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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

By Pat Mertz Esswein






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As you go about your annual spring-cleaning ritual, take a few additional steps to save money on energy bills this summer, improve your home's appearance and ward off big-ticket repairs later.

Here are 18 things for you (or the handyman) to tackle now to help prepare your home for the warmer months and keep it in top shape.

INSPECT THE AC, PART 1
For about $75 to $200, a technician will tune up your cooling system to manufacturer-rated efficiency -- and you won't sweat the first hot weekend with an out-of-commission air conditioner.

Look for a heating and air conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, employs technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program and follows the protocol for the ACCA's national standard for residential maintenance. Call your electric utility to see whether it offers incentives.

Note: Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder, increasing energy costs and possibly damaging your equipment. Check them monthly and replace as needed, or at least every three months.

INSPECT THE AC, PART 2
Air conditioners draw moisture from interior air, called condensate, which must run off outside. If sediment and algae clog the drains, water may back up, making your home more humid or creating water damage. Technicians will check the drains during a tune-up. If they come for an emergency clean-out, it could cost up to $150.

If you live in a humid climate, you may want to check and clean the drains yourself periodically

PUT THE TEMPERATURE ON AUTOPILOT
With an initial investment of $20 to $250 for a programmable thermostat, Energy Star says you can save about $180 annually on cooling and heating bills -- if you can live with higher indoor temperatures in summer (and cooler temperatures in winter). Set the "hold" or "vacation" feature for a constant, efficient temperature when you're away for the weekend or on vacation.

In summer, you can make those settings more tolerable if you install ceiling fans. Just remember that a ceiling fan cools people, not a room, so turn it off when you leave the room.

RE-INSTALL AC WINDOW UNITS
Before you heft units to the window sills, check out this YouTube video for practical tips that will help you maximize energy efficiency -- and keep out burglars and bugs, too.

Also, take a moment to clean them. Remove a unit's front grill, then its air filter, and clean dust and dirt from the filter. Check the filter monthly throughout the cooling season.

CLEAN THE SWAMP COOLER
If you live in a hot, dry climate and cool your home with an evaporative, or "swamp," cooler, you must drain and clean the cooler seasonally to remove built-up of sediment and minerals.

Energysavers.gov says that the more a cooler runs, the more maintenance it will need, requiring that you look at the pads, filters, reservoir and pump at least monthly. For more information on evaporative coolers, visit www.h2ouse.org.


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CAULK THE CRACKS
If the gap around a door or window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk, says Bill Richardson, past president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Check window-glazing putty, too, which seals glass into the window frame.

Add weatherstripping around doors, making sure that you can't see any daylight from inside your home. You'll save money on air conditioning and you won't have to repeat this task in the fall.

CLEAN OUT THE GUTTERS
Nature's detritus -- decomposed leaves, twigs, and spring petals and seeds (think maple-tree "helicopters") -- may be worse in spring than in fall. Gutter cleaning generally costs $90 to $225 for a 2,000-square-foot home (with about 180 linear feet of gutter).

Add extensions to downspouts to carry water at least 3 to 4 feet away from your home's foundation. You can use 4-inch corrugated plastic pipe (about $6 for 10 feet).

REPAIR YOUR ROOF
An easy way to inspect the roof to find damaged, loose or missing shingles without risking life and limb is to use a pair of binoculars. If need be, hire a handyman to repair a few shingles ($95 to $125 for asphalt shingles, according to¬ www.costhelper.com). If the damaged section is more extensive, you'll need a roofer (who will charge $100 to $350 to replace a 10-by-10-square-foot area). Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too.

If your home has a flat roof with a parapet (a short wall around the perimeter), look for wear and tear in the roof surface. Check the flashing that seals the joint between the parapet and roof. Heavy snow can split the flashing, resulting in leaks. If you need repairs, look for a roofer at the Web site of the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Clean out any roof drains or scuppers (openings in the parapet that allow water to drain) to avoid ponding, which could damage your roof and cause leaks below. A "roof repair" or "sewer and pipe cleaning" company can help.

REMOVE STAINS FROM YOUR ROOF
If dark streaks and stains blight a light-colored roof, it has an algae problem (dark roofs may have it, too, but you can't see it). You can get rid of it temporarily by using a garden sprayer to apply a 50/50 solution of water and bleach, which you rinse after 10 to 15 minutes. (Before you start, wet down or cover plants below.) Don't scrub or pressure wash lest you damage shingles.

You can hire a professional roof cleaner for about 20 to 30 cents per square foot, according to www.costowl.com. Look for one that belongs to the Roof Cleaning Institute of America. Roof cleaning can also restore cedar-shake and tile roofs to their original brightness.

PRESSURE WASH YOUR HOME
Spring-clean your home's exterior to remove accumulated dirt, mold, stains and the like from the siding, deck, sidewalks, driveway and garage floor, fences, and lawn furniture. You can rent a pressure washer for $40 to $75 a day or hire help for 8 to 80 cents per square foot, according to CostHelper.com, depending on the amount and type of crud.

WASH THE WINDOWS
It's only when the windows are clean and the spring sun shines in that you'll realize how dirty they were. If this task isn't on your DIY list, you'll generally pay $2 to $7 per pane for a pro to do the job. And don't forget the screens (50 cents to $5 per screen, depending on size). You may have to pay more for cleaning on a third or fourth story.

Before washing the glass, clean out the sills and window tracks with a soft brush or vacuum attachment. Pour a small amount of water into the sill to ensure that weep holes, which drain rainwater to the exterior, aren't clogged up. If the water doesn't exit, use a piece of thin wire to gently clear the hole. Window washers may charge extra to do this.

REPAIR SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAYS
Fix any breakdown in concrete or asphalt before it worsens. You can patch or fill surface cracks, chips or flaking in concrete yourself using cement-repair products, such as those made by Quikrete (to learn how, search for "fill concrete cracks" at YouTube.com). For deeper cracks, settling or sunken concrete, or frost heaves (when moisture beneath the concrete has frozen and jacked up the slab), call a pro, whether a handyman or a concrete contractor (www.concretenetwork.com). For approximate costs by project, visit CostHelper.com and search for "Concrete Repair Cost."

Asphalt is harder to work with, so call a pro. Look for a member of the¬ >National Asphalt Pavement Association or look under "paving contractors" in the Yellow Pages.

To increase the longevity of your driveway, have asphalt resealed every two to five years, depending on climate and wear patterns, and have concrete resealed every one to three years (you can probably do the concrete job yourself). A sealing contractor may charge $233 to seal a typical 20-by-50-foot driveway in good condition, according to DIYorNot.com.

KEEP YOUR BASEMENT DRY
An informal survey of homeowners reveals that the vast majority would rather have multiple root canals than cope with a basement that periodically gets wet. If you have a sump pump, make sure it's operating properly (see the discussion of sump pumps at www.statefarm.com, or call a plumber).

If water seeps through the foundation walls (does your basement smell musty? are the walls stained?), the best solution is probably to excavate the exterior wall and apply a waterproofing sealant (about $30per square foot of below-grade wall), and install a wall and footing drainage system, says professional engineer Kenneth Fraine, of Leesburg, Va. Fraine says that if your home is on a slope, an exterior drain pipe leading away from the foundation (about $1,000) is better than a sump pump. "Gravity never fails," he says.

CHECK YOUR DECK
Resealing is always a good idea to protect the wood. But more important, before you invite the clan for a reunion, make sure your deck can handle the load. The North American Deck and Railing Associationsays that deck components inevitably age, but that salt air can hasten deterioration and heavy snow can cause stress damage.

At a minimum, test several areas of the deck for decay, especially those that tend to stay damp. Two signs: The wood is soft and spongy, and it doesn't splinter if you poke it with an ice pick or screwdriver. (For a complete checklist, visit¬ www.nadra.org, or find a home inspector at www.ashi.org.)

CALL A CHIMNEY SWEEP
At the end of the heating season you'll have no problem getting an appointment. Look for chimney sweeps certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. The sweep will make sure that the chimney caps are in place and the damper is working properly. With a wood-burning fireplace, you can close the damper whenever the fireplace is not in use. In summer, you'll save energy and reduce unpleasant odors carried by the inflow of air and aggravated by humidity.

For the greatest energy savings, insert a fireplace "draft stopper" in the flue, preferably after you've had the chimney cleaned.

PREPARE TO MOW
A dull lawn mower blade doesn't slice, but instead tears grass, leaving it vulnerable to disease, sun damage and insects. A blade typically needs sharpening once or twice a year, or more often depending on how big your yard is, how frequently you mow and the type of grass you have, according to the University of Florida.

You should also tune up your lawn mower after every 25 hours of use to increase its efficiency and reduce polluting emissions. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to change the spark plug(s), oil and oil filter (or clean it). A pro tune up will cost an average of $75, but you can do the job yourself for about $15 -- the cost of oil and parts. Do-it-yourselfers should check out the¬ video tutorials by Lowe's Home Improvement.


RESET AN IRRIGATION SYSTEM
If you have an irrigation system, you may be overwatering (and wasting money on water bills) because a controller isn't properly set for your yard's needs or because of broken or leaky components. For tips on getting an irrigation audit (about $200 to $300) and other ways to use less water on your yard, see¬ Tips for Watering Wisely from the EPA's WaterSense program. Many Western communities offer an audit for free, but you must fix any problems it identifies.

LOSE THE LINT
Even if you clean your clothes dryer's lint trap before every use, the vent accumulates lint over time, like plaque in your arteries, says Richardson. That's especially likely if snow covered the exterior backdraft damper for a while last winter.

A clogged vent can reduce your dryer's efficiency and create a fire hazard. If you're up for doing it yourself, check out this how-to guide to dryer-vent cleaning from About.com.

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Pat Mertz Esswein is Associate Editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance.



All contents copyright 2014 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Media Services. All rights reserved.

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