5 Activities to Do with Dad This Father’s Day

Father’s Day has officially snuck up on us. For those of you who still don’t know, Father’s Day is this Sunday the 20th. Caught off guard? Here are some great activities to do with Dad to let him know you care; he doesn’t even have to know the plan was last minute.

Parents spend countless hours and untold amounts of money documenting all our childhood milestones yet never seem to find the time to enjoy them after the fact. Take this Father’s Day as an opportunity to break out the family photo albums or home videos. Dad will appreciate a relaxing day on the couch with his most loved ones reminiscing about all the good times you’ve had together while simultaneously creating a new memory.

 

We all remember the numerous hours Dad has spent building, fixing, maintaining and securing all of our various tree houses, swing sets and other toys. Give him a break this Sunday and be his handyman (or woman) for a change. Keeping your skill level in mind, mow the lawn, do the dishes, sweep the patio or even change the oil in his car. He will love having the extra free time to do what he wants to do this weekend.

 

If Dad is the outdoorsy type, get the whole family in the yard or to a park and have a full scale water fight. Gather all the water accessories at your disposal: water balloons, water guns, hoses, even buckets or sponges and get soaked! You could even mix the fun with something productive like washing the car in your driveway. Either way, it’s a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon together, especially as the warm summer temperatures set in.

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5 Things To Do On Memorial Day

With Memorial Day just around the corner, it’s time for all of us working folks to start planning just how we’re going to spend our three day weekend. While typical activities include going to the beach or barbequing in the park with family and friends, here is a list of some activities you may have overlooked or forgotten about.

Canoeing – If your local geography and weather permit, canoeing is a great way to spend a day outdoors. Paddling down a river on a sunny afternoon can be almost anything you want it to be: relaxing, adventurous, even competitive. This is the perfect day trip for either a family, a group of friends or even to do solo. Most canoe rental facilities offer day rates and group discounts and usually round out to about $20 a person. Just be sure to bring extra dry clothes, a bathing suit and towel, sneakers or river shoes and your camera. Oh yeah, don’t forget the map!!

Museums – Your city or town is sure to be home to a museum you haven’t been to yet and as most museums are open just about every day of the year, this three day weekend is your perfect opportunity. Admission prices can range from about $5 -$20 but some amazing museums (like the Smithsonian) are free and open to the public. Additionally, many museums have discounts or free admission for members of the armed forces. A museum can provide an entire day of fun and entertainment for just about anyone and who knows, you might even learn something.

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Recycle and Re-Use Your Holiday Decor Throughout the Year

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s that time again for resolutions, starting fresh and of course putting away the holiday decor, which for some reason always seems a lot more arduous then putting it up.  This year before you pack everything up, or trash your tree and broken ornaments, support the green movement by re-using or recycling the holiday decor.

After each holiday season, one of the biggest items to unfortunately end up in the landfill is Christmas trees.  The ideal solution is to promote the use of artificial trees that could be re-used or keep a tree planted that can not only be re-used but also grow with the family.  If you have a cut tree that is in need of disposing of, look up local recycling centers that you can drop your tree, wrapping paper, paint and more to be recycled.   If you can trim your tree down to smaller pieces, many areas now offer recycling pick up.

Over the years of holiday decorating, many of us end up with mis-matched ornaments or even broken ones from storing and moving.  Rather than throwing them out, or purchasing new matching sets each year, take broken ornament pieces and fill a vase with other mixed ornaments to reflect color and create a surface centerpiece for any table.

(image from freshome)

Instead of buying new art, why not create it?  Pick up a canvas at your local art store, spray with adhesive and sprinkle varying sizes of the broken ornaments to create an abstract and colorful art piece. Re-use your candles for dinner parties, as bathroom or even kitchen accents.

Holiday colors such as greens, reds, silvers and blues work wonderfully in contemporary color schemes.

(image from oregonlive)

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Happy Holidays from Backyard X-Scapes

Wow did time fly by!  It’s that time of year again to look back, give thanks and reflect on everything 2009 has brought us.  Our re-launched website, Inc5000 Award, and new products are just a few of the exciting things that have happened this year.  We’re hoping 2010 will be an even greater year.

With that Backyard X-Scapes would like to take this moment to wish you a warm and wonderful Holiday season and an amazing New Year in 2010.

Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to be a part of your projects, designs, decor and more.  We will continue to strive to bring you quality products and provide ultimate service to you in the New Year.

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Create a Holiday Table Centerpiece

Although eating and drinking are considered to cater to our sense of taste, it is undeniable that we eat first with our sense of smell and sense of sight.  How a dish smells and how the food is presented, greatly affects the eating experience.

For centuries now, people have used the experience of eating to bring people together, celebrate important events and join in happy festivities.  With the holiday season now here, we wanted to give you some no fuss, quick and easy tips on spicing up your table setting.

We always talk about how lighting is key to any home or garden design.  Candles have been used for centuries as a source of light and to accent tables.  By grouping candles together of different heights or colors, you can create a visual landscape across your table.

During the holidays, between wrapping presents, decorating the tree and your home, there is always excess material around.  Ribbons make wonderful accents to table settings by inducing a bit of decorative flare.  You can also tie ornaments to the ribbons and lay them along your table or around the candles.  These cute little ornaments with ribbons can also be used as party favors for your guests to take home as a sentimental holiday treat.

No matter how hard we try to efficiently utilize wrapping paper, it seems that there is always so many strips wasted, that are either too narrow or too short.  Grab a pretty vase, and with your excess wrapping paper, crumple them into small balls and fill the vase with them, to create a popcorn color effect.  Complete the vase with a ribbon around the neck, or mix in holiday ornaments for added dimension.

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Tropical Gift Ideas

The holidays are that time of year when spirits are lifted by jolly music and memories with loved ones are made.  As much as the holidays are meant for a time of joy, there are stresses that accompany the festive season such as figuring out what to buy and where to get it.  December is always one of those months with not enough days to stop at the store to get everything you intend to pick up.

What we did is put together some of our own and some of our customer product favorites to compile a list of gift ideas this season.

Bamboo Rug

Available in four different sizes, this rug is versatile for both indoor and outdoor uses.  Made out of eco-friendly bamboo and bound by a canvas backing, this rug is constructed to easily roll up or out for easy placement and mobility.  The best part is that it is a grand gift that won’t put too much of a dent in your wallet.  You can grab our smallest size, 24″W x 36″L for only $15.99.

Tiki Statue

Tiki Statues are the type of gifts that keep giving in many ways.  Similarly to how a great coffee table book or piece of wall art contributes character to an area, Tiki statues spark conversation and add a tropical vibe to any setting.  Promoting Luck, Love, Fortune, Family and even Happiness, giving a tiki statue is one way to send positive thoughts to someone you care about.

Thatch or Umbrella Kits

Sometimes the best gift is the one that helps with a design project.  Especially since it’s the holidays, friends or family may be putting a design or landscaping on project on hold to shop for the holidays.  You can help kick start their project by supplying with thatch, an umbrella kit or even bamboo.

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Tropical Holiday Decorating Ideas

One of the greatest things about this time of year, that can also be stressful is the back to back holidays.  Right after Thanksgiving, in addition to tasty leftovers and an abundance of sales, comes the bittersweet task of planning for Christmas and New Years.  Prepping your home for the holidays doesn’t have to be an expensive, time consuming or brain wrenching project.  Here are some ideas on how to get the most out of your holiday decor and save money at the same time.

Bright Lights

White twinkle lights are a perfect way to dress up your home or garden accents for the holidays and the best part is that they can be re-used all year round.  Many gardens, restaurants and trendy neighborhoods use white lights to dress up trees and create a magical atmosphere.

To create your own backyard “candy cane lane”, line your thatch umbrella kit with lights to not only create a tropical holiday look but also light up a table setting or walkway.  White lights, unlike the colored ones, are versatile to use all year long.

Decorate Creatively

Instead of going the traditional route, merge classic iconic holiday items with a tropical twist.  Add Holly or Poinsettias to Tiki Statues to accent an area, or make a wreath out of Bamboo and Thatch for your front door.

Don’t want to clean up after the holidays are over?  The classic popcorn garland can bring the family together to make a yummy decorative treat.

If you don’t have a fireplace to hang stockings from and don’t want to put holes in the wall, line your wall with bamboo fencing and use hooks to hang decor and various items from it.  This way you can re-use the bamboo for both indoor and outdoor purposes.

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Easy Halloween Tricks and Treats

With Halloween less than a day away, there are probably a million and one things you still have to get done.  We recently posted an entry on “How to Boo-Tify Your Halloween Event” with ease and on a budget.  Now to pair with those activity and decorative tips and tricks, here are some wonderful easy recipe ideas to spook up your treat platter this Hallows Eve.

Brainy Melon

One of the things we wanted to emphasize on this Halloween is that yummy treats don’t always have to be unhealthy or packed with sugar.  For a visually batty and refreshing treat, pick up a mini watermelon and use pumpkin carving utensils to carve a brain.  Start by peeling the skin with a potato peeler, but leaving a good portion of the white layer so that when you begin carving the valleys of the brain, the red from the melon will show through and look like flesh.  To keep this melon as your centerpiece, buy a second melon to cut up and place on a platter with the main brain.

Cheesy Corn

There is no other candy that screams Halloween like candy corn.  Going off of the holiday treat, you can make bite size pizza slices that look like candy corn.  Most local grocery stores should carry frozen pizza dough that’s ready to bake.  You can achieve the color variation that candy corn has by using three different types of cheese such as, American, Cheddar, Mozzarella or even Ricotta.

A Graveyard of Bites to Die for

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BOO-tify Your Backyard this Halloween.

Autumn not only brings in the crisp air and colorful leaves but also a string of holidays to follow.  Kicking off the fall season is a holiday that kids and adults can enjoy alike.  Halloween is the one day a year where ghoulish identities and sweet treats flood the streets once the sun has set.

This Halloween we’re gonna give you tips to creating a Tropical Scare-ground that will have your visitors dying to stay!

A  Spell Binding Atmosphere

Creating atmosphere is one of the most important factors in throwing any get together or decorating for any themed event.  For a “Tropical Halloween”, to start you want to think typical season colors such as Orange and Black, then expand upon that.  Bold colors such as Red, Yellow with touches of Brown can also create an appealing flow for your color scheme.

Have a wooden or chain fence that clashes with the nightly warm atmosphere?  Use bamboo fencing or thatch to line any surfaces.  The greatest thing is that the surface textures will be great for holding any cobweb accenting, or dangling lights.

You can also use decorative pottery to evaporate dry ice to create the effect of  a cauldron releasing smoke, or a dense fog along the ground.  Tiki statues have novel expressions which will help add character to any surrounding.

Got a Tiki Bar?  Use it to serve punch, candy or other bewitching treats.

Lighting the Dark

Although Halloween is about things that may go “boo” in the night, setting up ambient lighting can also create a haunting scare.  The classic carved pumpkin with tea light candles never goes out of style and always works well outdoors along walk ways, stair cases and in the lawn.

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Labor Day Weekend Festivities

What makes Labor Day such a great holiday is that it is one of the rare holidays where you know exactly which day of the week it will fall on, a Monday, which is quite the added bonus to what is usually a two day weekend. This September 7th, with some creative thinking you can add some spice to your typical bbq, or make your beach or park outing into a memorable event.

BBQ

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Rather than your just winging a backyard BBQ with friends or family that may “stop by”, plan out a themed event such as “Tiki Totem Party” or “Tropical Labor Day Getaway.” The idea of throwing an organized party may seem like a lot of work, but a little pre-thought can actually help in many ways. By officially inviting guests and planning an event, guests are more likely to commit to the time and event, which also provides you with a good idea of how many people to provide food and drinks for. Your theme could also be a potluck which would relieve a lot of the preparation work from you, and also allow for a variety of tasty items from all your guests. Having guests show up in themed wear such as Hawaiian shirts or Sarongs will add life to the event and will help in bringing everyone together in the festivities.

Decorating does not necessarily require a big budget or weeks of setting up. Decorative items such as Tiki statues, bamboo fencing, or thatch, instantly add a dash of tropical flavor to any setting, without requiring much installation and once the event is over, the same décor can still be used for your home and garden. Table cloths, napkins and disposable cups and plates are inexpensive ways to add color to your table setting and compliment your theme.
For entertainment, you can play island music in the background, have a Tiki Bar set up serving drinks, or even add in some games.

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