A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

27 December 2021
Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Since A.B.E. Doors & Windows used to be Jim Lett Sr’s home, the holidays look different here than they would in another office. Every December, we bring up our garland and plug in our lights. We hang wreaths on our door displays and put one up outside. We have decorative pots of red, white, and gold and poinsettias galore. We even have a nativity in our front bay window. We leave our decorations up until January so stop by and spread some holiday cheer.

Wishing our customers all the best!

The A.B.E. Doors & Windows Team

 

14 February 2020
History of Chocolate
History of Chocolate

 

There are a lot of things that I don’t like about Valentine’s Day, but there’s one thing I totally love about it—the chocolate.

Chocolate as we know and love it began in Southern Mexico where it was first enjoyed as a fermented beverage as early as 450 BC. The Aztecs believed that the cacao seeds, from which chocolate is made, were a gift from their God of Wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. The seeds of the cacao had so much value to the ancients that they were even used as currency. [One hundred seeds could buy you one turkey!]

While cacao is naturally bitter, it was originally prepared as a drink. It was mixed with spices or corn puree. It was thought to be an aphrodisiac and give the drinker strength before battle. After being brought to Europe during the sixteen century by explorers, it was mixed with sugar and its popularity skyrocketed.

However, cacao beans are difficult to harvest, growing on trees that naturally reach heights of sixty feet, and even harder to refine.  So, it was primarily a treat for royalty until a Dutch Chemist, Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented a cocoa press in 1828 with revolutionized the process of chocolate-making. The press could squeeze fatty cocoa butter from the roasted beans, leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder and mixed with liquids or other ingredients to make chocolate confectionaries. The resulting drop in production costs made chocolate affordable to the masses.

In 1847, the British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first solid edible chocolate bar from cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sugar. Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching machine in 1879 gave chocolate a velvety texture and superior taste. Cadbury, Mars, and Hershey ushered in the chocolate boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s and remain big names in the candy world today. In the twentieth century, chocolate was an essential ration of the US soldiers during wars. Today, the average American consumed approximately twelve pounds of chocolate each year. More than $75 billion worldwide is spent on chocolate annually.

Studies in 2017 show that chocolate may have a role in the health of your heart and brain. Cacao beans are rich sources of iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. Dark chocolate lovers, listen up, because dark chocolate is found to contain two or three times the benefits because milk chocolate is diluted with milk and sugar. There has also been a correlation found between chocolate consumption and a lowered risk for heart disease. With anything, moderate intake is the key. Most of the benefits were found when people had two to three servings of chocolate weekly. The benefits disappeared when more than six servings were ingested.

So, even if you’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day, you can still enjoy that sweet, sweet discounted chocolate the day after!

30 December 2019
New Year's Resolutions For Your Home
New Year's Resolutions For Your Home

 

As the new year approaches, we all take the time to think about things we would like to improve or focus on for ourselves in the new year. How about making some resolutions for your home? It makes sense to enhance the area you spend much of your year in. Feel free to add some or all of these suggestions to your resolution list.

Be Energy Conscience

Take a good look around your home to see where energy can be saved. Perhaps it's not letting the faucet run when you brush your teeth or maybe you need to install that programmable thermostat you purchased two years ago. When was the last time you inspected your insulation? That leak you had repaired may have caused a section to get moldy. Other types of insulations settle over the years and you could find that area to be under-insulated. Maybe this is the year you commit to replacing inefficient windows or adding a storm door to maintain your homes temperatures. The beauty of these items is that you can do a few each month so you don't get overwhelmed. Plus, you may see a decrease in your utility bills.....saving money is always a great incentive to keep going!

Kitchen Overhaul

These next suggestions not only benefit your home, but compliments any resolutions you've made to eat healthier. Start by examining your pantry and fridge. Get rid of anything that has overstayed it's welcome. Organize and restock these areas with healthy choices that take center stage. Try and make your kitchen an area that's about connecting......instead of just a place where you cook. Vow to try a few new recipes a month and get the family involved in the making of them.

Safe Home, Sound Home

Looks aren't everything. Your home needs to be safe for the occupants in it. Invest in fire extinguishers for every floor of your home, if you don't already have them. Check the ones you do have to make sure they have not expired. You remember the battery you took out of the smoke alarm because it kept going off for no reason......get that replaced....TODAY! Have a floor that needs a smoke alarm? Put that on your to-do list for January. Consider purchasing alarms that detect carbon and radon gases.

Make an emergency evacuation plan and do a run through with the family.

Be a Clutter Buster

This is your year to let go and reclaim the space in your home and garage. Work from the top down, one room at a time. Space it out so you don't lose heart. Make a pile to throw and a pile to donate...give them away that day so you are not tempted to hang onto that trophy you won in middle school. Really evaluate items....if you have not used them in the last 5 years, it's time to move on. Research has proven an organized, tidy area equates to a calmer state of mind. After you have reclaimed your space, keep it neat by only bringing in the items you need.

Create Conversation

Many people vow to make more time for family and friends. So why not revamp your living-room to create an environment where conversation and quality time can happen? Turn furniture at angles that promote face time. A new area rug and pillows are an inexpensive way to freshen up a room and make it more inviting. Take a look at your guest room.....or better yet, sleep in there one night. Is the bedding comfy? Hows the room temperature? Is the way to the bathroom lit for safety? Does the room make people feel welcome? Take some steps to make your home inviting and then make a list of people you have not seen and give them a call!

 

Other Areas to Consider

 

Get your finances in order & create a budget that you can stick to.

 

Rework that landscaping by adding more perennials & plants that help sustain our bee population.

 

Post a cleaning schedule and assign tasks to every member in the household.

 

 

 

20 December 2019
Holiday Hang Ups
Holiday Hang Ups

 

Deck the halls with boughs of holly…! Tis the season to be—damaging your door with Christmas decorations! Well, it’s that time of year again when we all decorate our house to the nines and the winter weather blows in and makes a mess of all the pretty decorations. My personal nemesis is the wreath that I hang on my door. It seems that the wind is always making it crooked and twisting up the lights. Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to try to minimize the frustration of hanging your wreath on the door.

Since wooden doors have gone extinct, most people no longer have a nail directly in the door to hang wreaths on. I’ve heard if you have a steel door, you could possibly use a magnet to hang your wreath. Mine is too heavy for that, but if you have a very light wreath, you might be in luck. Stunning fiberglass doors can be further accented with decorative wreath hangers. I line the back and hooked portion of mine with felt to minimize the scratches on my door. However, the over-the-door hooks can leave scratches on the jamb, too. It’s not my favorite, even if it is the most common.

This year, I plan to try out a Command Strip. In years prior, I used one on the outside of my door and the wind defeated it, but it came to my attention that you could put the Command Strip on the inside of the door, upside down. The idea is to run a pretty ribbon or invisible fishing line from the wreath, up over the top of the door, and hook it over the upside-down Command Strip on the inside of the door. Hopefully, the fact that the hanger is on the inside of the door will keep the wind from blowing it straight off.

If I can’t defeat the wreath this year, it might be time to add a storm door to my house. Having the ability to close it over the wreath would probably solve all my problems. If I’m good, maybe Santa will even bring me one!

15 November 2019
Safely Decorate Your Home for the Holidays
Safely Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

 

Whether you are one strand kinda person or tend to cover every possible area with lights, it's important that you hang your decorations with care, so you can admire them standing up.....not flat out on your back. We surveyed over 100 elves for the best tips and tricks to make sure you, and the surfaces you use, hold up well year after year.

 

A few things to consider before you start decorating. Knowing what surfaces you will be working with will help you determine what instruments you will need to help hang, fasten or drape decorations on. You should also determine if this is an area that you will use year after year, you may want to use better quality nails or fastening items if you plan on leaving these things in place for future holidays. If you will be removing nails afterwards make sure you have the proper items to fill the hole.

 

The stocking were hung by the chimney with care”

It is best to keep stockings or garland away from the actual fireplace opening. A stray spark or ember could lead to items catching on fire. No one likes a singed stocking! If you have a mantle, use a sturdy hook to show off your families stockings and move them temporarily when a fire is lit. Display other items...garland, beads....on top of the mantle, rather than hanging them. Make sure anything on the mantle is sturdy and won't fall off. If you like the look of candles this time of year, consider investing in a flame-less version. They even make remote controlled ones. Always use your chimney screen and observe basic fireplace safety.

 

When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter”

The view of a festive wreath as you gaze upon a home always brings a smile. A wreath hanger is your best bet to avoid nails in your door. Most are thin enough to still allow your door to be closed. If your door is metal, you could employ a magnetic hook and suspend any décor from a pretty ribbon. Another great helper are command hooks because they can be removed cleanly when you are done with them. Just make sure to check the weight they will accommodate, in general, try to keep any item you are hanging on your door to under 15 pounds....anything heavier could damage the doors structure.

 

Away to the window I flew like a flash”

If you love the look of a candle in every window, always use the electric or battery operated type. Consider switching over to LED bulbs, they consume less energy, do not get hot and are less likely to burn out. Make sure your candles have a sturdy base and use a timer so they are not lit during the day.

 

Hanging a wreath on the outside of every window is a charming look. If you have a double sash window, you can easily pass the wreath thru the top opening and affix it with several methods. A small push pin at the top of the window frame works very well to secure ribbon or fishing line that your wreath hangs from. If you want to avoid a hole, simply knot your ribbon at the top and close the window to hold in place. There are also magnets that secure on either side of a window pane that can support a lighter wreath or ornaments.

 

For windows that may not open from the top, you could use suction cup hooks or command strips designed for the outdoors.

 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof”

 

Lights....a staple decoration of many a home and probably the most tricky to hang properly without causing yourself injury. It goes without saying that you should plug in any strands before you start hanging them up. There are a host of products you can purchase to help affix outdoor lights. Do a bit of research to see what will be most helpful for the surfaces you have. After choosing the right hanging devices, let's focus on hanging them safely.

 

Make sure the plug you are using is grounded. We've all seen the plug Clark Griswold used in Christmas Vacation.....that was an accident just waiting to happen. If an over-current should occur, the system will be able to shut itself down.

 

If you are using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for outside use and that they are secured to avoid a tripping hazard. Be sure your strands are labeled for outside usage and are water resistant or water proof. Keep lights away from power lines or other hanging items that they could get entangled with.

 

If you are securing lights on a second story, choose a day that the wind is low and the weather clear. Check over your ladder if it's been awhile since you've used it. Have another person assist you while you are on the ladder by helping guide or hold the lights as you hang them up. Having a person on the ground can also be helpful by making sure lines are straight.

 

Save on your electric bill by using a timer so your lights are not on during the daytime or still on at 3 am when no one is around to admire them.

 

And to all a good night”

 

Congratulations, your home looks merry & bright....now, sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy all your hard work.

 

*all quotes from- A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

 

 

31 October 2019
Origins of the Jack-O-Lantern
Origins of the Jack-O-Lantern

 

We all know jack-o-lanterns. However, in the early 1500s, the term ‘jack-of-the-lantern’ was applied to people, not pumpkins. It originally meant ‘a man with a lantern’ or a night watchman. In its earliest recordings, the term was used to encompass the mysterious lights sometimes seen at night over bogs, swamps, and marshes. These ghostly lights are caused by nothing more than the ignition of natural gases created by decomposing plant matter. However, for centuries before the scientific explanation was known, ancient people made up stories to explain these jack-o-lanterns, hinkypunks, corpse candles, will-o-the-wisps, fairy lights, and fool’s fires.

One of the oldest legends of the lights can be traced to Ireland. Most of the myths revolve around a character named ‘Stingy Jack.’ As the legend goes, Stingy Jack was a blacksmith who fancied drinking above all else, but hated to pay his tab. He became so good at avoiding his bill that he even bamboozled the Devil.

The tale starts with Jack and the Devil sharing drinks. When the time came to pay, neither wanted to do so. Instead, Jack asked the Devil to turn into a coin that they could use to pay the bill. Presumably, the Devil would then turn back into himself and leave the bill unpaid. However, once the Devil changed form, Jack put the coin into his pocket next to a crucifix which prevented the Devil from changing back. Jack didn’t remove the cross until the Devil agreed to two stipulations—not to take revenge on Jack and not to take his soul to Hell.

As it were, when Stingy Jack died, he wasn’t welcomed into Heaven either and the Devil kept his word. He turned Jack away from the gates of Hell with only a single burning coal to light his way. Jack couldn’t carry the coal in his hands so he hollowed out his favorite food—a turnip—and set the coal inside it. And so, Jack’s wayward soul wandered the swamps and bogs in search of rest with his makeshift lantern. People called the lights jack-o-lantern.

And so, it became tradition in the British Isles to carve vegetable lanterns out of turnips, potatoes, and beets. When the legend immigrated with the Irish to the New World, the tale found a new crop. In America, pumpkins were readily available and easy to carve. Over time, people seeking a thrill began to carve faces in the pumpkins with the hope of achieving the look of a disembodied head. By the mid-1800s, the name jack-o-lantern had stuck.

By the 19th century, jack-o-lanterns went from a legendary trick to a staple of Halloween décor. Some could say that this ends Stingy Jack’s time of wandering as he has found his place darkening the stoops and windowsills of our homes. 

 

14 October 2019
Winchester Mystery House
Winchester Mystery House

  

 

Sarah Lockwood Pardee married William Winchester, magnate to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, in 1862. Now, most people know of the Winchesters for the Model 73 Rifle, better known as ‘The Gun that Won the West,’ released in 1873, but Sarah Winchester is responsible for one of the single most fascinating homes in the United States. After her husband’s death from tuberculosis in 1881, Sarah inherited the Winchester fortune, purchased an eight-room farmhouse in San Jose, California, and started building in 1886.

Sarah called the one-hundred-and-sixty-two-acre estate her ‘Llanada Villa’ which is Spanish for ‘house on flat land.’ During the heyday of construction, running most drastically from 1891 to 1900, the house quickly rose from a humble farmhouse to a seven-story Victorian giant. Tabloids from that time reported that Sarah visited a medium who channeled her late husband. The medium supposedly warned Sarah that she needed to continuously build on the home to protect herself from the spirits of the victims of the Winchester Rifle. Whether that is true or not, all that is known for certain was that Sarah certainly built.

Neither an architect nor a master blueprint was used during the haphazard construction process as the team of carpenters worked under Sarah’s direction only. As a result, the house was soon filled with oddities such as stairs that ascend into the ceiling, windows that open into other rooms, a closet that is only an inch deep, skylights in the floor, and a ‘door to nowhere’ that opens directly into a garden fifteen feet off the ground.

When a massive earthquake struck San Francisco in 1906, it destroyed the seventh story tower and greatly damaged the fifth and sixth floors. These were later removed, decreasing the mansion to the four stories that is still is today. When Sarah passed away in 1922, construction abruptly ceased, leaving some rooms and interior sections of the house dangerously unfinished.

Sarah’s niece sold the home almost immediately. In 1923, it was purchased by John and Mayme Brown. They had planned to create an amusement park on the site, including a wooden roller coaster, but the overwhelming interest in the house caused them to shift focus. They opened for public tours that same year. In 1924, Harry Houdini visited the mansion on Halloween. He hoped to debunk the paranormal theories swirling around the home, but only left with more questions. He famously dubbed Sarah’s estate, ‘The Mystery House’ as it is still known today. 

 

   

 

In 1974, the house was granted landmark status and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Winchester Mystery house currently spans six acres. It tops in at a fantastic 24,000 square feet. It features ten thousand panes of glass, two thousand doors, one hundred and sixty rooms—including two ballrooms, thirteen bathrooms, and six kitchens—fifty-two skylights, forty-seven stairways, seventeen chimneys, and three elevators. A stained-glass window designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany was created for the house to have a prismatic effect when the sunlight shone through it, but it was unfortunately installed on an interior wall.

In 2016, a previously unknown secret room was discovered in the attic. It contained a pump organ, a Victorian couch, a dress form, a sewing machine, and several paintings. Stories spread while Sarah was alive of a storage room in the home that contained un-displayed riches, including a spiderweb Tiffany window designed by Sarah herself. To date, no such room has been discovered—not to say that it isn’t in the mysterious house somewhere. It’s incredible to think that a house built in 1886 could still be protecting its secrets over one hundred years later.

As for the paranormal, such beliefs were not abnormal at the time. Fed by the Civil War, in which countless people perished, those left behind were sad and desperate for a way to know that their families were okay in the great beyond. It was confirmed that Sarah did at least have an interest. The house is full of stained-glass spiderwebs and repeating number thirteens—from windows with thirteen panes, ceilings with thirteen panels, and staircases with thirteen steps.

The tale of Sarah and her villa being haunted by the ghosts of the Winchester rifles’ victims was most likely started by the house’s early promoters. In 1967, psychic Susy Smith wrote about the Mystery house in her book, ‘Prominent American Ghosts.’ Historians see Sarah’s perpetual making and remaking of the house as a larger-than-life artistic endeavor, rather than any true attempt to escape spirits. Guns were a fact of life then and gun-guilt didn’t really emerge until the turn of the 20th century. One historian believes that Sarah continuously renovated her home as a way to purposefully employ the San Jose community. She did try to give back, even building a hospital in her husband’s name. The house itself was probably her biggest social work of all.

While we may never know what really drove Sarah Winchester to create such a house, it’s certainly the kind of place I would love to visit.

 

 

 

15 July 2019
German vs American Potato Salad
German vs American Potato Salad

 

 

The Fourth of July has come and gone. I hope everyone had a great holiday! I spent my time traveling from one picnic to another, enjoying the company of friends and family alike. The benefit to this day and age is the delicious blending of cultures that’s going on in the area. However, it did lead me to an interesting discovery—German potato salad.

Apparently, I always make American potato salad. You know the kind I’m talking about with sliced egg, onion, and cups upon cups of mayonnaise. Americans just love their mayonnaise. Personally, I’m not a fan. I tolerate mayo in macaroni and potato salads and that’s about all. Come to discover that there was a potato salad out there just for me.

German potato salad is a whole different animal from American potato salad. First off, there is no mayonnaise to speak of. Instead, it was a pleasant dressing of vinegar, oil, mustard, red onion, and bacon. Mmm, bacon! Can you think of anything that isn’t improved by adding bacon? The benefit of the German potato salad at our picnics was also that its ideally served warm, unlike the common mayo-tastic variety, so we didn’t have to desperately shuffle it from one beer-packed cooler to another as the ice and drinks disappeared. The German potato salad could sit right out on the table next to the baked beans.

I plan to make German potato salad as my dish next Independence Day!

 

 

 

Our own, Janet Lett, has supplied us with her tried and true recipe for German Potato Salad:

2 pounds of white potatoes, about 6 medium-sized
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2-3 sliced hard boiled eggs
1/2 teaspoon of celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender. Cut potatoes into small cubes and place in a large bowl; add onions, celery, hardboiled eggs, celery seed, salt and pepper. Mix lightly. Keep warm.

Dressing:

 

1/2 pound of bacon, diced
2 eggs.                                             
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar                               
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar


Fry bacon until crisp. Beat eggs; add sugar, water, and vinegar. Stir this mixture with the hot fried bacon. Stir over low heat until dressing thickens, then pour over the potato mixture, toss gently to combine, and garnish with sliced hardboiled egg.

Can be served warm or room temperature.

Enjoy!

17 March 2019
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Driving the Snakes Out of Ireland

 

 

We’ve all heard the legends of Saint Patrick. He was kidnapped from his home in Britain, sold as a slave, escaped, hitched his way home aboard a pirate ship, and returned to Ireland later to bring them Christianity. Interesting guy, right?

Personally, I’ve always been more interested in the legend that claims he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. The story begins that a snake bothered St. Patrick during his 40-day fast and so he drove all the snakes into the sea. Hey, I’m pretty cranky when I’m hungry too, but how would St. Patrick ever have managed such a feat?

So, I looked into it. As it turns out, there are a few places on earth that have absolutely zero native species of snakes and they are New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, and… Ireland. Several scientists have gone over the fossil lists and records of animals in Ireland, but never found any evidence that snakes have ever been there at all.

Most likely, it’s a simple matter that snakes could not reach Ireland with the ocean in the way and the climate was inhospitable to them. They are cold-blooded, after all. Ireland is home to one and only one native lizard which is quite small and brown.

So, seems there isn’t much to question when it comes to the myth of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. However, I came across some information that indicated St. Patrick may have driven metaphorical ‘snakes’ from Ireland in the form of the Druids that practiced the Pagan religion. Since he was a champion of Christianity, that seems much more likely. 

14 February 2019
The Origin of Valentine’s Day
The Origin of Valentine’s Day

  

If you’re anything like me, you’re of the belief that Valentine’s Day was invented by candy companies and bored housewives. I personally camp out with all the beleaguered husbands and boyfriends, watching the weeping masses pass by the heart-frosted window panes. In the interest of giving my outlook some support, I investigated it this year.

I was under the impression that Saint Valentine was some kind of brave soul who went around marrying people who weren’t allowed to be wed back in the Dark Ages. Or that the mystical saint helped lovers elope or stood in the face of someone with a lot of power to fight for the right to love-who-you-love. Several books and articles later, I am disappointed to learn that Saint Valentine was not a romantic—if such a person even existed at all.

Scholars and historians have actual records of three different Saint Valentine’s dying around February 14th. The first died sometime in the third century with twenty-four soldiers and that’s about all we know about him. The other two are, most likely, the same person with some changes to the story. The second Saint Valentine was most likely out to convert pagans to Christianity and performed a miracle which restored the sight to a Roman aristocrat’s daughter. Unfortunately for him, the Roman emperor didn’t like that and had his head chopped off.

The most likely truth of the holiday is only a little further off from what I already believed. Someone did make up Valentine’s Day, but it isn’t who you might think…

Geoffrey Chaucer, author of ‘The Canterbury Tales,’ made the connection between February and the mating of birds. Apparently, in Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to lay eggs in February. Soon, the European nobles began sending love notes to each other while the birds and the bees got started. Shakespeare also joined the idea by writing of a lovestruck Ophelia calling herself Hamlet’s Valentine. Englishmen and women began using February 14th as an excuse to write poetry for their beloveds.

As the centuries went on, the commercialization began. Mass-produced cards and smarmy poetry hit the shelves. Cadbury and Hershey began to market ‘Sweets for Your Sweetheart.’ Even though the origins of Valentine’s Day remain as elusive as love itself, at least we live in a time when people aren’t being beheaded for it.

18 January 2019
It's Cookie Season!
It's Cookie Season!

 

It’s that time of year again and A.B.E. Doors and Windows is of two very different minds. Ninety percent of our employees [and customers] are delighted to see the return of Girl Scout Cookies. Meanwhile, our office manager, Shannon is in mourning for the next nine weeks. Being a troop leader and with two children in Girl Scouts, Shannon looks at the time between January 17 and March 10 with dread. For her, it’s a time of freezing her buns off at cookie booths and making endless change for $4.00 boxes. For the rest of us, we’re delighted to see the return of our favorite flavors.

Now, depending on how much you travel, you might have noticed that some of your favorite cookies have different names from state to state [especially right here on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey]. Girl Scout Cookies are produced by two different bakeries, Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Smart Cookies. Depending on the region you live in, and therefore which region of Girl Scouts you support, will depend on which bakery you find yourself in supply of cookies for.

Thin Mints are the only Girl Scout Cookie that both bakeries supply. After that, each cookie has a different name between bakeries. You’ll find Samoas and Caramel Delights, Tagalongs and Peanut Butter Patties, Do-Si-Dos and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Trefoils and Shortbreads, Savannah Smiles and Lemonades. Both have Smores as well, but the cookie itself is extremely different between bakeries—ABC’s is chocolate covered while LBB’s is more of a sandwich. Little Brownie Bakers has an exclusive cookie called the Toffeetastic while ABC has Thanks-a-Lots.

Girl Scouts began selling homemade cookies as early as 1917. They used to make sugar cookies with their mothers, package them in wax paper, seal them with a sticker, and sell them door-to-door for as little as twenty-five cents. In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in electric and gas company’s windows. One year later, they became the first to sell commercially baked cookies. In 1951, with the boom of suburbs and malls, the first Girl Scouts began to set up tables in malls to sell cookies. As the flavors evolved in 1978 so did the packaging. It became uniform and depicted photos of Girl Scouts in action. In 1979, Saul Bass created a logo for Girl Scouts which began appearing on all the boxes and promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.

Selling cookies not only allows Girl Scouts to raise funds for themselves to use throughout the year on troop activities. It also allows them to learn key skills for business and life. Now, we’re sure that you’ll find Shannon at some booth in the greater Lehigh Valley area in the next nine weeks, but if you’d like to make sure she never gets a break, go ahead and stop by the A.B.E. Doors and Windows showroom for instant cookie gratification. We support Girl Scout Cookies!

26 December 2018
Twas the Night Before Christmas... Why Can't I Get In?
Twas the Night Before Christmas... Why Can't I Get In?

   

It’s that time of year again. We’ve put up our tree, our wreath, our many [many] lights. The tree is lit, the house is lit, the whole neighborhood is lit. It’s nice to admire our beautiful handiwork from the front yard. It’s nice to come home after work to our beautiful well-lit house. It’s nice to—hold up… Why isn’t the garage door opening? Why isn’t the remote opening the door? Guess the universe wanted you to have a little more time to admire your beautiful decor.

Just when you thought you were finished fighting with the lights… Truth is, all those beautiful holiday decorations can play havoc on the garage door opener. It runs on a radio frequency and all kinds of things that you wouldn’t expect can suddenly interfere with your remote opening your door—anything from a new refrigerator to that darling inflatable Frosty in the front yard to your neighbor’s new surround sound. Radio waves can travel pretty far, run into plenty of things, and then stop.

So, if your remote suddenly stopped working [or started working very sporadically], you might want to evaluate what changed inside your house. Try unplugging a few of those new decorations. If you still can’t get the remote to behave, come on down to A.B.E. Doors and Windows, where we can test the frequency your remote is sending and you can admire our lights while you wait.

You have enough to worry about with the holidays coming. Let us take care of the garage!

16 December 2018
Safe Home - Safe Travels: Tips for Both This Holiday Season
Safe Home - Safe Travels: Tips for Both This Holiday Season

 

“There's no place like home.”~~~Dorothy-The Wizard of Oz

 

 According to AAA, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve will see the highest number of people traveling. Over 93 million people will be making their way to visit loved ones near and far. Unfortunately, this time of year also sees an increase in home break ins. Let's not let that information deter you from leaving your home. A little planning and common sense will ensure your home and your family stay safe during this busy time of year. 

Safe Home  

Although it may be tempting, don't broadcast your travel plans on social media. You never know who may be following your page. Let's not give any criminal a heads up to your activities.  Those pictures of you and all the cousins wearing matching PJ's can wait till you return. 

The use of lights on a timer inside the home is an excellent deterrent, as most burglars will look for signs of no one being home.  

Don't leave items of value in plain sight.  Put away tablets and electronics so peeping eyes cannot view them through a window.  Utilize a small safe or lock box and tuck away valuable jewelry or watches. 

Did you lock the doors?  Seems silly to point this out, but in the hustle and bustle of leaving, this item is often forgotten!  Check 1st floor windows to make sure they are locked and give all those door handles a quick turn as you leave.  Don't overlook the porch door or the door from the garage into your home.  

Make sure the outside of your home is secure by having lights set on a timer.  A well-lit exterior is a great deterrent.

 If you are not stopping your mail and newspaper services, make sure they are picked up daily by a trusted neighbor. 

If you normally leave a key hidden for the house-keeper or dog-walker, scoop those up and secure them inside the home.  You'd be surprised by how many break-ins happen by just the burglar walking through the front door. 

Lock your garage and any doors accessing it.  You don't want to come home to a missing snow-blower. 

Safe Travels 

If you and your family are traveling a bit further than over the river and through the woods, heed these tips to keep everyone safe. 

If you are driving, make sure your car is ready for the trip.   Check the oil and tires and address any maintenance issues so you don't find yourself broken down in an unfamiliar area.  

If a trip to the airport is on the agenda, keep a close watch on your belongings and luggage.  Carry your passports and ID's close to your body.  Keep a list of important documents and credit card numbers separate from your belongings in-case you would need to report any of them stolen.  Password protect your phone or tablet in case they would get lost so no person can easily access the info on them.

 Enjoy your time with family and friends.  We hope everyone has a festive holiday and Happy New Year!  

 

 

 

 

15 December 2017
Wrap it Up—Organizing & Storing Your Holiday Decor
Holiday Organization

 

We all enjoy the lights, ornaments and merry decorations that brighten up our homes during the holidays...until it's time to take it all down and store it for next year.  Let's help you store those items with ease so next year you won't be wrestling with a ball of lights. 

Before you begin, examine your storage materials that you currently have on hand.  Make sure boxes still have secure bottoms and handles that are strong. Ensure that you have enough containers in case you have purchased new lights or have received ornaments as gifts.  The end of the year is a great time to pick up new containers and bins, but you can easily store your treasures with items you already have on hand.

The key to storing lights is all in the wrapping.  Start with a heavy piece of cardboard and slowly wrap each strand around it.  Each piece can be then slid into a box for storage.  Another idea is to wrap them around a heavy duty hanger.  When finished, they can be hung in a spare closet or rack in the attic.  If you have extension cords that need to be stored, inserting them into a paper towel tube is a great organizing trick.  If you have an extensive outdoor light collection, investing in a storage spool is an option.  Spools can hold up to 200 feet of lights and are easy to carry and unwind.  

 

A clever alternative to wrapping each ornament in tissue paper is found by nestling them in a cardboard divider.  If you don't want to invest in a pre-made container, you can easily make one by using larger plastic cups with cardboard dividers in a storage bin.  Smaller trinkets can be stored in egg cartons or clear shoe boxes.  As you put away your ornaments, examine them to make sure they are not broken and make repairs if necessary.   Now is also a good time to assess your collection and pare down or donate items you have not used in a while. 

 

                                 

Wreathes and garland present an interesting challenge in that there is never a box quite big enough to store them nicely.  Think vertically on this one and utilize a garment bag.  Attach the wreath or garland to a sturdy hanger and slip it into the bag.  DIY with a hanger poked through a garbage bag and cinch it tight at the bottom. 

 

                             

Although they come out of the box with ease, getting your artificial tree back in the box is often a wrestling match. Pinterest user Time with Thea used an old bed-sheet as a way to wrap it up neatly. Once in the sheet, it is secured by tying the ends together. For larger trees a pillow case can come in handy to hold the top portion.

Before you stash all your trimmings away, take a look at your storage area.   Make sure it is clean, free from any potential water damage and not in an area that heat may damage any of your decorations. Stack heavy boxes on the bottom and allow some room to maneuver items with ease.  If you have the space, storing items on the floor they are used on can save time and avoid injuries from carrying boxes up and down stairs. 
 

 

Congrats!   You are all set for next year.  Reward yourself with a hot chocolate and don't skimp on the marshmallows.  

01 May 2017
A.B.E. Doors Mother's Day Contest
Read below for specific instructions on how to enter and win our Mother's Day Contest with a beautiful flower bouquet provided by Dan Schantz Greenhouse & cut flowers.

 

To enter, please visit our Facebook Page
and "LIKE" the contest post pinned to the 
top of our FB page.  
Please share with your friends so 
they get a chance to enter too!
The contest will run through May 10th with the winner announced on May 11th.

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