All About Fireplaces

With Fall only a few days away, there’s no better way to enhance the look and feel of your backyard experience than with a warm and cozy fireplace. Fireplaces help to create a second living space outside your home instead of within. It provides a warm gathering place for friends and family to sit around and enjoy a nice conversation while enjoying the outdoors. However, there are a few things to take into consideration to have a perfectly placed fireplace outside your home.FRP908 Environment

Placement – Where you put your fireplace has more of an effect than which fireplace you get. Because of their size, fireplaces become a focal point in your backyard make sure to place the fireplace against a wall or corner which won’t take away from other focal points in your backyard or patio.

Codes – Different cities, have different fire codes and regulations. It’s best to decide a placement for your fireplace after familiarizing yourself with your city’s fire codes.

Privacy – Since most fireplaces are enjoyed from the front side only, they are great to use as a “privacy screen” between you and your neighbor. Create an intimate private space by setting matching patio furniture in your backyard around your fireplace.

Wind Direction – Take into account the way the direction blows in your backyard. Use the fireplace as a wind break so create a warmer environment during cooler weather. It will also help the fire stay lit.FRP-906 Environment

Find the perfect fireplace at CalFlameBBQ.com for your backyard this Autumn. We also offer firepits and barbecue grills and islands to enhance your backyard Home Resort. Cal Flame helps you spend more time in the home with family and friends. To find a Cal Flame Dealer near you, click here.FRP910 EnviromentCelebrate the Fall in style with your very own Cal Flame Fireplace!

 

How to Handle Holiday Stress in the Kitchen

Enjoy the calm before the storm; Christmas is only 2 weeks away! If you plan on having family over for a holiday gathering, know that food preparation will only be a small portion of your stress this season. 13_HolidayStress

Thankfully English professor of the University of Connecticut and a columnist for the Hartford Courant, Gina Barreca, has came up with five essential tips gauranteed to make this upcoming season the most satisfying for everyone on your holiday list.

Whether they’re sitting at your hearthside table, crossing the threshold of your festively decorated doorway or banging their fists on the reinforced glass of your stenciled windowpanes screaming “LET ME IN! I’M YOUR BLOOD RELATIVE!” these tips should help smooth the lumps in everybody’s seasonal sauce.

You might have heard these before, but perhaps you’ve taken them literally and applied them only to food in your kitchen. I think they have applications far beyond granite countertops and stainless-steel sinks, however, and should be invoked as the rules of engagement during all get-togethers, whether formal, casual or savage.13_HolidayStress121312

1. Do prep work in advance: The last thing you want is to wallow in chaos, so if you’re going to take on a large project—such as making tarte à la poire anglais or dealing with your manipulative sister—start sooner rather than later.

Remember: It’s almost as tough to get a convenient appointment with your therapist in December as it is to get a supply of ripe yet unbruised Bartlett pears after Dec. 20.

Remember, too, that prep work means sharpening your tools and getting your chopping block all ready, just like for a beheading. While celery, onions, carrots and guest lists can be cut at the last minute, it’s often best to accomplish these tasks swiftly and in a timely manner in order to minimize the mess. (Trust me: There’s always a mess.)

2. Check expiration dates: Some things get old, worn out and taste funny. Some things turn sour, go bad and become toxic. “Things” in these instances can range from the lightly rusted containers of ginger, cloves and turmeric that haven’t been touched since the Reagan administration all the way to personal relationships that have also remained untouched since the Reagan administration.

If the single reason you haven’t already tossed what you don’t use is because you think one day it might come in handy, try to remember the last time it was an essential ingredient. If it was so long ago that you can no longer recall when it added flavor, texture or something special, let it go and make room for something new.

3. While being conscious of everyone’s needs, remember it’s your kitchen: You’re the one who decides what you’re offering; you can let others decide for themselves what they take.

You can no more force somebody to be happy than you can force him or her to love lima beans; you can no more demand that someone relax than you can demand that they have dessert. And remember that just because somebody isn’t choosing the item doesn’t mean you’re required to remove it from the menu.

4. Accept help, assign tasks and offer gratitude: Learn to say versions of the following three statements: “Oh, yes! It’d be great if you cut those Bartlett pears into extremely thin slices because I had an appointment to see my shrink and didn’t get a chance do it earlier,” “Please, would you carry these 87 virtually antique and no doubt noxious spice tins to the trash for me?” and “Thanks a million for bringing the lima beans! Don’t worry if Uncle Nosebag starts whimpering when he sees them. He’s a little phobic. It doesn’t at all mean they shouldn’t be at the table. Really!”

5. Clean up as you go: Get into the habit of the Three C’s: Clearing, cleansing and containment. It’s easy if you do it a    little at a time. Keep fresh water and clean towels handy. Spills and breakage are part of life, but do try to avoid boiling over, tearing up and destroying, irrevocably and entirely, everything precious and lovely that crosses your path simply because of the tension created when loved ones gather in a small space, whether that small space is a studio apartment or Rhode Island. But hey, if a conflagration happens, it happens. You can always wipe the slate, as well as the counter, clean.holiday-stress-2011

Finally: Make sure all flames are extinguished; in other words, do not to leave unattended what needs attention.

And, please, don’t let this be you:Holiday-stress

Happy Holidays!