Perfect ways to engage your kids outside of technology

Isn’t information technology great? The age of IT doesn’t seem like it’s ending any time soon. But let’s be real, we know that the internet helps us be better people. We learn more on easily accessible news apps, we enjoy all our time spent crushing candies and our kids are probably going to be surgeons at the age of 15!
Unfortunately, with the good comes the ugly. And the truth is that the wealth of information out there is masked by gossip, trends and fads. Obviously, many studies back up the claim that kids who engage with electronic gadgets excessively are at greater risk for conditions ranging from anti-socialism to depression.
We’ve heard greats like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam tout children as our future, so maybe it’s time we started treating them as such!
Here are some great ways to engage your children outside of technology:
Reading Space: A dedicated reading space, if designed with fun elements can be the perfect catalyst for children to put down their video game consoles and pick up a story book. Temptation bundling – the practice of bundling an appealing activity with an unattractive one – has proved to be very effective in improving productivity. This is easily applied to children as well.
An Art Space: A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing. You can nurture their creativity in an art corner – whether it’s in your study room or in the kid’s bedroom. There’s no right or wrong with this one. So, think bright colours and positive inspiration!
Build a pillow fort: Pillow fights and pillow forts are the ultimate way to enjoy a slumber party. Invite all your kids’ friends over and start making memories!
Organize treasure hunts: If your child asks you for something extravagant, don’t just give it to them. Create an intricate maze through the apartment and invite all the children to join along in discovering the prize.
Train your kids for the regional spelling bee: These competitions come around every year, and are great learning experiences for your children. You could also hold mock spelling bees for the kids in your community.
Puppet theatres: Hosting a puppet theatre at your place is an incredible way to engage kids. There are elements of creativity, construction, DIY, storytelling and of course oodles of fun!
Sports: This one is an oldie but a goodie. Badminton, hide-and-seek and the ever-popular cricket are great avenues to occupy children. It not only keeps them away from the TV but also ensures physical fitness.
Visit museums, parks and zoos: There’s a little bit of history and a lot of awe lurking around public spaces such as these. Introduce your kids to all the fun-filled facts just waiting to be scooped up!
The future of our world rests on the shoulders of our little ones. Let’s vow to treat them with the respect they deserve and equip them with all that they need to be masters of their world tomorrow.

How to grow your own Garden

It is no news that plants and greenery have an effect of our physical and mental wellbeing. Plants clean the air, they are visually pleasing and home-grown vegetables are better for health. Here are some ways you can make your own wall garden, and even grow your own veggies.

From garden to table: How to grow an organic garden.

These are easy to grow and maintain plants, which you can place in your balcony, terrace or a garden if you have one.

The best part, you can grow them throughout the year. You can buy potting soil online from here (http://www.amazon.in/Hasiru-Potting-Garden-Manure-Ready/dp/B01LVWTEMT/ref=sr_1_3?s=garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515481&sr=1-3&keywords=potting+soil).

The container from here (http://www.amazon.in/Chhajed-GardenS-Gardening-Container-Terracotta/dp/B015MXSU10/ref=sr_1_11?s=garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515352&sr=1-11) or here (http://www.amazon.in/NOVICZ-Plastic-Flower-Indoor-Outdoor/dp/B01LYMSJ24/ref=sr_1_3?s=garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515430&sr=1-3&keywords=small+pot)

1. Tomatoes

You will need a pot or a container that is about 12 inches deep (about 30 cm) to seat the plant well. A smaller pot or a hanging pot will do for the smaller variety of cherry tomato. You can source the plant from a nearby nursery, buy it online (http://www.amazon.in/Green-Pure-Quality-Kitchen-Terrace/dp/B071988TV1?tag=googinhydr18418-21&tag=googinkenshoo-21&ascsubtag=986bb061-f977-40a8-9606-089aa6eb77b6), or just follow these steps and plant it from scratch. Cut the tomato into four pieces and place it half an inch well under the soil. The plant should grow in about 3-4 weeks. That is one item off your shopping list.
https://in.pinterest.com/pin/1548181091756882/

2. Coriander and mint

Seasoned gardeners will know this, when we say that these are the easiest and most helpful plants to grow. Considering its utility in seasoning of everyday Indian cuisine or a mint pasta, if that what you like, these plants are a good place to start your garden. Make sure you fill the pot with stones and gravels up to 5 cm before covering it with soil. Add the seeds, covering them with a layer of soil and water. Your cooking essentials will have grown in a month. You can buy the seeds from here (http://www.amazon.in/Only-Organic-Coriander-seeds-Seeds/dp/B014PO86CA/ref=sr_1_1?s=garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515698&sr=1-1&keywords=coriander+seeds) and here (http://www.amazon.in/Organic-Hybrid-Pudina-Seeds-Total/dp/B01D71VXIG/ref=sr_1_1?s=garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515727&sr=1-1&keywords=mint+seeds). A small pot will do for these plants.

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-dos-donts-of-growing-mint-147458

3. Chillies

These are just as easy to grow as any other plant. All you have to do is slit the chilly and spread the seeds evenly onto the soil. Make sure you don’t cover them too deep in soil before you water them. Once you see the leaves sprout, transfer each bunch into a separate container. It’s as simple as that.

Garden on a wall

Vertical wall gardens can liven up an otherwise uninteresting space. Decide if your wall garden is going to be outdoor or indoor, depending on which you can choose the plants you want to grow.

http://www.decoist.com/indoor-vertical-gardens/ (Image)

The essentials:
1. Choose an airy and bright corner of your house for the plants. It’s better to choose a wall near a tap if it is outdoors, considering watering them becomes easier.

2. Hammer stronger hooks, rather than just simple nails. It helps to have a strong steel structure if you’re going for a bigger wall garden.

3. Buy the wall pot and potting mix. (http://www.amazon.in/Pockets-Hanging-Vertical-Planter-Outdoor/dp/B01G8S8A3G/ref=lp_11107420031_1_17?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515346&sr=1-17) or http://www.amazon.in/Vertical-Garden-Wall-Hanging-Terracotta/dp/B00W1U54AI/ref=lp_11107420031_1_19?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1501515346&sr=1-19

4. Figure out a drain system for the water.

These are just few plants that are perfect for wall gardens because of their aesthetic appeal and purifying qualities.
Begonia
Song of India
Ribbon grass
Spider plant
Hyperlinks to buy plants:

1. http://www.amazon.in/OMAXE-BEGONIA-SEMPERFLORENS-VARIETY-GARDEN/dp/B01IBHGKRA?tag=googinhydr18418-21&tag=googinkenshoo-21&ascsubtag=986bb061-f977-40a8-9606-089aa6eb77b6

2. http://www.amazon.in/Dracaena-reflexa-India-Pleomele-Reflexed/dp/B01LYXBURB?tag=googinhydr18418-21&tag=googinkenshoo-21&ascsubtag=986bb061-f977-40a8-9606-089aa6eb77b6

3. https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/ribbon-grass-11738886891.html

4. http://www.amazon.in/Green-Ivy-Spider-Indoor-Plant/dp/B073SB2R6T?tag=googinhydr18418-21&tag=googinkenshoo-21&ascsubtag=986bb061-f977-40a8-9606-089aa6eb77b6

Image sources for plants:
1. https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/begonias-begonias/
2. http://kaliergia-fyton.blogspot.in/2014/03/drakaina-tis-malaisias-fyto-pou.html
3. https://nurserylive.com/buy-ground-cover-plants-online-in-india/phalaris-arundinacea-ribbon-grass-plant-plants-in-india
4. https://plantcaretoday.com/spider-plant-care.html

That is all the basics you need. Here’s hoping you have a green thumb, do share your experiences of home gardening with us in the comments box.
Sources:
Homegrown veggies
https://www.thompson-morgan.com/top-10-easy-to-grow-vegetables

https://nurserylive.com/the-15-easiest-vegetables-to-grow-in-container-for-beginner-gardeners
http://hometalk.sulekha.com/how-to-grow-your-very-own-organic-kitchen-garden_618824_blog
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/home-garden/Tricks-to-cosy-up-your-home/photostory/56291012.cms
Wall garden
https://www.bunnings.com.au/diy-advice/garden/planters/how-to-build-a-vertical-garden
http://www.sanjaynursery.com/vertical-garden
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/home-garden/Grow-your-own-vertical-garden-at-home/articleshow/52775647.cms
http://www.dnaindia.com/pune/lifestyle-vertical-gardens-in-your-home-here-is-how-you-can-diy-1986191

When the side is the center of attention

Sideboards are excellent for your storage needs. They can fit neatly in your living room or off to the side in your study. While they come in a variety of shapes and styles, the focus on decorating is equally important. Let’s jump right into some great design trends for your sideboards.

Follow the theme

If you have a rustic themed room and would like to add a sideboard, be sure to pick up a piece that blends with the other furniture. In a room with all wooden furniture, you are going to want to a mid-century stand. Use earthen colors to decorate the same making sure to use just one emphasis piece.

Practicality

Stock up on things essential to the room if there’s not enough storage or cupboards. You could quite easily use your sideboard to keep your most commonly used dinnerware. It might take some getting used to, but the Victorian vibes of the arrangement will definitely draw you in.

Travel the world

From the comfort of your bedroom, you can experience a seaside cottage! How, you ask? Simply play with textures and elements that most resemble a sideboard you’d see in a coastal home. A bright whitewashed sideboard with a seashell and plaque with blue writing can go a long way in transporting you to a different place.

Set the stage

An empty canvas provides infinite possibilities. Similarly, just place a bowl for your keys in the center of the sideboard and hang an exquisite piece of art that fills up the wall space. This will really serve to bring out the uniqueness in your home.

The scent of spring

Top up your sideboard with spring and summer flowers. Bring in the brightness of a garden inside your home. Pleasing to the eye and fragrant at the least, you’ll feel like you’re having a grand old time in your home.

Slaying mosquitos this monsoon season

The recent deluge of rains has been a welcome sight in Chennai. However, we all know what follows next. Mosquitos! It’s time to boost our defences and prepare ourselves for the constant onslaught of these pests in the coming months.

Mosquitos are pretty high up on the annoyance scale for anyone trying to take an afternoon nap, but we fail to realise they are also quite deadly. They bring diseases into our homes in the blink of an eye.

In some cases, prevention is quite literally better than cure. So, here are a few tips to keep safe:

Stay high and dry: Getting drenched in the rain can make you more susceptible to fevers and colds. This can in turn affect your immune system. Be sure to take an umbrella with you on your evening walk. Or better yet, it’s probably time to move your workout routine indoors. After all, that’s what the world class gym facilities are for!
Quash any puddles: Water that’s even a few inches deep is excellent breeding grounds for dengue mosquitos. So, if you’re a plant-head, you might want to remove the trays beneath your plant pots.
Cleanliness can take you a long way: Keep your home and your neighborhood clean. Garbage and clogged drains can increase the occurrence of these insects.
Sanitize regularly: Throw a bottle of sanitizer in your bag for when you head outside. Even if you’re careful with what you eat and where you go, you never know who’s been there before you. You can keep those germs at bay with a little sanitizer.
Pop some Vitamin C: Boost your body’s immune system with regular doses of Vitamin C. Take supplements or incorporate citrus into your diet. Nature’s aid is always the best for building immunity.
Don’t eat food that has been out for too long: The problem with airborne diseases is that they can settle on food and infect people. So it’s best not to eat roadside food and to ensure meals are always freshly-cooked.
Make your own anti-mosquito aids: One option involves crushing garlic and dissolving it in water before spraying it in your room. However, if you don’t find the smell of garlic especially appealing, you can always mix neem oil with coconut oil (in equal parts) and apply it in your body as a repellent.

We’ve been battling mosquitos long enough to do it well. But a little extra protection never hurt anyone.

And remember, if all else fails, there’s always the electric bat which can zap the little creatures into oblivion!

Compact everything

We are living in urban spaces that are getting smaller and smaller by the day. Thankfully, a lot of the furniture is too. Compact living is all about minimalist design and multiple utility, which is also aesthetic. Here are few ways you can make compact furniture work for you.

1. What’s on the side?

This might be a no-brainer but corner shelves and side tables can leave more room to walk around, especially relevant for small homes. It can make all the difference between ‘cramped’ and ‘cosy’. You can have a shelf under your T.V if it is wall mounted to tuck away newspapers and magazines. Multi storage side tables are a great option to store things lying around the house and serve as holders for décor. You can buy the online from here https://www.urbanladder.com/products/ohio-bedside-table?sku=FNTBBS11TK10008&utm_source=google&utm_medium=pla&utm_campaign=PLAhero_PLAhero_PRODUCT_Bedside_Tables&gclid=Cj0KCQjw557NBRC9ARIsAHJvVVNUVJoMbvEhrXPdMic0fwrnpEBflF3aV13zpbTo53uSUBt2fCkPXDIaAtg-EALw_wcB

2. Not your regular sofa

Imagine saving so much space, just with this one fancy bed. You can host guests without the hassle of figuring out extra beds. These are an obvious way to save space and some design ingenuity to your home. You can buy it online from here https://www.urbanladder.com/products/florentin-sofa-cum-bed?sku=FNSFBD51LG20020&utm_source=google&utm_medium=pla&utm_campaign=PLAhero_Sofa%20Beds%20%3E%20Sofa%20Cum%20Beds%20%3E%20Folding%20Beds&gclid=Cj0KCQjw557NBRC9ARIsAHJvVVP83KQIAnoUr74SoXdAMiiVykNPOaip-B3XDwDl-haoVOBFj2SbIYcaAp1GEALw_wcB
This is just an example of how you can find innovative substitutes in the market for things that conventionally occupied more space.

3. Bare necessities

The daily bare necessities such as laptop table or just ‘table’ for reading and writing can be more efficient with movable and foldable tables. You can buy it online from here http://www.shopclues.com/multipurpose-laptop-foldable-table-e-table-with-2-usb-fan-120949390.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw557NBRC9ARIsAHJvVVPdQKM4Dz-E0H1YfklTJun5mqO_v_1qs5rST9ob-9LM2-JElbBrxusaAp6OEALw_wcB&mcid=ps&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=RLSA_Low-ASP&utm_term=PLA&utm_campaign=Search-PLARLSA-Shopping-Low-ASP-Categories&s_kwcid=AL!725!3!163436079288!!!!346987530437!&ef_id=WX3_xwAAAcwNKGO4:20170901020541:s

4. Wall separations

Instead of separating rooms with walls, consider using a room dividers that come in a host fabrics and finishes. You can choose cane, wood or screens- whatever suits your style. These are a far better way to ensure privacy and making judicious use of space. You can buy it online from here https://www.homeloft.in/products/3-and-4-panel-fabric-in-lay-wooden-screen-room-divider-natural-finish?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=39398415310&gclid=Cj0KCQjw557NBRC9ARIsAHJvVVOcKTlnpA9YAH1CTOEVh_4zq93cYWPAoLdHADQSgAG6p7Q8sXpQlXgaAhi6EALw_wcB

5. Bunking up

Compact furniture in your bedroom comes to great use, as these spaces serve a hub of utilities including dressing and storage. Therefore, to not cramp this space you can target the one furniture that occupies the most space- the bed. You can either choose to have bunk-beds because they save horizontal space. You can buy it online from here. https://www.pepperfry.com/costa-bunker-bed-in-cappucinno-finish-by-royal-oak-1541234.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw557NBRC9ARIsAHJvVVNLAdTnmWdy-xFG2DtTP0nOkxekys26FN_z0cdYZMLyeWmAh4GEJi0aAk_QEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.dsOr if that’s quite not your style, you can go for beds with storage.
A space that’s managed well is a relief for the eye and mind, not to mention easier to move around. These are just some practical and cost-effective solutions you can carry out right away to free up the space in your homes. If you have tips to creatively manage the furniture and space, do let us know in the comment box below.

Sources:
https://www.houzz.in/ideabooks/85935240/list/10-multipurpose-furniture-pieces-perfect-for-compact-homes
http://www.indiatimes.com/lifestyle/self/14-smart-hacks-to-make-space-in-your-tiny-room-246707.html
https://www.scoopwhoop.com/space-saving-furniture-for-small-homes/#.hnm4agyyb

36 Of The Best Space-Saving Design Ideas For Small Homes


http://grabhouse.com/blog/unique-space-saving-furniture/

The art of the many.

The concept of nuclear families, while not widespread in India, is gradually being adopted by most in urban areas. Truthfully, however, none of us would believe for a second that our families are as small as we make them out to be. When it comes wedding season or time for any other joyous occasion, you have relatives and friends pouring in from all corners of the country! Of course, as a social bunch you also love to have your neighbors over from time to time – it’s how you build a new family.

Now, when that happens you don’t want to be caught in a tough spot. You don’t want your seating arrangement to echo lack of preparation! Here are some great ways to make your living room seem bigger and accommodate more people.

Nesting Stools

These stools are reminiscent of Russian nesting dolls (it’s where they get their name from). They are perfect for a smaller living room when you don’t want furniture to take up too much space. Collapsed, they take up the area of just one stool, but you can pull or three or four more stools to seat more people.

When choosing nesting stools, you want them to match the general theme of the room but also to be light and mobile enough. For most Indian tastes, wooden stools do extremely well as earthen and woody shades also bring an element of nature to the room.

Ottomans

Low furniture tend to make the space they occupy look bigger. Ottomans are not only soft and low, they can also be upholstered to change the whole theme of the room. Tuck them away in a corner, only to pull them out when you need extra seating. Ottomans can also serve as centre tables when they’re not being used.

Roll away table and large rug

Buy a grungy center table with wheels to accent an otherwise calm and clean room, giving it a workshop like feel. Make sure to stock your sofa or contemporary day bed with lots of fluff pillows and throws. When you have company over, roll the table out of the way and pop down on the rug with enough pillows and blankets to build a fort!

Leverage the ledge

In a small but open living room setting, consider installing a ledge at knee level along the far wall. Along with the low furniture, the ledge acts both as extra room for seating and a display shelf for a strategically placed vase of jar of cookies to munch on at movie time.

Tell us, what do you do when you have guests over and need extra seating?

Hold up! Is that a teacup?

If you’re anything like us, you’ve got your fair share of cups and saucers tucked away nicely. Whether they came to you as a gift or you simply couldn’t resist the urge to buy such cute teacups, the fact remains that they are usually left alone and unloved.

Here are some great ways to repurpose your teacups without breaking the bank, or them.

Teacup chandelier

By carefully carving out a space for your bulb holder in the base of the teacup, you can thread bulbs through and build a delicate, custom chandelier. For best results, use a funky mix of solid and patterned cups. Don’t forget to include the saucer!

Plant in a cup

Succulents and cacti are excellent plant companions during the hot summer. Get creative with different shaped mugs. It’s a great activity for kids and develops a green thumb at a young age. Be sure to water sparingly and you’ll be the proud owner of a cactus kingdom.

Wall art

Square and rectangular framed wall art is no longer a trend. Spruce up your wall art with exquisite teacups with delicate patterns. You could even separate the cup and saucer by placing them in different rooms – if you have kids, this makes for a great game!

Make a candle

When you feel like it’s time to make way for the new, don’t throw out your old teacups. With a little bit of patience and some colored wax, you can make custom candles to brighten up your living room. You won’t have anything to worry about when the power outages come around this summer.

Do you have a clever plan to repurpose your teacups? Let us know in the comments below.

Talking Tiles

Flooring is possibly the first sensory element of your home that people come in touch with. So make sure the tiles you use are comfortable to walk on, and aesthetically pleasing. Here are options to let your tiles do the talking.

1. Ceramic

Ceramic tiles are made of natural clay and minerals. When mixed with other additives and heated at high temperatures, these can be made to yield an array of finishes such as glossy, semi-matte and matte. They are also cost-effective and commonly available. The only drawback is that the tiles may chip. It’s therefore best to have the extra tiles from the contractor stored safely in case you want to replace a tile. You can use ceramic for Prayer rooms or alcoves that don’t see high footfalls. You can order it online from here https://www.hrjohnsonindia.com/product.php?classification=3&material=3

2. Porcelain

Porcelain is what you should go for, if you’re willing to shell out a little more. These are finer ceramics that don’t chip off easily and can be customised in design. Another advantage is that they are easier to maintain and don’t stain easily. You can lay these tiles in high footfall areas like the hall and anti-skid for your balcony. Order online from here http://swastiktiles.in/Home/products

3. Vitrified

Vitrified tiles are magical, in the sense that they can be transformed into anything you like. You can go for marble, granite or even the wooden flooring look without having to spend what you might have otherwise had to. Make sure you don’t use harsh chemicals or acids on these floors, a normal cleaning with soap water will do. You can order online from here https://www.kajariaceramics.com/application.php?concept=application.php%3Fcatid%3D1&catid=1&filter1%5B%5D=Polished+Vitrified+Tiles&catid=1

4. Terrazzo tiles

These tiles are composite of stone, marble and granite chips. You can identify it from its speckled look and it is not too difficult to maintain. Once every few years, you may have to polish it as part of its maintenance. These tiles may be textured or ground to produce a smooth surface. Order online from here https://www.bharatfloorings.com/products/terrazzo-flooring.html

5. Laminate flooring

This is getting increasingly popular as an alternative to hard wood flooring. These are light weight, easy to lay and not to mention, highly economical. It is also highly durable and easy to maintain than wooden flooring. The only drawback is that it takes a beating over the years and you might not be able to bring it to its original sheen. Order online from here http://www.squarefoot.co.in/laminate-floors/basics/

Make sure you source the tiles from reputed buyers and verify if they have been tested. The right flooring is a matter of aesthetics, convenience and budget. There are great options for all budgets. Choose just the right tiles for your house, and you can bet your guests will be floored!
Sources:
https://www.houzz.in/ideabooks/86143723/list/which-tiles-are-perfect-for-indian-floors
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/choose-the-perfect-tiles-for-your-house/story-2SjzSvZwacjf8VJkZLLWJM.html
http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/all-about-tile-flooring-choosing-the-best-type-pictures
https://www.thebalance.com/recommended-flooring-types-844656
http://www.prismma.in/tiles-india-vitrified-tiles-pros-and-cons/
https://www.bharatfloorings.com/products/terrazzo-flooring.html