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Fun with fireflies

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These little light-up bugs bring delight to summer nights. Here’s a few ways to celebrate their arrival. The airborne bioluminescent beetle called the firefly or lightning bug (official name Lampyridae) surely captures our imagination. Movies, music festivals, operas and comic book characters all carry the “firefly” moniker. Festivals, crafts and activities for the whole family center on the fireflies which pepper our backyards with tiny points of light. Here are a few interesting firefly events and activities you can try.

Work like a dog! It’s Take Your Dog to Work Week

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This Friday, June 23, 2017, you can work like a dog or work with one. In 1999, the Friday after Father’s Day (3rd Friday in June) was designated as Take Your Dog to Work Day by the Pet Sitters International organization. Encouraging pet adoption is the main focus of the annual holiday.

Roll in the fun: Serving carts for the patio

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Retro is hip. Each year brings a new twist on an old trend, and it makes us all wonder why it ever fell out of favor. This year’s outdoor living trend may be the return of the serving cart. You are familiar with the serving cart or “kitchen trolley:” a two-or-three-tiered shelf unit with two legs and two wheels (or sometimes four wheels), used for the ease of serving food and drinks. Think of old movies with a white-gloved waiter pushing a gilded trolley full of drinks along the art-deco tiles of a grand hotel’s pool, or remember the whiskey-laden carts seen in practically every Mad Men episode. And who can forget the snack trolley on the Hogwarts Express with its chocolate frogs and jelly slugs?

How to clean pollen off patio furniture

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Welcome Spring! The third week of March marks the equinox of the new season. Snow may still be on the ground but the trees are getting ready to spread a blanket of yellow pollen all over the land. Unfortunately, this includes your patio furniture.

Turn your patio into an outdoor living room with a patio conversation set

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Sitting in a quiet outdoor space is a great stress reliever. Visiting with friends on the patio can be even more relaxing. Having the right outdoor furniture helps in creating the right environment for serene experiences. A table and chairs is the typical choice for seating, but the latest trend is to create an outdoor living room with furniture groupings called patio conversation sets.

Covering up: blankets for your outdoor room

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Fall usually means the onset of chilly nights. Fight off the frost with some warm, cozy blankets. Don’t let the cold keep you inside. Outdoor rooms are meant to be used all year round. A crackling fire pit and some other heat sources can help make things comfortable, but a little extra may be needed to get that contented, relaxed feeling.

Marathon Season - Plump up on the patio

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In the fall season, the heat of summer turns into the heat of the runner as the marathon months begin. Sunny days with crisp air and cooler temperatures are a runner’s dream. You can help support the runners in your life by hosting a “carb load” on your patio

Light it up! How to choose outdoor lighting

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All the world’s a stage Hollywood and Broadway people know the secret of a scene-stealer is all in the lighting. The impact lies in how everything is illuminated. In his 2002 book Stage Lighting Revealed, lighting designer Glen Cunningham tell us, “An effective lighting design is like a beautiful painting.” He goes on to explain how a lighting designer uses light and all its colors to bring the viewer to “an emotional state he or she would not achieve at that moment without your art.”

Change it up: Chicken Marinades from Around the World

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As outdoor grilling enthusiasts, we all have our go-to marinade recipe for the best chicken in the neighborhood. Recipes for a good marinade are like gold, because they make a simple grilling event into a showplace dinner. The marinade does most of the work. After a few hours or a day of soaking, the hardest part is done. All there is left to do is grill.

Commune with nature

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“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson This Saturday, June 25, 2016, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is encouraging all of us to slow down and reconnect with Mother Nature by camping out. Here’s some information from the NWF’s website: http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Campout.aspx

Keeping cool on the patio

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June 20th at sundown begins the new season. June 21 is the first full day of summer (September 20th will be the last). Many hot days await us in the coming months. Since we’re usually indoors through most winter and spring weeks, we want to maximize our time outside. When temperatures soar into the 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range (~27-32 Celsius), it is tempting to stay inside.

How to spend more time outdoors on your patio

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When Summer comes, getting outside more often is like re-learning a language. It may take a few stuttering steps to get into a routine that includes more time outside, but once you get into the swing of things you’ll remember how much you loved it.