Nothing says summer like dining outdoors. Follow these tips for a comfortable, relaxed and hassle-free experience.
Stay out of the sun
The sun’s rays are strongest at midday, so if want to enjoy an outdoor lunch, it’s best to re¬quest a table in the shade. If none are available, keep the sun off your head with a hat. You should also protect your skin by applying sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, and then reapply every two hours. Finally, be sure to remember your sunglasses.
Keep pests away
Insects like wasps, bees and mosquitoes are attracted to the foods and drinks served on patios. Use a bug repellant to keep mosquitoes away, be careful when you shoo away bees and if you have an allergy, don’t forget to bring your epinephrine injector.
Remember that the weather can change quickly, even on the most pleasant of summer days. Think ahead by carrying a light sweater or shawl, even if the forecast says it’ll stay warm.
4 fence design trends of 2019
A fence does more than provide security and privacy. It also shows off your personal style and can add the perfect finishing touch to the overall look of your home and garden. Here are the top fencing trends of 2019 that you should know about.
1. A modern esthetic
Give your yard a contemporary look by installing a fence that uses horizontal boards instead of vertical ones. Keep the design sleek and simple and avoid incorporating ornate embellishments.
2. Dark colors
3. Including plants
Embrace nature by planting wild-looking perennials that will grow along your fence every year. Or, build small shelves into the fence where you can place potted flowers or herbs.
4. Alternative materials
Wood was once the go-to material for fences. Nowadays, low maintenance vinyl or composite can be just as attractive and more affordable to boot. Other fashionable options include stone, brick and metal.
No matter what type of fence you choose, make sure to talk to your neighbor before you begin building it. Not only is this a matter of courtesy, but they may also be willing to share some of the costs.
Hire a contractor
It may be tempting to save money on your new fence by installing it yourself. However, unless you’re an experienced handyman and already own the necessary tools, this is a job best left to the pros.
A fencing contractor has everything needed to quickly and efficiently build your fence. They’re also better able to deal with challenges that may arise during the installation. For instance, rocky or sandy soil may make it hard for fence posts to stay upright, or there may be buried power lines right where your fence needs to go.
A lot of agriculture in your child’s backpack
Kids are heading back to school ready to learn, but parents should ask themselves, are they learning the most basic things – like where their food originates.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages teachers and parents to make a game of learning about agriculture. “You can start by hunting for it in the kids’ backpacks,” says former teacher Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, now VDACS Commissioner. “It’s everywhere – in their pencils, their clothing and of course, their snacks.”
You may identify:
· Wooden pencils and paper made from trees
· Chalk or glue made with pig by-products
· Cotton gym clothes and socks, or wool sweaters
· Leather shoes
· Paint brushes that contain hair bristles from pigs or cattle
· Hand lotions with lanolin, which is found in sheep’s wool
· Lunch with fruits, vegetables, bread, meats, cheese, milk or a Thermos of chicken noodle soup
“There’s agriculture in the gas tank as well as the backpack,” Bronaugh adds. “The trip to school may have been in the family car powered by ethanol, a clean fuel made from corn, or a school bus powered by biodiesel. Agriculture is all around them, but they may not know that all of these products and so many more come from Virginia’s farms unless you teach them.”
Bronaugh encourages parents to take children to the farm for those quintessential fall activities like picking apples or pumpkins to learn that agriculture also provides intangible benefits that include recreation, tourism, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, improved water quality and soil stabilization.
To make sure the kids don’t stump you with their “what’s that?” questions, parents can download the Ag Spotter’s Guide from the VDACS website so they can tell a tractor from a combine or corn from soybeans: vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/agspotter.pdf.
Green: the hottest design color of 2019
Both classic and unexpected, green has quickly become the color du jour. From jewel-bright emerald to calming sage, there’s a green for every room and style.
Forest green walls set a solemn tone in an office or reading nook. If a full coat of paint is too much of a commitment, you can integrate this dark color in subtler ways. Opt for it on a lamp, area rug or curtains.
Emerald green will brighten up a small bathroom or add interest to a utilitarian space like a laundry room. In a kitchen, glossy green cabinets are a refreshing change from white. In a living room or den, a mid-century style sofa in this jewel-tone would be a great focal point.
Sage green is relaxing and calm, and would be ideal for a nursery or child’s bedroom.
Kelly green is vibrant and exciting. Consider painting your chairs and table this hue to add a touch of whimsy to your dining room.
Green is very versatile and can work in almost any room. To keep the look fresh and modern, pair it with cool neutrals, and avoid combining it with warm colors like yellow or burgundy.
Language disorders: the importance of early intervention
A language disorder can seriously affect a child’s development. Here’s what you should know about this type of impairment and how you can spot it early.
What are language disorders?
Language disorders affect an individual’s ability to understand others and express ideas clearly. They include:
• Receptive issues that make it hard to understand language
• Mixed issues that make it hard to both use and understand language
These disorders typically cause a language delay that’s noticeable before the age of four.
Receptive issues can be hard to spot in young children, although having trouble following simple directions is a common sign. Signs of expressive disorders are easier to identify and include:
• Limited vocabulary and trouble expanding it
• Frequent use of placeholder words like “um” and “stuff”
• Frustration at the inability to convey thoughts clearly
• Not formulating sentences that make sense
• Limited variety of sentence structures
These signs usually appear starting at three years old and persist into preschool.
Why acting early matters
A language disorder can negatively impact a child’s development. The inability to understand others or to express ideas often results in social isolation or behavioral problems. In addition, limited vocabulary and understanding of grammar means affected children are likely to struggle in school.
Early detection allows children to develop ways to live with these disorders and sometimes eliminate them completely.
If you think your child has a language disorder, meet with your pediatrician. Your child’s doctor can help you find a specialist that will provide a diagnosis and offer a treatment plan.
Innovations in home security
Advances in smart home technologies are allowing security companies to offer powerful automated solutions that combine comfort, convenience and peace of mind. Here are some of the latest innovations in home security.
Did you know that leaving the lights on is likely to draw a burglar’s attention? New technologies allow your security system to control your lighting and electronics in a way that simulates human activity. This is much more effective than simply leaving the lights on.
Additionally, your central unit can power up your stereo at maximum volume, turning it into an ad-hoc alarm system that’s sure to alert neighbors and scare away intruders.
Finally, some security systems can even generate smoke that will prevent burglars from being able to see clearly inside your home.
Many companies offer medical alert services that feature portable alert buttons in the form of bracelets or pendants. These devices can detect sudden movements, such as falls, and alert emergency services directly. Some medical alert systems can also detect smoke and other signs of trouble.
Water damage prevention
Water leak detectors are old news, but they can now be coupled with an automated valve that’ll cut the water supply to your house at the first sign of trouble. This will put your mind at ease when you’re away from home, and your insurance company may be willing to reduce your premiums if you install this technology.
Most of your smart home’s systems can be linked to your cellphone. This allows you to remotely monitor your property and manage things like your heating and air conditioning from afar.
With these solutions, your home will be as secure as it is convenient.
Studio or storage: tips for building a shed in your backyard
Need a place to store your gardening supplies? Or perhaps you’d like to create a studio or office that’s separate from the rest of your home? In either case, building a shed in your backyard could be the solution. Here’s what you should do before you begin.
Evaluate your needs
If you intend to use your shed for storage, start by figuring out how big it should be. Place all the items you want to store in it on the ground and then measure the amount of space they take up. Be sure to add a few extra feet to give yourself room to move.
Will you need to store large items like a riding lawn mower or snowblower? Then choose a design with double doors. Also, be sure to include a strong floor and to install shelves and racks to help keep the space tidy.
If you’re planning to use your shed as a home office, studio or playhouse, there are other considerations to take into account. You’ll probably want windows to let in natural light and you’ll need insulation to seal the space off from the elements. An electrician will be required to safely connect your shed to a power supply.
Decide where you’ll put it
How you intend to use your shed should dictate where you place it. If you’ll use it to store gardening supplies, place it at the back of your yard close to your garden. But if you intend to use it every day, make sure the entrance is easy to access in all seasons.
In all cases, make sure you position your shed on flat ground and in an area that won’t flood.
Get the necessary permits
Before you start building your shed, check your municipal bylaws. You may need a permit to build one on your property. Additionally, there may be stipulations regarding where you can place it.