• This entry was posted in Patio on May 11, 2016

  • Crisp summer air, yummy meals on the grill, and good company are three of our favorite things...but it takes more than these to plan an awesome outdoor shindig.

    Here are four tips for planning an outdoor party that will last into the wee hours of the night (if that’s what you’re hoping for!).

    1. Variety in food. Your goal should be to have something for everyone, from vegetarians, to strict healthy eaters, to those who are planning on indulging. Small servings of lots of different types of food allow your guests to experiment and try everything, fostering an air of adventure at your outdoor gathering. A few ideas:

    Filling, savory, and satisfying, these stuffed mushrooms are a classic crowd pleaser.

    Burger sliders will turn heads. Try them with different types of cheeses, from the classic to the offbeat, like orange cheddar, gouda, aged Irish cheddar, and for the adventurous, shropshire blue.

    Dainty and refreshing, these herbed cucumber bites taste like spring and aren’t too gluttonous.

    Psst:  A variety in drinks matters too! Have the materials ready for a few mixed drinks, along with a few different types of wine and beer. And definitely have soda and fruit juice on hand for those who aren’t drinking.

    2. Games galore! In case conversation stalls and you can tell boredom is approaching, have a few fun games up your sleeve to entertain your guests with. Some of our favorites:

    Cornhole. It’s timeless, simple, and enjoyable for all ages.

    Card games. Have card sets scattered around the patio area in case anyone is interested in striking up a game.

    Outdoor table tennis. There’s no better way to break the ice than some friendly competition.

    3. The right people. If you’re hosting a huge event, invite who you want and folks will most likely get along and have fun no matter what. But for smaller events, make sure you’re inviting people you think will mesh well. And if you’re inviting someone who doesn’t know anyone else in the group, offer to let them bring a friend, and make sure to introduce them to anyone you think they might click with.

    4. A clean and organized space. Yes, it’s not as fun as the other tips, but it’s probably the most important one. Make sure your party space is clean and removed of stains or other damage. Don’t have a space you’re stoked to show off yet? Here are some tips for creating your perfect outdoor patio area.

    Interested in finding some new furniture to spruce up your outdoor space? View our collection of patio furniture at KETTLERUSA.com.

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on May 10, 2016

  • Working fitness into your family time is the best of both worlds. Too many of us spend hours a day either sitting at computers or staring at our phone or TV screens. That means little human interaction and too much screen time. Making an effort to enjoy physical activity with family members can significantly improve your overall health.

    Here are a few of our favorite outdoor activities to enjoy with family members or close friends who feel like family. Have fun, get active, and bond with those you love all at once.

    Walking. A suitable activity for all fitness levels, walking can reduce your body fat, help you live longer, reduce stress, and give you a more positive outlook on life. Now these are benefits we can get behind.

    Jump roping. Did you know jump roping can improve your cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone? It’s loads of fun too. Embrace your inner kid and try jump rope games, from water splash and helicopter, to jump rope relay and school.

    Moving on wheels. Remix the traditional family walk with the wheels of your choice: scooters, bikes, or roller skates. Explore the sights of the neighborhood, and mix in a few minutes of slow leisurely strolling to catch up on the happenings of everyone’s days.

    Beach picnic. Cold sparkling grape juice, cold cuts, crackers, and homemade brownies. Sandy legs outstretched in front of a red and white checkered blanket. Beach picnics are the ideal opportunity for families to bond and enjoy a lovely meal together. This activity might not scream, “fitness,” but there are ways to sneak it in: toss a Frisbee between dinner and dessert, go for an evening stroll, or hop in the water if the weather permits it.

    Hiking. Go on an adventure in the wilderness. Exploring hiking trails can reduce depression, improve your sleep quality, and lessen the risk for a variety of diseases.

    One of our favorite parts of the warm weather season is the opportunity to catch a breath, slow down, and enjoy quality time with family members. There’s something in the air during the summer and spring – an itch to experience life to its fullest and grasp every opportunity that comes our way. Embrace your inner adventurer this year with a crew of your favorite people by your side. It just might bring you closer together.

  • This entry was posted in Bikes on May 09, 2016

  • You show them proper form, teach them how to fasten their helmet, and give them a pep talk, encouraging them to face this challenge like a warrior. Their friends are already riding, and they’re anxious to reach this next milestone. The stakes feel high to your kid (and probably to you too).

    The time you spend teaching your kid how to ride a bike is challenging. On the one hand, you want them to grow and develop at a healthy pace and enjoy everything childhood has to offer, a big part of which is moving and riding a bike. On the other hand, you don’t want to rush your kid into doing something they’re not ready for. At best, it won’t be fun, and at worst, they could injure themselves.

    Here are a few safe tips for teaching your little one how to ride a bike in an encouraging way.

    Stay positive. Negativity and exasperation don’t help adults improve, and they certainly don’t help children improve. Even if you’ve been at it for hours, try to frame your tips in a positive light. Think, “Try to stay relaxed and steady on the bike,” rather than, “Stop losing your balance!”

    The right place is everything. Find an open and even grass field for teaching your kid how to ride a bike. Make sure there is plenty of space and that the field is relatively empty. Older kids watching certainly won’t help your little one gain the confidence they need to ride on their own!

    Be ready to comfort. Your kid will probably crash more than a few times while learning how to ride a bike. Be ready with words of encouragement, smiles, and maybe a healthy snack. Take a break after hard falls, or consider calling it a day. Learning how to ride a bike is a process that can’t be rushed.

    Make sure your child’s bike fits. A bike that fits properly is key to success. Have someone help you at the store when buying a bike. They should be able to help you find one that fits properly. If no one is available to help you, here is a rule to keep in mind: your kid should be able to stand over the bike with both feet firm on the ground.

    Stress safety! Make sure your child knows they 100% always have to wear a helmet when riding a bike. It protects them from injury, and in many states, is legally required.

    Have fun. Remember that riding a bike is supposed to be fun for your kid. Take teaching safety and form seriously, but downplay their failures on the way to riding on their own. They’re going to fall and bruise and feel like they’ll never be able to ride a bike. It’s your job to be the voice of reassurance and a constant reminder that one day they’ll get there – and it will be a blast!

    Did you know some toys can also help with this transition? View our collection of balance bikes at KETTLERUSA.com.

  • This entry was posted in Patio on April 28, 2016

  • Comfortable versatile furniture? Check. Party silverware, plates, and coasters? Check. A dozen or so close friends to enjoy the wonderful spring weather with? Check.

    Don’t forget to check off the fun and vibrant lighting that sets the mood for the ultimate warm weather gathering too.

    From the classic, to the retro, to the avant-garde, your lighting determines how your guests see and enjoy your space. It’s also an ideal opportunity to get creative. Add a splash of fun to your classic black table and chairs, or tone down your brightly colored pillows with lighting that perfectly compliments your space.

    Below are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Remember: outdoor lighting should be more than functional. It should be fun.

    - String lights. Nothing livens up an outdoor dining area like string lights. Aiming for a carefree and youthful setting? Choose multi-colored lights. Hoping for a more classic feel? Opt for one color, like gold or silver. String lights aren’t just for winter holidays anymore.

    - Lanterns. Set the mood for quirky conversations. Create a hip, whimsical feel with colorful lanterns hung throughout the patio. Lanterns hung from trees or resting on tables add to the relaxed atmosphere.

    - “Do-It-Yourself” Chandeliers. Host swanky outdoor affairs during the spring and summer months? Wire baskets, candles, and crystals can create breathtaking outdoor chandeliers on a budget. Your lighting should be as stunning as your wine glasses. Hang these handmade chandeliers over low branches for decorations that blend into your natural surroundings.

    - Candles. Another elegant choice, candles set the mood for romance and intimate talks (or scary stories!). Put them in plain mason jars for simple (yet lovely) spring lights in the evening. Candles are a timeless choice.

    - Classic bulbs. You can’t go wrong with classic patio lights – especially if your outdoor furniture already has a pop of color. Hang these in a straight line on your deck or in the trees by your dining area.

    Your outdoor gathering spot plays a big role in setting the mood for your soirees. Make sure your lighting aligns with the feel you’re going for.

    Need more patio inspiration? Browse our outdoor furniture at KETTLERUSA.com and read our blog post on creating the perfect summer patio so your lights are shining on something wonderful.

  • This entry was posted in Patio on April 26, 2016

  • Inside or outside? We’re approaching the months when the answer will almost always be “outside.” A stellar outdoor patio can make your restaurant stand out amongst a crowded dining scene.

    But when outside, atmosphere is everything, from the lighting to the furniture material, to the way your patio ground is designed.

    Here is a quick breakdown of some of the patio materials you can choose from. It’s important to do extensive research before committing to a material. You want something that not only matches the mood of your restaurant, but also is easy for you to maintain over a long period of time.

    Plain concrete. Concrete may be one of the cheapest options around, but it also requires frequent maintenance – the coating has to be reapplied at least every two years.

    Stamped concrete. A more elegant choice than plain concrete, stamped concrete is dyed for a look that blends in better with your outdoor dining area.

    Gravel. Gravel works well in patios with edging, and you don’t have to worry about erosion. Gravel creates a versatile look that can compliment everything from fancy outdoor dining areas to more casual establishments.

    Natural stone. One of the most costly choices, natural stone creates the most seamless patio material. There are many different types of stone you can choose from, including flagstone, slate, and limestone.

    Stone veneer. A more practical and cost-effective choice than natural stone, stone veneer can also make for a natural and elegant patio material.

    Brick. Brick can help create an old-fashioned, retro atmosphere, but it isn’t easy to maintain. Growing moss can require frequent cleaning, and water can cause bricks to crack and need to be replaced.

    Tiles. Tiles are one of the most versatile materials you can choose, and there are many different options. It will be easy to find something to match your outdoor dining area at an affordable price if you choose tiles. Pro tip: triple check to make sure you’re purchasing tiles that work for outdoor areas!

    Selecting a patio material is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when decorating your restaurant. Do your research, shop around, and don’t be afraid to take your time – decisions like these shouldn’t be rushed!

    Looking for furniture to match your new patio area? Browse our collection at KETTLERUSA.com. Make sure to also read up on patio furniture maintenance on our blog.