finished. Even washed-and-dried clothes that have come into contact with volatile chemicals can ignite. Best bet: Consider the clothes ruined and safely dispose of them.