Summer Clean-Up

By Delilah C.

How quick is summer ending?? Fall season is approaching us! Here are a few end of summer cleaning tips that I’ve gathered through the last few years.

Scrub outdoor furniture: Throughout the summer, the outdoor chairs accumulate the buildup of dirt, bugs, etc. from the rainy days. Make sure you give them a thorough cleaning so you’re able to reuse them next summer!

Clean outdoor cushions: Similar to the furniture, these cushions can accumulate a great amount of dirt—although you may not see it at the surface.  Different fabrics need different care, but spot cleaning with some dishwashing detergent and warm water can help with the cotton, polyester, and acrylic fabrics. Always make sure to allow time to air dry before storing the cushions away!

Wash beach towels: Swimming and beach season is over, unfortunately! Give your beach towels a much needed bath, using the hottest water the fabric allows. Add a small amount of fabric softener to the load and they’ll be ready for next summer!

Scrub your grill: After all the summer BBQ’s, your grill will most definitely have some cook on grime that isn’t fully gone! Make sure you clean it thoroughly before putting it away for the winter!

Clean gardening tools:  To prevent your tools from rusting, keep your gardening tools looking brand new after months of maintaining your precious gardens. Things you’ll need to get the job done include gardening gloves, a putty knife, steel wool, a 3 ½ gallon plastic bucket, 1 tbsp. dish soap, 2 cups of bleach, 1 cup of vegetable oil, 5 oz. can lighter fluid, all-purpose play sand, bleach-free disinfecting wipes, old towels and a garden hose.

During your cleanup towards this time of you year, you might have waste, or extra stuff in the garage you know you need to throw away. I would clean out the clutter and just get rid of it all to start your fall and winter months clutter free!

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Summer Outdoor Decorating

By Steve M.

When the temperatures rise during the summer months, barbecues and get togethers at your home are a must. With that in mind, it’s time to start thinking and planning your outdoor summer decor. Outdoor summer decor ideas are a great way to help you make the most of your space throughout the summer months, helping your garden or patio to become welcoming places , where you can spend time with your friends and family enjoying your time together. 

Summer is a time for bright and fun colors that may not fit with your decor the rest of the year. Bright colors allow for an inviting and fun space in which everyone enjoy themselves and feels welcomed. Some good combos of bright colors, such as turquoise, red, and white, create a festive atmosphere and will keep everyone in a party mind-set. All of this allows for a great reason to get fresh new pillows or area rugs featuring these colors. A new table runner or tablecloth will give any patio or garden and brand new appearance. Summer weather allows the opportunity to find new and fresh uses for formal serving pieces. A silver tray can hold glassware, a pitcher can be filled with a delicious summery cocktail, and a champagne bucket makes a great container for an herb plant.

Flowers are a very easy and fun way to celebrate the summer time season. The freshness and vibrant appearance is what defines summer. Using  bright, summery colors in your home with freshly picked flowers make the biggest impact. Arrangements featuring warm colors such as bold oranges, radiant yellows, or vibrant pinks. Small clusters of bright color look cheery and make for the ultimate summertime vibe. Potted succulents are alos a perfect plant for an outdoor, summer gathering. Still offering the freshness and brightness in the form of a plant, while lasting longer and needing less attention.

Summer is an excuse for parties and get togethers, and the space should match this feeling. A fun summer space to share with friends and family doesn’t have to be over-complicated. Bright colors and repurposing of old items help give a fresh look to your patio. Flowers reinforce the bright colors while adding freshness and more life to your space.

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Summer Décor Ideas

By Gina G.

          Summer is in full swing.  If you’re looking for ways to incorporate this favorite season into your space, consider some of the most popular summer décors.

Nautical–  A nautical décor is a traditional decorating option to bring the spirit of summer into a space.  Drawing upon the essence of being at sea, nautical décor includes anything relating to sailing.  Common elements to nautical décor are the presence of certain colors and decorative items alluding to boats or the sea.  White, navy and darker wooden colors can represent a nautical theme.  Decorative items such as bleached wooden furniture and wall décor, oars, rope, sails, and other boating items can also contribute to your nautical theme.  Wooden blinds or bamboo shades are great options for window treatments for spaces with this theme.

Tropical–  Nothing screams summer more than a tropically themed décor.  Tropical themed rooms allude to island living and therefore have beachy elements.    To achieve this décor, plants and greenery are essential.  Consider a bamboo plant, or other vine-like plants (hanging or potted) for your space.  Bright, cheerful colors such as aqua, turquoise, coral, tangerine, and canary yellow can add a lightness to a space and therefore represent a tropical theme room.  For your windows, consider solar shades or bamboo shades as they can aid in adding a natural element to the space.

Southwestern–  Southwestern design is a popular option for summer décor as it represents designing with the desert in mind.  Adding greenery such as cactus can be an easy option to decorate a southwestern themed space.  Geometric shapes and patterns representative of Native American culture are essential to this décor.  Rugs, pillows and blankets are typically utilized to incorporate this theme into a room.  Finally, rust, red, blues, oranges, and golds are great paint options for walls in a southwestern décor.

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Bringing Summer Inside

By Steven M.

While many people run inside to avoid the side effects that come with summer, decorating the inside of your home with summer in mind is a great idea. Freshening the look of your home based on the season is a great way to keep your decor from getting stale or boring, making every day bright and fun. Using bold colors to splashy prints, a few easy decor updates can make your home feel like a summer getaway. Plus, summer is the season for entertaining, bot inside and out.

Summer is the perfect time to try and incorporate floral prints into your decor. From rugs and shower curtains to  throw pillows and curtains, it’s easy to add a pop of nature to any room in your house, without having to worry about watering and maintaining it. However if you feel inclined and able to take care of plants, this would also be a great idea to add to your home. Fresh flowers allow not only color but also the feeling of nature within the walls of your house.

In addition to floral print, adding bold textures to your home can also give the feeling of summer. Burlap and linen are popular choices for this , giving a beachy feel to any room, who wouldnt wanna feel like they’re at the beach even while in their own living room. Anything utilizing natural fibers , such as wicker, is another way to incorporate texture into your space. All of these elements make for a relaxed and casual feel. These days a room without color or texture is simply unheard of , regardless of the season. 

No matter your decor style updating for the seasons is a great way to keep your decor in style.  Swapping our a few elements can be a fast and easy way to make your home feel new and in line with the seasons.  Summer is a great time to add different textures new colors or patterns. Any chance to add freshness and life such as plants are perfect for this time of year as well.

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Tips and Advice

Reading Fun

Reading Fun
Of course, there are lots of fun active things to do all summer, but to keep your kids ready for school work, there are a few fun reading activities you can do with them throughout the summer. The key is to make it fun, and not have them realize they are doing work! Who knows, your kids might even enjoy reading (I did)!

– Create a bucket list. Start by brainstorming. If they are at a loss for books they want to read, take them to the library and bookstore, and let them roam until they can find 10-12 books that sound good to them. As they complete the list throughout the summer, give them a small incentive for completing each book. (Customize the incentive to each child – a late night up, an ice cream, a small item from a toy store.)

– Make a bingo board game. Whether it’s one child, or a few children, you can just make it a race to complete bingo. Make fun squares – like “reading at night with a flashlight,” “reading outside wearing sunglasses,” “reading to a friend,” “reading in a bathing suit.” Again, the great part is you can customize it to things you know would be fun for them. Being that this game would take a little longer to complete, make a bigger incentive – pizza night, or a day at the beach.

– If you aren’t feeling too creative, contact the local library. Find out what their summer reading programs are – they all have something, some more involved than others, but chances are one of the local libraries will have something that sounds fun to your kids.

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DIY Tips and Advice

Young Entrepreneurs

School is out and the kids are home! The weather is nice and it’s a great time to spend quality time with the children. A great way to do that is setting up a lemonade stand! The kids can help make the lemonade. Grab a few fresh lemons and cut them in half. Juice them into a pitcher. Add sugar, water and ice. You can also make it a “fancy” drink by adding raspberries. Drop some raspberries to the bottom of the pitcher and crush them with a large spoon. Then you can do the traditional steps to make lemonade. Squeeze the lemons; add water, sugar and ice. Construct a lemonade stand by taking an ordinary desk or table and tie a large sign to the front. The sign should say “Lemonade!” and the cost of each cup. If you don’t want to charge, you don’t have to. It can show the kids to be more kind to people by offering them a free cool beverage. This is a great way to spend time outside, and show kids what it is like to own their own business. It would teach them to be nice to customers and at the same time they are learning basic people skills and the value of a dollar. At the end of the lemonade sale, take them to the toy store and they can spend their earnings!

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DIY General Inspiration

This Summer Thar Be Treasure

This Summer That Be Treasure

What kid doesn’t love a good hide and seek? Now that school is out, your kids will be out playing in the water sprinkler to cool off, or maybe in the pool pretending to be a shark or even a pirate!? A fun activity to help your small pirate is to give them a treasure hunt they will never forget.
To prepare this fun game grab a piece of paper and in large letters write a clue to where the treasure will be. (Depending on the children’s age make the riddle easy or hard) After writing the riddle, turn the paper over and start tearing the paper into about eight to ten small pieces. On each piece, write a clue that tells where the next piece is. (One way to keep track of the pieces is to number a corner of each piece.) Work your way down in numbers, so piece nine is a clue to where clue ten is, piece eight tells where clue nine is, and so on. Piece number one must be given to the kid(s) to start the hunt. Once they have all 10 pieces then can fit them together and turn it over to reveal the last clue/riddle of where the treasure is!
To the parents that wish to go all out and make the treasure hunt more realistic take another paper and pour some black coffee on it to give it the very old and dark brown look. After the paper dries write a small story of how buried treasure was hidden in the house and clue were left all around to the whereabouts of it. put clue one in the paper and roll it up and tie a string around it. putting the rolled up story somewhere noticable. when the kids come home say you were cleaning and you found something and ask them to go grab it, when they open it and read it or have you read it, watch as their eyes light up with excitement to go on a treasure hunt in their own home.
Good luck me mates, Yo Ho!


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General Tips and Advice

Summer Plans

Sometimes, the hardest part of summer is having too much time on your hands. Every morning, coming up with a plan of what to do with your children can be a daunting task. A great solution one of my friends suggested to me was to make a big chart at the begining of the summer full of fun ideas. +
The best way to do it is to get everyone involved. Hold a fun family night – and get everyone thinking (last year I got everyone hats and called them their thinking caps). Get a big piece of poster board, and number before your night begins (also find a wall – we usually put it in our kitchen, where it will be hung for the whole summer). Decide going into the night what the minimum amount of ideas you would want to come up with is. Generally 20-30 ideas is a good start depending on your schedule.
Then start brainstorming, and fill it in. Make sure to come up with a variety – time and cost of the events – don’t let the kids create a list that would bankrupt you by the end of summer – and don’t come up with too many ideas that will only last five minutes.
Some fun ideas to contribute:
– Go for a hike
– Swim in a lake
– Build a sand castle
– Make cupcakes
– Camp out in the backyard
– Go to an amusement park
– Sign books out of the library
– Have a pizza party with friends
The best part is, because everyone is contributing to the list, they will already think the ideas are fun, and you won’t have to be too creative on a 90 degree day in July (when all you want to do is sit at the beach and not move a muscle!)

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DIY General Inspiration

Summer Memory Jars

Looking for a unique way to capture your vacation memories? Try making a summer memory jar.
On your next vacation or trip to the beach or park, bring along a few small containers or plastic bags. Put a handful of sand or dirt in a container. Also collect small interesting objects such as stones, shells, feathers and twigs. You never know what treasures you’ll find if you keep your eyes open.
When you get home, find an empty clear glass jar. Put the sand or dirt in the bottom and arrange the other items on top. If you like, you can also add a photograph from the trip or a card with the date and location written on it. All that’s left to do is seal it up, display and enjoy.

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DIY General Tips and Advice

Summer’s here!!

Summer’s here and kids are ready to have fun!! What better way to have fun than some diy outdoor games?  My kids and I love spending time outdoors; the fresh air and exercise are great for the body and mind; and there’s no better way to tire out a toddler!! Great night sleep yay!!
Here’s some fun ideas to get you started:
1. Sponge bombs – these are a fave with my 3 yr old.
Take 3 sponges and cut the lenghtwise into 3 pieces. Then take all 9 pieces and secure in the middle with an elastic. Fluff it up like a pouf ball. We have about 6 of these. soak in a bucket and throw.
2. Foam pit: a fave for my 1.5 yr old
So pool noodles can be used for so many things. Cut them up into 3″ pieces, and fill up a kiddy pool. Add a slide and its like a ball pit but softer. Fill the kiddy pool with water first for even more fun!
3. An obstacle course:
My husband loves to make these in our backyard. We use chair’s, step’s, pool’s, painter’s tape, ball’s and block’s to create a course for the kid’s to climb on, jump over, jump in, climb under. Get creative, make tunnels; tightropes (skipping ropes on the ground); add a sprinkler, kids love the variety, you can change it everytime you do it and it’s free!
Most of all get outside and have fun playing. Its definitely one of the best ways to unwind after a long day or week, for you and your kid’s.
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