Turning Your Garden Into A Haven Of Relaxation

One of the best things to do when you finish a long day at work is to grab a cold one and go and sit in your garden to relax or get that small screen and do a little surfing :) . If you have a big outdoor space, this article are many ways in which you could improve your garden so that you’re able to chill out and when the time comes, entertain in style.

  1. Building a reusable barbecue in your garden will create a focal point for you and any guests you may have over. They can be made out of brick which will be able to withstand the heat of your barbecue. There are many different styles that you could go for, including large arched barbecues, or you could go for a more simple design. Search online and in DIY magazines for inspiration. They’re fairly inexpensive to buy the materials for and will last you a good few years.
  2. Having a swimming pool would definitely create an atmosphere in your garden. Too expensive for average earners but  if you can afford, why not? Whether you’re choosing to have a quiet swim at the end of the day, or having friends over for a pool party, it’s bound to spark attention. Although it’s possible to build your own pool, it’s probably best to hire some swimming pool builders who can do the job professionally, and save you the hassle.
  3. Laying out some decking in your garden would give structure to your garden and be a perfect place to display your garden table and chairs. You could also put some potted plants on your decking to keep the greenery alive. Plants are also known to help reduce stress, improve concentration and keep the air around you cleaner. Imagine gazing over your beautiful garden, while the sun sets after a long day at work. Perfection.

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  1. Buying a water feature to display in your garden would create an incredible ambience for you to relax to. The sound of water trickling, and other nature sounds combined are known to destress and calm the mind. Plus, water features are pretty to look at and fairly inexpensive to run, obviously depending on the size of it.
  2. Where would a relaxing garden be without a hammock? If you’ve got the space to display one, I’d definitely recommend it so that you can get comfortable with a good book or some relaxing music and let it take you away for a little while.
  3. There are tons of garden ornaments available to buy, so take a look at the range in your local DIY store. Pick a theme for your garden and buy ornaments that will tie it together. Some ornaments have solar panels fitted so that when it is dark outside they light up your garden without wasting any electric. Cool right?
  4. Having a vegetable patch in your garden will create another focal point, and also contribute to you being more self sufficient. It will also save you money on the fruit and vegetables you decide to grow.

There we have it, seven ways in which you can transform your garden into a haven of relaxation. Try implementing these ideas today and begin enjoying your garden!

What Makes a Super Kitchen?

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In a family house, the kitchen often acts as the epicentre where so much of the socialising and bonding is done. It is a place you gather together, whether you are baking cookies as a family or enjoying some home cooked meals. So, the question remains: what makes a great kitchen? Well, this varies from person to person, but this article is here to shed some more light on this question in the attempt to give it a more definite answer.

A Triangle Setup

If you are currently in the process of redesigning your kitchen, you should be thinking in triangles. Though this may sound strange at the moment, there is a very good reason for this. You want your chopping space, fridge and oven to be at each corner of the triangle so everything is easily accessible when you are cooking. This way, the whole job gets done much more efficiently. Makes this separate from your eating space for which you can buy solid teak or oak wood kitchen and dining furnitures from online store. Try to clear the space between the points of the triangle as much as possible so you can move between them freely.

A Durable and Wipe-Clean Floor

In the kitchen, the floor has to put up with a lot. Spills are a natural fact of life, particularly if you have young children, so you want the cleaning to be straightforward. Also, you may end up spilling hot liquid or food on the floor so it needs to be fairly durable as well. Tiles are a good option as they are easy to maintain. Their one disadvantage is that things break on them easily. If this is a concern of yours, you could go for rubber floor tiles or cork instead.

Good Quality Sinks

If there is one thing that it is worth investing a bit of extra money in your kitchen, it is the sinks. A double butler sink is a good option as you can leave something to soak while still being able to do the rest of the washing up. And if you really want to go all-out, you could go for a hydro tap which dispenses cold, filtered and water hot enough that means you don’t have to boil a kettle every single time.

A Dual Purpose Oven

The clearest combination to go for is an electric oven with a gas hob as this takes care of the cast majority of your cooking needs. And on your gas hob, you will want four or five different rings so you can comfortably have a few saucepans going at the same time. Electric hobs don’t really measure up in the same way as their gas counterparts.

Well-Placed Sockets

If you have a kitchen island, you want sockets that extend over here as well, but otherwise you want these liberally scattered throughout the room so you are comfortably able to plug in all the appliances that you have without needing to go through the hassle of plugging and unplugging all the time.

Ultimately, what makes a great kitchen varies from person to person, but these five things certainly make life easier.

Floors For Four – Room Design From The Ground Up

Style is a big part of room design. Function, on the other hand, is where many of our design ideas start. And what better place to start building up a creative style from than the floor itself. After all, what could be more functional for any room than the floor? Your choice of covering here must serve the purpose of the room. So how can you make sure it looks just as good as the rest of the space?

Kitchen
A kitchen floor goes through a lot! It’s steamy in here, hot, humid, and prone to spills. It’s logical that the floor has to be very hard-wearing, and easy to keep hygienically clean. Of course, the kitchen floor is the best way to style your room. If you want a cottage kitchen, you might go for slate tiles or rustic red floor tiles. A contemporary kitchen might have large size granite tiles with a high gloss polish. Then there are the hardwood floors with a protective covering.

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Bathroom
The bathroom is nearly always humid, and the floor is likely to get wet. Installing this kind of floor takes quite a lot of time as it must be sealed at the edges. Of course, if your bathroom is on the first floor, you might not want heavy granite tiles across floorboards. There are vinyls that look like tiling but offer a warmer, more padded surface, perfect for bare feet. For a seaside theme, why not try a faded or bleached oak wooden flooring?

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Bedroom
This is the place where comfort is essential. The style you’re going for is likely to be soft in texture, and light and calming in colour. This is the one room where a carpet could be ideal. You might want to check out these flooring options at a Carpet One store so you can feel as well as see the finish. If you have pets in the bedroom, you might want a shorter, hard wearing pile to make it easier to vacuum the dropped fur! Don’t forget, you can also contrast the carpet colour with a vibrant, patterned rug.

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Living Room
This is the room where you entertain guests. It’s also the space where the family will come together to relax and have fun. Many people are choosing hardwood flooring for this room. It’s versatile in fitting as well as in colour. Who doesn’t love a deep grain and high gloss polish? Chances are you’re moving furniture about from time to time for cleaning. You can use caster floor protectors that are safe for use on carpet or wooden floor. Engineered wood is often hard wearing enough without them. Best of all, wooden floors are easy to keep hygienically clean, all year round.

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Flooring is often one of the best places to start when you’re designing your colour palette too. Woods, in particular, can be tricky to colour match for fabric furniture or wall paint. This is why it’s good to start from the floor and work your way up in design. Keep it practically stylish.

What to Do If You Cannot Afford Your Kid’s Birthday

For most children, the excitement reaches fever pitch when their birthday is just around the corner. They can’t wait to have a party with all of their friends and, of course, they probably have a wish list full of presents. This can be a worrying and upsetting time for any parent that is struggling financially. It is made even worse by the fact that other kids seem to have the latest mobile phones and games consoles, and you don’t want your child to be left out. So, what can you do if you cannot afford your kid’s birthday?

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Start saving
If your child’s birthday is several months away, you still have some time to save. You may think that it is impossible to put away money every month when you are struggling as it is, but you would be surprised where cut backs can be made. Here are some suggestions to help you with saving when money is already tight:

Sell things – Do you have clothes, games, or furniture around the home that you no longer use? There are bound to be plenty of people that would give them a happy home. Plus, with auction sites like eBay, it is easy to get things off your hands these days.

Use cash-back programs – There are so many different cash-back programs today. Whenever you make a purchase, you will get a percentage of it back as cash. You can add this into a savings account for your little one’s birthday.

Find cheaper gas – There is no denying that gas is a costly expense. However, you can search for the cheapest gas in your area by using the GasBuddy app. This app uses your location to determine the cost of gas around you. You can then save a few bucks every time you fill up.

Change your car insurance – If you have not changed your car insurance in a while, you could find that you are missing out on a lot of savings. Use a comparison site to see if it would be cheaper switching provider.

Go meatless – Next time you do your grocery shop; try to reduce the amount of meat you spend. If you only eat meat once or twice per week, you will save a lot of money. Plus, it is a lot healthier too.

Eliminate unnecessary expenses – It is time to rethink what the word utility means. It should mean the sort of things that you cannot live without. Do you really need your expensive cable package? If not, switch it for a cheaper Internet-based service and add the savings to your child’s birthday fund.

Unplug electronics – Even when the switch is off at the plug, your electronics still leech electricity. Start unplugging them altogether.

Ask friends or family
Have you tried discussing your money issue with a close friend or family member? The likelihood is that they will be more than happy to help if they are able to. After all, they will want your child to have a great birthday too. Bring up the subject with them and see if they offer to help. If they don’t, and you feel comfortable, you could ask them politely if they would be willing to lend you some money and if you could pay them back over time.

Have you considered a loan?
Nowadays, there are many different forms of financial aid available, and taking out a loan can be a good way to ensure your kid has a great birthday. It is simply about finding the right loan for you. Don’t take out more than you need to. Simply borrow a couple of hundred dollars or whatever is required to buy your child a present and give them a good birthday. Just because you can borrow thousands does not mean that you should. Making payments over time is a lot more manageable for most people, and a lot of lenders will enable you to choose a repayment period that is suitable to your situation. This is a good option for those that don’t want to discuss their financial situation with their family and friends. If you know you have income coming in regularly and you can make the repayments on time, it will actually boost your credit rating too, which will help you when borrowing money for any reason in the future.

Make sure you stick to a tight budget
You don’t have to spend a fortune to throw any amazing birthday party. Even if you secure a loan or a loved one offers to lend you some money, you should still set yourself a strict budget. Plus, if you throw an elaborate birthday this year, they will only expect an even bigger one next year. Don’t waste money on private venues or hiring an entertainer for several hours. Do things the old fashioned way. You can easily host a party at your own home, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot to put on a buffet and make some party bags. You could even ask some of the parents if they would be willing to bring something to add to the buffet. You don’t need to buy fancy invites either, as there are plenty of templates online today, which you can easily print out and use. Make sure you have one invite per family. If you are inviting a brother and sister, there is no need to put both names on the invitation.

You can also take care of the entertainment yourself. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a professional service. Enlist the help of one of your friends to do face painting. There are plenty of courses and videos online showing you how to face paint, balloon model, and perform magic tricks. And, there are always the traditional games that provide a lot of fun and make everyone laugh, such as musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. To make the birthday even more special, why not have a theme? From pirates to fairies, there are so many different options.

Top Tips For Creating The Perfect Playroom

As parents, we all know that we spend much of our time either looking after the kids or cleaning up after them.

If you are a stay at home mommy trying to work from home, this can make your life very difficult and trying to keep your little ones out of the area from your designated workspace can be a challenge.

One way to preserve your home office space (and your sanity) is to create an area specifically for the kids. If they have their own space, they are much less likely to want to venture into yours.

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So where do you start? Firstly, you decide which room or area in your home you are comfortable with handing over to your kids. It could be an unused bedroom or redundant utility but whatever you decide, creating the perfect playroom will, in turn, make your daily life much less stressful.

If you are lucky enough to have a healthy budget for your project but are short of time, then it makes sense to enlist the help of a team of interior designers. Experts in their field, designers will be able to help your decision process and choose the most suitable materials for the job while staying in budget.

However, if you decide to tackle the project yourself, you may need a little guidance and advice.

Flooring

Kids are messy. Fact. Therefore it is imperative that you choose hard flooring for your play area, it is hardwearing and easy to clean. Footprints, mud, and spillages can all be wiped off quickly and easily without leaving any lasting stains.

Walls

Although you may well decide to simply emulsion the walls with a wipe clean paint, you can make things more interesting. Why not choose a feature wall and decorate it with some laminated wallpaper or pictures to inject some of your kids’ personality into the room.

Furniture

Any furniture that you choose needs to be practical in both colour and design. Dark colours or busy patterns are preferable as they won’t show up marks or stains. If you opt for a lighter colour palette, choose leather which can be easily wiped clean or fabric which has been pre-treated with a fabric protector to repel dirt and stains.
Choose small sized tables and chairs; it will really make them feel that this is their space.

Comfort

Make sure that there is somewhere for your little ones to relax and have some down time in their new environment. Beanbags or cushions with washable covers are a great option, and can also double up as mattresses for sleepovers.

Storage

Kids accumulate a lot of clutter, so it is important to have plenty of storage available to hide it away. Stackable boxes are an inexpensive and practical option which can be added to over time.

If you take account of these few simple steps you are sure to keep your kids happy, leaving you to get on with your day in peace and quiet.

5 Summer Bedroom Commandments

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Summer has an effect on every room in the house, but none more so than the bedroom. Good for other side of the world as they feel these heat during summer days. But for tropical countries, it has a big impact all year round. The higher temperatures and longer daylight hours will impact your sleep patterns and your overall comfort if you don’t do something about it. After all, summer isn’t all picnics and rainbows, especially when the mercury hits the high 80s and 90s. Thankfully, there are a few simple rules anyone can follow to ensure that summer is as comfortable as possible. And, they are all available below.

Rule #1: Let There Be Darkness

Obviously, natural light is a major part of summer and something everyone should try and incorporate as much as possible. Still, there is a time and a place for light and it isn’t at night when you’re going to sleep. Too much brightness will keep you awake during the evening and affect your sleeping patterns. And, a lack of sleep is the enemy as it affects everything from your energy levels to your mood. Just ask any new parent! By keeping the room dark during the night time, there is no need to get less than seven hours sleep. Installing thick curtains is without a doubt the easiest and most effective trick.

Rule #2: Stay Cool

There is nothing worse than going to bed and sweating under the covers. Of course, throwing the covers off and lying there naked is always an option. But, it’s quite basic and a little bit too much for those people with body issues. So, you need a way to regulate the temperature, especially during the night. Start off by changing the bed sheets and going with something thinner. Silk covers are light and don’t retain heat as well as other materials. Also, wash the sheets regularly as everything from dead skin to dog hair can make an impact.

Rule #3: But Be Prepared

Summer isn’t always red hot, and there are days when the mercury will hit rock bottom. Seriously, it’s like the winter is back with a vengeance. When these days occur, and they will, keeping cool won’t be so important. In fact, you’ll be so cold that getting warm is the main priority. The good news is that keeping warm isn’t an issue with a closet full of goodies. With thicker sheets, warmer PJs, and a nice blanket all ready to go, you won’t feel the cold any near as much.

Rule #4: Use Light Colours

Because of the season, there is no need for dark, matte colours. To be honest, they are miserable and don’t fit in with the atmosphere. What you want is a room which imbues all the great features of summer, which is why the colour scheme is so important. Light, bold hues are much more summery and will make the room more practical. Just sitting in it will boost your mood and make you fall in love with the season all over again.

Rule #5: Bring The Outside In

Finally, try and use outdoor elements to add contrast to the room. Summer bedrooms can get a bit samey as everyone follows similar rules. By being different, the sense of originality will flow throughout your boudoir. Plus, the sights and the smells will only add to the summery feel.

Simple Summer DIY For House Renovation

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Summer is almost over in this side of the world while it just started in the other side of world. That means, there’s still plenty of time to start renovating. After all, the sun is shining (hopefully) and the sunlight lasts longer. Plus, no one wants their pad to look like it’s about to fall to the ground in the summertime. The good news is that it doesn’t have to if you know the DIY tricks of the trade. Yep, you can transform your home into something special with a little bit of knowledge. And, there’s no need to expend a boat load of energy.

Here are the DIY tasks you need to know about this summer.

A Coat Of Paint

The weather isn’t very nice to the exterior of your home. In fact, it’s downright rude the way it batters it into submission with a mixture of wind, rain, and hail. No wonder it doesn’t look it’s best! Of course, it’s an easy fix thanks to a DIYers best friend: paint. Paint is glossy and fresh, and it imbues these qualities on everything it touches. That means that a lick of the stuff can go a long way in the aesthetic stakes. Indeed, it can make your house look and feel brand new from the outside. All you have to do is pick a nice color and get to rolling. It might take a few days/weeks, but it will last until next summer.

Window Cleaning

Paint isn’t the only thing that looks dirty and grimy. Windows are also a culprit because the glass is easy to sully. All it takes is a splash of rainwater or someone’s filthy hands and the damage is done. What’s even worse is that everyone can see it as the windows are a focal point of any property. But, there’s no need to panic and call the window cleaner. Instead, just get a bucket of warm soapy water and a cleaning cloth. You might need a ladder, too, to clean the hard to reach areas, but they aren’t difficult to find. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom because the water should trickle down and help keep everything clean.

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Outside Storage

In the autumn and winter months, it’s okay to clutter the outside of the property. For one thing, no one cares when the weather is dark and miserable. It’s not like you’re using your garden or backyard, is it? Plus, homes just never have enough storage space, and the garden is as good a place as any. When the weather changes, so should your mentality. The exterior of your property is not only a place to enjoy and relax, but it’s also a statement. As a result, the clutter needs to go as soon as possible. Start by throwing away the junk you don’t need any longer, and put everything else in the shed. If you don’t have one, move it inside where there is space. And, if that isn’t possible, make room!

Garden Makeover

Speaking of your garden, it’s time it had a makeover. The reason is simple: your garden is the first thing people see when they roll past the house. Although clearing away the clutter is a good start, it is only the beginning. To make your garden sparkle, you need a deck because it’s both beautiful and practical. Don’t worry because it isn’t as hard to build as it sounds when you have George Hill Timber on hand. Then, focus on the plants and flowers. Nothing says a summer garden more than an array of vivid colors and contrasting materials. Also, don’t forget to give the grass a trim. After all, you don’t live on the African grasslands!

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Gutter Repairs

Although you hope the summer is going to be rain-free, it isn’t the case. Lots of times over June, July, and August, the rain hits hard, and the gutters need to be ready. If they aren’t, the entire house can feel the house of Mother Nature. Thankfully, looking after the guttering isn’t a difficult task. The main job is to clear it out every once in awhile so that the gunk doesn’t build and cause structural damage. Yes, that does mean you’re going to have to get your hands dirty! If it does break, you should clog the leak as soon as possible. Unless it’s necessary, don’t remove the guttering because it’s a huge job. Instead, patch it up and cover the cracks.

Sometimes, a short-term solution is just as effective as a long-term one.

Tips To Save Yourself and Your Family Time

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When you’re a busy mom, you can often feel like you’re running at a mile a minute (and on empty). To say that life can be tough is an understatement. But just because it’s tough, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a challenge. In fact, there are ways that you can make life fit into your business schedule and not the other way around. If you want to be able to enjoy more time with your family after work, and not focus on all the other jobs you have to do at home, here are some of the ways you can speed things up.

Fun Plans

First up, let’s make time for those super fun plans you always mean to make. When you get in from work, you want to relax, not start planning and organizing and arranging, right? So, you need to make this as quick as possible. Be sure to plan your fun activities in advance – definitely by weeks, by months too if you can. Then, you have more things to look forwards to throughout the year. Whether it’s a playdate with friends or a trip to the zoo with family. Spend an hour or so each month or every few months booking in plans and then forget about it until you need to add more.

Cleaning

Unfortunately, cleaning is just one of those chores that have to get done – especially if you like living in a clean and tidy home. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of time each week doing it. If you’re super busy and the budget allows it, hire a cleaner. For a small fee each week, your home will stay spotless and your time is freed up to spend with family. If that won’t work for you, make up a cleaning schedule and stick to it. That way, you can spend more time with your kids.

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Checkups

Then there are those regular health checkups that we all know we need to make (and attend) but always forget about. So, now you’re going to book everything a year in advance and mark it on the calendar. Job done! From your routine doctor appointments at the local clinic to your dental checkups at somewhere like Care Family Dental, by booking in advance, you just have to turn up.

Vacations

We all want to go on regular vacations, but the thought of finding a week to do it in, finding a hotel and booking everything can be a little bit too much. So, to make it easier, why not book a break at the same place each year? Especially while your children or young. You could even think about buying a vacation home so that you don’t even have to make standing arrangements each year.

Cooking

And then there’s the dinner. Planning meals can drive a mom mad, but it doesn’t have to. Find yourself some crock pot recipe inspiration and sort everything in the morning before work. Then, when you get in, you’ll just have to prepare a salad or some rice and serve up. Easy peasy!

The Ultimate Ways To Relax After Work


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After a busy day at work, you can often feel as if you need to enjoy the ultimate indulgence when you get home. For some people, helping their kids with homework and getting to bed will always be all they need. But, if you find yourself needing more, then there are other ways that you can kick back and relax with your family after work. With summer  just around the corner, your evenings get lighter and longer, meaning there’s a lot more time for relaxation after work, as well as on the weekends. So if you’re stuck for ideas, try one of these on for size.

Movie Night

Everyone loves a movie night. But they can also be a really great way to unwind with your family when work is done. Whether you’ve got older kids and you all fancy making pizza and watching the latest comedy on a Wednesday night, or you spend Friday nights staying up a bit later with your little ones, you get to spend quality time with your family in the evenings and unwind. You’ve also got the option of having movie night at the weekend, or reserving it for you and your husband alone.

Family Dinner

For some people, making sure the family sits down together every night is the most important part of their day. And it can be for a very good reason. Not only do you get to enjoy a lovely meal together, but you can talk to your kids and your husband and forget all about the busy day at work you just had. If you’re always stuck for recipe idea, these family favorite ideas can work a treat. Then, your family dinners will start to get a little more exciting.

Working Together

Okay, so the idea of working even more when you get off work might put you off, but this isn’t strenuous work at all – it’s the kind you and your kids will love. Perhaps more suitable to the weekends than evenings, but a great way to relax with your family is to spend productive time with them. Whether you want to get out into the garden and plant some vegetables and flowers or bake up a storm in the kitchen, you can find yourself relaxing and having a great time all at once.

Pamper Evenings

Every girl loves to pamper – some men too. So, isn’t the most amazing relaxation idea an evening full of pampering? Even though a night with a face mask and painting your nails might not be the best idea for the entire family to enjoy, but you can all certainly have a great time in the hot tub. Even if it’s something just you and your husband enjoy when the kids have gone to bed, you can find a wealth of hot tub reviews online to help you decide on the right one.

Having Fun

And of course, there’s always the super fun family activities that we all know and love. Again, this one might be more appropriate for the weekend, rather than an evening, but a day out rollerskating or at the beach could exactly what you need to get your mind firmly off of work!

Spending Summer

As the seasons change, so do our lives. Whether it is summer, autumn, winter, or spring, we look to make positive resolutions that better the lives of ourselves and our family. There are ways to improve the relationships with our families at the start of every season, so with summer still on us, let’s take a look at four activities and habits that you can share with your family.

Personal Paradise

The outside of your home is just as important as the inside of it. Utilising nature is one of the best ways to enjoy your time spent outside for the development of your children. However life’s simple luxuries are not important to only children, but adults as well. We sometimes get lost juggling between family and job or work responsibilities that we forget to enjoy the fresh air and greenery around us, and there is no better place to do this than in your own garden.

Your home garden is the perfect place for you to wind down and clear your mind after a long day of hard work. One of the most important parts of an enjoyable and well-defined outdoor living space is furnishing it comfortably to suit your style with items such as Bridgman garden furniture. Fill it with life and a natural perfume scent to match by planting vibrant flowers and fruits. Landscaping and adding stone pathways or ponds are also things you may be able to consider, but they are fairly costly renovations that need to be planned in advance in order to be ready by summer.

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An Apple a Day

With summer just around the corner, now would be a great time to alter your diet. As tempting as grabbing a bowl of ice cream may sound during the hotter months, try curving your desires to a more healthy choice. Everyone’s favourite fruits and vegetables are in season during these months including apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, and more! Do not miss out on eating the refreshing healthy foods you enjoy while they taste the best. There are lots of unique ways to prepare meals and snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables in mind for your family.

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Around the World

The start of summer signals the closing of schools. Your children are free from drowning in homework assignments and after school activities are over for the next few months. Spending time with your family is made easier so take advantage and go on a vacation together. Travelling to see sites as a tourist, attending amusement parks or special events, or going to beaches, camping trips, and cruises are all family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy.

Reflect and Learn

Recall previous resolutions you and your family made and bring them back to life this summer. Reflect on how your goals went for the spring season and how you can revitalise and improve them in the coming months. Share them with your family and work together to accomplish the new obstacles. Coming together and discussing what everyone would like to accomplish over the summer season can spark new creative ways you and your family can move forward.