If you're looking for a way to refresh your room and upgrade to a more healing experience, this Blue Spiritual Wisdom home decor collection can help you vibrate higher.
Many kids love to garden. Not only do they enjoy it, but they can be pretty good at it too. My own children do most of the gardening at our house. They prefer it that way. Here's some great tips and resources for gardening with kids.
Invest in a Good Wheelbarrow
Not only will kids enjoy pushing around the wheelbarrow, but generally, the natural soil isn’t good enough to plant in. This means that the kids will need to transport different types of soil. A wheelbarrow is the easiest and most fun way for kids to do this.
Use Colorful Plants
Kids love bright colors. Choose plants with a variety of colors, rather than selecting only one or two colors. This will make the gardening more fun for the kids.
Choose Simple to Grow Plants
Not all plants are easy to grow. Kids get excited to see their gardening results. Choosing plants that are simple to grow will help increase the odds of favorable results.
Choose Native Plants
This goes along with the last point. By selecting plants that are native to your area, this can make the plants easier for kids to grow.
Create a Maintenance Schedule
Creating a schedule of when to feed and water plants can help kids keep track of what needs to be done in the garden. I suggest hanging it near their chore chart if they have one.
Various essential oils are known for a variety of medicinal and aromatherapy properties. Lemon essential oil is no different. In fact, more uses are being discovered all the time. Here are ten of the most common household and medicinal uses for lemon essential oil, accompanied by instructions on how to use the oils for each. Orange oil and other citrus oils have some of the same uses as lemon oil. However, lemon oil seems to be more effective.
Lemon essential oil can be used in conjunction with a steam inhalation treatment for wheezing, colds, cough, and other upper respiratory problems. Note that this should not be used in those with asthma.
To take a steam inhalation treatment with lemon essential oil, fill a large bowl or pan with boiling hot water and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Place the afflicted person's head over the bowl and then place a towel over the head and bowl (in a tent-like fashion), so that no steam escapes.
The person should take a few deep breaths, breathing the vapors in deeply for a couple minutes. If at any time, the treatment causes you to feel uncomfortable, stop right away. Be careful to not get burned by the water from spills or beng too close to the bowl. As with any medical treatment, contact a licensed medical professional before starting any medical treatment.
Lemon is a disinfectant and can be used as a deodorizer, neutralizer, and air sterilizer. Simply add a few drops of the lemon essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water. The same concoction can also be sprayed onto tables, counter tops and other surfaces. Test an inconspicuous area on the surface before use by adding a small amount and waiting 24 hours for the effect (if any). The oil can be good for many surfaces, but it also could damage some.
Lemon essential oil can be used as a mouthwash. Add a couple drops to a 4 oz glass of water and gargle. The disinfectant properties are great for germs in the mouth and for neutralizing bad breath odors, as well.
For a quick, refreshing energy boost, combine a couple drops each of lemon essential oil and peppermint essential oil in a glass of water and drink up.
Put a few drops of lemon essential oil in a spray bottle filled with water and spray onto the skin as an insect repellent. However, do not use this repellent method in the sun. Lemon oil can do damage to the skin if the treated skin is exposed to the sun. Avoid sun exposure for 12 hours after applying lemon essential oil to the skin. This method is best used at night or on cloudy and cool days.
Add a couple drops of lemon essential oil to a glass of water. Drink the full glass. This is said to relieve heartburn symptoms by neutralizing the acid.
Cough, Sore Throat, and Fever
Adding a couple drops of lemon essential oil to your glass of water can help soothe a sore throat, calm a cough, and quell a fever. Lemon oil fights against bacteria, as well as viruses. There aren't many substances around that can do both. Many will do one or the other.
Hair, Skin, and Nails
Lemon oil can be used to fight against oily skin and hair. It also has cleansing properties and is often an ingredient in homemade hair products. One thing to keep in mind with using lemon in the hair is that if you go into the sun, the lemon oil might react in such a way that it lightens your hair up a bit. In my experience, this can make for some good highlights, if applied in the right manner. Lemon oil is also great nourishment for the nails and can help fight against nail fungus.
Lemon essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, specifically for anxiety and depression.
Memory & Thought Clarity
Lemon essential oil, when used in combination with rosemary may help increase memory, increase concentration, and provide more clarity of thought. To create this helpful blend, use 3 drops of rosemary, 3 drops of lemon oil, and diffuse it.
* The author is not a medical professional. Before using any treatments, natural or not, a licensed medical professional should be consulted.
When the fall season hits, it is time to start preparing your home for the winter and checking for simple repairs that you can do yourself. Doing this will help maintain your home for the coming months, making it a more comfortable and safe environment for you and your family. Here are 10 easy DIY repairs you should do on your home in the fall.
Leaking Kitchen Sinks
If the pipes under your sink are leaking, simply purchase a new PVC p trap and a roll of teflon tape. Removing the old one is as simple as unscrewing the fastened areas and just pulling it off. When installing the new one, place teflon tape at all the joints and screw together the joints. To get the tightest fit, use a plumbing wrench to finish off the screwing. Test your job by running the water for a few minutes. If any water leaks out, either you did not use enough teflon tape or you did not screw the parts together tight enough.
If your sink is leaking around the faucet area, rather than the pipes, you can solve this by replacing the faucet. Simply purchase a new faucet. The instructions for installing your faucet will come in the package. Each can be slightly different. You may also need caulking materials or teflon tape. Check the instructions that come with your faucet.
Much like in the kitchen, leaks need to also be addressed in the bathroom. Repairing a leak in a bathroom sin is fairly similar to replacing one in a kitchen. Toilets can also leak. Usually it is due to the ball valve kit located under the back cover. These are about 10 bucks each at a home improvement store. All you need is the kit. It is easy to install and comes with instructions.
To clean the dishwasher, first start by pulling out all the racks and attachments. Now check all the drains and soap containers for debris. Pull any of that out. Sometimes little pieces of food or glass can get stuck in those, so watch for the glass. Once that is done, check all the rubber sealing and be sure it is all secured properly. If not, adhesive rubber strips can be purchased at home improvement stores. Application is as simple as sticking the strips in the proper spot. The adhesive on these can be strong, so be sure you have it in the proper place before pressing it to the surface.
Part of maintenance also includes cleaning. For this, you'll need vinegar, concentrated lemon juice, baking soda, and a sponge or dishcloth. Sprinkle baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher. Fill a spray bottle halfway with vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and the rest with water. Spray down the inside of the dishwasher, including the bottom, where the baking soda is. The baking soda will bubble. This is fine. That pulls up dirt and grease. Now starting at the bottom, scrub the entire inside of the dishwasher, including the door. Do not rinse away the solution. Replace the racks and fill all soap and other liquid dispensers with the lemon juice and vinegar mixture. Close them and run a normal cycle with a hot rinse and heated drying cycle.
Check the weather stripping on the interior, as well as the exterior of your home. Replace any worn or peeling areas. Damaged or improperly placed weather stripping can cause cool air to come inside the home, as well as let heat escape. Weather stripping can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores. There is stripping with adhesive or that which has to be nailed down. Apply according to which type you choose. Be sure the stripping is applied securely to the surface so that it does its job effectively.
Check interior and exterior doors and windows for cracks. Use caulking to seal any detected problem areas. To caulk a crack around a door or window, simply squeeze a line of caulking along the exposed area and swipe it with a caulking sponge to press the sealant in further, as well as to create a smooth finish. Don't forget to also purchase a caulking gun when you buy the caulk. Without one, the caulking is not as easy to apply. A caulking gun can be as low as a few dollars.
Exterior Basement Drains
Some homes can have exterior drains leading to the basement. Be sure to clear away any brush, leaves, dirt, or other debris from the drain openings. Vinegar is a great natural substance that cuts through tough-to-remove dirt and other substances. Simply spray it on from a water bottle, let it sit for a moments, clear away the debris, and wipe the surface clean with a cloth. As for the inside of the drain, run a plumbing snake or auger through the drain. If it is a short drain, a wire coat hanger can sometimes be substituted for the snake or auger if you don't have access to either. Just pull the coat hanger in and out of the drain.
Shut Off Outside Water
The fall season is a great time to shut off the access to any outside water. Doing so can prevent the freezing of the outdoor pipes around hoses and other outdoor water valves. Also, when you do this, unfasten any hoses or other devices attached to outside water valves. These should be stored away until spring.
Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors
This is a good step for more than just the fall season, but be sure you check to see that all of your detection devices are working properly. Most some detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have a test button. Press that button on each to see if they work properly. With increased usage of space heaters, fireplaces, and other heating devices during the fall season, it is important that your family will have working alert devices, should a fire or natural gas problem occur.
During the fall, leaves, pine-cones, and other falling debris can get clogged in your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to poor drainage. To clean out your gutters, simply scoop out the debris that has collected. A garden trowel works well for this. Once that is done, spray the gutters out with a garden hose or pressure washer. If you are using a garden hose, attaching a high pressure spray nozzle will make this easier. If any of the tubular gutters are clogged, use a plumbing snake or auger to unclog them.
Thermostat & Heaters
It is important to be sure your thermostat and heaters are working before he weather starts to get cooler. First, test them by simply turning them on and being sure that the heat is coming out at the right temperature. If there is no heat coming from portable heaters, they should be replaced. If there is no heat coming from the furnace, you will need to test the thermostat.
To do this, first turn off your furnace. Then, return to your thermostat box and remove the cover. Remove the wires from the panel by unscrewing them from it. Take the red and white wire and wrap them together. Tape the wires you won't use to something, such as the wall, while you are working. You don't want to lose them inside the wall. Turn the the furnace back on. If the furnace blows and its burner ignites, then your thermostat is bad. If this doesn't happen, you may actually have a problem with the wires, not the thermostat. Check to make sure the wires run all the way to the furnace.
*Also found on Better Plumbing © Lyn Lomasi; Write W.A.V.E. Media
Beneficial Garden Fungi: Using Natural Fertilizers, Weed Killers & More Made from Fungus
When you hear the word "fungi", you may automatically think of something negative. There are many harmful types of fungi, so assumptions are often made that fungi is always going to be a bad thing. Fortunately, that isn't always the case, especially when it comes to gardening. Here are some ways to use fungi that are actually beneficial for your garden.
Mycorrhizal Fungi, also known as mycorrizhae, is extremely beneficial to the plants in your garden. In an undisturbed growing environment, such as a deep forest, mycorrhizae is naturally present. However, in residential areas or areas in which the land has been disturbed by human life, it is not as prevalent. Mycorrhizae help the plants thrive by providing an environment in which the plants can access the nutrients from the soil.
Micorrhizae are actually natural soil fertilizers. Using natural fertilizers can provide your garden with the mychorrizal fungi that is needed. Some minerals and nutrients can only be accessed this way. Root Shield is one type of natural beneficial fungus fertilizer. To use it, just mix it with the recommended amount of water according to the size of your garden and sprinkle the entire garden with a watering can.
Some ant species use certain fungi to their benefit to gain access to important nutrients they otherwise would not be able to get. They create little miniature "gardens" of this fungi. The fungi then soaks up this nutrient and the ants feed on the fungi. It is a good idea to keep ants in your garden, rather than get rid of them with harmful chemical pesticides.
Not only are the chemical pesticides bad for you, as well as your garden and the Earth, but many ants are good for your garden. They protect plants and even kill off the insects that do harm to plants. The ants actually do all of this themselves naturally, so there isn't necessarily anything for you to do but make sure you aren't killing off the ants and be sure you have the type of ants that do this. Different ant species can be ordered live through ant farms.
Speaking of pesticides, some pesticides can be beneficial to your garden, such as natural pesticides. Some natural pesticides are made from beneficial fungi. These are generally sold as a mixture to be added to your regular fertilizer treatment, unless your fertilizer already contains mychorrizhal compounds. Follow the directions of your specific beneficial fungi pesticide when applying it to your garden.
Another use for beneficial fungi in your garden is as a natural weed killer. Beneficial fungi can kill off harmful weeds so that the plants that should be thriving will have the space they need to grow. Weeds can also suck away all the nutrients, leaving the other plants starving.
The beneficial fungi contained in natural microbial fertilizers containing mychorrizhal compounds, such as mentioned above, also serve as an agent against harmful weeds. Beneficial fungi can be used to kill off harmful fungi in your garden as well. The application of the fertilizer, such as RootShield, containing mychorrizhal compounds should be helpful in keeping harmful fungi away.
Did You Know You Can Teach Your Kids While Preparing to Move?
Moving with kids can be a real chore, both physically and mentally. But did you know you can also use it to teach them lessons? Many aspects of moving are educational, as I've learned by moving with my kids several times over the years. Just sorting and packing offers many learning opportunities.
Packing to move teaches organizational skills. What better way for kids to learn organization than by actually doing it? Kids will learn how to organize in several different ways with packing. They can learn to reduce clutter by getting rid of unnecessary items. They'll also learn how to put away items both neatly and gently, depending on what's in the box, how breakable it is, what room it goes in, and more.
Teach kids to give by donating unwanted and unneeded items. There will likely be many items you do not wish to move into your new home. But don't just throw it all away. There are many people who can use even the simplest of items. Have the kids help in sorting and donating these items to the less fortunate. This teaches them compassion, as well as green living skills. Reducing and reusing is always better for the environment than needless waste.
Capacity lessons come from packing, weighing, and measuring. Have the kids weigh, measure, and pack items to learn about capacity. How much weight can fit into each box. If certain items weigh a particular amount, how many of them will fit in the box, based on both weight and size. These are all great hands-on lessons to accent what the kids know or will learn in future math lessons.
Sorting and packing items helps teach value to kids. By determining which items to pack, which to give away, and which are non-salvageable, kids learn value in more than one way. They learn what things mean the most to themselves and to others. They also learn that when you mistreat things, no one can use them.
Fun memories can arise and be created through sorting and packing. The action of packing and sorting may trigger memories related to the items or to past moves. It creates great conversation fodder and it can also be nice to reflect on those things together. Kids also are likely to enjoy the action of sorting and packing and dream of what it will be like in the new place. This in itself creates some great memories. Plus, it's just fun! What kid doesn't like playing with boxes?
by April Paul, Brand Shamans & Write W.A.V.E. Media
Summertime is the time of year when everyone wants to go swimming. Not everyone has access to a beach and not everyone who does have beach access feels like going to the beach for whatever reason. Maybe it's too crowded, there's no beach, or you don't want everyone seeing you in your swimwear. No matter your reasons, here's a fun solution. Create a beach in your own backyard.
Creating Your Backyard Beach
Step1: Forming Your Backyard Beach Shore
To make your beach shore, you will need to fill your sandbox or boxed-off area with beach sand. Beach sand can be bought at retail stores that sell gardening supplies. It is also sold at many home improvement warehouses, such as Home Depot.
If your city has neither of these, you may want to ask someone at a local hardware or garden store. It can also be purchased from gravel and rock manufacturers as well as from playground manufacturers. Beach sand is readily accessible.
Keep in mind that in order to create the full effect, you are going to need a large amount. You will want to fill a space that when full, the whole family can spread out onto comfortably. When filling your area, make sure to get the beach sand as high up as possible.
You want your surface to rise at least 2 feet from the ground. If you cannot find something that is this high, you can purchase a second baby pool that is 2 feet high and fill it with the sand. Save enough beach sand to line the entire bottom of the water pool 2 inches high. Line the pool bottom with sand before filling it with water.
Step 2: Creating Your Backyard Ocean
The pool will serve as your ocean. It should be placed directly in front of your shore. It is helpful to get a square or rectangle-shaped pool, but not necessary. The square or rectangle-shaped pool will align better with the shore and create the best mock beach. The sides of your pool should be 2 feet high to match the height of the shore.
Most standard baby and family pools are 2 feet high. After aligning your "ocean" as best as possible to the "shore", you will need to fill the bottom 2 inches full of sand. Pack it tight. You may need to add a small amount of water to make it firm. Once that is done, fill the pool with water to the desired fill line. If any sand is clouding the water, let it settle before swimming.
Step 3: Setting Up For the Day At Your Backyard Beach
A day at the beach usually consists of playing in the sand, sun bathing, swimming, and eating packaged lunches. For the full effect, pack your cooler with everything you'll need and put it in the sand. Lay out all your beach toys in the sand. Do not forget anything in the house.
Do not use the house for anything but a restroom. Lay out your towels on the sand as you would at the beach. Spend the day playing in the sand, lounging in the sand, swimming, and doing what you would normally do at the beach.
Maintaining Your Backyard Beach
If you enjoyed using your backyard beach, you will want to utilize it more often. If you bought a pool and sandbox with a cover, this will be easy. If not, there is still hope.
The first step in maintenance is to get a toy sand sifter or kitchen strainer and sift out all the grass and other large residue. Once this is done, put a small amount of chlorine in your pool to disinfect the germs. If your family cannot tolerate chlorine, vinegar is an alternative. It will likely take an entire gallon of vinegar. Pour it in the pool and let it sit for at least a few hours before swimming in it again.
Repeat this after each day of swimming. Cover the pool and sandbox after cleaning and adding the disinfectants mentioned above. If you don't have covers, tarps also work well because you can cover the areas. Then with sticks or stakes, you can secure the corners to the ground. This will keep out leaves and other debris.
The water will likely need to be refilled at times because as people play in it, some will naturally get lost. Evaporation also takes some water. Remember that whenever you have to refill your water, you will also need to add more vinegar or chlorine. Always check the labels on the chlorine for proper amounts. For the vinegar, if you can smell it very strongly, you have used too much.
The sandbox in your backyard beach may need to be sifted through for debris to keep it clean. Always keep it covered when it is not in use. This will keep neighborhood animals, as well as your own, from using it as a restroom or digging it up.
*Note that this content is for informational purposes only. Please check with your health provider and use your own discretion when it comes to health, safety, and sanitary practices.
Oh no! It will soon be time for summer fun in the yard. Excited to begin but your lawn isn't? Whether you have missing patches of grass to fill or need to seed an entire lawn, this easy step-by-step guide will help you learn how to plant grass seed.
Before planting grass seed, keep in mind the best temperatures and seasons for planting. A temperature of above 70F is optimal. Anything below (especially freezing temperatures), will create a longer wait time for the seedlings to start sprouting. Late spring and early summer are the best planting seasons for starting new grass seed.
The first step in planting grass seed is to loosen the soil. For smaller areas, a regular garden hoe will do the trick. For larger areas, you may want to use a till. Your goal is to bring up the second layer of soil to the surface.
Prepping the soil comes in a few steps. First rake the soil to clear it of any leaves or other unwanted items. Next, mix some topsoil in with the original soil from the ground. Spread that mixed soil over the area where the grass seed will be planted.
The next step is to fertilize the soil. This can be done with the use of a handheld spreader for small areas. For larger areas, use a traditional spreader. Spreaders can be purchased at a fairly decent price at home improvement stores and warehouses, such as Home Depot.
Now that the soil is ready, it is time to spread the seeds throughout the planting area. For smaller areas, this can be done by hand. Just as with the fertilizer, a spreader can be used if necessary.
Now that the seeds have been spread, it is time to water them. Be sure that the seeds get plenty of water. Soil should be moist and the water should run deep into the soil. Watering daily will help the seeds germinate properly. It may take up to three weeks for the planted seeds to grow into grass. Once it has grown to almost 3 inches, it is safe to mow, but never mow off more than 1/3 of the original height.
"I can't find my shoe!" "I want my red skirt!" Organizing a kid's bedroom with him in mind helps prevent these and similar scenarios. Offer space-saving solutions that are also convenient to your child for the best results. Being a mom to many has taught me many things about storage and organization. Here are some of my top must-have items for organizing a kids bedroom.
Canvas bins offer many solutions. These come in many sizes and can be used all over the room. Slide a flat canvas bin under the bed for storing shoes and extra blankets. Choose canvas bins of all sizes to organize toys and other items on a shelf. Have a certain bin designated to library books or toys that travel in the car or to Grandma's house. The possibilities are endless when it comes to canvas bins and kids.
Hanging rod organizers help kids keep track of items. Need an easy way to be sure your kids always know where there shoes and matching outfits are? Try closet organizers that hang from the clothing rod. Some have compartments and some keep clothing condensed. You can find shoe racks, sweater racks, and even special hangers that help kids keep their items neat and easily accessible.
Hanging storage solutions create more floor space. Need a way to get all those stuffed animals or other collections off the floor? Try hanging the stuffed animals in a fun design or finding a ceiling storage rack for them. These are generally very cost-effective and can be found in varied shapes, sizes, and materials. It also keeps the items in the child's room, while keeping them out of the way at the same time.
Wall storage helps organize smaller items. Too many items strewn across the dressers and shelves? Try wall organizers. These could be made of wood, canvas, or metal, depending on your child's décor and their intended purpose. You can even make your own if you're feeling inventive. Use up all that wall space, instead of letting it go to waste. You'd be surprised at how much more space your child will have.
Drawer dividers help kids keep clothing neat. Tired of going to grab something from your child's drawer and seeing everything disorganized. Try drawer dividers. By sticking these in between certain items, it helps your child see that everything has its place. This must-have bedroom organizational item is especially handy for younger kids.
By Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
"Swish!" Was that Kobe? Not this time. That's the sound of your son or daughter making a shot from the bed. You've got the over-the-door setup covered. But she wants more items to show off her favorite sport. You can create a fun basketball themed bedroom for your child without going too commercial or spending too much cash. Go homemade with this simple DIY basketball bedroom décor for kids.
Easy No-Sew Basketball Throw Pillows
To make some simple basketball throw pillows, you'll need orange fleece, black piping, fabric glue, and filler material. How much material you need will depend on how big or small you want the pillows and how many you will be making. Basically, look at the fabric and imagine cutting out two circles per pillow that are slightly wider than your desired size.
Take those two circles and glue them together just around the edges outside in. Leave a small opening to put the filler into. Once the glue is dry, turn the material inside out. Fill it with the material to the desire fullness. Now fold the open edges down and glue them together to line up with the already-glued edges. Once that's dry, take your piping and cut in appropriate lengths to glue basketball stripes on the outside of the pillow. Let those dry and you're done.
Hanging Basketball Lanterns
For these, simply purchase the desired number of round paper lanterns in orange. You'll also need some heat-safe black paint. Hobby paint used for model cars works great for this type of project because it can be purchased in very small amounts or large containers. This way you only need to buy what you need. Take a paintbrush and paint the stripes onto the lanterns to make them look like a basketball.
To create a basketball scoreboard, you'll need a chalkboard in the desired size, some chalk, white acrylic paint, and a paintbrush. Paint the scoreboard template onto the chalkboard and let it dry. Now whenever the kids shoot hoops on the over-the-door net or with paper balls into the trash can, they can use the chalk to keep score.
Basketball Wall Décor
For wall décor, collect any odds and ends related to basketball and frame them. This could be tickets, hats, jerseys, deflated basketballs, and more. Frame each item separately and hang them all around the room. Make it like your child's personal hall of fame if he or she plays the sport. If not, just make it about the game, in general.
Basketball Bed Post Décor
Want to create a basketball bed for your child that doesn't cost you a fortune? You can use your child's bed posts and four basketballs to create this look. In addition to four basketballs, you'll need an air pump and some household glue, such as Goop or E-6000. Deflate each ball about ¼ of the way. Place them over the bed posts. If they don't fit quite right, inflate or deflate until the size is right. Now take some of the household glue and secure the basketballs to the post. Be sure to leave the side with the air hole accessible in case air needs to be replaced at a later date. Allow the balls to dry on the posts 24 hours before disturbing them.
"But mom, I need a couch, a desk, a bed, and a dresser all to fit into my room. Oh, and I also need a card table and a vanity." If this statement worries you, think about choosing versatile furniture for a kid's bedroom.
Choose flexible colors and patterns. Ever seen a child's room where the colors and patterns just don't mesh? Many times this is due to lack of planning. The parents may have picked out one pattern when the child was younger and blended several over the years. Choosing solid colors and neutral patterns can help prevent this. Does your child like a particular character or item? Choose furniture of those colors and keep the character or object pattern to the bedding and draperies. Those are easier and less expensive to switch out as your child grows. Solid colors make furniture more versatile, as it can be used for years to come as the child's tastes grow with him.
Use transitional furniture. Another way to keep kids furniture versatile is by choosing pieces that can transform into stages as your child grows. For instance, choosing a convertible crib that changes from a crib, to a toddler bed, then a twin sized bed is a wiser purchase than a simple crib. Choose furniture that easily changes when your child's needs do.
Choose multipurpose items. Rather than choosing items that have only one function, save space by choosing things that are good for more than one purpose. For instance, you might choose a bench that also doubles as a storage space. Another option is a futon or other seating area that also doubles as a bed. This helps save space in your child's room. But at the same time, it gives them all the items they would like to have.
Choose items with multiple age levels. Rather than buying small items that will not grow with your child, choose those that are appropriate for all ages. For instance, one table and chair set may accommodate only preschoolers. Yet another may work for preschool age on up to teens. The second option is more versatile. It will last longer and also will come in handy when friends of relatives of varying ages come over for a play date.
What are the benefits of choosing versatile furniture for a kids bedroom? Items that work for many uses and a variety of age levels are beneficial in many ways. These items, though sometimes pricey, can actually be a savings in the long run. This is because they will help prevent the purchase of other items in the future. These items often grow with the child, which means they don't have to give up their favorite items. Another great benefit to versatile items is that if your child decides he does not like a piece as he grows, it can be re-purposed for another family member or friend.
Cost-Effective Curb Appeal: Landscaping to Raise the Resale Value of Your Home
Looking to sell your home and maximize your profits? First, you need to raise the resale value, especially with cost-effective curb appeal. There are many ways to do so. Landscaping is said to have a 100 to 200 percent value of recovery at a sale. Other popular methods to raise resale value, such as kitchen and bath remodels, have smaller recovery rates. Some might argue that beautiful landscaping is costly, especially when going for curb appeal. Fortunately, there are cost-effective ways to get that desired curb appeal.
Patching up the Lawn
Maintaining a nice lawn for curb appeal is often thought to be expensive, but there are ways around that. For instance, when you've got dry patches, instead of spending a ton of time and money on products to re-grow that patch, consider purchasing a square of grass from your local garden center or home improvement warehouse. This way, the grass already looks nice and all you have to do at that point is insert it into your lawn and maintain it like the other areas. Grass squares are generally inexpensive. A nice, green lawn is great curb appeal.
Colorful flowers that go with the season add curb appeal by brightening up or drawing attention to the outside of a house. These flowers can be displayed in pots, a flower bed or a combination of both. Annuals often are very cost-effective, averaging under a couple dollars for six or more. These can be found at local garden centers, home improvement warehouses and big name retailers.
Falling in line with the cost-effective flower idea, window boxes add great curb appeal. They are fairly inexpensive to make or buy, and planting colorful annuals inside them can be beautiful. This makes for a very simple and cost-effective curb appeal project.
Potted plants are a great way to add cost-effective curb appeal to your landscaping or walkway. When dispersed around the landscaping and other areas, potted plants can make the outside of a home very appealing and inviting. Plain clay pots are generally the most cost-effective. To spruce them up, they can be painted with inexpensive outdoor spray paint or ceramic paint. Designs or plain colors can both work well, depending on your desired look.
A few strategically placed pedestals can also add cost-effective curb appeal to the landscaping of your home. These can be placed in the lawn, along the walkway or even at the front door. To add even more curb appeal, place a potted plant atop each pedestal.
Adding Curb Appeal is Fairly Simple
Adding curb appeal to your home doesn't have to be hard. It can actually be quite fun. Whether you're dressing it up for a showing, just want your home to look the way it makes you feel, or just want to show off to your friends and neighbors, there are many things you can do to add curb appeal to your front steps and landing.
Why Should I Worry About Curb Appeal?
Curb appeal is important to a home for a variety of reasons. Your home should feel inviting to you. It should also be something you are proud of and should show your personality. Adding curb appeal could help you feel that before you even step foot in your door.
If you are selling your home, curb appeal can help make sale. If a home is not attractive on the outside, buyers instantly get a bad impression before stepping foot in the door and may expect (and look for) the worst. Another reason for curb appeal is that you don't want your home to stand out as the eyesore of the neighborhood.
Using Potted Trees Appropriately
One simple way to add some curb appeal to your front steps and landing areas is to use potted trees. Potted trees can make attractive scenery and there are many styles to choose from. Try to choose trees that will do well in your climate, as well as accent the area. For instance, you don't want to put a tall palm tree in the middle of a small walkway in the dead of winter.
Walkway Gardens For More Style
Gardens can be created just about anywhere. A walkway garden is another way to create curb appeal. This can be done right into the ground. However, if there is already cement or stone in place that you'd rather not dig up, you may want to take another approach by using potted plants and other scenery along the border of the walkway.
A raised bed garden also works great as a walkway garden. The container for one of these can be created with wood, stone, brick, or other materials. You can purchase these and other necessary materials, as well as the plants at the local home improvement center. Flowers and shrubbery both work well for raised bed gardens that will be along a walkway.
The garden can be centered or created along the sides of the walkway, leading up to the landing. Placement should depend upon your individual taste, as well as your exterior layout and available space.
Accenting Your Landing
Decorative planters are another great way to accent your stairs and landing. They come in many sizes and a variety of plant choices can be used to match your scenery and effectively draw positive attention to your home. Garden centers and home improvement warehouses generally have a big selection of planters, as well as plants and flowers.
Choosing containers with nontraditional shapes and placing them along the stairs is one way to add curb appeal with decorative planters. Another way could be to plant some flowers in a fountain or other non-traditional item that can be used as a planter.
Decorative pedestals can also create curb appeal. Placing them at the landing of the stairs can create an elegant look, depending upon the layout of your home. Try painting the pedestals with textured or marbleized paints. Go for colors that blend in with the look of your home, as well as the outdoor scenery.
Making a Splash With Water Features
Another great way to add curb appeal is by using water features. Above, there was an example of using a fountain as a planter. That's one idea. Another could be to create a tropical or forest scene inside a water feature.
Water is calming and soothing and can make you and your guests feel welcome before even setting foot inside. Set up this water feature on your landing, being sure to still leave room for accessing the stairs and the home. If your landing is small, water features can be created on walls as well.
There are many ways to add curb appeal. It's all about adding accents to your existing features. Everyone has their own individual taste and style. No matter which options you choose, be sure it not only makes your home look attractive, but makes you feel at home as well. At the end of the day, it is still your home and the main curb appeal should be catered to your own preferences.
How to Make Your Own Coupon Organizer
If you're a frugal shopper (or cheap) like me, then you need an equally frugal (or cheap) place to store your coupons. Follow along to learn how to make your own coupon organizer. Minimal sewing skills are required, but this simple project can even be done by sewing novices.
Materials for Making Your Own Coupon Organizer
Zippered pencil pouches can easily be purchased for less than a dollar each if you go at the right time. You'll need about five zippered pouches. They should be around 4" x 9" and should not be the ones that include holes for three-ring binders. Dollar stores and back to school sales are a great place to find these.
You'll also need a large hand sewing needle and embroidery floss in a color that matches your pouches. Since you'll be sewing, be sure you also have some scissors on hand.
How to Make Your Own Coupon Organizer Easily
Now that you've gathered all the materials for your simple coupon organizer, it's time to get started. Line up the pencil pouches evenly, making sure that the zippers are all facing the same way. Thread the needle with the embroidery floss.
A quick tip to remember when threading the needles is to bring the thread to the needle, not the other way around. Now sew around the edges and bottoms. This should connect all of the zippered pouches together. The zippered sections, as well as the sections in between the zippers, can be used for organizing coupons.
Adding Extra Features to the Simple Coupon Organizer
If you want to label your homemade coupon organizer, it should be quite simple to stick adhesive labels to the upper inside of each section. Label the coupons in a way that you will be able to understand and get to fairly easily. Some suggested categories include dairy, cereal and breakfast foods, canned goods, breads, meats, cooking/baking, and snacks.
For convenience, you may also want to make it so that your coupon organizer attaches to the handle of a grocery cart. To do this, purchase an extra zippered pouch. Cut the sides of that pouch. While sewing the pouches together, attach the cut pouch to the back side, leaving the cut half sticking up at the top.
Attach a strip of velcro to the top edge of that piece. Determine where the other part of the velcro would need to go on the back to circle that flap around a shopping cart handle. Then, attach it to that area. That's it. Now you have an ultra-convenient and ultra simple coupon organizer.
Decorating a Child's Room to Grow
Creating a room to grow for your child has many benefits. Not only is it generally an economical approach, but it also can be fun, as well as simple. You don't have to be an expert to get the job done, just willing to dedicate a little bit of time and effort to the project.
One scenario is hypothetical child Trina, who is turning 10 in a week, but her room makes her feel like a toddler. That's because that was the last time she had a theme change for her room. There is heavy wallpaper that she no longer likes, babyish furniture, and pink, pink, pink everywhere.
The furniture, the walls, the carpets - everything's pink! She used to like pink, but not so much anymore. Had her mom designed her a room to grow, the task ahead of them would not be so difficult.
Follow the tips below to help prevent something similar from happening with your child.
Choosing Colors and Theme
The first step to designing a child's room to grow is deciding what colors and theme to use. Choosing solid colors that go with the theme you have in mind can make for an easier transition as a child gets older. By choosing neutral solid colors, themes can be switched around more easily.
For instance, if your child wants a dinosaur theme, you can use primary colors. If that same child later wants a sports theme, the primary colors can still be used. Only the decorations, and possibly the bedding, will need to be switched.
If your child wants something wild, like stripes, on the walls, try using fabric or removable wall stickers to create that look rather than painting. This way, if your child changes his or her mind later, it will not be difficult to remove the look and add another.
There are so many different bed options, it's often hard to choose. Did you know that there are even beds that start out as cribs, convert to toddler beds, all the way up to a queen or king size? These convertible crib beds offer plenty of room to grow. Most come with everything you need, except the mattresses.
Some of these transitional beds can hit the wallet hard, but if you add up the costs of purchasing each bed separately, a transitional bed is usually a money saver. There are many options for these types of beds, and they are not all outrageously priced. Be sure to shop around. If you cannot afford the option that gives you every bed size, try opting for a crib that converts at least to a daybed or toddler bed. Some of these options are comparable in price to many cribs.
Convertible Changing Area
Using a traditional student desk as a changing table can save you some money and make for an easy way to ensure this piece of furniture has room to grow. At the diapering stage, purchase a traditional student desk with a drawer.
Also purchase a thick, strap-on changing table pad. Safely secure it to the desk. There are also inexpensive diapering supply racks that can be attached to the sides of a changing table. Many also will attach to a desk. One of those will hold all the items you'll need, and what won't fit there can go into the desk drawer.
When your child gets too big for a changing area, simply detach the diapering rack and changing pad and purchase a chair. Your toddler or preschooler now has a desk area that will last as he or she grows. As your child gets older, you may also wish to add a hutch atop the desk for extra storage or a new look.
Another idea is to purchase a changing table dresser. With these, the changing area comes off later when you no longer need it. You can use this type of dresser from babyhood throughout childhood, as the styles and colors are generally neutral.
A lamp is a useful item for the dresser top that can grow with a child. If the base is a solid color and decorations are added to the lampshade, the lampshade can be traded out as the child grows and changes styles and patterns in the room. Lampshades are fairly inexpensive, as are many things that can be used to decorate them, such as ribbon, plastic cars and sequins.
As for the dresser itself, choosing a roomy and unfinished design can help to ensure that a child will not outgrow it. To add style, instead of painting the dresser, try accenting it with decorative knobs or handles. These are easily replaceable and many are a very reasonable price at home improvement stores.
As with the dresser, keep it simple with other furniture. Try decorating the accents instead of the item and dressing it up with items that can easily be added or taken away as desired. Using decorative fabrics is a great way to dress up bed posts, dresser tops, desktops, the back of a comfy chair, and just about any piece of furniture.
Window Treatments and Bedding
This is an area where many people have trouble deciding what to use. If you go for flashy designs that match your child's theme, it will certainly look good, but it may not allow much room to grow. Instead, go for a more simple approach. Feel free to blend colors, but be sure each piece is one solid color.
For instance, in a dinosaur-themed room with primary colors, one pillowcase could be blue, while another may be red. Another example is having one white drapery panel, one silver panel and one gold panel in a room with an angel theme.
Mixing two or three colors is a great way to accent the theme while still leaving room to grow. Later, the colors can be switched around, taken away, or added to, creating a simple option for creating room to grow.
Pumpkins, scarecrows, black cats, and cornucopias...what do all those symbolize? Fall. But, not early fall. All of those are for later on in the season. Fresh fall flowers are a great item to decorate an early fall party table with, as they're so versatile. Here are several ideas.
Which Fall Flowers Should I Choose?
Some favorite fall flowers include marigolds, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, and fall roses. Annuals can also make great fall flowers, if they are the right colors. Fall colors are generally shades of red, gold, brown, green, and yellow.
Decorating Containers For Fresh Fall Flowers
One way to decorate with fall flowers is to add a vase of freshly cut fall flowers to the table in a fall-themed container. If you opt for a more plain container, but want to dress it up, try gluing a strip of fall-colored ribbon around the rim and base. To finish it off, place some grapes around the base of the container.
Using Fall Flower Heads For Decor
Another way to use fall flowers as early fall party decorations is to use just the heads of the flowers. One way to do this is to place a container of water on the table and allow the fall flower heads to float atop the water. For more accent, add floating candles and maybe some pine-cones or acorns as well. Fall flower heads can also be sprinkled around the table.
Creating Fall Flower Wreaths
Fall flowers, pine-cones, and acorns can be used together to create fresh fall table wreaths. Simply intertwine the flower stems with one another to create the rings. Then, add the pine cones and acorns using ribbon. The ribbon will also be a part of the wreath table decorations. To use these wreaths, place decorative containers or candles in the center of them. Small table wreaths can also be made to encircle the glasses of the guests.
Fall Flower Garlands For The Table
Another fall table decoration could be a garland. The goal is to create a long string of flowers, pine-cones, and acorns. The strand should be long enough that when made into a circle (or applicable table shape), it fits exactly around your table. This is done in the same manner as the wreaths above.
Creating fall party table decorations from fresh flowers can be a fun activity and as you can see from above, it is fairly simple, with easy to obtain supplies.
A fall garden party can be a great way to welcome and celebrate the fall season. The fall garden party activities below are a great way to keep your guests talking and leave them something to remember long after the party has ended.
What's a fall garden party without planting seeds? Ask your guests to bring fall seeds to exchange with others. They can either buy seeds from the store, bring seeds they have but won't use, or cultivate some seeds from their own gardens to share. If there are loose fall seeds, place those in zippered sandwich bags to make it easier to distribute them.
Once everyone has contributed their share, sort them in a way that makes it easy for everyone to choose which ones they'd like. Have a designated area to organize all the seedlings and also figure out how many packages each person will be able to have.You may wish to supply something fun for each person to collect their seeds with, such as a watering can or small pot or planter.
DIY Container Planting
Another fun garden party activity is DIY container planting. Your fellow gardening pals will enjoy this activity. It can be fun to garden together with friends. Tips can be shared and since guests at a fall garden party will likely be gardeners, most should be enjoying themselves. Supply gloves, a container, fall seedlings, soil, and a garden spade.
You may also want to have guests use some of the seeds acquired during the seed swap. Allow guests to bring home whatever they have planted in their planters. This not only gives the guests something fun to do at the outdoor party, but it also gives them something they can use. Plus, each time they look at their fall plants, they can remember the great time spent with their friends.
Buckets for the Homeless
If you'd rather gear your fall party toward being charitable to others, instead of the DIY container planting, guests can create buckets for the homeless. Buckets for the homeless are actual container gardens using buckets. For these, you'll need a large bucket for each one to be made, soil, and vegetable seeds or sprouts. Buckets make great container gardens for the hungry or homeless because they can be easily carried around.
They provide a continuous source of nutrition that they can bring anywhere without worrying about refrigeration. Be sure to plant a variety of vegetables. Usually for these, the tomato is planted in the middle, with other vegetables surrounding it. Place a cracked egg underneath the tomato plant for extra fertilizer. Also, be sure that holes are poked in the bottom and sides of the buckets for irrigation.
Table Settings for Fall Entertaining
When entertaining guests for a fall party, paying attention to the table decor and settings can be a great way to show your guests you care. Table settings for fall entertaining should be appropriate to the season, as well as interesting and unique. The ideas below could help you set the mood to entertain your guests in a fun and festive new way.
Part of a nice fall table setting includes having interesting napkin rings. Instead of plain napkin rings, try re-purposing other items that are the right size to create unique napkin rings. Who says napkin rings have to actually be rings? Try other shapes. For instance, heart-shaped mini grapevine wreaths work very well.
For even more effect, tie on some raffia or attach some silk floral stems. Speaking of floral stems, they can make great napkin rings by themselves. Take a silk flower bud and insert a 3-inch piece of covered floral wire inside with some craft glue. Once that dries, create a circle by twisting the dangling wire to the top part that is right outside the flower bud.
Fall placemats for table settings can be made from fabric or other materials. To accent fabric placemats, attach a fall silk flower bud to each of the corners or all the way around the edge. Sunflowers, marigolds, and daisies are common fall flowers. Bamboo placemats are also great to go along with other fall table settings.
Fall dinnerware can be in traditional fall colors, such as yellow, red, and orange. Other colors to consider are gold and purple. These two colors go well with the other fall colors, but if you are going for a more elegant fall look, these will help. Layering different-sized plates is one way to add layers of color.
To draw attention to the items low down on the table, make the largest plate on the bottom the one with the most design or color. To draw attention to taller items, save the patterned or colorful design for the bowl that is placed atop the layer of plates.
Candle holders can be made from many different things and can be a simple way to brighten up a fall table for entertaining. One simple way to create a fall candle ring is to gather some sticks from outdoors and a piece of twine. Cut or break the sticks into pieces about 3 inches long. Place them around each candle in a circle. Tie the twine around the center of the sticks to secure them. The same thing can be achieved with bamboo sticks, raffia, and even fresh flowers.
Goblets make great drinkware for fall table settings. Golden colors enhance the effect. To accent them further, put decorations around the bottom, just as with the candles above. Interesting drinkware can be a great conversation piece when entertaining guests. Sometimes drinkware can be found in interesting fall colors and shapes or have designs on them, such as 3d grape shapes.
When you want to relax, retreat, or rest, where's the first place you go? Most likely your answer will be the bedroom. Shouldn't your spot to relax make you feel comfortable? Shouldn't it feel like a calm, soothing, and cozy place? Turning your bedroom into a sanctuary is simple and fun.
Choosing the Theme for Your Sanctuary
Your bedroom's sanctuary theme should be something that makes you want to relax. For me, it's a warm and soothing beach. A quiet walk in the park, a serene forest, or midnight breeze are all examples of calming themes.
If you're not the outdoorsy type, maybe your relaxing theme is a cozy fireplace. Maybe you imagine yourself as a princess in a royal castle. Wherever you feel most relaxed should be your theme, even if it's exotic to others. Your bedroom should make you relax, not please others.
Choosing Your Colors
Your colors should mesh with your theme, as well as soothe you when you see them. For my beach scene, I use light blues, foamy greens, and dark greens. All of these colors soothe me. Some colors associated with relaxation are blue, green, and pink. Pink has been shown to immediately calm an angry person.
Blue has shown to cause tranquility and lower blood pressure. Green appears to have the same effect as blue. However, not all people would enjoy having a room in these colors. Your colors should be something you feel comfortable with and that make you feel happy and relaxed.
Choosing Your Furniture
Here again, you want to mesh with the theme, if at all possible. If you already have furniture you adore, try dressing it up with scarves, lace, or other fun accessories that will match your theme and colors. For a beach scene, you might have sand-colored scarves on an end table with a bowl of decorative blue rocks or glass atop the scarves.
You could also purchase a couple small blue or tan wicker chairs to go with the theme. The main idea is to make everything blend together to create a scene that makes you feel like you are in your calming place, your theme, wherever that might be.
Sometimes if you hunt around your house you can find all you need without having to shop for accessories. If you do have the freedom to go with all new furniture, don't be afraid to let the sales associates know your theme and what you're trying to accomplish.
Some furniture stores will even come to your house, scan "your room" into their computers, and plan a layout with you using their products. It sounds a bit spoiled, but it can actually help you visualize how it will turn out, so you don't end up with a look you weren't trying to achieve.
Arranging Furniture for Your Bedroom Sanctuary
The furniture should be arranged in a way that will make you feel like just plopping down on it because that's what you do in your bedroom. It should be easy to access and should make your theme pop out. When you walk into your room, you want to immediately feel like you are walking into your fantasy place.
When I walk into my bedroom, I feel like I am on the beach. I can actually hear the ocean in my head, feel the warm sand on my feet, and smell the fresh ocean water. Sometimes I can feel the warm breeze and see the palm trees swaying in the wind. This is my ideal relaxation zone.
Your furniture should make you feel like you are actually in your ideal sanctuary scene. It should take your breath away and make all your troubles slip away, even if just for a moment.
If your room is large enough, the ideal bedroom furniture would be to have at least a bed (of course), a lounger or chaise, a couple chairs, and of course an armoire or dresser and nightstands. The pieces should be chosen to your taste and arranged so that they are not all cluttered together.
Hanging some furniture, like hammocks or swing chairs can help with comfort, as well as removing clutter. If they are cluttered together, this will be stressful, rather than relaxing.
Try having the bed and dressing furniture on one side of the room and the chaise (or couch or lounger) and chairs on another. The television (if you have one in your room) should be placed in a manner that will be easy to view it from any of the furniture, but it should not be the center of attention.
Try to make it blend in with the theme as much as possible so it doesn't stick out. If at all possible, omit a television altogether. Televisions can throw off a design, but you can sometimes find a way to implement it, such as placing a picture frame around a flat screen television that's attached to the wall.
Decorating With Your Style
Your room should have plenty of accessories that go with your style or theme. Some examples of items you might use could include throw pillows, scarves, vases, marbles, chandeliers, beads, lamps, books, plants, dishes, paintings, mirrors, shapes, and more. Whatever you use should pull it all together.
Once the furniture is arranged just so and the walls are painted, your accessories should fill in any missing gaps that will complete the final design. Accessories can be placed on shelves, on stands, on dressers, on drawer pulls, on the end-posts of your bed, and on chairs. The possibilities are endless.
When you have an idea, run with it and see where it takes you. If it doesn't work the way you'd planned, don't give up. Try another idea. Soon your room will be looking relaxing in no time and you'll be ready to fall into a soothing slumber.
Making Chemical-Free Air Freshener
Did you know that you could make your own air freshener? You certainly can. As one who generally prefers natural products over those made with chemicals, I have experimented with numerous chemical-free materials over the years. Below, you will learn how to make your own air freshener with a variety of different scents. Some versions are even safe for those with allergies or asthma and have been tested on such individuals on many occasions. The scents are listed first, with the instructions following.
Homemade Air Freshener Scents
Vanilla Lemon Spice - This air freshener should be safe for allergy and asthma sufferers. It also seems to clear the sinuses, which could be good during cold or allergy season. Of course, always check with your doctor first. For this air freshener, you will need 2 fresh lemons (sliced), 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract, and 1 tbsp allspice.
Almond Apple Pie - For this air freshener, you will need 2 freshly diced apples, 2 tbsp freshly ground cinnamon, 2 tsp natural almond extract, and ¼ cup brown sugar. This version seems to be safe for allergy and asthma sufferers.
Christmas Joy - For this air freshener, you will need 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 fresh sprigs from a pine tree, and 3 pine cones. If you have pine allergies, you'll want to try the "Fresh Winter" instructions instead.
Spring Lilac - For this air freshener, you will need 3 or 4 lilac bunches, which are fairly easy to find in the spring time. However, you'll have to hand pick them from your yard or a friend or neighbor's yard unless you want to purchase a blooming bush. Lilacs are generally not sold pre-cut in florist shops, as they wilt quickly. If you are allergic to these flowers, you may instead want to try a different scent. These are very strong.
Fall Frolic - For this air freshener, you'll need a sandwich bag full of dried leaves and small twigs. You'll also need 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon or 2 fresh cinnamon sticks. If you have tree allergies or asthma triggers, you'll want to shy away from this one and try another.
Coconut Breeze - For this air freshener, you'll need 1 tbsp almond extract, 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, and 1 can of coconut milk. This version does not seem to bother asthma and allergy sufferers.
Orange Spice - For this air freshener, you'll need 2 oranges (sliced), 1 tbsp cinnamon (or 2 cinnamon sticks), 1 tbsp of natural vanilla extract, and a few dried leaves and broken twigs. Asthma and allergy sufferers can forgo the leaves and twigs. This version still provides a nice scent without them.
Natural Living - For this air freshener, you'll need some dried leaves, a few broken twigs, and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract. For asthma and allergy sufferers, simply use 2 tbsp of vanilla extract and don't use the leaves and twigs. Some may even be able to tolerate using wood chips instead.
Fresh Winter - For this air freshener, you'll need 1 package of 12 peppermint candy canes or an equivalent amount of another peppermint candy. You'll also need 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract and 1 tbsp ground cinnamon. To make a hot chocolate smell, add 1 tbsp chocolate liqueur (viable substitutions = 1pkg hot cocoa mix or 2 tbsp cocoa powder). This scent seems to be safe for asthma and allergy sufferers and often clears chest congestion, as well as the sinuses.
Natural Wood - For this air freshener, you'll only need wood chips. These can generally be found in the gardening supply section of many stores in the form of mulch. Craft supply stores sometimes sell wood scraps in bulk as well. Pick those woods that are highly fragrant, such as cedar. Also be sure you are picking thin, rather than heavy, woods because you want them to be floating at the surface of your water, not sinking. Put enough in your saucepan to cover the top area and still be floating. Some asthma and allergy sufferers may want to skip this scent.
Instructions For Making and Using the Homemade Air Freshener Scents
These are boiling/simmering air fresheners that will scent a fairly large area, oftentimes an entire house. However, these are not meant for ceramic burners. They are done over the stove. Fill a 2 quart pitcher full with water and 2 tbsp vinegar. Then, check to be sure you have all ingredients for your desired scent (listed below). Lastly, proceed with the following instructions.
Combine your ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Pour in the vinegar/water mixture. Bring this to a boil. Once it has been boiling long enough to melt any candy or other ingredients that will dissolve, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let it simmer. Keep an eye on the pot to be sure there is enough water. You may have to refill the water every once in a while. This should last you all day if you continue to add water as needed. Be sure not to let the water get too low or your air freshener will burn and it will no longer smell very pretty.
Also, be sure you are not standing directly over the pan or the steam from these air fresheners, as they can be pretty strong. Inhaling them in this way could be dangerous.
*Note: Always ask your doctor before using these, as the aromas that will travel through your house might be naturally inhaled into your body. While they are naturally chemical-free, they still emit vapors into the air. The author is not responsible for any action that occurs as a result of your use or misuse of these air fresheners. Always use your own discretion, as well as the advice of your physician before proceeding.
**I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
40th Birthday Gift Ideas
Tired of old ideas for party favors, gifts and decorations generally advertised for the 40th birthday celebration? Presents for a 40th birthday, as with any other birthday, should be fun and also useful to the recipient. Take your time and choose the right 40th birthday presents to create smiles and memories that will last. What's the point of a gift that isn't remembered or treasured?
Coming Up With a Plan For Choosing the Best Gift
Some people like to be pampered on a birthday. Some may like a flashback to childhood. Still others would enjoy a really good laugh. Ideas for 40th birthday gifts should center around the recipient's favorite things, as well as personality. For instance, you don't want to give a completely serious person a gag gift.
That person may be offended instead of amused. However, if the birthday gift recipient has a great sense of humor, do take advantage of that opportunity. When giving gag birthday gifts, remember that it is a nice gesture to also give serious birthday presents.
Original Birthday Newspaper
Take the birthday gift recipient back in time with original newspaper headlines from the day of his or her birth. OverTheHillGifts.com offers this unique option for 40th birthday presents. There are two designs. The traditional option is a framed replica for hanging on the wall. The second is a frame that has a voice-recording feature for adding a personal message.
T-shirts make great 40th birthday presents since they are so useful. Since 40 is often a fun milestone, why not make the T-shirt a funny one? Funnyshirts.com has a selection of T-shirts with sassy remarks on them, fitting for 40th birthday gift ideas. One reads "It took me 40 years to look this good." Another states "Blow Me" with a candle under it. Below the candle it reads in parentheses "It's My Birthday."
40 Days of Maid Service
Everyone can use a little break now and then. House cleaning is one of those things that seems endless, but is necessary. So 40 days of prepaid maid service is a good option for a 40th birthday present.
Gift certificates to spas are good ideas for 40th birthday gifts because they allow the recipient to relax. In this fast-paced world, people often don't have time to think about themselves anymore, let alone relax. Spa gift certificates can make good 40th birthday presents for both men and women. Some may think men would not appreciate this gift, but they need to relax, too.
Chef for a Day
This is another of the 40th birthday gift ideas that caters to the recipient. Plan a day where you will cook three square meals and two snacks for the one celebrating a birthday. It goes back to the fact that people need a break once in a while. These type of 40th birthday presents should be redeemed another day besides on the birthday. Hopefully, many people are already catered to on their birthday. Utilizing it another day, like after a long day's work, will make it an even better gift.
A flashback to childhood is always good. Ideas for this 40th birthday gift time capsule include candy from childhood, classic toys and classic cartoons. Some classic candy may include Dots, Pop Rocks, candy necklaces, Jolly Ranchers, Atomic Fireballs and wax lips.
Classic toys that make good 40th birthday presents might include Mr. Potato Head, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Slinky and Sit N' Spin. It might be quite comical when all the adults start trying out the Sit N' Spin in hopes of recreating childhood fun.
Another fun and useful 40th birthday present is to put 40 items related to the gift recipient's favorite hobby or something they like in a decorative basket or container. Line the basket with tissue paper and maybe some decorative scarves or bath towels.
Some ideas include yarn for those who knit, art items for artists, tools for the do-it-yourselfer, office supplies for the business-savvy, fancy bath items, nail polish and makeup, and even snack foods. The ideas are virtually endless for this one. To get more ideas for this present collection, simply browse stores that the recipient frequents. Chances are you'll find something this person would enjoy.
Benefits of Aluminum Gutters
by Lyn Lomasi; Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
Gutter systems can be made from a variety of materials including wood, steel, aluminum, copper and PVC. Aluminum gutters are among the highest-quality gutter systems for a variety of reasons. Rust is a common problem among gutters. However, when properly maintained and used under normal circumstances, aluminum gutters will not rust or corrode like other metal systems.
Versatility of Aluminum Gutters
Some would like their gutters to match their home. Aluminum gutters can be painted, which makes it easier to do this. Some other gutters cannot be painted, leaving less room for personalizing. Some might think that with such versatility, aluminum gutters must be costly. Quite the contrary. Because of the lightweight material, as well as other factors, aluminum gutters are very cost-effective compared with other systems.
More Customization Options
Another way to personalize aluminum gutters is to choose the shape that best matches your home. Aluminum gutters come in rounded shapes as well as those with more line definition. If you'd rather not paint your own gutters but still wish to choose a color, some vendors will offer pre-colored options, too.
Ease of Installation
Aluminum gutters are simple to install, which leaves you the option of installing them yourself or hiring someone else for the job. Since aluminum gutters are so simple to install, those looking to save money by doing the project themselves may want to choose aluminum gutters.
Saving Money & Time
The lightweight design also means that a support system is not required, which saves money and time. Aluminum gutters come in a variety of styles. One of those styles is seamless gutters. Seamless aluminum gutters can cut down on leaks since much of the gutter length is a single piece, therefore providing fewer cracks (or seams) for the water to leak through.
10 Awesome Uses for Vinegar
Vinegar is most commonly used in recipes, but were you aware that it has other benefits as well? Here are ten great uses for vinegar that you may not have thought about before. These are tailored toward regular distilled white vinegar.
Use Vinegar as a Bleach-Free Laundry Disinfectant
Do you dread using bleach to disinfect your clothes? Maybe you can't stand the smell or it makes you sick. Try using one half cup of vinegar and one fourth cup of baking soda along with your detergent in your load of laundry. It whitens, brightens, cleans, and disinfects your clothes.
Plus, it's much safer for the environment. Another bonus is that vinegar can be used on all colors. It's much less expensive than color-safe bleach, totaling about $1.50 per gallon versus 4 or 5 times that for color-safe bleach.
Use Vinegar to Clean the Fish Bowl or Tank
Do you have a fish tank or bowl with glass that is brown in some areas? When you clean the fish's residence, put a generous amount of vinegar on your cleaning cloth with a dab of liquid dish soap. The vinegar clears away the residue and disinfects the tank.
The combination of the vinegar and dish soap makes it easier to slide the cloth around. Your fish will finally be able to see you through his glass and you don't have to be embarrassed at a tank that looks as if its never been cleaned.
Vinegar Makes a Great Window Cleaner
Are you tired of spending money on expensive window cleaning sprays? Just get yourself a good water bottle. Then, fill it about two-thirds of the way with water. Next, put about 3 drops of liquid dish soap into the water. Finally, fill the remaining area with vinegar. Shake it a little bit. Let it sit for a few minutes and then voila!
Now you have a really good window-cleaning solution that costs less than a candy bar to refill and gives you a great streak-free clean for your windows and mirrors. I suggest keeping one in each bathroom, one in the kitchen, and one in each vehicle. With them in reach, you'll never have streaky, dirty windows and mirrors again.
Use Vinegar to Clean Moldy Tupperware
Does your husband tend to leave moldy storage containers and dishes in his work truck? Or maybe you leave it in the fridge too long. That's okay. Just empty them outside and bring them on in. Place them open in the sink. Put a dab of liquid dish soap in each one. Then, put about 2 tablespoons of vinegar in each. Fill the rest of the way with hot water and let them soak.
For the lids, fill the sink only high enough to cover them with a dab of dish soap and about one fourth cup of vinegar and the rest hot water. Once the lids and containers have soaked for at least 20 minutes, wash them as you normally would. I prefer to use the dishwasher as an extra disinfection/sterilization process.
Clean Your Countertops With Vinegar
Vinegar can replace your chemical-ridden kitchen counter cleaners. Just mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle. Spray the counters and wipe clean. You can also use hydrogen peroxide for this. If you like to see your cleaners soap up, just add a couple drops of dish soap to the solution.
The vinegar disinfects the counters and takes away odors as well. If you have a really tough stain, put a dash of baking soda on top of it. Then, spray with your vinegar solution and wipe clean. If there is white residue, you need to spray and wipe the vinegar solution until it is gone.
Vinegar Kills Fish Odors in the Microwave
Do you like to steam your fish in the microwave, but hate the smell? Place a cup or bowl of vinegar inside the microwave with your fish. Don't cook the fish in it. It should be beside the container the fish is in. The vinegar absorbs the odor.
Use Vinegar as a Deodorizer While Cooking
This trick is good if you are cooking something that is particularly pungent in odor, such as chitterlings, fish, or fried foods. Boil a pan of vinegar diluted halfway with water. This will help to absorb the odors. Just remember to start it before you start the "stinky" foods. This also works if you are baking something and don't want the smell to go throughout the house.
Vinegar Can Be Used to ease Heartburn
If you suffer from gas or heartburn frequently, you'll want to try this one. Drink a tablespoon of vinegar right before each meal. It helps to dissolve the acids, so there won't be as much left for the heartburn to feed off of.
Clean Your Refrigerator With Vinegar
Cleaning your refrigerator with vinegar frequently helps to kill germs and keep it smelling fresh. Use the same solution used to clean the counters above.
Use Vinegar To Ward off Stinky Feet
This is the really odd one. Do you know anyone who has smelly feet? Most people know at least one person who suffers from this. The person can soak their feet in a tub that has half water and half vinegar. The vinegar takes away the smell, kills germs, and relaxes sore muscles.
So, if you know anyone like this, you may want to hint about it. Try using the muscle relaxer part, though. You don't want to lose a good friend by telling them their feet stink, unless you have the kind of relationship where this conversation would be acceptable.
Know of any other awesome uses for vinegar? Comment below!
Cottonballs are most often used for makeup removal, facial cleansing, and in removing nail polish, but did you ever think of all the other possible uses there may be? Here are ten excellent uses for cottonballs you may have never thought about.
Use cottonballs as stuffing -- Cottonballs make great stuffing for craft pillows and other stuffed crafts. They are all cotton, so they are washable. Just be sure to use plenty when stuffing and to dry the item well if you ever have to wash it.
Hard-to-reach sink cracks are no trouble for cottonballs -- Have you ever tried to get underneath, behind, and between your faucets when washing the sinks? Now you can. Use a cottonball. It flattens easily and can slide where your cloth or sponge cannot.
Quick bandages are a snap with cottonballs -- Have you ever needed a bandage when you were out of them or on the run? If you keep cottonballs and medical tape around the house, you can make a quick band-aid that works well on any sized cut. Try keeping a small baggie with cottonballs and medical tape in your purse. You never know when you may think of something else to use them for as well.
Need a quick can cover? Try a cottonball -- Have you ever opened a can of pop, only to realize you couldn't finish it? Just stick a cottonball in the hole at the top and put in the refridgerator. It won't go flat as quick it would without the cottonball. The cottonball absorbs the air. Just don't push too hard or you'll have a cottonball in your drink. Then, it won't be fresh at all.
Cottonballs keep the tears away -- Have you ever had to deal with a child who is afraid of the water getting in their eyes when shampooing their hair? Chances are you have. If your child is old enough, give the child a cottonball for each eye. Have the child close the eyes and hold a cottonball over each eye whenever you wash the hair. It helps keep the water out. Keep in mind that if you dump a large amount of water over the child's head, the cottonballs will not protect the eyes. You must also be cautious, as always.
Use a cottonball, not your fingers -- Are you not particularly fond of having diaper rash cream lingering on your hand or finger? Have no fear, cottonballs are here. Just use the cottonball to spread the cream onto the affected area.
Use a cottonball to swipe your data of fingerprints -- Do your DVDs and other CDs have your children's evidence stamped on them in the form of tiny fingerprints? Just dip a cottonball into some rubbing alcohol and wipe away the evidence.
Cottonballs make great pencil holder protectors -- Are you a perfectionist who can't stand the little pencil and pen marks at the bottom of the pencil holder? Just place some cottonballs in the bottom of the pencil holder and voila! This also takes away the annoying clinking noise the utensils make when you put them in the holder, also a must for perfectionists.
Make a Santa beard from cottonballs -- Does your child need a Santa beard and fast? Just glue some cottonballs together in a triangular shape with white glue (not school glue, just plain white all-purpose glue). You can attach it to your child's face using pipe cleaners. Just attach the pipe cleaners to the cottonball concoction by twisting them around the tips of each side and then bring the pipe cleaners around your child's ears like glasses.
Prevent scratches on your computer desk with cottonballs -- Does your computer keyboard, laptop, or monitor make scratches on your nice desk? Just glue cottonballs to the bottom corners or all along the entire bottom edge with E-6000 glue.
Hydrogen Peroxide is most commonly used to treat cuts and scrapes, but did you know there were many other uses as well? Even if you knew, aren't you curious to see how many you've tried and how many you haven't?
Helpful Hints Before Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Before using any of these, you should remember to always keep the peroxide in the dark container it comes in. Once it has been exposed to air and light, it loses some of its efficacy. It is best to use it straight from the bottle and right away after you take it from the bottle with a cloth or tissue.
It's also important to remember to be safe with peroxide. If swallowed, it can be harmful and should be kept out of reach of children. Should accidental poisoning occur, you should contact a poison control center and possibly 911 immediately. If a large amount is swallowed, 911 should be called rather than poison control. This goes for adults as well as children.
Ten Awesome Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide
Mouthwash - Hydrogen Peroxide can be used as an alternative to mouthwash. It disinfects the mouth, freshens the breath, and whitens the teeth all in one step. Of course, you'll still need toothpaste, but you won't need your mouthwash anymore. This costs less and is more effective. Just ask your dentist or doctor about it and they're likely to agree. Use it every day right after each brushing and flossing. All you need is about a capful. Swish it around for 30 seconds, just like mouthwash. Don't rinse your mouth out afterwards.
Countertop & Cutting Board Sanitizer - If you need to sanitize your countertops, hydrogen peroxide will do so, killing the germs and even salmonella. Fill a spray bottle with half water and half hydrogen peroxide, spray and wipe clean. Keep in mind that using this solution will discolor or damage some surfaces, so do a spot test in an inconspicuous area first and then wait 24 hours to see what happens. You can also use hydrogen peroxide as an effective means of sanitizing your cutting boards. It will kill salmonella and other harmful bacteria. Use the same solution as you would for sanitizing countertops.
Toothbrush Rinse - Rinse your toothbrush with hydrogen peroxide before and after each use to keep it sanitary.
Bleach Alternative - If you need an alternative to bleach, you can add 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to your load of laundry. It even gets out blood. Be careful, though because it really does bleach. Don't use it any dyed clothing, only whites.
Fight Mold - Peroxide is effective against some toxic molds, but be aware that it doesn't kill germs from all of them, so it's best to leave it up to the professionals. However, I do recommend applying it in areas of your bathroom that are prone to mold, such as the cracks in the caulking of the bathtub and shower.
Computer Keys & Screen - Peroxide is a great cleaner for your computer keys as well. It kills the bacteria and air dries quickly, so the equipment doesn't get damaged. While you're at it, it's also safe for the screen, outside of the computer, outside of speakers, and the outside of any other equipment.
Bathroom Mirrors - Peroxide cleans the bathroom mirrors without leaving behind any smears, plus since it kills bacteria, you have the added benefit of knowing it's okay for your kids to kiss the mirror. Oh, come on, you know they love to do it.
Treat Acne - You can use peroxide to treat acne as well. It's the main ingredient in most acne medicines and the other ingredients in them aren't necessary. Just apply it to the affected area once or twice a day and watch how quickly the acne disappears.
Kill Bathroom Bacteria - You can keep a spray bottle of peroxide in the bathroom. Use it to spray the shower/tub, sink, and toilet area to keep away bacteria and viruses. Spray regularly.
Clean Off Fruits & Veggies - You can use it to clean fruits and vegetables. Here's how: Fill your sink with cold water. Then, add 1/4 cup peroxide and some salt. Scrub the vegetables and rinse them. This kills any lingering viruses or bacteria. It also keeps the food fresher longer.
If you don't have hydrogen peroxide in your cabinet, get some today!
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