• SUN & SUMMER SAFETY TIPS
  • This entry was posted in on July 17, 2017

  • Now that summer is officially here it is important to take a few extra precautions when enjoying your patio or playground. Here are a few options to protect you and your family from bugs and the sun’s harmful UV rays.

    Lanterns – UV light traps or other lanterns attract and kill a number of irritating insects, including mosquitoes.  These devices come in a range of sizes and styles to best suit your environment and needs. Lanterns are an easy way to rid your patio area of bugs without using a chemical repellent.

    Citronella Oil – Burning citronella candles or torches on summer nights can also help repel mosquitos away from your patio area. Citronella oil is an all-natural insect repellent and is non-toxic to humans and animals. Burning citronella oil will not only help to keep away mosquitoes and other insects but is a safe option that will look nice when lighting when up your patio.

    Bug spray – Chemical insect repellent sprays continue to be a popular and effective way to prevent bug bites and deter mosquitoes while enjoying the outdoors. When using insect repellents keep in mind the following:

    Always read instructions, apply accordingly, and only as often as recommended.

    Do not use any repellent that has not been approved by the EPA.

    Do not apply to mouth, eyes, cuts, or sunburned skin.

    Wash off repellent when you go inside.

    Spray repellents in open areas to avoid breathing them in.

    Never use insect repellant on children younger than 2 months.

    Additional guidelines when using insect repellants.       

     

    Natural Repellants – There are many other natural replants available for those who are wary of using chemical sprays. When applied thoroughly these natural substances can be just as effective in protecting against bugs:

    Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

    Cinnamon Oil

    Rosemary Oil

    Castor Oil

    Peppermint Oil

    Lemongrass Oil

    Other simple ways to repel mosquitos and other bugs include:

    Avoid wearing dark colored clothing.

    Eliminate any standing water around your home.

    Avoid wearing floral fragrances, hair products, or scented sunscreens.

    Wear loose fitting clothing.

    Grow plants with insect repelling qualities such as rosemary, basil, horsemint, lemon balm and rose geraniums.

     

    Sun protection - Seeking shade from an umbrella, tree, gazebo, or any other area is a refreshing way to limit your exposure to the sun. Umbrellas and other shade makers let you enjoy your patio and the fresh air without worrying about potential skin damage. When you or your children are going to be in direct sun for any amount of time applying sunscreen is the easiest and most common way to protect against harmful UV rays. Always read the labels when choosing a sunscreen and look for ones with broad spectrum protection. Sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 or higher is recommended by the American Cancer Society. Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before exposure to allow the skin to absorb it and reapply every two hours. Sunscreens are available in many forms such as lotions, creams, ointments, sprays as well as in waterproof varieties.

    More tips for sun safety:

    Wear sunglasses with UV protection.

    Encourage children to play in the shade, wear protective clothing and reapply sunscreen regularly.

    Use cosmetic products that offered added UV protection.

    Wear a wide brimmed hat.

    Limit direct exposure to sun during 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (peak UV radiation hours). 




  • PREPPING YOUR PATIO FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY
  • This entry was posted in Patio on June 19, 2017

  • Your favorite summer holiday is approaching – happy Fourth of July! Fourth of July is a fantastic time to celebrate freedom, family, friends, and all of our fortunes, all while enjoying delicious homemade food in the backyard.

    Many people host backyard parties or barbeques on the Fourth of July. With dozens of close friends coming over and grilling wonderful food, you want your patio space to add to the festive ambiance. Below are a few tips for creating a one of a kind space for your Fourth of July party this year.

    - Do basic cleaning and maintenance. Have you cleaned your patio yet this summer? If not, take this opportunity to do a thorough cleaning of your patio space. Remove all of the furniture before you begin. Start by sweeping away all outdoor debris and leaves. Then hose the area down with a light detergent and water.

    - Invest in some festive decorations. Nothing says the Fourth of July like red, white and blue streamers, candles or lights. There are many options when it comes to purchasing Fourth of July decorations, but you can also make your own, from holiday placemats, to American flag candles, to bottle centerpieces.

    - Reexamine your layout. Think about the type of gathering you’re planning and whom you’re inviting. What kind of seating would be ideal? You might want to pull in extra chairs, rearrange your seats so they’re scattered into small lounge areas, or maybe even do away with most of your chairs, only leaving a few behind for people who might get tired standing. The options are endless, and you’ll be amazed at the effect seating can have on ambiance.

    - Set up your music. Think strategically about where you’re going to want to set up your speakers, etc. Weren’t planning on having music? Think again! Music is essential to large outdoor gatherings and can turn a casual get-together into a festive party people will be talking about for the rest of the summer.

    Decide on a dining style. How are you planning on serving your guests? Will there be a walk-up buffet style table or will snacks be scattered throughout the patio on small trays? Will you be serving guests individually? There is no right answer – just something to think about as you plan your outdoor gathering.

    Even though we want to help you be the perfect host this Fourth of July – don’t forget to kick back, relax and enjoy the holiday a little bit yourself as well. We hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with the love of your close friends and family. What a great way to start the summer season!




  • BEST MEMORIAL DAY PATIO PARTY
  • This entry was posted in Patio on May 24, 2017

  • Memorial Day is the official kick-off for summertime barbeques and outdoor parties. This weekend might even be the first time you’ve gotten to enjoy your patio all year. Celebrate the long weekend by having a patio get-together. Here are a few tips to throw on awesome Memorial Day party this weekend:

    Prep

    - Plan your guest list, make sure you have enough space and seating for everyone invited

    - Send out invites

    Clean off your patio. De-clutter, dust off tables and chairs, and clean the grill.

    - Plan your menu and make a shopping list

    - Check the weekend weather.

    Set-Up

    - Bring out folding chairs for more seating room.

    - Have an umbrella or canopy to create shaded areas.

    - Clearly label trash and recycle bins.

    - Have sunscreen available for guests.

    - Have a designated area for yard games.

    - Have a summertime playlist picked out for background music.

    Decorations

    - Red, white, and blue napkins, cups, and plates.

    - Use fresh flowers from your garden as centerpieces.

    - Illuminate your patio with hanging lights, paper lanterns, or tiki torches.

    - American flags, streamers, and balloons are all inexpensive ways to liven up your patio for the party.

    Food & Drinks

    - Keep the menu simple and classic – BBQ, hot dogs, and hamburgers are loved by all. Have vegetarian options on hand for anyone who might prefer

    - Have fruit, veggies, potato salad, coleslaw, chips and dip for sides and appetizers.

    - Stock the cooler and bar area with plenty of ice and an array of refreshing adult beverages as well as sodas, water bottles, and lemonade for kids.

    - If possible keep food inside, or under an umbrella to keep out bugs and to keep fresh.

    - Buffet style set-up works best. Have napkins, straws, drinks and condiments at a separate table.

    Relax and enjoy the company of friends and family this Memorial Day weekend with a laid-back patio party! 




  • FUN OUTDOOR GAMES FOR YOUR BBQ
  • This entry was posted in Table tennis on May 01, 2017

  • Barbeque season is here at last! Nothing beats enjoying warm weather with friends and feasting on a scrumptious plate of freshly cooked and perfectly seasoned food. For a surefire way to make new friends in the neighborhood, why not throw an outdoor barbecue?

    After catching up over beers and food, someone often calls for a fun after-dinner activity or game. While you don’t have to plan a detailed schedule, it’s ideal to have a few group activities in mind to keep the party going. Here are some of our favorite games that both kids and adults will want to play.

    Table tennis. Table tennis is loads of fun for all ages. (Plus, arm strength, teamwork, and coordination are just a few of its many health benefits.) Our outdoor table tennis tables invoke just what every BBQ needs – fun, laughter, and a spark of friendly competition!

    Outdoor chess. This will set your party above the rest. Life size outdoor chess pieces made of resin are sturdy but easy to lift. Get swept away with the strategy and smarts involved in this classic game.

    Cornhole. Easy to play with minimal setup required, cornhole is a blast without being too intense or competitive.

    Card games. Sure, you can play these games inside too, but they’re more fun at a BBQ with yummy cool beverages and plenty of sunshine. Here are a few of the most fun card games around.

    Hide and seek. If the adults need a break (for drinks, or just to rest their feet), this is a great one for the kids to play by themselves. Just make sure to set limits for how far they can go and check every few minutes to make sure everyone is getting along.

    Capture the Flag. Divide into teams for this adventurous game suitable for all ages. Capture the Flag is an excellent choice for breaking the ice amongst neighbors who might not know each other well.

    No matter what games you decide on, remember a few basic rules to ensure everyone has a good time: 1) If you choose an active game, make sure you have cards or something more casual and relaxing set aside as a backup for people who don’t want to play, and 2) Keep it friendly! Remember a game is just a game, and it’s more about having fun, bonding, and enjoying the warm weather than it is about snagging a victory.




  • 4 SPRING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY
  • This entry was posted in Table tennis on March 28, 2017

  • With beautiful springtime weather comes the chance to spend quality time together with the family. It's an opportunity for kids to learn new things and for parents to get to know their children better. It's also a good time for siblings to bond. Outdoor activities offer exercise, fresh air and fun. Depending on the ages of your kids, you can take them to the park, a nearby lake or just hang out in the neighborhood. Plan a time when everyone is available to go for a bike ride, a hike or to just try something new. A weekly outing can help you all build better friendships with each other while taking out some time for fun, fitness and leisure. 

     Biking

    Going for a bike ride is a great way to get started on spring outdoor activities for the family. Adults and kids can ride their bikes together. Children over the age of three can ride on their own bikes or trikes. Little ones can ride in child carriers on the back of Mom or Dad's bike. If your children don't know how to ride yet, this could be the perfect time to teach them how. Look for local trails and bike paths. If you have a bike rack and an SUV, you can go for a drive to the nearest state park, pack a picnic lunch and bring your bikes. For a smaller adventure, take a ride to the library, the store or the park.

     Hiking

    Going for a nature hike is another way to enjoy the spring weather and each other. Visit a park or explore the neighborhood. The important thing is to engage in conversation and perhaps sneak in some learning. Bring a pair of binoculars and talk about different types of leaves, flowers, birds and other creatures you see on your outing.

     Kayaking

    Kick it up a notch with a wet and wild adventure. Learning how to kayak is a skill that kids and parents can use throughout their lives. It focuses on balance, coordination and a love of adventure. Pack the life vests and make sure that your children can swim before taking them kayaking.

     Table Tennis

    If you want to stay close to home, table tennis is a great way to spend some family time. An outdoor table tennis table on the patio is accessible and a great source of exercise. Older children can also grab their table tennis paddles and play together without supervision.