Electricity Saving Update 19- Energy Saving Tips and How To Get Energy Saving Stuff For Free

In an interview with Energy Advisor Geoff Martin:

What can homeowners do to prep for cold weather?
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but getting a home energy assessment really does help prepare you for changes in weather. There are almost always things that you can do through the utility programs that will make your home warmer and more comfortable – at a lower cost, too, thanks to available incentives and rebates.

But beyond that, there are a couple things I swear by. I always suggest people check their hot water temperature. Don’t set it above 120 degrees. If your water is any hotter than that, you’re paying more for hot water than you need to. It’s just a little knob on your heater. Carefully lower the dial until your temperature goes down.

Also close your curtains or blinds. It won’t replace an insulation job, but when we use our infrared camera over closed blinds or drawn curtains versus open ones, we do see a reduction in heat loss. Closed heavy window curtains or blinds also make a room more comfortable and slow heat loss.

For those of you who have not taken advantage of the Free Home Energy Assessment that you’re already paying for in the line item “Energy Efficiency Charge” On Your Electric Bill, sign up in this form and you will get a ton of free lightbulbs that use 10 watts of power but replace ones that use 70-100 watts and give great light, also free power strips, and replace old style thermostats with electronically controlled ones as well as water saving green shower heads.


My mom did it and lots of other happy campers like Donna Ardizzoni have too.
Check out your bill for the Energy Efficiency Charge(shown on my mom’s bill in this picture)

That charge is what everyone has to pay regardless if you take advantage of the Free Energy Assesment and Free Energy Efficient Lightbulbs Available To You!
And they’re not the ugly squiggly ones, they look just like the regular lightbulbs they are replacing-


For the entire series to date check out the past entries from the Electricity and Home Efficiency Series Here-

Parts 1,2,3 Here
Electricity Update #4: Free Home Energy Assesment With Kevin From Next Step Living
Electricity Update #5: Video Walkthrough- Energy Efficiency Assesment and Free Stuff At Mom’s House
Electricity Update #6 Energy Saving Ideas
Electricity Savings Alternative Home Energy and Comfort Update #7- Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth
Electricity Update #10
Electricity and Home Heating and Comfort Update 11: Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth Part III
The No Brainer Electricity Update #12
Electricity Update #13 Next Step Experience At Lise Breen’s Laneseville Joint

Electricity Conversation Update #14 Paulie Walnuts Gets His Energy Assessment #GloucesterMA

Have You Opened Your Recent Electricity Bill and Seen The Energy Efficiency Charge? Update 15

Electricity Savings Update 16: Solar Opportunities and A Solar Home Evaluation At Brian O’Connor’s


Chocolate Amaretto Truffles and Men Trying on Valentine’s Lingerie

Happy Valentine‘s Day!


A chocolate lover’s delight ~ handmade truffles, super simple and kid fun-favorite-to-make, too!

Choclolate Amaretto Truffles ©Kim Smith 2011


Making truffles for my friends and loved ones tonight and keeping my fingers crossed that despite the ominous forecast, we’ll still get together this weekend. Please stay warm and cozy and safe!

Reposted from 2011.


Mini baking cups

2 ounces Baker’s sweet German chocolate, broken into small bits

6 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ C. Disaronno Amaretto liqueur

2 Tbs. strong coffee

Few drops almond extract

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

½ C. pulverized Jules Destrooper almond thins (or Anna’s, or any super fine, thin cookie)

Confectioner’s sugar to taste (approx. ¼ cup)

½ C. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder for final powdering


Melt sweet chocolate bits and semi-sweet chocolate chips over a gently simmering double boiler.

Whisk in liqueur, coffee, almond extract, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously, over gentle heat, a few minutes more until mixture is shiny and smooth. Gradually add the butter by tablespoons. With a wooden spoon, beat in the pulverized cookies. Beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar, to taste. Remove the pan from the double boiler and place in a bowl of ice with water. Stir until well chilled and firm enough to form into balls.

By teaspoonful, gather up a gob and form into a rough, truffle-like shape. Roll in cocoa powder and drop into frilled paper cup.

Makes about 22, depending on size. Refrigerate in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks or they may be frozen. Very loosely adapted from Julia Child’s Chocolate Amaretti Truffles The Way to Cook Page 485.

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Hilarious Adendum!

Plower’s Hill Challenge – Perkins and Mt Vernon Streets

As I drove around today, I thought the Streets up on the Hill must be a real challenge for the plows.

I wonder what other Monster Hills exist in Gloucester that create a challenge for the Mighty Plow Men of Gloucester.


“Tenderness” – the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day

OK, it’s gonna snow on Valentine’s day — maybe another foot or more.  You could amp up the #Snanger OR you could chill by the fire and take your sweetie pie to see Booker T. Jones next Saturday (2/21) down the road at Beverly’s Larcom Theatre.

What could be more romantic than a concert with the greatest Hammond B3 groove-master of all time (and a Grammy-winner and Rock n Roll Hall of Famer) in a gorgeous fully-restored, historic theatre, built in 1912 (same year as Fenway Park) with perfect sound?

Well, here’s what’s even more romantic than that … local rising stars Sarah Seminski & Eric Reardon are opening the show.  Here’s a video of them performing “Try A Little Tenderness” at the Larcom back in November.  Now, Otis Redding recorded with Stax Records at the same time as Booker T. & the M.G.’s, who backed Otis on his version of this song.  Romance will just envelope the whole place next Saturday.  Get tickets here.



Friday’s in February * The Carlos Menezes Trio * Tonight @ The Franklin 6-9pm 2.13.2015

franklin carlosJoin us at the Franklin Cape Ann tonight from 6-9pm! We’ve got a special Mardi Gras treat for ya’ll! Come check out their new menu which also features many of the classic favorites! Its Brazil meets NOLA Tonight!
Carlos Menezes Jr. – horns
Rick Geraghty- Percussion
Gary Wolsieffer- Bass
Christian Towlerr – Guitar

I Love Me Some Matt Lauer, But….

One of my boys’ favorite things to tell people (even strangers) is that I love snow days because I get to have coffee in bed with Matt Lauer.

Truly, I can’t deny it.  On the off weekday that I don’t need to be at work at 7:45 in the morning, you can bet I’m hoping for a lazy morning in bed watching Matt and his cohorts do their thing….and, yes, with coffee.

So, while I love me some Matt, the fact that you “can’t unsee this” is unsettling even for me.  50 Shades of Yikes.  What a trooper and a good sport though, right!?

Matt Lauer Wears a Harness and Whips Jamie Dornan (Thanks to Ellen DeGeneres’ Clever Editing)—Watch the Clip!


Mary Baker Eddy Library

Yesterday I included The Mary Baker Eddy Library in my “Picks of the Week.”

They were kind enough to reach out to us and provide information about their programs, but also about the youth organization that they are collaborating with.  With a mission of, “Inspiring kids to give of themselves for the good of the world” Aaron’s Presents is making wonderful things happen.  Please take a minute to read about the children involved and the projects that they have created.  Please find the links below.  The first link will take you to the same February Vacation Programs page that I included yesterday.  The 2nd link will take you to Aaron’s Presents.

Hello Good Morning Gloucester Team,

I am writing on behalf of the Programs Team at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston. We are all excited that the Library is listed in Nichole’s Picks of the Weeks for February School Vacation! I wanted to reach out and offer direct links to our program information so that your readers could explore our FSVW programming in greater detail. This year the Library’s Program is a collaboration with the Youth Organization Aaron’s Presents. It might be good to note as well that we strongly suggest online registration for some segments of our program (the How You Can Make a Difference session, and the Make Your Own New Story session.) Arts and Crafts and Mapparium segments do not require registration. Mon-Thurs sessions are already at full capacity, but Friday’s sessions still do have space.

Absolute Best,





Come decorate a bowl for the annual Empty Bowl Dinner on Tuesday, February 17

Hi Joey,

Can you help us get the word out about this fun family activity planned at The Open Door next week? Need something to do on school vacation week? Come decorate a bowl for the annual Empty Bowl Dinner on Tuesday, February 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Open Door (28 Emerson Avenue). We are asking people to lend their talent to paint a bowl that will be glazed and fired and then made available at our main event, the Empty Bowl Dinner. The painting is free, but reservations are required. RSVP volunteer@foodpantry.org so we know you are coming!

Mark your calendar NOW for The Open Door Empty Bowl Dinner on Thursday, May 14, at Cruiseport Gloucester from 4 to 8 p.m. Learn more at http://www.foodpantry.org

Julie LaFontaine
Executive Director
The Open Door
“Feeding people. Changing lives.”