10 Ways To Make Your Backyard More Fun!

There are a zillion great ways to make your backyard more fun for children and their friends, but here are some of the best and easiest methods to turn your valuable outdoor space into a fun zone for children that will encourage outdoor play, teamwork, fresh air and hopefully lots of laughs. There are a range of simple ideas here or ones that may need a little more DIY creativity depending on your space and budget but for more visit Star Walk Kids now >>> for more of the latest ideas too. 

1. Chalkboards

These can be free-standing or you can fix a large one onto the fence. Not only will it be great for scribbling messages and pictures it will stop kids chalking on the drive or patio and provide a special space that they can retreat to when they are tired of running around. 

2. Summer Tents

Summer tents or wigwams are great fun for kids and easy to put up. Choose from fun, cheap options with big cushions placed inside so that children can lounge about or shelter from the shade if it’s a very hot day. If you put a few tents next to each other they will love having their own little den along with friends and siblings. 

3. Swing

Always a favourite, and there are loads of variations on this theme nowadays. You could be creative and make one from an old wooden chair painted in bright colours, or hoist up a tyre swing if you are handy at DIY and wanting to do this on a budget. 

4. Beach Party!

This is a fun and easy idea as kids love to play in the sand. With a little imagination you can install a sandpit, add a paddling pool to one area, a canopy for shade and some colourful bunting, beach balls and buckets and spades. 

5. Musical Fence

Assuming you have tolerant neighbours you might want to create a music fence which means setting up special fence panel which can affix to your normal fence or wall You then fasten on a range of objects such as pans, pots, spoons and any other ideas for things that kids can bash out a tune on. 

backyard fun

6. Treehouse

If you have a bigger yard or garden with a tree or two you could fix up a treehouse as this is a perennial favourite and provides a great den for kids. It can be as basic as a low hanging shelf with wooden steps to something much more intricate! 

7. Water Circuit

Water is ideal for any number of fun games. Using 6 to 8 old plastic bottles, make holes in the sides and then affix them to the wall or fence to make a downwards water circuit, so that kids can pour in water and watch it make it’s way downwards into a cup or jug. 

8. Gardening Project

Try a fun gardening project using their old wellies or other unusual containers to plant flowers in objects such as their old wellies or unusual pots. If they look really good you can stick the wellies or other objects to a fence or wall as a colourful decoration. 

9. Climbing Wall

If you have enough room you could install a mini climbing wall so that kids can keep fit, get exercise and learn coordination skills all at the same time. 

10. Mini Clothes Line

Kids love copying parents – try rigging up a miniature clothesline and get some colourful pegs. Add a small plastic bowl with soapy water and let them wash and hang up their dolls clothes or other small items.

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4 Tips on How to Get Your Home Ready for Guests and Family

familyhome

Having guests and family over to your home can be exciting, but it also requires a lot of busy work on your end. You might feel the need to get your home in impeccable shape in anticipation of welcoming your loved ones in, so if the thought of having to prep for their arrival has you stressed, no need to worry. Here’s a guide that will have your home in tip-top shape in no time. 

Revamp the Guest Room

 

Image via Flickr by angi231700

Whether you like it or not, friends and family members will invite themselves over to your home throughout the year. After a couple of glasses of wine, some of them might need to spend the night. You’ll want to organize your guest room so that it’s clean enough for someone to use. Consider revamping the look of the room to impress your loved one. A well-designed room will wow anyone. You don‘t have to go crazy, but simply adding a few decorations and keeping your colors coordinated can really make a room feel more welcoming. 

Dust Everywhere

Do you feel like dust bunnies breed faster than real bunnies? Dusting is one of the worst chores, especially for people who suffer from allergies or asthma. Still, it’s a necessary chore. Otherwise, your guests won’t remember anything about your home other than the film of dust lurking in every corner.

The good news is that a lot of clever cleaners and inventors have streamlined the dusting process. With the right tools and tactics, you should have no problem chasing away dust bunnies. Just remember to wear a mask if you do have health issues. Also, dust carefully in the areas where you have delicate decorations. You don’t want to dislodge anything.

Check Your HVAC System

hvac

One of the unwritten responsibilities of hosting is that you have to keep all of your guests comfortable. That requires you to consider potential calamities ahead of time. How would your visitors feel if the heat or air conditioning went out while they were over? Freezing or hot guests aren’t happy ones, and you don’t want disgruntled loved ones talking nastily about your ice party.

You’ll want to check your HVAC unit to verify that it’s working properly. Unless you have professional training, you should hire an expert to do maintenance. Their expertise is crucial to recognizing potentially faulty hardware. By spending a few dollars on a service call, you’ll feel confident about your ability to keep your guests comfortable this holiday season.

Declutter

The only awkward aspect of having lots of guests is the tight space. Adding only a few people to a room can turn the floor plan from open to claustrophobic. You don’t want to accentuate the problem by letting a lot of junk take up precious space. Take this opportunity to declutter.

Stack all your clutter into multiple groupings. Label one as essentials, another as likely keepers, and the third as giveaways. When you stack your items, consider the correct placement for each item. You’ll quickly have a pile of nonessentials that you can remove from your home, creating more space for guests.

Getting your home ready for guests and family can feel overwhelming. If you follow these four tips, however, you’ll find the process less stressful.

Give Your Kitchen a Distinct Look with The Café Matte Collection by GE

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Café  Matte Collection

As a mom, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen! There are always meals to plan and prep, lunches to pack and dishes to wash. With so much of this season of my life happening in the kitchen, I naturally like to daydream about the kitchen of my dreams.

The kitchen of my dreams is one step closer to reality now that the Café  Matte collection has hit Best Buy. The matte white or black finish is nothing short of dreamy, It is personalizable with hardware options that are as unique as your ideal kitchen!

These are not your mama’s appliances. They are distinct by design, one of a kind, and packed with personality; yours! I love that they are high performance with touches that will inspire
creativity while embracing function.

Café  Matte Collection

The collection includes French Door Refrigerators, cooktops, dishwashers, double wall ovens, and ranges. If you have been wishing for a restaurant-quality kitchen, now is the time to head to Best Buy to check out these options, your budget will thank you for it.

Café Matte Collection

The holidays are the perfect time to upgrade your appliances. So many loved ones will be in and out of your kitchen, and with all of those delicious goodies to make and share, you can do it in style with the Café Matte Collection at Best Buy while checking off something on your own wish list!

I would love to hear about your dream kitchen. Mine includes the Café Matte Collection in matte white. If you have a unique feature that you would add to a designed by you kitchen tell me about it in a comment!

Amazing Facts about Using Febreze in Your Home

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Febreze. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Febreze Safety Immersion in Cincinnati at the Procter and Gamble headquarters. I learned so much about Febreze, and how the company is making strides in the air care category for safety.

Febreze

As a mom of boys, there are a few things I like to think I am well versed in here are the obvious subjects such as sports, snacks and all things Pokemon. But, there are more layers to this mom than just fun, games and yummy treats. We all know boys can produce some of the worst smells, and I am sure girls do too. In the car, the bathroom, their bedroom, clothes, shoes, etc. they leave behind smells that as parents we look to eliminate with our go-to air fresheners.

Febreze is a secret weapon for parents and pet owners because it works like a dream to make our homes smell fresh and inviting while eliminating odors. But, is Febreze safe for families with pets, small children and those who are sensitive or particular to their air quality?

Febreze

At the Immersion, we learned that Febreze is absolutely safe for use around children and pets, and Febreze is committed to making an effective product that is gentle for use. While reading product labels can be confusing, Febreze makes it simple for anyone to understand. On their website, they break it down by product. I love that they are completely transparent by listing what each ingredient is and offering a description of what each ingredient does in the Febreze clean process.

For example, what role does alcohol play in the Febreze process? It helps to dry the fabric after spraying. What is Diethylene Glycol? It acts as a super booster for the odor eliminators.

Febreze wants to make sure the products we use are safe and they want to educate consumers so they too know how their products work. I love that Febreze products are effective, but at no expense to the safety or well-being of the families that welcome the brand into their homes.

Febreze

During my visit to P&G headquarters for the Febreze Safety Immersion, we got to hear from one of the scientists himself. He did a fantastic job of breaking down and explaining how Febreze OdorClear technology works and how instead of masking the odors it actually eliminates them. They use a donut-shaped molecule called Cyclodextrin, made from corn, that traps the odor and locks away the odor molecules.

Did You Know That…

  1. There may be around 500 trillion odor molecules in your home that you are not even able to smell? No matter how clean your home looks and smells, if you don’t clean the air in your home those odors will still linger. You can get used to those odors in your home, but someone who visits can smell the odors your sense of smell has adjusted to.
  2. Having a wet dog enter your home can leave billions of odor molecules on your rug or couch.
  3. Pet odors can live for months, even years, on fabrics and soft surfaces.
  4. The odors from cooking foods like bacon, fish or garlic, can live on your fabrics and soft surfaces for months until they are properly eliminated.
  5. Humidity plays a major role in odor intensity. Even a rainy day can cause the odors in your home to “bloom“, or resurface.

Neat Facts about Febreze Products

  • One bottle of Febreze Fabric Refresher with OdorClear can neutralize around 300 million billion odor molecules.
  • One bottle of Febreze Air Effects with OdorClear can neutralize 300 thousand billion odor molecules.
  • Febreze has a commitment to safety and transparency. They do not use phthalates, formaldehyde or flammable propellants as ingredients when they formulate any Febreze products.
  • Febreze is a proud partner of SmartLabel, which allows consumers to find all of our product information via smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
  • P&G will share all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01% for its entire product portfolio by the end of 2019.
  • Febreze is safe to use around children and pets, but like all household products, should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
  • You do not need to shake Febreze Air Effect bottles. I know most, including myself, may think to shake the bottle for a better result. However, with Febreze, it is the total opposite because it has a pure nitrogen propellant that disperses a fine mist in the air.

We were able to participate in a behind the scenes “STINK” lab tour, where we saw a few different demos that proved just how effective Febreze products are. You can try one of the demos in your own home by following the instructions here

Febreze

Febreze has products for the most sensitive sniffers as well as those who love perfume smells. You can see a list of their products on the website here. One product that I did not know existed was the Febreze ONE Fabric & Air Mist. My son has allergies so I have always been hesitant about bringing “strong” fragrances in the home. With Febreze ONE I can eliminate odors without the use of aerosols, dyes, or heavy perfumes, and it leaves behind a light freshness. The BAMBOO scent has been one of his favorites to use and spray throughout our home. We can’t wait to try the other scents in this line soon.

Easy tips to help improve your homes freshness.

  1. Wipe down all surfaces in the home at least once a week.
  2. Wash drapes, blankets, pillows, sheets once a week.
  3. Schedule a time to wash your fur babies to help keep the pet dander to a minimum.
  4. When using Febreze, you can spray your air, carpets or rugs first, then vacuum. Febreze’s technology causes the odor molecules to become heavy and drop to the ground, so when you vacuum, you are actually removing those molecules from that area and your home. Then, if you want more scent, you can respray Febreze for that just cleaned smell!
  5. Spray Febreze air fresheners anytime, anywhere to keep your home smelling fresh. 

Connect with Febreze on Facebook l Twitter l Instagram l Pinterest 

What are your favorite Febreze products?

 

Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family received a form of compensation for the above-mentioned blog post. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. I only recommend products I personally use and believe will add value to my readers.

Your Best Backyard Barbecue On A Budget!

backyardbbq

Warm weather is here and your backyard is calling for a barbecue. You’re ready to go but your budget is saying, “Hold up, wait a minute.” Have a great cookout does not have to break the bank. You can have fun, a fabulous menu and decorations on the variety of budgets. Here’s how.

Start with a realistic budget. We’re going to look at what can be done with $25, $50 and $100 for 15 people. Do what you can do to make the event as spectacular as you can. What people come for that is priceless is the enjoyable company of family and friends. Plan your guest list and invite the people who you want to spend time with. Invite the fun people in your life who will add joy and pleasure to your barbecue.

If all you have is $25 to spend on a cookout use that money for the following:

  • Decorative Paper products (plates, cups, and napkins)
  • Plasticware
  • Aluminum foil
  • Ice
  • Frozen juice
  • Lemons
  • Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish
  • Charcoal for the grill
  • Flowers for a centerpiece

You are providing the barbecue basics with a well-set table and floral centerpiece, an amazing fruit punch with frozen juice and freshly squeezed lemons and a hot grill.

The menu is:

  • Hamburgers
  • Hotdogs
  • Grilled chicken
  • Baked beans
  • Roasted corn
  • Potato salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Cupcakes

Divide the menu among your invited friends and this barbecue becomes a group effort potluck. Food is excellent as a glue between family and friends. The people you invite will welcome the opportunity to bring a dish and join in the fun.

For the $50 budget start with the same basics of the $25 cookout and add the meat. Spend $25 on ground beef and buns, hot dogs and buns, drumsticks and wings, barbecue sauce, sliced cheese.

Find friends to also bring coleslaw and fruit salad. Ask someone to bring flowers from their yard for your centerpieces. They add beauty without any cost. Have nice vases to put them in. Decorate your table and backyard furniture.

For the $100 budget start with everything that’s included with the $25 and $50 budgets. With the extra $50 that you have, you can do several things. Double your guests and you will have the necessary money to double everything that you have. Make sure you also double the number of people bringing dishes.

You can also add more to your menu with the additional money with dishes that you make like mac and cheese, corn casserole, chicken kabobs, grilled vegetable kabobs, zucchini gratin, turkey and veggie burgers.

The extra money can also be used to buy more ingredients for the amazing fruit punch like blended strawberries and pineapple.

backyardbarbecue

Having a great barbecue doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose your budget, get started and enjoy the fun. Visit our Recipe page here.

 

Ready to help the environment – and your budget? Take the #QuickColdPledge with Tide

Summer is near, and that means that the kids are playing outside for hours at a time, the temperatures are soaring and we are using more water to keep everyone fresh, clean and hydrated! Wouldn’t it be great if we could save time, money and resources like water and energy in the process?

Tide has started a national effort to help households across America to be a laundry hero with the #QuickColdPledge. By switching your machine settings to quick and cold from normal you can save 80% on energy reduction. Tide Pods are specifically formulated to work efficiently in quick and cold cycles, giving you 10x the cleaning power in half the time—what a time saver!

I love the ease of use with Tide Pods. Being able to grab them at a great price at Walmart makes them a clear choice for my laundry needs. As a busy mom of three growing boys, I am doing laundry every day! I love that I can get that chore going even on the busiest of days with a premeasured pod of superhero strength cleaning power. The boys always look great, no matter how dirty they might have gotten when they were out playing!
Did you know Tide Pods are designed for max cleaning in a quick and cold washer setting? In fact, you get 10x the cleaning power in half the time compared to the leading bargain liquid detergent brand. Pretty amazing impact all the way around!
tide pods
Don’t forget to take the #QuickColdPledge. Simply set your washing machine to the quick and cold setting and toss in a Tide Pod to start saving time, energy and money for the environmental win! If you haven’t set your washer to the quick and cold setting do you plan to? To help get you started saving right away, open the Flipp app to find a coupon for $2 off Tide PODS at Walmart.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tide at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.

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