5 Low Key Summer Party Ideas

It’s the season of barbecues and outdoor parties! If you want to host an event of your own but don’t want the stress of party planning, try some of these low-key summer party ideas. They’re quick to prepare so you can spend more time hanging out with your guests rather than playing host or hostess.

1. An Outdoor Movie Night – Hook up a projector to your laptop or computer and play a summer movie on a screen or empty wall.

2. A Finger Foods Dinner Party – When the weather is hot, no one wants to be slaving over a hot oven. Host your friends for an appetizer-only event and everyone can bring their favorite starter dish.

3. Lemonade Stand – Invite a small group over to relax, sit in the shade and sip different flavors of lemonade. You can create an easy Lemonade bar or stand by offering different flavors with fruit garnishes.

4.Summer Brunch – Have your guests over before noon on the weekend. You can serve bagels and bloody marys and even allow your guests to wear their comfortable/lounge clothes!

5. Lawn Games – Guests can stop by to visit and stay entertained with a variety of lawn games. To step up the fun, create brackets for the games and offer prizes to the overall winners.

Summer Cleaning and Organizing Checklist

We’re getting closer to the official start of summer and it’s time to start thinking about summer cleaning! Get ahead of the game by printing out this list so you can clean and organize everything in your home soon and spend more time in the sun!

  1. Switch out clothing to your summer clothing
  2. Wash and change your bedding to lighter blankets and comforters
  3. Change your furnace filter
  4. If you have window A/C units, change those filters as well
  5. Organize and clean out your pantry
  6. Wash all outdoor furniture
  7. Rotate or flip your mattress
  8. Locate and clean all summer/beach toys and gear
  9. Wash your bed pillows
  10. Wash & sweep your patio or porch

10 Domestic Habits We’ve All Mastered

When young adults live on their own for the first time there’s a lot to learn. How much laundry detergent do I use? How often should I wash my curtains? How do I setup utilities? By the time most people are thirty and have lived on their own for several years they have mastered many domestic skills! How many on this list have you mastered? Would you add anything to this list?

1. How to prep and paint walls
2. Keeping basic kitchen items stocked
3. Keeping your home tidy and neat enough in case guests pop in
4. Having a well-stocked cabinet of cleaning supplies
5. How to host a get together (with enough food and drink for guests)
6. How to setup utilities and manage bills
7. The right way to paint, stain or refinish furniture
8. How to make your décor match
9. Making food in multiple servings
10. How to use basic tools (a hammer, screwdriver, power drill etc.)
11. The proper way to iron a shirt
12. How to remove a stain from any material

5 Benefits of Opening Your Windows

We’ve had some warm “spring-like” days in New England recently and it has us all hopeful that spring is around the corner! One of our favorite things about this season is opening the windows and doors in our homes for the first time since autumn. Besides the pure excitement of a new season, there are actually some real benefits of opening those windows when the weather is nice. Keep reading to find out.

1. Bringing in fresh air. It’s good for us, our children and our pets too!

2. Allowing sunlight in. For some of us opening the windows is also an opportunity to open the curtains and blinds as well. Sunlight is a great mood-booster and source of vitamin D.

3. Great way to circulate air. There’s no need for fans or air conditioners when you have fresh air blowing through your house.

4. Saving energy. If you’re no longer turning on you’re A/C and fans as previously mentioned then you are using less electricity and energy.

5. Letting pollutants in the air escape. If you’ve just painted or cleaned your kitchen floors, it’s a great time to open those windows to let any potentially toxic fumes escape.

Tips for Cleaning Your Dishwasher

It doesn’t take long for soap scum, leftover food and other debris to build up on the inside of your dishwasher. Chances are it doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should. Next time you’re cleaning your apartment or house make sure to add the dishwasher to your “to do” list and follow these tips.

1. Mark it on your calendar to clean your dishwasher once a month.
2. Check the drain first to make sure there is no food caught which would hurt your dishwasher’s cleaning efficiency.
3. Put white vinegar in a dishwasher safe cup and put it on the top rack. Run the dishwasher with a hot water cycle with the vinegar cup inside.
4. When the cycle is done, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run another quick hot water cycle. This will remove any discoloration.
5. Check the edges of the dishwasher where the door closes. Use a sponge to clean up any additional gunk or grime that remains.

10 Steps to Take to Prepare for a Winter Storm

It looks like we have a winter storm heading our way this upcoming weekend! Whenever the forecast calls for snow, it seems people rush to the grocery store to stock up on bread, milk and bottled water. Keep reading to see what we recommend you do to prepare for our first big winter storm.

1. Check heating system to make sure that it is working.

2. Check batteries in smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

3. Have plenty of drinking water on hand.

4. Make sure you know how to turn water off in the event pipes freeze.

5. Charge your cell phone so the battery is full. Especially if you don’t have a landline.

6. Have salt, sand and a shovel on hand.

7. Collect warm coats and blankets and make sure they are in an easily accessible place.

8. Have a working flashlight ready with extra batteries.

9. Stock up on food that does not need to be heated in case of power outage.

10. Make sure all windows, doors and sliders are closing properly to avoid extra cold air getting inside.

How to Prepare Your Home for House Guests

With the holidays quickly approaching it means we’ll be welcoming family and friends into our homes for parties and events. Eliminate the stress of last minute cleaning and preparation by getting ready for houseguests early!

1. Clean spare bedrooms or sleeping areas for overnight guests now. Wash bedding and vacuum carpets/floors.

2. Tidy up your entryway. Put away any items that are cluttering the area and leave plenty of room for guests to put their shoes and store their winter coats.

3. Refresh your bathrooms by refilling all toiletries. Wash the floors and clean all surfaces of the bathroom.

4. Guests never show up empty handed. Clear some space in your refrigerator and throw out old items. You’ll want plenty of room to store extra food and leftovers.

5. Check the exterior. Make sure your walkways are cleaned up and clear. Also check your exterior lights and make sure none of the bulbs are burnt out.

6. Stock up on breakfast items. You’ll want to offer coffee and juice to your guests first thing in the morning. Make sure you have all of the essentials so you aren’t running out to the store bright and early.

Tips for Hosting a Great 4th of July Party

We can’t believe Independence Day is right around the corner! If you are planning to host a celebration for the 4th keep reading to learn our tips for throwing a great 4th of July party at your home!

1. Decorate in red white and blue – People love getting decked out for the 4th of July so make sure your home is looking Patriotic for the event. Get red, white and blue tablecloths and cups and blow up matching balloons for color.

2. Set up an activity for kids – Remember this post we wrote last year? (DIY 4th of July Parade Wands) Take a look and learn how the kids at your party can make some 4th of July parade wands to stay busy.

3. Have plenty of cold beverages – July 4th is notorious for being hot! Make sure your guests have plenty of cold drinks available to them to stay hydrated. Fill a few coolers and label them with what’s inside so people don’t have to dig through them to find what they’re looking for.

4. Make festive desserts – A red, white and blue trifle or star-sprinkled cupcakes? Why not make both? Your guests (especially the kids) will love devouring these.

5. Make room in the shade – Have plenty of umbrellas and shaded areas available to your guests so they can step out of the sun if needed.

6. Add a sunscreen and bug spray station – If your party is going to take place outdoors, think about filling a bucket with sunscreens and bug sprays for your guests to use. Place them in a central place that’s easily accessible.

7. Dress the part – Pick up some fun items from your local party store for your guests to wear. Think beads, glasses and hats that are inspired by Uncle Sam!

7 Daily Chores to Maintain a Tidy Home

Keeping a clean house can be both tedious and tiring. Sometimes when we let our messes take over they can get out of hand and we spend hours of our free time cleaning. Keep reading to find out seven household chores you can do quickly each day to ensure a clean house all week long.

1. Make the bed first thing in the morning. When your bed is made right after you wake up your bedroom will instantly feel tidy and you will get a simple task out of the way bright and early.

2. Empty all garbage cans. By collecting all kitchen, bathroom and bedroom trash before you head out for the day, you’ll ensure an odor-free home when you return.

3. Make sure the dishes don’t pile up. If you refrain from throwing dirty dishes in the sink by either hand-washing them or putting them in the dishwasher they will never pile up.

4. Pick up after yourself during the day. If you tend to leave a trail of clutter, make sure you put items in their place when you’re done using them. (i.e. put your shoes in the closet, hang your keys on a hook, fold your blanket and put it away in a closet).

5. Don’t let the laundry build up. If you have a house full of people, make sure to do one load of laundry daily. This way your dirty clothes will never get out of hand and overwhelming.

6. Run the vacuum. Once you’ve had dinner and the day is winding down, take five minutes to vacuum the floors (especially if you have pets!)

7. Wipe down bathroom surfaces. Before you hit the sheets at night give your bathroom a quick wipe-down. Make sure there are no toothpaste or soap stains left behind on the sink!