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25 Blogs Illustrating Fall Decorating Ideas for Your Home

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When the leaves begin changing and the pumpkins start arriving in the stores it can only mean one thing: it’s time to start decorating your home for fall. You can easily create a welcoming front entrance by dressing it up with rustic fall finds and hanging a wreath on the door or on the wall to bring some of that fall color to eye level. The fall season often means family gatherings, so why not spruce up the table with a fall inspired tablescape? Your fireplace mantel is another great place to bring the season to life in your home, and you can create a beautiful tribute to fall with fall foliage and candles. These 25 blogs will get you well on your way to outfitting your house with the perfect fall decorations.

Make a Stunning Entrance

With the abundance of harvest pumpkins and gourds available at the market, you can easily add some color and festivity to the entrance of your house. For added texture and height, complement the pumpkins with hay and corn stalks. Tuck in some silk fall leaves to bring all of the colors together and you have a solid start to decorating your entrance.  For more ideas, read these five blogs.

Hang it Up

You don’t want all of your fall decorations on the ground level, so be sure to make or purchase a fall wreath to add to your door. Wreaths not only are a visually appealing fall decoration, they also can help capture the scents of fall when you add in cinnamon sticks, dried apples and pinecones. To learn how to make a wreath and other hanging decorations, check out these five blog posts.    

Tabletop Ideas

If you have a formal dining room table that you don’t use every day, you can dress it up for the fall season. A festive table runner adorned with pumpkins, foliage and candles will capture the season, allowing you to bring fall right into your home. These five blogs will get you started on creating a fall-inspired tablescape.

Fabulous Fireplace Fixes

Once the nights start cooling off, you may want to gather around the fireplace with your family. The mantel ideas in these five blogs will help you decorate your fireplace. Candle sticks and lanterns can add some height to your mantel arrangement. If money is tight, use branches from the yard tucked into a vase you already own.  Be creative and get inspired from these blog posts.

The Warmth of Candlelight

There’s something warm and inviting about candlelight, and you can find many scented candles that capture the very essence of fall to add to your fall decorations. Whether you are adding a decorative candle element to an existing tablescape or to the mantel, you can try some of the ideas that are covered in these five blog entries. Fill the bottom of a hurricane vase with a few inches of candy corn, acorns, coffee, field corn or beans to create a bed for your candle to sit in. The warmth from the candle will also cause an earthy fragrance to be given off while the candle burns. No matter how you choose to use candles, there’s no doubt that it will add coziness to your home.

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27 Blogs Highlighting Unique Ways to Decorate Using Paper Lanterns

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Decorating with paper lanterns has become a popular trend over the last five years or so, and many party planners are incorporating paper lanterns in place of balloons to add color and because they don’t deflate over time. While paper lantern designs are getting more elaborate, many crafters are also getting creative with how they embellish their paper lanterns. By adding paint or paper to a plain paper lantern, you can turn it into something unique. Whether it’s a child’s birthday party or a wedding, paper lanterns can be used everywhere, and these 27 blogs will show you examples and directions for how to dress up and use your own paper lanterns.

Kids’ Parties

Solid colored lanterns can easily be repurposed with a little embellishment to a fit a certain theme, and paper lanterns come in so many colors that you’ll never run out of ideas. The brightly colored lanterns add a pop of color and life to your party. Because of their popularity, you can even find paper lanterns at most discount and party stores. Check out the way these bloggers used paper lanterns to dress up different kids’ parties.

Elegant Chandeliers

When you think of a chandelier, your first thought is probably of a large light fixture dripping with sparkly jewels. However, you can create the same chandelier effect for less with paper lanterns and tissue flowers. Some paper lanterns come with a battery operated light already inside, making them perfect for a chandelier. Otherwise, you may need some Christmas lights or paper lantern lights.  Learn how to create an eye-catching chandelier for your next party by reading these nine blogs.

Outside Events and Gatherings

Evening events that are held outdoors need some form of light so that people can see to eat, talk and mingle. Paper lanterns of various sizes are perfect for outdoor lighting because you can hang them from the trees to cast a soft glow. If you have an activity where you need more light, you may consider creating a paper lantern chandelier above the table or dance floor. These nine blogs will show you several different ways to incorporate paper lanterns at your next outdoor event.

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25 of the Best Blogs for Decorating Pumpkins for Fall

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Many families make going to the pumpkin patch and picking out the perfect pumpkin part of their fall tradition.  If your family does this, do you decide on the design that you are going to carve before you go pick out your pumpkin or after you’ve picked out the pumpkin that “speaks” to you at the patch? However you go about picking the perfect pumpkin, decorating pumpkins with your family can be a lot of fun.  Whether you want to carve your pumpkins or simply decorate the outside, these 25 blogs will give you some ideas on how to get started.

Spooktacular

If you like creating scary decorations for the outside of your house, you may want to design and create a spooky pumpkin or two to go with your theme.  Depending on what tools you use, you can create some pretty scary pumpkin designs.  Take a look at the designs on these five blog posts for some spooktacular ideas.

With the Kids

Depending on how old your kids are, you might choose to opt for the no carving designs or use the kid-friendly pumpkin carving tools. If you do let your children do the carving, it’s still important that an adult supervise, even if the carving kit is designed for kids.  These five blogs will help you get started with pumpkin decorating tips for kids.

No Cutting Required

Decorating pumpkins doesn’t always require carving, though. Instead, try these no cut methods for pumpkin decorating.  Leaving the pumpkins intact will help them last a lot longer and you will still be able to use them for something else when the season is over.  These no-carve designs can be a safe option for younger children as well.  Check out the ideas on these five blogs.

Holey Moley

Have you ever thought of carving a pumpkin with a drill? Using a drill to do your carving makes the whole process go by a lot faster since the drill is far more powerful that your knife.  It’s also safer to use the drill since you will not be wielding a sharp knife.  Plan out your design ahead of time using inspiration from these five blog entries, and mark the dots on the pumpkin before you drill to make sure that your final project will be everything you want it to be.

Crazy Faces

The traditional jack-o-lantern is a face, but pumpkin carving has evolved into somewhat of an art form by some of the carvers featured on these five blogs.  You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the skill involved in some of these designs, and there’s even some simpler face designs included on these blogs as well.

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30 Blogs Sharing Party Plans for Spooky Halloween Fun

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Make this the year that you finally throw that killer Halloween bash! You’ll need to start planning early, and you’ll want to mail out your invitations at least two weeks before the party to ensure the majority of your guests can come. Make your own spooky decorations, put together a creepy menu and pull together a frightful tablescape, all with the help from these 30 bloggers. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to throwing the best Halloween bash.

Making a Plan

Start your party planning process by putting the details of the party onto paper. Make sure to cover the basic questions, like when you want the party to be, what the theme of the party is and what food you’re going to serve. Then, put together a guest list for the perfect start to creating a party plan.  These six blogs will help make sure that you don’t forget anything along the way.

Ghoulish Invitations

Whether you are making your own invitations or ordering them, you’ll need to start putting them together well in advance. Once you have them, get them in the mail at least two weeks before your event so that people can mark the date down on their calendar.  If you need some ideas for making your own invitations, look no further than these six blog articles.

Set the Stage

A couple days before the party you’ll want to start setting up, decorating both the inside and outside of your house. You may even inspire your neighbors to decorate their own houses once they see you decorating yours! These six blogs will give you some scary ideas for decorating your house, no matter what your budget is.

A Spooktacular Menu

Your guests will get a kick out of a table full of creepy and scary food. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Halloween-inspired appetizers and finger foods! Peeled grapes are always popular and look a little like eyeballs, and cookies shaped like severed fingers will score high on the creep factor at your party.  For more ideas on how to make scary food, read these six blogs.

Decorating a Perfectly Scary Table Setting

What good is it to have creepy food if you don’t have a tablescape that screams Halloween?  Jars filled with pickled brains (cauliflower) and test tubes full of blood (corn syrup) will help set the mood for your perfectly scary tablescape. In these six blogs you will find tons of pictures to inspire you to create a truly spine tingling table setting.

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28 Blogs Sharing Quick and Easy Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

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The kitchen is commonly referred to as the heart of the home, so it’s no surprise that people spend a lot of time and money making it a room where people want to congregate. It’s a room where families gather, cook together and eat together, and because of that high traffic it’s easy for it to become a disorganized mess. No one wants to spend time searching for the kitchen tools they need, though, making it important to keep your kitchen organized. By keeping your four major kitchen areas – the pantry, refrigerator, drawers and cupboards – organized, you can keep your kitchen in pristine condition, allowing you to focus on what matters most: spending time creating great meals and gathering with family. With the tips in these 28 blogs your kitchen will be organized in no time.

Pantry

Let’s face it, the pantry tends to become somewhat of a catch all for random foods. Because the containers that food comes in vary in size and shape, not everything will sit nicely on a shelf where you can see what they are at a glance. To begin your pantry organization, empty out your pantry so you can start from scratch.  Go through and throw out any food that has expired or that you aren’t going to use. Then group the foods into like items.  Once you have done that you are ready to put everything back into the pantry.  Take a look at the ideas in these seven blogs to help you put everything into the perfect spot.

Refrigerator

The refrigerator is one place that people don’t normally think about organizing. You open the fridge countless times throughout the day, and you’ve probably acquired general places where you put various food.  Take that concept one step further and organize your fridge. Doing so can ensure that food stays fresh longer and that you never have to rearrange items to fit more stuff in. The bloggers in these seven posts have come up with tips to help get your fridge picture perfect.

Drawers

Almost everyone has at least one junk drawer in their kitchen where all the miscellaneous odds and ends accumulate. However, just because you have a junk drawer doesn’t mean it needs to be disorganized. Instead, use these seven blog posts to help you organize the items in the junk drawer so you can easily find them when you open it up. You’ll also find tips for keeping all the other drawers in your kitchen organized too.

Cupboards

Considering some kitchens have anywhere from 10 to 20 different cabinets or more, organizing the cupboards can seem like a huge undertaking.  Don’t focus on the big picture though; instead, focus on organizing one cupboard at a time. Make sure each cupboard has a specific purpose. You can also maximize the space in the back of cupboards by installing roll-out racks. For more tips for making your cabinets organized and functional, take a look at these seven blog posts.

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30 of the Best Blogs on Party Etiquette

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Parties can range from being casual social affairs to more formal events, and are an important part of socializing and networking. Getting together with friends, coworkers and even complete strangers and socializing lays the foundation to form new connections and open the door to new experiences. However, party-going isn’t always as easy as just showing up. Uncertainty about what to bring, when to arrive and how to sneak out early are common questions that every party-goer faces.  Discover some of the answers to your burning etiquette questions in these 30 blogs.

Hostess Gifts

Bringing a small gift to thank your hostess for opening up her house and serving you a nice dinner is a polite gesture. It’s common for guests to bring over a bottle of wine for the hostess, and this is typically a safe option if you don’t know her that well. If the hostess is a close friend, you can bring something more personalized to her taste. These six blogs contain other hostess gift ideas that will make your decision easier.

Fashionably Late

When to arrive to a party varies on the type of party that it is.  If you have been invited to a dinner party, you will want to arrive no more than 15 minutes late because you don’t want to delay dinner.  If it’s a cocktail party, you may be able to come as late as 20 minutes, but any more and you will need to let your hostess know that you have been delayed so that she is not holding off on any activities for you.  For other suggestions on when to arrive, read these six blog posts.

Leaving a Party

A common rule of thumb for acceptable departure times is that you should stay at a dinner party until after dessert has been served.  Ideally, plan on staying at least an hour after dinner to socialize unless other people start to leave, and then you can take your leave at the same time.  Cocktail parties typically run two to four hours, so plan to stay at least 45 minutes at a two hour party or an hour and half at a four hour party.  Other methods for how to leave a party early without being rude can be found in these six blogs.

Drinking

Typically, the drinking of alcohol is standard at parties.  If you do not drink, don’t be afraid to ask the hostess for something non-alcoholic.  The main thing to remember about drinking at a party is practicing moderation.  You are at the party to socialize and have fun, but you want to be careful not to overindulge.  More guidelines on drinking etiquette at parties can be found in these six blog entries.

Taboo Topics

Remember the old adage about not talking about sex, religion or politics at a party and you should be safe when it comes to avoiding taboo topics. There will inevitably be somebody that brings up a topic of conversation that has the potential to veer off into a more heated discussion, but you should try to keep the conversation light. These bloggers will give you some tips about what topics are safe to talk about and how to diffuse a conversation that may have gotten heated.

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10 Hidden Dangers in Your Bathroom

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Whether it’s a strictly utilitarian space or a carefully decorated and designed oasis where you unwind in a bath after a long day, your bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home. What you may not realize, however, is that it can also be one of the most dangerous. There are several things that can pose safety risks in your bathroom, and most homeowners aren’t even aware of the hazard. These are ten of the most common hidden dangers present in bathrooms, and ways that you can restore your restroom to a relative level of safety.

  • Bath Toys – A cheerful rubber ducky bobbing gently on the waves of your little one’s evening bath evokes idyllic childhood images, but it may also be teeming with mold and mildew. Bath toys retain water, sometimes even after being drained and stored properly. Making a point of cleaning bath toys thoroughly at least once each week can keep the worst of these microscopic boogeymen at bay.
  • Slippery Surfaces – The stylish tile flooring in your bathroom may be the height-of-fashion fixture that pulls the room together, but it can also pose a very real falling risk when the surface becomes wet and slippery. The bottom of a bathtub can be similarly treacherous, so consider installing bath mats and coarse adhesives to keep your bathroom safe.
  • Mold – Mold can be particularly irritating to those with respiratory issues, but can wreak havoc with the entire family’s health if it’s of the black mold variety. Be sure that you’re checking hidden areas for signs of mold, as the moist, warm environment of the bathroom is the perfect incubator for growth.
  • Cosmetics – The same substances that add a dash of color to wan cheeks and cover up imperfections can be harboring nasty bacterial growth, especially if it’s old or shared by more than one person. Never share eyeliner, mascara or eyeshadow, and make a point of tossing anything that’s more than six months old or is beginning to smell different.
  • Shared Towels – Cutting down on laundry is an attractive prospect, but the convenience pales in the face of the dangers of sharing towels. Jock itch, yeast overgrowth and other nasty microbes can flourish in a warm, damp towel, spreading infections throughout the family. Make sure that every member of the family has their own towel, and that it’s being washed regularly.
  • Flushing With the Toilet Lid Open – Closing the toilet lid before flushing may seem like a stretch when you’re struggling to get the boys in the family to lift the lid before using the facilities, but it’s an important safety precaution. Flushing sends tiny particles of toilet water hurtling around the room, coating nearby surfaces with bacteria like e. Coli.
  • Bacteria-Laden Shower Heads – You may think that your shower head is one of the cleanest fixtures in your restroom. After all, it’s the delivery method for the same clean, clear water that you use for cleansing your own body. In fact, shower heads can harbor mold, mildew and bacterial growth, so it’s wise to make a point of cleaning it regularly.
  • Medications – It’s no secret that medications can be dangerous for kids that inadvertently overdose on them or mistake them for candy, but they can also be a hidden danger for adults if they’re expired, in the wrong container or subjected to moisture. Add a full inventory of medications, complete with plans for safe disposal, to your spring cleaning list.
  • Toilets – Aside from playing host to fecal bacteria, toilets can also pose a drowning risk for toddlers and infants. It’s wise to install toilet lid locks if you have a little one in the house, as it’s easy for toddlers to topple into the bowl, but not always so easy for them to extricate themselves.
  • Recycled Toilet Paper – Doing your part to care for the environment is important, but you should tread carefully when you’re integrating recycled toilet paper into your green bathroom routine. Some brands have been known to contain high levels of BPA due to the recycling process, which has been linked to infertility, hormonal interference and other health issues. Check carefully to ensure that you’re buying BPA free toilet paper.
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20 Blogs with Tips for Organizing your Kids’ Closet before Sending Them Back to School

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While it may seem like summer vacation just started, it’s already time to think about getting the kids ready to go back to school. One way to get your kids ready is by organizing their closets.  Organizing their closets will help you assess what your kids will be able to use going into the new school year and what needs to be replaced when you go back-to-school shopping. These 20 blogs will help you sort through clothes and figure out how to best organize everything.

Sort

The first step in any organization project is to assess what you have in the given area that you are working with. To begin tackling closet organization you’ll need to have your child try on all of his clothes; this will help you determine which items you are keeping and which should be donated or discarded. Take a look at these five blog posts to get more tips on sorting through the stuff in your child’s closet.

Define Spaces

All closets are different, so it’s a good idea to take measurements to determine what you have room for before you begin buying shelves and other organizational tools to put in the space. These six blog entries will give you plenty of ideas on how to define the space you have in your child’s closet.

Use Bins and Boxes         

Kids often have trouble folding things and keeping them tidy, so having boxes and bins for toy storage will allow your kids to help put things away without worrying about if it’s neatly in there or not. Check out these six blog articles for more tips on how you can use bins and boxes to organize your kids’ closets.

Label Everything

It can be difficult to remember what’s in each bin or box, especially when they’re above eye level or if you aren’t using clear containers. This is when labeling comes in handy.  Read through these six blog posts for tips on labeling items in the closet to help keep everything organized and accessible.

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How to Create a Reading Nook for Your Child

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Fostering a love of reading is effectively giving your child a gift that will last a lifetime. With a book in hand, your child can take grand adventures without ever leaving the safety of her own space, learn about the world around her and develop crucial comprehension and cognitive skills. Providing your little one with a cozy, comfortable space dedicated to spending time with books is a great way to influence and encourage her to read, and doesn’t have to be a major project requiring a large line of credit. These tips can help you create a book nook in just about any quiet space of your home.

Keep it Comfy

When your child is reading a book for fun, you want her to feel comfortable and cozy. Skip the hard chairs and opt for seating that will allow her to curl up any way she pleases. Floor cushions and a nest of pillows create a soft place to hide with a favorite tome, and are easily accessible for little ones. Bean bags are also a favorite for seating, as are small daybeds raised very slightly off the floor.

Keep Shelving Accessible

In order to encourage reading for fun, make sure that your child is able to quickly and easily grab her favorites without help from a tall person. Shelving should be short enough for your child to reach even the top shelf, unless there are special books that you’d rather look at together stored out of reach. Make sure that your child doesn’t feel inspired to climb her shelves like a ladder in order to avoid asking for help, either. Independence-driven kids may be eager to do things for themselves, but they don’t always take safety risks into consideration. It’s also wise to make sure that shelving units are securely anchored to the wall to prevent tipping, just to be on the safe side.

Pitch a Tent

A well-made tent, a DIY canopy, a tee-pee or any other fabric edifice you can think of is an easy way to carve out a special space for reading in your child’s room. Making the space feel dedicated to time spent with a book and like a relaxing retreat is key, as is adding to the feeling of adventure. A single floor cushion inside a round canopy can feel like a castle to imaginative kids, so don’t shy away from draping fabric around things to create a little reading haven.

Consider the Closet

Adults often feel cloistered and crowded in small, cramped spaces, but kids seem to love them. Taking the door off of a seldom-used closet, outfitting the walls with safe, accessible shelves and padding the floor with cushions is a quick way to turn otherwise wasted space into a comfortable and cozy book nook. You may even be surprised at how tempted you are to curl up with your own favorite book after the kids go to bed!

Get Inspirational

An inspirational quote or two is a great way to add ambiance to any space, especially one designated for reading. Frame a quote about the love of books, or paint it directly onto the wall of your child’s space. Create a collage of favorite quotes for your child to add to as she reads, and encourage her to copy her own favorite lines from the books she reads on index cards for hanging up in her reading nook. Not only will she be surrounded by inspirational phrases, but she’ll also be inspired to keep reading so she can add to the quote collage.

Let There Be Light

When you’re planning a little corner of the house for your child to escape to with a good book, it’s easy to overlook the more practical details. No matter what design you use or how you create a space for your child, make sure that there’s plenty of light for her to read by in order to reduce eyestrain. Reading in the dark is no fun for anyone, and it can lead to headaches and other issues if your child is determined to read in her new nook despite the lack of light.

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20 Blogs Featuring Kids’ Crafts You Can Do with Basic Household Supplies

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While it’s definitely not hard to spend a small fortune at a craft supply store, sometimes the best crafts can be done with basic household supplies. Paper plates, lunch sacks, empty tin cans and Popsicle sticks all have their rightful place in the craft world, and most people have one or all of these things already stocked in their house! The next time the kids get bored don’t send them to watch a movie, instead bust out these basic supplies and get to crafting! These 20 blog articles give step-by-step directions for numerous projects that will keep your kids busy for days.

Paper Plates

Paper plates are relatively inexpensive, and typically come in a bulk supply. This makes them perfect for crafting because if someone messes up on their project they can just grab another plate and start over. The crafts in these five blog entries teach fine motor skills and exercise your kids’ imaginations, and the kids will have a blast putting them all together.

Lunch Sacks

Lunch sacks are both inexpensive and biodegradable, so they are handy to have around for crafting as well as for lunches. Paper sacks make the perfect flowers, puppets and even journals, and with the help of these five blog posts your child can easily craft all of these and more.

Tin Cans

It takes tin cans a long time to break down in a landfill, so recycling them is usually the best option. But you don’t have to just throw them into the recycling bin; instead, use them for crafting! You’ll find plenty of creative tin can ideas to do with your kids in these five blog articles.

Popsicle Sticks

Whether you save the sticks from your favorite frozen treat or buy clean sticks from a craft store, most people have some Popsicle sticks hanging around. For many Popsicle stick crafts you need little more than sticks and glue, and with the help of these five blog posts you can find all sorts of craft projects to make.

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