Thursday, September 19, 2019

Are You Planning Your Thanksmas Celebration?!


If you don't know what I'm talking about, head over to Vocal Media to check out my article about Thanksmas.

Thanksmas is a holiday in between Thanksgiving and Christmas and it was invented by my very own father! (who reminded me about this fact during our monthly brunch today at Panera Bread)

I dig it because it's more low-key than any other holiday, and you can get together with anyone you want!

Enjoy!

How to Build a Great Fort for Your Child to Play In

Sometimes we love to just trash out our house and make forts. Back in 2011 (this post was originally published 9/20/11), everybody needed their own fort, then they would go visit each other. Here are some keys to a good fort:

1. a big, light blanket or dark sheet
2. something to weigh your cloth material down and/or
3. something high to hang the material from
4. pillows
5. snacks

Since we moved to the country and have a completely different type of house and furniture, the kids now use large binder clips to hang material on an upright ping-pong tabletop propped on something. One fort was built using the couch in the boys' room, a twin bed, and the ping-pong tabletop as a roof. Somehow they even made it like a maze and it stayed up several days. It can get very extensive these days.

I'm sure my husband can give more good details in the comments section since he's the Master Fort Builder of the World, and he has passed on that skill to our kids.

When's the last time you built a fort?





Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What You Should Probably Research Before Your Big Move


Moving house is always filled with lots of different details and formalities. It’s not just a case of upping sticks and moving to wherever you want. There are lots of different jobs that need to be handled. If we were all able to do as we pleased with very little organization, then the whole world would be chaos! You have to get everything handled in terms of where you are now, and you have to do a little recon into the new home as well. 

When it comes to the new area that you’re going to be heading to, you’re going to want to research a lot of different aspects surrounding it. You don’t want to head into a new place and regret it immediately. The spontaneity of moving might seem appealing to many, but it’s a big commitment and a significant part of your life, so you’re going to want to be prepared for anything that comes your way. Each of you will have different things at the top of your priorities, so you won’t all feel the need to look into the same stuff. Here are four examples of what you might want to research, however: 

How Friendly The Area Is 

This should probably be considered quite heavily – on a small and large scale. In terms of your potential neighbourhood, you might want to ask around when you’re house-viewing. It might seem a little odd, but knocking on doors and having a friendly chat regarding the people around the place wouldn’t be much of a problem. On a larger scale, you should also probably check what kind of problems there are or whether some may surface. Social media platforms like Facebook have groups that share information about particular areas – you could join one of those. If you have kids, then it might be wise to check things like offenders registers. 

Where The Important Stuff Actually Is

Banks, stores, and other services are going to be needed every single day, so you’re going to want to know where each of them are located. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem; a simple drive around the area should familiarize you with things. You can look online at things like GoBank reviews if you want to know where ATMs are and other important financial info. The necessities of life should be handled before you can worry about anything else. 

Where Fun Activities Are Located 

Life isn’t always about working and staying alive, however. You need to be able to occupy your free time somehow. There will probably be different clubs and centres scattered around, so looking into what’s available wouldn’t be a bad idea. You can obviously worry about this kind of thing once you’re all moved in, but it would be smart to know beforehand, too. 

The History Of The Area

If you’re not exactly moving very far, then you’ll already know about your surroundings. If it’s a big move to the other side of the country, for example, then you might want to brush up on the happenings of the area. Not only would it benefit you in terms of settling in, but locals would appreciate it a lot. 


How to Make Your Home Special

Sometimes all you need is a little twist on things to make things that much more special. It could be that little bit of chilli surprise in the chocolate, adding some lavender to the clothes iron reservoir to make your clothes smell great, or little personal twist to your kids’ lunchboxes such as making smiley faces in their sandwiches. The trick is to take something, tried and tested, and add a little bit of your own flair to it. This attention to detail and doing something slightly unusual is what people will remember. The same approach could apply to your home as well. 

You can change things up a bit and add something quite unique.

Photo by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash

Any Spare Room?

You can start by thinking about all the standard rooms one might have, such as a living room, dining room, etc. and add your own little thing. Maybe photography is your thing, and you could add a dark room? It doesn’t even need that much space. Alternatively, you could go for a kids playroom, which will be an excellent way to contain the chaos. Add a little twist to the kid’s playroom by combining it with a sizeable book collection. Its kid’s room meets kids library. 

Or maybe have a room that is purely for muddy boots and coming from the outside in, combined with a messy hobbies and crafts room? It will make a unique room to your home which people will remember and perhaps even will try to emulate.

Change Things Up

You can also play around with how you decorate your home and find twists in that. There are plenty of ideas to go around here. What about a swing set table? Instead of chairs, you can have swings. A playful idea possibly more suited for the office than a home. How about hammock beds? It’s perfect for accentuating the relaxing nature of a bed by making associations with being on holiday. Another great way to add a little twist is by using decorative glass that is textured. You could use it for glass showers and privacy windows, for example. And if you have cats for example, why not create a cat transit system? Adding tubes and platforms for your feline friends to navigate throughout the house. 

And if you are out of inspiration, there’s always the option to try and put slides everywhere in the house!

It’s not hard adding unique twists to your home to make it a little bit less ordinary. 

If you have the space, adding a unique room is a great way to give your home that personal twist. These are usually long-term projects, but ones you could really dig deep into. If you have no space to spare, perhaps the best thing is to take one room at a time, consider it’s function and try to find one thing you could change up. It’s great fun and helps you get a different perspective on your home, And you’ll find out, the more you do, the more you will want to change.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Designing a Backyard Your Family Can Enjoy This Autumn



Image source


Having a backyard is the biggest positive when it comes to owning a house. Some would even argue that it’s the most important part of their home. It’s hard not to agree when you consider all the benefits of having a backyard. You get an outdoor space all to yourself and you can design it however you please.


The best part is that you and your family can spend some quality time in your backyard. With some attractive modifications and design decisions, you can turn it into a personal oasis in preparation for autumn. Here are some of the best changes you can introduce to your backyard.

1.     A fire pit


There's nothing comfier than roasting marshmallows by the fire. Telling stories and relaxing while the fire keeps you warm, what could be better? You don't have to go camping or take a hike to enjoy this kind of luxury. It's something you can easily afford for your backyard, as long as you know what you're doing.


A DIY fire pit would add a lot of charm to your backyard, and it’s not too difficult to set up. You just need a bunch of rocks and a clear space with no plants. After all, you don’t want something outside of the pit to catch fire. If you need a dedicated fire pit, you could get some nice stone blocks to build one. A couple seats around it couldn’t hurt, either.

2.     Pool lights


You might not be able to enjoy a dip in the pool throughout the year, but you can still enjoy a nice view in your backyard. At night, you might not be able to get the full viewing experience that the pool normally provides. Not to worry, though, you can always introduce lights to remedy this.


Pool lights are an extremely popular addition to any luxurious backyard. They give you a light show that is worth looking at. All you need to decide on are the type of lights you want to use. Most experts would recommend LED lights. They're the most efficient lighting you can use in your backyard. They use very little electricity and they can endure temperature changes well.



Image source

3.     Add some more color


Autumn is the perfect time to add some color to your backyard. Nature is already heading in that direction. The fall leaves can give you an interesting backdrop to add a touch of your own taste. Your patio furniture could use some colorful additions.


It’s not without reason that autumn is also called “fall”. There is a lot of rainfall during this season. This might not bode well for your patio furniture. You don’t want your gorgeous pieces to end up wet and dusty during autumn storms.


A couple of colorful tarps would add some personality to your patio. Any time there's heavy rainfall, you can just cover your furniture. You don't have to worry about the rain anymore and you can enjoy a colorful addition to your patio.

4.     Think ahead with gardening


Now that summer is over, you might think that you’re done with gardening until you start seeing signs of spring. Leave this line of thinking to amateur gardeners. Autumn is the perfect time to start creating your ideal garden from scratch. The weather is a lot cooler and more manageable than it was in the summer, so it’s time to get to work.


It’s time to start planting your ideal spring-blooming blooms. Use them to fill the edges of perennial borders. Choose your colors wisely. Consider your backyard furniture and accessories before you start planting flowers willy-nilly. You want to create a gorgeous view in your garden, not just make a mish-mash of pretty colors.


Autumn is a good time to plan for some gorgeous springtime fragrances. Plant a couple of hyacinth or daffodils right at the entrance to the backyard. This way you’ll wake up every morning with the smell of nature surrounding you.

5.     Protect your patio


There’s nothing like having a bit of coffee and spending time with your family on your patio. Autumn is the perfect season for some leisurely outdoor relaxation. The temperature is usually just right. However, early autumn can prove to be a bit too similar to the summer at certain times of the day. When it gets a little too hot, you can’t really enjoy spending time on your patio.


However, you shouldn’t let the sun get you down. You can always install some protection from the sun to keep you cool. Some folding arm awnings might do the trick. It’s even more convenient if you can move the covers once the weather becomes more tolerable. Then you can enjoy any kind of day you please.



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6.     Install a hammock


Everyone likes relaxing in their backyard from time to time. There’s nothing better than reading a good book while enjoying some fresh air outside. It really helps stimulate the imagination. Is it even possible to make it more comfortable than it already is? You bet.


A hammock would make a good addition to your backyard. You can use it to lounge around while the days are still warm and cozy. You can even enjoy a quick outdoor nap when you feel like it. It’s one of the more comfortable accessories you can have in your backyard.


You might be wondering how you can install one without two trees. However, modern hammocks can be installed just about anywhere. You can add a custom pole to hold one end while a tree or your home holds the other one. It's not as complicated as it looks, either. All you have to do is tie the ends at the same height and voila, you have a hammock.

Conclusion


There’s nothing quite like spending some quality time in the backyard with your family. You should strive towards creating a Zen backyard where you can relax and have some time to breathe. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Consider some of these ideas for your backyard and you’ll end up with a personal oasis that will be the envy of all your neighbors.


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