Most of Australia is lucky in that the warm, temperate climate makes outdoor living very pleasant and to be enjoyed for nine months of the year or more, depending on where you live. Since it is something that most people enjoy whether for entertaining or just relaxing after the evening meal, here are some tips to help you enjoy it more.
- If you and your family enjoy dining outdoors, create a space that does not cause a lot of work taking chairs, tables and lighting outside – not to mention food – then bringing it all back in after the meal is over. For instance, an outdoor kitchen on the deck will contain everything you need for a meal and you can even cook outdoors instead of being stuck inside tending to the meal while everyone else enjoys themselves in the cool of the evening.
- If the barbeque area is down the backyard, make it more usable and pleasant by adding a shade-cloth, a wind-break if wind is a problem in your area, and pavers or another flooring option to keep your feet dry and clean. That way mud and wet grass won’t be tracked back inside at the end of the meal.
If you have a basement you are one of the lucky ones. Not only do you have a spare room for storage, it is usually large enough to be remodelled into anything you want, all without losing storage space. The main thing to remember is that being under the house, it’s likely to be naturally dim, so good lighting will be essential. A qualified electrician can install both lighting and power points for your new basement room, once you’ve decided what you want to do with it. (more…)
Not everyone has the time or ability to landscape their backyard, but when you take care to make the most of it, your property will suddenly be worth a great deal more. Besides, landscaping your property gives it street appeal and makes you proud of the place you call home. If you don’t have much creativity when it comes to landscape design, here are 5 simple ideas to help you out.
- Got an awkward corner that is difficult to mow? Convert it into a garden. Dig out the grass or poison it, then add shrubs and plants, making sure you plant the largest ones at the back. Cover the soil in between with organic mulch such as lawn clippings or wood chips to keep the weeds out. While mature plants will give you an instant garden, using those that are still young will most likely give you more success as they adapt to being transplanted more easily. Landscapers at www.intreeglandscapes.com.au suggest you choose a variety of leaf shapes such as long thin ones and round or wide ones to give visual appeal.
If you are lucky enough to have a pool, you will indeed be able to enjoy the hot weather by lazing – or swimming – in the cool water whenever you feel like it. You can also relax poolside while you watch the children enjoy the fresh air and sunshine jumping in and out of the pool all the while.
However, once you’ve build a pool from one of the best pool builders and with the delights of a pool come the responsibility of keeping it clean so it will be a healthy environment for you and the children to play in. Water that is static will always be a breeding ground for bacteria, which is why those pool chemical have to be used. But even these can have a difficult job to keep your pool water sparkling because of the variable conditions.
Wind and rain can both have an effect on your pool water. The run-off from rain can dilute the chemicals in the water so it is no longer enough to eliminate bacteria. The wind can blow debris such as dust, leaves, sticks and dirt into the pool. These organic products begin to decay immediately, changing the PH of the water. (more…)
I have never used meth, it was not my drug of choice, but it is for so many others. Truthfully it scares me. I’ve lost friends to its power and for those that don’t seek professional drug rehab or enter into some sort of self addiction recovery I have watched helplessly as it destroys the lives of those I know and care for.
Most people who use meth, I have found, really don’t want to at all, but the sway that it holds over those who use it is extraordinary.
When I found the poem below, “I am meth,” it blew me away, I’ve never used it, but I understand it, and I’m in awe of the way the writer has captured the truth of what happens with their words.
About a year ago, I found myself in a house with quite a few meth users, all teenagers, and all having a great time. I read the poem “I am meth,” and was amazed at the reaction. I killed the party. I began reading it to one person, but everyone ended up listening. The silence spread as if I was giving a presidential speech, and the noise did not come back. Everyone understood the truth of what they were doing and what they were feeling, quite a few young girls cried, and many people got angry. But everyone understood it, and knew they were trapped that it had stolen their souls, and that they were powerless.
It’s an essential room in every home and if you manage your laundry basics well, then the chore of doing the weekly washing and ironing becomes much more enjoyable. A mess in any room looks bad and leaves you feeling overwhelmed, which is all the more reason to have your laundry designed with practicality, this will help you maintain a well organised space. Here are some laundry basics to help you get your laundry back into shape:
Make space for folding: Install a countertop so you have a place to fold clothes as they come out of the dryer. Ideally, it should be right above the dryer, if space is limited then have a fold out table nearby so that you can bring it into the laundry when needed.
Create a space for hanging: Every laundry room needs a place to hang clothes fresh from the dryer or delicate items you prefer to air-dry. Installing a hanging rod either under your cabinets or next to them is one of the laundry basics.
Laundry organisation: Have a cabinet with shelves and spaces which can handle all your detergents, powders and pegs. You could also install a drying cabinet for air drying delicate clothes and a storage cabinet to put washed clothes in before ironing.
Convenient ironing: A wall-mounted ironing board which can fold in or out is a great space saver and makes ironing less of a chore. When planning your inbuilt ironing board make sure a power point is close at hand.
Plan it out: If you’re starting from scratch in designing your laundry and toilet, think of your plumbing. Place appliances where the outlets are placed. If you have a front-loading washer you can use the top for other things.
There are many things to consider when designing a bathroom, especially when you have kids. With a little human in the home, life is a little different, which creates the need for Kid-friendly bathrooms. First think about storage. Kids have their own towels, toys and things for bath time. If you can include a colourful toy box or cabinet just for storing your child’s belongings, it’ll be easier to encourage putting things away.
Then there is the all-important toilet in Kid-friendly bathrooms. From potty to normal toilet is a big step for a small child so a transition toilet is a great idea. And don’t forget the sound of your toilet seat. Little humans tend to let them drop so a seat with a silencer or at least the appropriate padding is a great idea.
Many years ago high school students who took ‘Home Economics’ were taught to cook commonsense meals that were both easy, nutritional and budget-friendly. But that changed to a much more complicated version of cooking where students learned all about meals from other countries and cooked fancy meals that were more suitable for a celebration rather than a staple family meal.
There are now a few generations of people who didn’t ever learn the art of cooking wholesome family meals that could be done without having to read a cookbook or learn a whole new language. The rise of fast foods was helped by this lack, as people just want to get something to eat quickly and easily. And they didn’t really know how to do it without going to a lot of trouble to find out.
Travelling overseas for a holiday is an exciting time. Many places such as Bali are very popular holiday destinations for Australian tourists, because it is fairly close and we love the friendly Indonesian culture. But rather than forgetting all about it once you return home, why not retain the romance of the region by keeping something of it in your home or garden?
Much outdoor furniture reflects the culture of other countries. While you are in Bali take note of all the wonderful furniture – not in the hotels, but in the Bali villas and other similar accommodations that more truly reflect the Bali lifestyle. Then when you get back home you’ll be able to find similar styles or imports from that country for your own home.
Let’s face it, the kitchen is the heart of your home and the kitchen is one room which reveals your personality and your style. With the year about to end, let’s look back at the top kitchen trends for 2013. According to the design experts at the lifestyle channel, here are the top 10 Australian kitchen trends:
High-Tech: If you like to keep up with the latest kitchen trends in design, gadgets and style then your cooking HQ will almost certainly have LED lighting and the latest in hidden hi-tech gadgets. Pop-up range hoods and dishwashers hidden behind kitchen cabinetry are all common design elements in new and upcoming kitchens.
Retro: Of course modern kitchen trends can include older styles in the ‘everything old is new again’ situation. There’s nothing like a touch of retro to show how modern you really are.
Travelling long distances in the car with children can be less than pleasant because kids love to move around rather than sit for long hours. They get bored and restless sitting in their car seats so it is up to the parents to find some way of entertaining them. This is easier to do these days with the technology that is available.
Older children can listen to their music or watch a DVD, but there are other things they can do when they get sick of that. Games such as counting certain coloured cars or writing down place or river names are interesting to older children. Puzzle books or colouring in can also be a good choice so long as the road is bitumen and not a bumpy, dirt road.
But if your children are still toddlers it can be difficult to amuse them. Here are some tips to keep them happy in the car: –
There is nothing more frustrating than having tiny bathrooms that feel cramped and has little to no storage. However there are ways to turn an uninspiring and small bathroom into a stylish and practical space. These ideas are simple, can often be DIY and are inexpensive. Bathrooms are essential and so too are the many implements and products we store there. But where to store is often the taxing question.
One brilliant solution is to install a medicine cabinet on the walls of tiny bathrooms; these cabinets are slim but capable of holding a variety of products safely. White such cabinets look great and when attached to a wall in your bathroom gives you storage without much if any hindrance. The ideal spot is over the toilet but because of the shallow size of the cabinet, there is little or no chance of banging your head. Just keep the toilet lid down before opening the cabinet!
What you choose for your home design depends on several things; personal preferences, budget, availability and even what the council may or may not allow in your suburb. Two of the most common materials for the roofs of homes today are tiles and Colorbond roofing. Most of the cheaper tiles are made from concrete, although you can get slate and terracotta tiles. Whether you are building a new home or doing a roof restoration, there are a few things to consider.
Colorbond roofing is often considered better than tiles for your home design for several reasons: –
- It is much lighter at only 10% the weight of concrete tiles. This has several advantages such as a lighter roof framework with rafters further apart.
- Colorbond roofing does not absorb water like tiles do, so it remains lightweight even in wet weather. Tiles become even heavier as they absorb the water and so all engineering specifications have to take this into consideration. The framework and rafters of the home need to be much stronger and heavier to bear the weight.
- Since steel roofing does not absorb moisture, if you want to harvest the rainwater from your roof, you will get much more from Colorbond. In addition, the water will be cleaner because debris and dust tend to blow straight off, rather than stick to it like it does to tiles.
If you have ever been on a luxury yacht, especially one like Amara, designed by Sam Sorgiovanni, you will have seen just how many relaxation and entertainment areas there are. All are a little different and many areas are designed especially for other cultures where chairs and lounges are not so important, but piles of cushions on the floor or on a large, raised, padded platform provide comfort to anyone wanting to use them.
While many furnishing trends travel from home to ship, sometimes that is reversed, with up-market homes following trends that are seen in luxury yachts, especially the really big ones where opulence is key. Almost any home can be improved with more relaxation areas that offer the ultimate in comfort, whatever that may be to the owners. If you are feeling stressed out and tired, it could be that there is no truly welcoming and comfortable space in your home that calls you in to relax.
More than 30 years ago I noticed that eating sugared foods made me extremely tired in the mornings. A little sugar in the water to boil carrots gave me “sugar eyes” – that’s what I called the sense of glue in the morning as I tried to open my eyes. A cup of coffee and a donut would literally keep me from getting out of bed – I was habitually late for work. I did not realize it was the sugar until I stopped putting sugar in my coffee and replaced donuts with hot unsweetened cereal. After three days of this new regime, I got up early and I had clear eyes – no sugar eyes! I was alert and awake! What a discovery!
Feeling well is a great incentive. After that experience I pretty much cut out refined sugar from my diet. Every so often I’d stray, but the fatigue and the “sugar eyes” kept reminding me. What I also noticed is that my moods changed dramatically once I quit eating sugar. From my usual slight malaise, a vague sensation of sadness or minor depression, I went to feeling normal and OK pretty much most of the time. What surprised me was that such experiences were dismissed by the mainstream nutritionists, and other parents were horrified when I mentioned that I gave my children no sugared cookies, ice cream, or candy – ever. (If they got it themselves, that was not my problem; they just didn’t get it in the house from me.) That was because I had found, early on, as do many parents, that the kids often go crazy when they get sugar.
There have been a number of articles about obesity and children, and frequently there are words used such as “surge,” “epidemic,” and “growing problem.” Let’s take a look at what the issues are.
Obesity has a popular meaning (just plain fat – we know it when we see it) and a technical meaning. Overweight (chubby) is the same. And here comes the interesting thing: official technical meanings of these two words have changed. They deal with the body mass index, or BMI, which is the ratio of weight to height, and is arrived at by the following method: multiply the weight in pounds by 703, then multiply the height in inches by height in inches, then divide the first number by the second. If using the metric system, the numbers are weight in kg divided by the square of height in meters.
Before 1998, a BMI of 27 or more was considered overweight. But in June 1998, new cut-off weights were implemented. The BMI for overweight became 25 to 30, and anything over 30 became obese. Thus, overnight a lot of people became overweight who were considered normal the day before.
We have nothing to fear of fever but our own fear. Fever is a very sensible, rational activity of the body when it is faced with certain types of stress. It is the activation of the body’s garbage incinerator, burning up debris and toxic matter that are of no use to the body’s normal functioning. These may be bacteria, virus, breakdown products of the body’s metabolism, or other extraneous proteins in the bloodstream.
In the case of children, fever can serve a very good purpose. Children are continuously rebuilding and remodeling their bodies as they grow. As with any renovation project, debris results. In Anthroposophic medicine, the theory is that childhood illnesses are simply a way of disposing of unwanted cells and tissues. Hence, colds, skin eruptions and fevers are normal expressions of a normal process. Parents sometimes get excessively concerned. According to Jane Brody, in her New York Times column “Too Many Parents are Afflicted with Fever Phobia,” the pediatric literature points out that “undue attention to a child’s temperature and mishandling of fevers generate a great deal of unwarranted parental anxiety, avoidable medical complications, and countless calls and costly visits to doctors, clinics, and emergency rooms.”
DJ hire may be a simple matter for a person who goes to a lot of parties. They would soon get to know who the best DJ was. They could then take the details of the one they liked best and contact them whenever they were organising a party or event that needed the services of the DJ. But what about a person who had not gone to many parties and didn’t know who to hire? Here are some tips for you if you are in that category.
- Ask friends and family if they know of a good DJ and why they liked them.
Riding the subways and buses of New York City, I have often encountered people with children in large baby carriages. These carriages are at times quite elaborate, with beautiful padding, a sun roof, lots of toys — obviously the parents are doing all they can to express their love for their child. The child, on the other hand, may not notice or appreciate the effort: it’s back is to the pretty padding, and it can only look out, without seeing the one pushing the carriage. In essence, the baby is alone in that carriage, wheeled about with no sense of connection to the adults. Sometimes I see children that look like they’re three, four, and maybe more years old, wheeled about still, not walking. What are these kids learning? When faced with stress, will they become crippled before their time, so as to recreate their infancy and be wheeled about by someone else? Will they too grow into couch potatoes, overweight people who do not exercise, people who are reluctant to do something for themselves because they’re so used to having someone else do it for them?
Books on how to eat are a dime a dozen. Many of them contradict each other: raw food or cooked? Vegetarian or high protein? Food combining or everything in balance? Consumers try to navigate without a compass among all these systems, and often, in despair and confusion, give up trying to eat healthfully.
As readers of this column know, my viewpoint is that our main dietary choices should be always whole, fresh, natural, real, and organically grown foods whenever possible. That said, there are many possible permutations of such a diet, and I have experimented with many: lacto-ovo vegetarian (7 years), vegan (1 ½ years), macrobiotic (15 years), food combining (2 weeks), and the Atkins diet (1 month). Each time I learned something interesting. It’s been a long time since I think of myself as being “on a diet,” but rather of eating mostly “health-supportive whole foods.”
In the past two years I have run into three new books about diet, and each of them has taught me one or more useful concepts. That is more than I found in the ten years prior! You have probably heard about these books as well. Let’s look at all three, and what I found useful about them.
Sugar is bad for you, right? It has calories and makes you fat. Therefore, anything that tastes sweet and doesn’t have calories is preferable, because it won’t make you fat. Right? That is the thinking that supports the widespread use of artificial sweeteners. Millions of people guzzle soft drinks sweetened with aspartame, the compound sold under the trade names Nutrasweet and Equal. This ingredient is found in all kinds of diet foods, in toothpaste, and sprinkled out of small packets into coffee and tea. It is sold worldwide. It is also associated with thousands of reports of adverse effects. Most of the information that follows was taken from the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Fact Sheet, written by Lendon Smith, MD, former Network Physician at NBC-TV and well-known author and pediatrician.
Aspartame (the technical name is L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanyl-methyl-ester) is considered to be about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is virtually calorie free. When ingested and metabolized, it breaks down into three substances: