Uncover Family Vacation Activities Before You Go

One of the most popular forms of entertainment when schools let out for the summer is the family vacation. Taking a few days or a week to bond together as a family offers the chance to make a number of great memories, and heading to a location that offers any number of landmarks, activities, and entertainment is a great option. However, uncovering the unique feel of a city before booking requires a little bit of homework and planning. Knowing what an area or resort has to offer before making a commitment is an important element in any vacation package.

Online Travel Guides

Online travel guides are loaded with relevant information. From locating affordable hotels in Washington DC to uncovering great restaurants in Disney World, these sites, like Hipmunk, can be informative and revealing in finding a great deal. Using the a website to research a location is not necessarily a new task, but using the sites to evaluate location, offerings, prices, and options from a single stop on the web is something on the newer side. Checking out what an area has to offer a family can be a deal breaker in the decision making process, and these websites provide a number of searchable and sortable ideas.

Finding the Balance

As with any type of family activity, finding a resort or destination that offers something for every member of the family can be challenging. Parents and kids have different destinations of entertainment, but meeting them all in one location is very possible. Checking into unique offerings that could have crossover appeal is great, but generally some sort of compromise is going to be required. A few hours at the pool and a few hours exploring a museum might be perfect, but lounging around the pool surfing the hotel Wi-Fi might be perfect for everyone. Finding the right balance of activities to keep everyone happy requires a bit of legwork, but it can be accomplished with the right tools.

Taking advantage of the different online travel guides allows vacationers to gain some valuable perspective before the trip actually takes place. There is a perfect resort or hotel out there that is eager to cater to the unique needs of every family, but the trick is finding the one that has the perfect balance of activities, location, and entertainment. Putting the internet to work is a great way to have detailed and up to date information before completing the trip.


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15 Highlights from the 2014 Houzz Decorating Survey

If you’re thinking of remodeling your home, you might be interested in finding out what other homeowners feel about home improvement. If you are thinking about home decorating or other home improvements, these 15 highlights from the 2014 Houzz Decorating Survey should interest you. 

1. Many homeowners feel they are halfway towards attaining their dream home. In fact only 2 percent of homeowners believe they have achieved their vision. What’s more is that many homeowners are opting to overhaul existing dĂ©cor instead of just refreshing.

2. The decision to decorate a home is driven by two main factors, namely, personal style and comfort. Trendiness does have some influence, but is low on the priority list. An interesting thing to note is that men are more likely to be influenced by trends than women.

3. Younger homeowners are making more bold decisions as far as color schemes and wallpapers are concerned. If you’re a young homeowner thinking of splashing on color, you’re in good company.

4. Many people are okay with just having paint on their walls. However, according to this survey, one in five homeowners have art covering their walls. 

5. When it comes to accent walls, there are most popular among the urban population. And where accent walls are found, they are more likely to be restricted to the study/home office.

6. In matters fabric, solids are leading in preference. Other classics such as floral pieces and stripes follow closely behind. 

7. Hardwood remains the most popular choice throughout the home. However, 38 percent of homeowners have plans to cover their master bedroom hardwood floors with carpet.

8. As far as beds are concerned, headboards are a favorite accessory. Also, big beds are a favorite and half of master bedrooms have a king bed.  A senior executive at FreightRun, a company that provides freight brokerage services for top North American carriers, recently said: “you would be amazed at how many freight shipping requests involve a bed, dresser and other bedroom set furniture.”

9. Turning your master bedroom into a living room is a thing now, with 60 percent of master bedrooms being equipped with seating, 8 percent with a fireplace and 8 percent with a fridge.

10. Surprisingly, three quarters of homeowners intend to use their dining rooms weekly, with rectangle tables and seating for six being the most common arrangement. 

11. 16 percent of homeowners intend to have a TV in the dining room while 52 percent have it in the master bedroom.

12. And speaking of TVs, many homes are finding it fit to have TVs in their kids’ rooms. 

13. As far as hiring people to do the decorating project goes, more homeowners are opting to hire someone to do the entire project, as opposed to 12 percent of homeowners who are hiring for e-decorating help. 

14. 32 percent of homeowners hired professional interior designers for a few hours of consultation, which says something about the hands-on approach of many homeowners towards decorating.

15. Many people are not content with how their homes look, and are taking steps towards attaining this vision. “We’re seeing a lot of homeowners and their decorators and architects enquire about adding decks, stair railings and other home improvements,” says Ihab Barrawi, President and CEO of BuyRailings.com.  This is what home ownership is all about!

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Ideas for Fun-filled Summer Parties for Children

Some children are ‘lucky’ enough to have birthdays in the summer, but even if your child isn’t celebrating that special day during the summer, there are other reasons to host parties. Most often, parents go stark raving mad when the end of July rolls around because they have simply run out of ways to keep their kids entertained. Why not help them to host their very own mid-summer party? If they help in the planning, it gives them something to do and surely keeps them out of your hair for at least an hour or two. Here are some ideas for fun-filled summer parties for children.

Backyard Petting Zoo

Have you ever taken the time to speak with your children’s friends and/or mothers and fathers? You would be surprised at just how many kids have unusual pets. Not everyone has a dog or cat. Some families have mice/rats, some rabbits, some iguanas, while others may even have a goat or two. Depending on where you live, you can often find enough kids with unusual pets to bring to a backyard petting zoo party. If not, contact a local humane society or critter farm. Some may even volunteer their animals for free just to get the publicity. You can also have the kids help you to make silly animal treats for them as well as for the animals that visit.

Water Parties

Some families have backyard pools, in ground or above ground, while others only have portable wading pools for younger kids. Why not rent a water slide for an afternoon during July or early August which is traditionally the hottest time of the year. The kids can have a blast and after the slide is packed up and gone, you can offer light summer snacks that the kids can help prepare. If you are looking for companies that have water slide rentals, start by looking here. You may even find other fun rides, like bounce houses, that wouldn’t be all that expensive to rent. Have fun in the sun but cool off with water.

Sleepover under the Stars

During the school year many parents are reluctant to let their little ones spend the night with friends for a lot of reasons, usually because they fear school work will suffer. However, some parents are afraid of all the seasonal colds and influenzas that tend to get passed around in colder months so they don’t let their kids spend the night with anyone. In the summer, when seasonal viruses aren’t running rampant, you stand a better chance of getting other parents to bring their kids for a sleepover. 

What about a sleepover in your backyard under the stars? If you have a tent, fine, if not, that’s great too. Either the kids can sleep in sleeping bags right out in the open or you can use old quilts and blankets to let them build their own tents. They have so much fun which will keep them excited weeks before the sleepover and long after as well. 

The object is to do something that instills a sense of anticipation to keep them excited working up to the party and after, they will have something to talk about even into the next school year. Don’t spend the summer battling bored kids, throw a party and see how quickly they brighten up. It works every time.

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Properly Displaying Your Collectibles

When you have a prized figurine or Rawlings batting helmet, you want your collectibles to remain as pristine as possible. Although you might want some items handy to show off to friends, displaying collectibles on a basic table is a recipe for disaster. Don't tempt any damage, but properly display those treasured items with a few professional tips.

Keep the Dust Off

Your first step to a proper display is an enclosed cabinet. Ideally, you want a sturdy wood cabinet with secure glass doors. Avoid any opaque or ornate doors because you'll disrupt the view into the collectibles' space. Although you can open these doors up for a closer view, basic glass doors allow anyone to gaze into the cabinet without letting any dust into the interior. Dust is often accompanied by oil, marring beautiful collectibles with grease.

Pick the Right Stand

All collectibles have a unique shape, requiring specific display stands. Figurines might need a small staircase stand to show off all their details. Hats and helmets definitely require a stand to preserve their bills and edges from warping against a cabinet surface. If you aren't sure about a particular stand, a professional can always suggest a model based on the collectible type.

Bolt the Cabinet

It doesn't matter if you live in an earthquake-prone area or not, definitely bolt the cabinet to the wall. If any ground tremors occur from guests or natural phenomena, collectibles could be severely damaged when a cabinet sways or falls over. Bolts are simply added between the cabinet and wall studs. Even add double-sided tape to collectible stands' undersides to help them remain in position for years of safe display.

Sunlight Issues

Be aware of the sunlight entering the home. It will change its angle throughout the year, possibly striking the collectibles for hours at a time. Even with the glass door, ultraviolet radiation easily fades and weathers collectibles. They lose value and aesthetic beauty with this sunlight damage. Move the cabinet to a shaded area for the best protection. If any light is necessary for the display, simply add artificial lighting to accentuate the items at night.

Until you find the right display case, store any collectibles in their original packaging. From customized padding to strong boxes, packaging will keep the treasure safe and dust-free until they can be displayed. Allowing them to sit out and exposed only opens them up to possible damage and dust accumulation.


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Who Said LED Rope Lights Are Only For Christmas

Anyone who thinks that led rope lights are just for Christmas suffer from some serious lack of imagination and missing out on some fabulous design ideas. I mean, what’s not to like about them? 

 • They’re cheap -usually a good start in my book

 • They’re easy to install - ditto, very important for people much like me who have more ideas compared to what they really have the talent to bring them to life

 • They can be LED - which means that these are cheap to work because they are so energy efficient They can be used to perk up a dingy corner inside the living room, give a little ambience to the bedroom or if you fancy making your own cheap and cheerful party decorations. They can be remarkably easy to use, you can bend them, twist them and fasten them almost anywhere. 

Here are a few ideas. 

1 - Bring your bedroom to our lives with rope lights backlighting hidden beneath your headboard. It’s enough to help make the whole room glow and is great for setting the mood. You could potentially even use it to light under your bed if you fancy . . . it’ll also assist you to find any stray socks which might be lurking there.

2 - What about wrapping a rope light around the balcony railing to improve the exterior ambiance of your home and add a little subtle lighting for emergencies. Or then why not wrapping throughout the stair rail inside your home - a little bit just like the emergency lighting they use inside the cinema or on airplanes when the lights go down low. 

3 - How about making some decorative lights for your upcoming party . . . and after that leave them up all year if you would like. Roll then up into a ball and suspend them from your ceiling or maybe in an alcove. Alternatively, somewhere else that takes your fancy.

4 - Place rope lights beneath the cabinets to give subtle light for your work surfaces. It’s really simple and easy , quick to do and it is great for lighting up those dark corners sufficient so that you can see what you’re doing.

5 - Some vanity lights around bathroom mirrors and cabinets are not just ugly, additionally they provide much too much light which appears all of your wrinkles and imperfections. Okay, maybe you don’t have any wrinkles and imperfections yet but trust me, it’s only a matter of time. Anyhow, bring them down and employ rope lights in their place. They are much more subtle when wrapped around a bathroom cabinet or mirror; you might even tuck them below the edge to ensure that it looks like your mirror is lit up from behind for an extra stylish look. 

6 - What about lighting up a few of your artwork with these kinds of lights? You can make an elegant sculpture filled with holes and backlight it to give a very dramatic and professional look. Nobody needs to know you’ve used nothing more easy and cheap to work with compared to a humble rope light can they?

7 - They can be found in extremely a good choice for lighting up dark closets, corners and alcoves around the home. You can easily install rope lights inside a closet which can be extremely effective.

Now will you understand that rope lights are not just great for Christmas decorations, they may be fabulous for providing cheap, energy efficient lighting all year round. 

Check out http://yescomusa.comy and you'll be able to choose from a great variety of rope lights and other accessories which can help to produce a big difference to your property."


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