How To Ensure Your Home Is An Attractive One

 

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Pxhere Image Source: Photo of a nature inspired lounging area

 

Your home is such an important aspect of your life, as it’s the place you grow and create new memories every single day. Not only that, but it’s your protector; your security, and it keeps you safe, dry, and warm, which is an extremely fortunate thing to have. For that reason, you should always try and make your home look and feel it’s best because it’s the least it deserves. It gives you so much, so in return, you should make it pretty and special, while having it reflect you and your personality. No matter how similar a house may be to another, you and your style are what gives it that magical edge and uniqueness.

 

One important thing to remember when giving your home that extra flare, is that you’re doing it for you, not anyone else. Sure, it’s a lovely feeling to invite guests round and have them compliment your interior design and special features – it’s a huge pat on the back after all the hard work and cares you’ve put into it. But this shouldn’t be your driving force – your happiness should be what drives you to create your very own beauty.

 

Understandably, if you’re not that familiar in the area of interior design, you may find it very hard to know where to start and what exactly to do with the space you have. This is why it always helps to do your research and seek out inspiration. This can be anything from looking through magazines, browsing the web, or even seeking some inspiration from the great outdoors. Remember that mother nature has created so much beauty without the help of anyone and that in itself is enough to give you the confidence to let go and be free, while expressing yourself throughout your home.

 

Here are some ideas to help get you started.

 

Nature

Flowers and plants are such a stunning thing to have within your home as a way of brightening it up, and better yet you can place them in every single room and not have to be concerned about overdoing it. You don’t even need to worry about leaving your home either, instead, you can look at a wide selection with companies like Lakes Floral and have them delivered right to your door. Plants not only look pretty and freshen up the area, but they even purify the air while balancing the level of humidity you have. And let’s not forget about the lovely smelling scent that comes with all of that.

 

Art

One of the best things about art is the fact that there are no rules whatsoever, and everything can and will be interpreted into so many different stories and emotions. If you’re a creative sort, then you should have a go at creating your own art, be it a sculpture, a painting, or whatever else you’re able to do. There are no restrictions, so don’t feel nervous to let loose and go wild – that’s what art is all about. If you’re not looking to do the work yourself though, then you can seek out art from essentially anywhere you like. It’s always nice to look up local artists around your area as a pose to shopping commercially, as this not only helps out raw talent but also ensures you are getting your own unique piece.

 

Colour

Colour is such an expressive form and can mean so many different things, especially depending on how you go about using it. It’s a good idea to have a think about a color scheme or the overall theme you’re trying to achieve, as that way you have a basis of where to go and what to do. The most common way of coming up with a color scheme is to choose the main color, and then a secondary color that compliments the first, but also has a strong enough contrast to make it stand out and visually pop. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd and go a little older than you usually would. For example, you may never think that charcoal grey would work with a peacock blue or a burnt orange, and yet the contrast is so striking that it brings everything together.

Now you have a few ideas, have a good look around your home and see what needs that little bit more attention. And remember, it’s a trial and error process, so if something doesn’t necessarily work out how you thought it would – it’s easy enough to change.

8 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Clothes

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Whilst you can always sell and donate old clothes, there could be other ways to get extra use out of them. Here are just eight ways to repurpose those old garments gathering dust in your wardrobe.

 

Turn your sweater into a winter hat and mittens

Got an old sweater that you no longer wear? You could upcycle it into a winter hat and mittens. The collar on a sweater can make the perfect rim of a hat – you can simply cut a section out and sew it together to form a hat. You can meanwhile cut off parts of the sleeves to make your own makeshift matching mittens. It’s also possible to make beanies and slouchies using old sweaters (you can also repurpose cardigans and use the buttons as features).

 

Turn your t-shirt into an infinity scarf

You can create all kinds of new items of clothing using an old t-shirt from a crop top to a skirt. If you’re looking for a simple craft project, however, an infinity scarf could be a great project to try. This can be done by simply cutting a strip out from around the collar of a shirt. It’s also possible to make a scarf using the sleeves.

 

Make your own headband

Another simple DIY upcycling project could be to make your own headband from recycled clothes. If you’ve got a t-shirt with an elasticated collar, this could be perfect for turning into a headband. You could also make your own denim headband out of old jeans.

 

Make a quilt out of t-shirts

For those feeling a little more ambitious, it’s also possible to turn your old t-shirts into a quilt. This could be a great way to upcycle lots of old shirts. There are companies out there that sell quilts made from t-shirts – you could try one of these companies if you don’t fancy taking on this craft project yourself. Quilts can also be made out of other clothes such as jackets and jeans.

 

Turn your shirts into pillowcases

To go with your quilt, you could also try making some of your own makeshift pillowcases from old shirts. You can do this by simply cutting the sleeves off and then sewing up the armholes and neckhole (you could even add your own zip to the bottom). You can also make your own sofa cushions using this method.

 

Make your own tote bag

It’s also possible to turn an old t-shirt or jumper into a tote bag. This can be done by cutting the sleeves off and cutting the neckline away and then sewing up the bottom. You can decide how deep you want the bag to be by choosing where to sew the bottom of the bag.

 

Cover a notebook in denim

For a cool and unique notebook cover, you could consider using an old pair of jeans. By using the top of the jeans you can make use of the pockets (these could be used to store pens or pencils). It’s also possible to use other types of clothing to make your own notebook covers.  

 

Create DIY dog toys

If you’ve got a pet dog, you could even try turning your old clothes into chew toys. By twisting a few old t-shirts together and knotting them at one end, you can make your own tug toy. You can also repurpose jeans and leather jackets for tougher dog toys. This could be a great way of saving money on dog toys.

Has Your Home’s Value Increased Since You Moved In?

 

Property is one of the best investment you can ever make. As the saying goes, ‘buy land because God isn’t making anymore of it’. Once you do have land, it’s very difficult for it to lose its value from the current state that you bought it in. Even homes that are troubled by severe flooding almost every year won’t necessarily go down in value. They may stay stagnant but decreasing is extremely rare. Only when certain issues arise will this happen such as when pesky critters such as moles and gophers begin to dig holes in the earth. So if you are a homeowner you should be silently confident that your home has gone up in value. You’re sitting in an investment that could net you a very handsome profit if you ever do choose to sell. Time is the main thing that increases the value of the land. As more and more homes are built and on smaller patches of earth, your current home might be the best on your street due to its inherently bigger size. The question is how much has your home’s value increased?


 

 

What have you done?

If you have done something to your home that can be seen as improvements, this can greatly improve the value of your home. Perhaps you have built a garage on a portion of the front or back garden. Maybe you have even installed a jacuzzi outside or possibly had a swimming pool built outdoors. These are some of the things that can increase the value of your home. The increases will vary from construction to construction but the more leisure activities the home or gardens have the higher the fetching price will be in the listings. For example, a jacuzzi can end up putting 75-80% of the cost it took to build on top of your home’s value. For example, if it cost you $30,000 to put in, it could add $55,000 to your home’s value.

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Out of your hands

Sometimes it’s not what you do, but what happens around your home that can increase its value. Living close to natural scenic beauty is definitely something that will add value, but having it blocked off by a public fence, another property or trees might negate this factor. Complex calculations like the home value estimator on William Pitt uses an algorithm to see what’s popular with potential buyers and how those trends affect your property’s value. They also factor in nearby sales so you can get a gist of the general consensus of what other homes in your neighborhood are worth. Sometimes you just have to sit tight and allow the world around you to increase your home’s worth but knowing when you should sell is something you will need to study.

The general rule of thumb is that if there are more buyers than sellers, the average property will increase in value depending on how popular the area and features are. Building something like a garage for vehicles is a practical element that will definitely be usable for any buyer. On the other hand, just sit tight and see how the world around you changes and study your neighborhood’s general sale prices.

How to Show Respect for Your Child

One of the great frustrations as a parent is when children don’t respect the rules that you have in the home or are just a little disrespectful in general. Of course, all parents want their children to be kind and polite with everyone that they come into contact with. But this isn’t always going to be the case. You can see as they get older, particularly into their teenage years that they can snap back or lack respect for some people, which can be disappointing. But the good news is that no matter what the age of your children, there are still plenty of things that we can do to encourage a healthy and mutual respect for one another. When we show our children respect, they are likely to mimic it, as they will feel strengthened and empowered by how they are being treated.

 

With all of that in mind, here are some of the ways that you can show respect to your children and avoid those power struggles that can come at all different ages.

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Ask Fewer Questions

We as parents want to know what our children have been doing when we are not there, or what they have been thinking about or doing. But when they are barraged with questions, is it any surprise that they are reluctant to answer? Being tight-lipped doesn’t mean that they don’t necessarily want to share, they just want to control how and where they do so. So give them a little space, and let them know that you’re there when they want to talk.

 

Let Them Choose

It can be really easy as parents to take control and choose what they are going to wear and get them dressed, just because it may be quicker. But if you follow the Montessori method of teaching, then you do need to give them choice. This helps them to feel respected as they can have a say in things. Something as small as choosing what they wear can be a good sign of respect, as well as putting them in control. We may still feel like we should be bathing or washing our kid’s hair, but they can certainly get on and do it themselves, especially when they are at school. Give them choices and it will help the respect between you as they can feel more grown up and like they have more responsibility.

 

Let Them Speak

When you go and visit family or meet with friends, often they will ask your children things like how school is or what their favorite thing to do is. They may be a little reluctant to share, but don’t jump in there to do it for them; give them the chance to speak. It helps them to show respect to the person asking the question, as well as them being shown respect by you as you don’t jump in to answer for them.

These are just some small examples, but it can make a difference. When there is mutual respect, wonderful things can happen.

DIY Rustic Wooden Signs For The Home

Wall decorations are a great way to breathe a bit of life into your home and make those blank walls a little more interesting. If you’re going for a rustic look in the home, some nice wooden signs are ideal. You can usually pick them up in antique stores but you’re paying a lot of money for something that is incredibly cheap to make. So, why not just make your own instead? It’s a great craft project that you can do with the kids so you’ve got a fun activity to do for the afternoon and some new decoration for the house at the same time. Here are some great tips on making your own wooden signs for the home.

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Sourcing The Wood

The first thing that you need to make a wooden sign is the wood itself. If you go to a hardware store, you can pick up a couple of bits fairly cheap but they won’t necessarily have the right look, especially if you’re trying to create a rustic aesthetic in your home. You want something that has a great rustic feel to it so it’s better to use reclaimed wood instead. It’s going to save you a bit of money as well which is always a bonus. You can use anything you like really, pallet crates are a good source of free reclaimed wood. If you can pick up some old wood that’s a bit rough around the edges with some paint still on it, it works perfectly for a great rustic looking sign.

 

Preparing The Wood

Now that you’ve found some wood, you need to prepare it before you can add whatever designs you want to your sign. If you’ve picked up some new wood, you shouldn’t need to do that much to it before you stain it. However, if you’re using reclaimed wood, it’ll need a bit more care. Get some sandpaper and take off all of the rough parts before you stain it. Visit thesummeryumbrella.com for a great guide on preparing wood to make signs.

 

Adding A Design

Once you’ve prepared the wood, you’re ready for the fun part; adding your own designs. There are a couple of different ways to do it. You can cut designs out of vinyl and stick them straight on to the wood for a professional finish. The only issue is that vinyl is a bit of a difficult material to work with, especially if you’re trying to cut out words. But if you can get a vinyl cutting machine (vinylcuttingmachineguide.com can help you find the right one) it makes life a lot easier. If you are doing a design with words, try not to make them too thin, otherwise, it’ll be difficult to apply it to the wood neatly.

Alternatively, you can paint the design on instead if you’ve got good painting skills. You can easily pick up a good oil-based paint that works well on wood from any hardware store or, if you’re in the mood for more crafts, you could try making your own paint instead. The only downside of painting is that it’s a bit of a pain if you make a mistake and you’ll have to strip the wood and start again. So, always make sure that you draw the designs on first with a pencil and paint carefully.

With a bit of practice, you can make some great wooden signs to put around your home.

An Important Life Skill: Starting To Teach Our Children To Take On More Responsibilities

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Responsibility is one of those things that we need to teach our children at some point, but we could feel that there is no need to do this until they are of a certain age. Responsibility starts early on in life, but how can we teach our children responsibility, no matter their age?

A Reward System

This is something we can start as soon as our children are mentally aware. They do something good, they get a reward. And this is the key to so many of the essentials in life that we want our children to do, from eating their greens to looking after the pet. It’s just that the reward turns into something different as your children get older. It could be chocolate, to begin with, but it could be something more substantial later in life.

Not Turning It Into A Chore

Rather than saying that our children have to do something, think about wording it in a different way so that they don’t feel like it’s a chore. Chores signify things that are boring, so consider making it part of the fun. For example, if your children don’t want to brush the family dog, ask your children to go and play with the dog instead, and take the brush with them. Sure, they may not brush the dog, to begin with, but if you can encourage them just to smooth the dog once, and the next time, they do it twice, it will have turned into a chore that they didn’t want to do, but has now become an automatic habit.

The Essential Duties

This is essential, especially when it comes to family pets, the essential duties like medication and hygiene are high up the scale of importance and as our children get older, we can trust them more with these duties, we can lay the foundations early on. We can do this by getting our children to sit with us while we administer the essential meds, or CBD oil, or whatever you need to do for the dog. And if the kids don’t know how much CBD oil for dogs is too much, then you’re there, guiding them every step of the way. As your children get older, and they get more comfortable with these very important duties, you can slowly step away safe in the knowledge that they know what they’re doing.

The Mindset Of “Cleaning Up After Our Own Mess”

And if you’ve got children that don’t take responsibility for anything, you’ve got an uphill battle. It’s important, as soon as possible, to teach your children that they are responsible for the mess that they make. If we lead by example and show that if we make a mess, we clear up after it ourselves, this sends the right message. But we have to keep reiterating this. These days, it’s easier for us to do something, rather than ask our children 50 times. But this has to stop. If you want to teach your children responsibility, it’s as important as getting your children to exercise, to study, and all of the important skills in life.

All Children Need Outside Time: Here’s How to Encourage It

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Every child should be able to get completely caked in mud and have a brilliant time hunting for worms but in our over-clean, over-protective modern world, fewer and fewer children have the opportunity to run wild. This is a major issue because exploring the natural world is one of the best ways to begin understanding its complexities and beauties.

 

The good news is that parents can still spark the love of the outdoors in their kids, it’s just going to take a little more creativity than our parents required! While running about on a pitch and getting exercise is a great start, here are a few ways to introduce your kids to the natural world they could easily miss.

Learn and Play in the Garden

Learning to cultivate plants is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a child and from grass heads to proper lawn care, a bit of soil, a few seeds, and some patience are all you need to get started. Try planting a few quick growers like grasses or cress with young children and then gradually progress onto plants that take a little longer and are a bit more difficult to grow.

 

Getting outside and into the garden is also a good way to introduce your children to the various other species that live and thrive there. Leave some bird food out to encourage visitors and don’t be afraid to rummage around to find bugs and critters. The more you see these creatures in their natural habitat, the easier it is to love them as part of the environment.

Go on Walks

We might think of ourselves as tamed indoor creatures but getting out to see the nature that surrounds us will always inspire us. Taking a short walk each week is a brilliant way to add secret exercise to your day but it is also a good way to connect with the seasons and notice any changes.

 

If you’re feeling creative, try collecting small items that you can make a collage with later on. Leaves, flowers, and twigs are all candidates for this sort of artistic activity. Young kids will probably need a bit of jollying along if you are on a long walk so remember to take snacks and drinks and play games as you go!

Build a Den

Whether it’s an amazing treehouse with a slide or a ramshackle hut, having a den is a great way to encourage your children to get outside and play. A kid-sized space is ideal for encouraging a bit more independence as well as giving them a space for messier activities.

 

Adding swings and fun decorations is a great idea to personalize the den. String lights can look really cool if your kids are old enough to be responsible in the dark but even simple bunting can make a huge difference. The more you can do to encourage your kids to get out into the sunshine and build and create the better so don’t make this easy for them!

Making Sure Your Little Ones Are Getting Enough Exercise

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With the development of technology, kids tend to prefer to spend their time browsing social media, watching their favorite cartoons and shows online, and playing games on their consoles. But it’s important that you encourage them to incorporate sufficient exercise into their routines as well. If your child is aged six or older, they should be getting at least one hour of physical activity a day in order to improve their strength and stamina and to promote healthy development. There are also other benefits that tend to come hand in hand with encouraging your child to exercise, such as boosting their confidence, teaching them the value of teamwork, and spurring on hobbies and passions. So, to help you get started in the right direction, here are just a few different types of exercise that your kids might enjoy!

 

Baseball

Baseball is an extremely popular team sport that can endow your kids with a full social life at the same time as giving them an opportunity to work out. Check out local clubs to see whether there are training sessions or teams in your local area. If there isn’t anything nearby, you could set up your own team in your local neighborhood. Getting to grips with the basics, encouraging parents to accompany their kids along to training sessions and matches, and investing in the basics like dugout charts can prove just as much fun for you as your kids! The sport requires little ones to practice a variety of skills – from running to throwing, catching, and batting – so you can be sure they will get a thorough workout from each session.

 

Swimming

Swimming is a valuable life skill that just so happens to provide a thorough and comfortable full-body workout. If your kids can’t yet swim, enroll them in specialist swimming classes where they will be taught the basics in a safe environment. This is also a great activity for weaker children or overweight children, as swimming is low impact and the water helps to support their body weight, meaning that they get to stretch out, work their muscles, and move with less pressure or strain.

 

Ice Skating

Remember that you can think outside of the box when it comes to sports for your kids to try out. Ice skating lessons at a local rink can be extremely fun and something that your little ones really look forward to. While they get out of puff, they will also pick up great skills such as balance.

 

As you can see, the options available to your little ones can vary drastically. The key to finding the right one is generally a process of trial and error. Try your little ones out at taster session and induction days where they can get a feel for different activities and try them out themselves. Then see which sports or fitness routines they actively enjoy and encourage them to pursue them or attend more regularly!

How You Can Help Your Child Succeed at School

Boy Standing Near Bookshelf

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Everyone wants their children to do well at school, although parents are the biggest teachers of all in a child’s early life. Then they start leaving you every day for their lessons, but you can still be a big influence on how they progress in school and in the rest of their lives.  There are many things you can do to help support your children through their school days. Not every child can be top of the class, but you do need to know that they have achieved the best they are capable of.

Make Friends With Their Teacher

As soon as a school year starts you should get to know the teacher.  Let them know that you are there to support your child and if there are any problems you want to be informed right away. They should also be aware that you like to reward good work with a ‘well-done’, so you want to know if they excel at something as well.

Make sure to attend all official parent-teacher meetings, but never be afraid to speak with them at other times too. You should also remember that the teacher is not the only person that can affect your child, as there are others that dictate the way the school is run, as well as administrators and lunchtime staff. The more of them that you know, even if it is just to say hi, the more you will understand how your child can do well in the school you have chosen for them.

You can also find that the school your child is in is underfunded and that could be a great concern for the teachers and those in charge. Teacher Funder has been set up to help tackle this problem as it allows parents, students, and businesses to make donations to the school.

Support Your Child

Ask your child’s teacher how they are doing compared to other students, and if they need extra help in a particular subject, either do it yourself or arrange for some extra lessons. If they are having trouble learning generally, it could be that they need a specialist teaching and you should ask for this.

You should let the school know about your concerns and perhaps arrange a meeting with the teacher and the principle. Your child has rights if they need a specialist help, and they will be able to give you the advice you need.

Let your children know how important homework is and make sure they do whatever they are given. Don’t be afraid to help them with it if the need arises, as they can get very stressed out if they do not understand something and the teacher is not there to help.

If you cannot help them in a particular subject, make sure they have the resources they need for answers. There are many of them online that are there to assist children of all ages.

When they know they have tests coming up, they can become worried about them and you can help by showing them how to prepare and overlook through their work with them to double check that they understand it. A worried child will not do so well in tests, as one that is confident that they know the subject. You can help them to gain that confidence.

 

Three Men Standing Near Window

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Be Involved With The School

Teachers appreciate help in the school, no matter what form it comes in. If you can spare just a few hours each week to volunteer, your children will see this as a positive move and will be proud that one of their parents is giving up some time to help at the school. It does not have to be anything academic as there is much more to running a school than teaching. Help could be needed preparing things for an art class, or at break time watching the children play to make sure no one gets hurt. There are all sorts of jobs that you could help with and this could free the teachers to concentrate on what they should be doing.

Encourage Learning At Home

Have a positive attitude toward learning at home, and the best way to do this is to show them that you are still learning too. Show them that you value education and use it as part of your daily lives to reinforce the principle.  Even some video games are educational and you should encourage them to play these as well as the normal ones that most children play. Learning through play, no matter what age they are is a good way for them to remember things. Playing cards, for instance, can help them with mental arithmetic and Scrabble or Hangman can assist them with spelling.

Reading, of course, is very important, but it does not have to be things they have no interest in. It is better to read a comic book than nothing at all, as they will still learn from them.

It is not only school subjects that you should encourage them with. A documentary on TV can be a great way for them to learn about something new, as long as it is fitting for their age.

Children respond well to active learning and it can also teach them to be independent and to learn things on their own.

Let Them Play

Although learning is crucial for your children, so is just being a child and having fun. You should let them play with their friends as then they are learning how to socialize and how to treat other people and that is an important part of them growing into well-rounded adults.

Don’t just tell them that manners matter; use them all the time yourself. They will learn more by example than any other way, especially when they are very young.

Teachers play a vital role in the education of your children, but so do you. Their attitude towards school work and school life often reflects the attitude at home and if you show them the importance of education, without putting them under too much pressure to do well, they will work to achieve the best they can and that is all you can ask of any child.

How To Manage A Breakup When You Have Kids

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Breakups can be difficult at the best of times, but they can be particularly challenging if you both have kids together. Doing what’s best for you and what’s best for the kids isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to negotiating a breakup when you have children.

 

Plan how to tell your kids

Once you’ve decided that you’re definitely breaking up, the first thing you’ll need to do is tell the kids. If your kids are older, they may have already sensed that you weren’t getting along, but the news could still come as a shock. If you and your partner have come to a mutual agreement, it’s important that you both tell the news together so that your kids realize that you’re both serious about it. You should break the news at home where your kids are likely to be comfortable. Make your kids understand that it’s not their fault and allow them to ask questions, being as honest with your answers as you can.

 

Decide how to share out parental care

After one of you has moved out, your kids will have to get used to sharing time between the pair of you. You’ll need to decide the best way to do this – it’s usually healthy that your kids have a stable base, which means spending most of their time in one place. They can make regular visits to the other parent’s house. Coming to an amicable agreement isn’t always easy – in the case of a bad breakup, one partner may attempt to claim full custody in which case you may have to look into hiring child custody lawyers. When arguing this decision, make sure that the kids aren’t around so that they don’t feel caught in the middle.

 

Decide financial arrangements

Depending on the amount each of you is earning, you should both contribute a certain amount of funding towards your kids. If you were financially reliant on your partner, it may be their job to continue paying for the kids. Making financial arrangements isn’t easy and may also require hiring a solicitor or a financial adviser to come to a fair decision.

 

Keep up a routine

A sense of routine is important for your children – it will give them something familiar to cling onto. When sharing out parental care, try to arrange a schedule so that your kids know when they’re going to see each parent. Try to keep up other routines that existed before such as keeping bedtime at the same time and allowing them to attend the same after school clubs.

 

Listen to your kids

One thing that many parents don’t do is listen to their kids. If your kids are young, they may not be able to make decisions for themselves, but in the case of older kids, they may want to have some input when it comes to how much time they spend with each parent. You need to approach the situation practically, but you should still listen to you kids and let them have a say.