Valley Bargain Book: Home Improvement

Home Improvement

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Got a weekend? Add a weathered stone fireplace or grill station to your yard

(BPT) - The coronavirus continues to keep people at a distance, which is why many are turning to outdoor entertaining as a safer option to get together. Being outside lets people enjoy food and each other’s company, all while maintaining a social distance. That’s why homeowners are feeling the inspiration to update their outdoor living spaces.

  • icon Posted: July 30

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Recent Headlines

Thursday 07/30/2020
On-Trend Kitchen and Bath Upgrades
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Kitchens and bathrooms remain among the top picks for homeowners looking to upgrade because their functional contributions to the household can’t be overstated and they typically provide high return on investment.

5 Time-Saving Laundry Tips
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Between sorting, washing, pouring, transferring, drying and folding, laundry can often feel like a daunting chore.

Identifying Your Kitchen Style
Posted: July 30, 2020

(Family Features) With so many different styles of kitchens and cabinets, sometimes it can be hard to decide on a favorite. While you may see kitchens in a variety of styles and find them all beautiful in their own way, finding inspirations for your dream kitchen often requires sorting through many different considerations.

Factor Pets into Fire Safety Planning
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Pets are not just animals, they’re members of the family. While four-legged friends bring joy, it’s important to protect them in the event of a home emergency.

5 Tips for Creating a Low-Maintenance Home
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Because most people are spending more time at home than usual, ensuring your living spaces are clean and uncluttered can make being home more comfortable and enjoyable. However, not everyone has the time, or desire, to devote to constant maintenance.

5 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Laundry Room
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Updating your laundry room with a distinctive design and increased functionality can be one of the most exciting ways to refresh your home. Chic decor and elements of personal style can transform a dull, tired space into a luxurious retreat you may find yourself sneaking off to. Use these five tips to breathe new life into a room that is often forgotten.

Make Your House a Home
Posted: July 30, 2020

Tips for adding personality to your leased living space

Wednesday 07/29/2020
Safe Grilling Tips for a Sizzling Summer
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) When temperatures soar this summer, many American families may be seeking a break from the monotony of their everyday routines. To make the most of the extra time at home, firing up the grill can be a simple solution for relatively quick food preparation that also allows for spending time with loved ones in the comfort of your own backyard.

Create a Family-Friendly 'Staycation'
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

5 ways to fill your home with happiness

Starting a Home Remodeling Project
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

7 tips for choosing a qualified contractor

Creating a Spa Oasis
Updated: August 03, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Transforming your bathroom into a personal home spa allows you to come home to a relaxing environment every day. By making space and removing clutter, along with adding decorative touches, you can achieve a stylish spa-like atmosphere in the comfort of your own home.

Wednesday 07/22/2020
The Graves' Disease Community Should Focus on Eye Health
Updated: July 27, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) People living with Graves’ disease have a lot to focus on. The disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes an overproduction of the thyroid hormone, causes a variety of troublesome symptoms, many of which can happen with other diseases, leading to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Some common symptoms include anxiety, tremors, heat sensitivity, weight loss, hair loss, change in menstrual cycle and irregular heartbeat.

4 Ways to Help Transition Pets to Post-Quarantine Routines
Updated: July 27, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) As states ease COVID-19 restrictions and people get out of the house to return to work, pets around the country may see their daily routines of hanging out with everyone come to an end.

Wednesday 07/15/2020
Productive Paint Projects
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) With many homeowners seeking to renovate or reshape the look of their homes, one common project stands above many others: painting.

Practical Home Upgrades to Improve Function and Ambiance
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Homeowners tackling interior upgrades often focus their attention on two of the most-used rooms the in the house: the kitchen and bathroom. Tailoring these rooms to your personal preferences may enhance your enjoyment of the space, but most experts recommend thinking long term for the biggest return on your investment.

4 Tips for Working from Home with Your Pet
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) One of the perks of working from home is more time with your pets. While it can be exciting to have your furry friends by your side all day, it’s important to know how to make the day as productive and pleasant as possible for you and your pet. Mindfully incorporating your pet and his needs into your routine can allow for an efficient and successful workday with your four-legged coworker.

5 Ways Youth Can Connect Food Choices to a Healthier Planet
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Although many young people care deeply about global issues like food and the environment, they don’t necessarily see these matters as connected. By learning more about the source of their food and the benefits of making nutritious choices, eating appropriate portions and minimizing food waste, youth can better understand the positive impact on their own and the planet’s health.

Add Natural Light to Any Room
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Increasing the amount of natural light that enters your home can help make spaces feel larger and more inviting. An option like Sun Tunnel Skylights from Velux are a cost-effective, healthy way to transform nearly any room by funneling natural light from the roof through the attic to the area below.

4 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet
Updated: July 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Across the country, people are fostering and adopting furry friends more, with the number of animals in foster homes 43% higher than it was in 2019, according to 24PetWatch. With this uptick in fostering, potential pet owners are determining if they are ready and able to care for a pet permanently, and shelters are bracing for a time when these pets may be returned once people go back to work.

Thursday 07/09/2020
Checklist: The Right Equipment To Create The Yard Of Your Dreams
Updated: July 11, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—These days, many families are spending more time at home and “staycation-ing.” A beautiful landscape improves curb appeal and can increase your home value by as much as 17%, so investing in yard care can be a smart financial decision. An amazing yard extends valuable living space and helps you and your family de-stress and enjoy time outside.

The right lawn equipment can make yard work more pleasant. With a refocus on staying home, now might be the time to invest in new equipment, which is more efficient, quieter, and more ergonomic than ever before. In addition, more power options are available including solar, battery/electric, propane or gasoline-powered equipment. There are even autonomous, robotic options available for mowing your lawn.

To help you decide on whether to update your yard equipment, here’s a checklist from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of power equipment, small engines and battery power, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf cars.

1.Plan your yard needs. Draw a sketch and include such major features as trees, bushes, a garden, flower beds, lawn furniture, play or sports equipment, or a patio. Note where maintenance is required. Will bushes need to be trimmed back? Do you want to install more flowering bushes or trees? Are you planning to add a fence and more grass for your pet and games?

2.Consider your equipment. Visit your garage or shed and find those forgotten lawn and garden tools. Make a list of what you need and what needs to be upgraded.

3.Consider upgrading or adding equipment. If you have a large garden, you may need a cultivator or tiller. If you have a large lawn, a riding or zero-turn lawn mower can make mowing easier. Alternatively, you can get a robotic lawn mower that mows autonomously. A string trimmer makes caring for bushes or trimming grass near a fence line easier. A pole pruner trims back limbs that are too high to reach safely with a saw, and a leaf blower clears leaves faster than a rake. A wood chipper turns branches into mulch. Mower attachments can aerate your lawn or collect leaves. 

4.Research online before buying. Think about efficiencies of scale. Equipment may be sized to handle a smaller job or a massive one, and tasks can be a little easier with some of today’s ergonomic, super-charged equipment. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your needs. The right equipment can mean more time for other activities, and mean doing yard work is more enjoyable for you.

5.Ask questions. Talk with the staff at the store or ask online about the equipment. In the store, pick up and hold equipment to determine its “fit” for you. Discuss safety features and manufacturer fueling and care instructions. Find out how often equipment may need to be serviced.


Wednesday 07/08/2020
5 time-saving tips for faster cleanup this summer
Updated: August 04, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - With summer in full swing, backyards are the ultimate oasis for warm-weather traditions like grilling or enjoying frozen treats and ice-cold drinks on the patio. And after months distanced from friends, family and colleagues at home, the need to physically distance from chores and get outside is at an all-time high. Try these five tips to conquer kitchen cleanup, spend less time indoors and more time enjoying the summer sun:

Keep Safe with Home Upgrades This Summer
Updated: July 13, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Extra time around the house this summer may be welcome for avid DIYers. With lists of upgrades and renovations to tackle, homeowners can rely on portable generators to power tools such as drills, circular saws and more when working outside.

Big Results on a Little Budget
Updated: July 13, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) With the abundance of home improvement shows on TV, DIY has evolved from an intimidating trade for the pros to an easy-to-manage project for even the least handy of humans. Transforming a home from disaster to delightful through simple DIY projects and repairs is much easier than you may think and can save you a bundle in the process. If the thought of doing your own handy work has you wiping your brow, think again with these easy improvements.

Shop Your Way to an Organized Closet
Updated: July 13, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) If you often find yourself standing in front of a closet bursting with clothes but can’t find anything to wear, it may be time for a makeover – not only for your wardrobe, but for your closet, too.

4 Tips for Planning a Summer Family Vacation
Updated: July 13, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) As stay-at-home orders ease, many families are eager to get out of the house and hit the road for a summer trip. However, vacation will most likely look different this year as families looking to get away may stay closer to home and take extra precautions.

Smart Summer Skin Care
Updated: July 13, 2020 - 2:33 am

Get back to basics with warm weather skin care tips

Wednesday 07/01/2020
20 Tips for Fuel Safety Month
Posted: July 01, 2020

(StatePoint) This July will mark the first annual Fuel Safety Month, serving as an important reminder that handling any type of fuel requires caution.

4 Creative Ways to Drive Website Traffic
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Consistent website traffic is an essential building block for a successful online business. While paid ads and search engine optimization are valuable strategies, there are some lesser known, but equally effective, ways to attract potential customers to your website or funnel.

The Business of Reading
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

5 impactful books for building your small business

Top Ways to Reach Your Target Market
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) An amazing product, a phenomenal business model and a great team may put you on the right path, but ultimately, they mean little to your chances for success as a business owner if you don’t get in front of your target market.

Engage Virtually
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

Tips for keeping older adults connected

Market Your Business for Long-Term Success
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Rapid growth and long-term success are the dreams virtually every entrepreneur pursues. The fire pushes you to ascend to the mountaintop quickly and stay there as long as possible.

Smart Advice to Build Your Own Business
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) With many tools and resources available, it is easy for entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. The United States has somewhere around 27 million entrepreneurs, and 69% of them started their businesses at home, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report from researchers at Babson College and Baruch College. 

8 Tips for Safely Operating Battery-Powered Tools
Updated: July 06, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Battery-powered power tools make it convenient and efficient to tackle chores around the house and job site. While batteries eliminate the risks associated with electricity, they come with their own requirements for safe use and handling.

Thursday 06/25/2020
3 Home Exterior Projects That Combine Beauty and Performance
Posted: June 25, 2020

(StatePoint) Will you be completing outdoor home renovation projects this season? To maximize your investment, consider these project ideas, which combine beauty and long-lasting performance:

Wednesday 06/24/2020
Upgrade Your Home, Downgrade Energy Usage
Updated: June 29, 2020 - 2:33 am

7 efficient home improvement projects

Managing Your Emotions
Updated: June 29, 2020 - 2:33 am

How to navigate a crisis and come out stronger

7 Tips for Summer Gardening Success
Updated: June 29, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) When temperatures peak and the summer sun shines for long hours throughout the day, it can put a burden on your garden and the plants growing in it. Some steps may be easier to take than others, but there are ways to keep your greenery thriving even in relentlessly scorching heat.

Home Safe Home
Updated: June 29, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Some home upgrades are aesthetic, and some are for function. These ideas, all with better home safety in mind, show there’s no reason you can’t have both.

Ultimate Upgrades
Updated: June 29, 2020 - 2:33 am

Practical tips to improve your home’s function and ambiance

Tuesday 06/23/2020
Creative Ways to a Backyard Paradise
Posted: June 23, 2020

Saturday 06/20/2020
Tips to Spend Less Money on Cooling Your Home This Summer
Posted: June 20, 2020

(StatePoint) Keeping your home cool and comfortable on hot summer days doesn’t need to cost a fortune. These tips can ensure your heating and cooling equipment lasts a long time and operates at maximum efficiency:

Thursday 06/18/2020
5 fabulous home office ideas
Updated: August 04, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - A dedicated home office space that helps insulate you from distractions and concentrate on work is invaluable — and not just in this time of pandemic. “We’ve chosen five inspiring examples of today’s residential workspaces — from the elegantly simple to the built-in and fully customized — that use hardwood with expertise and imagination,” says Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center. “The advantages of American hardwoods, from classics like oak or maple to less familiar species like cypress or tulipwood, are that they’re durable, easy to work with, and sustainably grown.” And hardwoods look great, too, so you’ll enjoy the appearance of your workspace as much as its usefulness.

Sustainable Home Upgrades for Better Health
Updated: June 24, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) When you’re on a quest to create a home environment that promotes wellness, it can be difficult to know where to begin. One easy solution is to look for small changes that improve your personal well-being while also promoting a better environment overall.

Wednesday 06/17/2020
Summer Celebrations
Updated: June 19, 2020 - 2:33 am

(NAPSI)—Helping people celebrate and connect is at the heart of what 1-800-Flowers does. And while distance is keeping us apart, we can still be there for the moments that count. As we move into the summer, here are some great ways to stay close for those special occasions, even when we can’t be there.

Give Dad the Day He Deserves

Although big gatherings and dinners out may not be in the plans, celebrating Dad still is. A traditional BBQ for Father’s Day is always one way to go (make it virtual by Zooming with family & friends), but if you need some inspiration, the team at 1-800-Flowers has some fun, unique activities on tap:

1.Brunch Time: Treat him to a hearty feast, fit for a king. If it’s sunny, take it outdoors.

2.Game Day: We’re talking board games, perfect for some quality family bonding time.

3.Beer Tasting: Have a mix of lagers, ales & IPAs delivered from his favorite brewery.

4.Netflix & Couch: Re-watch his most-loved series or find something new he’ll enjoy.

5.Outdoor Movie Night: Shine a projector, then snuggle up with snacks & a great flick.

Of course, what holiday is complete without gifts? Whether you’re home together or sending your love from miles away, a thoughtful gesture can make a big difference in his day. Here are a few top picks:

Mood-brightening Blooms: Fields of Europe Summer™ for Father’s Day, It’s Your Day for Father’s Day 

A Mancave Must-Have: Juniper Bonsai

Snack Attack Staples: Classic BBQ Gift Tub, Happy Father’s Day Gift Basket 

Creative Ways to Celebrate Graduates

Graduation may not be what they imagined, but that doesn’t take away from what this milestone is all about. Check off some creative ideas for making the moment memorable, along with some inspiring gift choices.

1.Organize a photo shoot: Hire someone to snap some pics of your grad in their cap and gown, at home or school.

2.Plan an at-home ceremony: Think heartfelt speeches and a homemade diploma. Invite family and friends via video chat, then keep it going with a festive party.

3.Create a virtual “congrats” board: Fill it with heartfelt messages from family, friends and teachers, using a platform of your choice.

4.The Best & Brightest Bouquets: Happy Gerber Daisies—2020 Flower of the Year Delightful Joy™, Sentimental™ by Real Simple® 

You can also choose from a selection of an easy-care green plants, the perfect addition to their dorm room or apartment.

A New Kind of Family Reunion

Summertime is one of the best times to bring everyone together because of the warmer weather. If you don’t want to put your 2020 family reunion plans on hold (hold on to those matching shirts), you’ll just have to change it up a bit. 

1.Go Virtual: Invite everyone on Zoom, Skype or Google Meet. Spend all day “together” talking and making memories. (Make sure to have lots of food on hand.)

2.Keep It Local: Scale things down by meeting up (as regulations allow) with a smaller group at an outdoor venue. Have a day of fun from a safe social distance.

3.Do a Digital Celebration: Until you can all be there, share your favorite photos & videos with the whole group online. It will give everyone something to look forward to.

Of course, gifts are a great way to cheer up loved ones, so consider sending along one of these popular favorites from your friends at 1-800-Flowers: Pure Enchantment™, One-of-a-Kind Bouquet, Blooming Delights Gift Baskets.

Got a gift that really brightened your day? Join the conversation with on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using #MadeMeSmile.

 "Celebrating and connecting is more important than ever these days. And it’s at the heart of what 1-800-Flowers does. While you may have to be apart, you can still be there in the moments that count." 

Security, durability, finish: How to choose the right lock for your home [Video]
Posted: June 17, 2020

Go Ahead, Make His Day
Updated: June 22, 2020 - 2:31 am

Dad-approved gifts for Father’s Day

5 Tips to Build Resilience in School-Aged Children
Updated: June 22, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Resilience – the capacity to prepare for, adapt to and grow through disruption, trauma and loss – is a skill many parents want for their children. However, there is more to it than “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” or persevering through hardships.

7 Tips to Save Money and Have Fun Shopping Online
Updated: June 22, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Online shopping allows you the ease of getting items delivered directly to your door. Not only is online shopping convenient, but it also allows you to discover sites that help you save money while shopping.

This Week's South e-Edition