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Ready for winter?

Don’t run from the cold season, embrace it. Sites hed: Ready for winter? dek: don’t run from the cold season, embrace it.

What kind words can be said of November, her humble holidays of country, hearth and home perennial runners-up to glitzy cousin December’s attention-grabbing fests? Plenty. November’s our time for reveling in warmth before it gives way to frost and snow–the last rays of a waning sun, the last glimpse of pumpkin-colored leaves, the last chance for spring planting. Turn to these Web resources to help ease into the season.

November means it’s time to ask, what’s your R-value? A measure of resistance to heat flow, R-value is the number given to various levels of insulation for your home, recommended for your location. Simply Insulate, a resource put together by the North American Insulation Manufacturers’ Association (NAIMA), will explain this concept and much more with its links to information specific to your state (just choose your state from the drop-down menu). Simply Insulate also provides links to the Department of Energy, to local utilities and insulation contractors, and to handy do-it-yourself installation guides and energy-saving calculators.

November also heralds a severe dip in pizza delivery sales. Whether you want to surprise your in-laws with a full-on Cajun Thanksgiving or just rediscover the wonders of your oven, bookmark 100 Top Cooking Sites. This handy list (unfortunately not alphabetized) links to thousands of cooking resources and recipes from experts around the world. You’ll find quick recipes, beginner tips, full gourmet menus, cooking gear, and restaurant reviews. Particularly notable for cooks of all stripes is the Cook’s Thesaurus, an encyclopedia covering thousands of ingredients and kitchen tools, with pictures, descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, and suggested substitutions.

If you hate to see the gardening season end, you’ll take heart when you take to the Web. National Gardening, the official site of the National Gardening Association, accomplishes a rare feat for online garden sites: It manages to offer plenty of useful information regardless of where you live. The home page offers seasonal tips, such as harvesting fall vegetables, that quickly become more specific when you click on your region. National Gardening also anticipates that gardening is a juggling act–any season means gardeners will be juggling several tasks at once, from reseeding a lawn for spring, to bed cleanup, to planting bulbs. National Gardening divides its articles for plants between flowers and fruit and vegetables. Its other categories cover how-to projects, garden care and pests (see the particularly helpful Bug Mug to determine if that caterpillar is friend or foe), lawns and landscaping, home and hearth, and gardens for all, which features city and herb gardens, among others. The site also has an e-mail newsletter, dictionary, Q&A library, article library, message boards and a seed swap. If that weren’t enough, also see handy kids’ gardening links and buyer’s guide resources.

Before the snow flies, make sure your car is ready. Visit Automobile Magazine Online or Cars.com for seasonal maintenance tips. These sites will tell you as much–or as little–as you ever wanted to know about timing belts or coolant systems. Cars.com even includes a nifty virtual tour of each system in your car, detailing what it looks like and how it works.

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