Where to Buy Fall and Halloween Home Decor on the Cheap

Decorating for fall is a great way to get into the autumn spirit, but that doesn't mean you need to empty your bank account to get the job done. Use these budget-friendly tips for where to buy Halloween-themed decorations, fall-friendly furnishings, and other seasonal home décor items without overspending.

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Stores
This tried-and-true fabric store has much more than the craft supplies that you might remember. Stop in to find seasonal garland to drape around your door frames, realistic wreaths in your favorite fall colors, and festive embroidered pillows in shades of brown and orange.

World Market
World Market is well known for its eclectic selection of globally influenced home décor items, and the same goes for its adorable fall-themed touches. Pick up some spooky skeletons and silly mummified animals for your upcoming Halloween party, or decorate with a fall doormat perfect for those cool-weather boots.

Oriental Trading
If you’re really on a budget, Oriental Trading is a great place to buy fall home décor items in bulk for an upcoming party or occasion. Order party tableware, autumn-themed craft supplies, and even decorative touches like lanterns, wreaths, and faux pumpkins at bargain prices.

Household Remedies to Help You Ease the Itch of Bug Bites and Poison Ivy

There’s nothing like the itch of a bug bite or poison ivy to bring down your mood in the summer time. Instead of heading to the drugstore for relief, there are few household remedies you can use to ease the itch. (Some say they might work just as well as any over-the-counter medicine!) Here are some tips to help ease your poison or bites.

  • Wrap ice cubes in a towel and press it against your bites for around 10 minutes. The ice will numb the bite area and can help control the swelling.
  • Press a used tea bag against your bites until the itching seems to calm down. Tea contains natural tannins that act as an astringent, which removes the toxins from your skin.
  • Tea tree oil can help treat both bug bites and poison ivy. Just dab a little onto a cotton swab and rub it on to your bite or rash. The oil's antiseptic properties will help calm the itching and promote healing.
  • Use a mixture of water and baking soda to apply directly onto your bite and allow it to dry. This will help neutralize the pH and reduce itching. Apple cider vinegar will also do the trick.

DIY: 7 Best Natural Mosquito Bite Remedies [Gardenista]
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac [American Academy of Dermatology]
9 Genius Ways To Relieve Bug Bites [Women's Health]

Easy Ways to Squeeze in a Workout

Between work, keeping up with chores, and spending time with friends and family, you may find it difficult to make time in your day for exercise. But as busy as you may feel, you should be able to uncover a few extra minutes hiding in your day. Here are a few ways to fit more fitness into your busy schedule.

  • For two days, keep track of how you spend your time. Writing this down helps you find more downtime that you could use for working out.
  • Pencil it in. Decide on a set time for exercise and enter it in your calendar as a daily event. When you see it every morning, you'll make a mental note that you’re going to exercise and this can help you to stay motivated.
  • Start small. Five-minute walks every day can easily turn into 30-minute walks.
  • Do small exercises while you’re watching TV. You can do crunches, planks, squats, lunges, or pushups while you’re catching up on your favorite shows.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Editing your negative thoughts is a great way to support healthier lifestyle choices.

4 Ways to Squeeze In That Workout [Women’s Health]
25 Ways to Make Time for Fitness [Experience Life]
10 Ways to Sneak In a Workout [Fitness Magazine]

How to Safely Exercise Outdoors During the Summer

Even if you’re a very fit person, exercising outdoors in hot summer weather can be dangerous. Unless you take the necessary precautions, the heat and humidity can cause dehydration, dizziness, and exhaustion. Here are a few smart tips to help you exercise safely outside all summer long.

  • Stay hydrated. This one may seem obvious, but dehydration is the leading cause of illness and injury during hot weather exercise. Be sure to drink a lot of water not only during and after exercise, but also beforehand to fuel your body for your workout.
  • Choose smart times. Because the sun is lower (and so is the temperature) during the morning and evening, these are the smartest times to exercise outdoors.
  • Wear the right clothes. While you might wear sweatpants to exercise outdoors in the fall, you should invest in something lightweight and absorbent in the summer. Try synthetic fabrics like Spandex and Lycra, as these wick away moisture.
  • Listen to your body. Even if you’ve only been running for 10 minutes, that might be too much for your body in the dog days of summer. If you start to feel lightheaded and dizzy while exercising, make sure that you stop or slow down, no matter how long it’s been.

5 Ways to Exercise Safely in the Heat [U.S. News]
8 Tips for Exercising in Summer Heat [Active]
Essential Tips for Outdoor Exercise [Arm & Hammer]

Basic Tips to Keep in Mind on Laundry Day

Laundry day is likely your least favorite day of the week, but it doesn’t have to be quite so difficult. By attacking your piles of laundry with a bit of pre-planning, you can make laundry day much more manageable. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  1. Separate lights and darks ahead of time collaboration tools for business. To avoid the tedious task of separating lights from darks, separate them as soon as you toss your dirty clothes in the hamper. Invest in a double-sided hamper that does the separating for you.
  2. Invest in good detergent. Using the wrong detergent (or a cheap brand) can make your clothes come out dull and dingy. Instead, choose one detergent designed for washing dark clothes in cold water, one for keeping colors bright, and a separate stain treatment to put on spots.
  3. Treat stains as soon as they happen. The most important thing you can do to remove a stain is catch it as soon as it happens. You can even rub in a stain treatment and toss your clothes in the laundry, leaving the stain to deal with on laundry day.
  4. Turn clothes inside out. Avoid fading and shrinking by turning your clothes inside out before washing them.
  5. Fold right away. To eliminate the need for ironing, prevent wrinkles by folding your clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer.

Laundry 911: Color care basics [She Knows]
How to Care for Your Clothes [How Stuff Works]
Laundry Basics – Sorting it Out [For Better Living]

Fun and Easy Spring Craft Ideas for Kids

The springtime is known for its long, rainy days, and on those afternoons when you’re stuck in the house, you’ll likely need an activity to keep the little ones occupied. Here are a few fun and creative craft ideas that offer hours of entertainment for your budding artists.

Tissue Cherry Blossom Tree [marthastewart.com]
Instead of hanging their artwork on the refrigerator, why not create a craft that you can use in your home decor? This chic cherry blossom tree sculpture is perfect for the springtime, and it’s also simple enough that the kids will have a great time piecing it together. Let them gather branches from outside, then get to work gluing pieces of pink tissue paper in the shape of delicate blooms.

Painted Canvas Bags [parenting.com]
If you’re looking for a craft that’s both beautiful and functional, this painted canvas bag is the ideal choice. Simply purchase plain canvas bags from your local craft store, set the kids loose with fabric inks and brushes, then use the completed bags at the grocery store or even for their school books.

Faux Tie Dye Spring Flower Window Display [momto2poshlildivas.com]
Because real tie-dyeing may be a bit to complicated for young children, this unique craft is a great alternative that produces similar results. Once your child is done, you can hang the colorful flower in a window for all to see.

Let the Sunshine In: DIY Spring Home Decor Projects

After your spring cleaning is complete, you may start to feel like your home could use a bit of a decorating revamp, as well. No matter your budget, you can easily give your home a springtime makeover with DIY home decor projects. Here are just a few of the best spring-themed decorating projects for every room in your home.

Colorful Egg Window Dressing [familycircle.com]
Set to work crafting colorful paper eggs that will dress up those newly cleaned windows. This simple tutorial only requires multicolored construction paper and some scissors to complete, and it’s easy enough that even the kids can help out.

Heart-Shaped Sachets [countryliving.com]
Freshen up your drawers and closets with these adorable DIY sachets. Simply take some scrap fabric in a pattern that you like, cut out two heart shapes, and sew them together around the edges. Fill them with potpourri just before you sew them closed, then seal them shut and enjoy the scent.

Daffodil Flower Care [marthastewart.com]
One of the best ways to spruce up your home for the springtime is by adding fresh flowers wherever you can. Freshly cut daffodils are the picture of spring, but they can often be difficult to care for. This tutorial will show you how to properly cut daffodils and arrange them in a vase in a way that even a florist would admire.

How to Clean Your Microwave Without Harsh Chemicals

From reheating leftovers to warming up bowls of canned soup, your microwave sees a whole lot of messes from its various daily tasks. You may think that you need to use a store-bought cleanser to get out those tough, caked-on stains, but if you want to avoid those harsh chemicals, you can actually make your own cleanser at home. Follow these steps for cleaning your microwave in an all-natural way.

  1. Pour one cup of vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl, and then add one cup of hot water and stir the two together.
  2. Place the bowl with its vinegar solution in the center of the microwave and turn it on. Let it run on average power for 10 minutes.
  3. Keep an eye on the bowl and remove it from the microwave when you notice it starting to boil (likely somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes). Note: Be sure to use an oven mitt, as the bowl will be very hot.
  4. Wet a rag with lukewarm water and give the inside a good wipe-down to remove the now-loosened debris inside.
  5. Once all of the debris is steam cleaned away, create a simple solution of lemon juice and water. Dip another rag into the homemade cleanser and give the microwave another wipe-down to freshen things up.

How to Clean Your Microwave Naturally With Just a Lemon [The Kitchn]
How to Clean and Shine Your Microwave Without Cleaner [One Good Thing]
Use a Lemon to Make Cleaning the Microwave Easy [Lifehacker]

How to Make Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a warm, rich beverage that’s perfect for chilly winter evenings, and it tastes even better when enjoyed in the company of family or friends. Here are three tasty recipes for mulled wine that you can make right in your own kitchen.

Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine [Food Network]
The Barefoot Contessa’s mulled wine recipe is zesty, spicy and perfectly flavorful. It uses cinnamon, honey and star anise for a lighter flavor than most mulled wines, but it’s still just as tasty. All it takes is 10 minutes to make this delicious seasonal recipe come to life, and a few orange peel garnishes make it feel truly festive.

Bon Appetit’s Mulled Wine [Bon Appetit]
Clove lovers will adore this complex mulled wine created by Bon Appetit magazine, which includes 20 whole cloves and a number of other spices. It can also be made two hours ahead of time to help you prepare for a holiday dinner party without missing a beat.

Williams-Sonoma’s Mulled Wine [Williams-Sonoma]
This recipe helps you to make mulled wine in a more traditional way by steeping cloves and nutmeg in a square of cheesecloth. The result is a dark, flavorful beverage that will warm you up from the inside out.

How to Keep Your Fridge Squeaky Clean

From dripping leftovers to forgotten lettuce from months back, there are likely a few things in your refrigerator that could use your attention. Here are a few simple ways to keep your fridge clean once and for all.

  1. Clear everything out. Start by going through the contents of your fridge and throwing away anything that’s past its expiration date. Leave everything on the counter until you’re done cleaning inside.
  2. Unplug. Unplug the refrigerator from the wall so that you can leave the door open while you clean without wasting energy.
  3. Clean inside drawers. Remove the drawers and rinse them out in the sink or bathtub. Use warm, soapy water to remove germs.
  4. Wipe the shelves. Using a spray bottle of multipurpose cleaner, wipe down all of the shelves and walls inside. You may even be able to slide the shelves out for easier access, depending on the model of refrigerator.
  5. Clean under jars. Before putting the food back in the refrigerator, be sure to check the bottoms for any grime or leaks. Wipe them off so that they don’t dirty your now-clean fridge.

How To Clean the Refrigerator [The Kitchn]
Refrigerator-Cleaning Tips [HGTV]
How Should I Clean My Refrigerator? [Cleanipedia]

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