Merry Christmas!

May your Christmas be filled with family and friends!

Merry Christmas!

Fall Date Nights

Fall has arrived and with Halloween just around the corner it is the perfect time of year to start thinking about fun dates that can help to spice things up during the cold months. Besides, after all of the summer months of hot weather, it will be nice to get out into the fresh, crisp fall weather. 

 

Especially with it being so close to Halloween, a little fright night might be just the thing to bring you and your partner closer. A haunted house is just the thing to add some thrills to the holiday season. Grab a bite to eat before and then head to the haunted house for a some fun scares. If your town doesn’t do haunted houses look into haunted hayrides. The haunted hayrides may also be more appropriate for nights you can’t find a babysitter and the kids need to come along as well. 

 

Another great date night for the fall is to find the closest apple orchard and take your partner apple picking. It’s the perfect activity to enjoy sparks between you, as you stroll through the apple orchards in the beautiful fall weather. With nothing to distract you from one another you are sure to enjoy stimulating conversation with one another while getting in a leisurely workout outside. To top the night out, bring the apples back and bake a delicious apple pie you can enjoy together.

 

 

Finally, what else could be better then spending the night carving pumpkins with each other. Perhaps carve them over your favorite scary movies, but be careful for the jump scares when you are using your pumpkin carving knife. Once you have your carvings perfected, roast the seeds for a side snack for the rest of your night. If you have children, you can include them too! Just be sure to chose a scary movie more geared towards their appropriate age. The kids are sure to love the roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

Whether you chose a romantic date night for just you and your partner to enjoy welcoming fall, or you also include the kids in on the fall fun, you are sure to have a great night out enjoying the cool fall weather.

How To Combine Color, Energy, and Nature To Create a Happy Home — Part 3

Part 3 – The Bathroom, Living Room, and Dining Room

The Bathroom

Color: Brown

Feng Shui dictates natures fundamental elements are balance in each room. Because the bathroom is dominated by the water element, a nice way to create energetic balance is to include earth elements. Accomplish this by including a variant of brown by way of paint, flooring, towels, or accessories.

Energy:  Reduce unpleasant energy in a bathroom by keeping the toilet lid shut when it’s not in use.

Nature: Aloe Vera is an ideal plant for a bathroom. It’s well known of its healing and restorative properties, and it requires minimal sunlight.

The Living Room

Color: Green encourages a sense of freshness, serenity, and recuperation which makes an excellent choice for a living room. It will make the space feel free of heavy sensations such as stress and fatigue so you can enjoy the company you’re in.

Energy: If you like the idea of the living room being low key, avoid the use of mirrors because they are associated with creating energy. Instead include soft textures because they help reduce strain on the nerves.

Nature: Reed and Areca Palms work well in living rooms because they are lively and grow well in low-lit rooms.

The Dining Room

Color: Red is a stimulating color that promotes social interaction, appetite, and alertness. These are ideal for a space where food and good company are enjoyed simultaneously.

Energy: This one is a no brainer in a dining room. The table is the center piece and the chairs are situated on the perimeter so that guests are all facing inward. It might also be advisable to keep peripheral furnishing to a minimum so that the focus remains on the center of the room.

Nature: Excessive plant life could make a dining room feel too busy. The best approach for including nature is at the dinner table through the use of a well designed centerpiece. It’s important for it to have a low profile so it doesn’t obstruct the view from across the table and make it difficult for people to converse. 

How To Combine Color, Energy, and Nature To Create a Happy Home — Part 2

Part 2 – The Bedroom and Office

The Bedroom

Color: Blue evokes serenity, reassurance, and calm. It’s been shown to help reduce blood pressure and heart rate.

Energy: Electronics and Bed Placement

Electronics are the most energy zapping things one can have in a bedroom. If possible eliminate them entirely. The light and frequency they emit can disturb sleep no matter how subtle or strong they are. Even the “battery charging” indicator on your phone can cause mental disruption. If you aren’t able to remove them from the room then make sure they are at least two feet away from the bed and turn off any that aren’t in use. For example, if you must have a television in the room, don’t fall asleep with it on. Watch your show, turn it off, and call it a night.

Feng Shui dictates that a bed should be placed diagonally across from the door, as well as allow for a clear view of the room and décor. 

Nature:  Lavender. The lavender plant is fragrant and colorful in a soft way. It is also effective for keeping the bedroom air fresh rather than stuffy.

The Office

Color: Purple is a bold color that stimulates creativity and evokes a sense of financial stability. This makes if perfect for a space that is focus creating the best version of talents and making money in the process.

Energy: Shape and Placement

In general stick to distinct lines and angular shapes in a place of work. They’ve been shown to increase productivity and reduce fatigue.

 Feng Shui dictates that a desk should face away from a wall because when it faces the wall they there is a negative effect on concentration levels and inspired thinking.

Nature: Plants that have simplistic designs and require very little care are ideal for an office. A work space is most comfortable if it feels like a “no fuss” area so plants that are delicate and require special attention would be distracting. Try a simple orchid.

Next read Part 3 – The Bathroom, Living Room, and Dining Room

Family Time – Spend the Day Planting a Flower Garden

Planting a garden is a great way to spend time with family and enjoy the outdoors. Here is how to start a simple flower garden and have a fun time!

 

First, look in your back yard. Is there a patch of good soil to use? If not, do some research the night before and find ways to create a patch in your yard. This should be easy and won’t take that much time. And when you go to the nursery, make sure to get fertilizer for your soil to keep the plants growing and healthy. Next decide on a color scheme for your garden. If the flowers are color coordinated the garden will be twice as pretty. Deciding the night before provides you with a plan to help you choose the right flowers when you go shopping. A good color scheme should include around 3 colors. You should also choose flowers that look different than each other to add definition and sophistication. A garden of 3 different shades of petunias is a lot less interesting than a garden of yellow sunflowers, orange marigolds, and red roses.

 

Next, try to locate a nursery that is within walking distance of your home. This experience will be most ideal if you can include a family walk. Have the kids take a wagon to bring the flowers home in. If you do not own a wagon, most nurseries have them and you can either rent them or borrow them to take the flowers home. Otherwise just drive there and leave the windows in the car rolled down to enjoy the fresh air. While at the nursery consult with the experts as to which flowers on your list are actually best suited to your particular garden environment. Also ask about the ideal way to plant them and care for them. Take along a little notebook to take notes so you’re sure to remember all of the important facts.

 

Once you’ve brought your flowers home spend quality time with the family and plant them! In general there should be distance between each flower to make sure it has room to grow or bloom. Also remember to pay attention to whether the flower needs shade or sun. Once everything is planted, create a watering schedule to keep your plants healthy and hydrated. Last, don’t fogey to place a few chairs near the garden so you can sit outside and enjoy it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you to all mothers!  We appreciate everything you do each and every day, but we hope that today is a wonderful one!

How To DIY Picture Frames Using Old Candle Jars

Isn’t it about time we started displaying photos in more unusual ways than standard photo frames? Even the most creative frame from the local store is still a bit mundane, because it relies on the old ways of a flat piece of glass surrounded by a wood or metal frame. Here is a truly whimsical way to feature your favorite photos in your home.

  1. Clean candle jars until they’re crystal clear. Fill the jar with water that’s at a full boil. Let it cool completely! Once it’s cool the wax floats right to the top. Discard the water, and absolutely do not pour it down drain. (Or you might as well just put hot wax down the drain!) Check for stubborn wax remnants and get rid of them by using soapy water and a brillo pad. Rinse and let dry completely.
  2. Decide which photos you’d like to display. Print them at a size that allows the image to fill as much of the glass as possible. The bigger the better, so don’t be afraid to print an image 5×7 or 8×10, and then trim the edges with a paper cutter. We recommend having them professionally printed. Although home printers are great, the images don’t typically do as well behind glass
  3. Slip the photo in and form it to the curve of the glass. It is not imperative, nor even advised, that it wrap around completely. This project looks best when there is still some clear glass to be seen.
  4. Fill the jar part-way with a material that is similar to the theme of the photo. For example, use sand behind a photo from your beach vacation. Or, streamers and confetti behind a photo from New Year’s Eve.
  5. If you like, tie ribbon, twine, or something else around the top of the jar to make the final product a little more fanciful and complete.

Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 4

We’ve arrived at the final segment in our series about how to pack smartly for a road trip. It is work, but it’s worth it because road trips are a wonderful way to bond with loved ones and your favorite friends. Just remember, start planning early if you can. More planning equals less stress.  Now, let’s get this finished so you can put the pedal to the metal!

DOCUMENTING

  • Camera, video camera, tripod, memory card
  • Free disk space on camera-phone, SD card with additional memory
  • Journal and pens
  • Calling card for meeting friends along the way

TECH

  • Wall and car charger for phone
  • Laptop, tablet charger
  • Backup batteries or portable charger if possible
  • Headphones

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Books and magazines
  • Preloaded Kindle or Ipad

PETS

  • Pet sitter if they’re staying behind, leashes, treats, plenty of food and supplies, special instructions
  • Medications, veterinarian’s phone number, phone number of pet emergency room near your destination
  • Food and water, dishes
  • Two leashes in case you lose one
  • Crate or bed
  • Sweater, snow shoes, for furry friends not acclimated to cold weather
  • Shampoo and brush if muddy puddles or skunks are possible
  • Tweezers for boo-boos
  • Shade source for outdoor protection
  • Ground stake for tie down – NEVER leave a pet in a car that is even slightly warm, as glass magnifies heat

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Gifts for the people you’re going to see, or plan to give to travel companions
  • Binoculars

BEFORE YOU LEAVE

  • Check the weather – again!
  • Download all content on entertainment devices
  • Download all apps and try out to ensure they work
  • Make sure you have your glasses if needed
  • Call hotel concierge to pre-arrange entertainment plans
  • Exhaust all information sources so your trip is a no-brainer
  • Program air conditioning and heat settings in your home to avoid unnecessary utility bills
  • Double check all locks, windows, doors
  • Note that you closed garage door
  • Turn off coffee pot
  • Load the car the night before to avoid delays and frustration
  • Check oil, top off car fluids, check tire pressure, (do this throughout the trip if you’re going to be on the road for an extended period of time)
  • Set up “auto photo backup” to a cloud drive so you don’t lose all of your photos if you lose your phone
  • Consider micro chipping your pet in case he or she decides to go on a solo adventure

Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 3

Cruising right along, we have arrived at Part 3 of our extensive, yet reasonable, packing list for your upcoming road trip. What do we mean by reasonable? We searched the web to see what kind of lists are out there, and they were so excessive that we even found one that looked like it was printed in a size 9 font just to fit it all on one piece of paper. Being well prepared doesn’t necessarily mean going into crazy land with the minutiae of every imaginable item you might find useful. Let’s be realistic about it and actually complete the list because it makes sense, right?

HEALTH

  • Medications, more than the duration of the trip in case you are detained, refill in the cue in case you lose it
  • Health insurance cards, check requirements for in-network versus out-of-network care
  • Pain relievers
  • Vitamins and supplement
  • First aid kit and band-aids
  • Phone numbers for doctor and dentist
  • Location of nearest emergency room at destination
  • Insect repellent, poison plant treatment
  • Allergic reaction treatments

HYGIENE & BEAUTY

  • Travel size everything if possible!
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Toilet paper, plenty of it
  • Tissues
  • Shampoo, conditioner, brush/comb, hair dryer, curling iron
  • Hair styling products and accessories
  • Large mirror so you can avoid relying on the visor mirror for everything
  • Shower gel and scrubby
  • Facial regimen, cleanser, toner, moisturizer, etc
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Makeup (keep in mid warm weather melting), makeup remover wipes
  • Razor, shaving cream
  • Perfume, cologne (don’t leave in direct heat or high temps)
  • Feminine hygiene
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Tweezers
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • Robe
  • Slippers, spa/shower shoes
  • Roadside toilet seat covers
  • Lotion, powder

If you haven’t already, make sure to start with Part 1!

Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 2

Welcome to part two of your list. If you haven’t already, make sure to read Part 1 of our road trips series.  Road trips are amazing! It’s a bit of work to get ready for them, but there’s something about zooming through the wind and watching the landscape fly by the widows that does a lot of good for the soul. Here’s what to pack next:

CLOTHING

  • Stain remover
  • Dirty laundry bag
  • Detergent if washing on the road, hangers to air dry
  • Lint roller
  • Underwear and undershirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Socks
  • Hosiery
  • Pajamas (according to temps)
  • Heavy coat
  • Light jacket
  • Shoes: sandals, snow boots, flats, sneakers, heels, sport, dress shoes, casual shoes
  • Belts, ties, scarves
  • Jewelry, watches
  • T-shirts, tank tops, casual tops, dressy tops, sweatshirts, hoodies
  • Jeans, casual pants, shorts, dress pants, sweatpants, yoga pants
  • Sportswear
  • Special event garments

WEATHER

  • Sunscreen, sun hats, flip flops
  • Gloves, scarves, long underwear, snow boots
  • Umbrella
  • Raincoat, galoshes

BAGS

  • Suitcases
  • Totes
  • Purses
  • Clutch
  • Tiny “essentials-only” purse or wallet – cards, cash, keys, phone

KEEPING THINS CLEAN

  • Paper towels
  • Wet wipes
  • Trash bags
  • Multipurpose spray cleaner or antibacterial wipes

FOOD

  • Bottled water – fewer bottles, more roadside refills
  • Cooler, ice
  • Bottle opener, wine key, can opener
  • Plastic ware (plates, bowls, utensils, cups)
  • Napkins, baggies, plastic containers
  • Dry goods for snacking
  • Easy meals (sandwiches, pre-steamed rice and veggies, pre-cooked scrambled eggs and bacon, store bought to-go kits like tuna and crackers, etc.)
  • Fruit that doesn’t require cold storage

COMFORT

  • Small pillow and blanket for backseat napping
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask