Friends Around the World

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Legacy Steel Door and Christmas Decorating

When we bought our second home, we knew that we will have to do  a lot of  renovations and home improvement because the house is  old and a lot of its interior and exterior  features are outdated.  We had new windows installed in January  and it really helped  with the energy cost and blocking the noise  from  outside.  We loved it because now that it is winter, the house is warm and comfortable.   Mind you, we have 31 windows in this house so it cost a lot but  it is worth to have it done because in the long run, it improves the  value of the house and  the quality of life we have living in it. 
The major project we did this year also includes the  backyard fence  that we installed ourselves.  We did not have the money to hire a contractor for it but we got it done for half the cost so it is a major plus for us.  We love our backyard now because we can let the dogs and the rabbits out  without worrying about them running away.  I also love the fact that  I don't have to worry about the neighbor staring when I am at the backyard gardening.
Anyway, this late August, we decided to  have our front door done.  We were going to  try to do it ourselves but we agreed to have  professional do it since it is something that  would be hard to fix if we miss it up.  It cost more to hire someone to do it but we wanted to make sure that it is done right.  We hired West Shore to do it.  We  chose this 36x80 legacy steel door with two  panels 440 style inspiration lily.  The interior color is  snow mist white while the exterior is Valles red.   We picked the  aged bronze Addison grip entrance handle and accent.  This cost $8,221.
We made the order in August 28 but they have to custom order the  door from a company  in Ohio called Provia.  The door wasn't installed until  November 14.  The company where they  ordered the door was familiar to us because we always see it when we go to the Amish  store.   
It took  the installers  five hours to complete the installation.  They were really good in what they do.  I think if my husband and I tried to do this ourselves, it would have took us a month lol.
I love  it now that we have  a new door because there is a lot of natural light coming in the entrance door unlike the old one that we had.  We had a  solid oak wooden door  before and it was  great but it was old  and it wouldn't  lock anymore especially during winter.  The storm door was also busted so we figured to have it done and have a new one.  We  kept the old door  though.  Hubby and I  are planning to use it in the garage side door.  
The casing that they put around the door  kind of  hidden some of the letters on our wall decal but it's okay.  
Before I talk about  our Christmas decor, I would like to thank West Shore for a job well done. They are a family-oriented company. The guy who sold us the door even came during the installation to make sure that the project will go smoothly.  I think it is nice when a company truly cares for their  customers.  
On decorating for Christmas, I always do it early.  My daughter was actually the one who kept bugging me to start decorating already.  I don't really decorate for Thanksgiving so we  decorate for Christmas early so we could  enjoy it longer.  
The kids did a great job decorating the tree.  Our tree  is a rotating one but we don't really make it rotate because when we do, our dogs  go bonkers lol.
Pine cones are the best  to use if you are looking for natural and inexpensive   decor.  My daughter and I  painted  these pine cones few years ago and has been using it since.
Last year, we hung the stockings by the fireplace but this year, we decided to hang them by the entrance door.  My son said, 
We used to have a crab apple in the front lawn but we chopped it down this summer, by doing that we don't have a big tree to put these  balls anymore so I hanged them by the picture window.
This is a snowmen village  that I put together last year.  They are very small to hang in the big  tree so I  thought of putting all of them together and make one piece of  snowmen decor.
Her music corner is also decorated.
The former owner left us this white Christmas tree so we  set it upstairs .  We also  decorated  the railing with bells and garland.
I am almost done decorating for this year.  All I need to do is  hang some Christmas lights around the fireplace  and some  lights outside and I am done.  
How about you, did yo]u start decorating yet?  I know Thanksgiving is a big tradition in most American families so I am guessing  some of you might  wait till after  Thanksgiving day.  I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and may our holidays be peaceful and full of joy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Love Travelling? Do It Forever...Even After You Have Kids




There are some pretty big misconceptions surrounding having children. All the time, you hear that they’re going to cost you all the money you have; that you’ll seldom have a free moment with your partner; and that you have to give up the things you love, and especially travelling. None of these, however, and fortunately, are true. There are no set rules when it comes to children, and if you want to travel then you can! Below, we take a look at the best ways for having memorable, frequent travelling experiences even after you’re a parent.

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Source: Pexels.com

Have a “Can Do” Attitude


Everything begins with attitude. If you go into something thinking that you’re likely to fail, then guess what? You’ll probably fail! On the other hand, if you begin a journey knowing it’ll succeed, then the battle is already half won. This is especially relevant to frequently travelling with children, as there’ll be plenty of opposing voices telling you that it’s not possible. Ignore those voices, and find your way to make your dreams come true. Remember, there are no absolute rules in life other than the ones we make for ourselves.

Starting Small


When you first think about travelling with children, it’s important to start small. And by that, we mean really small, doing things like travelling to the zoo for a day out. Eventually, you can build your family up to overnight stays at nearby destinations and then think about going on longer trips. It’s all about getting into the routine of moving around together as a clan. Once your kids understand what is expected of them when it comes to travelling, then you’ll be able to think about returning to the type of adventures you used to take when it was just you and your partner.

Adjust Your Travelling Style


Have a recap of all the travel experiences you and your partner had before you decided to have children. Now be honest: how many of them were fully appropriate for children? If you’ve lived life to the full, then probably not all that many! As such, you’re going to need to adjust your travelling style if you want to continue seeing the world with your little ones in tow. You won’t be able to spend long nights wandering a foreign city in search of adventure; you’ll have to find new ways of travelling to ensure all of your family’s needs are met.

Mix up the Destinations


Everyone has their favorite types of travel adventures. It could be browsing the museums and galleries of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, trekking through the wild, or getting to know the locals at one of their watering holes. When you have a family, you won’t be able just to follow what you want to do. There might be an opportunity to do everything you like, but you’ll also need to think about the needs of others. Even if it’s not normally your thing, taking your family to the beach for a week of relaxation and good times might be just what your children would love. (and pssst, we’re sure you’ll love it too…!)

Setting up a Base


It’s not always easy to plan family vacations, especially when it comes to travelling further afield. Because of all the planning that’s involved, these types of journeys usually get delayed and delayed, until they eventually just don’t happen. A good way to combat this is to buy a property overseas, which can then be used as a base for your travelling. Keep an eye on HDB BTO launches in Singapore, for instance, and you can buy a property that’ll give you easy access to the rest of Asia. And as well as cheap flights to Bangkok and Bali, you’ll also have the ability to build a passive rental income (which can go straight into the travelling pot!).

Keeping the Costs Down


There’s no denying that travelling can be expensive, but it’s usually relatively straightforward to keep the costs down if it’s just a couple that’s travelling. When there are no children involved, it’s no problem to spend a night in a rundown hostel or to hitchhike from one destination to the next. But of course, you won’t want to be doing these things all the time when you have children! However, there are ways to keep the costs down when it comes to travelling. One, like mentioned above, is to have a vacation home, which will cut out most accommodation costs. You should also make the most of any free events and activities that take place at your destination.

Going it Alone


You’re a mother or a father, a husband or a wife, but you’re still an individual. Just because you’re part of a bigger clan, that doesn’t mean that you need to stop growing as a person. And of course, one of the best ways to grow is to travel alone. While you won’t be able to go away by yourself regularly, if there’s one travelling experience that you’ve always wanted to do, but which is either too expensive or unsuitable for the whole family, then you shouldn’t feel bad about pursuing it alone.

Outside the Comfort Zone


A big part of travelling is stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. This shouldn’t change just because you have children, though how you’re pushing yourself might. Though you’ve got to make sure that everyone’s well looked after and so on, you should always find ways for your family to be challenged. Doing so will help bring you closer together as a family. Nothing unites people like being outside of their comfort zones!

New Experiences


In today’s digital world, there are more resources than ever before when it comes to travelling. If it’s a new experience that you’re looking for, take a look at volunteer systems like those offered on Workaway and HelpX. These sites connect people around the world who need labor (usually easy work), in return for accommodation and food. You could take your family on a wild adventure where you live with another family and learn new skills. And best of all, it’s wallet-friendly; indeed, you’ll likely spend no money whatsoever.

Get the Right Equipment


There are many challenges to travelling with young children, but none more difficult - not to mention potentially dangerous - than not having the right equipment. Luckily, there are plenty of baby and small child travelling equipment that’ll make looking after your little ones all the more straightforward when you’re on the road.

Make it Easy on Yourself


And talking about straightforward travelling, remember that you’ll always have the ability to make it easier for yourself. Children, even the ones who are usually well-behaved, can become irritated when they’re travelling. As such, make sure you have plenty of games and snacks with you. If you’re taking the family on an epic road trip, then install a DVD player into the back of the headsets. When there’s no view to speak of, it’ll help keep your children quiet.

Remember the Bigger Picture


It’s understandable that parents think twice about travelling when they have children. After all, it’s not the thing that parents usually do, is it? But remember, there’s a bigger picture at play, one that says that travel is good for the soul, no matter where you’re going or who you’re with. While your travelling style will need to change, you’ll create a whole new - better - way of exploring the earth with your loved ones, if you get out there and try it!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Awesome Guide on Choosing the Top Mattress for Your Room



Getting a good night’s rest helps me to wake up feeling healthy and happy. If you’re not resting on a suitable supportive base, you’ll often get restless nights and painful mornings. Of course, some mattresses are more expensive than others. Therefore, I recommend that you take your time in picking the one that’s worth your investment.
I love looking at the type of mattress before I make any purchase. It’s good to ensure that you get the product that fits right into your needs. So, here’s a list of all the categories of mattresses you’ll find out there.

Open Spring Mattresses

They are also referred to as continuous or open coil mattresses. They come with a long wire that’s coiled into several springs. I also found that there’s an additional border wire or rod that provides more shape and structure. I love that the sides are all machine-stitched instead of hand-stitched, making them lighter and simpler to turn.
I had these mattresses in the guest house where they are only used on occasion. I did so because I learned that they were less supportive as compared to other products. Either way, they are some of the most impressive mattresses that I’ve come across!

Pocket Spring Mattresses

As I went through various Try Mattress reviews, I discovered that most people today prefer luxurious mattresses. Well, they come with exciting designs and they are made from small, individual springs found in their pocket fabrics. Such helps them to move independently, offering better support than the open spring versions.
You can get them in the firm, medium or soft versions but this depends on your tastes. Besides, it’s easy to breathe when sleeping on these mattresses. Not even latex or memory foam comes with such an important feature!

The Memory Foam Mattresses

Okay, this is my best type of mattresses! Why? Well, they are made from a mouldable kind of material that responds according to changes in weight and temperature. They relieve pressure on all your joints, absorb weight and most importantly, they’ll only mold according to the shape of your body.
At first, I didn’t like the sinking properties of these brands of mattresses. They also get quite warm, especially during the night. Even so, they are good for relieving back pains and relaxing tense body muscles.

The Latex Mattresses

These products are created using latex foam, which is a comfortable and breathable type of material. If you hate feeling like you are overheating during the night, these are the best types of mattresses. I bought one for my son over three years ago, and I’ve not yet replaced it!
So, it’s quite long lasting, and you should expect it to serve you for several years. The only discouraging factor that I saw is that they form dents and lumps over time because they do not turn quickly.
Getting the best mattress for you and your family is not hard at all. I know there are other factors that you’ll also need to look into, for example, the size and going through customer reviews. But I like advising all interested mattress shoppers to consider the type of mattress first before looking at any other feature!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Home To Fit Your Lifestyle



Choosing the right home to fit the way you live your life can be tough, there are so many different considerations to take into account: from where you work, the style of home you prefer and even the number of things you own. It all boils down to careful planning and looking at all of your options equally.
Type Of Property
           
The first factor to take into account when looking for the ideal home is the type of property you want to move into. You might want to find a quaint cottage by the river in the country, or perhaps you’d prefer to look for fully furnished condos for rent. Everyone has a different opinion on what makes the perfect home; and really, the perfect home is one which fulfils all of your needs and wishes.
COTTAGE
Cottages are usually characterised by low ceilings, chunky walls and a rustic feel, many cottages also have thatched rooves. If you want a quiet place to live in a semi-rural or rural area, this kind of property is a great choice. The only drawback with cottages is that they are often small and lack that extra space you need to store a lot of items, so this is maybe not recommended for growing families, but is a great option for couples.
DETACHED
Detached houses are usually more expensive than other alternatives because they are freestanding and do not join to any other properties. They tend to be large, very well-spaced out and totally private for those of you who enjoy the peace and serenity of being away from the world. This type of house is ideal for families.
END OF TERRACE
A terrace is a row of houses all connected to each other, the end of terrace home is the final home in the row. The great thing about end of terraces is that they are usually larger than the other houses in the row, and they will often feature a wrap-around garden space.
FLAT
A flat is a small, single storey home which is usually situated in a communal building along with many others. They are generally small, modern and sometimes will be fully furnished when you move in. This is a great property for individuals and also for those who work in the city centre and need a simple commute to work.
SEMI-DETACHED
A semi-detached home is a pair of houses which are joined in the middle by one wall. These are the most common type of home to buy because they offer a little privacy as well as being affordable. They will usually have a spacious garden area too, which is great for raising kids.
Once you’ve delved into the types of property which are out there, you can start to explore other things too.
Your Daily Commute
One of the major things you need to consider when looking to purchase a new home is where you will live. Think about where you currently work and decide how easy it will be to get there from where you plan to move. If you drive, make sure that it doesn’t take you any more than an hour each way, and if you are using public transport- you’ll want to make sure that there is a fairly direct route for you to take to and from work.
Amenities
One thing that you will definitely need to assess if you are moving into an area you aren’t familiar with is what kind of amenities will be available to you. If you have to drive for 40 minutes just to reach a shop to buy a loaf of bread, it probably isn’t the right place for you to be. Search google maps for shops and other amenities in the area to make sure that you won’t be stranded if you suddenly need to nip out for something in the evening.
Activities
As well as checking for the essentials, you will also want to take a look at what kind of things you can do for fun in the area you move to. If you enjoy being in the city centre and going for night’s out with your friends, then you will want to make sure that it is easy enough to get there on your days off. Then you may want to look at if there are any restaurants in the local area, also look out for whether there are any parks or outdoor areas for a relaxing walk at the weekend. You want to make sure that you live in a place where you can access things easily, it will make your life much happier.
The House Itself
When you are looking for your home, you will also be weighing up the qualities and shortfalls of the properties themselves. This will usually include things like the number of bedrooms, how large the rooms are and how much storage space you will have to fit all of your belongings. There are also some other features which you may or may not want to check:
·         Which way the garden faces (south facing gardens attract sun throughout the day)
·         The size and storage of the kitchen, plus room for your appliances
·         The wiring and plumbing systems
·         The overall security of the roof and walls
·         Whether there is a driveway or you have to park on the road
·         The presence of a basement or an attic for storage purposes
Budgeting for Your Home and Your Life
Once you have decided the type of home, the area and the features you want in the home, you will need to look at your budget. It will be unrealistic to hope for a 5 bed Victorian mansion if only one of you works full time. Consider talking to your mortgage advisor to decide the best options for you, and even once you’ve had the offer and application accepted, you will need to think about extra costs such as bills and insurance. Make sure that you can afford to buy a home in the first place.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Organic Veggie Garden

With all the projects that we did  this summer at our new home and with the effort to get it done before the weather gets cold again, I started my veggie garden very late.  All off my tomatoes are still green and I have only picked  a couple of ripe ones.  I am not sure if  it's going to  get ripen before the cold weather settles in but I am hopeful.  I had to start  and cultivate a new  vegetable garden  so I am not sure which part of the yard has a healthy soil so I am  kind of experimenting this year.
The pear-shaped  tomatoes that I planted  is doing great and has given has a lot of fruits already.
This is my first time  trying to grow  kiwi fruits.  Kiwi takes  few years before they bear fruit so we will see how it grows.   It has since grew  bigger and thicker.  I made some  bamboo trellis for them to crawl on.  
All the plants I planted at this side of the porch are doing well so I am guessing that the ground is fertile but  it might have been because I  mixed the compost that we had been making ever since we   moved into this home.  
The kohlrabi grew so well and the  peppers have so many fruits in them.  I just hope that they will mature in time  before  we get  frost.  
Even the simplest design of trellis at the store is a bit expensive so I just gather materials in the garage and   from the bamboos outside and made  my own.  It might not be as pretty as the store bought but   as soon as the plants crawl on it, it doesn't really matter. 
I wanted to hide the graffiti on the wall by planting a clematis and   morning glories.  Again, gathering some scrap wood from our  garage to use as a border for the side of the house vegetable garden.  I planted  some cucumbers, tomatoes, and asparagus on this side.  I picked some cucumbers already but they didn't do so well.  Probably because  the sunrise light doesn't get to this part of the yard and only the afternoon sunlight get to it.  Did you know that too much heat or lack of water can cause the cucumber fruit to   be bitter?
Although I am the only one that  eats bitter melon at our home, I still planted some because I have friends that likes it.  I also cook it whenever I am missing home,  it reminds me of my Dad's dishes.
For some reason, I don't have any luck with cabbage.  I always  attempt to  plant some but they never grew as I expect them to.  So this might be the last attempt I am making lol.
I have sweet potatoes in the pot so I transferred them in the ground so it can grow well and  it does.  A colleague love  it  so she buys them to me and makes it makes it into juice.
I planted some habanero but did not do good.  I will try again next year, maybe the  soil will be a little healthier and they would  grow well but we will see.  All I can do is try and try.
I have one  eggplant that I planted at the other side of the house but due to lack of sunlight, it wasn't growing well so I  transferred it to the other side and it is now blooming.
I also  planted some asparagus.  Just like kiwi, asparagus also takes  a few years  before  you can start harvesting so I am looking forward to seeing them grow.  Hopefully we can enjoy  it in the years to come.  My family  loves asparagus so it would be awesome if we can eat what we grow.  
As of today, the tomatoes are still green but everything grew thicker.  There would be no canning for me this year but hopefully, I can  plant my veggies   a little early next year so  it can bloom in time.
 
Hopefully this post will inspire you to start your own garden.  It is easily to buy  produce from the store but it is better to harvest and your own homegrown veggies.   You are certain of what you are giving to your family.  I love growing our own veggies because it is healthier as I don't use any pesticide or any chemicals  to it.  Even our compost is natural so it is all good.  I admit, gardening takes time  and a lot of patience but in the end it pays off when you are harvesting what you planted.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Top 4 Reasons to Use a Paint Sprayer for Your Next Project

Paint is one of the most practical ways to change the look of your rooms or the exterior of your home. While you could go the traditional route and use several different brushes and rollers, why not consider the idea of using a paint sprayer? Here are four of the best reasons for choosing this type of equipment for your upcoming project.
 
Easier to Achieve Even Coats

Do you find that it’s necessary to go back over some areas when you use a brush or roller? The paint layers seem to be thicker in some spots and thinner in others. It can take quite a bit of time to go back over those areas and even out the coat.
 
With high-quality electric or gas sprayers, you will find that the process of achieving an even coat the first time is much easier. Once you finish an interior or exterior wall, the ability to step back, take a look, and be happy with the coating will make it easier to move on to the next phase of your project.

Minimizing Waste

It’s not difficult to waste quite a bit of paint when you use rollers and brushes. Between drips and the amount that’s left in trays and buckets, the expense will drive up the cost of the paint job. Wouldn’t it be great to make better use of the paint?  If you choose to utilize one of the graco sprayers available today, there will be less waste. That means you will have more paint left over to store and use for minor touch-ups in the years ahead.

Less Difficulty Painting Different Materials

There are several paint sprayer designs that make it easy to adjust the settings and paint different types of materials. That will come in handy for future projects when you may want to paint some sort of masonry as well as change the color of the sheet rock used in one or more of your rooms. Knowing you can accomplish more with the same piece of equipment is certainly a plus.

Get More Done in Less Time

Many people are surprised at how much time is saved by using a high-quality sprayer. It’s not just about being able to achieve an even coating the first time. You literally cover more square footage in a fraction of the time it would take to do the same amount of work with a roller. When the plan is to complete the project sooner rather than later, there is no doubt that a gas or electric sprayer is the way to go.

Before you start work on your next painting project, take the time to learn more about how sprayers work, what you can do with them, and why so many homeowners would not think of painting anything without having one on hand. You will soon see the advantages and want to find the right sprayer to use for your upcoming project.


About Me

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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