New Year’s resolution: Don’t be a bump on the log this winter.
Ha. Easy to say.
But let’s suppose we get the spirit, just when the knees cooperate and the stars are aligned. What to do?
Here are some ideas to stay active, physically, and mentally, during these peak winter months:
* Chair yoga classes, tai chi, or resistance band exercises. Lots of options out there and all free if you use YouTube.
* Try Kahoot! This game-based learning platform is used in classrooms, offices, and at home. Families and friends can play together via video conferencing. A basic plan is free while a Family plan is about $7.50 a month.
* Join an online book club. Any number of book clubs are open, from Oprah’s Book Club to one hosted by NFL quarterback Andrew Luck (appropriately named “Andrew Luck Book Club”) and one from the AARP called The Girlfriend Book Club, with more than 14,000 members. Search “online book club” to find more.
* Join a real-life book club. One trend is a conversation club in which everyone gets a chance to tell something about the book they read, the movie they saw, or the television show they watched during the month. It can have a theme, such as self-help books, politics, or even romance books. Or it can have no fixed subject.
* Learn a language. Or at least learn to say hello in a bunch of languages! Try duolingo.com for free language lessons.
How to cat-proof your Christmas tree
Are you worried your feline friend might get hurt playing in your Christmas tree? If so, here are a few tips to help you avoid a holiday mishap.
• Secure your tree to a solid base to prevent it from tipping over and falling on your pet.
• Leave your tree undecorated for a few days to let your cat get used to it.
• Use decorations made of plastic or other durable materials. Firmly attach them to the branches, so they don’t fall off easily. Avoid edible ornaments.
• Fill a spray bottle with water and gently spritz your cat if it gets too close to the tree. This will let them know the behavior is prohibited.
• Spray your tree with store-bought cat repellent.
Be patient to ensure you get the results you want.
Five great gifts for seniors
Are you looking for a Christmas present for the senior in your life? If so, here are five great gift ideas to show you care.
1. A book
Whether your loved one likes gardening, history, or science, there’s sure to be a book or audiobook that suits their interests. If you need advice, ask a bookstore employee what they recommend.
2. A game
Consider offering a fun puzzle, board game, card game, or memory game. You may also want to consider a video game for the tech-savvy senior in your life.
3. A kitchen gadget
Electric can openers and pepper grinders are perfect for elderly people who want to remain independent but lack strength and dexterity in their hands.
Purchase a picture frame or album, including photos of family members and friends. If there’s enough space, add one or more handwritten notes.
5. A cozy accessory
Give the gift of relaxation with an electric blanket, a pair of non-slip slippers, a soft scarf, or an essential oil diffuser.
For more great ideas, visit your local stores.
Winter home updates: do’s and don’ts
Everything has its right time and place, including home renovations. If you want to update your home this winter, here’s a look at some recommended do’s and don’ts.
Regardless of the weather, you can take care of these interior jobs:
• Paint the walls inside your home
• Renovate a whole room, such as a kitchen, bathroom, or living room
• Upgrade your electrical system
• Update your plumbing system
• Install new flooring
• Complete the addition you built in the summer
• Add insulation to interior walls and the foundation
The following jobs shouldn’t be completed in winter because the outdoor temperature and seasonal storms could create complications. It’s best to avoid the following:
• Yard improvements
• Roof renovations
• Siding repairs
• Exterior paint jobs
• Garage replacements
• Addition installations
Do you have a renovation project in mind? To develop your plan, work out the right timing and get the job done right, and meet with a contractor in your area.
Give the gift of an unforgettable experience
Instead of wrapping presents this year, consider providing your friends and family members with memorable experiences. This is an especially good idea for loved ones who already have everything they need and want. Plus, an outing will offer an opportunity for the person to take a break from their daily grind. Here are a few suggestions:
• A relaxing afternoon at the spa
• Dinner at a gourmet restaurant
• A theater, music, comedy, or circus performance
• Tickets to a ski hill or winter festival
• An introductory course to something exciting like dog sledding or wine tasting
• A weekend at a hotel
To find experiences your loved ones won’t soon forget, research the various activities offered where they live.
How to keep your home rodent free
As winter approaches, various pests will start looking for a cozy place to spend the season. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent rodents from moving in with you. Here’s what you should do.
Eliminate points of entry
Mice can pass through openings as small as a dime, so close off every small hole you can find. Seal cracks in your foundation, place weatherstrip under your doors, and install backdraft dampers in your ducts. You should also screen off dryer outlets, fans, air intake vents, and roof vents. Finally, add caulking around windows and pipes as needed.
Tidy the kitchen
Take care to keep your counters clean. Store all dry food in sealed containers to avoid creating a buffet for unwanted critters. This includes your pets’ kibble.
Clean your yard
Remove anything cluttering up your property that may serve as shelter for pests. In addition, keep your firewood at a reasonable distance from the house and about one foot above the ground. You should also trim tall grass and plants growing near your home’s foundation. Furthermore, be sure to supply garbage and compost bins with tight-fitting lids and place your compost on wire mesh to prevent rodents from burrowing up from underneath.
If, despite your best efforts, unwanted critters infiltrate your home, call an exterminator in your area to get rid of them once and for all.
Useful gifts for practical people
If you’re not sure what to buy your loved ones for Christmas, you may want to consider giving them something practical. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
• A gas station gift card
• A firewood sling
• Reusable containers, food wrap, or sandwich bags
• A set of quality bed sheets
• A portable cell phone charger
• A bathtub tray
• A gardening tote
• Heated gloves
• A bike repair kit
• Car storage accessories like a trunk or seat organizer
• Compact camping dishes such as a pot with a folding handle
• Warm socks
Visit your local retailers to find a host of gifts that will make your loved ones’ lives easier.