Boris Bikes’ Birthday

Posted by May on September 23rd, 2015

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A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..
It has been five years since they launched the Boris Bikes! My, how time flies. I have actually cycled a lot during these 5 years however I’ve always used my own bike. Residing in West London means that cycle docks are not always close at hand and so I have generally opted for using my own bike. I also don’t like the idea of using a bike that everybody has been using – who knows what they left behind on the handlebars! 🙂  But things are about to change as I am selling my beloved bike in order to force myself to use the Boris Bikes. Why you may ask? I don’t really know other than I like change and I am trying to be more communal in everything I do. I have blogged about previous Boris Bikes’ birthdays, but this year it appears a little less hyped-up. When I went to the cycle dock today the display informed me that I was getting a free bike ride as a birthday celebration gift – what more can you possibly want than that! A fully maintained free bike that I can ride anywhere and leave (almost) anywhere….as long as I find a dock. The offer of the ‘free bike’ did make it sound like I could use it for the whole day without paying but in reality it is only the first 30 minutes that I was not going to pay for. That’s still pretty good by my books, as I really only needed it for a short trip to the shops. Someone else at the dock who got the same free offer was perplexed as to why it was “totally free” — so it was not just me! it didn’t really indicate why it was free on the screen, all it said was that the cost was zero. They should have done a little better marketing job than that, but there you go!

Written By: May is one of our latest bloggers, a proud grandmother, who lives in London and an avid blogger for several online magazines. Her main area of focus is on travel abroad which is aided by the fact that she speaks four languages.

Popularity: 40% [?]

The Do-It-Yourself websites that have helped us in 2015

Posted by Sam on August 30th, 2015

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..
With the accelerating growth of the internet, it is probably not surprising that many a previously niche activity are fast becoming global phenomenons. The Do-It-Yourself or DIY movement is one such activity that has taken the world by storm over the past decade and has led to all sorts of wonderous creations that would have never seen the light of day if creativity was left solely to the domain of business. DIY historically has meant home repair and maintenance or home improvement, but as the internet has shown, it does not have to be. In fact, just about any activity which involves tackling a task oneself instead of yesteryear’s norm of engaging a professional service, can be classed as DIY. To celebrate our recognition of this do-it-yourself era, we at Chrysanthemoms decided to share the latest DIY sites we like and that have recently helped us be part of the DIY revolution ourselves.

Woodworking hand tool reviews
The English Woodworker is a must-see site if you are into woodworking – lots of tips and techniques on how best to choose your woodworking tools to make your next wooden project. Take their advice to heart and you will soon have a firm grasp of what you need to get the job done. Highly recommended.

Choosing your power tools
DIY-High is a valuable website to the home improvement crowd that is dedicated to helping you choose the best value power tool for your next home renovation or DIY building project. The site covers a range of power tools for the resident handyman and even provides some valuable insight for the most experienced of tradesman. The site covers a wide range of power tool categories from air compressors to hammer drills and power saws and, for the most part, the site focuses on power tools that are easily available to order online.

Construction equipment hiring
HSS Hire is the one of the best companies in the UK for hiring all sorts of construction equipment from the small amateur units to the very big professional rigs. They service both trade professionals and amateurs alike.

Sewing, embroidery, jewellery-making, and your effeminate side
If you are more artistically-inclined, the DaWanda Marketplace is a great place to go to learn new skills for sewing, fabric creation and design, making your own original jewellery, and several other crafting activities.

Electronic gadget and car repair
iFixit is fast becoming the go-to site of choice when it comes to sorting out one’s hardware problems with desktops, laptops or smartphones especially if you don’t agree with the ‘throw-away’ culture of some generations. In recent times, they have also started to branch out into other hardware, namely cars and trucks which at first might seem unrelated to their core expertise but if you have been following the news of late, even the trusty old car will soon be transformed into just the next must-have gadget.

Written By: Sam is the resident gardener, a father of 3, who lives in the UK. He is also into everything tech and is the ‘go to’ guy for anything DIY. He is also an enthusiastic blogger who especially enjoys writing about outdoor activities.

Popularity: 91% [?]

 

Healthier carpet freshener

Posted by Chrys on August 2nd, 2015

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

I have been making my own home-made carpet freshener for several years now instead of buying the stuff from the store.  The home-made stuff is so much better and an added bonus is that you don’t always know what is in the commercial version. My lovely puppy does what all dogs do and keeps sniffing around the house – the thought of him inhaling some unhealthy chemicals is not appealing at all. And since It’s really so easy to make your own – it’s a no brainer! The key ingredient in the home-made stuff is baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate, in other words a simple salt – so that is unlikely to be bad for Rover. The other ingredient, essential oils, is optional, but makes it more like the store-bought stuff as it provides the scent to the freshener.

Scented carpet freshener:
A. Three mugs of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate (I usually have baking soda in large quantities at home as it has many applications.)
B. Two teaspoons of essential oils (but more can be added if you want a stronger aroma)

Mix together in a bowl but apply one tsp of essential oil at a time with thorough mixing after each addition. The most recent scent I used was strawberry but there are so many other aromas you can choose from.  With a spoon or similar, blend the oil right into the baking soda. Sometimes, little spheres of oil will form in the baking soda so be sure to squish them up with your mixing implement. Once I’m happy with the texture of the mixture (and once it’s smelling lovely), I pour some of it into another container that has holes in it so it can act  as a shaker to dispense the carpet freshener (actually it is an empty store-bought carpet freshener container from old practices!)  Cool tip: Whenever you’re attempting to get rid of labels as well as the adhesive from commercial containers, remove as much it as possible by pulling it off and then place some vegetable oil on the area with a cloth and rub it in. It works every time! Happy Freshening!

Written By: Crystal is the founder of Chrysanthemoms, and a mother of 3. She is a graphic designer, specializing in wedding invitations, baby announcements and photo greeting cards. She is also an avid blogger and loves to write.Visit Crystal’s Website

Popularity: 22% [?]

Top reasons for moving your family to downtown New York

Posted by Chrys on May 9th, 2014

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

New York has all sorts of neighborhoods for families to live in, from the gorgeous homes of Uptown, to the marine delights of Riverview, to the artistic vibes of the Manhattan suburbs. Yet the New York Downtown District that has gone through a recent revival in restaurants and bars, not to mention the number of tourists, is now going through a similar boost in permanent residents. So why is that?

1. Everything is Just a Stroll Away
When your area is essentially 15 blocks, every little thing becomes a lot easier to reach. Taking the kids to the supermarket by minivan is no longer a necessity . Just walk there!

2. A Plethora of Options to Get Around
Don’t see yourself as much of a pedestrian? There are plenty of other methods to get around. With all the brand-new bike pathways across the city, one can reach just about any part of the downtown zone  in safety while also being eco-friendly. Alternatively, if you prefer the tourist way, you have ample buses and metros trains to choose from.

3. Family Days Are Everywhere to be had
If you are a parent, then you know when it’s time to go on a children’s day out. Fortunately, the downtown district provides a wealth of opportunities in abundance. The kids will certainly love the New York Children’s Museum exploring, examining and hopping  around every aspect of this local jewel. A little education for Mom and Dad won’t hurt either! For the pet fanatics, there is always the New York Aquarium of the Americas and the Insectarium. Don’t feel like seeing too many creepy crawlies? Try taking in an iMax movie at the Aquarium instead (while sending the teenagers off to try eating some baked grasshoppers – that will certainly give them the ideal tale to beguile their buddies at lunch break on Monday).

4. Some of the Most Lavish Pads in the Country
There may not be any gardens in the Downtown District, but once your family members see the infinity pools on the roof they’ll forget all about how they miss playing on the lawn for the rest of their young lives. Such facilities in New York apartment complexes are common, along with 3-D movie theatres, smart-phone controlled everything, and did I mention the awesome infinity pools and sundeck on the roof? These and more will certainly designate your home as the holiday season party center for the extended family and friends.

Written By: Crystal is the founder of Chrysanthemoms, and a mother of 3. She is a graphic designer, specializing in wedding invitations, baby announcements and photo greeting cards. She is also an avid blogger and loves to write.Visit Crystal’s Website

Popularity: 21% [?]

To Throw or Not to Throw…

Posted by Chrys on Mar 19th, 2010

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

So what do you do when your absolute favorite denims start developing holes (probably due to the fact they are your favorite in the first place)? Toss them out I hear you say … but not so fast! Repairing them is not as tough as you might assume. If you have a sewing machine handy, then there are some straightforward steps that will extend the life of your beloved denims that doesn’t involve  messy darning or the more professional interfacing techniques. A simple sewing machine with a basic stitch is all that you need.

Here goes:

  • First, trim any left over “jean-strings” that one usually finds over denim where the material has worn away.
  • Cut a stretch of  old denim material sufficient to cover the hole in your favorite jeans. Don’t have any old jeans? Then it might be time to invest in some denim material to use now and in the future.
  • Then flipping the Jeans inside out, pin the patch of fabric over the offending hole.
  • Baste down the patch with a few wide stitches to hold it in place.
  • Get rid of the holding pins once you’re all basted down.
  • Using a stitch tension level of around no. 2, which makes the stitches tight and short, flip the denims right side out and sew up and down the span of the hole. There are no particular number of times to sew up and down, just make sure that you cover the whole area. Once finished you ought to be barely able to distinguish that there was a hole there!
  • Finally, cut excess fabric off of the denim patch preferably making use of pinking scissors as denim tends to fray.

Thats it! Have a go yourself – believe me you’ll love the result!

Written By:
Crystal is the founder of Chrysanthemoms, and a mother of 3. She is a graphic designer, specializing in wedding invitations, baby announcements and photo greeting cards. She is also an avid blogger and loves to write.Visit Crystal’s Website

Popularity: 25% [?]

How to Grow Potatoes in a Bag

Posted by Sam on November 17th, 2009

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..
mypotatoesMy garden is small by anyone’s standards, so I recently decided to cultivate potatoes in a sack this year.  I usually grow lots of vegetables or fruits that my family eats and lots of it, so space is at a premium. Somehow, I was ignorant of the fact that white potatos are one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate. They’ll expand in any sort of container as long as you put them in some decent soil. So, I cannot wait to see exactly how mine turn out. If you are interested in doing the same, then here is the ‘to do’ list:

Buy some seed spuds that are sprouting (leave them in a cool dark place if they haven’t sprouted yet – I didn’t try cultivating them from potatoes that you buy from the shop since this was my first time). Section them if they are too large, but make sure that you leave an eye on every section that you cut. After that, let them sit out for a few days prior to sowing. Fill the bottom of a bag with 3 inches of soil. The dirt I had had plant food already in it. Using some kind of pointed weeder, poke holes in the bottom of the bag to facilitate water drainage.  Put your seed potatoes in the sack – you should probably put no more than three to a bag. Cover seed spuds with around 2 inches of dirt. You need to make certain that you completely cover them otherwise they will not grow well. Irrigate them. Now, just wait and let mother nature take its course. When the seed spuds grow approximately 5 inches above the top of the soil,  add another 2-3 inches more of soil over top. Keep repeating until the stems poke roughly 5 inches above the top of the sack. Your potatoes are ready sir!

Written By: Sam is the resident gardener, a father of 3, who lives in the UK. He is also into everything tech and is the ‘go to’ guy for anything DIY. He is also an enthusiastic blogger who especially enjoys writing about outdoor activities.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Storing those pesky plastic bags!

Posted by Chrys on August 7th, 2009

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

When one needs to store those plastic grocery store bags, one typically packs them into some unsuspecting closet in the kitchen. Storing them inside of a bigger bag at the bottom of a drawer or closet usually means they spill out all over the place whenever one is needed. So here is a Chrys’s cool way of better organising them!

To begin with, find a long thin format box or cardboard tube that will fit into the storage area that you have allocated for the bags. Ideally  the box should have  an entrace at the top for packing in the bags. Then measure roughly 10 cm  from the other end and cut a hole big enough to take out bags without them becoming stuck or falling out on their own. You should make the hole close enough to the bottom so that the stuffed bags are going to drop down when required. Cover the outer walls of the container with wrapping paper so that it looks attractive dangling in the storage area, but leave the top portion uncovered for the previously descibed entrance for the bags as well as the hole for bag retrieval. Secure the paper around the holes with tape so that the covering doesn’t come apart when putting in and taking out bags. Push the plastic bags down into the highest part of the container, making use of a broom handle or similar to help them on their way. Pack as many as you can, but be careful not to over-pack the container because you want the bags to be able to fall through the container when you take one out. Punch 2 nails through the top of the container, and nail it on to the wall inside the closet. Likewise, place a nail through the opening slot near the bottom to ensure that it stays fastened to the wall when you are pulling out bags. Enjoy!

 

Written By: Crystal is the founder of Chrysanthemoms, and a mother of 3. She is a graphic designer, specializing in wedding invitations, baby announcements and photo greeting cards. She is also an avid blogger and loves to write.Visit Crystal’s Website

Popularity: 18% [?]

Start your own herb garden

Posted by Sam on June 1st, 2008

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..
An interior natural herb garden could be the ideal, and practical, remedy for people who prefer to prepare food with fresh natural herbs throughout the year. They equally make perfect sense for individuals who reside in appartments and flats without a garden. Natural herb gardens can be established indoors fairly effortlessly, especially useful for people who live in areas that frequently see freezes or snowfalls in the winter season. Try out these useful tips for an effective natural herb garden even if you do not possess “green” fingers.

Placement

When choosing where to place your natural herb garden indoors there are 2 primary variables to take into consideration. First of all, and most significantly, is readily available light. For those residing in the Northern hemisphere, a home window looking south will certainly supply the best natural light. For people in the southern hemisphere , the contrary is applicable and the most effective overview will be a north facing house window. Alternatively, compact fluorescent or LED grow lights can be used either as a supplementary light source or, if ones with sufficient power are used, can obviate the need for natural light altogether. These can be particularly important if you live somewhere with an unpredicatble climate. For example, LED grow lights in the UK are becoming increasingly popular due to our often-overcast skies!

The second factor to consider is easily-accessible clean water.

Kitchen areas are consistently a preferred place as there is usually a window for light and readily-accessible water, and with the added bonus that counter-tops are very easy to wash in the event of potting-mix mishaps.  Make sure to choose a place that is fairly draft free and is also not subjected to significant temperature changes. Those people who reside in excessively warm houses with exceptionally unmoistened air might have to supply their natural herbs with a limited splash of drinking water now and then to guarantee the plant foliage doesn’t dehydrate excessively. However, the majority of natural herbs will certainly not endure over-watering. Their normal environment is warm and dry. This is not to suggest that you never irrigate them, however it does indicate they will certainly require much less water compared to the typical house plant. In particular, once the plants have adapted to their new home and and have begun to establish brand-new leaves, then this is the time to decrease the watering.

Suitable Herbs For Indoor Natural herb Garden

While lots of herbs are ideal for growing inside the home, it can be an excellent idea to make certain you are purchasing the mini-versions. Some natural herbs such as lavenders and also geraniums can easily transform your window case into a real forest if you acquire the size designed for the outdoors. Test parsley, basil, , peppermint, chives, cilantro, or tarragon to begin. Naturally, if you have personal favorites for seasoning your food, or simply for the excellent fragrance, then make sure to include those in your indoor garden.

Written By: Sam is the resident gardener, a father of 3, who lives in the UK. He is also into everything tech and is the ‘go to’ guy for anything DIY. He is also an enthusiastic blogger who especially enjoys writing about outdoor activities.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Melissa Joan Hart Potty Training

Posted by Chrys on May 30th, 2008

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

Melissa Joan Hart, former Sabrina The Teenage Witch star, is getting ready to potty train her eldest son, two-year-old Mason. According to People, Melissa will be teaming up with Huggies Pull-ups with an online journal documenting the highs and lows. Should be some interesting reading!

In other parenting news, Zac Hanson has once again joined a group with his brothers brothers – this time by becoming a father. Zac and his wife had a healthy 8lb 4oz little boy on Tuesday and have named him Shepherd.

And, reports are that Clay Aiken is going to be a dad this summer, but no – he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Apparently, Clay Aiken donated his sperm to Jaymes Foster who was impregnated through artificial insemination. Jaymes’ brother, David Foster has confirmed that she is indeed pregnant and Clay is the father.

Written By:
Crystal is the founder of Chrysanthemoms, and a mother of 3. She is a graphic designer, specializing in wedding invitations, baby announcements and photo greeting cards. She is also an avid blogger and loves to write.Visit Crystal’s Website

Popularity: 8% [?]

Diversity in Youth Sports

Posted by Regionz Kidz on May 29th, 2008

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

For some parents across the country, weekends are measured in soccer game start times, baseball innings and tournament scores. Researchers estimate that over 14 million children play one type of organized sport and several of those youngsters play multiple sports depending on the season. Sports are important for teaching good sportsmanship, goal-setting, teamwork, and for encouraging children to have an active lifestyle. Aside from these obvious advantages, organized sports can also play a much larger and culturally significant role as well.

 

Sports combine athletic as well as social skills and mix them up into an organized framework. Children are often required to put aside their own desires and ego for the sake of their team. They spend time learning from and befriending teammates who often are more like brothers and sisters than mere friends. Team uniforms are worn to signify solidarity and equality; everyone’s uniform looks the same. Children learn to play, strategize and communicate with people from all walks of life; those of different religions, race, ethnicity, gender and culture and work toward a common goal – winning. They are often exposed at an early age to those that are different from themselves but possess equal or greater skills and they come to realize that everyone is different, but differences can be strengths as well. Consider the following sports when looking for a diverse team activity for your child:

1. Baseball – – Baseball not only requires good communication from all team members; pitcher and catcher, outfielder to infielder and between the out and in-fielders themselves, it also encourages children to assist struggling teammates who are not performing well. By succeeding individually, children help contribute to a winning team environment and each child knows that even though he or she may not have their best game that day, one of their teammates will pick up the slack.

Major League Baseball also has many international stars and role-models that children of different ethnicities and nationalities can look up to and admire. There are players from Japan, Korea, Canada, the US, Australia, Mexico, Cuba and several other countries around the globe. MLB has training centers in a number of Central and South American countries and are constantly providing instruction and education for their players. The teams play exhibition games overseas and have created a World Baseball Classic which features international teams competing against each other for the title.

2. Basketball – – Basketball requires communication as well. While on the court, players make each other aware of their positions as well as the position of the defenders. It also encourages and rewards players for unselfish play in passing the ball to others to score. It necessitates an understanding between all players and the coach when plays are created in practice or called out during the game. Basketball is a game of camaraderie and the more time a team spends together practicing, the better they know where teammates will be during any given play in the game.

Recently, the National Basketball Association has seen an influx of international players as well. There are players from all different walks of life and several different age groups, as the NBA allows high school players to participate. Basketball is a very popular international Olympic sport and thousands of fans from every different country come out to support their team during the trials and 2 week events.

3. Football – – In football, we truly see the uniform disguising all differences. The helmets children wear to protect themselves also offers a mask to hide skin color, gender differences and cultural distinctions as well. Everyone looks the same on the football field; there is no one better than another; the great equalizer. This helps children to be judged more on their ability to play, rather than what they look like or where they come from. Football, like Baseball and Basketball requires communication skills between teammates as well as a desire to unselfishly sacrifice oneself for another teammate.

4. Other Sports Programs – – There are a number of other special sports programs in communities across the country that focus on helping children with disabilities participate and establish relationships. Special baseball fields, basketball courts and tennis facilities allow children in wheelchairs, walkers and on crutches to play sports alongside of their peers. Mixed leagues provide children without physical disabilities the chance to participate and learn about children that are different from themselves.

Although many people may consider sports divisive and ego-driven with all players performing for themselves, parents can use sports as an opportunity to teach children about the satisfaction that comes from being part of a team. Children can learn life lessons as they play; leadership, teamwork, social skills and they can also learn that people that look, speak or play differently from themselves are people that they want to get to know and become friends with. Children are open to learning about others and accepting those who are different. We as parents need to be conscious of what we are teaching and the opportunities that we provide to them for doing just that.

Lisa Smith has a BA in Psychology & is the Owner/CEO of Regionz Kidz, a multi-cultural infant & toddler clothing line featuring ethnically diverse characters and designs.  She publishes a blog on her website http://www.regionzkidz.com that discusses cultural diversity & children & is a frequent guest blogger on other blogs and websites regarding parenting and children’s issues.  You can contact Lisa directly at: [email protected]

Written By: Lisa Smith has a BA in Psychology & is the Owner/CEO of Regionz Kidz, a multi-cultural infant & toddler clothing line featuring ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on her website http://www.regionzkidz.com that discusses cultural diversity & children & is a frequent guest blogger on other blogs and websites regarding parenting and children’s issues. You can contact Lisa directly at: [email protected]Visit Lisa’s Website

Popularity: 12% [?]