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The winter season is typically one of the busiest times of the year for travelers. While millions prepare to hit the road to visit family and see sights they may never have seen before, there’s one essential travel tip that cannot be overlooked: the proper tires. Winter tires are an essential safety feature for drivers and deliver as much as a 25-50 percent increase in traction over all-season tires, which could be the margin you need to brake in time to avoid trouble. Winter tire tread design uses thousands of extra traction edges for added grip, and the softer rubber…

Some home upgrades are aesthetic, and some are for function. These ideas, all with better home safety in mind, show there’s no reason you can’t have both. If you tend to think of home safety in strictly functional terms, you may be relieved to know you don’t have to abandon your designer sensibilities when it comes to improving your home’s overall safety. In fact, these tips from the decorating experts at JCPenney show just how easy it can be to make safe look sensational. Appliances Outdated appliances aren’t just an eyesore and drain on your home’s energy resources; they can…

Nothing brings people together like a barbecue. There seems to be something about being outdoors and the sizzle of fresh food on the grill that makes you want to gather with family and friends. This summer, you can be the hero of your grill with a few simple tips and tricks: A great meal starts with great meat. Make sure to use versatile, high-quality and tender cuts like Smithfield Fresh Pork ribs, chops and tenderloins. Cut down on time, not flavor. Look for pre-seasoned meats such as pork chops, or slice, dice or cube larger cuts like boneless loin to…

When it comes to tackling a backyard makeover, there is no time like the present to start planning. Unless you’re planning to build your own deck, one of the first items on your “to-do” list should be hiring a contractor. Quality deck builders can book up quickly and often have waiting lists by early spring. By doing your research in advance, you can ensure a spot in the project queue and have a brand new deck in time to make the most of outdoor living season. While many questions are obvious, such as costs and timelines, homeowners sometimes overlook other…

As temperatures drop, the risk of severe winter weather conditions and sudden power outages rise. Preparing your family ahead of time can help minimize the impact of a power loss. Having an emergency preparation plan lets your family immediately shift into a proactive stance when an unexpected event, like power loss, occurs. Your plan may include assembling an emergency kit and talking with your kids about how to respond in certain situations, as well as assessing your supplies and resources. This includes items like blankets, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries. Families can also benefit from portable generators, which reduce worries…

(Family Features) Apprehension and inexperience keep many homeowners from pursuing renovation projects that would make their homes more functional, enjoyable and comfortable. Getting your hands dirty on the front end – with some planning and preparation – is the best blueprint for a successful home remodeling project. To help you start your remodel on the right track, consider these tips from Gary White with JCPenney Home Services. Start with a plan Although it may sound obvious, the first step really is to decide what you hope to accomplish with your renovation. At the least, begin to outline rough ideas to…

(Family Features) Over time, the appearance and function of any outdoor space can dull due to combinations of heat, precipitation and use. With some careful attention, you can quickly spruce up your outdoor living areas and get them back in great working order for patio season. Take Care of Textiles Outdoor textiles often take a beating from the elements. Freshen up often-overlooked things like outdoor rugs, lawn furniture cushions, pillows and umbrellas. A thorough vacuuming may be adequate to remove leaves, bugs or dirt. However, if stubborn spots persist and a deeper cleaning is needed, review the manufacturer’s guidelines. Washing…