5 Best Ways to Connect with Your Neighbors

Life can get super busy these days that it seems like having neighbors as real-life friends is not as common as it used to be. We are always on social media and yet we perpetually feel like there is no time to connect with the people who live close to us. And in big cities, this is particularly true because everyone comes and goes without saying hi or even waving hello. Why do it, anyway?

It’s pretty simple, really. Knowing the people who live around you creates a sense of belonging and, ultimately, a shared identity. Getting along with your neighbors and actually building relationships with them can strengthen not just connections but also trust in your community. And next thing you know, you are contributing to a healthier and happier neighborhood for everyone.

If you are looking to cultivate a connected neighborhood, here are some simple tips to get you started.

Strike a conversation. Starting a conversation with someone you just met can make you feel awkward — all the more if you are an introvert. Don’t let uneasiness keep you from communicating with your neighbor. Look around and find a common ground. Are you both interested in home improvement projects? Ask about his latest outdoor entertainment project at home. Do you like the same music or food? Share playlists or exchanges recipes! You’ll be surprised at how fun and insightful your conversation can get.

Do random acts of kindness. Most people respond positively to acts of kindness. Bake and take cookies to your neighbors. Babysit for free. Check in on an elderly. It’s small gestures like these that can make life a little bit easier for your next-door friend. They may not be able to repay but inspiring kindness sure opens up a whole new world of what it means to care for others.

Host a party. Invite your neighbors to a casual gathering at your front lawn. Serve them some freshly baked snacks and lemonade while you all hang out and get to know each other better. Depending on your budget and schedule, you can invite your neighbors over for your son’s birthday party, your wedding anniversary or what have you. If you need tips on hosting a successful party at your home then here’s a pretty nifty infographic from HeatStrip USA.

Offer what you have. Got some old clothes or toys to donate? Offer them to your next-door neighbor’s kids first. Cooked more than what you need? Invite the entire family for dinner. Sharing is caring, and it is not hard to do. When you share what you have — and you share it selflessly, you change other people’s lives and yours for the better.

Express appreciation. Neighbors extend to trash disposal workers who diligently collect waste all-year round, mail carriers who drop off letters every day, and delivery people who bring you pizza when you are hungry. Wave and say thank you! And while most companies don’t allow service workers to accept gifts, you can certainly offer small tokens of appreciation like a gift card to your local coffee shop. Not only do small gestures like these create goodwill, they also teach children the value of generosity.

It’s important to feel comfortable where you live, and connecting and building relationships with your neighbors will only result in strong community bonds. When you feel good about who you are surrounded by, you live a happier life. And when you live a happier life, you help improve everyone else’s quality of life.

 

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Basic Life Skills to Teach Your Kids Today

With so much for our children to learn in today’s high-tech world, it’s all too easy for them to miss out on practical life skills, whether it’s running a load of wash, reading a map, or handwriting a letter. Your child is more capable than you realize. Even your preschooler can begin to learn these essential life lessons. Take a look at these skills you might want to teach and/or cultivate in your kids.

Doing the laundry – Too many teens head to college with no clue how to clean their clothes. Don’t let your kid become one of them. You can begin teaching your child when she is around 6. If you have a top-loading washer, keep a step stool nearby. Walk her through the process—how to measure and add the detergent, choose the settings, and start the machine.

Wrapping a gift – Your child already loves giving presents, and wrapping them makes it even more satisfying. Preschoolers can help cut the paper and stick on the tape, while kindergartners can complete additional steps with your help, like removing the price tag, finding the right size box, and wrapping paper all the way around the gift to make sure it fits before cutting it.

Writing a letter – Toddlers can dictate a letter to a family member (enhanced with drawings), attach the stamp, and drop it into a mailbox. Teach an older child how to address an envelope and the five parts of a letter: date, greeting (“Dear…”), body, closing (“Sincerely”), and signature. You can also have them help with holiday cards and find a pen pal.

Source: UNSPLASH

Preparing a simple meal – Yogurt with fruit is a good first DIY breakfast. Preschoolers can spoon yogurt into a bowl and add prewashed cut-up fruit. Work with kids 5 and older on making sandwiches and smoothies (monitor the blender closely). Around age 7 or 8, your kid can try toaster-oven faves like English-muffin pizza, or make a simple salad by ripping lettuce, dumping in croutons, and cutting up tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. By age 10, kids can use the stovetop with supervision for a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Cleaning the bathroom – Keep rags or a sponge handy for wiping toothpaste blobs off the sink. Toilet duties require greater skill. School-age kids can clean the lid, seat, and base with a disinfecting wipe. Make sure they wash their hands thoroughly afterward. Big kids can scrub the bowl with a nontoxic cleaner: Sprinkle the sides with baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, pour in some vinegar, then scrub with a toilet brush.

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A Quick Guide to 2018 Home Improvement

Here’s a compilation of the top home improvement trends for 2018. They have been predicted to become very present in many homes throughout this year. Enjoy a few tips on utilising available spaces and learn about some advanced concepts already creating a buzz amongst those who like to enhance their living with smart home technology.

Micro House Design – As homeowners continue to get short changed for space, there is a tendency to adopt multi-purpose, micro house design, with beds folding out to become tables, and the ability to fold everything away after use. Although the ‘micro house design’ trend appears to be a relativity new concept to us here in the West, it’s a way of life for those in Japan-and has been for a number of years. In Japan, restrictions of sizing and space has led to impressive levels of ingenuity; instead of having a designated use for each room (and the subsequent limitations this creates), homes have been designed to enable a bedroom to transform into a living room, with the simple folding of a futon. Japanese furniture tends to be portable as well, ensuring ease of manoeuvre when required; something which will prove invaluable to UK buildings, as this trend continues to take hold.

Using Re-purposed Items – With the financial uncertainty continuing, the trend towards ‘mend and make do’, rather than purchasing brand new, seems set to soar in 2018. This includes: reupholstering old chairs with new fabrics, and repainting and stencilling existing cupboards and cabinets. Car boot sales and flea markets provide a veritable treasure trove of finds that, although appearing a little worn and tattered on the face of it, can be restored to their former glory, with just a minimal amount of effort.

Source: UNSPLASH

Investing in a Home’s Potential – As more and homeowners continue to stay put, rather than move, there is likely to be a concerted move towards allocating their budget into home improvement products and projects that will increase property value immeasurably. So where do they focus their efforts? Unsurprisingly, designing the dream kitchen the top of everyone’s’ list, with sleek, marble countertops proving particularly popular among property owners. For the majority, creating an open plan layout is the overall goal, as it offers a seamless transition between rooms, as well as creating the illusion of additional space.

Smart Lighting Controls – AIl is set to pave the way to a brighter future in 2018-quite literally! Such systems have been designed to be fully customisable to consumers, enabling them to be adapted in accordance with the seasons, as well as the time of day. This trend feeds into the larger move towards smart energy management systems in general, with thermostats also proving popular among property owners, due to their ability to be controlled remotely.

Mix And Match Appliances – Just when you thought your home couldn’t get any more sophisticated, fridge freezers have had the ultimate upgrade as well! Giving the concept of multi-tasking a whole new meaning, mix and match appliances offer homeowners the chance to take control of conditions within their fridge-freezers-from air purification systems, right down to humidity controlled crisper drawers. At the upper end of the market, some models even feature built in cameras that let you see whether there were any items you left off your list whilst out shopping.

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Six Ways to Re-Purpose Your Old Furniture

Have you got old furniture pieces? Think twice before throwing them away. With some creativity, you can recondition them into fresh pieces which will serve you new purpose. Read the rest of this post to know what you can do with your cabinets, countertops, doors, dressers and side tables.

Side tables – Old side tables can be converted into useful stools. Take one of them and see how you might put a cushion on top of it. You can best match it with a coffee table. If for some reason, your newly-converted stool is quite short to be used for your coffee table, just make some alterations on its feet.

Headboards – Headboards make good racks. You can make convert headboard into a coat rack by screwing hooks onto it and hanging it on your wall. You can also convert it into a wall cabinet or cupboard.

Old windows – Got an old window that’s still intact and with a lot of character? Consider converting it into a cabinet door. You can do this by looking for a cabinet with a faulty door that needs replacement. Or, you can create a cabinet that matches the size and shape of your old window.

Source: PIXABAY

Chests – Heavy duty wooden chests or trunks can be easily turned into a coffee table. This is because most of them have the right height for tables. You just need a sealer on the top or place a pane of glass to make your chest or trunk look like a genuine coffee table. If you already have a coffe table at home, consider converting it into an artistic garage door.

Chairs – Do you have a chair which doesn’t match your table? Don’t give it away. Turn it into a nightstand. This will come in handy especially when you love reading by your night lamp during bedtime. You can also convert it into a table if its dimesions fit one. All you have to do is cut down the back rest so you can freely use the seat.

Sideboards – A sideboard usually makes an excellent bathroom vanity. Carve a hole on its top for the sink. Make sure there’s enough room for the plumbing. Add a mirror to the wall above it and you’ll instantly have a beautiful bathroom accessory.

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Quality Furniture: 5 Things You Need to Consider

Choosing the right furniture for your home can be stressful. But, it becomes a pleasurable process once it ends with good results. Here are a few different tips on how to make sure that you select the right furniture.

Personality – Your personal style should be reflected in your furniture. It should also match the layout of your home. Look for furniture that stands out with an element of personality.

Construction – Does the furniture of your choice feel sturdy and heavy? Don’t go for light aluminum frames. Stick to solid wood construction. Sturdy wood is known to stand much longer. Moreover, it sets the standard when it comes to fine quality furniture. Just make sure that your chosen wooden furniture is not over-priced.

Silhouette – Are you looking for a trendy piece or a classic one that will stand the test of time? Your answer to this might depend on how frequent your home renovation happens. Anyhow, make sure to choose a furniture which you will not get tired of in a month’s time. In this case, I suggest that you go for classic silhouettes.

Source: PIXABAY

Finish – Apart from choosing the best color, you must also consider the stain and lacquer. Both must be able to withstand frequent use. If a particular piece of furniture which you like doesn’t come in your desired finish, you can always have it re-conditioned so that it will match your personality.

Fabric – Are you going to place your new furniture in the living room? If yes, you will need a furniture that has fabric with lighter color. But if you’re going to use this furniture every day, it should have fabric with darker color so that it won’t show unwanted stains and other imperfections that might fall upon it.

 

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Six Tips on Picking the Best Mattress

Source: PIXABAY

Apart from having a peaceful environment, a comfortable mattress is another important factor in achieving a good night’s sleep. Having the right mattress on your bed decreases the discomfort and pain you feel from a long day at work. Hence, it is worth your time and money to invest in one. Here are some guidelines for you to follow when buying a mattress.

Try it before you pay for it.  Do 20-minute test sleep on the mattress in your normal sleep position. Make a mental note of how it feels. Does it help you fall asleep quickly?

Make comfort your goal. You might be inclined to buying a soft or firm mattress. While such preference is okay, make sure that your body agrees to it. Scientific surveys show that medium-firm type mattresses are best for a comfortable sleep.

Choose a mattress that fits your body. There are mattresses that are designed to distribute pressure evenly across the body and conform to the spine’s natural curve. Bring a friend along while shopping for a mattress. Ask your friend to observe whether your spine remains fairly neutral as you lie on the mattress in your normal sleeping position.

Never buy a saggy mattress. A saggy mattress causes back pain. But don’t settle for one that is too thick, thinking that thick mattresses don’t sag. Thick doesn’t always mean comfortable.

Check to see if the mattress has allergens. If you’re allergic to dust, look for a hypoallergenic mattress.

Look for trial offers or return policy. Mattresses are expensive. Trial offers are always the best way to avoid getting stuck with an uncomfortable mattress. You would not be changing your mattress every other month or every year. So you must look for a mattress that can serve your sleeping needs for eight or more years.

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Three Ways to Keep Your House Immaculately Clean

Most mums and dads want to have a perfectly clean house but they hate the cleaning process. It is because cleaning requires a huge amount of time and energy – robbing them of the opportunities to relax, to spend time with their family or to learn new things.

Do you feel the same about house cleaning? Here’s the good news – you can keep every nook and cranny in your house squeaky clean without spending the whole day scrubbing and sweeping. How? By observing the guidelines below on cleaning your house systematically.

1. Divide your home into zones. Cleaning the rooms in your house all at the same time won’t help you achieve more. It will only leave you exhausted and frustrated. Categorize all the rooms into zones according to their function and the type of cleaning they need. For example, bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room can be categorized into one zone because they are ‘wet rooms’ – requiring similar cleaning techniques. Don’t forget to include in these zones the hidden spots you might overlook while cleaning. To learn where these spots are in your house, read this detailed infographic from Absolute Domestics.

 

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2. Create a cleaning schedule. Ask yourself how often you can tackle each zone in your house. You can do this weekly or monthly depending on your availability. Create a schedule and fill it out with the cleaning tasks you need to accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. List the small things you can do every day to keep things from piling up into a huge mess. Tick them as done as you go through each task for the day.

3. Be organized. Make sure that every item in your house has a designated place. Train your family members to put the stuff they’ve used back to their rightful places at the end of each day. This prevent the accumulation of unwanted mess on counter tops, tables and on the floor. Also, this will give your house a fresh look even though you haven’t deep cleaned every part of it.

Posted in Uncategorized