14 Things that make your home look cluttered

1. Too-full Countertops

When your kitchen countertops are full of clutter, your space looks dirty even when it isn’t. The same applies to your bathroom countertops. Look at it this way, when you go to a hotel room, the counters are free of clutter and appear spacious and clean. This same feeling applies to your own home. The solution to this problem is to utilize those cabinets and drawers. Put away any and everything you can and only leave minimal decorations on your kitchen and bathroom countertops. This will lead to them looking clean and spacious and will achieve that uncluttered look you desire.

2. Excessive Decorations

Any home decorator knows that you can definitely go overboard when it comes to decorating your home. Every room needs space for the eyes to “rest,” meaning every square inch of your home doesn’t require decorations. This might be too many family photos, too many knick knacks, too many collectibles, etc. You get the idea. A room that is clean but filled with excessive decorations still feels dirty. The solution here is to minimize your decor. Not every book you own needs to be on display. Not every family photo needs to be hung on the wall. Go through your space and remove outdated photos and decorations. Move those photos to an album. Try to leave empty space as often as possible.

3. The exterior of the refrigerator

The exterior of the refrigerator has tendency to become a clutter spot quickly. We mount things with magnets and then never remove them. We add items so we “won’t forget” to do them, but we still forget.

Even the cleanest kitchen looks messy if the refrigerator is covered. Let’s address this with a practical solution. Create a good paper filling system and a command center. Do not use the refrigerator for this purpose.

Take everything down, file what you need to, address that “to do” list, and only hang what is absolutely necessary. On my refrigerator, we keep a magnetic shopping list and our weekly home menu. That’s it.

No excessive photos, no excessive magnets, and most of all, we keep no paper clutter. I keep this on the side of my refrigerator, also, because I want the front surface clean and clear of clutter.

4. A messy entryway

The entryway to your home is the first thing your guests see when they come to your home. If you live is a cold or wet climate where you often remove your shoes, this is an area you will definitely need to address. Look at a few ideas on Pinterest and start getting some ideas of how to best utilize this space.

If you remove shoes every time you enter your home, let’s create a shoe cubby for every individual’s shoes. If the kids hang coats, gloves, and outerwear, let’s create a space to hang and store these items.

My kids carry backpacks home from school, so we have a plastic bin for each of them to put their school papers into. I have a space to hang my purse, which I carry daily, and my husband has a box for his wallet and keys. Creating a space for these items will eliminate the clutter and help you get out the door faster each morning as you’ll know where everything is stored.

5. Paper piles

Everyone has a tendency to pile mail and papers from time to time. Piles of paper create a cluttered look to your home. The solution to this problem is a good paper and mail filing system. Every bill we receive goes immediately into our financial binder, so I can pay it by the due date. Every other paper that comes into our home gets either filed or eliminated. Make a habit of addressing the paper clutter daily, so you can stay on top of this problem.

6. Too many throw pillows

Have you been in a store and adored those beautiful furniture displays or bedroom decor? Often, you’ll find a lovely bedroom set with a matching comforter, bedskirt, pillow shams, throws, and an abundance of decorative pillows. It looks inviting and comforting, but I’m afraid it isn’t very practical on a daily basis to remove and then add back all of those pillows when you make your bed.

If you absolutely love your decorative pillows and can’t part with them, then you must be sure you display them neatly. Otherwise, consider storing a few pillows or moving them to the closet until you decide if you want to keep them.

The same applies to the sofa. Excessive throw pillows constantly require straightening to keep them looking neat and uncluttered. Excessive pillows also require extra work for you when it comes to cleaning.

These items still need washing from time to time, so try to keep them at a minimum or swap them out occasionally. Once you’ve decluttered your pillows, avoid the temptation to buy more.

7. Toy clutter

A room cluttered with toys is definitely a battle for most moms. We look at creative ways to store them and buy storage containers. But, first we need to eliminate the clutter before we can store it all away. Go through the toys routinely and throw out anything that is broken. Donate anything that is no longer enjoyed by the kids.

Store away half of the toys and rotate them out monthly. Teach the kids to do a daily toy clean up with you until they get the hang of doing it on their own. Do not create a complicated storage system. This only makes it harder to put everything away.

Clean up should be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. If you cannot do it in ten minutes, your storage system is probably too complicated to maintain. Maintenance is key to keeping the clutter at bay.

8. Too much furniture

Everyone has been in a home that is filled to every corner with wall to wall furniture. Sometimes we inherit furniture and antiques, and we don’t know quite what to do with them. We feel guilty for parting with them because they belonged to a loved one. Parting with the furniture feels wrong. So, let’s address this issue.

Getting rid of furniture or gifts from loved ones does NOT mean you don’t love or appreciate them. Instead you must love your space. Loving your space means you want to be in it and enjoy it every day. You want to fill your space with the things that you love.

Keeping everything everyone gives you will prevent you from doing that. Go through your home and remove any excess furniture and create space for the eyes to “rest.”

9. Laundry and “clean” clothes

We all have to deal with laundry and the work that it requires. Laundry baskets full of clean clothes create a feeling of clutter if you don’t address this daily. Get in the habit of putting clean laundry away every single day. Do not let it linger.

Also, maybe you or your spouse have a space in your room or closet where you lay “clean” clothes, meaning you only wore it a few hours and it’s too clean to wash but too dirty to put away. Start hanging or folding these items daily. Avoid putting them on the chairs or the beds. Create a specific space to store these until they need to be washed.

10. Dishes in the sink or on the countertop

This goes without saying, but dishes have to be addressed daily. Once it’s clean and dry, put it away as soon as you can to avoid the clutter.

11. Unmade beds

As the bed goes, so goes the room. Make your beds daily. Teach the kids to do so, also. Again, do not make this more complicated than it has to be by adding to many decorative pillows and too many accessories.

12. Overfilled shelves and cabinets

Declutter the interior of those cabinets. Too much clutter creates stress when they are filled to capacity. You can’t find what you need if there is too much stuff. Eliminate all of the excess and create a space for only what you use and love.

13. Visible cords and wires

We all have and use our home electronics, but the cords are unsightly. Look at Pinterest for some creative ways to hide those cords. There are plenty of ideas and resources available to accomplish this. You’ll appreciate the look of your home when you address this clutter issue.

14. Unclear surface tops

Not every space in your home needs to be covered and decorated. If you have a tendency to create piles and decorate your dresser tops, bedside table tops and bureau tops, you’ll make your space look cluttered. Leave open spaces as often as you can. Put items away in drawers and containers and keep the clutter at minimum.

So, there you have it. We have addressed 14 common reasons your home looks cluttered. I hope this information has been beneficial to you. If you enjoy reading this type of material, subscribe to my blog where you can find ideas and tips for cleaning and organizing everything in your home.

Source: https://deemiddleton.com/

Small landlords squeezed

With evictions banned, up to 45 per cent of B.C. tenants in some buildings did not pay rent April 1 and about 30 per cent of all Alberta tenants also failed to pay rent on time. In Saskatchewan, 27 per cent of tenants did not pay rent April 1.

There are concerns May 1 could see similar scenarios right across Western Canada.

While large landlords, such as real estate investment trusts, may have deep enough pockets to weather the pandemic storm, owners of small apartment buildings and those holding rental condos and secondary rental suites often depend on rental income to cover their own mortgage payments, property taxes and other costs.

B.C. has banned rental evictions for three months, and its direct payment of $500 per month to landlords barely cuts it in Vancouver where the average monthly rent is the highest in Canada at $2,700, landlords say.

David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC, said that, with no potential for evictions, landlords have little protection if a tenant refuses to pay.

“This is wide open to potential abuse,” Hutniak said.

“Two-thirds of landlords in Metro Vancouver are mom-and-pop situations,” Hutniak added. These owners are also struggling during the current crisis, he said.

According to a December 2019 survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., there are 67,000 rental condos in Metro Vancouver, and investor condos are a mainstay of the rental universe across Canada.

A survey of Vancouver landlords found that, in some buildings, nearly 50 per cent of  tenants did not pay rent April 1, according to Mark Goodman, a multi-family specialist with Goodman Commercial.

Hutniak also noted a naïveté in the recommendation that landlords seek a mortgage payment deferral.

“We have heard advocates speak about landlords getting mortgage deferrals so they can ‘pass those savings on to renters.’ But a mortgage deferral by a bank does not constitute any savings to the landlord. It has to be paid back with compound interest on the deferred amount.  In other words, interest upon interest,” Hutniak explained. Any deferred amount is added to the mortgage principal, whereas a landlord doesn’t have any security for deferred rent from a tenant, he noted, or from the loss of legal rent increases.

The Alberta government banned evictions for non-payment of rent April 1, suspended late fees for three months and froze rent increases for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Similar measures are in place in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Paul Jones, president of the Alberta Residential Landlord Association, told the Edmonton Journal that 30 per cent of tenants did not pay rent April 1 and many landlords are worried by the number of tenants simply walking out on leases.

It is up to landlords to work out relief with tenants, according to Louise Elsey, who took over as chief operating officer for Avenue Living Communities just as the pandemic hit. Within days, Calgary-based Avenue Living had voluntarily frozen rent increases and was offering tenants weekly payment options. Avenue Living has around 10,000 suites in 19 markets across the Prairie provinces, which it manages for investors.

“The COVID-19 crisis has certainly added an additional layer of pressure. There is a heightened level of responsibility to our residents, our staff and our investors,” said Elsey. The proactive stance appears to have paid off: Avenue Living reported April 27 that 92 per cent of tenants had paid their April rent.

Recommendations from landlord associations include an idea that governments offer some form of rental bank that would offer low-interest loans to allow tenants who would pay it back over time.

William Blake, a landlord who owns small rental properties in Alberta and British Columbia warned that  banning evictions is just delaying an inevitable wave of evictions as landlords will eventually need the money to pay taxes, mortgages and maintenance fees.

Backyard Fun

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Looking for things to keep kids entertained while outside in the yard? Us too! So we’re collecting reader-submitted activities that (mostly) involve little set-up and take-down, to help keep kids occupied during these crazy outside days at home.

PAINT ROCK MONSTERS (AND HIDE THEM)

Submitted by: Rock Monster Friends

Submitted by: Rock Monster Friends

YOU NEED: Clean rocks | Paint | Paint brushes

SET UP: Read the Rock Monster Book, then paint your own COVID-fighting monster friends and hide them around your neighbourhood. Wash your hands first!


HOPSCOTCH DOWN THE BLOCK

Submitted by: Saffron Quist

Submitted by: Saffron Quist

YOU NEED: Sidewalk Chalk | A child with energy

SET UP: Create the longest possible hopscotch game you can muster, grab a rock, and let them hop their energy out.


DRIVEWAY SNAKES AND LADDERS

Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

YOU NEED: Chalk | Dice | A swath of driveway

SET UP: Draw out a Snakes and Ladders game board on your driveway. Kids use their bodies as the playing pieces. Great for counting practice!


ROCK WASHING STATION, YO!

Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

YOU NEED: Bins | Warm water | Scrubbies | Rocks

SET UP: Fill a bin or two with warm water (we added a bit of soap to one), and set the kids up outside to get wet and dirty. Pour yourself a coffee!

Next steps for retail? Province’s fashion retailers face multiple barriers

Part of a series on the next steps for B.C. businesses across a wide range of sectors as the province edges closer to the easing of COVID-19 safety measures

Retailers in B.C. face major changes to the shopping experience they offer when fashion boutiques reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

Many fashion retailers have closed partly because customers want to try on clothing, which poses the threat of infected garments. Others closed because they doubted they could remain profitable if they limited the number of people in their stores.

Closed fitting rooms, extending the time in which customers can return goods and limiting customers is a strategy that Fields CEO Jason McDougall said he has pursued in his 64 stores’ fashion departments. He also sells food and other essentials.

Whether B.C. companies such as Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq:LULU) or Aritzia Inc. (TSX:ATZ) can keep their bricks-and-mortar stores open while prohibiting shoppers from trying on clothes remains to be seen.

“Change rooms are going to be essential,” said Lululemon founder Chip Wilson. “Women are wearing different types of clothing, and fit and look is so critical.”

Wilson added that he expects the COVID-19 virus to “ping-pong” around the world for years and that people younger than 40 will want to get on with their lives, and that will include shopping.

Not allowing returns would deter sales because there would be such a high cost and risk to the consumer, he said.

Boys’ Co. owner David Goldman said he didn’t know if it would be viable to operate without allowing customers to try on clothing.

He has a flexible return policy and does not want to tell customers that they can’t try goods on and can’t return them. He did not, however, rule out that possibility.

“I just don’t know what the answer is, so I have written to my suppliers,” he said.

Both Goldman and McDougall have asked landlords for patience during the pandemic.

McDougall believes that his 31 stores in B.C. will survive the downturn.

Predictions differ on when non-essential retailers will open but that decision will be up to corporate owners and not the government because even though many non-essential retailers have closed they are allowed to stay open.

The catch is that retailers must “adapt their services and workplaces to the orders and recommendations of [Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry], according to the B.C. government.

Retail Insider Media owner Craig Patterson said he foresees those stores reopening in early summer, but the fear of catching COVID-19 may keep customers out.

“Look at what’s happening in China right now,” Patterson said. “They’ve opened up all kinds of stores but the foot traffic is just not there. A lot of people are hoarding money.”

High-end retailers on Vancouver’s posh Alberni Street may be particularly hard hit because they rely on tourist spending, and non-essential international travel appears to be months away.

“There will be a significant decrease in demand for fashion clothing,” Patterson said. “How many formal events will women go to where they have to be seen? How many ball gowns are you going to sell?”

Joseph Calvano agreed.

He founded Dollar Giant in 2001, sold the company to Dollar Tree in 2010 for $62 million, and was president of Dollar Tree Canada until he retired in 2018.

“I don’t see fashion being a priority from a shopping point of view for many people,” he said. “The majority of stores in the fashion business will be in for a rough ride for the next 12 months.”

Calvano said the dollar-store sector will flourish as people seek bargains and necessities.

Department stores and fashion retailers might decide to reopen and conform to all necessary official provincial health requirements within three to six months, Calvano suggested.

“I don’t see our economy being closed for a year,” he said. “There’s no way we can sustain it. There’s no possible way in the world that any government could sustain closure for that time. At some point, you ask, ‘What is the risk versus the reward?” •

‘COVID Clauses’ Await Buyers In Canada’s Housing Market

You may have to prove you’re healthy, and that you haven’t traveled abroad recently, before viewing a home.

KMATIJA VIA GETTY IMAGES
In this stock photo, a woman in a face-mask leans out her front door. Home-buying is changing in the pandemic, with virtual tours and “COVID clauses” now common.

TORONTO (Reuters) ― In Canada’s typically busy home-selling season, wary buyers are donning masks and gloves to view properties while realtors offer virtual tours and coronavirus clauses as the real estate industry copes up with the outbreak.

Canadian home resales are forecast to fall by about 30 per cent to a 20-year low this year, Royal Bank of Canada estimates. Home sales slumped 14.3 per cent in March from February.

Armed with new COVID clauses, some agents are still trying.

The COVID clauses include confirming buyers’ health and recent-travel history and waivers that free the seller and agent from any liability in the event the client gets sick following a property viewing.

Toronto-based agent Alexandra Côté provided virtual tours of about 25 properties, using Skype calls and video tours, for clients recently before they zeroed in on one.

After her clients decided on a property, they and Côté, in masks and gloves, would visit the property in person. “I was actually surprised at how well it worked,” she said.

Lacking the personal touch

For an industry that relies on in-person visits and where purchases are influenced by touch and feel, the social-distancing restrictions have tempered buyers’ enthusiasm.

“Nothing is going to compare to viewing the house in person,” Royal LePage sales agent Tom Storey said. Storey’s team has seen a spike in virtual walk-throughs for their properties, despite having 95 per cent of business on pause.

Vancouver real estate agent David Hutchinson now carries a “COVID kit,” consisting of gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and bleach. He had to recently abide by a rule prohibiting more than two people from entering a building during a property viewing.

Hutchinson has clients complete a questionnaire confirming they have not traveled in the past 14 days and are not feeling sick.

“It’s commonplace now,” he said.

But the Real Estate Council of Alberta is warning against the use of COVID clauses, saying it may not be in the seller’s or buyer’s best interests and advising parties to seek legal advice.

Todd Sanderson, an agent for Royal LePage in British Columbia, said his clients don’t open doors, touch light switches or anything in the property.

“They treat the homes like a museum,” he said.

(Editing by Denny Thomas and Steve Orlofsky)

Airbnb’s Flame-Out In The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Be Good News For Renters And Homebuyers

Signs are growing that Airbnb hosts are selling their properties or renting them out in the apartment market.

JOHN MACDOUGALL VIA GETTY IMAGES
A woman browses the site of home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet in Berlin, April 28, 2016. Airbnb is in a fight for its life amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but that could be good news for renters and homebuyers struggling with affordability.

Amid all the bad news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there might be something of a silver lining for renters and homebuyers in Canada’s priciest cities: When the lockdown ends, they may find themselves in a more affordable housing market.

And if it happens, it will be in no small part thanks to the sudden flame-out of Airbnb, whose hosts have seen a collapse in revenue as global tourism ground to a halt in the past few months.

Airbnb’s situation right now is about as dire as it could be. Amid the viral outbreak, travelers are afraid to stay in strangers’ homes. Tenants in condo and apartment buildings don’t want travelers coming and going, and some buildings are moving to ban Airbnb listings. Most profoundly, Ontario and Quebec have temporarily banned short-term rentals, the core of Airbnb’s business.

But even before the pandemic hit, changing attitudes and changing rules meant Airbnb owners were facing a much harsher new reality.

One major earthquake for the vacation rental platform came in November, when a new Toronto by-law came into effect, forbidding homeowners from renting out any properties on Airbnb except for their primary residence or rooms in a primary residence.

That rule ― very similar to one that Vancouver enacted in 2018 ― was meant to put an end to the phenomenon of large property owners buying entire chunks of condo buildings and renting the units out through Airbnb. Affordable housing advocates have argued for years that this practice drove up housing costs for residents and led to the creation of condo tower “ghost hotels.”

The by-law change came and went with only a little media attention, but its meaning for Airbnb in Canada is seismic; it changes the business entirely. According to data from consultancy Host Compliance, these “ghost hotel” operators accounted for 30 per cent of the homes listed on Airbnb, but 80 per cent of the company’s revenue. Even before COVID-19, Airbnb was facing a potential revenue collapse in some of Canada’s largest markets.

A sudden boom in furnished apartments

The new rule seems to have had an immediate impact. Toronto saw a 29-per-cent spike in the number of furnished, long-term apartment rentals available in the first three months of this year, according to real estate consultancy Urbanation, which sees this as a sign that Airbnb owners are shifting to long-term rentals ― though that was largely before the impact of the pandemic was felt.

Others believe Airbnb hosts are more likely to sell their units instead.

“They’re not going to hold on to it for the rental market,” said Diana Petramala, a senior researcher at Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development.

AIRDNA
This chart from analytics firm AirDNA shows a steep drop in demand for Airbnb rentals in Canada’s largest metro areas, with projected revenues down by more than half in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Short-term rentals bring in far more revenue than long-term rentals, so renting out an apartment on a one-year lease is “a less attractive investment to hold on to,” she told HuffPost Canada. That’s especially true if you’re one of the many homebuyers using Airbnb income to cover a large mortgage. Rent in the apartment market might not be enough to cover that monthly payment.

“So if you can sell (those units) at a really high price why not sell them? More will end up in the sale supply than in the long-term (rental) market,” Petramala predicted.

She noted that the City of Toronto saw a more than 8-per-cent increase in listings of homes for sale in March, while the region’s suburban cities ― where Airbnb listings are few and far between ― saw virtually no increase.

It all amounts to a sudden injection of new housing supply ― at a time when demand is drying up because of an economic crisis. That will put downward pressure on housing prices, Petramala predicted.

How much could this help buyers and renters?

It’s hard to predict exactly, especially given all the other economic upheavals taking place right now, but we have data to give us an idea of the scale of things.

study from housing advocacy group Fairbnb estimated earlier this year that the by-law the city enacted last year would result in 6,500 homes being added to Toronto’s housing supply, if the rule was fully enforced. If they all arrived at once, it would more than double the number of active home listings to choose from.

2018 study in the U.S. found that a 10-per-cent jump in Airbnb listings in an area increased rents by 0.4 per cent. If that dynamic reversed itself, a collapse in Airbnb listings could mean several percentage points off average rent.

But even if it means more affordable housing, some question whether Airbnb’s decline is a good thing. Scott Chatford, CEO of analytics firm AirDNA, argues that in a time of economic crisis, many people could generate additional income by renting out a second property or a room in their home on Airbnb.

Home-schoolers share inspiration

Things you can do with kids (and be happy ever) at home.

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With spring break, school closures and C-virus self-quarantine I see so many parents struggling to keep their kids entertained. Nowadays it’s almost a basic need – to keep kids busy. Firstly, I want to reassure you that it is ok for children to be bored sometimes: it’s actually a good thing because it can spark creativity, build self-confidence (“Look what I can do mom!”) and inner motivation (they do things because they are bored not because they will get a candy or 1 hour of screen time).

Of course it could be hard at first – they will come to you with “I don’t know what to do. I’m bored. Mom..mooooom..mom-mom-mom-mom..” Sounds familiar? 🙂

As a homeschooling mom I spend 90% of my time with kids and we never have enough time to do all things we want or started to do. There are so many opportunities to learn and play! Most of the public school-parents don’t know about them and I would like to share some ideas.

Apart from regular reading and colouring, hiking and playing in the park here is what you can do.

1. Cook and bake with kids.

They love it! (most of them for sure). What can they learn: adding and subtracting carrots, potatoes, buns. Fractions while baking – 1/4 of the cup, 1/2 of the tea spoon. Or they can make veggies-fruit and meals out of play dough which develops fine motor skills!

If your kids are passionate about cooking and are old enough you can enroll them in online cooking academy like this one: www.kidscookrealfood.com

We also love Preppy Kitchen on YouTube. He is fun to bake with!

2. Science experiments!

You can do loads of them just with household items.

We really love Mystery Doug videos and different activities-lessons (lots are free), www.superchargedschool.com  (free science classes and now they have a new content daily)! For Pre-K and elementary school we love TheDadLab on Instagram – so easy fun!

3. Crafts.

So many choices here! And it doesn’t matter if you have boys or girls, some boys really love to learn how to finger knit or sew a button! You can level up that regular play dough mess creating arts, learning an alphabet or planets (we made cell-parts, planets, Earth structure, parts of the plants and more).

Sewing, making dolls out of fabric, wood, beads etc – so many ideas on Pinterest. You can make simple yarn dolls or Slavic Spring fabric dolls (you can ask me how, most of the instructions are in Russian).

Simple felting (we have a great yarn store in Vernon with wool supplies and I’m sure every city has one too).

Origami! My youngest found a great youTube channel with easy to follow instructions. She is 6 years old and sometimes needs me to show her the details but mostly she would just pause and fold. And you don’t need special paper, use old magazines, wrapping paper or old drawings you wanted to recycle!

Hello Origami

Toilet paper rolls! I’m sure you will have tons of them left *wink wink*!

Endless opportunities. I didn’t even want to dig into my photos for that. Just save it, give it to your kids and let their imagination flow!

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Random crafts like building structures and bridges, DNA cells or space ships. Making kid’s favourite book heroes out of paper and playing with it while reading another story or creating your own – a new turn, a new ending or beginning and the character gets another life while your kids develop creativity and language skills.

 4. If your flights were cancelled or vacations postponed go on an adventure from you home!

Learn about new countries and cities, cultures and traditions, cook Indian food or sushi, listen to Italian music and The Beatles! If you have Wi-Fi and a computer it is so easy to do. If you also have books – even better! (Or use your local library, you can also place books on hold from your home and just quickly go and pick it up when you get e-mail notification).

You can make your own lap-books with kids and if you own a printer you have lots of free resources out there:

Canada Lapbook

Flags – print them, glue to a toothpick and play with a map using little piece of play dough to attach flag to the country!

Travel with two little dogs – Bella and Harry adventures. They have free colouring sheets and lesson plans of this website. We love the books as well (you can buy them on Amazon).

Treasures of the World museums. As a photographer I love to learn about artists and masterpieces. We have lots of books to go through but unfortunately no access to the real museums with art here. So we use online resources to look at the paintings and sculptures all around the world.

Youtube channel we love to watch: Geography Now.

5. Play board games!

If you don’t have many – print your own games! (Or draw them if you don’t have a printer). And I don’t even know where to start – there are lots of websites with printable educational and fun games (please don’t hesitate to PM if you are stuck with it, I will send you some games on e-mail or show the links). Many amazing moms and dads made them for us to use! Some are free, some cost just a little but so worth the $.

6. Play!

Do a treasure hunt (or a scavenger hut) in your backyard. Invite toy-guests for Sloth’s Bday party! Do a Fashion Week show (boys love dressing up too!). Play a cave-man (stick-stone tools, cave art, dances, mamoth-papa hunt). Cardboard boxes are amazing toys – make a ship, a car, a plane and learn about Marco Polo, Amelia Earhart, Michael Schumacher, Columbus or other great explorers!

There are so many more things you can learn and do with kids! They are naturally curious and daring, creative and can absorb information better than we think. Take this opportunity to really know them, bond with them and explore together – it is so rewarding in a long term. Just follow their interest, then you’ll get the best results and the most fun!

And if you happened to be a photographer pick up your camera to document this days!

If you are not a photographer but want to have this memories to cherish, I would love to help – I do in-home sessions and this is my jam!

Some other helpful links see below.

5 ways to feel 90% socially normal right now

I’ve been missing my friends! Hugely! The hugs, the house visits, the meals made together *sign*. I’ve had moments of fear; how awful would it be to contract the virus? I’ve had moments of gratitude; how liberating to have no where to be. I’ve had moments of questioning the seriousness; is the government inflating this beyond what it actually is? I’ve even had moments of questioning my own sanity; am I suffering from paranoia and none of this is actually real? Anyone relate?

But physical distancing is working! We are keeping Covid at bay *high fives everyone* you’re doing great!

The world feels super weird and many of us are not sure what we’re supposed to be doing… what’s allowed, what is safe and what is going to keep us from popping prozac. So here are 5 things that make this situation feel 90% better for me.


Front Yard Birthday Parties

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Since everyone is home all. the. time. it’s really easy to surprise your friends! Decorate your car. Download a fun version of the Happy Birthday song (Leif Garrett or DJ Bobo are good ones) and cause a scene in your birthday-friend’s front yard. Own a mega phone? USE IT! Great bass in your vehicle? Use that too. Costumes? A street side dance routine? …they’re not your neighbours (I’m being funny, don’t cause an RCPM call). How about grabbing a gift from a local shop and dropping it on the front lawn? Birthdays are meant to be special! NOTE: we do not recommend doing this in big groups.


Touch-less Walks

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Pick a spot to meet, follow that with an air hug (same concept as air guitar) and than proceed as normal with a little more space between you. Fresh air and good company will remind you that you’re still a person and not a groundhog.


Driveway Drinks

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Pick a non-public space (if you plan to have boozy drinks), pull up your own lawn chair, bring your own snacks and just hang. Ahhhh, that feels like spring.


Window Visits

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This one is weird, but works for kids who have a 5-second memory and can’t not touch their friends -or- who don’t enjoy video chats. My only-child is starving for kid interaction! So we have hung out with some friends through the window. Parking cars side by side works great for this too. Open the glass, open the sunroof and viola, you have a glorified dog-run (I mean kid pen).


Phone Calls

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This seems obvious I know, but I want to remind you about the value of actually hearing the other person’s voice. I haven’t chatted with my friends this much since high school -the days before email, text or facebook. We’ve gotten so used to messaging each other until we meet in person but the days of the telephone (when it was used for talking) have some forgotten magic to them.

Single Story For Sale in Summerland Rural

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Well maintained 3 bedroom, 2 bath Country Rancher

•  1998 sqft , 2 bath , 3 bdrm single story – FOR SALE  CAD769,000 . Summerland rural property, 27.25 acres  MLS® 177802

Summerland rural property, 27.25 acres. Well maintained 3 bedroom, 2 bath Country Rancher is almost 2000 square feet. Open concept living, hardwood flooring, spacious laundry room, large master with 4 pc ensuite. The home is heated by a wood burning fireplace inside, as well as a wood burning central boiler furnace outside. Your bills will never be cheaper! Custom cabinets and granite counter tops. Double carport, detached garage/workshop, loads of storage, all nestled on a very private lot. Great horse property. School Bus comes to end of road.

Click here for: Property information

Municipal parks open during Covid-Distancing

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Great news! City, Municipal and Regional parks remain open during Covid-distancing!

According to globalnews.ca (April 9, 2020)Unlike provincial parks, most, if not all, municipal and regional parks in the Okanagan will remain open during the long weekend.”

Do The Okanagan wants to remind you to maintain a physical distance from other people. This means that free-hugs are out for the time being .

  • Spread out,

  • choose areas are are not busy and

  • if you meet someone along the way, move waaaay over -like bush wack it- and give each other loads of space (minimum 2 meters).

  • If you struggle to remember, just pretend that everyone has an extreme case of headlice and ringworm.

Additionally, play and exercise equipment are off limits and most bathrooms are closed. All provincial parks are closed.

PRETTY PLEASE RESPECT PHYSICAL DISTANCING!

The Regional District has stated that they are prepared to close parks if distancing, health or safety is an issue.