Thursday, September 25, 2014

Halloween Décor is Fun

I live in the sticks where company is few and far between. That doesn’t stop me from adding festive touches around the yard. Distant neighbors who live across the canal up on the hill can easily see the latest decorations around the property.

 It gets dark out here and even a witch can’t count on her GPS or radar to warn that a door is looming ahead. I just had to get a shot of her plastered against the glass before helping her down and sending her on her way with a new broom, some cookies, and fruit punch.

Decorations from each season are kept in sealed plastic tubs. It makes it so easy to keep my favorite items ready to use when the holiday rolls around again. Solar pumpkin lights are a delight to place out along the driveway and around the mailbox. 
This year I’m considering making October bouquets with streamers to hang along the fence.  This is a fun decoration for the kids to make, as well. Use some of the autumn artificial flowers you’re about ready to replace, or get some from your local economy or thrift shop. 

Make several bouquets to hang from branches, fences, and gates. Tape the stems tightly together near the base of the flowers. Tie ribbons or strips of material around the tape and make a fancy or distressed bow. Add old pieces of jewelry or glow-in-the-dark stickers that glimmer with an air of mystery after the sun goes down.
What are some of the ways you add cheer to the fall holidays?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Great Gifts for Baby

I enjoy shopping for babies and seeing the look of joy and pleasure parents display. It does not matter how many children are in a family and whether or not many of the common items are taken care of. There should always be at least one new item to honor the newest member and the proud parents. I went into a temporary panic mode a few weeks ago when I was invited to attend a baby shower. My favorite gift, onesies, is always popular and definitely used.

I started thinking about other great gifts for baby that have survived the decades and jotted them down for next time.  

Assorted Types of Blankets
It’s important for baby to be comfortable and blankets fit the bill. Spread a large quilt across the carpet so baby can play on a clean surface without having to look through the sides of a crib or playpen. The quilt protects against bumps and bruises while the child learns the art of sitting up and experiences the unexpected dismay of falling over. Various weights of blankets allow parents to adjust the warmth of the covers.

Rocking Chairs for One on One Baby Time
Everyone loves a rocking chair. It is a comfort to move back and forth, resting against the high back and setting elbows on the arms of the chair. Mom and baby lose the tension from birth, visitors, and adjusting to a new schedule. Grandparents and other visitors have a nice chair to sit in while holding the newcomer. 

An Awesome Diaper Bag
What’s the greatest thing about diaper bags? The answer is that dads also pack and carry them. There is so much stuff to take along for even a short trip. Let your imagination run wild when looking through the selections online and at the store. It’s not unusual for a bag to be left at the home of close friends and relatives, in each car, and even daycare. 

Portable Crib
A small collapsible crib is convenient for picnics, overnight trips, and worksites that allow parents to bring their children to work. I enjoyed looking at the different materials they are made from, the various sizes available, and how convenient most are to set up and take down. Look for the safety rating on the label and compare your favorites.

Get Out of Jail Free Card
Actually, this is an offer to babysit without cost for a few hours when one or both parents (or grandparents!) have an important event to attend or just need to get away. Your time is precious and it is quite meaningful for you to gift it to make parents feel at ease about leaving their infant in safe hands. 

What is your favorite baby gift to give or receive?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Deciding Which Projects to Finish this Year

Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the wonderful pictures and shapes in the public domain.

Mid-September is quickly approaching, leaving me with many tasks to complete before the icy chill of winter takes over. When the year changes to sunshine arriving late in the morning and nightfall taking over in the late afternoon, I know it’s time to complete the most important projects on my slowly dwindling list of things to do. As with other years, I’m going to rely on common sense and fairly reliable forecasts to focus on the three most important projects.

Repairs and Maintenance
Some of the outside walls of the house have paint peeling away. The last few years have provided winds of over 100 mph, temperatures exceeding 100 and dropping below zero F, and rain, ice, and snow. Painting the exterior of the house is a top priority. I’m taking a few minutes here and there to sand the area where the paint is loose and following it with an application of primer. In another month conditions should be right to start painting the buildings to avoid damage from yet another hard winter. 

When the bad weather sets in, I’m replacing the old indoor-outdoor carpet on the enclosed front porch. It’s a perfect DIY inside project that abolishes cabin fever.

I know how to make my own happiness and it starts with celebrating special days and holidays. Decorating is a wonderful way to share my joy with others and hopefully inspire them to do the same or at least add a chuckle and smile to their day. I have outdoor displays I put along the fence for Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I put solar lights on the fences top and bottom to keep the décor visible.

Basic Needs
There have been winters of being housebound for a week or more. This looks like a rerun of the same. I’ve made a list of things to stock in the pantry so we have enough food. An extra can of coffee and cocoa, as well as gallons of bottled water, have their own special shelf this year. 

The main source of heat is a woodstove. It only takes short logs, so I’m using the electric chainsaw to cut down some of the branches that fell during last winter and spring. I’m hoping to find someone who needs larger pieces of firewood and will use the large gas chainsaw to cut the big limbs for themselves and help cut up the smaller ones for me. I’ve reached the point where handling the big saw is just not fun to do anymore.

As a kid in San Diego, my biggest winter worry was having the bus fare to get to the beach during Christmas vacation. Now it’s hoping I don’t have to tackle flooded roads and highways or have the need to go to town over icy, snowy roads.

The remaining “to-do’s” start my 2015 list and an inspirational look at next year! What will you carry over to next year?