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Families connect at home meetings



Busy family members can meet up and speak up at special weekly meetings.

According to Aha! Parenting, family meetings help kids to feel more important within the family. They also give everyone the chance to talk about their triumphs, disagreements, schedules, or any other topic of concern that they want to bring to the table. Meanwhile, everyone else has the chance to listen.

Try to schedule the meeting at the same time every week so everyone can plan to be free. Plan a fun snack to lure the reluctant and to keep the mood relaxed.

Be sure everyone in the house is invited — even the little ones.

Adults should plan to discuss schedules, school dates, appointments, holiday plans, and news of the week.

Kids can fill-in the schedules with upcoming events. It’s a good way for parents to iron out transportation plans.

Develop your own strategies for starting the meeting and keeping order.

Consider taking turns offering a prayer or creating a fun ritual like a song or poem that everyone can participate in together.

Some families make a talking stick to pass around so that speakers can speak and nonspeakers won’t interrupt.

Move through the agenda and be on the lookout for any problems that seem to be festering under the surface.

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3 climbing plants for your garden



Climbing plants lend a whimsical look to your property. They’re also ideal for hiding fences and creating privacy in your yard. Here are three beautiful vines that will undoubtedly look great in your garden.

1. Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)
Once this vine reaches maturity, which may take up to five years, depending on the climate, it produces delicate white flowers. Its dark green leaves turn yellow in the fall, and the bark turns red in the winter.

Climbing hydrangea can grow in shady areas, but will flower more in the sun.

2. Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Though ideal for covering a pergola or trellis, beer lovers will likely appreciate growing their own hops for entirely different reasons.

If you’re planning on harvesting the cones to make your own home brew, make sure you choose a female plant.

Also, know that hops is part of the Cannabaceae family, meaning that this plant may give off an aroma similar to marijuana, its close cousin.

3. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
This beautiful vine looks great all year round, but will really turn heads in the fall. That’s when its green leaves become a brilliant red. Despite its name, Boston ivy is actually native to Asia.

People growing indigenous plant gardens will want to opt for Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) instead. It’s native to most parts of North America and just as lovely as Boston ivy.

While vines can make a lovely addition to your landscaping, it’s best to avoid letting creepers grow up your home’s walls. They can cause damage to the structure and be difficult to remove. Consider placing a trellis in front of a wall instead.

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Five fun and affordable ways to revitalize your home



Does your home need an update? If a full renovation isn’t in the cards this spring, here are five fun and inexpensive makeover tips for reinvigorating your home.

1. New accessories
Inexpensive upgrades such as new throw pillows on the couch, a fresh tablecloth in the dining room or a chic frame for a painting or photo will help revitalize your home.

2. Rearrange your furniture

Sometimes changing the layout of a room is all you need to do to make it come alive again. Move your bed to the other side of the room or switch the living room furniture around.

3. Update your bathroom
Replacing accessories like the soap dish, shower curtain and hand towels can make your bathroom feel brand new.

4. Switch up your lighting
A lamp for your bedroom or a new fixture in the dining room will shed new light on a room that’s lost its sparkle.

5. DIY upgrades
If you want new cabinets in your kitchen, try painting the ones you have for a cost-effective alternative. Consider a DIY approach to other desired upgrades for your home.

These simple and affordable changes can make you fall in love with your home all over again. So which ones will you undertake this spring?

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How to choose the perfect paint for your walls



Are you thinking of giving your walls a fresh coat of paint this spring? Having a hard time deciding what colors to choose? Here are some tips for selecting the perfect shades.

• Decide on the room’s entire look before selecting your paint. This will allow you to really pull the room together with color.

• Once you’ve settled on the design of a room and chosen the furniture and accessories, take inspiration from a color featured in a favorite area rug or throw. This will ensure your room looks pulled together.

• If you’re painting rooms that open into each other, make the transition seamless by choosing colors that are two or three shades apart on the same paint chip.

• Choose a neutral paint for rooms where something else is the focal point. Bold hues work best in rooms where everything else is understated.

• A tiny paint chip isn’t enough to let you know if the color will work in a given room. Instead, buy a sample and paint a small area so you can see the color during different times of the day.

No matter your style, following these tips will help you find the perfect new color for your walls.

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How to get rid of clutter and organize your home



A tidy and organized home can feel like a refuge at the end of the day. If your home has become cluttered and disorganized, take the time to declutter and sort it out.

Going room by room, the first step is to get rid of anything you don’t need. It may seem overwhelming at first, but removing unwanted and unneeded things will be liberating. You may even find yourself throwing out more than you originally planned.

If you’re not sure where to begin, start by getting rid of items that don’t get used and articles you have multiples of. Donate things that others can find a use for and throw out anything too damaged or heavily used to be donated.

Keep in mind that the amount of things in a home needs to correspond to the amount of storage available. People who live in small apartments will end up keeping fewer things than those who live in single-family homes.

Once you remove the excess items from your home, organize everything else using storage containers, baskets and boxes. Articles that don’t have a home will probably end up being piled on your table or kitchen counter. Designate a place for everything in your home and make it a point to put belongings away as soon as you’re done with them.

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Spring cleaning: three key items to deep clean



Cleaning your home this spring? Don’t neglect these three things.

1. Curtains
If your curtains are made of a lightweight, washable material, all you have to do is run them through the washing machine. For heavier fabrics, or those that need to be hand washed, a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment will do the job while your curtains are still hanging.

2. Carpets

Whether they’re starting to smell, they’re stained or you just plain can’t remember the last time you washed them, don’t put off cleaning your carpets. The best and easiest way is to hire a professional carpet cleaner. They’ll have the right equipment and products to make your carpet look as good as new.

3. Oven
Your oven’s self-cleaning function fills your kitchen with smoke, and chemical oven cleaning products are enough to make anyone woozy. Here’s a more natural way to make your oven shine like new: remove the racks from the oven, make a paste of baking soda and water and spread it on all of your oven’s surfaces except the heating elements. Let the solution sit for 12 hours (wash the oven racks while you wait) and then scrape off. Wipe with vinegar and water a few times until it sparkles.

Once your curtains, carpet and oven are clean, make their upkeep a part of your regular routine to avoid needing to deep clean every spring.

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Update your bedroom with new curtains and bedding



Does your bedroom need an upgrade? Change the look of the room with new curtains and sheets. Here’s how to choose the perfect new linens for your room.

When selecting curtains, think about the look you want in the room and then find a fabric that corresponds. Linen and cotton blends are more casual and cheerful, while silk and velvet are refined and regal.

Next, think about the color and pattern you’d like. You can match your curtains to the color of the wall and use pattern and texture to make them stand out. Alternatively, you could hang a multi-colored pattern and make them a focal point.

You don’t need to match your bedding to your curtain, but they should coordinate. You can pull a color from the pattern on your curtains or use a contrasting colors. If you’d like to use different patterns for your curtains and bedding, stay in the same color palette.

When buying your sheets, invest in high-quality, natural fabrics. Egyptian cotton is classic and comfortable, while silk feels luxurious and has the added bonus of being gentle on your hair and skin.

By changing the linens in your bedroom, you’ll wake up feeling like you’re somewhere new.

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