Top Trends in Suburban Home Exteriors

Many people are taking advantage of their outdoor space by creating bigger front porches, patios and kitchens in their yards. It is less costly to develop outdoor spaces than indoor ones, which is important to homeowners looking for ways to expand their living space during an economic downturn

Front Porches

In the past, houses in the suburbs typically had no front porch or very small ones. People have been using social media to communicate for many years now, and they are often finding that online friendships are too distant. Building a large, comfortable front porch is a way to provide the in-person socialization they crave and form relationships with their neighbors. 

In some suburban areas, most of the houses look very similar. Constructing a front porch is a way for residents to give their homes more “personality.”  


Setting up an outdoor patio allows homeowners to create a relaxing space to spend time with family and friends. Patio furniture from vendors like The Charming Bench Company is affordable, comfortable and easy to arrange. This enables people to customize their outdoor space and connect with nature. 

Outdoor Kitchens

Cooking outside has many advantages. An outdoor kitchen can be used to cook for groups of all sizes, especially if the kitchen has both a grill and a smoker. Everyone, including the cook, can socialize while the meal is being prepared. Those who want to eat healthier will be satisfied with outdoor cooking. Grilled meats are usually lower in fat because the fat runs off of the meat while it is cooking. Cooking outdoors also saves energy because indoor cooking heats up the house and puts a strain on the air conditioning system.

All of these outdoor additions add value to homes as well. Beautiful front and back yards are important to buyers. These improvements catch potential buyers’ attention, and they will be willing to pay more for the house. Because outdoor improvements are relatively affordable, the return on these investments is high.

What is the carbon level of your favorite dishes?

Are environment-friendliness and carbon labels equally important for foods as well? Yes, it is. According to a survey, two-third parts of consumers support this leveling of carbon dioxide on food products. That is why some of the responsible manufacturers of drinks and foods have started specifying carbon levels on the food package. The carbon dioxide equivalency is crucial to maintain the food standard as well. So before buying any random product now, you can major the level of carbon available on that food easily.

If you are a food lover, you should get information about your favorite dishes’ carbon levels first. Now the question is how to figure out the carbon level? Well, I thought that you need to know its ingredients’ CO2 producing capability. Along with that, you need to concentrate on the cooking method, too, as it also produces CO2.

favorite dishes

So let’s check out the carbon levels of these delicious dishes.

Note: 4 people can easily survive on these recipes.

Roast Dinner

How can we ignore the classic combination of Yorkshire pudding and roast beef? You need beef, potatoes, carrots, eggs, and broccoli with milk and white flour to prepare this dish.

  • These ingredients will emit 27,483.18 g CO2.
  • The cooking method includes 531.1 g CO2.
  • So the carbon level is 28,014.28 g CO2 that is equivalent to 140 kilometers of car driving.

Fish and Chips

Another lip-smacking fast food of the UK that is also popular as a takeaway dish. This one is so demanding that people have started making it at their home. But do you know what the carbon footprint of this seaside classic is? Let’s find out.

If you want to prepare this recipe, you need potatoes, eggs, cod, olive oil, lemons, wheat flour, and peas.

  • So the ingredients include 2874.6 7 g CO2.
  • The cooking method includes 740.4 gram CO2.

So the total CO2 level is 3615.07 g. That is equivalent to 18 km of car driving.

Cooked Breakfast

Can you imagine surviving without cooked breakfast? Even on special occasions, we love to give a treat with a fully cooked delicious breakfast. If you want a creative food lover, you can include anything, and everything, starting from plump sausages to crunchy toast or even protein-packed eggs. Sometimes we love to add juicy tomatoes as well. So if these are your favorites, you should know the carbon level of this cooked breakfast.

If you include pork, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, bacon, mushrooms, eggs, and bread in your breakfast, this will be the carbon level.

  • All these ingredients include 5538.13 g CO2.
  • If you cook these ingredients, you will have to face 209.3 g of carbon emission.
  • The total carbon level is 5747.43 g, which is equivalent to 29 km of car driving.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Who doesn’t love this mouth-watering Italian dish? We usually include beef mince, tomato passata, pasta, garlic, cheese, olive oil, celery, chop tomatoes, carrots, and onion.

  • So the ingredients include 15581.34 g of CO2.
  • The cooking method includes 209.3 g CO2.
  • The total carbon emission is 15790.64 g, which is equivalent to 79 km of car driving.

How to reduce the carbon level?

  • Always try to use low CO2 level foods like chicken instead of lamb or beef.
  • Try to buy locally grown foods and reduce taking dairy products and meat daily.
  • Try to reduce food waste as well.

Keep in mind that you should always make healthy choices after thorough research when it comes to food. After all, health is our wealth.

Preparing Your Child To Get a Dog

Dogs can be great companions for growing kids and can be an excellent way to teach them to have more responsibilities as they get older, going from simple duties like feeding and grooming the dog to being responsible for taking them for walks when they are old enough to take them out on their own.

family dog

If you have never had a dog at home with your child before, then it can be a really exciting time when you first bring a rescue dog or new puppy home, and your child is sure to be thrilled with their new friend, but it is important to also prepare them in terms of what to expect and how to treat the new dog before it arrives.

Here are some tips:

Remind Younger Children that Pets Aren’t Toys

Very young children may have trouble understanding that a living dog is not like a toy and that it will have moods, need to rest sometimes, and can be hurt by being pulled about. This is especially important because as well as making sure the dog feels comfortable around your child, it will also mean the child treats the dog with respect and is less likely to be scared by the dog growling or snapping at them. Teach them good ways to approach the dog and pet it, and some games they can play with the dog, such as fetch that will be fun for them both without risking the child or dog getting overexcited and boisterous!

Set Up Spaces For the Dog Before it Arrives

Before you get your dog, have your child either help or watch while you set up a new bed and get things that will be used for the dog like bowls, leashes and toys ready. This will help your child to get used to the new things that come with the dog, and to the bed. Consider teaching them that when the dog is in his bed, he will be resting, and so it is best not to disturb him, if you have a younger child you want to learn not to bother the new dog too much while he is getting used to your family. Make sure when you are shopping for things like a dog bed you consider how big your dog will get, especially if it’s a puppy, as large dogs need nice, big, comfortable places to sleep, so if you’re getting a bigger breed, get your large dog the best dog bed possible.

Talk About Training

Your child will probably want to join in the fun of training the dog, and kids of all ages can have a role to play in this, whether it’s managing training the dog to do something by themselves, or helping you do it by giving the treats and petting the dog when it is good. It is good to talk to your child about this and what the plan is for what you need to train the dog about, and how you’re going to do it. This will make them feel involved and help them bond with the pet, but will also help avoid them doing things you want to train the dog not to do, like feeding them scraps from the table or getting up on the furniture! You are certain to have a great time bringing a new dog into your family, but be sure to talk to your child about what to expect in all the excitement!

This entry was posted in Family.

Top Reasons Your Child May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

Did you know that children need at least 7-10 hours of sleep every night to support their growth and development? Unfortunately, getting kids to fall and stay asleep is a challenge that most parents face. By the time you get them in their pajamas, chase them around the house, and somehow tuck them in, hours have past leaving everyone exhausted. The next thing you know, the sun rises, and you’re back to the hustle and bustle. 

kids sleeping

This pattern may sound familiar, but it is not a healthy one to continue. From moodiness and limited cognitive function to mental health problems and increased illness, the consequences of sleep deprivation are harmful to your family. While one or two nights of chaos on occasion might not be anything to worry about, if your children aren’t getting enough rest, it could be a result of the causes listed below. 

Separation Anxiety

If you’re used to sleeping in the same room or bed with your children, they become accustomed to you as a sleep aid. Therefore, when you try to get them to sleep in their rooms, it takes a bit more effort to rest. Separation anxiety is prevalent in younger children. Wanting nothing more than to get in bed with mom and dad, they toss, turn, and cry until it grabs someone’s attention. 

If your little one suffers from separation anxiety, there are a few options to consider. You could purchase YNM weighted blankets for each of them. The added weight and comfort can help to soothe their anxiety, allowing them to get more sleep. You might also try giving them an alternative sleep aide like a stuffed animal, a photo of the family, or a white noise machine. 

No Set Bedtime or Routine

Another reason your kids may not be going to sleep as they should is that they don’t have a designated bedtime or routine. A regular bedtime allows your child’s body to adjust to a pattern for improved sleep while a routine provides structure and winds them down before turning in for the night. 

Based on your children’s ages and your lifestyle, decide on a reasonable bedtime. Then, develop a routine that includes getting cleaned up, putting on pajamas, and doing something calming just before bed. 

Eating Too Late

Your body needs time to digest the foods you eat throughout the day. If your kids are eating just before they go to bed, this could be causing digestive problems that keep them awake. Going to sleep when you’re feeling bloated or gassy is especially challenging, make sure they eat at least 2 hours before bedtime. If your kids tend to ask for snacks in the middle of the night, you may want to wean them off of this concept. In the meantime, you should offer them things without any sugar or caffeine, which keeps them awake. 


Does it seem as if your kids are wired just when you’re ready to put them to bed? If so, they may have a hard time getting and staying asleep because they’re overstimulated. This extra energy could come from watching television, playing around with siblings, or using tech devices late in the evening. 

Calm your brood down before bed by encouraging them to participate in calming activities. Turn off the television, computer, and video games, put smartphones and tablets away, try things like reading books, complete arts and crafts, and spend time talking with the family to get them in a relaxed state. 

Separation anxiety, no bedtime routine, eating too late, and overstimulation are just a few of the common reasons parents have difficulty getting their kids to sleep. If, however, you’ve tried the above solutions with little to no results, it may be wise to contact your child’s pediatrician to determine if there might be an underlying health condition that needs to be managed. With medication, therapy, and other treatment options, they can help ensure your children get the rest they need to improve health and wellness

The trials and triumphs of expat parents in Italy

People of all nationalities have reached Italy in pursuit of better lives. A fair proportion of them are parents. Being a parent is a rewarding experience; however it can be tough, even in one’s native country. Here is a look at various aspects of parenthood on foreign shores.

kids education


Most of a child’s personality is shaped by education. School is compulsory in Italy for all kids between ages 6 and 16. There are many public, private, and international schools to choose from. The options largely depend on your distance from a major city. Public school education is free for all children resident in Italy, irrespective of nationality.

Italian schools make kids multilingual, which can be a significant advantage in later life. The medium of instruction is Italian. English is taught as a second language. After lower secondary school, students take up an additional European language. They also choose an area to specialize in from among the arts, sciences, and humanities. This choice influences the course of their higher studies.

Private schools are managed by religious organizations, mostly Catholic. There are many international schools in Italy. Most major cities have one, while cities like Rome and Milan have several. International schools offer either British, American, or French curricula, or International Baccalaureate programs. Admission procedures vary. The fees range from EUR 12,350 to 25,750 per year. These are expensive even by Italian standards.

Higher education

In most of the world sending children to college is one of life’s bigger financial trials. Annual tuition fees at public colleges in Italy range from EUR 900 to EUR 5,000. This varies with the choice of institution, course, and the applicant’s nationality. Private universities charge EUR 3,000-20,000 for bachelor’s studies and up to EUR 35,000 for master’s, for both EU and non EU students. Sometimes the cost of education can be offset with scholarships. The Italian Government offers scholarships to foreign students for postgraduate studies and research programs. The application submission deadline for these is April 30 each year.

Some Italian universities rank among the world’s best. Scuola Normale Superiore is a public university in Pisa, Florence, which was ranked among the top 200.


Expats with residence permits can register with the Servizio Sanitario National (SSN) translated as National Health Service. They can get SSN cards and use the Italian public healthcare system. Cardholders can choose a general practitioner and a paediatrician from the available list. These doctors give free outpatient consultations during office hours. In addition to health screenings and primary care cardholders can take advantage of home care, maternity care, preventive medicine, and hospice care.

Third culture kids

Growing up in a foreign culture comes with many unique features. Third culture kids (TCKs) are children raised in a foreign country. Children of expats get the opportunity to develop a broader world view. With the enriching experience of multiple cultures they become better equipped to make the most of workplace diversity and cross-cultural cooperation as adults.

The downside is that these children sometimes experience confusion. This can be caused by different languages and differing practices at home and school. TCKs may grow up to be relatively ignorant of their native culture, or face challenges related to their cultural identity. However, with parental support TCKs can become very successful people. Former US President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and an American mother. He spent some of his childhood in Indonesia and eventually moved to the US. Another example of a famous TCK is NBA star Kobe Bryant. His family moved to Italy after he was born. Kobe lived in Italy till age 14 before moving back to US.


Expats are unevenly distributed across Italy. A 2019 survey revealed that the Lombardy region hosts the largest number of expats in the country (1,181,772). Lombardy is followed by Lazio (683,409), Emilia- Romagna (547,537), Veneto (501,085), and Piedmont (427,911). Milan and Rome have significant expat communities. These cities have more international schools, cuisine options, and employment opportunities. Millions of migrant workers live and work in Italy. They send remittances to their families via the Ria Money Transfer App. Many of them aspire to bring their families to Italy so that they may have a better quality of life. Italy has a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and cool mild winters. Children in Italy grow up enjoying an assortment of outdoor activities. This leads to a more holistic development of personality.

Easy Ways to Teach Your Children About Chores and Responsibility

Children are bundles of love and joy. However, teaching them to do their chores and be responsible can be a challenge for any parent. There’s an easy and effective way to teach your children how to do their chores and be responsible at the same time. Continue on to find out how you can learn to easily teach your kids about chores and responsibilities.

teaching kids

 Start them off young

One of the most important and crucial ways to help your children learn their chores and responsibilities is to start them off young. The younger the better because it will have more of an impact and leave a bigger impression. Waiting until they get older will only cause more problems for you and your children. Starting them off young is an easy way to get them into the swing of doing chores and owning up to their responsibilities.

Small chores first

Starting off with small chores is definitely the way to go once you start assigning them tasks. Something simple like making their bed should be the very first thing you teach your children how to do. It doesn’t matter if your child has a bunk bed or the best bed in a box, teaching them how to make the bed will get them on the right path to doing more chores. Also, making a bed isn’t time-consuming so it’s not as annoying to learn for your child. This is the main key why starting slow is a wonderful and easy way to teach your children about chores.

Doing the dishes

Teaching your children how to do the dishes is another great chore that can be easily picked up by your child. However, it’s important that your kitchen has been made kid-friendly so that there isn’t any risk in letting your children do the dishes. The dishes are a great chore for your children to learn after they have mastered easier tasks like making their bed. It’s the next step up and shows them how much help they can be around the house, even if they’re at a young age. Parental supervision is preferred when your child is doing the dishes and making sure that there are no sharp knives that need to be washed is extremely important.

Working in the yard

Doing yard work can be a great bonding chore for both you and your children to participate in together. Getting outside and raking leaves is a great way to spend time cleaning up the house as a team. It’s a wonderful fall activity that can bring you together with your children. It’s also easy to do because it only consists of raking leaves up and scooping them into a bag. Perfect for any child who is still learning what they can do to help around the house.

Teach consequences

Teaching your kids about consequences when it comes to not completing chores will make them more accountable. If your children are tasked to complete a chore and it goes undone, it’s unwise to let them think that it’s alright to happen. This world is full of consequences and learning that as a child will help them as they grow up. Being held accountable for your actions by facing the consequences is an important life lesson for any child to learn. Of course, the consequences shouldn’t be severe. They should be light consequences that prove a point and are effective. For example, if your son or daughter decides not to do the dishes tonight, a consequence could be no video games until the dishes get done. Nothing too serious that will really harm your child, just something that will help them understand how every action has a repercussion. These consequences are important to emphasize in early childhood development.

Start a reward program

According to, creating a reward program to help teach your children responsibility is a wonderful idea. This could come in the form of something simple like a chore chart. A chore chart is a diagram that your child can use to help track the chores that they have completed and after so many chores are completed, they can win a prize. This is crucial for motivating your child and helping them visualize a goal.

Kid-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips

The kitchen is a great place to spend time with your family and bond with your kids. Getting the kids involved in cooking or baking is great fun, but kitchens can present some hazards for the little ones. High shelves and counters, breakable dishes, sharp knives, and toxic chemicals will cause you to worry about your kid’s safety in the kitchen. With a few changes to the design of your kitchen, you can make it a kid-friendly space that the whole family can enjoy safely.

kids kitchen

Install an easy-access pantry

While you may not want your kids digging through cupboards full of glass jars, installing a pantry that’s just for them will give them access to kid-friendly snacks whenever they want. Include it as part of your kitchen makeover in Knutsford and choose a low cupboard, that is easy to open. Stock it full of healthy snacks like granola bars, trail mix, fruit cups, and homemade baked goods. Not only will they feel special, but they also won’t need to bug you every time they are hungry.

Put kid’s dishes in reach

Kids and breakable glasses, plates, and bowls do not mix. That’s why your kid’s dishes are likely plastic or something similar that won’t break. Give them a drawer, complete with their cutlery, cups, and dishes so your kids can serve themselves. If they want some cereal or a cup of juice, they can quickly get everything they need. Just make sure to put things they frequently have on the bottom shelf of the fridge so they can reach that too.

Easy to clean fabrics and surfaces

Your kids will make a mess in your kitchen; it’s inevitable. Realistically, you’ll likely spill things as well, so your kitchen should be full of easy to clean surfaces and materials. Choose durable countertops and cooktops that are not porous and won’t stain easily. Porous surfaces can tend to soak up the colors of things like ketchup, tomato sauce, beet juice, and wine. Laminate is always a good option since it’s straightforward to clean or quartz. Another good tip is to use fabrics on your chair cushions, which are meant for the outdoors. These materials are typically liquid-resistant and easy to clean off if there’s a mess.

Get some step stools

Cooking and baking with your kids is a great way to bond and get them away from the TV for a bit. Unfortunately, they can’t reach the counter, and therefore you need a solution that helps them grow a few feet. A sturdy step stool is a versatile option that allows them to reach any higher surface that they need to, whether they are helping you knead the dough, or stirring a bowl of cake batter. It can also give them a boost for when they are washing their hands before dinner. You can use the same stool in the bathroom for hand washing and teeth brushing. Many stools will fold up flat, making them easy to store in a closet when you’re not using them.

How to Start Your Pet’s New Life Off Right

Bringing a new family pet into your home is an exciting time for both adults and children. However, to make sure that your life together is peaceful and fulfilling in the long-term, it is important that you are able to start your pet’s life off right. To make sure that your furry friend’s first days within your new family home are great, here are the top steps that you should take to help them to settle in. 


·      Find a Good Vet

When you first bring your pet home, there are a number of medical needs that should be met, including vaccinations, as well as neuters and spays. If you have bought a pet from a breeder, it is important that you take your animal for a health check-up within 24 hours of when you bring them home. This will make sure that they have no underlying health conditions which could hamper your life together in the future. If you are looking for vets in Midlothian VA, Easy Vet Clinic can provide a friendly and knowledgeable service that will have your pet on their feet in no time at all.

·      Take Time Off Work

Even if you intend to work full-time throughout your pet’s lifetime, you may consider taking time off work to help your new pet to settle in during the first few days of their life with you. This will give you and your pet the time that you need to get to know each other and to develop a secure bond, while also minimizing the risk of your new pet experiencing stress or discomfort in their unfamiliar surroundings.

·      Train Your Animal

Your pet is more likely to be able to become an obedient and well-trained animal if you choose to train them within the first days of their life with you, especially if they are an older dog or cat. Not only should you set boundaries that your pet needs to stick to, such as not begging for food or jumping on counters, but you should also consider taking them to a training class for their age group.

·      Be Gentle and Patient

You need to remember that the first days of their life with you can be incredibly daunting. This is especially the case if you have adopted an animal from a rescue center, which may mean that they have had traumatic experiences in the past. Then, you need to make sure that you are gentle and patient with them. For instance, you should wait until they come to you for attention or gradually coax them out into the open, and ensure that they have a safe place away from humans that they can go if they feel scared.

·      Create a Routine

Now is also the best time to create a routine for your pet that you can stick to throughout their lives. Pets like routine as this will enable them to know when they are going to be fed, walked, and played with. You can do this by carrying out certain care activities, such as feeding them, at the same time each day.

This entry was posted in Family.

3 Emergencies All Parents Should Be Prepared For

Once you become a parent,you’re not only responsible for yourself. You are now responsible for keeping a whole other human being safe and well. Whilst you may have read all the books about child proofing your home and child safety, life tends to throw some unexpected problems at us every so often. Here’s some basic knowledge to help deal with some potential disasters if they ever happen.

disaster preparation

Build your first-aid kit

Your child could pick up so many different injuries, so it’s important to be fully prepared for any occasion. Band-Aids are an important start to any first aid kit. Make you have different sizes to deal with little cuts and big grazes. When it comes to ointments, make sure you have everything to deal with burns, bites and rashes. Make sure you have medicines to deal with poorly stomachs and heads. You can never have too much in your first-aid kit.

Know your utilities

When it comes to your home, if your utilities suddenly stop working then it could cause major chaos. With no electricity, your house could be plunged into darkness. Often when the electric goes, it could just be a fuse that’s blown. Although that might sound daunting, with most modern fuse boxes,it just means a switch needs flicking back on. Make sure you’refamiliar with your fuse box so you can spot if something goes wrong in an emergency. If it’s a power outage on your whole street, it could take longer for engineers to deal with the problem. Make sure you are prepared with flashlights and a portable phone charger in case you are without power for a long time.

When it comes to water, it can become more difficult. If your faucet or any other plumbing starts leaking, the first thing you should do is find your shut off valve and turn off the water supply to your home. If a large amount of water has entered your home, whether that’s from a pipe or a leak in the roof or even extreme floods, it could cause serious problems to your home.

That’s why it’s important to bring in expert help. For example, Florida water damage restoration company ERS can offer quick support, extracting the water, checking your home for mold and even helping you with your insurance claim. Don’t attempt to deal with any large amounts of water yourself as it could be a health hazard.

Car trouble

One of the scariest problems you can face as a parent is if your car suddenly breaks down, especially if you’re on a busy highway. Your car might seem the safest place to be, but it’s important that you get out of the vehicle and stand as far away from the traffic as possible. If a car doesn’t spot you’ve broken down and smashes into the back of your stationary vehicle, you and your family could be seriously injured. If it is safe to do so, put your hazard lights on before leaving the vehicle to reduce the risk of a collision and then ring for help.

This entry was posted in Family.

3 Tips For Easing Your Child’s Anxiety About Moving Into A New House

While moving can be stressful for anyone, when your kids are young, you might be surprised at just how stressful they can find this experience. Although kids can be very flexible, when changes to their home and routine take place, it’s not uncommon for them to feel a lot of anxiety. But with the right planning and understanding, you can make this process much easier.

Child’s Anxiety

To show you how this can be done, here are three tips for easing your child’s anxiety about moving into a new house

Focus On What Will Stay The Same

As you speak with your child about your plans to move to a new home, it might be the things that are going to change that will sit primarily in their mind. To combat this, Caroline Schaefer, a contributor to, shares that you should try to readjust their focus onto what in their life will be staying the same.

While you and your family will be living in a different area and a different home, remind your child that your family will still be all together in your new home. Additionally, share with your child that you’ll be taking all of their toys, clothes, and other items from your current house to your new house. So although big things are going to be changing, try to use this time to reassure your child that a large number of things will still be the same. 

Say Your Goodbyes

Even if you’re just moving to a new home in the same town, there’s a good chance that your child will be making new friends and spending less time with their old friends. To help your child get some closure with this, Barbara Hey, a contributor to, recommends that you find a way to let your child say their goodbyes with the people and places they won’t be seeing as much anymore.

In some situations, you might want to throw a little party for your child where their close friends can come visit them in your home for the last time before you move. Also, if your child is having a hard time leaving certain things in or around your home, you may want to help your child say goodbye by keeping something as a keepsake to take with them. 

Keep To Your Routines

One thing that can help your child feel a greater sense of control during this upheaval is to keep to their routines as much as possible. 

According to Diane Schmidt, a contributor to The Spruce, you should try to get back into your old routines as soon as you move into your new house. If you’re able to stick to these routines as much as possible, the familiarity of them will help to ease your child’s anxieties.  If your child is nervous about your upcoming move, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you manage their anxiety with them.