The days are still getting hotter, but the day is fast approaching – the first day back to school. While you are already planning what you are going to do during those first blissful days of being kid free, you are also getting all those back to school items together as well. While you are out shopping, there are some essentials you need to include, even though they are not listed on your child’s school supply list.


1. Printer Ink – It seems like there is always a permission slip that is needed, or a report that your child forgot to print the night before. Instead of doing the mad scramble to the store to get that rapidly disappearing ink, make sure to stock up on it before school ever gets started.



2. Disinfectant Wipes – Back to school means closer proximity to germs, many, many, germs. Buy a few extra containers of disinfectant wipes for your kitchen and your car. That way, you can simply wipe away those nasty germs that you know your child is bringing home with them, and depositing all over your house and car.


3. Deodorant – Tweens and teens sweat, whether due to an un-air-conditioned classroom, gym class, or after school sports and activities. Make sure your children are not creating a buzz with their pits instead of their prowess – buy several containers of deodorant so there is always a backup available. You can even buy a few extra so they can keep one in their locker or book bag for touchups.


Back to school can be frustrating as you all readjust from your summer routines, but these three must-haves will help save a lot of headache, and mad dashes to the store when you are not even awake yet.


Source:


http://alphamom.com/parenting/education-parenting/back-to-school-essentials-you-didnt-realize-you-needed-until-now/

There is no doubt that road trips are fun and exciting, if you are prepared. If not, each step of the trip can seem like it takes a million years, and just as much cash to get everything you left at home. If you are deciding to take a road trip in August, there are a few things you need to make sure you have – before you ever hit the road.


1. Sunglasses. Driving in the summer can be hard on the eyes, unless you remember to pack your sunglasses. The glare of the sun will make you uncomfortable, and the constant squinting can lead to headaches or overly tired eyes, which is something that can make driving dangerous.


2. Cooler. Even if your vehicle has air conditioning, you will still need a cooler that can hold plenty of ice for your water bottles, sodas, and refrigerated snacks. This is also a great way to change out some of those sugary and salty snacks for some healthy carrots or fruit. Depending on how long you plan on driving each day, just purchase small bags of ice along the way to make sure everything stays cool under the hot summer rays, or use refreezable ice packs if you are staying overnight in a hotel.



3. Water. Sitting in the hot car during a traffic jam can quickly cause dehydration, so make sure to pack plenty of water and liquids to beat the heat. While you always have the option of picking these up while you are on the road, it is much cheaper to buy in bulk rather than relying on convenience stores.


These items will make sure you are comfortable, safe, and prepared for your upcoming August road trip.


Source


http://www.smartertravel.com/photo-galleries/editorial/how-to-pack-yourself-and-your-car-for-a-summer-road-trip.html?id=478&all=1

‘Green’ isn’t just a color — it’s also a way of life. Adopting ecofriendly practices and limiting your carbon footprint are two very respectable actions that will put less stress on the Earth and our environment. It may seem daunting to start a green lifestyle, but it all starts with one step.


The backyard is a bit of a water hog. Here are a few ways you can use H20 in your yard in a smart and conscious way.


Knowing When to Water


Utilizing watering hoses and accessories in the early morning, when winds are light and temperatures are cool, helps to prevent evaporation.


As a very general rule, you can expect to water your lawn once every three days in the summer and once every five days in the winter. The top two or three
inches of grass will be dry if it is in need of some water.


It’s also time for a drink if your grass leaves footprints when you walk across it where the blades don’t spring back up. Conversely, if your lawn is very light in color and grows fungi, lay off on the sprinklers for a bit.


Reuse and Cruise


Have your gutters empty into a rain barrel with a built-in tap. Then, attach a hose and you’re all set to reuse the rain water on your luscious lawn! Some rain barrels are designed to be collapsible for off-season storage and have a mesh paneling to produce cleaner water.


Start a compost pile using old fruit and various food rinds and remains you would normally toss. This means less garbage for you to collect and more love for your plants! Flower beds and gardens greatly benefit from compost, as it keeps plants cool and helps to hold in moisture.


Organic mulch also helps to prevent evaporation from soil to save you hundreds of dollars a year in water costs. Use about two to four inches of mulch per
year on your garden or lawn.


Devices and Such


Instead of tossing ice cubes, place them in potted and hanging plants to offer your botanicals a cool drink of water without overflow. Or use a
self-watering basket with a built-in wick for slow water absorption.


To make sure your sprinklers don’t run when it’s raining, install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller.



Install a flow meter or a hose timer on your spigot to gauge how long you’d like the water to run when watering plants.


You can still maintain a beautiful yard while being kind to the Earth. Start by taking just a few of these actions and discover how great you feel about
doing them. For additional items that will make your yard and home ecofriendly, take a look at oursolar powered outdoor lights and energy saving products. Your efforts will help the environment and you will be one step closer to being green!

We constantly hear about global warming and pollution on Earth, but what are some simple actions we can take to be more kind to our planet? Reducing your carbon footprint could be as simple simply installing compact fluorescent light bulbs. After all, each CFL bulb can save you upwards of $40.00 over its lifetime and only uses a third of the energy that average bulbs do. Other actions can include carpooling to and from work; unplugging devices that aren’t currently in use and, most of all, harnessing solar power.


Let’s talk about solar driven devices. ‘Solar powered’ means exactly what you think it does—powered by the sun. Solar paneled gadgets use photovoltaic material which mimics the photosynthesis process normally found in plants. This kind of energy is clean and does not produce any emissions, so you can get electricity without harming the environment.


Powering your home with solar panels can be costly, but if you live in a sunny climate and plan on living in your home for several years, it may be a good decision for you and your family. After you pay off the initial cost of the panels, you will have free electricity you can even sell back to energy providers.


For those of us who aren’t ready for that kind of investment but do want to cut down on electricity usage, there are other solar powered lights and devices that can be used for the home. You can line your walkway with green lamps and keep a door light for entering and exiting your home. Place some adorable solar powered critters in the yard for company, as pictured below. Or adorn a railing or tree with twinkling solar powered Christmas lights you can use all year round. Any of these options not only spruce up your lawn or garden, but they are completely free after the initial purchase. No plugs, no fuss; and you’re reducing your carbon footprint while making yourp property a safer place to be! How can you go wrong?


We all have a responsibility to leave the world in decent shape for future generations. The Earth is not a place to trash! Let’s feel good about little choices we make throughout the day and be good to this planet, one step at a time.


For additional environmentally-friendly items, check out our energy saving products.

When it comes time to redecorate your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room, if you are anything like most people, you want to save some cash. The best way to do this is to do it yourself. However, many of us do not have the skills needed for laying tile. If this sounds like you, the Magic Gel Tiles are a great solution.


These tiles are self-adhesive, and allow you to completely change the look of a room. There are four styles to choose from, including Black Onyx, Metallic Mosaic, Stainless Steel, and Coffee Beige. Each style creates a unique statement, and provides a three dimensional look that is sure to impress everyone – especially when they find out you did it all by yourself!

Each tile comes as a set of four 9” by 9” squares, so make sure to take plenty of measurements so you have enough to complete the project. The self-adhering nature of these tiles means that you do not need any special tools or other gadgets to get started. If you do not have a clear edge in the area that you are applying them, you may want to consider using a ruler or laser level when attaching the first few tiles – this will make sure you have clean, straight lines throughout the project.

Each style of Magic Gel Tiles resists moisture, making them mildew, stain, and mold resistant. This makes them the perfect option for bathrooms, backsplashes, and laundry room walls. Cleaning is also a snap, as it only requires a damp cloth as needed.

These easy to use tiles allow you to create an entirely new look for any room, without the headache and the mess of traditional tile setting. What are you waiting for? Get started with your new room now!

Source

http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/magic_gel_tiles/40889


When planning a picnic, you probably have a vision of you and your loved ones
sitting by a refreshing stream underneath a large willow tree laughing the day away. What you don’t think about is the swarm of bugs headed your way once you pull the grapes and cheese out of the cooler. Preparing for nature’s pests is an essential part of packing for picnics.

Put It Away Now

Insects love anything sugary or sweet-smelling; this includes soft drinks, fruit and scented lotions or sprays. If your picnic is a lunch date, you may want to spray on a nice perfume or cologne, but this will only attract pests. It’s difficult to envision a picnic without fruit, but this is also like a welcome sign to bugs. If you do plan on bringing fruit, keep it in a closed container until you are ready to eat. This also goes for any food you eat outside—stow snacks in sealed packages in an insulated cooler and your perishables will neither spoil nor invite animals. Our outdoor accessories include plenty of coolers, baskets totes that come with a lid.


Smelly Stuff

Deter pests by incorporating smells that they find unsavory. Mint, garlic and lemon will keep most bugs at bay and there are several creative ways to include these items into your picnic. Add garlic to your dishes and drink lemon and mint sparkling water out of a closed cup with a straw. (Clear cups are best—if a wasp flies into your drink, you’ll want to shoo him away before you unknowingly take a sip!)


You may also put sprigs of mint and a few marigold flowers on the serving table to discourage bees from making a pit stop on your plate. To keep mosquitoes at bay, light a citronella candle for ambiance and added protection, or if you are planning a kid’s outing, put flameless citronella candles around your picnic setting.


Don’t Cross the Line

Simply sprinkling talcum powder or corn starch around your tablecloth will prevent ants from joining the party. This is especially helpful for picnics spread out on a cloth. Ants hate the feeling of powder and will be very discouraged to ruin your food. Be sure to complete this step before you lay out the sumptuous spread. You don’t want the wind to blow powder in your food while you are lining the area.


Remember that many flying insects feed from brightly-colored flowers, so donning vivid, summery clothing is not going to help you avoid them. Blend into the other part of the countryside and instead opt for crisp neutrals. Neutral clothing will also keep you cool in the sun, because you shouldn’t be sitting under a tree or by a pool of water, anyway; this will only attract mosquitoes to you. Those pests love damp shade and will be waiting for you under that beautiful, sprawling tree. Instead, choose an open patch of grass to set up camp in. Ultimately, the best al fresco outing is a well-thought out one. Spontaneity is wonderful, but bug bites aren’t!


For additional products that will keep unwanted visitors away from your outdoor meals, check out our outdoor pest control products.


Traveling with jewelry can be a huge irritation, both while packing and when searching for the perfect accessories to wear while vacationing. Small pairs of earrings are easily separated; necklaces are caught in a never-ending knot; and soft metals become tarnished or scratched. What’s more, when you’re away from your usual routine and home organizational system, it’s much easier to misplace valuables. Accessorizing while on holiday can be stressful, but these tips and tricks could help save you money and headaches on your trip away.


To ensure every item is secure and accounted for:


Separate for Safety


– Packing all your jewelry together in one place ensures that if one item gets stolen, all will be lost. To avoid this dilemma, try stowing away your jewelry in various locations when packing to keep everything safe and accounted for. Separate by jewelry type to save time sifting and unknotting different pieces, or compartmentalize by day/outfit so you have every item you need in one handy Ziploc or makeup bag!


Watch Your Watches

– When you are flying, keep your jewelry in your handbag or carry-on so you can keep an eye on it at all times. That way, you won’t have to worry about
your expensive jewelry going missing if your luggage gets lost.


Wear Without Worry

– Keep your jewelry on when going through security checkpoints, unless specifically asked to remove it. When you put your jewelry in the bins, you run the
risk of the person before or after you claiming it as his or her own.


If You Love it, Leave it

– Leave your expensive jewelry home. This may be unavoidable for dressier occasions such as weddings, however, when packing for more casual trips, try and
avoid bringing any jewelry you’d be devastated to lose.


To Avoid Unnecessary Digging and Disentangling:

Small Storage Solutions

– Use pill box or wallet to store small items like rings and earrings. It will be
easy to access your small pieces without digging through large containers. The compact pill box will also fit nicely in your bag, yet will be easier to
locate than small plastic bags or fabric pouches.


Sort and Store

– Store your jewelry in a compact jewelry organizer box with separate compartments for each item. This will keep everything organized and safe from being tangled or crushed. These boxes come in a variety of sizes to fit neatly in your
luggage.


Tangle-Free Pieces

– Tangled necklaces can take forever to sort out. Try stringing your necklaces through a plastic straw. This is a cheap and easy way to keep your necklaces from getting jumbled up.


Hang it Up

- Most hotels and lodges don’t supply an adequate space for you to keep your jewelry. Consider using a hanging jewelry organizer to sort and store each piece for easy access. You can hang this in your closet and easily roll it up to fit it in your suitcase.


When you’re packing for your next vacation, keep these tips and tricks in mind. In addition, always remember to stay alert when traveling with expensive items and to use your best judgment to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

Entering college as a young adult is one of the biggest steps a person will take in a lifetime. College is a whole new world, where a person who has been largely dependent on others to care for him or her is finally able to assert some independence and learn life lessons on their own. These three gifts are not only items they would probably never buy for themselves, but ones that will help them on their journey to adulthood:


1. Organizer. A planner or organizer is essential for someone who needs to take care of his or her own appointments and deadlines. No longer able to depend on mother or father for wake up calls and homework reminders, college freshmen can use an organizer to get a head start on keeping their new life in order. Not only can school assignments be organized, but work and entertainment schedules can also be added to the calendars, ensuring they are never late for anything important.


2. Savings bonds. Though the idea might be a little old fashioned, the fact that many people still find it difficult to begin saving money for their futures makes savings bonds relevant gifts for today’s college freshmen. With a minimal investment amount, gift givers can give young adults a vehicle for savings that comes with an incentive to save it as long as possible. If the recipient holds the bond until it matures, they will get full value for it.


3. Emergency kit. Kids are used to being able to get first aid from their parents or having them dress wounds before running to the emergency room, if necessary. With their very own first aid kit, college freshmen are able to learn to handle minor medical emergencies on their own, without having to run around looking for bandages and antiseptic cream. Emergency roadside kits will provide assistance for minor car troubles they
might experience.


Above all, gifts to new college freshmen should be thoughtful and help them to become successful adults.


Sources:


http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreymorrison/2013/08/04/best-gifts-for-college-students/

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/planning/plan_gifts.htm

The mere words “summer vacation” sets off sounds of cash registers clanging in the heads of most parents who have an entire brood of children to entertain and take on vacation. A headache may then follow, as thoughts of the massive workload starts to bring on anxiety. However, the best summer vacations don’t have to break your pocketbook or your nerves. Here are three easy and fun summer vacation ideas:


Classic road trip. A road trip can be one of the most affordable vacations to take because you basically get in your family vehicle and just head off along the roadways. Some planning may be in order, with a map of your route and lodging for the times you stop driving. The most interesting places to visit during road trips probably won’t be on the tourist websites; you and your family will discover them as you drive.


Humanitarian trips. Taking your family to places where others need help can not only be a humbling experience as you can develop an appreciation for what you have, but it can also be educational. Spending a vacation helping to build a home for a family who doesn’t have one or preparing meals for people who don’t get enough to eat can foster other ideas for ways your family can help others on a regular basis.



Themed trips. You may decide to take your family on a Wild West themed vacation, where all the activities and foods are based on things people did in that time period. Or an Outer Space theme may come with a visit to a space center and planetarium. A sports themed vacation could include trips to visit sports memorabilia museums and live action games for whatever sport is in season.


Summer vacations taken as a family will create memories and values for the entire family that will last a lifetime. If you display those memories in your home, consider this adjustable collage display to show friends and family.


Sources:

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/summer

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/?siteID=Google_family_volunteering&gclid=CjgKEAjwq_qcBRDZ-PeZ7NGQiVwSJAATT7q2HcFEmNNVkPVU8z4jM2vliG4hzUPT3Q-L_GLyzuCA8PD_BwE<br>

So, you’re decorating your home and want to know how to coordinate your colors and watch them flow seamlessly from room to room? Look no further!

Decorating tends to be either nerve-racking, or fun and exciting. By making your first step the careful selection of a color palette, this assortment of hues can help to guide all other decisions and lessen overall stress.

To assist in turning your house into a home, take a picture of your favorite keepsake, painting, piece of furniture, or other focal decoration and bring it with you when purchasing the paint cans, or selecting paint chips. Your color palette should remind you of the things that give you comfort, and should also create an oasis within your space where you feel ready and willing to unwind.

If you love bright colors but are afraid of overdoing it, have a neutral template in your home; hardwood floors, beige furniture and cream walls are the perfect backdrop for sunny yellow pillows, pink throw blankets, and busy paintings. As a guideline, you should aim to decorate with no less than two and no more than five different colors. Keep in mind, this rule of thumb even includes accent hues.

Wall decals are a perfect way to integrate essential tones in any room!



High-contrast colors, such as pairing black with white, will make a room seem smaller. If that’s not an issue for you, incorporate chrome light fixtures and single pops of a select color, like red or blue throughout a room. For example, in curtains and pillows. This will create a very modern, subtly stark look.

On the other hand, using the same color in darker and lighter shades throughout the setting will really open up your space and make it feel less cluttered. Being overly ‘matchy-matchy’ is not a good look, so simply use a few muted shades within your house to encourage continuity.

You can also create cohesion by using colors with the same undertone. For example, say you like colors with a teal. Try to keep that going between rooms through creative means such as table runners, planters and vases, pillows and bedding.

Lighting can play a big role in exuding a certain tint or air. What’s more, illuminating strategic portions of the space can make certain colors or patterns stand out over others. There are plenty of options for bothindoor lamps and cordless outdoor lighting, so use lights to accent and complement your home’s color palette.


Colors don’t need to – and shouldn’t – coordinate identically throughout a home; this would overwhelm the senses and lack personality. In truth, most colors will go together if you find a way to put them together. Various hues will cycle in and out of style so, when in doubt, find a combination that YOU like rather than what is fickly “popular” at the current moment.


Decorative pillows are both cheap to replace and easy switch around from room to room, which makes them great for accenting!




Colors can greatly influence your mood, so make your home feel like a true retreat for your body and mind. When you personally decorate each room, you can ensure distinctly personal comfort and a happy home. Simply use whatever colors and adornments make you proud – and don’t forget to have fun with it!