10 Autumn Cleaning Tips For Your Home

We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but it has been suggested by health experts that such a deep clean should be carried out twice a year – with the second time being autumn.

Autumn is an essential time to give your home a deep clean due to the falling temperatures outside and the heating being on, combined with windows being closed, making it the perfect conditions for carpets to harbour dirt, germs and harmful allergens.

To help you clean your home, in this post we’ve compiled 10 autumn house cleaning tips.

Wash Your Windows:

Surprisingly it has been suggested that rain water is good for cleaning windows, due to containing fewer contaminates than tap water – and you may have the temptation to leave the cleaning of your windows until the spring.

But if you haven’t cleaned your windows in awhile, you will notice come the next autumn downpour they look dirty, with streaks appearing. Prevent this from happening, by giving your windows a thorough clean over the coming weeks.

De-Clutter Your Cupboards:

We are all guilty of storing items which we no longer have a need for, and over time such objects can begin to clutter up the home.

Use the big autumn clean as the perfect time to de-clutter your home, removing all those items which have been sat collecting dust on your shelves or in your cupboards and aren’t going to be used again, along with any summer (and winter) clothes which no longer fit or you want.

De-cluttering your home doesn’t mean you need to fill your bin up with unwanted goods either. Instead donate any items which are still in good quality to a local charity shop, or consider how else you can recycle them in and around your home.

Clean Behind & On Top of Furniture:

When running the vacuum around the home on a weekly basis, very few of us will move the couch, wardrobe or sideboard out of the way to clean behind. A top house cleaning tip when carrying out a big clean, is to clean on top, behind and underneath your furniture.

By taking the time to clean behind, underneath and on top of furniture will help to ensure all dust, dirt, debris and allergens are removed – providing you with a healthier and cleaner home.

Remove All Cobwebs:

Autumn is spider season, and following the warm but damp summer we’ve experienced – which created the perfect breeding climate for house spiders – this year will be no different. But, despite the cobwebs adding to the Halloween experience it’s recommended to remove them from your home.

The easiest two ways to remove cobwebs from your home is with an extendable duster, which will enable you to reach the cobwebs in the corners near your ceiling, or, by using the hose and extension tube on your vacuum cleaner.

Defrost The Freezer:

Your freezer is one of few appliances which is used on a daily basis, and to keep it working to its full potential it is important to make sure you keep on top of freezer maintenance. Key to such maintenance is to defrost your freezer – if you don’t have a self-defrosting model.

If you haven’t done this for awhile or you’ve noticed a build up of ice, autumn is the perfect time to defrost it.

Clean Bedding, Upholstery & Curtains:

Whilst changing your bedding on a weekly basis will help to keep the bed clean, you may be surprised at home much dirt can be harboured on your mattress. Along with dirt, bedbugs are becoming more common in UK households – so it is important to clean the mattress on a regular basis to kill these off.

One way to clean your mattress is with a vacuum cleaner and mattress tool. But one of our top autumn cleaning tips is to use a suitable steam cleaner.

Steam cleaning kills 99% of germs and bacteria, at the same time as removing dirt without the need for chemicals, and the heat produced by a steam cleaner will kill off any bedbugs and eggs which may be lingering on your mattress.

In addition to using a steam cleaner on your bedding, we would also recommend using the steam cleaner to clean upholstered furniture and curtains – providing the surfaces with a deep and thorough clean.

Remove Muddy Foot / Paw Prints:

Autumn is a naturally beautiful and colourful month, as the trees change colour and the crisp leaves scatter across the pavements – bringing joy to children as they walk through them, kicking them up into the air.

But, autumn is also a typically wet and muddy season – and this can play havoc for homeowners, as muddy footprints and paw prints are traipsed through the home.

To clean muddy foot/paw prints from hard flooring – whether laminate, wood or tiles, we recommend using a steam mop as soon as possible, as this will lift and remove the dirt, leaving the area looking spotless.

When it comes to removing muddy prints from carpets, it is often best to leave the mud to dry before tackling. Once the mud has dried, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the area and leave this for at least half-an-hour to lift out the dirt, and then vacuum as normal.

Clean & Test Chimneys / Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Alarms:

Wood burners and real fires have seen somewhat of a boom in popularity over the last few years, and with the temperatures starting to fall, they will soon be put to use – providing warmth and comfort on those dark, wet nights.

But, before you begin using your wood burner / real wood fire we recommend you have the chimney professionally cleaned, ensuring it’s free from any dirt, debris and bird nests.

Tied in with cleaning the chimney, you should also test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, making sure they are in full working order. Doing so will make all the difference in an emergency situation, providing you with those vital extra moments of warning and enabling you and your loved ones time to get out.

Don’t Forget Your Light Fittings:

With darker mornings and nights becoming a common feature of autumn, now is the perfect time to give your lights, lamp shades and lamps some extra attention.

These are areas of your home which often become victims of dust, but are also overlooked when the home is being cleaned. With your lights becoming even more important over the coming months, it’s important to make sure they are cleaned and free from any dirt.

In addition to providing them with a dust, for even brighter lighting in your home we would recommend switching to LED bulbs, not only will these brighten up your home but they’ll also help save you money in the long term.

Keep Dirt Outside:

Introducing mats to the internal and external entrances of your home is a great way to help prevent unwanted dirt and debris from being brought into your home. And to ensure you keep as much dirt as possible out, we recommend you use a heavy duty scraper mat on the outside of your home.

Why Won’t My Cat Use The Litter Tray? 5 Tips For Cat Owners

Given that cats are very clean by nature, if your cat suddenly won’t use their litter tray then there are generally one of two factors for this.

The first factor may be a health problem such as a kidney infection and should be ruled out by your vet if your cat is displaying any sign of illness, the second factor is behavioural and below are five tips for cat owners that may potentially alleviate the problem should the issue be a behavioural one.

Is The Tray Clean?

The simplest reason is that the tray just isn’t clean enough. Many cats faced with a dirty tray will go elsewhere and this is an often overlooked reason for not using it. Keep an eye on your cats deposits as they do have a level that they simply become uncomfortable at and may consider their tray too dirty.

Clean out the tray at least once a week with warm soapy water and rinse well with warm water, don’t forget to dry well with possibly a towel before replacing the litter.

Location Is Important

Cats do not like to eat and drink in the same spot that they go to the toilet. They also have a preference for a quiet and more private spot, as opposed to a very busy area. It has also been claimed that cats have a nervousness about being vulnerable whilst doing their business and as an in-built defence against predators prefer the tray situated where an easy escape can be made should it be necessary.

An ideal place to situate a litter tray is in a spot where a cat has a complete view of the room. If you are using a tray with an enclosed lid it may be worth taking the lid off to see if this makes a difference to your cat using their litter tray.

The Litter Itself

Cats are sensitive to change and particularly to places where they have had a bad experience. The many litters available on the market now vary wildly and it should not be ruled out that your feline friend has simply been put off using the tray temporarily due to the texture or odour of a change of litter. Cats have an amazingly keen sense of smell and a brand change of litter has the capacity to unsettle their toilet habits.

The One Tray Thing

It is well documented that a household should have one tray per cat. If you have introduced a new cat into the environment then a new tray should be added and it should be noted that the trays should be placed in different areas.

It is worth mentioning that an older cat or a cat that is generally more prolific in their toilet habits may well benefit from an extra tray placed strategically in another part of your home, perhaps in a spare bedroom. This will help the cat that needs to go more frequently and also highlight a potential aversion to their original tray.

Is The Cat Stressed?

A cat may mark its territory instead of urinating in its tray if it has been subjected to an environmental stress-inducing change. Be aware of any issues surrounding your pets reluctance to use their tray and try to eliminate the stress.

Punishing a cat for peeing outside of their tray may also induce stress as they may associate their tray as a source of potential punishment and a logical approach is likely more favourable in producing the desired outcome than an angry one.

Juice Recipes For Health – List Of Fruits And Vegetables You Must Try

The health benefits of raw and fresh fruits and vegetables cannot be matched. Equipped with a high quality juicer, you can reap all the benefits and have a fun time trying out the different fruits and vegetables that make healthy delicious juices. You can play around with mixing the fruits and vegetables to come up with unique juice recipes for health. Here is a list of some of the easiest to juice, but nutrient packed fruits and vegetables you should consider trying.

Fruits

Apples – They are great in reducing cholesterol, boosting the immune system and cleansing the digestive system. You can use the apples with any other fruit or vegetable because they soften bitterness or very strong tastes.

Pineapples – They have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making them amazing additions to your juice recipe. They also boost protein digestion and help in dissolving blood clots.

Papaya – Papaya juice can be very beneficial to those who have digestion problems because it has enzymes that break down protein. The fruit also replenishes Vitamin C in the body and aids cancer protection. Consider using the fruit for blender smoothies, or drinks because it doesn’t crush well in a juicer.

Berries – They have antioxidants that are great for general health. You can choose blackcurrants and blueberries to deal with urinary infections and diarrhea, raspberries for menstrual cramps and strawberries to boost cardiovascular health.

Vegetables

Tomatoes – They have high amounts of lycopene, making them great for the heart and also in lowering the risk of cancer. They are easy to blend with different vegetables and they are not as acidic in their raw form.

Cabbage – The juice can be very helpful for ulcers, but you might consider making it using other produce because cabbage juice is not that pleasant in taste. The juice balances estrogen, regulates metabolism and fights cancer making it worth appearing on this list.

Broccoli – It is packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C. It lowers the risk of cancers such as breast, colon and lung cancer. It is best eaten raw, but if you can’t stand it, then juice it and you won’t taste it but you will reap the full benefits. The juice can actually be mixed with tomato juice to regulate blood sugar and insulin thanks to the chlorophyll.

Carrots – They make very delicious and sweet juice and have lots of nutrients to promote good health. The high beta carotene content of carrots makes them good for artery protection, brain, skin, immunity, infections and cancer. Consider mixing the juice with apple juice or combining the two when juicing to balance it out and make drinking more enjoyable.

Other fruits and vegetables that you should consider juicing to get healthier are sweet potatoes, cranberries, spinach, melons, kale peppers, parsley, citrus fruits, dandelion greens and wheatgrass. They are all packed with plenty of healthy minerals and nutrients that will boost your general health and keep you looking younger and beautiful as the days go by.

5 Practical Ways to Identify Our Calling

Our calling and ministry stems from our relationship with God. Maybe it would be better to say from God’s relationship with us, which becomes manifest through our response to that call. In fact, God has called us before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4, 1 Pet 1:20, Jer 1:5) but our response and involvement bring that call into life. I would like to share with you 5 practical ways to discover or receive confirmations regarding your own calling or purpose in ministry and life in general.

1. Prayer Life

Before praying and adopting or developing a practical life of prayer, one has to be discipled and has to learn how to pray. Although it is the Holy Spirit, who teaches us how to pray (John 14:26, Rom 8:26), but having a spiritual father is extremely important. I have learnt so many practical things from mine. If you keep asking questions or have problems that sound like this: “I get bored when I pray”, “I fall asleep while praying”, “I can’t focus, my mind goes astray when praying”, “I don’t understand what the purpose of my prayer is”, “I didn’t receive anything from God during/after praying”, you probably need to learn how to pray by praying with someone. It will still be the Holy Spirit who will guide you and teach you in a very special way that will feel “natural”to you, but accepting guidance and receiving counsel will help tremendously.

Why is this important? Because your ministry will offer the fruit of your prayer life. The preacher’s sermon, the worship leader’s song, the helper’s service are all futile and of no effect without the fruit of prayer life. When we develop our own special prayer lifestyle, we can “naturally” offer Jesus to people as opposed to trying to “shove it in people’s mouth” or even in our own mouths sometimes. Prayer will allow Christ that lives in us to manifest in all areas of our life. He will show up in our thinking, attitude, character, morals, relationships, health, wealth, etc… and truly be the hope of glory to the people around us.

Now the things that you pray about, the things that the Holy Spirit urges you to pray about play a very important role in identifying your calling. In some cases, God plainly reveals His goal for our lives by speaking to us in our spirit, by audible voice, visitation, vision, or dream. But that doesn’t happen very often and it doesn’t happen to most people. Only the Lord knows why.

2. You & The Bible

I remember a while back, Pastor Kevork had given me and others advice to read the Bible and take notes. His intention was for us to come face to face with how the Bible speaks to us, because it would present a direct image of how God speaks to us specifically, which may be distinct from other fellow ministers. This doesn’t limit our calling or reduce anything from it. We keep on digging and discovering truth and mystery in more depth as we mature and gain experience. This doesn’t necessarily drive us away to wrong or wrong personal interpretation of scripture either, especially when we are accountable and make our due diligence in studying the scriptures testing the spirits and testing what is good and from the Lord (1 Thes 5:21, 1 John 4:1, Acts 17:11).

Now when taking notes, writing commentaries, contemplating on the Word, sharing what you receive and accepting feedback and correction, you receive enlightenment, revelations, rhema words from God, you should write those down, or speak them into a voice recorder and contemplate on them. They will grow and unravel live a gift package. The receiving and unraveling are both a process that will give you a glimpse of the marvelous glory of God and that of yours as a king/priest made in His image.

Pastor Kevork has always rebuked and encouraged me to approach the scriptures like this. We might have tendencies to analyze, which is a good thing, but should never replace, but rather serve the further deepening of our relationship with the Word. The greatest temptation and downfall I have experienced is when I cling to other people’s interpretations and commentaries and skip my duty and delight of receiving mine directly from Him. God Speaks! There’s a thing that the Pastor always says that should serve as our motto: “God never stopped speaking!”. His rhema words are true spiritual food. Let’s feast on Him!

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.” (Prov 25:2-3)

3. Your Instincts

This brings us to my next point: Instincts. Although it is a very dangerous thing for carnal man to trust his carnal instincts, I believe that for a spiritual person to trust his spiritual instincts will make all the difference in the world. The difference between a copy and an original, the difference between timeless classics and quick commercial hits, the difference between living a life of confusion and a life of courage and confidence, the difference between a life headed towards its purpose and destiny and the one in stagnation is in the wise and flexible use of one’s instincts.

Your instincts will tell you who you are. The use of your gifts in liberty will tell you what you are called to do. The gospel serves to desensitize us from the carnal, the temporal, the worldly and all that tries to control our lives and minds, in order to bring us into the bliss of heavenly life on earth. That is the atmosphere that activates our spiritual instincts.

4. Your Fruits

Fruits have both flavor and benefits. They come in different shapes, sizes and colors. They have distinctive aromas and nutrients. If you produce apples, then you are an apple tree. You can keep pretending to be an orange tree, when people around you have never tasted oranges from you. If you teach then you are a teacher. If you set foundations, then you are an apostle. If you rebuke and encourage, then you are a prophet. If you win people from the world and inspire them to turn to God, then you are an evangelist. If you father and take care of people’s needs, then you are a pastor, and so on… All of these of course should be tested and confirmed by the church leadership. No one has the right to declare himself a prophet or apostle or pastor or teacher or evangelist, or a miracle worker, healer, helper, etc… without the church leadership confirmation.

Monitor your fruits. See what people around you say to you. Sometimes, we tend to dismiss anything that sounds like praise coming from the people we minister to, thinking that it will cause us to be prideful. We can always listen to learn how we are being used by God and keep giving God all the praise and glory.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored.” (Prov 27:17-18)

5. Your Perseverance

Finally, as the old saying goes: “only time will tell”. In other words, it will always remain a mystery, but a mystery to be chased. So we don’t sit down doing nothing, until time tells us what our calling is, but time and all the mysteries of life unravel to show us and those around us what it is precisely the calling and purpose of the Lord for our lives, as we walk in His promises day by day with all that we are in Him, a perfect creation, a masterpiece placed on earth to be refined and help those around us in the same process, living out God’s dream by loving Him and the people around us. Blessings!