Category Archives: Crafts and DIY

Preventing Appliance Breakdown

As a busy mommy, modern appliances can be a godsend. They enable us to spend less time on chores and more time enjoying family life. However, appliances aren’t always as reliable as they used to be, which means that it is important to take care of them if you want them to last as long as possible and avoid expensive repairs.

Here are some handy tips that could help you keep your appliances running for a decade or more:

Fridges and Freezer

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Keeping an eye on your fridge and freezer seals is one of the simplest things you can do to prevent their breakdown. If the seals get even a little bit loose, cold air can get out and warm air can enter into your appliance. You should also clean your seals carefully with a paste of water and baking soda to keep them clean and functional.

To keep your fridge in tip-top condition, every fourth months or so, you should give the coils a quick clean, Unfortunately, this means pulling the fridge out from the wall so that you can get behind in many cases, but since dirty coils are one of the main caused of temperature malfunctions and a loss of energy efficiency, it is a job that needs to be done and it means that you can avoid taking out home owner loans to replace your appliances for a while longer.

Washer and Dryer

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You should give your washing machines hoses and ducts some attention at least twice a year. Check that the hose is in full working order and does not have any cracks and take the time to clean the ducts to avoid breakdowns, fires and floods.

It is also a good idea to check your machine every time you wash or dry a load. That way, you will be able to handle any small problems before they become major issues.

If you want to avoid a tumble dryer fire, you should clean out any lint from the filters at least once per week as a minimum.

The Dishwasher

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One thing you should never do is put dishes that still have particles of food on them into the dishwasher. By simply scraping your plates before you put them into the machine, you can avoid a build-up of old food that could cause your washer to be less effective. If you do notice a build-up of scraps inside your dishwasher, simply put a cup of white vinegar into the machine and let it run for a cycle.

It is also a good idea to clean your dishwasher’s rubber gasket every 3-4 months to get rid of any dirt and grime which could make it less effective.

Although carrying out regular maintenance on your appliances will reduce a lot of the risk of breakdown, it is not possible to prevent every issue that might crop up, which is why it is never a bad idea to take out warranties on expensive appliances, or start your own emergency repair fund so that you don’t have to go without your appliances for very long.

Gifts That Your Son Will Absolutely Love

As moms, we spend a lot of our lives picking out gifts for our kids. Christmas is barely over by the time you have to start thinking about and saving for birthday gifts! Here are some tips to help you out for ideas…

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Go For Creative Play

As mothers of sons, we spend a lot of our lives thinking about how best to help our sons to grow up into the sort of men that we want them to be – and luckily for us, we are their biggest influences and the people who can mould them into who we want them to be. Obviously, every boy and young man is different – but as mothers it’s our responsibility to show them what being a man really is. And a huge part of that is forgetting about traditional masculinity, about guns and competition and violence – and showing them how important it is to be creative and sensitive too. Not only will you be creating fine young men but you’ll also be forming great husbands and fathers one day. Go for gifts that will help with creativity, from art supplies to dressing up clothes and other items that can encourage imaginative play, from bobbleheads to dolls to stuffed animals. Toys that can teach your son gentleness and creativity will produce traits that will be important for the rest of his life.

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What About Experiences?

Of course it’s great to be able to open some gifts on the morning of your birthday – but as a rule, people remember experiences more than they remember objects. Even if your son is young, he’ll be forming memories every day of his life. Think back to when you were a toddler – your memories are probably hazy but they’re still there! You don’t have to take him to Disneyland to have an incredible time – building his own Build A Bear will be something he’ll remember and treasure forever, and going to see the dinosaur exhibit at your local museum is something that’s bound to produce absolutely rapturous delight. Making precious memories for both of you is one of the most important parts of being a parent.

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Sometimes It’s Okay To Be Part Of The In Crowd

We seem to spend half our lives wanting to wean our kids off the TV, off the common path, away from anything that makes them cool and part of the in crowd – but honestly, it’s absolutely okay to pander to that once in a while. If your kid loves animated movies then that’s great – get him some Toy Story or Zootopia toys to play with. If he can’t tear himself away from Paw Patrol then why not get him a stuffed animal version of his favourite character? It’s easy to be snobby about these things but having the same toys as some of his friends isn’t a bad thing – they’ll have things in common on playdates and topics of conversation – in as far as little kids have conversations! – at school. Plus, can you imagine the smile on your kid’s face when he unwraps his Chase doll? Absolutely priceless.

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Boosting The Interest In Your Home On A Budget

Boosting the interest in your home is instantly going to make it look more professionally put together. Some homes just seem to have never ending style, texture, and interest. Others don’t necessarily look bad…they just don’t have enough interest. There are a ton of ways you can add more interest to your home, from adding a new accessory like a textured rug, to mixing modern and new styles together. Don’t worry though. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Here’s how you can boost the interest of your home on a budget

Make A Plan First

Before you do anything at all to your house, make a plan. If you just guess as you go along, the end result could look pretty haphazard and unprofessional. You don’t need to make a detailed plan that takes hours and hours. You could simply sketch a rough idea of what you want and then write down your measurements to help you select the furniture. However, remember it isn’t just about the way it looks at the end of your project. It’s about your home being practical and functional for the whole family! There’s no point having a great looking home if it doesn’t suit your family’s lifestyle.  

Look For Discount Codes

When you know what you need for your room, look for discount codes to help you save money. You could use things like Shutterfly coupon codes to buy anything from fleece throws to artwork for your walls. You can do anything on a budget these days.

Shop In Vintage/Thrift Stores

To save even more money and potentially come home with something unique, shop in vintage and thrift stores. It can take some rummaging, but you might just return home with some hidden treasure that nobody else has. Your friends might just ask you where you buy your furniture!

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Do Some DIY

Everybody is capable of doing a little DIY, especially when there are so many how-to guides out there for free. Consider painting an old piece of furniture yourself, for example. It’ll save you having to buy a brand new piece of furniture, and you’ll have some fun in the process. A bold piece of furniture might just become a statement piece, so don’t be afraid to use a bright wood stain on your oak headboard or paint your kitchen table.

Find Affordable Ways To Boost Architectural Interest

You don’t need to hire an architect to add interest to your home this way. Here are a just some of the ideas you could use to add architectural interest in an affordable way:

  • Use DIY ceiling medallions for your ceilings.
  • Add Wainscot paneling.
  • Use paint to mimic real crown moulding.

There are so many more creative ways too – check out these tutorials for some helpful advice!

You can add interest to your home whatever your budget will be, so there’s no need to take out a loan or worry that your home will be outdated forever. Use these tips and you can give your home a brand new look!

Fun Times In Your Garden: What To Do To Ensure Your Yard Is Safe For Your Little One

One of the best places where you can create memories with your child is the garden. After all, there are lots of fun opportunities for them in the yard. And with all the space, it offers a great way for them to burn off some energy. But like everywhere in the home, you need to think about safety. After all, so many children are taken to hospital every year from accidents in their backyard! Therefore, here are some things every mom needs to do to ensure their yard is safe for their little one so fun times can commence in the garden!

Make sure you invest in a sturdy fence

When your little one is running around the garden, they might easily knock into the fence. And if it’s not sturdy, it could end up falling over causing damage in your yard. And it could even hurt your little one if it lands on them. Therefore, you need to make sure you have a sturdy fence which will stay standing while your kid is around. And you need to ensure it’s a good height. After all, you don’t want your little one climbing over the top of the fence into the neighbor’s garden!

Get a lock for the water spigot and make sure it’s working correctly

It’s always handy to have an outdoor water faucet in the garden. After all, it saves you having to rush inside to get water. Therefore, it can be good when you and your child are having a day taking care of the plants. But you need to be careful that it doesn’t become a danger for your kid. After all, you don’t want your child to go up to it when you are not looking and switch it on. They might end up slipping over from the water if they push it on too quickly. Therefore, to keep it safe, you could consider making a lock for the faucet. This article will help you to easily make one to ensure it’s child-friendly. And remember to get it fixed quickly if there is a problem with your outdoor water spigot. After all, if it’s leaking, it could end up being a hazard for your kid. Therefore, look online to find a company who can do outdoor spigot repair.

Stick to plants which are family-friendly

You need to make sure you get clued up on plants for your garden. After all, you don’t want to get anything which will cause harm to your little one. Unlike adults, they won’t be aware that they should stay away from the plant so could end up getting hurt. For one thing, anything with nettles needs to be a no-no for your backyard. They might run into the plant and then end up with itchy skin. Here are some other plants which might look beautiful, but could pose a risk to your child. That way, you know to avoid them when you are next at the local nursery.

Baby in garden

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And make sure that you keep tools and equipment locked in a shed. After all, your little one might end up getting hurt if they get their hands on one of these items!

Farewell To The City: Why Moving Away Is Best For Your Family

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The home that you live in says certain things about you. It tells of your priorities and your preferences. It will often say at least something about your income and your lifestyle too. This is why, for so many of us, our first homes are either in or close to a town or city. We’re close to where the jobs are, and there are nightlife options.

As we get older, and especially when we have kids, we may look towards a less urban, more rural place to live. We might not, of course. There is a lot to be said for aspects of urban living – the convenience, the proximity to a place’s heartbeat. But there are, equally, a lot of reasons why it’s a good idea to get away from it all.

Pollution: A Problem That’s Only Getting Worse

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There is an issue that perhaps can best be understood by people who have grown up somewhere remote and traveled into a city. If this describes you, do you remember returning home with a pulsing headache? This can happen very easily. The noise and fumes of a city, or even a larger town can be choking. They raise stress and can make you ill.

The fresh air of a more rural or mountain setting is good for you, period. It’s been shown to have a positive effect on life expectancy. Not only that, but you’ll breathe easier and have fewer issues with allergies.

Space: You Don’t Realize How Much You Miss It…

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It depends on where you live, of course, but in a more urban setting, you can find yourself feeling crowded. You’ll hear your neighbors through a wall, which is bad enough. Then you realize they can hear you, too. It can sometimes feel as though you’re a battery hen.

As you get out into less urbanized areas, although real estate is harder to come by, it is worth the extra searching. You’ll have the chance to stretch your legs, and you don’t need to worry too much about whether the neighbors can hear you. Unless you phone them up, you’ll need to be shouting really loud for them even to know you’re speaking.

Sustainable Living: Growing Your Own And Sourcing Locally

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Living in the city or town may mean you have more convenience. That’s fine, but convenience and quality don’t always go hand in hand. What’s the good in always being able to buy apples if they’re bland and colorless?

By moving a more natural setting, you have the chance to grow a lot of your own produce and reduce your food miles drastically. To add to that, there is nothing to beat the quality of fresher food. Grow your own corn, chilies and more besides, and you’ll be stunned by how much flavor there is – and that’s before you get to a farmer’s market!

And let’s hear a word for family pets, too. In the city, they really don’t have room to roam. After a few days of living away from it, see how much freer they feel and how well they take to it. Try not to think of the number of birds your cats start bringing back. It may not feel like a gift, but it is.

Beginner Sewing Projects: Ideas And Tips! #FamilyFun

If you’re a beginner sewer, there are a few things you should know first. This guide aims to give you some great ideas and tips for your future projects. Practise makes perfect, so use them and see what you can do.

Go Supply Shopping

Go supply shopping if you haven’t already. There are a number of things you’ll need depending on what you want to make. Here’s a list that could help you:

  • Three pairs of scissors. One for fabric, one for paper, and one for, threads and seam lines.
  • A seam ripper.
  • Pins.
  • Measuring tools.
  • Marking tools.
  • Painters tape.
  • Needles and thread.
  • A sewing machine.
  • Patterns.

Understand Your Sewing Machine

When you have everything you need, it’s time to find your way around your sewing machine. You must understand your sewing machine before you even think about starting a project. You can find all kinds of tutorials and reviews online to help you if you need them, on all kinds of machines including the Brother se400. Make sure you have the right machine for your needs and that you practise with it before starting a project. It shouldn’t take you that long, and there should be a ton of resources to help you online.

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Learn The Basics

When you’re confident with your machine, you can learn the basics. Don’t try to run before you can walk. It’s a good idea to learn how to do a perfect zigzag stitch, as well as sew a straight line. These two skills are used in many different projects and it’ll do you good to master them first. Although it’s a good idea to read plenty of books and watch videos, don’t be afraid to make up your own techniques either. Trust your instincts. You can always try it one way and re-do it if it doesn’t work. You might just come up with your own techniques that work better than the ones you’re reading about.

Understanding Which Fabric To Use

Choosing which fabric to use can boil down to many different factors. Sometimes, it’s best to use the type of fabric that the pattern you’re using calls for, as the designers will often know best. However, it can also depend on your skill level, and how you like the feel of a fabric against your skin. Consider the print, and make sure you read the care instructions first. Then you’ll know which fabric is best for you.

Projects

There are a few projects that are pretty easy to take on whatever your skill level may be. Here are a few ideas you might like:

Sewn Tote Bag

Tote Bag

Sewing a tote bag is probably one of the easiest things you can do as a beginner. This is usually a simple case of cutting equal rectangles, hemming them, and then sewing them together with a machine after deciding where your handles will go. You then create and sew your handles, as well as decorate the bag. It couldn’t be easier!

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Baby Blanket

There are a number of different ways you can sew a baby blanket. It could be a simple case of gathering fabrics you like and sewing them together. You could even use fabrics that are special, such as your baby’s first outfits. It’s up to you as to whether you want to make it double sided or not.

Cushion Cover

When many people first start sewing they decide to make a cushion cover. This is another super simple thing to make that you can show off in your home afterwards. This is a case of choosing a nice fabric and the back stitching it so you have a fold in the back for the cushion to go in. It’s a lot easier than it sounds and you can show off your creation afterwards.

Pajamas

Maybe you could even sew your own pajama bottoms when you have a little more confidence. Pajama bottoms, or lounge pants, are really simple. This is something you can try when you feel a little more confident with patterns and the like. However, it’s a great item to practise with. Using linen material can be a great way to start out before you start using materials that are a little harder to work with.

Hopefully these beginner sewing projects and tips have inspired you to get started on your sewing journey right away. It can be so much fun and you’ll love developing your new skill. If you have anything you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Come back soon!

Thank you to Family Fun Magazine for these craft ideas!

 

NAME-STAMP BLOCK Tutorial #FamilyFunMag

Another fun Winter- time craft, make your own NAME-STAMP BLOCK!  Idea courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine!

Great for new spellers—or anyone who likes to make her mark!

stamp-block

What you’ll need
Paper
Craft foam
Craft glue
2-inch wooden block(s)
Stamp pad & notebooks (optional)

Instructions

  1. Write your recipient’s name in 1¼-inch-high block letters on a piece of paper (you can also use a stencil or print out the letters in a font you like at 100 points). Cut out each letter. You can get six characters onto a block, so if she has a short name, fill in any blank spaces with a fun design like a heart or a star; if she has a long name, use two blocks.
  2. Trace two of each letter onto craft foam; cut out.
  3. Stack the letters and glue them together. Then glue each letter to a side of the block backwards. Repeat for all letters.
  4. If desired, package your blocks with a stamp pad and notebooks.

Must Have Checklist For A New Home

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Moving into a new home is busy and stressful, with all your belongings in boxes it can feel very chaotic. While it’s difficult to forget the big things, like a bed and television, some smaller more obsolete items and can get missed and neglected. Before you move, do some preparation to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible.

Food

During the move, you probably won’t have time to think about cooking and making homemade meals. While a takeaway might suffice for your first evening, you’ll need to think about breakfast and snacks for the following days to come. Make sure you have the basics in to cover you; milk and teabags, breakfast cereal and some sandwiches. You’ll need your energy while carrying around all those boxes!

Wardrobes

Try to avoid damaging clothes by having somewhere to hang and store them as soon as possible. If your new home doesn’t have wardrobes, purchase some hanging rails as a temporary substitute. Clothes can easily become marked and ripped if left in boxes or piles, leading to replacement costs in the long run.

Kitchen Utensils

When you are unpacked and starting to settle in, you may start thinking about cooking and baking. Make sure you have the basics catered for, with cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils as essentials. Baking trays, mixing bowls and serving dishes can all be purchased as well.

Seating

After you have moved, you will no doubt have many friends and family wanting to visit. Try to provide some seating for yourself and any guests. Dining chairs or stools are needed for meal times, and some kind of seating in living rooms. Don’t rush into purchasing a sofa, though, chairs and fold out stools are fine while you are deciding on more expensive furniture.

Blinds and Curtains

You’re going to want some privacy in your new home, so blinds or curtains are a must. Blinds can be ordered from companies like westral supplier of blinds, and installed in bedrooms or living spaces. Try to choose a colour scheme in the room before purchasing, to avoid having to replace later on.

Cleaning Products

When you first move in, the house will probably need a good clean. Wipe all the tops and cupboards down with anti-bacterial sprays, and hoover and mop the floors. Try to do this before unpacking, as this will be a lot easier than cleaning around your belongings.

Toiletries

After the long days of packing, you’ll be grateful for a hot shower or bath. Try to set aside some basic toiletries while packing, so that you won’t have to rifle through all your belongings to find things. Pack a toiletry bag with the basics in, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant, and shampoos.

Basic Appliances

Soon after you move in, you will need to think about the essential home appliances. It can be difficult to cope with family life without some basics such as a washing machine, fridge, and freezer. There are normally good quality, second-hand items for sale, so shop around before purchasing.

Creative Ways To Teach Your Kid How To Make A Sand Castle

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Kids love to learn new things but a sand castle may prove a bit difficult to learn how to build. If your kids are having a hard time building sand castles and you want to know the secret to building sensational sand structures, you are in the right place. You can take your families sand castle creation to the next level with some simple tips. Going to the beach, down the river or even in your own backyard in a sandpit, is a great way to play and bond. Keep reading if you want to know the secret to building an amazing sand castle.

Why play in the sand?

As children begin to fully understand the physical properties of sand, they have the opportunity to expand their creativity and imaginations through the designs of a variety of buildings, towns, and castles. Once they realize the buildability of the sand, many children investigate the possibility of constructing whole cities and other areas of play. Provide a variety of common and household objects for children to use in combination with their sand creations. Exchange these objects for new ones frequently, and watch as children adapt their creations and become inspired to construct new ones. Many children find working with sand to be relaxing and non-threatening, allowing these children the freedom to express their imaginations in safety and without consequence.

Gather Your Tools

Whether you are down the beach or playing in kids & childrens sandpits, you are going to need the right tools. Tools can make your life so much easier once you start to build your sand castle. Sandpits are great for kids to get creative whenever the feel the need. Having a sandpit out the back encourages creativity and play. When it comes to tools, the most important tool is definitely the shovel. A lightweight shovel is good idea. Shovels with a wooden handle are also great because that are less likely to crack or break under strain. Kids can tend to get excited so you want to ensure their tools are going to last.

However, for your littler kids you probably want to go with a plastic spade. When building sand castles ensure there is enough tools to go around, you don’t want any fights. In addition, don’t forget the buckets! You’ll need at least two, one for carrying water and one for mixing the water and sand together.

Decorations

This part of the building process is an adventure in itself. Ensure you gather plenty of decorations and start gathering decorations before you start building and can continue once you have started building your sand castle. When you have your sand castle, discuss what sorts of things you want to include in, on and around your sand castle. Make a list, for example, if you want a flag for the castle, what materials do you need to construct it?

Kids have a natural longing to play in the sand. It can be a peaceful and therapeutic way for them to relax and play alone or with friends. Sand play is great for skill building and it is important that you invite children to make sand castles and get creative. Provide them with the location and the right tools and watch them explore creative ways of building sand castles.

Want A More Energy Efficient Home? Then This Helpful Guide Is For You

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In this day and age, we are always looking for ways we can save on our energy bills. Having a more energy efficient home is one of the ways we can do that. While it doesn’t require you to do too much, there are some changes that you can make to your home to help it be more energy efficient. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share with you some of the ways you can do that.

Change light bulbs to more energy efficient ones

The light bulbs you use in your home can have a big effect on your energy usage. So switching them to more cost effective and energy saving can have a big impact on the amount of energy you use daily. You could consider a lower voltage or switch from a more energy using halogen bulb to an LED alternative. However, they may cost more from the outset that could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Consider solar panels

Applying solar panels to your roof tops can be a big energy saver in your home. The solar panels provide you with energy to heat your home, heat your water, light your home and cook. Anything that electricity would use. Again they may be a costly investment from the outset, but overall the money saved will far outweigh your initial investment.

Change windows and doors

Many homes can lose heat and energy through the windows and doors they have installed. This is due to them not being efficient enough. So considering charging them can be a big energy saver. Checking online from www.cardinal-homes.com/windows/ could be a great place to start. It could provide you with some valuable information. The more heat you can keep in your home, the less energy you are likely to use.

Insulate your home

On the point of not losing energy in the home, another alternative would be to make sure that your home is insulated. This is another way to keep heat in rather than letting it escape through your roof or the walls.

Replace older appliances

Sometimes older appliances in the home like a washing machine or dishwasher can use more energy than newer models. Also, many new appliances have an energy efficient ranking. This is to ensure to you that the appliance you fit in your home is as energy efficient as it can be. Keeping the costs down. Checking out websites like https://www.energystar.gov/products/energy_star_most_efficient could help.

Collect rainwater

Collecting rain water can be beneficial, rather than letting it go to waste. The water collected can be used for things such as watering your lawn or plants. You could also use it for things like washing your car. It means you are not paying for those simple things where as you would be if you ran the tap to fill a bucket or switched a hose pipe on from an outside tap.

I hope this guide helps you make your home a little more energy efficient.