5 Tips for Shopping on Black Friday

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

black-friday

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you may be preparing not only for a pleasant feast, but also a run for the best deals. While there are many people who enjoy the hectic atmosphere, there are others who really just want to get in and out. No matter what type of shopper you are, going shopping prepared will ensure that you have a great time instead of coming home irritated and exhausted.

Know Your Ads

Black Friday deals are always available online before the actual day. New electronics and popular toys are released to take advantage of the consumers’ wants, having an idea of what will be on sale at the store can really help you out. If you are on the lookout for a specific item, be sure to shop around now so you know what options you have. Do not forget to look at stores you normally do not shop at. They may have the best deals available and, if they are not as popular as some of the big name stores, you may have a better chance of getting exactly what you want.

Enjoy Those Freebies

Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day has brought forth some criticism. However, there are those who take it all in stride and have simply added Thanksgiving shopping to their ritual. Some stores do hand out freebies. These freebies may range from gift cards and candy to free movie tickets. If you finish your big meal early and still have some energy left, you could come out even more ahead.

Make a Plan

Shopping during the Black Friday sales can be difficult, especially when dealing with the crowds. One of the best ways to get around the confusion is to create a game plan. If you are heading to the mall with a group, figure out who is responsible for buying what item and split into smaller groups. Just make sure to keep your eye on the kids and use your cell phone to stay in touch with the other groups. If you are shopping by yourself, having some idea of where the items are located within the store can prevent some confusion and reduce your wait time.

Stick to Shopping List

The main goal for retailers is to sell you as much product as possible. This is not a conspiracy; in fact, this has been the goal ever since the Black Friday shopping tradition started. To avoid causing problems with your wallet, create a strict list and avoid purchasing items that are not on it. If you love picking up a few extras here and there, budget some extra cash for the impulse items or little surprises for yourself. Further, ensure that you have some backup item ideas ready in case your wanted items are already sold out. This will save you time and money.

Spread the Cheer

If you work a busy job or have experience in retail, it is crucial to remember that the sales associates are spending the holiday working so you can have a nice shopping experience. Treat them with kindness even if they cannot be as helpful as they normally are due to the crowds. A good rule of thumb is that, if you treat the staff nicely, you are more likely to be treated nicely in return. The sales associates may even be happy to search out overlooked items in the backroom as long as you are polite.

Holiday shopping does not always have to be stressful. By planning and being flexible, you can make your Black Friday shopping experience a fun one.

 

Fall Maintenance for Your Furnace

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Trane XR80 Single-Stage Furnace

With the fall season well underway, you may have already gotten some use out of your furnace. Before you start using your furnace full time, you may want to take some time and get it ready for the cold nights ahead. One of the best ways to prevent damage to your heating system and lengthen its potential life is to ensure that it receives proper maintenance every single year.

In general, the best time of year to provide basic furnace maintenance is before the heating system begins. However, this can be a busy time of year with school starting up and workloads getting heavier. That being said, it is never too late to do a quick inspection of your heating system, especially if you rely on it to keep you warm all winter long.

Pick Up Some Replacement Filters

The beginning of the season is the best time to stock up on all the filters you will need for the fall, winter and early spring. Make sure you purchase the right filters for your system so that they properly remove contaminants from your recirculating air. Not only will a clean filter improve the energy efficiency of your unit, but it will also prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your system. By getting a full supply all at once, you will have no reason to avoid changing out the filter.

Do a Basic Inspection of Your System

You may be surprised at just what a simple inspection can do for your HVAC equipment. Even if you do not know much about your heater or furnace, you can inspect the wires and pipes for rust or corrosion. If the pipes or wires are rusting, there is a chance that your system could suddenly stop working when you need it most. Further, dust accumulating on the heating coils can indicate that the system is in desperate need for a checkup. The last thing you want is for all that dust to end up in the air that you breathe.

Other obvious problems that you want to look for include leaks and airflow issues. Not only can these leaks and airflow problems result in poor indoor air quality for you and your family during the fall and winter, but it could be dangerous for your home. If you do find a problem, get a professional to help you fix it before it becomes a major catastrophe.

Schedule a Fall Tune Up

Although you are the first line of defense for your heating system, you may not have all of the necessary knowledge needed to keep your system running smoothly. As such, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional HVAC contractor you trust. During the tune up, there are multiple things that they will check, including the pilot light, the motors and the combustion chamber and heat exchanger condition. The vent pipes will also be checked to ensure that CO is not being pumped into the home.

There is another major reason you should consider having a professional HVAC contractor. Some manufacturer and extended warranties can become voided if the equipment is not regularly maintained by a licensed professional.

Stay Efficient during the Winter

Although regular maintenance can have some costs to it, you will find that the positives of regular maintenance far outweigh the risks. Not only will regular maintenance extend the lifespan of your current heating system, saving you more in long run, but you can also make your home more comfortable. By keeping your heating system maintained, you will never need to worry about coming home to a cold home after a long day at work.

Halloween Myths and Truths

Monday, October 31st, 2016

halloween

For many kids, trick-or-treating is one of the highlights of Fall. Not only do kids get to dress up, but they even get to eat a ton of candy and run around the neighborhood after dark. Even adults get in on the action by decorating their homes and enjoying grown-up parties. Every year, however, the stories of candy poisonings, injuries and stranger dangers only get scarier. Luckily for parents, most of these myths are false.

Myth: Poison Candy is Common

Everyone has heard of the story of the poisoned candy. Strangers lace candy with toxic chemicals and drugs just for fun. In fact, the majority of the stories have been debunked with the exception of two. While there have been two deaths in the past that did occur as a result of poisoned candy, the perpetrator was a family member and not a stranger.

That being said, parents should check the candy that kids bring home prior to letting them eat it. Candy that is not individually wrapped or that looks like it has been tampered with should be discarded.

Myth: Harm by Needles and Razor Blades in Candy

Like the myth above, one or two reports of an incident occurring is enough to cause fear. This fear has become so pervasive that many parents refuse to let their children eat any fruit they may have received while out canvasing the neighborhood. While there are one or two cases of sharp objects being found in candy, it should be noted that the majority of the reports that come out each Halloween are hoaxes. In fact, children are more likely to be hit by a car while trick-or-treating than coming across a razor blade or needle. This doesn’t necessarily mean that giving out or accepting fruit and other non-wrapped items on Halloween is necessarily a trend that should be brought back to life, but there are other dangers both parents and kids should be more aware of.

Stranger Danger is a Halloween Problem

When it comes to trick-or-treating, many parents are probably most worried about stranger danger. This fear appears to be entirely unfounded. There has never been a reported case of a child being in danger of assault or other harm from a convicted sex offender while out trick-or-treating. There are probably many reasons for this, including parental supervision and trick-or-treating groups, but many states also impose curfews and rules about opening their front door for registered sex offenders. Parents should keep in mind that harm to children is often caused by family members or family friends, not strangers.

Too Much Sugar Means a Late Bed Time

The “Too Much Sugar Causes Hyperactivity” myth has been debunked by multiple studies. For some reason, however, many parents still believe that sugar is the root of all evil, especially on Halloween. While eating a ton of candy all at once is certainly not healthy for their diet and their teeth, kids are usually hyper because they are excited. They wait all year for Halloween and the deviation from their normal routine may make them more energetic.

Help Keep Your Child Safe this Halloween

While many Halloween myths are easily debunked, there are some true facts that should not be overlooked. For example, it is true that children are twice as likely to be hit by a car when they are out trick-or-treating than on any other night. Make sure your children are safe by ensuring that they know how to safely cross the street, carry a flashlight or glowstick and do not wear masks that would prevent them from being able to see oncoming traffic.

 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

Creative Ways to Decorate Your Pumpkins this Halloween

Friday, October 28th, 2016

24. PumpkinWith Halloween just around the corner, it is time to break out the carving tools, bundle up the kids and go pick out a suitable pumpkin. However, if you are bored of the same old pumpkin carving templates, now is the time to let your creative side out. Whether you enjoy a Halloween that is more colorful and cute or dark and terrifying, there are pumpkin decorating ideas for everyone.
The Painted Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins is a messy job. When you throw small children into the mix, it can also become dangerous if they are not careful with handling the carving tools. Acrylic paint is an easy medium that allows you or your children to paint the designs right on your pumpkin. Create ombre gradients that are light and cheerful, argyle designs in fall colors to show your love of all things pumpkin or use a stencil to paint on some intricate designs.

Paint several pumpkins, line them up and add some over-sized googly eyes to make a fun caterpillar or even a silly snake. The best part is that your pumpkins will last longer and you will not have to worry about cleaning up pumpkin goo from your front porch.

Add Some Sparkle or Shine

Everyone loves glitter, especially kids. Grab some craft glue and a variety of craft glitter colors to make a one-of-a-kind glitter pumpkin. If glitter is a bit too flashy, adding some gold leaf to the top of your pumpkins to make them shine or give them a more subtle sparkle by covering them in glue and adding Epsom salts. The possibilities are endless.

Turn Your Pumpkin into a Message Board

Make your pumpkin work for its spot on the porch. Cover it with chalkboard paint and use colorful chalk to leave friendly messages to your kids’ friends or your neighbors. Chalkboard paint can be found at any local craft store. It even now comes in a variety of colors so you can deviate from regular old chalkboard black to pale blue, pink and even orange. Use these pumpkins to warn trick-or-treaters of any ghostly intruders or undead that may be hanging around.

Poke Holes in Your Pumpkins for Extra Fun

If you want to get creative without having to carve intricate designs, use those carving tools to poke holes in your pumpkins. You will still need to scoop out the goop, but going with spots and dots give you a ton of decorating options. If you do not have carving tools, you can use a power drill or even just a hammer and nails. Make sure to supervise any young children. Sketch the design on the pumpkin before beginning to make your holes so there is enough space between each hole.

Poke a star pattern or constellations in your pumpkin and then place a candle inside. When placed in front of a wall, the pumpkin will cast the light and create interesting shadows that may give your home a spooky aesthetic. You can even poke holiday lights through the holes, turn the pumpkin on the side and turn it into a pumpkin porcupine. If you want to avoid using candles or holiday lights, you can use colored thread and make an embroidered pumpkin.

Have Fun with Your Pumpkins this Year

Decorating your Halloween pumpkins should be a fun experience for the whole family. However, is is a messy project that can take time that you may not have due to a busy school or work schedule. However, this does not mean you should skip decorating pumpkins altogether. With these pumpkin decorating ideas, maybe you and your family will have fun brainstorming new ways to have fun with these traditional decorations.

 

Tricks to Getting Up Easily in the Morning

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

alarm-clockWith the fall season finally started, you may be finding that you and your kids are having difficulty not only getting up in the morning but leaving home alert and awake. If you find it difficult to avoid hitting the snooze button for another 10 minutes of sleep, there are several tricks you can use to make the mornings a little bit easier.
Create a Routine Sleeping Schedule

Even though it is fun to stay up late watching television or exploring the internet, this can cause you to have problems waking up, especially if you are getting less than eight hours of sleep. By picking a time to go to bed and sticking to that schedule, your body will naturally begin to adjust to becoming tired the same time every night. This works for actually waking as well; if you commit yourself for getting out of bed at the same time every day, you will find it easier to actually get up when the alarm goes off the first time.

This technique does require some practice as you may have to force yourself to actually get up out of bed. However, stick with it and it will become easier over time. Eventually it will become a habit and you will not have to push yourself.

Relocate Your Alarm Clock

You may find that it becomes more and more difficult to actually get out of bed, especially if the temperatures are getting colder. However, once you are out, it is easier to get going with your day. By moving your alarm clock, you will have no choice but to get up and turn it off. Make sure to use a song or sounds that will wake you up and switch up the alarm sounds as soon as you start to find it difficult to wake up again.

Make Use of the Natural Light

Utilizing the natural light can help your brain with waking up. During the spring and summer months, you can adjust your blinds so that light comes in as the sun rises. During the fall and winter months, however, you likely need to be up and getting ready to go before the sun rises. A natural alarm clock that mimics daylight can help. These alarm clocks simulate the sun rise and make the room brighter slowly without jolting you awake. This method also allows you to wake up naturally so you do not end up sitting up awake right when you are in the middle of your dream cycle.

Get Moving

One of the easiest ways to feel more awake is to start moving. Whether that means getting in the shower, washing your face or even getting dressed and going for a quick run, you are less likely to fall back asleep if you are already focused on something else. Even simple stretching or eating a mint can get your mind off being tired or sleepy.

Ultimately, it is far easier to wake up and get going with your day if you get a good night’s sleep. Even if you are sleeping for longer periods of time, you may not feel rested or energized if you spend all night tossing, turning and waking up intermittently. If you find that, no matter what you do, you cannot get quality sleep, you could potentially have a medical condition that prevents you from getting to sleep or staying asleep. Always talk to your doctor if you ever have any trouble with your sleep habits as they may have a solution that allows you to feel ready to go every day.

 

Furnace Efficiency

Friday, November 20th, 2015

During the cold winter months, your furnace works hard to heat the air and send it throughout your home. Some of this heat is lost as the heated air travels through the ducts to its destination while some is lost through the chimney. While your furnace may still be providing enough heat to keep you comfortable, you are still paying for the heat that is lost. If you have an older or inefficient furnace, your energy bill may be high, making you more hesitant to run the heat.
Furnace Efficiency Ratings

A furnace’s efficiency standard is AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This standard is used to show consumers how efficient the furnace is at converting energy to heat over one year. AFUE is shown as a ratio of the output of heat that directly heats the home or business over the energy that is used.

As an example, a furnace that has an AFUE of 95 percent means that 95% of the energy the furnace uses goes towards directly heating the home or business. The remaining 5% is vented to the outdoors. In general, newer furnaces are more likely to have a higher AFUE than older furnaces.

AFUE Chart 95web2
Some high AFUE furnaces may also have an ENERGY STAR label, a symbol that is awarded to certain products by the Environmental Protection Agency. This label indicates that the furnace has been proven through verified testing to save the home or business owner money while reducing the amount of green house gases that are produced. Although furnaces with an ENERGY STAR label may have a higher upfront expense, consumers will recover the cost of their investment through energy savings.

Why Furnace Efficiency Matters

The number one reason you may want to upgrade to a new, more energy efficient furnace is to save money. Because newer furnaces use more of their energy to actually heat the home or business, the furnace does not have to work as hard or as long to make your living or working space comfortable.

Efficient furnaces have an environmental benefit in addition to a cost benefit. If every home and business replaced their outdated furnaces with highly efficient heating equipment, the EPA estimates that the annual amount of greenhouse gasses emitted in the United States would be equivalent to taking 177,000 cars off the roads.

Should I Retrofit or Replace My Furnace?

Older furnaces can be upgraded to become more efficient. However, this process can be costly; homeowners or building owners should weigh the cost of a retrofit with the cost of a furnace replacement. If you choose to retrofit your furnace, you will most likely have a vent or flue damper installed to close off the chimney when the furnace is not running.

If your furnace is older than 10 years, it is likely that it has an AFUE in the range of 56 to 70 percent. That mean up to 44% of your fuel is directly released through the chimney as wasted energy. Because some new models have AFUE ratings between 90 to 98 percent, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to bite the bullet and install a new furnace. Over time, the energy savings provided by a new furnace will allow you to recover your investment.

Choose an Efficient furnace

Ultimately, replacing your old furnace has financial and environmental benefits. When you’re looking to replace your furnace, we can discuss your to make sure that you’re getting the right furnace that works for your home or business. When you are choosing your new furnace, be sure to check the AFUE before making a commitment.

 

Improving Indoor Air Quality During the Fall and Winter

Friday, October 16th, 2015

During the late fall and winter time, many people choose to close off their homes to the outside world. However, this causes the indoor air to become trapped inside the home, which could result in a buildup of pollutants that then re-circulate for the rest of the season. With this in mind, there are quick and easy ways that you can improve your home’s indoor air quality this fall and winter.

Indoor Air Quality

Increase the Home’s Ventilation

When a home is properly ventilated, air is constantly being circulated throughout the building. With most newer homes now being designed to be energy efficient, however, fresh, outdoor air is often rarely allowed to enter the home. Window and bathroom exhaust fans can help introduce outside air indoors without cooling off the home.

Additionally, you may want to wait to complete any projects that require the use of products that give off pollutants until the weather is warm enough to open the windows for a bit. For example, if you plan on repainting a room or upgrading an old piece of furniture, it may be best to hold off until warmer weather as the paint may contain pollutants that could be harmful. Without proper ventilation, those pollutants will just continue circle throughout the home until the warm weather arrives.

Control the Moisture Levels

During the fall and winter months, the air tends to become dry, especially in the home. A little bit of moisture keeps a home’s occupants more comfortable. However, too much moisture can encourage mold, mildew and bacteria growth, all of which decreases a home’s indoor air quality. It is recommended that you keep your home’s humidity levels above 30 percent and lower than 60 percent when possible.

Minimize Pollutant Sources

Many home items and materials release harmful pollutants, known as volatile organic compounds, long after they’ve been used or installed. Carpeting, certain types of flooring and paint all give off fumes and other pollutants for long periods of time after installation or application. Chemical household cleaning products and any gases used for heating also decrease indoor air quality, as pollutants are constantly being introduced into the indoor environment.

While some pollutant sources are inevitable, such as gases used for heating, there are some alternative materials and cleaners available that won’t release pollutants. For example, a mixture of vinegar and water or even water and baking soda can be used for simple cleaning projects.

Keep the Home Clean

Routinely dusting and vacuuming can help you keep certain pollutants, such as pet dander and mites, at bay. Using a damp cloth on items that need to be dusted will keep the dust from becoming airborne and irritate those who suffer from allergies. Regularly washing pet beds and other areas where your four-legged friends love to hang out can also help you keep control over certain pollutants that may pollute indoor air. Make sure to replace vacuum filters and other air filters as recommended to help increase the home’s indoor air quality.

Consider Using an Air Purifier

Air filters can assist you with removing pollutants from the air. As with any appliance, however, they have a range of effectiveness based on the type and quality of the purifier. While whole-house purifiers remove more pollutants than table-top purifiers, they can be expensive to install. Table-top purifiers that high air-circulation rate and a high percentage efficiency rate may work well if they are placed near sources of pollutants, such as near a newly-painted wall or freshly-painted furniture.

 

Dealing with Fall Allergies

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Most people think of allergies as something that occurs only in the spring. However, if you or a family member are one of the many affected by fall allergies, you know just how difficult it can be.

42. Allergies
Types of Fall Allergies

One of the largest contributors to allergies during the fall is ragweed. This plant can produce up to one billion grains of pollen per plant per season. Ragweed pollen has a distinct advantage in that it is lightweight and can travel hundreds of miles. The weed itself is versatile; it can grow along roadways, cracks in the sidewalk and in open fields. The pollen usually affects those between late summer and early to mid-fall.

The remaining contributors include a few other weeds and molds. The weeds may include sagebrush, goldenrod and pigweed. While their pollen can certainly cause discomfort for some, they do not pose as big a problem as ragweed for the majority of those affected by fall allergies.

Mold spores can be found throughout the early spring and summer; however, they become much more of a problem during autumn when the leaves fall. As the day warms up, the spores actually can rise into the air and affect the health of those who have to travel. In the evening, the spores return back to the ground.

 

Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms for fall allergies can vary depending on how each person is affected. While these symptoms are temporary, they can cause you or your family member to be utterly miserable. Someone affected by allergies may experience a runny nose, persistent coughing and itchy eyes. It can be difficult to pay attention in school or at work and can affect a person’s ability to do the best work possible.

 

Reducing Allergies in the Fall

Although allergies can be problematic, there are ways to prevent or reduce the symptoms so that they are manageable. Here are some precautions that can be taken by you or your affected family member:

  • Close the Windows: During the day when most mold spores are hanging in the air or ragweed is releasing pollen, it is best to keep the windows closed to prevent allergic reactions in the home.
  • Install a Whole-Home Air Cleaner: Aprilaire products can help you fight back at the particles that are harming your home and family.
  • Clean or Replace the Filters: If the air filters are clogged and you turn on the air conditioner, pollen and mold spores that were trapped can cycle back through the home. Clean filters can capture more contaminants.
  • Shower and Wash Clothing Frequently: As you walk around outside, spores and pollen can get into your hair and clothing. Showering and washing clothing will remove the allergens.
  • Vacuum and Dust Regularly: Vacuuming and dusting regularly will help remove any pollen or mold spores that are brought into the home.
  • Wear a Protective Mask: These masks can prevent a person from breathing in pollen and mold spores. While they may not be the most socially acceptable method, they can keep someone who has to be outdoors from suffering from allergies.

 

Get Help for Your Allergies

Fall allergies can be extremely disruptive, especially if they keep you or your family member from being unable to sleep, concentration or be as productive as possible when in school or at work. If you or your family member suffers these symptoms during this time of year, they may wish to be diagnosed by a doctor through a simple blood test or a skin test. If it is found that you or your family member is allergic to certain common fall allergens, medication may be possible.

 

Four Ways to Get Creative With Pumpkins

Friday, September 25th, 2015

You simply can’t enjoy Halloween without the infamous Jack o’ lantern. Fall enthusiasts also look forward to their favorite decadent pumpkin-flavored drinks. However, many forget that pumpkins can also serve a wide variety of other purposes in addition to their staple as holiday decorations and a food-lovers’ favorite ingredient. This fall, get creative with your pumpkins with these four unique ideas.

27. Pumpkins

Pumpkin Makeovers

Like all other fruits, pumpkins contain a large number of healthy vitamins and minerals. In particular, pumpkins are known for being high vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc, all of which help the human body function. However, these vitamins are also beneficial to sun-damaged, sensitive skin and hair. If you still have some of the pumpkin guts left over from any pumpkin carving activities, why not put them to good use as a homemade face or hair mask?

Pumpkin face masks are incredibly easy to make. To make your mask, you can mix a couple of teaspoons of freshly cooked, purred pumpkin guts. All you need to add is a little bit of honey and a splash of milk. Apply to your face and let it sit for 15 minutes before washing it off.

Homemade pumpkin hair masks are also simple and quick to make. All you need is one cup of cooked pumpkin and four tablespoons of your favorite coconut oil. Combine these ingredients in a food processor. Apply your hair mask to your hair, cover with a shower cap and let it set for approximately 30 minutes. Once the time is up, wash out the hair mask and shampoo. When you’re done, your hair will look shiny and healthy.

Party Games

While carving them is often a favorite past-time, pumpkins can add a nice touch to any fall-themed celebrations or parties. In fact, let them take an active role in all of the fun. For example, once Halloween is over, hang the pumpkins from a tree and let kids try to smash them in a rousing game of pinatas. Uncarved pumpkins also make great bowling balls if the little ones want to show off their bowling skills.

If you’re not afraid of slimy pumpkin guts and getting dirty, break out the slip n’ slide. Everyone will want to have a turn sliding across the yard using nothing but pumpkin innards.

Nature and Wildlife

Since pumpkin gutz are full of nutrients, they can also be used to aid your fall plants and friendly wildlife. For example, pumpkin innards or old Halloween carved pumpkins can be turned into fertilizer by burying them in the garden. Leftover pumpkin bits can also be added to the compost pile. This way, you’ll have a nutrient rich fertilizer ready for spring planting. Planting the seeds may also result in your very own miniature pumpkin farm next fall.

Pumpkins can also be used as a temporary vases for indoor flowers. Once you’ve scooped out the seeds and other innards, the remaining shell acts as the perfect natural vase for fall annuals that will fit with your fall-themed decor. Even better, your fresh flowers will benefit from the nutrients that are released as your temporary planter starts to decompose. Once you’re finished with it, the whole thing can simply be buried.

Finally, most of the local wildlife and farm animals love pumpkin. This fall treat is even often given to exotic zoo residents once the Jack o’ lanterns are no longer needed. Deer and other four-legged friends are particularly partial to the fleshy parts of the pumpkin while birds will make quick work of any remaining pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkins as Party Decor

While painted or carved pumpkins make great outdoor decorations, pumpkins can also be used to bring an essence of your favorite season indoors. For example, pumpkin shells can easily be turned into pillar candle holders or small lanterns that can be turned into wall-hangers or chandeliers.

Pumpkin shells can also make excellent bowls and cups. All you simply need to do is clean out small, round pumpkins and cut them in half from top to bottom. Then scoop our the innards and remove as much of the pumpkin flesh as you can. Finally, serve your guests pumpkin soups or other tasty pumpkin dishes. With these nifty bowls, you’ll have a gathering that won’t be forgotten.

Pumpkins are a fall-lovers best friend

Not only are some of these ideas a perfect way to get family members, especially kids, excited about fall, they’re also a great way to reuse those old Halloween pumpkins so that they don’t go to waste. So get the kids, grab some glitter and glue and get crafting today.

 

Fall Activities that are Fun for the Whole Family

Friday, September 18th, 2015

With school back in session and homework and afterschool activities taking up weeknights and weekends, it can be incredibly difficult to find time to enjoy yourselves as a family unit. However, taking the time off is a great way to relieve stress and get everyone reenergized for the fall season. Here are some easy, family-friendly activities that can get everyone back on track to tackle the stress of school and work.

 

Pumpkin Picking and Carving

Pumkin patchFor most people, going to the local pumpkin patch to enjoy Halloween and fall-themed entertainment. Depending on the particular pumpkin farm, there is usually something there for everyone, including pony rides for the little ones and even shops and restaurants that cater to those who just cannot wait for Halloween.

If you are planning on visiting your local pumpkin patch on a budget, one way to get everyone excited is to set up a contest. Set the maximum budget per pumpkin and see who can get the closest without going over. Offer a prize to the winner by either offering that person’s favorite candy or other treat. Just make sure to set the contest budget lower than your actual budget in case someone goes over.

Carving pumpkins can also be pretty messy. If it is the mess that you are worried about, have your family members paint the pumpkins instead of carving them. This allows everyone to be creative without making a mess. Alternatively, a number of large craft store chains sell plastic pumpkins that can be carved and decorated similarly to real pumpkins.

Explore New Fall Recipes

With fresh pumpkins and apples being available in large quantities, why not experiment with fresh ingredients that will have your family’s mouths watering? After visiting your local pumpkin patch or apple orchard, pick a new recipe that features these fall favorites to try each week. Make it a family affair by getting the kids involved. Have them help you prepare your ingredients and cooking. If you make this a family tradition, you may find your kids looking forward to fall every year.

Create Fall Decorations

With the promise of candy flowing freely from neighbors, most kids look forward to Halloween. However, you can get them hyped up and energized by having them help you with your fall holiday crafts. Have them help you put together a new fall-themed wreath for the front door, bird feeders for your feathered friends or even spooky skeleton and ghost decorations that will give the neighborhood a fright. Not only will this help you get ready for the holiday, but it will also help your kids take their minds off of their busy schedules for a bit.
Make a Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Host a Movie Night

On a Friday or Saturday night, put off homework and invite all of your kids’ friends to a movie marathon night. Pop the entire box of popcorn and order a couple of pizzas. Not only will this give your kids something to look forward to as the homework and afterschool activities pile up, but they’ll also have a night that they can laugh off their stress with their friends and get re-energized. This way, they’ll be able to face their normal activities without feeling overworked.

Depending upon the guest-list, it is recommended that the movie list be preapproved by parents. If you have young kids attending, it is probably best to keep the R-rated movies out of the house.

Take a Hike

When school and afterschool activities are starting to take their toll on your kids, pack up a lunch and go take a hike. Whether you live near mountains or have a nearby forest preserve, getting out and being able to move and breath fresh, clean air will help get everyone back on track and ready to face school once again.