Category Archives: every day tips and tricks

Every day tips and tricks for making life a little easier.

11 Awesome Backyard Games for Summer

I grew up in a small Chicago suburb among a slew of other young kids with young parents.  We all lived in a small condo complex that circled a huge courtyard and budded up to a small man-made lake that housed a snapping turtle (or so legend says!).  I remember running home from school with my friends only to throw our stuff on the porch and play outside until the sun went down.  In the summer, we’d often be out until 9 o’clock at night, playing tag, making crafts, or just sitting outside amongst the bugs and the dirt.

Now as a 30-something with a growing family, I rarely see kids playing outside, if at all.  Most kids I see at the mall or at restaurants are on a phone or tablet.  Kids I see at the bus stop all have their faces buried in their electronic devices and, come 4 or 5 pm, the streets of my suburban Chicago neighborhood are EMPTY.

11-backyard-games-for-summer

I’m often reminded of this George Carlin skit when I’m driving home most days and see the sidewalks completely void of any demarcation of childhood.

As a kid who grew up with a stick in one hand and an earthworm in the other, I plan on being outside with my family as much as I can, and these fun outdoor family games are a great way to get kids out of the house…especially when the weather gets warmer!

If you have older kids, have them help you construct these games.  Many of them are easy to assemble and even older kids and adults will have fun playing this huge game of Kerplunk! with their friends.

Also great for summer BBQ’s, graduation parties, or 4th of July picnics, these 11 Awesome Backyard Games for Summer are sure to give you quality time with the people you love!

11 Awesome Backyard Games for Summer

DIY Backyard Jenga
jenga

Large Connect 4
connect 4

Yard Yatzee
yatzee

Tic-Tac-Toe
tictactoe

Backyard Bean Bag Toss
beanbag toss

Ring Toss
ringtoss

Large Kerplunk
kerplunk

Flamingo Ring Toss
flamingo ring toss

Garden Twister
twister

DIY Cornhole Boards
cornhole

Backyard Bananagrams
bananagram

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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How to Upgrade Your Bathroom Cabinet in Two Seconds

The thing that sucks about renting or not owning your living space is that you have to think of creative ways to upgrade, update, decorate and polish up your home. For apartment dwellers like myself, decorating and upgrading my kitchen and bathroom prove difficult when I really can’t do much of anything without the landlord’s permission.

But there are ways around it. Can’t paint a wall? Try this no paint wall color technique to add a pop of color that’s easy to take down when it’s time to move.

Can’t hang pictures on the wall? Shop around for some cool wall stickers. They are easy to apply and come off with no problem whatsoever. These are great for areas with lots of empty wall space and can also be used to help you divide up one large room into two smaller ones.

That’s all well and good, but what do you do about a nasty bathroom medicine cabinet? I mean those cabinets that they’d have in dorm rooms and old apartments that were built in 1969. Those take a little more creativity to upgrade…but you can do it for less than $5.00!

Here’s a pic of what our bathroom medicine cabinet looked like when we moved in. This is after 3 cleanings with bleach, mind you. That stuff just wasn’t coming off. I hated looking at it every time I had to open the cabinet, so if it wasn’t going to come off, I was just going to have to cover it up.

I took 2 sheets of scrapbook paper and simply taped it to the back of the cabinet…that way it’s easy to come off and I don’t have to look at that nasty background every time I open the cabinet.

This easy technique can also work for covering messy drawers, the backs of bookshelves, and even hiding ugly markings on the wall.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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How to Do a Mani/Pedi at Home

Nail salons are a thing of the past…like Spandex workout shorts and colorful sweat bands.  Today’s working woman is all about DIY…so here’s how you can rock beautiful fingers and toes without smelling like methyl methacrylate.

DIY Mani/Pedi’s!

Step One:  Soften Your Skin

Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes to soften calluses and relax cuticles.  Use a foot file or pumice to scrub problem areas on your feet.  Try to stay clear of callus shavers or graters, since they can tear your skin and have been known to make calluses grow back faster.

As for your hands, soaking them in water causes your nails to retain moisture, which slows down the drying process when you paint your nails.  If you want smooth hands, try applying a heavy-duty lotion to your hands at night.  Put on some cotton gloves and wake up with wonderfully soft hands.  If your cuticles are a disaster, rub some hair conditioner on them and put the cotton gloves on.  By the next morning, your hands should look beautiful.

Step Two:  Cutting and Filing

I speak from experience here…cutting nails  on an angle can cause painful hangnails or ingrown nails, which are maybe the worst things ever.  Instead, cut your nail straight across the top for length, then use a file to shape and smooth corners.

Step Three:  Cuticle Care

Using a cuticle cutter or shaver is a thing of the past.  These can easily remove the viable protective skin instead of only the dry dead part of your cuticle.  Instead, use a cuticle solvent to help loosen the dead skin that needs to be removed.  Because these solvents are meant to exfoliate, some may even lift stains and whiten yellow or stained nails!

Step Four:  Polishing

We all love that thick awesome hand moisturizer; however, it can make it harder for the polish to stick to your nail.  Don’t rule it out, though.  Moisturizer is essential in helping your nails from peeling and looking ragged.  After applying your moisturizer, use a cotton swab soaked in polish remover to “clean off” your nails before you paint them.  This allows for the moisturizer to stay on your hands while giving you a clean and clear nail bed.

Every girl has a method in polishing her nails.  Here’s what the “pros” recommend:  “Apply thin layers of base coat, polish, and top coat, using this technique:  Hold the brush close to, but not touching, the cuticle in the center of your nail, and swipe to the end; then apply on each side.  Next, lightly run the brush across the tip of the nail so the polish wraps over the edge.  This will help protect it from chips.”

Top your color with two coats of lacquer and let dry for 15-30 minutes.  Just because the top feels dry doesn’t mean you can’t get scratches…so pop in a movie and enjoy taking it easy!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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