Getting Ready for Summer Parties!

Summer Backyard Bbq Grill Party Scene

The first day of Summer was this week, and Fourth of July is coming up soon, which means the beginning of Summer party season! Summer is the greatest time for outdoor parties, get-togethers, and barbecues. Below you will find some ideas to really make your Summer parties spectacular! 

DIY Paper Cup Lights

Paper cup lights are an easy way to add some cute decoration to any party, while still being functional. All you need for this project is a strand of Christmas lights, 3oz paper cups, and an X-acto knife (colored/patterned paper and glue optional). If the color or pattern on your cups doesn't appeal to you, use the paper and glue to cover the outside of the cups. Then, use the X-acto knife to cut a small x on the bottom of the cup. This is where the bulb from the Christmas lights will go. Attach a cup to each bulb along the entire strand of lights, and voila! You have a beautiful decoration and light source for your party. 

Keep the Bugs Away

The worst part about summer parties are all the bugs, especially mosquitoes. There are many different tips and methods for keeping the pests away, but the easiest and most effective way to keep your party as insect-free as possible is to set up at least two electric fans (more for bigger areas). Many small insects, including mosquitoes and gnats, don't have to strength to fly in the breeze. You can create your own breeze using the fans and the bugs will stay away. Plus your guests will be kept cooler and more comfortable. 

Make a Clean and Inviting Space

No one wants to attend a party or barbecue with too little seating, an overgrown yard, and a dirty space. Make sure to have enough clean, comfortable seating for all guests (or invite guests to bring their own). Yard work can be a pain, but it is important to get it done before a party (or at least get the lawn mowed). Finally, clean the outside areas of your home. Siding can become dingy and covered in mildew over time. Same with your driveway, fence, and deck. Before you have a party, have all these surfaces power washed. If you don't want to worry about taking on all that work yourself, call us. We will come to your home (you don't even have to be there), connect to your water source, power wash anything that needs to be, including windows and gutters, and clean up everything before we go. Then you will be all ready for your perfect Summer party!    

How to Make the Most of Memorial Day

Memorial Day began three years after the Civil War on May 30, 1868. It was originally established as Decoration Day and it was a time for people to come together and decorate the graves of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day celebrations were being held throughout the nation, still on May 30. After World War I, however, Memorial Day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars, not just the Civil War. In 1971, Memorial Day was given it's official name and declared a national holiday by Congress. It was also changed to be celebrated on the last Monday of May, rather than each year on May 30. 

In recent years, however, it seems Memorial Day has become just a day off work, or another reason to party. While there is nothing wrong with getting together and grilling with family and friends, I think it's about time we make the most of the opportunity we have been given to honor and remember the soldiers who fought, are fighting, or were never able to return home to their families. 

The first thing you can do to make the most of Memorial Day is decorating with flags. Have miniature flags on your dinner table while you're grilling, or in your lawn while the kids are running and playing. If you have a flag pole, remember that flags can be flown at half-mast from dawn until noon, local time. Flags are a great reminder of our freedoms and those who have fought for them. 

You and your family can also participate in the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day. This moment of silence and remembrance was established by Congress in an attempt to create reverence and unity on this noble holiday. The National Moment of Remembrance is observed at 3pm local time and lasts for one minute. The time 3pm was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms. So, this Memorial Day try taking one minute out of the day to remember why we celebrate this holiday. 

Lastly, this Memorial Day you can thank a veteran. Since this holiday is a time for remembering and honoring our fallen soldiers, it is also a perfect time to thank soldiers, past and present who are here with us today. If you don't personally know a veteran, you can write a letter to a veteran or soldier. You can visit Operation Gratitude for more information about writing letters to currently deployed soldiers.    

After putting up your flags, participating in the National Moment of Remembrance, and thinking a veteran/writing letters, it's time to spend time with loved ones and enjoy some great food. If you're looking for a great way to spice up the old burger routine, try this recipe for delicious Barbecued Burgers and leave us a comment here or on Facebook to let us know your special Memorial Day traditions!

The Ground Hog Didn't See His Shadow, So What Now?

Our dear ol' pal Punxsutawney Phil could not detect his shadow this morning as a crowd gathered in Punxsutawney, PA. After knocking on the front door of Phil's tree trunk home, the ancient and mystic ground creature and keeper of seasons emerged. The ground hog emcee shouted, "There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast!"

Excellent news! Especially for folks really ready to get some early spring projects happening. Here are a list of three pre-spring projects you can add to your to do list to prepare for the change of season.

Get a jump on interior projects

In the month of February we are going to focus on the Dining Room. A perfect place to focus on in order to wine and dine your significant other in one of the most romantic months on the Calendar. Buying new candles for the table and a seductive scarlet red tablecloth will make the perfect candle lit dinner on Valentine's Evening.

Now is also a good time to go through your home and take inventory of stuff you're ready to kick to the curb. Christmas probably brought a whole bunch of new stuff making your house feel a little tighter than last year. Get out a note book and write down a list of things that can go. If you're not sure about something, put it in a box and if you haven't used it by the time you're ready for a garage sale, you'll probably never use it.

Do a self administered home inspection

Walk around the inside of your home. Check vents to make sure they are clear of dust build-up, change filters and light bulbs. Look along your ceiling lines for settling cracks and nail pops. You might have to buy some caulk and a caulking gun to fill those things in.

Do a walk around the outside. It'll still be soggy out so wear some rain boots. Take note of anything that looks suspicious or where the paint has peeled because of winter snow. Even though we had a mild winter, certain substrates still have a hard time dealing with cold temperatures. If you've got some pealing paint, text us a picture and we'll tell you how to fix it!

Plan for something new

Every year you have a list of things you want to accomplish with the house. Make a list of priorities and then plan to get the top one done. Maybe you want a new stoned-in grill. Do your research now, because you'll definitely want to catch those early spring specials. Or maybe you want to build a raised garden bed. Now is the time to build it. Perhaps your shutters are getting a little faded or worn out. Let's spruce them up first thing this spring.

That's the excitement that Ground Hog's day can bring when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow! I'm super ready for the spring. It's going to be awesome!

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The History of Memorial Day

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, Decoration Day was established as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John Logan originally declared Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. 

It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

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