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If you have hard flooring, carpet or flat surfaces in your home, which just about covers every possibility—there are three specific vacuum cleaners that deserve your attention: an upright, a cordless stick vac and cordless handheld. These are the worker bees that I own, love and don’t want to live without.

Once you familiarize yourself with these vacuums and their specific uses, you’ll know why each one gets my designation of for Best Inexpensive™ in its specific category.

1. Shark Professional Navigator Lift-Away

 

shark-navigator-pro-lift-away-vacuum

In the decade since I met and fell in love with my first Shark upright vacuum, I’ve purchased, tested, given as gifts, and worked nearly to death (it’s really hard to wear out a Shark) many Shark vacuums because the company comes out with a new model or two about every week, or so it seems. I can say with confidence, there is no better basic corded, upright vacuum cleaner on earth.

Now throw in the lift-away feature on some models (allows user to pop off the lightweight canister to easily carry and vacuum stairs), an extended wand for high reaches, high-capacity dirt cup, anti-allergen HEPA filter and 30-foot electrical cord and you’ve got yourself a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum—a fantastic piece of housecleaning equipment.

But here’s the most important feature—the price. Wow! I’d put my Shark up against any brand, anytime, anywhere and I’m talking about even those pricey European brands that come in at $1,500 and more.


 So Disgusting I’m Embarrassed To Tell

…within minutes that canister filled to the top.  I was so shocked, disgusted hardly describes the feeling. I took the canister out to the trash to dump it out hoping the neighbors wouldn’t be peering over the fence to see what was coming out of my home… read more


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I’ve got news! But first a little story.

Faithful readers know that in my spare time, I love to knit. And I when I say love, let’s just say I’m a serious knitter. Don’t mess with my yarn.

Natural woolen yarn and knitting on vintage wooden background.

Running out of yarn is every knitter’s fear. For me, it’s more of a nightmare. It’s that time that I ran out of yarn with one sweater sleeve still to go. No problem, I thought. I’ll just go back to the yarn shop and pick up what I need to finish.

That’s when I came face to face with the dreaded word, “Discontinued.” My heart sank. Apparently, I’d waited a year or two too long to get this project on the needles and finished. There wasn’t a scrap of the exact yarn I needed anywhere on the planet. I checked. Read more

Regardless what the calendar reads, I know without a doubt that where I live in Northern Colorado, fall has arrived. It’s not evident necessarily by a change of temperature or even trees beginning to turn color because both are still very summer like.

Around here it’s tiny, annoying, persistent fruit flies that signal that autumn cannot be far away. Apparently, I am not the only one noticing this.

Dear Mary: I have been having a real problem with fruit flies. I’ve tried numerous remedies and I get a few, but they’re still everywhere! I don’t have any fruit out. No open bottles of booze. I just can’t seem to get rid of them. PLEASE HELP!!! J.W.

Dear J.W: Fruit flies can be a problem year round, but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables. They may not be in your house, but your neighborhood and community is likely enjoying a harvest of tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes and other perishable items, which are breeding grounds for these tiny critters.

Fruit flies are also attracted to rotting bananas, potatoes, onions and other unrefrigerated produce purchased at the grocery store.

All it takes is one pregnant fruit fly to get in and before you know it, you’re dealing with a full-fledged fruit fly infestation. I know. I’ve been battling this problem, too! See that photo above? That’s a picture of one of my fly traps, so I know this works. To make your own fruit fly trap, assemble these supplies: a small glass bowl, plastic wrap, apple cider vinegar (no other types of vinegar or juice) and blue Dawn.

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