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Curb Appeal

Posted by Alyssa on March 31, 2017

curb appeal

Adding curb appeal to your home will boost the value and charm of your home significantly. You’ll be shocked at what a difference a little elbow grease can do if you follow these tips to increase your home’s curb appeal. 

front door

via Laura Trevey

Think about your front door. Whether you choose to go bold or stick with more traditional colors, making sure your front door is free of scratches and smudges will help your whole home look fresh. 

\outdoor lighting

via DIY Network

Use outdoor lighting to brighten up your home. Having lights follow pathways and illuminate doorways will make your home look cared for and inviting. Try using a spotlight from below to shine on trees for a beautiful, dramatic look. 

flowers

via The Lily Pad Cottage

Fix up your planter boxes, add pots of flowers, or install window boxes to add color to your home. Flowers are an eye-catching addition that adds curb appeal to any home. 

shutters

via Home Bunch

Add shutters and make sure to keep the siding and trim looking nice. Add a fresh coat of paint if needed to keep your home in good repair. My husband and I went a little crazy with this suggestion and spent an entire afternoon painting all the pink mortar of our red brick house white. It was miserable, but our house looks so much better!

house numbers

via Nalle's House

Get some unique and interesting house numbers that match the style of your home. It's an easy and quick way to add a lot of personality. 

lawn

via 99 Architecture

Keep your lawn mowed and well kept. It doesn't matter what the rest of your house looks like if you have a weed patch or a jungle of grass in front of your home, no one will notice what you've actually done to the house. 

Good luck upping your curb appeal this summer! Let me know how it goes and if you have anything to add to this list!

 

 

 

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How to Make Braided Bread

Posted by Alyssa on March 30, 2017

 

 

I'm always a sucker for a cool braid, and fresh homemade bread is my love language.... so this braided bread recipe is GOLD!  Yes, you read right- it turns out braids aren't just for hair!  A few of the best things about this recipe:

1. It's absolutely delicious.  Especially with a heaping helping of strawberry freezer jam.

2. It looks so pretty!  Almost too pretty to cut and dig into!  I took it to a dinner party a couple of weeks ago and everyone died over it.

3. Looks can be very deceiving....It's actually really easy to make, and doesn't take a lot of time! Start to finish (including rising) is only about 2.5 hours.

Here is the recipe...

Braided Bread

4 cups hot water
3 Tablespoons yeast
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
10-11 cups flour

Mix and let dough raise until doubled in size.  Divide into two equal parts.  (This recipe will make two loaves).  Set one part of dough aside as you work on the first loaf.  To begin the first loaf, divide into 6 parts (3 of the parts should be slightly larger than the other three).  Roll out the three bigger parts of dough into long ropes.  Briad the ropes together.  Next, roll out the three smaller parts of dough into long ropes, then braid these together as well.  Place the smaller braid directly on top of the large braid, folding both ends underneath the braids.  Move to greased jelly roll pan and let raise (about an hour). Repeat the process with the first ball of dough to make your second loaf.  Before baking, brush with beaten egg and water.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  

And now, if you're a visual person like me, here are some photos of the process:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, go get baking!  

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DIY Bird Feeders

Posted by Alyssa on March 29, 2017

diy bird feeder

All growing up I loved seeing the birds flock to our bird feeder on our deck. It was so exciting to see the hummingbirds and chickadees up close, and yesterday when I woke up and heard birds singing, I knew that it was time to put out a bird feeder. If you’re interested in making your own feeder, I’ve found some different ideas that I thought I’d share.

bird feeder 

via All Things Heart and Home

I love how you could change the seed dispenser holes into whatever design you'd like. Instructions here

bird feeder garland

via DIY Network

I actually really like how this looks. It's almost like a festive banner for the birds! Instructions here

bird feeder

via Fun Crafts Kids

There's no real pattern for this, but how fun would this be to build this lego bird feeder together? I love it!

Where have you gotten your bird feeders? Do you know any fun recipes for homemade bird feed? Let me know and have fun bird watching this spring! 

 

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Fire Pits

Posted by Alyssa on March 28, 2017

fire pits

via RC Willey

There is nothing like having a fire pit in your backyard. I don’t think you could find anyone who doesn’t love summer evenings sitting around the fire, talking, telling stories, and making smores. My parents have a fire pit in their backyard and I’ve realized that lighting a fire after dinner makes even the most normal evening feel like a party. Now that my husband and I are fixing up our backyard, I’m on the hunt for our own fire pit. Here are some of my favorite fire pit options. 

I like these wood fueled fire pits that I could make on my own.

laundry drum fire pit

via House and Fig

diy fire pit

via Jamie Sanders

But I am seriously considering getting a propane fueled fire pit. Easier cleanup and no fire smell lingering for days? Sound good to me!

fire pit

via RC Willey

fire pit

via RC Willey

Do you have a fire pit in your yard? Did you make your own or buy one? Let me know and check out all of RC Willey's fire pits here!

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Color Psychology

Posted by Alyssa on March 27, 2017

colored chalk

Color has a psychological effect on us, whether we are aware of it or not, and knowing this makes a big difference when it comes to decorating a room. Whether you’re planning on painting your walls or picking new bedding, knowing what effect different colors have on your mood will help you figure out how to design your perfect room. 

white room

via Domino

WHITE:

White is the color of purity and innocence. It's sometimes known as the color of perfection and helps connote cleanliness. Sometimes, though, stark white can feel sterile and cold. 

black room

via Growing Spaces

BLACK:

Black is a strong, bold color that is authoritative and mysterious. Using black adds a formal, elegant feeling to a room. Because it is such a strong color, black can feel suffocating or claustrophobic if you're not careful of how you use it.

grey room 

via Createcph

GRAY: 

Being a mix of black and white, gray is the color of compromise. It's an unemotional color and can fit itself into most color schemes, but pure gray can occasionally feel detached or indecisive. 

red room

via Havenly

RED: 

Strong, bold, and energetic, the color red grabs attention. It's the color of love, but also of decisiveness and aggression. Have you noticed how many restaurants use red in their decor? This color is supposed to make you hungry. 

pink room

via Elle Decor

PINK: 

Femininity is linked with the color pink. It's a nurturing, tranquil color that is often linked with youth. 

orange room

 via Shelterness

ORANGE: 

Orange is an enthusiastic, creative, joyful color. This color is linked with comfort and food. 

yellow room

via Apartment Therapy

YELLOW:

Yellow is the happiest color. It's often linked with confidence and optimism and is thought to stimulate mental activity. Studies have shown, though, that bright yellow rooms make babies cry more, so avoid painting a nursery with this color!

green room

via Apartment Therapy

GREEN:

Green is a very balanced, organic color. This is a calming color that brings to mind nature. It's linked with self-reliance and growth.  

blue room

via Pencil Shavings Studio

BLUE:

Many office buildings are decorated with the color blue because it is supposed to clear your mind and mentally calming. This is an intellectual color that is often linked with logic. Blue is also supposed to curb appetites and can feel cold. 

purple room

via Living at Home

PURPLE: 

This is the color of imagination, ambition, and royalty. Purple symbolizes wisdom and adds a feeling of luxury when used. 

We just painted our bedroom blue and I love how calm I feel whenever I'm relaxing there. Have you noticed colors impacting how you feel? What colors do you like to have in your home? 

 

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The Dirty Dozen: When To Buy Organic

Posted by Alyssa on March 26, 2017

To buy organic, or non-organic. 

This is a constant question I am asking myself at the grocery store.  

I understand that there are real health benefits associated with eating organic fruits and vegetables, grains, meat and dairy.... but do they make the steep additional costs worth it? Or is it just a ploy to get more of my money? If I choose to eat a piece of non-organic fruit over a muffin, in my mind that is a win because it's still healthier than processed food!  Right?  But then I read something or watch Netflix documentaries about all of the growth hormones, pesticides, and crap in the food we eat and it scares me to think I'm feeding my babies these things!   Clearly I'm all over the board.  

If you're like me, and find yourself smack dab in the middle of the organic lovers and the organic haters (we all know people in both camps), read on! Every year since 2004, The Environmental Working Group has put out a Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  The guide ranks pesticide contamination of 48 popular fruits and vegetables, based on more than 35,200 samples of produce tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.  The best part is they lay it out so simply for the average consumer and come up with two basic lists. The Dirty Dozen features the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest loads of detectible pesticides, while The Clean Fifteen highlights those produce items with the very least amount of pesticides.  

When it comes to making the best choices for your family at the grocery store, this guide is gold!  If you want to make your money count the very most, make sure you are investing in organic fruits and vegetables from the dirty dozen list.  There is actually a major difference here between organic and non-organic here, you guys!  The Clean Fifteen?  Not so much. 

So here it is, the newly announced 2017 lists:

 

 

Happy Shopping! 

 

 

Happy Shopping!! 

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BBQ vs. Grilling

Posted by Alyssa on March 24, 2017

grilling

Did you know there is actually a pretty big difference between the terms barbecuing and grilling? I had no idea. I generally use the term “barbecue” for anytime I eat outside and fire up the grill, but apparently, I’ve been saying it wrong for years.

It all comes down to the temperature and the time spent cooking. When you barbecue something, you’re cooking the meat for a really long time on a really low temperature. That’s what makes those baby back ribs fall off the bone.

grilled meat

Grilling, on the other time, uses hotter temperatures and direct heat to cook the meat. It’s a much quicker process and the quick heat helps to seal in the juices we all love. If you’re cooking a more tender meat, like hamburger or chicken, you’re going to be grilling.

So there it is! If you’re throwing some brisket on the grill that will take hours to cook, go ahead and call it a barbecue. If you’re just tossing on some hot dogs and hamburgers, I guess you’re just having a cookout. Whatever you’re cooking up this summer, check out all RC Willey’s grill options and let us know what you’re making!

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Accent Wall Colors

Posted by Alyssa on March 23, 2017

accent wall colors

Bold accent walls in your home are a daring way to add some color in your home. My laundry room was painted all white, and while I like the clean look, it felt a little boring. A couple of days ago I painted one wall a dark, almost black, navy blue and it’s now one of my favorite things about our house! If you’re contemplating painting an accent wall in your home, picking the color can be the most difficult part. Here are a few examples of some accent wall colors I’m loving right now. 

black accent wall

via Home Adore

blue accent wall

via Ave Styles

green accent wall

via Design Sponge

yellow accent wall

via Vintage and Chic

red accent walls

via Apartment Therapy

Pick a wall, pick a color, grab some paint, and add that accent wall! What color do you like the best?

 

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What Can Be Recycled?

Posted by Alyssa on March 22, 2017

recycling bin

If you’re like me, you may occasionally debate over what can actually be recycled in your recycling bin at home. While each city may vary on specifics, here are some general guidelines for what to put in your blue recycling bin and what to avoid. 

recycle symbol

Yes, put these in your blue bin -

Paper and Cardboard

  • Food is the biggest contaminant of paper recycling. If your paper product has food residue on it, like a used napkin or paper towel, it may not be recyclable.  
  • You can definitely recycle your pizza boxes, but if grease and oil have saturated the bottom of the box you may only be able to recycle the lid.
  • Shredded paper is harder to reuse than full sheets of paper.

Plastic

  • Most plastic containers can be recycled - think bottles, jugs, or jars.
  • Be sure there is no food left in your plastic containers - a quick rinse is helpful
  • This does not include plastic bags! While plastic bags can be recycled, they often get wound up in equipment, damaging or delaying the recycling process. Most grocery stores have places to drop off plastic bags for recycling.

Metal

  • Aluminum cans are 100% recyclable and can be turned into a new can within 60 days of being recycled.
  • Tin foil is able to be recycled if there is no food attached to it.
  • Make sure you rinse out any leftover food from cans before recycling.

recycle plant

via KUT

No, don't put these in your blue bin -

Not everything that can be recycled can be put in your blue recycling bin. Look for other places to recycle these items. 

Glass

  • Look for a local drop off location for glass recycling.

Clothing

  • Consider donating your used clothing to a thrift store.

Paper towels and napkins

  • The fibers of these products are so small they can’t be reused and they are often contaminated by food.

Food Wrappers

  • The plastic your cheese comes in, cereal bags, ziplock bags, etc. cannot be put into your blue bins. There may be drop off locations in your area for these plastics.

Styrofoam

  • For large pieces of styrofoam or packing peanuts, you may be able to find a drop-off location in your area. However styrofoam cups, take out boxes, etc. cannot be recycled.

Electronics

  • May electronic stores will accept electronics you are trying to recycle. Look for places in your area.

Hazardous Waste

  • Look for a hazardous waste drop off in your area.

Appliances

It doesn't take long to sort your trash and minimize waste in your home. Pause to think before tossing your trash. Could it be reused or recycled? 

How have you set up recycling in your home? 

 

 

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Patio Tables

Posted by Alyssa on March 21, 2017

patio table

via RC Willey

There’s nothing like having a nice table on your patio for BBQs, picnic lunches, and relaxing weekend breakfasts. No matter your backyard’s shape or size, adding an outdoor table ups the appeal level significantly. RC Willey has new patio furniture this season that I love. Click on the images to see more information about some of my favorite patio tables below. 

patio table

patio table

patio table

patio table

Are you in the market for a new patio table? Which one do you like the best? 

 

 

 

 

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