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5 low-maintenance perennials perfect for the Midwest

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Are you on the lookout for unique foliage and flowers to add to your garden? If so, here are five easy-to-maintain perennials perfectly suited to the climate in the Midwest.

1. Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea): Also known as echinacea, these drought-tolerant flowers are native to Central America and grow well in sunny locations. Their drooping petals and spiky yellow centers will attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden.

2. Peonies (Paeonia): These springtime flowers thrive in sunny spots with good drainage and come in colors ranging from white and pale pink to vibrant red and purple. The large round blooms will look just as good in a bouquet as they do in your garden.

3. Swamp rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos): These perennial hibiscuses aren’t the tropical flowers you’re probably more familiar with, but they have a similar appearance and can withstand cold winters. The vibrant pink or red blooms will delight you year after year, so long as they get plenty of sun and moist soil.

4. Hostas (Hosta): If you’re looking for a plant that does well in the shade, hostas come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. They sprout delicate flowers in mid to late summer and their leaves last all season.

5. Hollyhocks (Alcea): Though they generally take two years to mature, these plants may flower in their first year if planted early enough. You can expect to see pollinators sipping from the white, yellow, pink, or red blooms.

If planted in the right location and carefully maintained, these perennials will guarantee you a colorful garden for years to come.

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4 reasons you should insulate your attic ASAP

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If the insulation in your attic is sparse, worn out, or needs to be replaced, it’s best to take action as soon as possible. Here’s why you shouldn’t delay in starting this essential home repair.

1. To avoid paying more for your energy bills
Insufficient insulation makes your home less energy efficient, which means you’ll pay more for utilities. Additionally, your HVAC system has to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This shortens its lifespan and leads to more frequent repairs.

2. To avoid getting cold

In winter, heat loss caused by inadequate insulation can contribute to the formation of ice dams on your roof. These ice buildups can damage your roof and pose a hazard to people walking nearby.

3. To avoid impairing your home and health
A poorly insulated attic is more at risk of water leaks, which could lead to mold growth, wood rot, and other damage. This can compromise both your health and the structural integrity of your home.

4. To avoid pest infiltration
A lack of sealed insulation makes it easier for small creatures to infiltrate your attic, where they might procreate, chew electrical wires, and cause other costly damage.

In addition to preventing costly repairs and other problems, keep in mind that you may be eligible for a considerable tax credit if you add insulation to your home. This is because it’s an environmentally-friendly repair that can improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Attic insulation materials
Before you add insulation to your attic, you’ll need to select a material that suits your needs and budget. Here are a few options and their benefits:

• Cellulose. It’s all-natural, made from recycled materials, and offers high thermal resistance.

• Fiberglass. It’s affordable, easy to install, and provides excellent thermal performance.

• Hemp. It’s a renewable material that’s easy to install and resistant to rodents and other pests.

• Expanded cork. It’s biodegradable, resistant to water and air leaks, and boasts superior thermal and acoustic insulation.

• Mineral wool. It’s durable, offers acoustic insulation, and is fire and moisture resistant.

While some types of insulation are easier to install than others, it’s always best to hire a professional to ensure your attic is properly sealed and can protect your home from the elements.

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4 weeks before Christmas: Arrangements are underway

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There’s still a month left until Christmas, but it’s a good idea to stay on top of your to-do list. This will help you reduce your stress in the weeks to come. Here are a few things to get out of the way.

• Purchase as many gifts as possible to avoid crowds and popular items going out of stock

• Pick up any additional decorations you need to round out your collection or suit your party’s theme

• Decorate your home, including putting together an artificial tree or a miniature Christmas village

• Set up lights and other outdoor ornaments before the weather gets too cold

• Help your children write their letters to Santa Claus

• Write and mail your holiday cards, although you can send out virtual cards later

• Cook any dishes that can be frozen such as cheese logs and cookies

• Sort through clothing, toys, and other items that you can donate to charity

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7 things that can liven up a corner

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Is there a corner in your home that could use a makeover? If so, here are seven items you can use to spruce it up.

1. Bookshelf
Whether it’s designed for a corner or simply placed at an angle, a unit filled with books is a practical way to style an unused space.

2. Frames

Hang an assortment of family photos, prints, and artwork on both of the adjoining walls in an empty corner. Use similar frames for a cohesive look.

3. Armchair
Transform an unoccupied corner into a comfortable reading nook with a soft, upholstered armchair. If you need a more compact alternative, consider a pouf, padded chair, or stool.

4. Lighting
Brighten up a dim corner with a few pendant lights hung at different heights. A classic floor lamp is another good option.

5. Baskets
Suspend baskets from the ceiling or arrange them on wall-mounted shelves. You can do the same with wooden crates, or if the corner is in a kitchen, you can hang pots and pans.

6. Plants
Breathe new life into a forgotten corner with an arrangement of potted plants. You can display them on a stand, arrange them on the floor or suspend them with macramé hangers.

7. Shelving
Install a few corner-shaped floating shelves and decorate them with trinkets or practical items. You could display glassware in a dining room, cosmetics in a bathroom, or candles in a living room.

Feel free to mix and match these items to create a space that suits your needs and tastes.

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How to keep the peace among your cats

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Do you have two cats that seem incapable of getting along? While squabbles are fairly common among felines, it’s best to limit this behavior before one of them gets hurt. If hissing, growling, chasing and swatting have become the norm in your home, here’s how you can restore the peace.

Tricks to try
Cats are territorial and solitary creatures, which means they have a tendency to be possessive and reluctant to share their space, toys, food, and litter box. One way to prevent your cats from fighting and trying to establish dominance is to give each of them access to different resources and distinct areas of your home. Here are a few changes you can make that can ease the tension among your cats.

• Set up scratching posts and litter boxes in two or three separate areas

• Place each cat’s food and water bowls in different rooms of the house

• Create multiple sleeping areas using cushions, blankets or beds

• Give your cats opportunities to exercise and burn off energy to avoid irritability

• Neuter or spay your cats if you haven’t done so already

• Create several access points to perches and hiding spots or buy a cat tree

If the situation doesn’t improve, speak with a feline behavior consultant. This professional can assess the problem in your home and propose specific solutions for your cats.

Should you break up a brawl?
If your cats are fighting, resist the urge to physically separate them. You risk getting hurt and minor disputes tend to resolve quickly. If you’re concerned about your cats’ safety, clap loudly or use a spray bottle to distract them.

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10 gift ideas for the person who’s never without their phone

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If you’re looking for a gift for someone who loves their phone, here are a few suggestions that are sure to please.

1. A portable Bluetooth speaker for use at home and on the go

2. A solar phone charger for the tech-savvy environmentalist

3. A portable power bank for charging any time or place

4. A touchscreen cleaner keychain to put an end to smudges

5. A compact smartphone projector for an at-home cinema experience

6. A pair of touchscreen gloves for winter texting

7. A smartphone car mount for safe, hands-free navigation

8. A wallet case to keep all essentials in one place

9. A smartphone lens to capture stunning photos

10. A set of wireless earbuds or headphones that block out ambient noise

For these smartphone accessories and more, visit your nearest electronics store.

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A brief purchasing guide for the eco-conscious parent

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If you want to give your baby the best while upholding your commitment to protecting the environment, there are a number of purchasing decisions you can make that will allow you to do so. Here’s what to buy.

Nursery furniture
For the crib, changing table, rocking chair, and dresser opt for locally made pieces. Alternatively, look for furniture made of recycled or sustainable materials.

Paint and decor

Choose non-toxic paint made of renewable resources for the nursery, and decorate the space with handmade creations from local artisans.

Diapers and wipes
Stock up on washable diapers and reusable washcloths. For your baby’s delicate skin, purchase a mild soap sold in bulk at a zero-waste store in your area.

Nursing pads and bottles
Use washable nursing pads made of cloth and high-quality bottles made of recycled plastic, glass, or stainless steel that can be reused by your second child or donated to another family.

Bedding and clothes
Look for curtains, blankets, and other linens made of recycled or sustainable materials such as hemp. Dress your baby in locally made clothing or cute thrift shop finds.

To ensure you have everything you need before your baby arrives, visit the shops in your area or join an online group for parents looking to buy, sell and trade second-hand items.

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all-day Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k @ Online Event
Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k @ Online Event
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Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k @ Online Event
Take part in the 1st annual Gobble Till You Wobble United Way Virtual 5K Run/Walk. Capture your run or walk using a fitness tracker or app and submit for a chance to win gift cards and[...]
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all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
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2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
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all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Dec 5 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]
7:00 am 64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
Dec 5 @ 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
The Kiwanis Club of Front Royal is celebrating its 75 anniversary this year and are committed to holding the annual Pancake Day fundraising event. This event raises significant funds which are put back directly into[...]
7:00 pm Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Dec 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
It’s that time of year for Rotary Club of Front Royal’s annual Cash Fair, and we are going virtual this year due to COVID. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and[...]
Dec
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all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 6 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
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all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 13 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
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all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 20 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
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all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 27 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
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all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Jan 3 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]