Be The Ultimate Outdoor Ho-Ho-Hostess!

The party season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have to limit the fun to indoors! When it comes to setting the scene for your outdoor gathering, there are more things to consider than some string lights and great music. With a little planning, there’s no reason why you shouldn't  take the celebrations into the great outdoors!
Chill Out in Your Chairs
If you are looking to ensure your guest's comfort, you will have to do better than plastic chairs and blankets. Consider if you would be as proud to show off the quality of your outdoor furniture as you would if you were inside admiring your upholstery choices. When investing in great furniture, go for dining sets & outdoor sofas that you can enjoy all year round. It makes economic sense to choose a material that can survive all the elements such as rattan. Furniture made from this sturdy stuff looks just as impressive in the middle of winter as it does at the height of summer, just make sure to pack the cushions away to avoid wear and tear and any nasty mould.
Feel the Festive Glow
Nothing ends a party quicker than frostbite, so make sure you consider the cold. You want the ice sculpture to be the only frozen centrepiece, not your ageing Aunt! If you're going to capture the warmth of the season then investing in outside heaters is a subtle way to raise the temperature in your garden. You could choose a mini bonfire or firepit, or extend the warmth using a patio heater. The choice is varied but visiting sites such as radiantpatioheater.com could give you some useful ideas. However you choose to do it, your guests will gravitate towards the heat so plan your seating around it. (Image)
WInter Warmers
Great food is imperative and its what most partygoers will talk about the most. Warm your guests from the inside out with some warm and tempting treats. Keep it simple; you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying your soiree. Hot dogs and burgers can be upgraded to suit the weather by providing bowls of steaming chilli or melted cheese. Perhaps baked potatoes would tempt the taste buds and can be cooked in advance then kept warm in the coals of a firepit, once wrapped in aluminium foil. You can then offer fillings such as grated cheese, baked beans, or pulled pork. These tasty ‘taters will undoubtedly help to add warmth to any festive feast!
Toastie Toasts
The drinks are just as important, if not more so than the food when it comes to creating a party that will keep your guests talking until well after New Year's Eve. (Image)
If you fancy yourself a bit of an aficionado in the shaker department, perhaps set up a mobile bar and make moves that Tom Cruise himself would be proud of! This can be as simple as throwing a tablecloth over a secured workbench and perhaps inviting your guests to make their own, even naming one after the winner of the most popular cocktail. Remember though; this will have a significant impact on how much booze you need to provide so worth considering. You can, of course, make your own. By merely adding cranberry or orange juice to glasses of fizz can give it a wintery feel or stick to the classics and provide your guests with a steaming mug of mulled wine. Don't forget the cinnamon stick!

A great get-together doesn’t need walls, so grab your gloves and take it outside!


The Proper Ways to Deal with Dangers in Your Home

If you want your home to be a safe place to live, let alone a place that would be tough enough to survive an apocalypse, then you've got to ensure all the dangers within it are dealt with properly. Yes, not just dealt with, dealt with properly! For advice on how to just that, make sure to read on.

Target your home’s danger hotspots

The first thing that you should do in your safety venture is to target all of the areas in your home that you know are danger hotspots, and to then act upon making them safer as soon as you can. So, what this means is that, to begin with, you must deduce and work out what constitutes as being a danger, and what doesn’t.

Of course, for some dangers, this is going to be easy. For instance, you know electricity is a danger, right? Well, you should target all the areas in your home that could emit dangerous volts of electricity and you should ensure that they are as safe as can be by allowing certified, registered electricians to test them even before they show signs of being dangerous, and to fix them when they do. You need to do this because this is the PROPER way to deal with such a danger, and treating it any other way will put you and your family in danger. And, this doesn’t mean danger as in a little bruise, this means danger as in potential death.

But don’t forget the hidden dangers

But, as important as it is to focus on dealing with your home’s danger hotspots, such as its electricity, in the proper ways, you still have to give precedence to all its hidden dangers too. And, believe you me, there are many hidden dangers in your home that are, well, hiding and biding their time just waiting to harm you and your family.

One of the biggest hidden dangers in your home is the ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide. Simply, this is a gas that is very much hidden, very much silent, very much a danger and very much a killer; it will get you without you even knowing it is there. So, you simply must deal with this properly by preparing for it in the proper ways. And, the best way to prepare for the dangerous fumes of carbon monoxide is to have a CO detector fitted within your home. By doing so you would allow yourself the chance to be alerted to the presence of this danger even when you have not physically seen any warning signs of it.

Simply, if you don’t treat the dangers in your home, both those that are hotspots and those that are hidden, in the proper ways you will put yourself and your family in grave danger — especially if there are children in your family. So, make sure you're not only not forgoing the dangers in your home, but make sure that you're dealing with them properly and fervently, too.

Evaluating Living Options for Elderly Parent

It can be a very challenging thing to see your parents becoming elderly and frail,
particularly when they are struggling to live independently anymore.
On many occasions, the decision falls with the family as to whether or
not they can continue living in their home. If the answer is no,
you need to know what options you have available to you.
Though the decision is never going to be an easy one, there are a few
ways that you can make it a little less challenging which we will talk about here.

Planning is Crucial

You will already be well aware that this is not a decision to be taken lightly,
and things tend to go much more smoothly in life when you have a clear plan in place.
Research all the different options that are available to you in as much detail as possible.
When it comes to making a decision, you will then be in the strongest position to
choose the option which is best for your parents.

Understand Your Options

There are several different options out there with regards to the types of facilities out there.
As the population continues to age, new facilities are springing up year on year.
Just some of the options include assisted living facilities, family group homes,
and in-home care.
All individuals have different requirements, so you need to look closer at the
medical conditions of your loved one to decide what level of care would best suit them.
The living arrangements that you settle on should be best for the senior's current and
future needs. You don’t want to end up with them having to move several times
which is a very stressful experience. Of course, you don’t have a crystal ball so
you never really know what the future is going to bring -
you just have to prepare as best you can.

Independent Living Facilities

These usually include a mix of residential settings where seniors can retain
complete autonomy while having options for plenty of contact with people in the
same situation. They often have on-site staff members who
provide some supervision for safety reasons.
Many offer recreational activities, amenities and social events.

Assisted Living Facilities    

Assisted living facilities are staffed with trained professionals who assist or supervise residents
in private apartment settings.
The level of care is very much dependent on the needs of the individual.
Many seniors tend to be resistant at first but end up enjoying their new
situation which provides a balance between independence and care.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

These provide the highest level of care for people who need it the most with
24/7 availability of trained medical personnel. Of course, these are the last resort for
many people but they are necessary for people who have the most complex medical needs.

So, there you have a brief overview of some of the different options available to
seniors who can no longer live alone in case you find yourself in this situation
with your own parents.   


Its beginning to look alot like christmas

When we’re young, nothing beats that magical feeling of the Christmas period. It is, without doubt, the best time of year. Most of us get so excited that we can’t even sleep! But, as the years go by, that magic disappears a little. This usually starts with the Santa scandal (don’t worry; we won’t say it out loud), and gets worse once we move out of home and break away from tradition. The day which once meant so much to us becomes another day of the year. Some of us even start to resent the hassle.

But, then, you have children of your own, and the magic comes back tenfold. Only now, they’re the focus. Every Christmas you experience after becoming a parent is about your kids. Any efforts you go to are to ensure they have the best day possible. And, most of the time, you can be sure they will.

The good news is, you don’t even have to wait until your little one knows what Christmas is about to make a fuss of them. In fact, their first Christmas is by far the most magical. They may not remember it, but you certainly will. So, if you have a first Christmas coming up in your family, it’s essential you make it as special as possible. And, here are a few of the ways how.

Brand new traditions

If you think back to Christmas as a child, it’s likely that you remember your family’s holiday traditions best. These are, ultimately, what makes the day so special. And, the best thing about them is that they never change. Once a tradition is in place, it stays. You may well add others along the way, but these constants stand to make the day what it is. And, your baby’s first year is the perfect time to start. These traditions are crucial, because they’ll be with your child from the start. As such, they’re ones which they’re most likely to take into adulthood. No pressure, but you might want to think about these carefully before the day.

Traditions are often simple things. Consider what time you get up to open presents, or what you have on in the background as you do. Some families insist on chatting, while others can’t imagine the routine without a particular movie in the background. Equally, some families wake while it’s still dark, yet other’s enjoy a lie in and open presents after lunch. Think about what would suit your family best, and make sure to stick to this in coming years!

You could also develop traditions about the food you eat, or a specific cake you make for the day. While your little one can’t join in yet, they’re sure to embrace such traditions in their later years. And, you can be sure it will all add to that touch of magic!

Special ways to mark the occasion

Given that this is a special Christmas, it’s also worth finding ways to mark the occasion. By doing this, you can also ensure that your little one will be able to look back on the day, even if they can’t remember it. On a fundamental level, taking pictures throughout the day is a must. Who doesn’t want a photo of their first Christmas? This would definitely be one to frame!

Think, too, about buying small things to remember the day. There are many personalised options out there. A bauble with the date and your baby’s name on it would look amazing. You could even buy a special ‘first Christmas’ outfit, like those found in the Zoey’s Personalized Gifts holiday catalog. This would be a keepsake you could hand down to your child when they reach eighteen. As well as being a fantastic way to embarrass them, you can be sure they’ll appreciate the gesture.

If you fancy taking things further, you could even make them a first year stocking. This could become another of those traditions. They could use this for years to come, and always remember the effort Mom went to for their first year!


A return to Christmas values

Many of us have a habit of going over the top for Christmas. ‘Tis the season for giving, after all. And, when a baby has their first Christmas, it isn’t unusual for people to splash out on all sorts of gifts. As parents, you’ll likely fall into the same trap. The sad fact is, though, that most of these gifts are unnecessary. In fact, the majority of them will end up in the trash by this time next year. Such is the nature of baby toys. On top of which, your child won’t know they’re getting presents. They probably won’t care much, either. Most babies spend more time playing with the wrapping paper than the presents. With this in mind, it’s worth focusing on more traditional Christmas values. By all means, get your baby a few presents. But cap the amount you spend, and ask everyone else to do the same. If they insist on spending more, you could ask that they give to charity in your baby’s name, or do the same yourself. This would be a much more giving and valuable way to spend.

In place of surrounding yourself with useless toys, make an effort to surround yourself with loved ones. This is another of those Christmas values we should all return to more often. And, for a first Christmas, it’s a fantastic way to spread the love. This way, you all get to share this special occasion together. The grandparents, aunts, and uncles are sure to appreciate this chance to spend time with your little one. It’s likely you’ll all enjoy each other’s company, too! You could get stuck into games after dinner, and fall asleep together in front of the television. Your baby might not understand yet, but in a few years, they’ll be doing the same thing. Until then, you’ll just have to try and have fun in place of them!

Holiday Traditions to try with your family this year

The best part of the holiday season is celebrating old traditions, and making new ones! You may have traditions that have been in your family for years or ones you’re just starting. Celebrating traditions is a great way to create excitement for the holidays and spend time with everyone! Don’t have any traditions or need something fresh and new? Try any of these traditions this holiday season!

Bake cookies for Santa
It’s always fun to bake Christmas cookies! Spend time baking with the family: turn on your favorite Christmas music in the background, pull out the classic Christmas cookie cutters, and make your own frosting! Before going to bed on Christmas Eve set out a plate for Santa, and don’t forget the milk! Santa’s reindeer wouldn’t mind a treat either, so include some carrots or celery on the plate as well.

Donate toys
Sometimes during the holidays, we lose sight of what’s most important. It’s fun to buy gifts for family, and who doesn’t love getting a great gift? But don’t forget to give back to families who may not be able to afford a normal Christmas. Donate toys to the less fortunate families so their kids can wake up on Christmas morning with a smile on their faces! Many retailers now let you purchase the items in the store and they'll take care of donating them for you. Here are some great charities that are always looking for donations!

Watch Christmas movies
The holidays are nothing without watching a few of your favorite Christmas movies, and who hasn’t spent a whole day on the couch binging on their favorite holiday movies? Finding the perfect holiday movie that’s fun and appropriate for the entire family can be quite the task, so try out Pure Flix’s selection of family-friendly movies! Every Sunday through Christmas Eve, they have free Christmas movies! Grab some hot cocoa, cozy up by the fire, and enjoy a Christmas movie as a family! Pure Flix also offers a variety of educational content to supplement homeschool curriculum which can be a fun way to continue learning while on Christmas vacation from school!

Get a new ornament every year
Whether you buy it or make it, a very fun tradition is to buy each person in your family a new ornament for the tree every year! Looking back at each ornament from the years before makes decorating the tree fun for everyone. To make it even more memorable gift each person an ornament that represents something they love or have accomplished that year. There are so many sites that also allow you to custom create your own ornament too!

Drive around and look at all the Christmas lights
After everyone in the neighborhood has put up all their lights on their houses, pack the family in the car and drive around to look at the decorations! Everyone can pick out which house they like best, and you’ll have a great time cuddled up in the car together! Be sure to check out any local attractions and events too. Many can be free to attend and are a great way to create lasting memories!

No matter what traditions, new or old, you and your family should celebrate the holiday season, spending time with each other and creating wonderful long lasting memories! This year make sure you take time to get in the festive spirit and have quality time with the people you love most!

A Handmade Christmas

Posted November 4, 2011

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  Psalm 139:14

One of the best things I've always loved about Christmas is making handmade gifts and decorations.  I'm a crafty person so I guess it falls in the fun category for me, but it's more than just fun.  It's a meaningful thing for me. 
There's such a satisfaction to see the look in someone's face when they know you've taken the time to go the extra mile for them or to do something catered just for them.

I've always enjoyed being on the receiving end of those homemade gifts and goodies as well, especially those ones that come from the oven.  They envelop all of your senses and help develop some wonderful memories for the future.

I really don't think you have to be crafty or make your ornaments or gifts yourself to enjoy a handmade Christmas though.  I think we can make our own handmade Christmas by just using our hands to make it a special time.

You might not be cross-stitching or sewing or any of those things, but you might be putting a little time in to decorate and make things special for your family.
You might be donating some time to a soup kitchen, going through your closets to make donations, taking some canned goods to the food bank.  You may just be planning your activities so you can schedule in the people you love in order to spend time with them.  I think it's all those special touches we add in that makes it a Handmade Christmas

A Handmade Christmas Speaks to the Heart.

When we say someone "speaks to the heart", we consider that what they say or do is real and genuine.  That is how Christ always has spoken.  We see it in the way He dealt with people when He was on earth and we see it in how His Word is written for us.

We see it in how Christ deals with us and speaks to us on a continual basis.  Of course not literally speaks, but how the Lord can give those words of comfort and joy to us when we most need them.  He may send along a friend to encourage us, give us a sermon, or a Bible verse that we realize is just for us personally.
A Handmade Christmas Requires Investment.
Being a crafter most of my life, I know there are those things you can do on a budget but I also know that creating can also cost a pretty penny.  It depends what you are doing.

I've created things for gifts that  I know would have been much cheaper and easier if I'd had purchased them, but to me it was worth it to put in the money, time, and labor required. 

Not only do those handmade gifts take an investment but even for those who aren't cut out for the creating scene, gift giving in general still takes time, effort, and investment.  That is especially true when you have to go to ten places, fighting crowds, weather, and all the other things that tend to slow down our holiday shopping endeavors.

I love the fact that Christ invested in me.  At Christmas we are reminded how Christ left His heavenly home and came to this earth, and He literally gave His life for us on the cross.
A Handmade Christmas is filled with love.

When people take the time and effort to make homemade goodies for others, or take the time to purchase gifts for their family and friends, it is one of the ways they show their love. 

When Christ came on that first Christmas so long ago, look at the love that God showed toward us.  John 3:16, says that "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son...".

A Handmade Christmas is intended to be passed on.

I like the idea of sharing gifts at Christmas.  I think it is a reminder of how God gave us the Greatest Gift of His Son.  We give baked goodies out to share. We give special gifts that can be kept and passed on to one's family.  We do things that can be passed on as traditions.  The passing on of gifts and traditions is at the very heart of how most of us celebrate Christmas.

What better thing can we pass on than God's love and His Son?  We are admonished to "go" and tell the world, and Christmas is such an opportunity to witness to others that we should take advantage of it.
I love all those homemade goodies at Christmas from the gingerbread men and sugar cookies that come popping out of the oven to taking out the Christmas boxes and looking through all the ornaments my kids have made for me over the years and putting them on the tree.  Those are the things that give me a wonderful feeling.

Handmade means made with your hands and that is what makes a Handmade Christmas so special.  It isn't necessarily making everything with material, wood, or yarn.  We aren't all crafters and bakers, but it is putting your hands on Christmas with a special touch whether it's for your family, friends, or community.

It includes all that love and effort that people give to spend time with their families and show their love by choosing the very best gifts to give for each person.

What a wonderful Gift that God gave us. He knew exactly what we needed as humans.  We needed a Savior.  It was the greatest way He could show His love for us.

Christ was our Gift made and given by God's own hand.  And oh what a treat He gave us in the Christmas story!  We have a star, angels, shepherds, wise men, and a little Baby born through a miraculous birth.  You can clearly see God's hand in all that transpired in the Christmas Story.

So, what handmade touch will you give this Christmas? 
Julia Bettencourt


Decorating your bathroom this winter

The bathroom is probably one of the most overlooked rooms in the house. Let’s face it, guests rarely have access to it (unless there is a toilet in the same room), and you are more than happy to bathe in your forever-old bathtub.

Looking at the picture above, however, wouldn’t it be nice if you could relax in style rather than surrounded by unfinished tiling and worn out paint? We think it could be a more satisfying and relaxing experience, and that is why we have come up with a guide on how to decorate your bathroom this winter!


Your bathroom has been the way it is since, well…, ermm…, since you moved in really. Stained and cracked tiles cover the walls of this cosy and intimate room. As re-tiling might be your best option, make sure this is done with gusto. If you know, for example, you want the fittings to be a light blue, make sure you play with this and purchase tiles that fall within that colour range, a tone or two darker or lighter, according to the size of the space and your taste. Have a look at these tiles to see if you like the look of any.

Fittings: out with the old, in with the new

Nothing adds beauty like interesting and elegant fittings. That is why you should spend some time thinking about what the main fittings in the bathroom will be. Whether you want a countertop or a full pedestal basin, this should match the texture and look of the rest or at least majority of the other fittings. Whilst being experimental is a good thing, make sure you don’t choose something you could get bored of easily. Tap Warehouse has many options in-store.

Be adventurous with the wallpaper

Mixing wallpaper with painted walls can be a great idea and so is having completely contrasting wallpaper to the pattern of the tiles around it. Try to choose wallpaper that is colourful and bright, however, and stay away from dark colours. After all, this is your bathroom and you want to keep it light and airy. You could have a look at this wallpaper range and see if any of them interests you. They’re adventurous, we know!

Choose the mirrors carefully

Mirrors are great space enhancers and will make the tiniest bathroom look at least twice its size. There are too many ugly mirrors out there, however, and the world doesn’t need another one. Your tool to see your reflection everytime you come out of the bath should be simple yet sophisticated. These wonderful mirrors will definitely catch your eye.

Remember, keep it simple but be adventurous when mixing tiles and wallpaper. Make sure the colour of the tiles is a tone or two lighter or darker than that of the fittings and add a beautiful basin or bath to give an extra touch to your bathroom. An original mirror will be the icing on the cake!

3 untold secrets for strong teeth at all ages

You may not think about it, but your teeth are essential in your everyday life. They are part of your communication skills. After all, a smile can say a lot that words can’t express. Now, what if you want to smile because you’re ashamed of your bad teeth? If you think you can get by without smiling in a day, try picturing how life would be without eating. Your teeth are crucial to chewing your food. Bad teeth limit significantly the kind of food you can eat and how you can eat it. Additionally, your teeth help to shape your face. Without them, your cheeks would sink in, and your lips would appear shallow, no matter how much contouring you try to apply. In short, there’s no denying that your teeth play a crucial part in your life and that they, therefore, deserve all your attention. Needless to advise you to brush your teeth and to keep regular dental checks; let’s assume that you already do all these. Instead, let’s focus on the untold truth about your teeth, all the things you may not think about.

Teeth and bones need calcium
For a start, you may be aware that the consumption of dairy products is directly linked to the strength of your bones. In reality, it has nothing to do with dairy products, but with calcium only which can be found in a variety of foods, including milk but not exclusive to it. In short, a lactose intolerance might not be an issue anymore to keep your bones strong. What you might have forgotten, though, is that your teeth are made of the same material than your bones, and consequently the consumption of calcium is beneficial for their strength too. However, calcium can only be assimilated if it is consumed alongside vitamin D, aka sunlight.

Get your braces smile
As surprising as it might sound, even adults might need to wear braces. It’s not uncommon for an orthodontist to recommend braces for a variety of patient cases. For instance, it is never too late to correct the alignment of your teeth, as they can still be pushed into place in your adult years. Additionally, a crossbite can lead to high risks of plaque buildup between your teeth, which can be avoided with a straight smile giving you access to all areas for cleaning. Finally, braces are a lot better today, so it’s likely that most people around you will not even notice that you’re wearing any. Forget about the metal mouth; it was a long time ago!

Brushing your teeth, yes but how
Do you think that you’re brushing your teeth properly? In fact, according to the National Smile Month poll, almost two-thirds of the population rinse their mouth with water after brushing their teeth, unaware that this habit increases the risk of tooth decay. Indeed, rinsing your mouth with water washes away the protective fluoride left from the toothpaste. In short, you should spit after brushing but refrain from rinsing.

The tales your teeth tell are much more complex than this. But it’s important to discover the little secrets to help your teeth get stronger and whiter, day after day!

Taking financial control in 2018. The how, when and why

Ahh, 2018 is nearly here and now is the time to reflect and think about upgrading your life over the next 12 months.
There are many ways in which you can achieve this and your health, relationships, and home are probably three of the top items on your agenda. Whatever you do, though, financial health should be a priority too. Here’s all you need to know about gaining control in 2018.

Image credit: 2018 is the year where you can grab control
Money isn’t the most important thing in the world, but its significance to your life cannot be overlooked. Financial worries are the greatest form of stress while falling into debt often results in snowballing problems. Once you fall into that cycle, it can be very hard to escape.
A little money goes a long way for opening doors to new opportunities too. You don’t need to be rich to enjoy the benefits of financial security and stability. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it certainly aids the cause.
Transforming your financial status isn’t an overnight job. It should be an ongoing issue that stretches beyond 2018 and follows you for life. The big question, however, revolves around the first steps. Now is the perfect time to get started. In fact, you could gain a head start before January 1 even arrives.
Christmas is a time for indulgence, and you shouldn’t worry about spending a little more money than usual. However, you can use this time to start fighting for your entitlements. A personal injury attorney can represent you in legal battles to gain the financial justice you deserve. On a similar note, taking the time to research any support that may be available (perhaps for being a parent) can make a world of difference.   
The first step is often the hardest, and taking it signals a major step in the right direction. But the battle doesn’t end there.
New Year'S Eve, 2017, 2018, Fireworks, Turn Of The Year
Image credit: Start now to get a head start heading into January

Taking control of your finances will take time, but you can make an immediate impact by embracing ideas like couponing. Likewise, price comparisons on energy bills and cell phone packages can reduce monthly outgoings.
Perhaps one of the best things you can do is to start monitor your spending. Whether using computer software or noting things in a book is up to you. Either way, this should notify you of any mistakes and areas for improvement. Act upon those, and 2018 will be a far better year financially.
Sometimes, though, it’s also worth making a short-term sacrifice for long-term gains. Upgrading the home with thicker windows or better insulation will work wonders. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that life becomes a lot easier when you are earning more. Therefore, going the extra mile to earn a promotion at work or start a business could pay dividends.   
Taking control of your finances isn’t the easiest of challenges, but the rewards of accomplishing this goal cannot be ignored. Nothing in this life comes for free. As long as you learn to give this aspect of life the attention it deserves, there’s no doubt that you can achieve great things. Best of all, it will influence other life goals too.

Latest Instagrams

© Take A Walk In My Shoes. Design by FCD.