Monday, February 29, 2016

Quick Tips for a Light and Airy Home

We often aspire to have light and airy rooms in our home. Light makes a room look bigger and more inviting. An uncluttered space often seems to create a peaceful atmosphere. It can be a magnet for family members and guests alike. But how do we go about achieve this effect? Whether with extensive redecorating or a handful of simple tweaks, we can make a room instantly appear lighter with these quick tips.

Neutral Colours

The use of a neutral colour palette prevents a room from feeling claustrophobic or dismal. They reflect light more effectively and can create a sumptuous, luxurious atmosphere. Accessorised with coloured cushions or throws, a space can be personalised to reflect your taste while still appearing light and spacious.

Mirrors

Reflective surfaces have long been reputed to make a space look larger. An ornate mirror or panel of reflective tiles can be a chic and contemporary addition. By reflecting light from the window and the rest of the room, mirrors seem to expand the dimension of a space. Tailor it to your tastes by personalising the frame and fixtures. A driftwood style frame could create a laid-back beachy atmosphere, for example. A gilded frame creates an air of elegance.

Candles and Lamps

Lamps, candles, and overhead lighting not only bring light to the room but also create a space that is entirely your own. Linear, metallic lamps can create a contemporary, stylish feel. More rounded, softer lighting will appear cosier and warmer in effect. Candles are not only homely and perfect for the evening, they can also have a beautiful scent.

Fresh Flowers

Plants and flowers add a light, fresh feeling to any room as well as being beautiful in themselves. For a feminine room, roses in a variety of colours can add sophisticated to bare tables and surfaces. For a more neutral or family room, succulents and leafy plants make a room appear vibrant and natural.

Metallic accents

Mirrored furniture or large metallic features may add light but they are not to everyone’s taste. For a more subtle take on the trend, add metallic accents and features. Door knobs and dresser drawers, for example, or metallic threads woven into throws. Ornaments that shine will also create the illusion of more natural light, as well as adding personality.

A Glass Door

If home renovations are an option, consider adding a glass door to a room that doesn’t get much natural light. Not only is light from other areas of the house more likely to shine in, but the addition of glass brings its own light and luminosity.

Scent
It may not be an obvious suggestion, but the scent of a room can affect your perception of it. Musty or cloying smells can instantly make guests feel claustrophobic. If it is not possible to open a window to allow fresh air to circulate, there are other solutions. Scent diffusers are a popular way to keep a room smelling fresh and airy throughout the day, without the need to spray. Stick to fresh, fruity scents or neutral florals if you are emphasising a light and airy atmosphere. Spicier or woody scents can make an atmosphere seem heavier and closer.

Throwing A Great Birthday Party For The Kids

Is your child’s birthday approaching? You might be trying to come up with some ideas on what to do for a party. Well, you’re fortunate because I’ve been thinking about this lately. Ever since my little one had their most recent birthday, I’ve been writing down the best tips I can offer. If you want some inspiration, you can check out the other post, but I think I’ve got some great ideas here as well.


Fun With Invitations

Honestly, when did kids birthdays become such a big deal? As they get older, it seems it’s more like an event than a backyard party. You need to send out the invitations and get who they want to appear. If you’re making it surprise, check with one of your child’s close friends to find out who to invite.. Or instead of doing this just ask your child who they want to invite and help them make the invitations. I don’t recommend you invite a whole class, but iif you do make sure you plan a simple party.

Great Food

What’s the simplest choice in food for a kids party. That’s simple; you plan a barbecue. If you want the best barbecue, you can think about hiring caterers. This might seem a little excessive for a kids birthday party. But, remember if the kids are little you’re probably going to have parents there as well. They will want food too so it’s not a bad idea and it saves you the trouble of cooking. You can also order all the barbecue food and cook it yourself. Whichever way you choose, you’re guaranteed an easy, stress-free meal.

Have A Theme

If your child’s birthday is rapidly approaching, why not throw a theme party. Since Halloween is approaching, the party guests could dress up as ghosts and ghouls. You can even plan some spooky activities such as apple bobbing and set up some scary films to watch on Netflix. It doesn’t even have to be a Halloween theme. You could have a superhero party. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a little girl, a princess parade. Just make sure you get the Elsa costume for your little one before anyone else does.

Simple Suggestions

If you’re trying to keep the party simple and low cost, you could just take the kids to the park. As long as it’s a bright and sunny day, there're lots of activities that they can take part in. Do have a backup plan though in case the weather changes unexpectedly and you need to take the fun inside. Also, I would suggest that you have some parent helpers so that none of the children wander away from the park, safe zone.

Don’t Forget The Party Bags

Remember, no kids party is complete without party bags. You don’t have to make them yourself. Instead, you can buy them pre-packaged and ready to go. Just a few suggestions to make plan a successful party.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fantastic Ways To Improve Your Home's Roof

Your home roof takes up a large area of the outside of the property. But it’s still a feature most people forget about. We spend hours in the summer fussing around the garden, but the roof is neglected. In fact, it’s completely forgotten until there’s a problem that needs fixing. But even then sometimes we don’t notice there is an issue. There could be a hole in your roof right now and how would you know? Unless you go up and inspect your attic, you wouldn’t. However, that doesn’t mean the hole is harmless. Animals could use it to get in your home, and it could even have weakened the structure of a roof. During a storm that hole could cause the roof to collapse. That’s why it is important to think about your roof and the improvements you can make. Let’s look at a few ideas.


Get A Roof Inspection

The first thing you should think about is getting your roof inspected. We recommend that you get your roof inspected regularly, particularly after any major storms. It’s also wise for you to get your roof inspected before the winter months. If there are any issues or repairs needed you should get them resolved before this time of year. It is at this time when your house is the most exposed to the elements. Before you start to panic, we’re not suggesting that there is anything wrong with your roof. But it’s best to be prepared. If you do find a problem, check out www.baltimoremarylandroofing.com for roofing repairs.

Add A Skylight

Remember, it’s not just about maintaining your roof. There are some cool and stylish ways to improve it as well. Adding a skylight is our favourite. If you have a room directly below your roof, you can add a skylight and give yourself a stunning view of the night sky. Adding some tech and it could also be the perfect way to wake up in the morning. Imagine a blind opening above your head to reveal a clear blue sky in the early hours. It would make waking up for work a lot more pleasant. Of course, for this possibility, you’ll need a lot of work completed on your roof. Needless to say, it won’t be cheap. But it will definitely be worth it.

Shutter Gutter

One of the biggest issues that can cause havoc on your roof is a gutter blockage. This usually occurs due to falling leaves during the autumn months. But it can also happen in a particularly nasty storm. Luckily, there is a simple way to completely prevent it. You can get shutter gutters that cover the gutters but still allow rain water through. No more blockages and no nasty smells coming from your roof. Find out more on www.guttershutter.com.

Change The Style

Finally, if you have the approval from your local council, you can completely alter your roof to make it more stylish. Choose new tiles or completely redesign your layout to make your home stand out from the rest on the street. It’s a great way to add a little extra curb appeal. If you’re interested in curb appeal, why not check out www.listotic.com.



$5 Cold Stone Gift Card

Hey neighbors!

I wanted to post this before we head into Sunday.  I have a $5  Cold Stone Gift Card to give away!  Starting Monday we have a couple of interesting products to share as well as some nice giveaways.


We made it back safely from our trip and are unpacking and organizing this weekend.  Along with settling the 5 pups in.  They are now 3 weeks old and growing!



Anyway, take a moment to enter and then be sure to stop in Monday.



See you soon!

Friday, February 26, 2016

HelpTeaching.com Pro Plan


HelpTeaching Review

Hey neighbors!

For all my homeschooling friends out there I have a really helpful program review here from HelpTeaching.com.  We were given the opportunity through TOS to review their Pro Plan.

Since I only have one daughter left in homeschool, most of the lessons I looked at were for High School age students.  I did browse some others, but obviously I did not need any of the lower grades included.

One of the things I really liked about the HelpTeaching.com lessons is that they include videos to help teach your student.  I will confess, I am not real patient teaching math, so it is nice to have another option to turn to.  I am one of those who because I see the problem clearly and logically, I get frustrated after walking someone through a problem more than once or twice, because of course it is just logical.  Having online lessons available helps!

Here is an example of how one of the classes works.  Finding Percentages is a course that will teach your child how to figure out, percentages.  One of the questions I often get asked by my children throughout school is, "Will I ever really use this again?"  As far as percentages go, I had to tell them yes.  You have to figure percentages for leaving tips, if you purchase something together with a couple people, you may need to figure the percentage each person must pay...  On to the class.



The lesson starts off with some sample questions.  This will help your student and you to gauge their understanding of percentages.  For this class there were two required videos to watch. Each video was between 2-3 minutes.  Some activities are often included as well as the worksheets for practicing.    You also have a list of additional sources that includes links to further your child's knowledge of percentages.

This is just part of what HelpTeaching.com provides.  Along with many individual lessons for your use, from math to science, they also give you the opportunity to create your own quizzes, tests, and worksheets, which can be used online or printed off.  How many times have you needed to create your own quiz or worksheet?  The program is so easy to use and allows you the ability to choose from, Fill in the Blank, True or False, Multiple Choice, etc.



The Pro Plan allows you to add students, assign lessons, etc.  If you have more than one student this makes your job a little easier.  There are just so many uses for HelpTeaching.com.  They do have the option for a FREE ACCESS, which is great for you to give it a test run, but the Pro Plan includes access to so much more.  You can have more questions on your tests and quizzes, you can administer your tests through their Test Room and so much more.



I have barely tapped the us of my Pro Plan.  Once you sign in you can search for lessons by grade or subject.  This is definitely a very helpful site for strengthening your child's knowledge in a subject they may need some extra help in.

Be sure to follow them on their social media sites:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helpteaching

Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/100894483454551317755/+Helpteaching/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/helpteaching/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/helpteaching

To see what other TOS Crew members had to say, click on the banner below.


HelpTeaching Review


Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thoughtful Gift Ideas For Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re struggling for inspiration, this guide will hopefully help you to find the perfect present for your mum.

Gift experiences
If you’re always showering your mum with cosmetics, bubble bath or nice pyjamas, why not go for something a bit different this year? A day out, a spa experience or even a weekend away is an ideal treat to thank your mum for all she does. Possibilities include treating her to a day at the spa, afternoon tea at her favourite cafe or a chic city break. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but putting effort into organising a trip or afternoon out will show just how grateful you are.



Personalised presents
Does your mum love cooking, sewing or gardening? Are they a fan of entertaining, baking or reading? If so, you could shop online and find them personalised gifts, which complement their interests. Examples include named sewing boxes, aprons and cookie jars.

Gifts to keep
If you’re eager to give your mum a gift she can keep this year, you could consider buying them something for the home. A Willow Tree figurine is a perfect adornment for a bedside table or mantelpiece. This thoughtful present also reflects the special relationship you have with your mum. Jewellery and prints are other popular ideas.

Photographs
Have you recently got married or celebrated a special family occasion? If so you could print out some photographs and create an album or frame some of the prints. Photographs are an excellent way of enabling us to remember and look back on happy times. You could also take some of the images your mum has in small frames around the house and turn them into canvases for the walls.

Tickets
If you’d love to spend more quality time with your mum, Mother’s Day is an ideal excuse to get together. If you love musicals or you like the same bands, you could book tickets for a show or a concert. If you really want to push the boat out, you could book a table for dinner and stay overnight in a hotel.

A night off
If you’re buying a Mother’s Day gift for a busy mum, why not write them out a voucher? You could gift them your babysitting services, so that they can enjoy a night off? They can choose to go out for dinner, watch a film at the cinema or simply enjoy a takeaway in the peace and quiet.

Beauty treatments
For glamorous mums, beauty treatments are a great idea. Treat your mum to a pampering facial, a relaxing massage or a manicure. For makeup fans, a tutorial is an excellent option. Your mum will be able to learn the tricks of the trade, find out about exciting new products and treat herself to a few little presents.



Buying gifts can be tricky, especially if you’re struggling for ideas and you want something really special. This Mother’s Day, think outside the box and go for a unique gift, which will make your mum feel really special.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Girls Explore



Hey neighbors!

Here is a product that arrived too late for our Holiday Gift Guide.  It is from Girls Explore!  They have created some really neat dolls to help your daughter explore her world.  Many of the women have done something in the past that has made them famous or well known.  You can purchase the dolls by themselves, or as a set.  The sets include a book and a few extras. These sets create a great educational opportunity for learning about important wisdom in history.

Our first is, Babe Didrikson Zaharias.  Babe was a female athlete.  She competed in track and field and then went on to play golf and found the LPGA.  Included in this set, is the well made doll, her biography, a golf club (for Babe) and a working, harmonica for your daughter.  The harmonica was a favorite of Babe's.  The doll has hard plastic legs, arms and head, with a cloth body.  I am impressed with the quality of the doll.  The hardback biography is a little over 100 pages and includes several black and white photos.



The next set is Harriet Tubman.  The doll is just as well made as the Babe.  She comes with a cloak and a small bag for your daughter made of the same material as the cloak.  Both dolls are dressed for their time period.  She also has a hardback biography as well, which is just over 100 pages.



There are a couple other figures available from Girls Explore.  This includes: Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Dr. Dot Richardson, and Mary Cassat.  Each of these women have stood out in some way.  They have worked and achieved a  goal, that will help inspire your daughters to strive and do their best.

Check out the website to see the various items offered through Girls Explore.  Along with the dolls, biographies and sets, you can also purchase posters and prints.  Another unique offer from Girls Explore are the teaching units available for schools and homeschools.  These contain activity guides and teacher guides.

I am looking forward to see what Girls Explore will offer next.  Take a moment to check their specials page.  Be sure to also follow them on their social media pages to stay up on any new products!

Twitter - HERE
Pinterest - HERE

Thanks for stopping by!  See you soon!

Ways To Make Guests Feel Welcome In Your Home

Your house is your home, but how do you make guests and visitors feel just at home as you already do? Make guests love your home just as much as you do with these five easy steps.


1. Greet them properly


If you’re rushed off your feet in the kitchen or already entertaining guests who have arrived for a party, this can be difficult. But guests in your home deserved to be greeted properly. Meet them at the door and be enthusiastic and genuine. Introduce them to other guests. Also, be sure to offer to take their coats and bags. This is especially important if your guests are first timers in your home. It’s likely that they won’t know where to put things and where they can leave their shoes. Put their mind at ease by looking after these things for them.


2. Give them the lay of the land


It’s entirely your option whether you give them a tour of your home. This is probably necessary if they’re staying over, but if they’re just visiting? At least, tell them where the basics are. Point out the downstairs toilet, and the second toilet if the one downstairs is in use. Let them know where the kitchen is, check if your pets might bother their allergies, think ahead. This is will prevent them from needing to ask awkwardly later, and make them feel more relaxed as a result.


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3. Play music


A home with music is a happy home! Thanks to technology, these days we have access to all the world’s music. If you know your guest has a particular favourite musician, play them! Otherwise, some neutral background music will do the job just fine, or pop the radio on. Be careful of the volume, though. Too loud and it will seem intrusive, too quiet and they might struggle to hear it.


4. Offer them a blanket


A real key element to making long-term guests feel welcome is to emulate their own home. Are they the type of person who would snuggle up in front of the TV with a blanket? Then give them the handset and tell them to watch whatever they want. Keep a couple of vellux blankets close at hand, and either give them one or let them know they can help themselves. Your house might be colder than you realise. This way you are giving a guest a way to warm up without having to ask you to adjust the heating, which can feel awkward if they don’t know you well.


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5. Pre-empt  their questions

This is in the same way that telling them where the bathroom and kitchen is so they don’t have to ask. Offer them a drink. Show them where things are and let them know they can make their own whenever you want. Same goes for food. If you suspect they’re saying no to be polite, just put out a few snacks. This way they can nibble without feeling intrusive. Eating yourself will help encourage them that doing so is okay.

How To Build An Awesome Garden Shed, The Easy Way

(Image Link: https://goo.gl/NmNghL)

If you’re like me, then you’ll love to take care of your garden. I like to do what I can to ensure my garden is looking perfect. One of the best things to do is build a garden shed. This makes your backyard look beautiful, and is useful as well. Want to know how to build an awesome garden shed? Then carry on reading this article!

Draw Up Some Designs

It doesn’t make sense to try and build something that you haven’t seen before. Building blind will never end well; you can be assured of that. What you should do, is draw some designs beforehand. Think about what you want your shed to look like, and sketch down a few rough designs. This helps you create a vision of what you want to build. Then, you can try and make your shed look like the design. If you have no idea how to draw a design, then don’t worry, I have a tip for you too. Go online and look at various garden shed designs, and then pick one that you like the best and copy it. You don’t get the originality of designing your own shed, but it’ll do.

Get The Right Tools/Equipment

You can’t build a shed with your bare hands; you’re going to need some tools and equipment. Regarding your tools, you’re looking at some of the basic DIY things here. A hammer, drill, saw, etc. These are things that you can pick up from any DIY store, and probably some supermarkets too. With your equipment, you’ll probably have to rent a lot of it. If you’re making a shed using bricks, then you need to get your hands on a cement mixer. Of course, you can buy cement mix easily, but you might have to rent a mixer. Also, think about how you’ll get rid of all the junk and rubbish you might accumulate. With Bobcat hire, you can get a more practical alternative to your typical wheelbarrow. It means you can remove all the rubbish from your garden without having to break a sweat. To be honest, cement mixers and something for rubbish removal are the only equipment you’ll need.  
(Photo Source: https://goo.gl/DtvwSV)

Create A Working Schedule

My final tip will help keep you organized and ensure your shed is built as quickly as possible. Most people take ages to complete their garden shed because they become sidetracked. Or, they waste a lot of time fiddling about and not getting things done. To make sure both of these things don’t happen, you must create a working schedule. Create a schedule or what work you want to do on certain days. For the first day, decide that you have to complete a certain task or two. This gives you something to focus on and means you’re likely to work much faster. Whereas, with no schedule, you could end up jumping between jobs and not completing any. Everything would be left in a mess.

By following these tips, you’ll make sure that your garden has an amazing shed. Use it as a mini workshop for your DIY projects or as storage for gardening tools. Either way, I’m sure it will look gorgeous.

Medieval Times Orlando Florida




Hi Neighbors!

Many of you know that we have been on a trip for a little over 2 weeks now.  We headed down to Florida, where the 4 girls went on a Southern Gospel Music Cruise!  We dropped them off last Monday and they returned to port Saturday.  They had a great time and we are now headed towards home.

While the girls were on the cruise, hubby and I had the opportunity to visit Medieval Times in Orlando, Florida.  This is basically a dinner theater.  We arrived a little early, so we could investigate the small town they have set up right next door.  We found it very interesting to see rooms set up from that time period.  My husband wanted to take a little time to see the torture room, that showed several different methods of torture that used to be used.  The masks below were designed for women who spoke out against government, etc.





After visiting the small town, we headed inside to wait to be seated.As you all know we have previously visited the Medieval Times of Chicago.  It appeared to me that this was a slightly smaller castle, but it was definitely busy and very full on the evening we visited.  The storyline is the same as the Chicago castle.  I still enjoyed watching different knights, a different chancellor and of course a different king and princess.



During the show at Medieval Times you are served a meal, which you eat with your hands.  No utensils are used.  Your soup is in a bowl with a hand, which you pick up and drink.  The meal consists of a tomato bisque soup, seasoned chicken, garlic bread, a half potato, and corn on the cob.  For dessert there is a flaky, fruit-filled, pastry.  They offer tea, water and soda for beverages.  If you are vegan they have a special meal on hand.





While partaking of this delicious meal, you will be entertained by well-trained horses, a falcon hunting presentation, a competition between the different knights, all while a story unfolds.  Good will triumph over evil by the end of the evening.  Each section of the audience is assigned a knight to cheer for.  You will enjoy a fun filled evening of entertainment and fun at the Orlando castle.  We did!



If you are planning a trip to Orlando be sure to add Medieval Times to your list of attractions to visit. If you check out the Medieval Times website you can locate the castle closest to you as they have a few scattered around the states.



Thanks for stopping by today!  See you soon!


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Empty Nest: What to Do When Your Kids Leave For College

It’s one of those rites of passage which affect every parent at some point. Sure, it can be tough dealing with all the emotions involved. This is something which is such a big moment for both you and them. So it is important to remember that it’s perfectly natural to feel a little sad. However, there are some things you can do to help both of you get through this difficult stage. If you are in this position at the moment, read on for some tips on how to make it a little easier.

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Talk It Out

It’s really important that you both sit down and just talk through it. There are lots of emotions involved in the process, and it’s best just to get them out on the table. At first, your child may well not want to talk about it. There is every chance that you won’t either! However, as with everything, it really is best to talk about it. Remember that this is a huge moment in both your lives. The best thing you can do is to support each other as fully as you feel able to. Your kid is probably a little scared about leaving home, so comfort them. Likewise, let them know that you’ll miss them. They might want to hear it!


Get Some Help

Depending on your situation, and what you are both like, you might like some help. This help can come in many forms. First of all, if you feel like you need counselling, then don’t be afraid to seek it out. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Plenty of families do this at this particular point in life - it is more common than you might think. But you might also need some help with some of the other aspects of the college process. You could enlist the help of Vault Prep, for example, to help with the entire admissions process. Even having help with this side of things can make a huge difference to how you both feel about it. Your family may well be a lot happier as a result.


Say Goodbye

The whole process of saying goodbye can be particularly tough. That final goodbye can be really heartbreaking. For that reason, it’s important that you don’t draw out the goodbyes. Doing so can make the whole thing so much more painful for both of you. Make it as quick and painless as you can, like ripping off a plaster. Allow the tears to flow, sure, but don’t dwell on it too much until you have separated and you have some alone time.


Leave Them To It

As a parent, your instinct will be to constantly check up on them once they have moved away. But it’s important that you don’t! You need to give them the space to start enjoying their new life. This is ultimately for the benefit of both of you. Let them take the lead to contact you. The chances are, they will. They might have one or two lonely moments, and feel the need to call you. That is a perfectly healthy sign, so don’t worry. The important thing is to keep in contact without overdoing it.