Friday, June 30, 2017

It's Party Time! Ensure Your Little Ones Have A Birthday To Remember

6/30/2017 07:53:00 PM 0 Comments


When it comes to your kid’s birthdays; the most important thing is to make some lasting family memories and to ensure that they feel special. If you’re thinking of throwing your little one a birthday party, there are several areas that can help them enjoy their day. You might feel a little daunted by everything there is to organize, but don’t; simply check out the following tips and ideas to help you plan then perfect celebration for your child. Get your notepad and pen ready to make a list, and let’s get going!

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Image from pixabay.com

Fun With Food

The party guests will all need some sustenance if they’re running around and enjoying the fun of the day. Therefore it’s important that there’s plenty of options for little (and big) hands to grab and nibble on. Whether you’re making everything yourself, buying food from the grocery store, or hiring in caterers (lucky little ones), you’ll need to provide a variety of options. Firstly; check that there’s the right balance of sweet and savory edibles and a good mixture of healthy nibbles and naughty treats (it is a party after all).

Starting with the sweet (and probably the most popular) things; cupcakes, lollies, ice cream, and cookies are all classic delights that will appeal to everyone, young and old. You don’t have to provide the whole lot; however, you can serve a variety upon paper plates around the table, or venue (more on that later), so that guests can pick up a pretty cake or iced cookies whenever they feel. For some inspiration on baking for kid’s parties, visit Pinterest and write down all your ideas and recipes. However, you might want to limit what you bring out and when you serve it, especially for younger children’s parties; you don’t want a load of sugar crashes all at the same time and everyone to leave in tears! Be creative with your decorations on baked treats; you could get the children to help and ice their names and age on things; as long as it tastes good, the kids will love it!

Savory options are quick and easy to rustle up yourself. For snacks; place bowls of potato chips and salted popcorn (you could always mix this with the sweet stuff too) around, so that party guests can grab a handful when they’re peckish. Sandwiches could be a mixture of fillings and on both white and wholemeal bread so that there are some healthier options. You could use cookie cutters to make the sandwiches into fun shapes, like dinosaurs or numbers, to ensure that every bit of the party has been thought through and reflects a theme. For more ideas on how to make your kids sandwiches fun, take a peek here: https://www.babble.com/best-recipes/recipes-sandwich-ideas-funny-food-kids-insanewiches/.

Don’t forget that the array of snacks you’ve provided can be fresh and healthy, and don’t have to leave the little ones on a sugar high. Vegetable sticks of carrot, celery, and cucumber are colorful, crunchy, and tasty additions to any table setting, and chopped cherry tomatoes can provide the perfect eyes to a salad face you’ve created! Chopped fruit and raisins are sweet alternatives to treats that are full of refined sugar; just appealingly present them, and the kids (and their parents) will thank you for it!

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A Photo-worthy Party Theme

If your children love a particular character, movie, book, or story at the moment; you already have an awesome theme to run with for their special day. The theme may influence the venue, the food, and who, or what, the kids arrive dressed as, so it’s worth putting some thought into. Whether it’s superheroes, Disney princesses, or Lego, that your child wants the party to revolve around; if you're making it fancy dress, you’ll need to send out the invites in good time and write what’s expected clearly (again, their parents will thank you for it). You could always provide a box of masks and costumes for the children to grab, especially if you don’t want to put any pressure on the party guests, or it’s a last-minute decision to run with a zoo animal theme.

There are an array of companies out there who specialize in kid’s parties, and children’s entertainment; so if you want to ease the pressure and hire in some help, these might be the perfect option you and your family. You can hire an individual entertainer, like a clown or a magician, or you could hire a company (or a team of fairies) to take care of the whole event; visit Fly by Fun to get some ideas on what’s achievable. If you decide to run with a movie, or kid’s T.V program; you could book a venue, like a movie theater or somewhere with a large projector screen, and the kids can sit down with their popcorn to watch the animation. Book and story ideas often suit an outdoor or garden setting, an Alice In Wonderland tea party, for example, would be the perfect event to hold in your backyard or at a local park. There are a plethora of options when it comes to party serve ware too; the most popular children’s characters of the time often have a range of printed paper cups, plates, and bunting, to choose from (and they’re always disposable, so no washing up).

If your little one’s party is a classic and traditional get-together, full of party games and food; a color or printed theme will tie the whole event together. You could go with classic candy stripes, or polka dots, in a specific color that your kid loves (even if it’s lime green), or a mix of rainbow hues. Remember, it’s an event for children to enjoy, not a grown-up party, so pick bright and vivid shades when you’re buying your balloon, paper streamers, table cloths, and bunting. Tieing crepe paper ribbons on the backs of chairs and throwing down colorful cushion and blankets, are great ways to infuse a cheery, kid-friendly, addition to the day.

For some ideas on traditional party games and competitions with a twist, take a look here: http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/celebrations/party-planning/8-party-games-with-a-twist (and get your notepad out again). You don’t have to spend a fortune; children are often just excited to be at a party, especially if they’re dressed-up and eating cake, so you can keep it as simple, or as elaborate, as you want.

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Image found here

Party Bags And Prizes

It’s always a treat to take home a treat or a prize (or both) from a party, whether it’s for winning a game or simply for attending, so start thinking about those little things that you can hand out. Again, this is an area that doesn’t require loads of money (unless you want it to) and you can be creative with what you give to guests. Party bags are a lovely memento to take away from the party, and kids will be excited to open them up in the car on the way home. You can fill them will edible treats, like a slice of the birthday cake wrapped in a themed napkin, small bags of candy or raisins, or maybe a selection of what you’ve been serving throughout the day (a great way to save money).

As for small games and toys; there are always options to buy little party bag fillers in bulk to save money, and kids are usually just excited to grab what’s inside their bag, so don’t put too much stress into your decision. Puzzle games are a great way to keep them occupied and quiet after their parents have collected them, or perhaps you could pop in a tiny figurine that relates to the party theme. If you’re feeling creative, you could print off your own party-related quiz, puzzles, and pictures to color; then add in a little box of pencil or wax crayons for the children to use. You can roll up any paper or cardboard additions in ribbon, or use stickers to seal them; it just depends on how far you want the color palette and theme of the party to travel.

When it comes to party prizes from games like, pass the parcel and musical chairs, you can simply grab those little bags of candy again, or use chocolate bars. For a more official selection of prizes, you could print out certificates, or get medals and a trophy made; a little awards ceremony at the end of a sports themed party would go down a treat (and it could be something that the parents could come and enjoy too).

Whatever you choose to do for your little one’s birthday party, they will love the effort you made and will grow up appreciating their childhood memories. Make sure that you take plenty of photos, and keep special family birthday cards, so that you and your kids will have something to back over together as they grow up. Bear in mind that your kids will remember how they felt and the fun they had on their special day, over any color schemes and cookie designs. So, focus on them having a magical experience, over spending loads of money on specific decorations, and you’ll create memories to treasure for a lifetime.

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The Basic Home Improvements We All Love To Hate

6/30/2017 05:49:00 PM 0 Comments


When you own a home, over the years you’ll find that you have a lot of tasks to take on. Not only do you hand standard problems to fix when they crop up, but you’ll go through a series of home improvements too. Some will be exciting, and you’ll love every second of getting them done, but others - well, they can be less so. Because there are those kinds of basic, borderline boring home improvements that we love to hate. They feel tedious to complete, but we all get secretly excited about them when they’re all up and running.

Rewiring

Whether you move into a super old house, are building one from scratch, or come across a problem in your own home, there can be a lot of reasons for why you may need to rewire. When you find out you need to, you can often pull your hair out. Not only is it a big job, but it can be expensive too. So it’s definitely not something you can be excited about. Or, can it? Because there really is something about having fresh new wiring, new sockets in places that you want them to be and fab new lighting aren't there!

New Pipes

Next, there are also times when you need to get new pipes. Again, this can be quite similar to the rewiring ideas. When you’re building your own house or doing one up, you may find that you have burst or old pipes that just can’t cut it. So, you may need to speak to experts like Green Planet Plumbing that can advise you on the problem and implement a new water system if you need it. Although it may sound basic, there’s nothing quite like a new water pressure and fresh heating systems in a new home.

Fresh Windows

When your home has old windows, you may find that they not only look gross, but they let out a lot of heat and bring the cold in. So, you may need to get new windows for your home. It sounds boring at first, but new window designs can completely transform the look of your house. And that’s something to get excited about.

Replastering

Plastering is not a job that everyone loves to do - even when you can in the professionals. But when you’re renovating your home, there can be so many reasons why you need a new plaster. From extending or changing the layout, to cracked or damp walls, plastering can often be a must. But, when you have smooth walls and clean lines at the end of it, you’ll be super glad you did it.

A Fresh Lick Of Paint

And at times, your home just needs a good lick of paint. Painting isn’t always a great job to do. It can be time-consuming and messy and generally stress you out. But, it sure does look incredible. Whether you decide to repaint the outside or change the colors inside, a painting might be a super annoying job, but it always looks fantastic when you’re finished.





The Ultimate List Of Professional Contacts For Your Renovation Project

6/30/2017 05:40:00 PM 0 Comments


When it comes to renovating your home, you can often underestimate just how much work there is to get done. Even if you’ve planned out every single stage, you have to admit; there is a lot of stuff that needs to happen. And with every stage, there’s often a professional that goes with it. So, that means that you’re either going to need to get on with the work yourself if you’re qualified or know somebody that can do it for you. If you make a habit out of renovation work, the latter may come in handy. So, here is the ultimate list of the professionals you should keep in contact with to get the job done.

The Architect

One of the first professionals you will need for the project could be an architect. Not every renovation project will need one, but some do. If you’re planning on building anything or adding to the property, you will need someone to draw up the plans. And if you’re knocking down and starting from scratch, or building your own home, you will most definitely need an architect to help you put your vision down into a constructible format.

The Planners

Then there are the planners. Now, these guys may not always seem like your friends, but you’re going to have to work with them on most projects, so you need to get used to the way you work. When you’re building anything, a lot of plans may need to pass your state department’s approval. So, you’re going to need to know who to go to and what you need to please them and fast.

The Building Inspector

These guys can be handy across different parts of your renovation project, so you’re going to want to know the right people for the job. Building inspectors may seem to terrify you, but they’re there to work with you and make sure your project is safe. With different reporting services like the one's Exceptional Building Inspections offer, you can make sure your project is safe to work on, or even fit to pass approval for living in. It’s a step you have to pass, so get smart on who you need for the job.

The Contractors

Next, you’re also going to have a ton of contractors to work with. If you’re project managing yourself, then you’ve probably got some kind of renovation checklist or a loose plan on what needs to be done in what order. Now, just looking at that list, you’ll see a whole bunch of different contractors, from the electrician to the roofing guy. So, you’re going to need to know the right contractors for each job that needs completing.

The Interior Designer

And finally, you may find that you’re working with an interior designer to complete the project. Sometimes, you’ll find it easier to get your ideas into action with an experienced designer. Or if you’re working on a commercial project, you may feel that the job is best left to them. So, you’re going to need to know the right interior designer for the job.




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

5 Easy Ways To Get More Fruits And Veg In Your Diet

6/28/2017 10:17:00 PM 0 Comments


Everybody knows that vegetables and fruits are full of healthy nutrients for the body. However, most people find it difficult to introduce veg and fruits healthily into their diet. The typical cauliflower drown in cheese sauce, or fried mushrooms in BBQ sauce might be a way to get your five a day, but it is far from being healthy. When it comes to your diet, you need to consider two main things: First of all, are you getting all the nutrients you need – this means proteins, carb, minerals, vitamins, and a small dose of fat – and secondly are you consuming those within a healthy meal? Indeed, aside from preparing a salad or using your veg as a quick and yummy snack, it can seem difficult to think of healthy recipes with vegetables – or fruits – that do not taste like fitness food. As a result, it’s not uncommon to rely on processed sauce and sugar to turn healthy food into tasty yum. This is, unfortunately, defying the purpose of healthy nutrients. Care to find out new ways of enjoying your fruits and vegetables?





Soups Are A Life-Saver All Year Round
Soups are the best way to enjoy delicious nutrients all year round. While you may be thinking of warm root and vegetable soups in winter, don’t forget about the summer soups that can cool you down during a hot day. The Andalusian gazpacho is a favorite along the Mediterranean area as it combines the best of natural ingredients: Fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber with a dash a fruity olive oil and a hint of garlic for taste. It’s difficult to resist! It’s a cold soup that you can prepare in advance and keep in the fridge until it’s time to serve. Or you can also use your fresh tomatoes in a creamy tomato soup. The homemade recipe, with roasted peppers for a tangy taste, beats the canned soup you can find in the shop every single time.







Cheat With Smart Tools
The main complaint about preparing meals with vegetables – or with fruits – is the prep time. If you still rely on the good old kitchen knife, it’s no wonder that you find it tricky to prepare your healthy meals. You need to introduce smart tools into your kitchen and your cooking routine, starting with a blender to prepare anything from a quick salsa to crushed almonds for your overnight oats. HealthyButSmart gives a fair review of the most famous blender brands and their performances if you need a hand to pick the right blender for your needs. Additionally, you can combine your blender with a spiralizer to enjoy a full range of prep options for your meals. Want healthy pasta? Use the spiralizer on your zucchinis or your sweet potatoes. Time for a chunky nutritious smoothie? Use the blender with your favorite berries!


Grow Your Own For More Excitement


Simple things can change your attitude to vegetables, such as growing your own. Indeed, you will naturally feel more excited at the idea of eating organic and healthy food if it comes from your garden. It’s more than a sense of its provenance; it’s also a feeling of pride. It’s something that you’ve produced yourself. There is no comparison; your home grown tomatoes, carrots and lettuces will also taste better than anything you can find in shops. Additionally, you are more likely to want to use them in their purest form, to enjoy their fresh taste – which is not true of everyday shop products.


How About A Veggie/Fruity Sauce?
Ketchup and other processed sauces are the worst enemies of a healthy diet. But have you considered using fruits and veg as part of the sauce? If you are thinking of preparing a nice seafood curry dish, you can consider changing the tomato or coconut sauce base for something more exotic. For instance, a mango and prawn sauce is the ideal complement to your rice or even naan bread. Or how about replacing the usual ketchup on your grilled meat by a spicy tomato salsa, that uses fresh tomatoes, spring onions, garlic, and a dash of sherry vinegar?





The Refreshing Flavoured Water
Finally, think about your drinks. While most people think of blending a fruit or vegetable juice, you could just as easily prepare fantastic flavored water. 52KitchenAdventures is a great website where you can find plenty of recipes to spice up your water. For a wake-up drink in the middle of the day, pineapple or kiwi water is a great alternative. If you’re looking for something more subtle, you can try cucumber or watermelon to get started. Grapefruit and ginger might need some getting used to if you prefer sweet tastes, but they are ideal for a warm day.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Planning Saves Pennies: Renovating Your Home At Half The Cost

6/27/2017 08:44:00 AM 0 Comments


There can be all sorts of reasons that you might want to renovate. No matter what the underlying desire might be, it is likely that you will be keen on saving as much money as possible in the process. Nobody wants to spend more than necessary on anything, not least a home renovations. There are others still who will have to find ways to save money as a necessity. After all, not everyone is in a particularly strong financial position, but might well still be keen to renovate a room or perhaps even their entire home. If either of those scenarios sound familiar, then it is a good idea to take a look through the following. Here are some great ways to renovate your home (or part of it) without breaking the bank.

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Knowing What You Want

One of the most important factors of all here is that you are really fully aware of what you want to achieve with your renovation. This is important for a huge range of reasons, but most of all it means that you are more likely to save a lot of money in the process. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, if you have planned out your renovation in as much fine detail as you can, you will find that you are more able to know how much money to get together for the whole process. It is also much less likely that you will have to overspend in order to get it done, as you will have planned everything from the start in fine detail.

However, don’t be alarmed if you do still go over-budget a little. This can happen very easily, and it is generally a result of prices changing. You can only avoid this happening to a certain degree, so try not to worry too much about it. The fact still remains that you can save a great deal of money very easily by sitting down and working out a plan diligently and with great attention to detail at the beginning of the project. When you do this, you should try to include everything you can, from the cost of labor if you are getting the professionals in, to how much materials and tools are likely to set you back. It is only by being this detailed that you can expect to save as much money as you like.

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Mixing & Matching

Some methods of saving money during a renovation are particularly clever, and this next one is one such method. If you want to save money, but you still want to achieve a professional and stately finish to your renovation, then you can achieve both of those ends by simply mixing and matching a little. What we mean here is that you mix some more expensive and luxurious items with many cheaper, off the cuff items. You might be surprised at how easily you can achieve the kind of look you want by approaching it this way - and yet you will be spending much less than if you splashed out on all those top-range products.

When you do this, however, be sure not to overdo it, as you might find that this results in a renovated room which does not really have the effect that you are going for. You want a renovation that has something of the eclectic to it, not over-the-top, as this might only look cluttered instead. As long as you approach this particular method with a little care, you should find that you are able to dramatically reduce the amount that you spend on the goods you are decorating your home with, and yet you can achieve exactly what you want to in terms of the finished effect.


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Saving Before You Buy

As we have seen, there are many different materials and goods that you need to get hold of in order to carry out any renovation. You can only limit the amount you need to buy a certain amount. But you can find ways to save how much you actually need to spend on those things, and this might well be a lot easier than you might have thought. As it happens, saving money on the necessary items can be pretty easy. Mostly all you need is to find the right store to suit your own wallet. But you can also save a lot of money by using a coupon site like Coupon Sherpa - Coupons, Promo Codes & Printable Coupons are all available at these sites, and you might be surprised at just how many things you can find coupons for. Using coupons might mean that you can treat yourself to exactly the furniture and decorations that you want, without having to go for a second or third choice.

As well as coupons, you might be able to save money simply by gaining some store credit in one or more stores that you intend to shop in. This might take some time, but it is definitely worthwhile, especially when you find that you have saved a great deal on your furniture. Do this, and your renovation might soon be much cheaper than you had ever expected it to be.


Renovating One Room At A Time

Sometimes, it will be necessary to ensure that you only renovate one room at a time in order to save money. This works because if you spread it apart you can easily save enough money for the next round of renovations. This is often a good solution if you want to renovate your whole home, or most of it, but can’t afford to do so all in one go. However, be sure to order the rooms in the right way, as the order you renovate them in can make a big difference to how much you spend in the long run. You should consider going for smaller and less important rooms first. Generally, these will be cheaper, as well as providing decent practice opportunities for the larger and more important rooms. You can then move on to those after you have given yourself some time to find the necessary funds.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

The Rise Of The Silver Surfer

6/26/2017 09:50:00 PM 0 Comments


One of the life’s frustrations is trying to explain to an elderly relative how to do their online shopping. The world has been so evolved digitally for so long that it doesn’t seem possible that there are still people who need help with their technology, and this is why there has been a huge rise in the older generation going online. Technology is constantly changing, and for those of us who were born into this digital age, it’s something we take in our stride. We queue for upgraded tablets and iPhones overnight. We update our software regularly and we even learn the HTML language of computers in schools. This change is so huge that the older generation of our parents and their parents often have no idea what we are talking about when it comes to our computers.


With the evolution of the digital world and the world of communications, it’s so important to remember that while we have grown with a changing world, they have not. Our parents and grandparents taught us to walk, to use the potty and to eat with a spoon, so we really shouldn’t laugh when help is needed to understand video chat and how to write an email! Instead, we should be thinking of ways we can help our older generation learn all about the internet and how to use their smartphones for something other than a phone call. The view that the internet is a young person’s prerogative is an outdated one, and we should be encouraging our elders to advance themselves as much as possible. The retirement age is further away than it used to be, and children flying the nest need to find cheaper communication alternatives than the phone. It’s for these reasons that we are seeing a rise in the elderly generations using and learning about technology, thus being dubbed ‘the silver surfers’.
It’s easy for us to forget that once we’ve left home, our parents will be just fine. However, it’s a lonely world out there, especially if they have mobility issues. It’s for this reason an understanding of the virtual world is important to be able to broaden their horizons, and it’s up to us to teach them how they can expand their knowledge. For those of us who grew up with the latest and greatest Skype advances, we often forget to consider that technology can feel like a huge obstacle to someone who still writes pen and paper letters. It’s one thing to teach someone how to write an email and quite another to assist them in Microsoft word training, where you may need to invest in programs explaining what to do. Assisting an elderly relative in getting online is actually valuable for their ability to communicate as they get older, so have some patience! Before you embark on teaching your mother or father how to use FaceTime, it’s all about the basics and understanding the biggest obstacles ahead is important. We’ve put together a list of things that elderly people struggle with the most when it comes to learning about technology.


  1. Health Issues. Have you ever sat in the office with repetitive strain injury in your wrists from prolonged typing? Imagine trying to handle that pain with arthritis. It’s all fine to teach someone how to do their online shopping or writing emails, but sometimes physical and mental health issues can hinder someone’s learning experience online. Even the simple things, such as remembering where the volume button is located and how to use a mouse can be beyond someone new to a computer or tablet. Creating an instructional booklet on the basics of turning a computer on is something you can do for them to read and slowly memorise in their own time.
  2. Accessibility. It’s common among the elderly that sight and hearing fail, so if you can set up their computer or tablet to have bigger writing and a louder volume, or narrating help, you would be helping exponentially. You’ll know that the options are usually found in the programs on the Start menu, but your elderly grandparent may not.
  3. Touch. A computer with the tiny letters written on the keys may not be the best option for an elderly person. There has been research that has shown that touch screens are actually easier to operate and as they are portable, the lack of wires is not as intimidating as a full desktop computer. The goal here is to make like as easy as possible so always assist with a tablet instead of a full computer. Be aware, that if your relative has shaky hands, you need to adjust the settings to make the screen less sensitive to be able to respond appropriately.
  4. Language Barrier. As you will have grown up with technology and digital education, you would recognise words like ‘buffering’, ‘cookies’ and ‘anti-virus’. Words that are strange to an elderly relative can be very intimidating, so when you set them up with their new technology, add a list of words NOT to worry about and a list of words that should be queried. Get this laminated and stuck to a wall or on the back of their tablet. This way, when they face something they don’t understand, they won’t panic and believe they’ve broken their kit.
  5. Going Live. You can teach the basics about a computer without it being complicated. If you have a tablet, discussing the apps they’d like to use (news sites, games, weather apps) and making them the forefront of the computer can really help. You can ensure that you aren’t going to scare them off with too many apps and things at once. Knowing that most of these are free will also go a long way, as it’s easy to mistake the fact that they won’t be paying every time they click on something.


Going online at an elderly age is all about confidence, and if you can help just one relative add themselves to a list of savvy silver surfers, you’ve done your bit!