Four gift ideas for the cook on your list
Friends and family members who love to cook are a blessing. Not only do they spoil us with their culinary creations but they’re also exceedingly easy to buy for. Here are four great gifts that are sure to please the cook on your Christmas list.
1. A gourmet food basket
Give them a food basket assembled especially for them, with their favorite cheese, spices, oils, wine — you name it. Alternatively, you might put together a basket of local or artisanal products or even one that plays upon a unique theme; say, orange food products, if this is their favorite color, or Italian foods if they happen to have a trip to Rome coming up.
2. A personalized kitchen accessory
Enlist a local shop or craftsperson to add a personal touch to the kitchen item you’re giving. It could be a thoughtful phrase, a funny remark or simply the person’s name. You can personalize a wide range of items, including aprons, oven mitts, cutting boards and serving trays.
3. A specialized cooking course
Have you spotted a penchant for cake making, sushi rolling or Moroccan cuisine in your favorite foodie? Enroll them in a specialty course so that they can cultivate their passion into an art form.
4. Assorted spices
If the cook on your list has an adventurous streak, get them an assortment of rare spices to stimulate their creativity — and their taste buds! If you’re traveling abroad before the holiday season, consider picking up some out-of-town flavors along the way.
Embellish your yard with striking conifers
Do you want to add plants to your yard to make it more attractive? Flowers are an obvious choice, but conifers can add striking contrast. Whether you choose standard size, bushy or dwarf, here are some of the advantages of planting evergreens:
• They shelter your home from cold winds, reducing your heating costs
• They attract pretty birds to nest or take refuge
• Many species can be pruned into elegant shapes like cubes, spheres, and cones
• Unlike deciduous trees, which lose their foliage in winter, conifers retain their beautiful color and volume all year
• Planting several conifers together can increase privacy in your yard and block out sound
• Many types of conifers are edible and have medicinal properties
Cedars, spruces, false cypresses, junipers, and pines — visit your local nursery to find the ideal conifers to enhance your landscaping.
Tantalizing tales of yesteryears: Unraveling a lifetime through Words
There’s a familiar refrain that often echoes around family gatherings: “If only we’d asked Dad about that…”. There’s an inevitable longing for the tales untold and the sagas left unwritten. It is your mission, noble patriarch or matriarch, to gift future generations with the essence of your journey. A grand novel or an Academy Award-winning screenplay isn’t necessary, a simple account from the heart will do. Or perhaps, you might even venture into a heartfelt video memoir. After all, your chronicles don’t have to unfold in a sweeping epic but can gently unveil themselves as bite-sized anecdotes.
Let’s plunge into the realm of yesteryears with these thoughtful themes that may ignite your memory and creativity:
- Familial Tapestry: Embark on a nostalgic journey through the lanes of your childhood, your kin, the elders who bestowed wisdom, and the siblings who partook in your earliest adventures. Paint the colors of your lineage, the laughter that rang through your house, the frightful instances that brought you closer. Remember those traditions that evolved over time? Yes, they’re important too!
- Professional Chronicles: Unearth the gems from your career journey. Relive those moments of triumph, and grapple once again with the challenges that led to growth. Unfurl your aspirations and lessons learned along the way.
- Chronicles of the Heart: Travel back to the time when Cupid struck for the first time. What stirred within you? Recall your relationships, the lessons they imparted, and the mirror they held up to your own self.
- Voyages and Ventures: Travel isn’t always about exotic vacations, sometimes, it’s about unexpected detours or even life-changing relocations. Recall those road trips, no matter how brief, each journey has a story.
- Wisdom Well Earned: Unravel your philosophy and life lessons – the ones learned through joyous victories and the ones that came wearing the cloak of challenges. What advice would you bequeath to the young ones today?
4 signs you need to replace your soffit and fascia
Your home’s soffits and fascia boards protect your attic and roof from water infiltration and keep pests out. Here are four signs it’s time to have yours repaired or replaced.
1. The paint is peeling or flaking. Once the paint on your soffits and fascia begins to deteriorate, it creates an opening for moisture to permeate the boards. This can result in water damage to the roof, interior walls, and siding.
2. The gutters are loose. The soffit and fascia boards act as the support system for your gutters. Consequently, if you notice your gutters are wobbly and unsteady, the fascia or soffits likely require repair.
3. Pests are hanging around your home. Your soffits and fascia boards are designed to keep rodents, bugs, and other small critters from entering your home. Therefore, bite marks, nesting materials, or droppings in your attic often indicate that your soffits and fascia must be repaired.
4. There’s little to no ventilation. Soffits provide ventilation and prevent condensation in your attic. If you notice that your home seems stuffy, your soffits are probably blocked or damaged.
Contact a local roofing contractor to inspect your soffits and fascia and make any necessary repairs.
Why you should let your tulips wither
Blooming tulips are a telltale sign that spring has sprung! Although it can be tempting to cut the entire plant back once the blooms fade, it can affect the following year’s performance.
Tulips use their stems and foliage to gather energy for the bulb as they die off. Cutting them back too early robs the bulb of the energy it needs for the next growing season.
Instead, once the blooms wilt, clip off only the flower head. It keeps the tulip from creating a seed head but allows the greenery to remain. After a week or two, the remaining foliage will die back and slowly turn brown. This is a sign that cutting the tulip down to the ground is safe.
Allowing your tulips to wither slowly goes a long way to keeping them healthy and robust for the following spring.
Guidelines for creating a visual impact in your garden
Want to make your flowerbeds the talk of the town? Here are a few tips to make the outside of your home visually stunning.
• Pick a focal point. Draw the eye and create a lasting impression. You can use a small fountain, statue, or bench as a focal point or simply a cluster of eye-catching flowers or shrubs.
• Vary the height of your plants. Combine plants of varying sizes to add dimension to your flowerbed. For example, tall, ornamental grasses near the back of your border will give your garden visual balance and texture.
• Define boundaries. Create distinct borders to demarcate the perimeter of your garden. For example, great features are poured concrete, wooden trellises, and hedges.
• Make paths. Paths and walkways can drastically alter the look of your garden and invite people in. You can use woodchips, pallets, decorative stone, or poured concrete to attain the desired visual effect. Mulch around the paths to give your flowerbeds a clean, crisp look.
Finally, make sure you plant a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and other plants that complement each other for the most striking appeal.
How to choose a day camp for a child with special needs
Do you have a child with special needs and want to find a camp that’ll cater to them? Here’s some information to help guide your search.
Traditional day camp
Are you considering enrolling your kid in a traditional day camp where they can participate in “regular” activities? If so, contact the camp organizers beforehand to determine if they can make specific accommodations. They may be able to make physical adjustments tailored to your child’s needs. Additionally, they may be able to arrange smaller groups or hire additional helpers for increased supervision.
Specialized day camp
If you choose a specialized day camp, you can rest assured knowing your child has adequate supervision in an environment adapted to their needs. The camp will already have measures to ensure your child’s pleasant and enriching experience. It’s best to meet with the camp organizers ahead of time. You can inform the staff of your child’s needs so they can prepare for their arrival.
Before registering your child for day camp, contact the organizers and confirm they can accommodate your child’s specific needs. This’ll ensure your kid has a fantastic summer — and give you peace of mind.
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