Work at home mothers know that life is about balance, from balancing children and work to balancing romance and home. Working from home comes with its own challenges but it allows moms to spend more time with their children while saving money on child care. It gives you freedom while still allowing you to provide for your family.

Many people still think working from home is an easy thing to do, but in fact, it isn’t always that easy. It comes with compromises and sacrifices and you really need to be a pro at time management. Imagine planning your wedding while working from home! While that may sound scary, it really isn’t that difficult.

Wedding planning takes time, and even if you are in a rush, you can make the time to do what needs to be done and create that dream without compromising work.

Adjusting Your Schedule

The bonus of working from home is the ability to set your own schedule. That means that you can schedule in wedding planning times during the work day, but make sure that you only work on wedding stuff during those specific times. Furthermore, set aside certain things for certain days. Work on flower plans one day, catering the next day, venue options the next day, and so on.

You don’t want your wedding plans to distract you from your work day, so it is vital that you don’t get distracted when it’s work time. Don’t let other household chores fall to the wayside either though. There is enough time in your day to get work done, keep your home running smoothly, and plan your dream wedding. You can also get the assistance of you maid of honor or bridesmaids too with planning. Get a wedding checklist, which shares the timeline of when you need to do what for your wedding planning. It can make all the difference.

Taking Time Off

If your wedding has you being whisked off to a fabulous wedding venue, you’re going to need some vacation time. Just like vacation time in that corporate job you left behind, you need to save money and make a plan. Depending on what you do for a living, you may need to get work done ahead in order to take even a few days off. Plan ahead so that you don’t have to think about work while you are enjoying your dream wedding and your first nights of wedded bliss.

Make sure that you have also prepared for your return to work. You don’t want to get back from your wedding just to be hit with twenty projects all due at the same time. Hopefully, coming back from a relaxing vacation will have you feeling refreshed and ready to take on anything waiting for you at the office. It’s time to turn vacation mode off and work mode back on!

The most important thing to remember is that you can balance wedding and work, just make sure neither cross the others path or one of them will be affected by the other. No one wants to lose a client and no one wants to spend their wedding worried about work.


Spring is in the air and your desire to get out and enjoy the weather is probably growing! If you really want to make the most of the sunshine, you should invest in a deck or patio and some accessories. One such accessory that will stand the test of time and provide hours of entertainment is a fire pit. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and knowing what’s available can make the choice even easier.

Cabana Coast Fire Pits

This brand allows you to use either natural gas or propane for the perfect fire for any backyard activity. Both are easy to use and can provide more heat than you may have imagined possible. Staying warm on a summer night will be no problem when you have one of these.

Do you have a small group of friends or a large family who enjoys socializing at your home? Regardless of the head count, there is always a fire pit option to accommodate everyone.

These come in three style varieties: circular, square and rectangular.

The exterior options range from small to large and all different materials. Additionally, it’s important to properly maintain your fire pit if you really want it to last.

Home Crest Fire Pits

This fire pit offers a sophisticated look that anyone can enjoy. The top surface is made of marble and can stand the test of time. This will make a beautiful addition to your patio or backyard and is certain to get heads turning.

This type comes in units that may offer as much as 65,000 BTU’s of heat. This can provide you with the necessary warmth to combat any chill that may still be in the air during the spring months.

Custom Fire Pits

If you want to custom create your fire pit, it can be a lot of fun. You’ll be able to make your fire pit any shape, size or color that you desire, and this will add uniqueness and individuality to your patio area.

It’s ideal to look at the different selections you have when it comes to adding a fire pit to your home. The key to getting the most enjoyment out of it and getting the ideal amount of warmth is to view what is available and make the right choice!

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Building a new house? Replacing a roof on your current home? Either way, when it’s time to build a roof, there are a lot of choices to make. There are many different roofing materials on the market, and each have their unique pros and cons. Educate yourself about the different kinds of roofing materials to make an informed decision when it’s time to buy.

Asphalt Composition Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material for homes on the market today. There are traditionally two ways to make asphalt shingles. One way is with fiberglass, which is fire and moisture resistant. The other is with an organic paper fiber mat, which resists high winds and cold whether. These materials are combined with mineral granules and asphalt to create shingles.

One of the main reason asphalt shingles are popular is their cost. They are inexpensive and versatile, able to be used on many different slopes. They are, however, not as durable as other kinds of roofing materials.

Clay Tile

Clay tiles are one of the oldest roofing materials still in use today. They are an extremely durable material, and many historic buildings with clay tile roofs continue to function well today. They can offer your home a traditional Spanish or Italian appearance, generally making your home look grand. Their lovely colors makes clay tiles one of the most aesthetically pleasing roofing materials.

Because of their weight, clay tiles need a reinforced roof framing to be installed. They can break due to their brittle nature, but once installed on a roof tend to remain for a long time. They are extremely fire resistant. Clay tiles are a more expensive roofing material.


Slate is another old roofing material, potentially even older than clay tile. Like clay tile, slate can be somewhat brittle, and is an expensive material. However, it is made fully from natural materials, making it an eco-friendly roofing choice. It’s also highly resistant to both wind and fire. Slate is therefore a durable roofing material.

Slate only works on steeply sloped roofs. It requires specially trained workers for proper installation.


There are many different kinds of metal used for roofing. Steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum are all common metal roofing materials. Though more expensive than the economical asphalt shingles, metal roofing is more wind resistant and longer lasting. If cost is your concern, different kinds of metal roofing materials are less expensive.

Metal roofing is also versatile in appearance. It can be installed for in shingles to look like other materials, or in sheets.


Choosing a material for your home’s roof requires careful research and consideration. Once you have completed your own research, a professional roofing company can help you choose the right material for you. Aesthetic, architectural, financial, and climate considerations are all important when making the choice. The right roof will fulfill all of your home’s needs.


A great way to add value to a house is with a home improvement project that would make it more appealing to prospective buyers. When a homeowner is not planning on selling the house immediately, for instance during the middle of a depressed housing market, a home improvement can mean additional equity when the time is finally right for selling. In the meantime, the improvement should be something that appeals to the owner as well, and adds value for the current household members. Here are some of the best home improvement projects that also add value to a home.

Remodel the Kitchen

One of the reasons this is such a great idea for a home improvement project is that in general, a remodel of the kitchen can be almost entirely recovered at resale time, according to a Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling Magazine. According to the report, a minor kitchen project can recoup on average almost 83% of the cost of the project, while major projects tend to recover less of the cost. It is a good idea not to go too overboard on this kind of a project, though, because a shiny new kitchen might seem out of keeping with the rest of the house.

Install a New Door

While this may sound like a very modest project to undertake, U.S. News & World Report ranked it as the number one value-added household improvement that a homeowner could undertake. An aesthetically appealing new front door, made of a solid material like steel, can recoup almost 100% of the cost of installing the door when the house is eventually sold. In effect, the new door becomes practically free to the installing homeowner at resale time.

Build a Walk-In Closet

The extra room provided by a walk-in closet is a wonderful luxury to have in the home, both in terms of the ease of organization for wardrobe and for ease of access to everything inside. Walk-in closets can also serve as another dressing area because of the spaciousness and privacy they afford. A very roomy closet can even become a money-saver and space-saver because it can be equipped with shelves, rails, and racks to accommodate clothing that might otherwise need to be stored in a large piece of furniture, such as a dresser or armoire.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows

This kind of project pays off in a number of surprising ways. In the immediate time frame, residents will spend less money on energy, and when the house is eventually sold, energy-efficient windows are a strong selling point. Efficient windows are also eligible for a green energy tax credit of 10%, which makes them even more appealing as a home upgrade. As much as 78% of their cost can be recovered at resale time.

Add a Deck

The Cost vs. Value report referenced above lists building a deck as one of the best projects for the recovery of investment at resale time. Installation of a new wooden deck with attractive railings, according to home remodeling experts, can have 87% of its cost recouped when the house is sold, because it adds so much to the home in functionality and visual appeal. Since fewer families can afford big vacations these days, they stay home and enjoy the benefits of outdoor living and socializing, which makes the deck a center of attention.



Homeowners may take their HVAC systems for granted—until they break down and give them a hassle. There are ways to stay on top of HVAC issues to stave off unnecessary repairs or replacement, but sometimes units simply fail—whether due to the advanced age of the unit, improper maintenance or a combination of both. Here are four signs homeowners can be on the lookout for to determine when their HVAC system is no longer working as it should and needs to be replaced.

1. Age

Most heat pumps will give homeowners between 10 and 15 years of service, according to Mark Huffman writing for Consumer Affairs. But after that, the heat pump may start to break down and need parts replaced or repaired more and more frequently. At that point, it may be best to simply install a newer, more energy efficient one. The Department of Energy says that when a heat pump that’s older than 10 years is replaced with one that bears the Energy Star label, it can save homeowners up to 20 percent on their heating and cooling bills. That’s a lot of cash.

2. Performance

When a heat pump fails to cool and heat like it did in the past, this is a sign it’s getting old and needs replacing—especially if parts have been replaced here and there only for them to wear out quickly soon after. When a heat pump fails to perform as it once did, homeowners will notice an increase in their energy bills because the unit has to work harder to produce the same result. Considering a replacement is a real possibility when performance starts to decline. One telltale sign of lack of performance is noisier-than-usual operation.

3. Energy Efficiency

People with failing heat pumps may notice some rooms are less comfortable—either too hot or too cool—than others within the home. The unit could be straining to perform at the level of expectation. Homeowners may notice that they need to turn up the heat more than usual or turn the AC’s cooling on full blast to achieve the same level of comfort they previously enjoyed at much lower settings. Again, this increase will likely show up on energy bills and should serve as a sign the unit is failing.

4. Sensor Failure

HVAC systems typically kick on when the temperature dips below or rises above a certain pre-set number. Units that fail to operate when they should may not be detecting temperature correctly. This could be a simple fix or it could indicate system failure due to old age. Sometimes a part replacement is all that’s needed, while other times a whole new unit may have to be installed. Only a professional can determine this after an inspection.

To determine the level of performance of a heat pump, it’s necessary to hire an HVAC technician to perform a full inspection, which involves removing dirt and debris, running a full check on all systems and performing a 37-point diagnostic, according to Washington Energy. Homeowners would be wise to schedule an appointment with their HVAC technician to determine whether their unit should be replaced or if a simple part replacement is all that’s needed. Having information at the ready, such as the original date of purchase and any work done on the unit, can help the technician with his or her diagnostic responsibilities.



xmas table

It is that time of year again when you are sitting around the kitchen table, filling out Christmas cards, stuffing them into envelopes, and mailing them off to friends and family. As usual, you also find yourself scrambling for gift ideas for half the people on your Christmas list. There always seems to be a few people on that list that are next to impossible to buy for. When you can not think of the right gift, it makes buying christmas gifts quite a chore. To make matters worse, you are not looking forward to pushing your way through the crowds of people down at the mall, trying to finish your last minute shopping. It seems that they get increasingly nasty fighting over retail items with each passing year. Surely there has to be a better way to prepare for Christmas, but what would that be?

Rethinking How You Shop for Christmas

If you are tired of the crowds and the last minute crunch associated with shopping for Christmas gifts, then it is time to rethink how you shop for the people on your Christmas list. Trying to get gifts for everyone on your list at the last moment leads to a mad dash that can be totally avoided. One way to avoid this problem is to start buying Christmas gifts early in the year. Many retail stores have sales throughout the year, making these times a prime opportunity to take advantage of discounts and amazing deals. Plus, when you shop throughout the year, you are not racking up a huge mountain of credit card debt during the holiday season. Rather, by spreading the gift purchasing process on out through the year, this makes it possible to buy something for everyone on your list without breaking the bank.

Avoiding the Crowds

If you really hate the rudeness of people during the Christmas buying season, an alternative to shopping at retail stores is to purchase gifts online. Many websites carry millions of products that are suitable for Christmas gifts, and some sites even provide users with gift ideas, making it easier for the budgeting shopper to avoid facing the throngs of people at the store when doing their Christmas shopping. It is important that you plan to buy gifts early though, factoring in shipping times to make certain the gift reaches its destination on time. You would not want to be stuck getting a gift shipped to you, or someone else for that matter, that gets to its destination late. That could be potentially embarrassing, which is another reason to do your Christmas shopping earlier in the year if possible.

Gift Cards for Everyone

If you are not feeling particularly creative and you just want to make buying for everyone on your list a simple procedure, then gift cards may be the perfect gift. Usually, gift cards are located in one area in a store, and you can go down your list picking one up for each individual you have in mind. If you buy gift cards occasionally, this will not only help you avoid the Christmas crowd, but it will also keep you from crashing your budget as well. With a little creative thought, you too can avoid most of the hassles associated with purchasing gifts during the Christmas season.


In the past, painting a home was a job complete with unsettling fumes and curing times. Today’s paints are much more advanced, allowing contractors to apply them with relative ease and barely any scents. Painting the interior or exterior of the home is also better for the environment than ever before. Think about your home’s possible improvements and add some of these green ideas to make the neighborhood a nicer place to live.

Quality Painting Pros

Research your next painting contractor thoroughly and ask about green practices. Paint comes in numerous mixtures and textures. Consider a low-VOC paint type to reduce pollutants into the air and even within the home. A quality contractor will also clean up meticulously when the project is completed. Any waste or residues leftover from the paint job can actually harm gardens, groundwater and wildlife. Contractor reviews are often quite detailed, giving you a glimpse at their work ethic and green practices. A good painter isn’t shy to show off their hard work.

Preserves Your Siding

Along with low-VOC paint to decorate your home’s exterior, consider the investment you’re making on siding maintenance. Siding protects the home from weathering and temperature fluctuations. If you don’t care for it, the siding must be replaced more frequently. Your green habits aren’t effective when filling landfills with damaged siding. Keep those materials on your home with consistent paint jobs. You’ll reduce weathering and possible insect infiltration into the material core. With some effort and observation, you can keep the siding out of the trash and contribute to reduced waste across the region.

Consider Insulation

When you’re deciding on paint for the home, think a little further to the structure’s insulation. Replacing or simply adding new insulation to the home makes it greener as well. Allow a basic home improvement project to jog your mind about other ideas that could be incorporated easily. If you need to access inside a wall, for example, you can make a clean cut into the drywall to add insulation and paint the area afterward. Insulation reduces your use of HVAC systems, preserving the energy bill and using less oil to generate that power.

Opt for Amber LEDs

LED or light-emitting diodes are one of the best lighting choices on the market today. They’re known for their long-lasting light and quality illumination. However, extremely bright lights for the home’s exterior can actually harm natural wildlife rhythms. Consider some of the newer LEDs with an amber glow after painting the home. They have a softer illumination brilliance to light the way while preserving the natural world around the home. Homeowners are still green by helping wildlife and saving energy simultaneously. The less electricity used, the less oil it takes to produce that energy.

Paint is still one of the most common improvements added by homeowners each year. A fresh color gives the entire property an update while saving money across the board. Try to stay green when adding improvements to make the changes better for everyone.


If you own or manage a business and think your first in-person impression depends on your employees, you’re wrong. Your first impression is your curb appeal if clients or customers are coming to you. Whether you own or lease commercial space, it’s crucial that the first impression a client forms is a favorable one. There’s not much you can do about the architecture or types of cars in the parking lot, but landscaping might be fully in your control. Are you capitalizing on it?

In some instances, business owners might think it’s a good idea to form a community garden to encourage camaraderie. However, that’s often not allowed by management or, if it is, you simply can’t deliver the kind of skills and dedication to maximize the beauty of curb appeal. Relying on a reputable property and landscape maintenance crew can bring in more customers, satiate the expectations of current customers, and drive more business your way:

1. It encourages walk-ins

Regardless of the type of business you manage, scoring walk-ins is always a bonus. There’s no telling who might be walking, biking or driving by and your beautiful building catches their eye. Maybe they’ve been on the hunt for a new apartment or software development company, and your location is perfect. What makes the difference between them stopping and moving on might just be the quality of your space.

2. It instantly improves everyone’s mood

What would you prefer: Walking into a colorless, barren building every day or enjoying a lush landscape and maybe some blossoms? Plants, greenery and flowers are linked to better work ethic, self-esteem, optimistic outlooks and better health. From your employees to your customers, why wouldn’t you want to prioritize that? It sets the mood for the entire day.

3. It automatically heightens the property value

If you own or manage commercial property and want to ensure happy tenants and low vacancy rates, one of the easiest and most affordable ways to do this is with landscaping. If someone is deciding between your property and another very similar one, all it might take to push the odds in your favor is a little landscaping. It’s instant curb appeal that makes your space more desirable.

4. It adds value to the neighborhood

A good local business cares about the neighborhood at a local and hyperlocal level. Improve your neighborhood with a little greenery and you might be surprised by the new connections you make.



Let’s skip the jokes about “taking care of business” and get serious about the bathroom cum in-home spa for a moment. While every nook and cranny of your home is important (after all, you pay the same for every square foot no matter where it’s located), some rooms are “trending” more than others. There was a time when the kitchen got all the attention, but in an era where few people have time for epic home cooking sessions, it’s moved to the back burner.

Now, homeowners and renters alike are indulging in the finest accoutrements for bathrooms because it’s their relaxation zone. It’s where bubble baths are taken, where you get ready for a night out, and more and more bathrooms are enjoying music piped in. If you want to create your own Zen experience, try focusing on the most peaceful part of your home. Here’s why the bathroom is kind for upgrades and flipping:

1. It’s where you feel your best

Whether it’s decompressing after a long day or simply getting ready for an exciting first date, a lot happens in the bathroom. You want to feel your best and look your best here, which is tough to do when you don’t love your space. The addition of a new sink, fixtures or heated towel rack can make all the difference in the world. For most homeowners, little splurges here can set the tone for the entire day.

2. It’s where you start and end each day

Brushing your teeth, putting on makeup, showers and skin regimens; most people start and end their waking hours in the bathroom. Who wouldn’t want to open and end the chapter of the day in a place where they’re comfortable and a little pampered? By upgrading a few key bathroom pieces, you can ensure a day’s full circle that’s full of luxe.

3. You need to balance that “heat to clean” feeling

Everyone has a different household chore they loathe, but for many people it’s cleaning the bathroom. Toilet scrubbings, getting rid of soap scum and hard water stains, the bleach-induced headaches; who actually enjoys this task? To counterbalance that negative energy, you can do one of two things: Hire a weekly cleaning crew or make your bathroom more inviting on non-cleaning hours.

Ready to make the most of your personal spa? A few touches might be all it takes.


Does your garage look suspiciously like an after hours lumber store? Are their stacks and stacks of two by fours against one wall and sheets of plywood against the other? Are you secretly hiding blocks of wood in the shadows beneath the work table attached to the wall next to the door that leads into the house? No one faults you for all that wood lying around, except for maybe your wife who would like the extra room to park her car in the garage. But, despite itching to get your hands dirty on another wood working project, the ideas just seem to allude you at the moment. You even spent some time looking at electric sanders online in hopes that it would inspire your mind to conjure up that perfect wood working project idea.

With all this nice wood around, you would think you could find tons of uses for it. But, try as you might, the ideas just are not coming to mind. Never fear, here are a few do-it-yourself wood working projects to consider tackling.

Upgrading Your Little Boy’s Room

Your son is getting bigger and he has been having some trouble keeping his room organized. This is the perfect opportunity to consider building a shelving unit for his room. It does not have to be anything too extravagant. A couple of metal wall braces, some positioning brackets, and a few long sheets of wood, painted to work with the color scheme of his room. It’s a project you could probably knock out in a couple of hours.

Building Your Daughter A Desk

Your daughter is entering eighth grade this year and she’s starting to outgrow that little school-desk you bought her a few years back. This time around she needs something that can manage her books, her computer, and a lamp for additional lighting. Plus, with her interest in doing art projects, the extra table surface would really come in handy. It would be nice to fill in the bare space at the back corner of her room anyway. This would be a perfect use for some of those thicker slats and those sheets of sturdy pressed wood you’ve been holding on to for some time now. And maybe a new bookshelf is in line for her room as well, if you are feeling really crafty with that power saw.

The Entertainment Stand

With the high cost of a well made entertainment stand these days, you might consider building your own out of the spare wood you have storred away in the garage. A few nicely cut shelf like pieces, with sturdy sides and metal brackets would probably do the trick. This would give you room for the television, the sound bar, the X-box, DVD-player, and even attachments for additional speakers. If you want, you could continue with a shelving system on each side for harboring your DVD and video-game collection as well. One thing is certain, if you make it from scratch, it will be a lot better built than that last flimsy one you had to put together from a box. There are numerous ways to customize the stand for your entertainment center, so do not be afraid to be creative.

Before you know it, you will find many good uses for all that wood out in your garage.

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