There’s no shortage of fun and spooky things to do with your kids in the weeks and days leading up to Halloween. Here are four fun activities the whole family will enjoy.
1. Decorate pumpkins. Carving jack-o’-lanterns is an annual tradition in many families. If your kids aren’t old enough to wield a knife, decorate your pumpkins with paint, stickers and other craft supplies you have on hand.
2. Host a Halloween party. Invite some friends to a haunted Halloween bash. You can bob for apples, play games and have a costume contest. Don’t forget to provide an assortment of spine-chilling snacks and drinks.
3. Have a movie marathon. Pop some corn and settle in for a fright night in front of the small screen. Choose kid-friendly Halloween movies for the younger ones and save the gory horror flicks for after the kids have gone to bed.
4. Bake spooky treats. Make some cookies or cupcakes and let your kids decorate them. Use orange and black icing to top the fresh goodies and incorporate assorted scary touches such as gummy worms and black licorice.
These fun family activities are the perfect way to build up to trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
Metal vs. shingled roofs
If you’re in the market for a new roof, you might question whether traditional shingles or metal sheeting will work best for your home. Here’s an overview of what these options have to offer.
• Shingled roofs are quicker and easier to install than metal roofs. One of the biggest advantages of using shingles is that they’re readily available and come in a large variety of colors and materials, including fiberglass and asphalt.
Unlike metal roofs, shingles are generally covered under extensive warranties against manufacturer errors and material defects.
The biggest downside of using this material is that shingles need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, which can end up being costly in the long run.
• Metal roofs are known for their durability and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. They’re extremely long-lasting and won’t show signs of degradation for upward of 50 years.
This type of roofing material is non-combustible, which means its resistant to catching fire. Metal is also a highly recyclable material and consequently a popular option for consumers looking for an eco-friendly option.
The biggest downside is that metal roofs cost significantly more upfront than shingled roofs.
Regardless of which roofing material you choose, it’s a good idea to consult several roofers. This way you can compare quotes and references to find the right contractor for the job.
Original Xbox turns 20 as new console war heats up
Pretty soon, that classic Xbox console gathering dust in your closet will be able to join you at the pub. The Microsoft Xbox turned 20 some weeks ago. And while many companies have come and gone in the home console market, Microsoft has proven to have plenty of staying power.
When Microsoft first entered the home video game console market, it was considered a bold, but high-risk move. Microsoft certainly had the resources and clout to succeed, but many big companies had entered the video game console market only to be pushed out.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox console, they didn’t have the massive IP library enjoyed by Nintendo. They also lacked the established customer base and third-party support that Sony secured with the original Playstation console (launched 1995).
The Xbox, however, brought plenty of computing power, equipped with twice as much ram and a processor roughly twice as powerful as the Playstation 2. Nintendo’s hardware lagged even further behind. Microsoft also invested a lot of money developing exclusive games for the Xbox, such as the mega-popular Halo series.
The Xbox ushered in the era of online console gaming with Xbox Live. Back twenty-some years ago, if you wanted to play with friends, that typically meant getting everyone in front of the same TV. With Xbox Live, you could play with friends across the country.
The original Xbox sold more than 24 million units, outpacing the 155 million Playstation 2 units sold. Microsoft enjoyed more success with the Xbox’s successor, the Xbox 360, which sold 84 million units to the Playstation 3’s 87 million.
The console wars rage to this day. Over the last few years, the Nintendo Switch has dominated sales across the globe. That said, the newer Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles are fighting hard for market share.
Kitchen lighting 101
In a kitchen, it’s best to have different types of light fixtures throughout the space that serve various functions. Here’s an overview.
This type of lighting is powerful enough to illuminate the entire room but tends to leave workspaces insufficiently lit. Recessed or can lights are a timeless choice for kitchens, as they have a low profile and work with any decor style. Alternatively, you can opt for a traditional ceiling fixture or track lights, which have individual fixtures that can be easily repositioned to better illuminate the space.
This type of lighting is used to brighten up specific areas. Pendant lights are great to hang over a kitchen island or sink, for example, and they can contribute to the decor. These lights are best paired with recessed lighting to avoid too much visual clutter. As for countertop prep space, under-cabinet lighting is your best bet since it’s easy to install, practically invisible, and won’t create shadows.
To find the right light fixtures for your kitchen and elsewhere in your home, visit the hardware, home decor, and specialty light stores in your area.
How to install a vapor barrier
If you’re constructing a wall, building an addition, or finishing your basement, installing a vapor barrier is a must. This thin layer of impermeable material, typically polyethylene sheeting, is designed to keep your home dry. Here are a few installation tips.
• Always install the vapor barrier on the inner side of the wall (the surface facing your living area) as it experiences hotter, moister conditions than the outside wall. A vapor barrier for the ceiling is also a must.
• Start in one corner and work your way around the room allowing the vapor barrier to hang down from the top framing sill. Once you’ve made it across the wall or around the room, allow for a fair amount of overlap in the corner where you started to create a tight seal.
• Make sure you seal cracks and holes in the wall. This will block any air gaps. Also, use acoustic spray foam or sealant tape to waterproof spaces around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and light fixtures.
Keep in mind that incorrectly installing a vapor barrier can lead to moisture problems and the need for costly repairs. For this reason, it may be best to leave this job to a professional.
3 tips for installing recessed lights in your basement
Lighting a basement can be a challenge, but recessed lights are a great option. They provide a widespread light source and tuck conveniently out of the way, making them ideal for low ceilings. Here are three tips for installing recessed lights in your basement.
1. Use the right placement
Make sure you position your recessed lights evenly throughout the space to avoid creating dark spots. As a rule of thumb, divide your ceiling height by two to give you the space required between each light. For example, if your ceiling is eight feet high, then position your lights four feet apart.
2. Opt for full brightness
Basements are usually quite dark. Therefore, you should opt for recessed lights that produce at least 600 lumens. This will ensure you have enough light to fully illuminate the space. If you want to be able to tone down the brightness for movie night, make certain to put the lights on a dimmer switch.
3. Consider color temperature
Don’t underestimate the importance of color temperature. For example, warmer tones make a room feel cozy and intimate, whereas cooler temperature hues make a space feel bright and energetic. To prevent your basement from feeling dark and dingy, lights that cast cooler temperatures are best.
Keep in mind that installing recessed lights can be a challenge. Therefore, it’s best to contact a professional to ensure this job is done right.
5 original wedding themes
Are you planning a wedding? If you’re currently getting ready for your big day and looking for an original theme, here are five you may want to consider.
Choose decor elements in bright colors that evoke sweets, candies, and pastries. You can tie this theme together by setting up a candy bar for your guests.
2. Fairy tale
Book your venue in a castle-like setting, choose an outfit worthy of royalty, and arrive in a horse-drawn carriage. You could also include props from the fairy tales you love to decorate the tables.
Incorporate suitcases, passports, airplanes, and maps into table settings, photo booths, and other decors. You could also decorate each table to represent a certain country or continent.
Hang origami flowers, balloons, or umbrellas in an array of hues from the ceiling, and decorate your chosen venue with accessories in all the colors of the rainbow.
Decorate your venue with vintage accessories and second-hand furniture, and visit your local thrift store to find old-fashioned cutlery, vases, tablecloths, and picture frames.
To stock up on accessories that match your theme, contact a wedding planner or visit your local stores.