Where Allergens Lurk in Your home

Your home is filled with different types of surfaces and each one attracts a different set of allergens. Here's where to find them and what to do about them.
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Monster Tissue Box

Having seasonal allergies when you’re a kid is not fun but you can take a lighthearted approach to the situation by creating a Monster tissue box to scare off any runny noses - just in time for Halloween! You and your child can get crafty together. All you need is a rainy afternoon and a bit of inspiration.

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Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area, such as an open garage or room with lots of windows, to avoid any allergic reactions and be sure to use non-toxic materials.

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Step 1: Gather Supplies

A tissue box
Glue
Colored cardboard or paper
Markers/Colored paint & paintbrush
Scissors

Step 2: Cut Out Features

Cut out the monster’s ears, tail, eyes and teeth from the colored cardboard or paper.

Step 3: Glue it Down

Using the dispenser as the mouth, glue the ears, tail, scales, eyes and teeth to the box.

Step 4: Give the Eyes Some Personality

Wait for the glue to dry, then draw or paint in the eyes.

Step 5: The Fun is in the Details

Decorate the monster with spots, scales or anything else you like. Use your imagination!

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Make Space for Homework

Create an Inspiring Workspace for Your Child.

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Reduce your indoor allergy triggers with a HEPA air filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. The filter traps harmful air particles, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, through a fine filter.

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The beginning of the school year is a good time to implement new ideas and regimens that will help your kids get off to a great start and stay on track all year. At the top of your list should be creating a private, functional and allergy-friendly space where they can do their homework. Here are some thought-starters.

Choose a Spot

Kids are willingly distracted so try to find an area that is quiet but not tucked too far away from the main living areas (so that you won’t know what they’re up to). Think out of the box, or rather bedroom - an unused corner and other unconventional spaces.

Banish Allergy Triggers

Before setting up the workspace, do a thorough clean to get rid of allergens that your child is allergic to. Clutter can be distracting and it’s also a veritable dust trap. Once it’s clean you can help prevent the accumulation of mess over time by providing lots of organizational and closed storage units.

Freshen Up

A layer of hypoallergenic paint on the walls can make a huge difference. You can take your kid with you to help choose the color. Lining drawers with patterned paper can also brighten up the space and make the whole idea of doing homework more enticing.

Think Design

Instead of using a simple table, chair and desk against the wall, play around with different layouts so that the area is more interesting. It should be a special zone that your kid wants to hang out in, not one only associated with work. You can also have fun by color-coding their files. This way it will be easy for them to stay organized and find things when they need to.

Make Place for Pins

A bulletin board will give your kid space to pin up anything that inspires them – from to do lists to art projects and vacation spots they’d like to visit. You can also fill it with decorative pieces and motivational sayings to make it more dynamic.

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5 Ways to Shade Your Backyard

Entertain outside even when the sun is at its peak with a shade structure you made yourself. Here are some creative ideas.

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Creative Summer Table Settings

Outdoor fetes demand creative centerpieces, particularly if you’re entertaining to a theme. Happily, there’s no need to spend a fortune, during blooming spring and summer evenings. Even the least expensive homemade items look festive, from mini Mason jars holding homemade lemonade in a country-themed dinner to an all-green-themed spring dinner, with a green centerpiece (or several) plucked from your own garden and doing double duty as decoration and seasoning. Here are some ideas:

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Make sure you check with guests about their allergies, particularly if you’re throwing a hoedown-themed party. Guests might be allergic to stray weeds within hay bales. Look for alternatives if your guests have sensitivities.

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  1. Try a festive Moroccan theme

    Moroccan parties are relaxed and breezy, and the effect couldn’t be easier to duplicate at home. Load the patio with pillows and fabrics (make sure to have some floor cushions around for lounging) and don’t worry about being matchy – you’re going for a bohemian effect. Torches and pressed tin lanterns add to the effect, as does a simple outdoor fire pit. Bring out some low tables; you can even bring the indoor coffee table out. Do a simple menu of meat and vegetables on skewers, and lots of communal goodies, like dips. Plus, pluck lots of mint from the garden and make homemade mint tea with boiling water and lots of sugar for after dinner.

  2. Create an outdoor oasis

    Create a summer oasis from the sun, outdoor pests, and chilly nights by shading the patio with a giant umbrella – or even a portable fabric gazebo – to start off your summer party while the sun is still up. Hang lanterns from your shelter for when the sun goes down (consider flameless LED candles inside for safety) to illuminate your dinner. Surround your oasis with citronella candles to keep pests away. If you want to try a fire pit to keep guests warm as the chill sets in, consider burning a wood like juniper or pine that’s a natural insect repellent.

  3. Make a Low Country boil

    Nothing is as festive or fun as eating with your hands, but you don’t have to live in the coastal Carolinas or in New England to make a Low Country boil or traditional New England clambake. Dress up your picnic table with a red and white checked (wipe-off or disposable) tablecloth – or just piles of newsprint for authenticity. Get a good recipe for a crab or crawfish boil (they usually include sausage, potatoes, corn and lots of seafood, cooked in one giant kettle). If you’re ready to get your hands really dirty, drain the mix and overturn it right on the table for people to help themselves with their hands. Not as adventurous? Use galvanized metal buckets both for serving and for discarding shells.

  4. Go green

    Your party doesn’t always need a theme; sometimes a color scheme is just enough. A fun way to harvest your herbs is to use them in big bunches in jars or wood boxes as a table centerpiece (make sure they’re washed), letting guests break off pieces of dill, mint, oregano and parsley to season their foods. Have big bowls of salad on hand with a neutral dressing; big chunks of herbs will go beautifully in it. A few minor investments, like green fabric napkins can dress up an otherwise natural decorating scheme – like a burlap table cloth (buy it in rolls at the hardware store).

  5. Go country

    Stage a hoedown party that still has plenty of high design elements. Paisley bandanas can serve as napkins and/or placemats; railroad lanterns and big Mason jars full of sunflowers create a brilliant table setting; galvanized buckets are perfect for holding ice and glass-bottled drinks. If you don’t have enough seating, visit a local farm; bales of hay make perfect extra chairs.

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Make Your Own Trellis

There are countless ways to train climbing plants up a wall, over a garden gate, or even into a decorative shape. If you have plenty to spend, you can have decorative year-round trellises built that will look pretty on your property (particularly if you live in a warm-weather area where your vines will be green in the winter). Or build inexpensive and portable trellises that can support your climbing plants.

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Upcycling Craft Ideas

Turn the things destined for your recycling bin into creative crafts! It’s a cost-effective way to show off your creativity and turn trash into treasure.

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Give That Old Table a Spring Makeover

It shouldn’t cost a fortune to perk up your kitchen. A bright coat of paint on your kitchen table will give the whole room a quick but dramatic makeover in time for Spring.

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Show Your Love with Your Own Valentine’s Day Cards

Learn how to make a personalized card for your loved ones. Start with our tips, and learn more with Fiskars designer Tania Willis here.

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Finding Space for Fitness in Your Home

You can get great exercise without the pricey gym membership: dedicate a room to fitness! Here’s what to consider.
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