Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Garden Party Tips

Master gardener Paul James shares ideas for a great garden party.

Showing your garden off to friends is quite possibly the best payoff for the months you spend working to make it look "just right." Why not throw a party and let them "ooh" and "aah" at the fruits of your labor? Paul James shares suggestions for a delightful garden party--he says you'll need at least two days to prepare your garden and landscape, so set that time aside in the planning stages of the party.

48 hours before the party

Get your landscape ready. Mow the lawn so that the grass doesn't have that just-got-a-haircut look the day of the party. Run your string trimmer too, and tidy the place up. If you like that fresh-cut look, you can mow the lawn the day before the party. Don't mow the day of the party, though, because that will stir up all kinds of dust and pollen; there's nothing worse than allergy-prone guests sneezing and sniffing around your food.
Fluff the mulch in your beds or spread some new mulch here and there. It's one of the least expensive and easiest ways to enhance the look of your landscape, and your guests will almost surely notice.
Deep soak the entire landscape--trees, turf, flower and vegetable gardens--anything and everything that grows. This will help the plants look their very best the day of the party, and you won't have to worry about guests getting their feet muddy and possibly tracking mud into your house after they tour your landscape.
Empty garden carts, watering cans, potted-plant saucers and any other containers that hold water. Eliminating standing water will cut down on mosquitoes.

24 hours before

It's time to shop for food and beverages and get as much work in the kitchen done as possible. Toward the end of the day, get the party area nice and clean. If your party will be on the patio, position potted plants where you want them and check your cooking equipment to make sure it's in good working order. Make sure that you've got plenty of charcoal or propane if you'll be grilling. Make sure you've got plenty of seating for your guests, and don't limit placement to the patio area. Guests will want to stroll around your property--stopping here and there--to admire the views. You'll want to set plenty of trash receptacles on and around the patio to keep clutter (and cleanup) to a minimum.
Consider stringing some lights or placing candles here and there to create a special ambiance. If you live in an area where bugs (especially flies and mosquitoes) can ruin a party faster than you can say entomology, there are many effective ways to deal with them. Citronella candles or torches filled with citronella oil work great.
Giant incense sticks with pleasant, pest-deterring scents are also effective. Consider using giant incense coils that burn for hours or days--they look great when suspended from a tree limb.
Use a fan to keep bugs away--flies and mosquitoes don't like windy conditions and it's a nice way to keep your guests cool. You can also fire up an outdoor chimney to keep bugs at bay, because most bugs don't like smoke any more than they like wind.

Three hours before

Gather some of your favorite cut flowers and create one or more large floral arrangements or several small ones--perhaps one for each guest. Take a bucket filled with water out to the garden and stick the flowers in the water immediately after you cut them to keep them looking fresh as long as possible.

One hour before

As things begin heating up in the kitchen and outdoors, take time to tackle the last of the landscape chores. Use an old Japanese trick and lightly water the areas guests will see as they arrive--it's a fabulous way to make your garden beds look more inviting. Also, hose down paved areas to cool them down a bit and reduce the glare.
You're ready to ice the beverages. For a garden party, the perfect container is a wheelbarrow--fill it with ice and add your favorite canned or bottled beverages.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Gifts for Grandmothers

Grandmothers have always been the special entities of a house. They love us more than our parents and take greater care of us. A grandmother reads her grandchildren stories, brings them treat and does all kinds of things that moms are often too tired to do. She does everything selflessly, wanting nothing in return, with the exception of love, care and respect. This Mother’s Day, surprise your grandma by doing something special for her. Get her a gift, take her out or cook a dinner for her - do anything that would bring a smile to her face and make her feel that her children and grandchildren appreciate and are thankful for her immense effort. In the following lines, we have provided some gifts that you can present your grandmother.

Gift Ideas For Grandma

Photo Gifts
Nothing beats photos when it comes to gifting grandmothers. They love the photos of their children and grandchildren. Instead of just presenting her with the usual photo frame, engrave the photo of her children and grandchildren onto a mug, mousepad, tote bag, keepsake box or small easy-to-make photo album. Family tree is also a good option to explore.

Relaxing & Supportive Bed Rests
Another good idea would be to present your grandmother relaxing and supportive bed rests. Comfort is a priority at old age, so bed rests would be the ideal gift for her. Every time she sits on it, she would be reminded of you. At the same time, this would show that you care for her.

Women are never too old for jewelry. Your grand mom would love getting a piece of jewelry, to add to her collection. While gold remains the hot favorite of every woman, platinum and diamonds are the other popular options you can look at. Also, there are umpteen choices on the kind of jewelry you can give - earring, pendant, bracelet, chain, ring, etc.

With old age, grandmothers resort to sitting jobs, where not much physical exertion is required. They have all the time in the world to do things they used to like, but hardly got time to indulge in. If your grandmother loves reading, what better way to impress her than to give her a book by her favorite author?

Manicure, Pedicure & Spa Package Gift Certificates
The insecurity of not being young and beautiful creeps into every female with old age. Let your grandmother know that she is very beautiful at this age as well and deserves all the good things in the world. A manicure/pedicure or spa package is sure to revive her spirits.

Pretty Eyeglass Case
Weakened eyesight is a common problem in almost all aged people. If your grandma wears spectacles, the most ideal gift would be a pretty eyeglass case. This would go on to show her that you care for her smallest needs as well. A classy and elegant eyeglass case would add to her fashion statement as well.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. -Unknown
Moms are the most caring, sensitive and emotional beings when it comes to their children. It is our duty to reciprocate in the same way. And the Mother's day is the occasion when we can tell our mom how much we love her. Mothers are not bothered about the type or quality of gifts. It is our love which matters most to them. For them, well being of their children is the best gift. Even a piece of paper with "I love you mom" written over it will make your mom's heart go gaga. Here we are presenting with some ideas which would make many of your gifts more beautiful. While picking up gifts for your Mom, always keep in mind her personality, taste and choice.
Cards - Add a beautiful rose to your card and promise-card booklet for the mother who likes flowers and their fragrance.
Flowers - A magnificent bouquet of flower basket makes a good gift idea for your mom.
Plants - If your mom is gardening freak then gifting her with plants of different will make another great gift idea.
Recipe Book - A recipe book is perhaps one of the most adorable gift ideas to try this Mother's Day.
Perfumes - Perfumes along with flowers are an instant hit with the ladies of all age. Toiletries can also be added to them for a lady who is very particular about her personal hygiene and cleanliness.
Sweets and cake- These are the safest bet with all women, no matter how old they are. A time tested gift idea, isn't it?
Household Items - As moms manage the household affairs, household items make a great gift idea on this Mother's day. You may gift her with items and gadgets that will help her in her daily chores such as a dishwasher, a vacuum cleaner and a washing machine.
Accessories - A wide range of things come under accessories, therefore you have to keep a tag of what suits your mom best. For example, watches and handbags suit a working mom.
Free coupons - Free gift coupons are a well tried gift idea, so pamper her with movie tickets or spa coupons. Gift Certificate - Gift certificates also form a good idea- let your mom decide what she wants and she can go on a shopping spree.
Tour Packages - That's really exciting! Tour packages will give your mom a deserving break from her routine life. While planning tour gift, keep in mind the choice and tastes of your mom. India tour which includes a visit to Taj Mahal would be a nice idea or she could also relax at one of the finest beach hotels in Goa. After all she is the only one in the house working 365 days without any break.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Great Ways To Celebrate Mother's Day

By: Jeanne Benedict

From spa treatment to afternoon tea, find great ideas for Mother's Day.
Mom's Choice of Makeovers Make-Up or Spa: We love mom just the way she is, but every woman likes to "freshen up."

Make-Up or Spa: Does mom need new make-up or a beauty product rejuvenation? You could make an appointment at the local spa or, better yet, pamper her with cool personal care gifts that she can use at home for more than just a day.

Wardrobe Update: Or, you can kick-off the wardrobe makeover that mom has been hinting about by hiring a personal shopper. Many department stores offer this service, where a shopper can make suggestions as to what works with your mother's style and how to step it up.

Room Redo: If it's a room in your mother's home that could use a facelift, rally the family and perk up a room with new throw pillows, accessories, even a paint job.

Treat Mom to Tea

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother's Day Celebrations

Mothers Day is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm in over 46 countries across the globe. Though Mothers Day celebrations take place at different times around the world what is remarkably same are the feelings with which people celebrate Mothers Day. This is so because mothers are as caring in East as they are in the West. The difference between mothers from one part of the world to the other simply does not exist and so are the feelings of children. All over the world people love to celebrate Mothers Day with their mothers and shower love on them.

How is Mothers Day Celebrated ?
In many countries special prayer services are held in churches in honor of mothers. But the most common method of celebrating Mothers Day is to treat mothers with breakfast in bed. Children allow their mothers to sleep till late in the morning while they along with their father juggle in the kitchen to prepare her favourite breakfast. Most often a Mothers Day card and a bunch of bouquet accompany the meticulously laid breakfast. Many children prepare a card themselves a day before Mothers Day. Some also make handmade gifts to show their respect and affection for their mother. Grown up children prefer to buy gifts from the stores ranging from clothes, accessories to jewelry.
Cakes, cookies and pies are the favorite dishes prepared on the occasion of Mothers Day. Some consider having dinner at home with the family as an ideal way of celebrating Mothers Day, many on the other hand prefer to dine out. Hence, restaurants are seeing more business then ever on the occasion of Mothers Day.
Since Mothers Day is observed as a holiday in lot of countries many like to take the opportunity to go out for family picnics and have fun. In several schools, celebrations of Mothers Day are organized wherein children present skits, songs and plays to honor mothers.

What can children do on Mothers Day ?
There are a lot of games and activities which may be planned on Mothers Day. But besides the euphoria of celebration people must not forget that the day is meant to make mothers feel special. On Mothers Day, children must be nice to their mom and give them a days rest. Its a wonderful idea to complete household chores on the day and make your mama feel that you acknowledge the importance of all she does to run the house so smoothly. Elder children may book a parlor or a spa treatment for mothers and make them care for themselves as most mothers find it difficult to get time for themselves.

Time for Family Reunion
People staying away from the families make efforts to spend the day with mothers and grandmothers to make them feel special. This way Mothers Day has turned out to be family reunion day for many. While those who cannot visit their moms call their mother on phone and send greeting cards to express their gratitude and love for them.

Commercialization of Mothers Day
The festival of Mothers Day is based on the emotions shared between mother and a child and marketers make all efforts to convert the sentiments into profit. Rigorous advertising campaigns are launched days before the festival to lure people so that they spend more money on the day. Though this helps to promote Mothers Day and raise awareness about it, but somewhere along the line the noble ideas behind the celebration of Mothers Day get lost and what remains is the formality to exchange gifts. Founder of Mothers Day, Anna Jarvis was particularly annoyed with the high level of commercialization of Mothers Day in US.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mother's Day Story

The story of Mothers Day is a long one. It is neither a recent phenomenon as many people believe it to be. Nor it is the creation of card and gift marketers syndicate as assumed by cynics of Mothers Day festival. To the surprise of lot many people Mothers Day celebrations are first said to have taken place in the time of ancient Greeks and Romans hundreds of years ago. Even Mothers Day celebrations in UK began much before the tradition saw the light of the day in US. In US the efforts of Ms Julia Ward Howe and Ms Anna Jarvis are greatly recognised for starting the tradition of Mothers Day but several other women too made remarkable contribution to further the cause of Mothers Day holiday.

Today Mothers Day is celebrated in more than 46 countries around the world though at different times in the month of May and in some countries it is celebrated in entirely different times of the year. In the present time Mothers Day has come to be internationally recognized as the day to honor all mothers and thank them for the services they impart for the benefit of their individual child and consequently to the development of mankind. Please read on and click on the links to know more about the related Mothers Day stories.

Mother's Day Story: Celebrations in the time of Greeks and Romans
The tradition of Mothers Day started with the ancient Greeks who celebrated their annual spring festival in honor of Rhea, the mother of many Gods and Goddesses in the Greek mythology. Ancient Romans too celebrated a spring festival by the name of Hilaria in honor of Cybele, a mother goddess, some 250 years before Christ was born.

Mother's Day Story: Celebrations in UK
In UK, Mothers Day celebrations started by the name of Mothering Sunday, several years before the tradition found its roots in UK. Mothering Sunday came to be celebrated following the practice in UK of 17th century wherein children of poor families were send to work as apprentice and domestic servants with the rich. These children were allowed to visit their 'Mother Church' or the Cathedral of their home town annually in the middle of the fasting month of Lent. Children met their mothers after visiting the church and presented them with flowers and special 'Mothering Cakes'. The custom received a set back with the advent of Industrial Revolution when the lifestyles changes. American soldiers contributed in the revival of the tradition after the World War II.

Mother's Day Story: Genesis of the Festival in US
The story of Mothers Day in US began with the efforts of a dynamic writer and poetess, Julia Ward Howe in 1872. An activist to the core Julia utilized her potentials to further the cause of Mothers Day. She wrote a powerful Mothers Day Proclamation in Boston in 1870 and demanded declaration of official holiday and celebrations on Mothers Day. Her idea gained popularity but she could not get the idea implemented. Julia is also credited for penning words for Civil War song, "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Mother's Day Story: Struggle of Anna Jarvis
A loving daughter from West Virginia, Anna Jarvis is recognised as a 'Founder of Mothers Day' and 'Mother of Mothers Day'. Anna kept the word of her activist mother, Mrs Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis who once expressed a wish that someone should strive to provide mothers their due recognition. After her mothers death in 1905, Anna's determination became strong and she along with several supporters started lobbying for the official holiday on Mothers Day by writing letters to the people in power. To celebrate Mothers Day, Anna began to send her mothers favorite flowers, carnations in her local church requesting people to wear them in honor of their mothers. The idea gained immense popularity over the years and in 1910, West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mothers Day holiday. On May 8, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

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