10 Reasons To Invest in Solar Power for Your Lake Home

By Mikkie Mills

The impending climate crisis has been at the forefront of the news for much of the past several years. Reversing the damage before it is too late will take effort from everyone. As a bonus, the benefits of using solar power in your lake home has for the environment can also pay off in a variety of other ways. Consider these 10 reasons to invest in solar power for your lake home.

1. Practical Energy Savings

Solar panels for home use are not the only green technology out there that can save you energy, but they are one of the most practical. Some options, such as biomass fuels, are significantly more expensive. Wind power is more dependent on location and geothermal and hydroelectric power requires your home to be near flowing water. By contrast, the sun shines everywhere for at least half the day.

2. Cost Savings

Using solar panels in your lake home can significantly reduce or even eliminate the amount of electricity you need to purchase from the power company. In some places, you can even sell excess solar energy to your neighbors. Solar panels also hold their value well, which may increase the resale value of your home.

3. Durability

Most solar panels come with at least a 25-year warranty and many are still operational for years beyond that point. As solar technology continues to improve, newer panels can be expected to last even longer than the already durable older models.

4. Self-reliance

If your lake home is in an out-of-the-way location, you do not have to worry about unreliable utility connections when you install solar panels. You also have some protection if your home is located in an area with frequent severe weather events that may cause power outages.

5. Minimal Impact on the Environment

Solar panels generate electricity without the harmful greenhouse gas emissions produced by burning fossil fuels. Using solar power, instead of GHG producing power sources helps reduce carbon dioxide in the air, which is a major contributor to climate change.

6. You Might Get a Tax Break

The government has extended the solar Investment Tax Credit through 2021 for some homeowners. If your home qualifies for this tax credit, you may be able to deduct 22% of the cost of your solar system from your taxes.

7. Less Air Pollution

Burning fossil fuels releases a lot of pollution into the air and is largely responsible for the smog in places like China, New York, and California. Smog doesn’t just look bad, it is also bad for human health. Using solar panels instead of fossil fuels helps reduce the amount of pollution in the air.

8. Saves Water

Hydropower and nuclear energy are two of the main alternatives to burning fossil fuels for energy and they both consume large amounts of water. The dams required to operate these facilities can also harm the local ecosystem. Solar panels neither consume water nor negatively impact local ecosystems.

9. Sustainability

Not only does burning fossil fuels harm the environment, but eventually those fuels will run out. As fossil fuels become more scarce, prices will rise and energy shortages will become an increasing problem if more people do not migrate to sustainable energy sources, such as solar energy.

10. Falling Costs

The cost to install a solar power system has dropped more than 70% in the past ten years, making solar energy a very affordable option. Because solar panels have no moving parts, they are also very economical to maintain. Additionally, the price of solar batteries has also decreased by about a third, making it affordable to ensure you always have access to energy.

Installing a solar energy system in your lake house comes with benefits that range from cost savings to reduced air pollution and a positive impact on climate change. Solar panels are long-lasting, can provide you with freedom from utility connections, and can increase the value of your home.

 

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on natural health cures and news, budgeting hacks, and favorite DIY projects. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her little ones around or can be found rock climbing at her local climbing gym.

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How to Keep Your Cabin Running Naturally

By Craig Middleton

Living off the grid in a mountain cabin is becoming quite popular these days. Besides just the health-related reasons for living the country life, many people enjoy just having a part-time escape from the madding hustle of urban life. There’s nothing simple about the simple life though, and it’s easy to get in over your head by forgetting the effort it takes to keep things running in even a simple cabin. Here are three things to remember when making long-term plans for your home away from home.

Choose Sustainable Power Systems

A vital concern about living away from civilization involves how to bring energy to your dwelling. Unless your cabin is in an area that’s connected to commercial power providers, you’re on your own when it comes to generating power. The good news is that there are multiple options available, including wind turbines, geothermal energy and solar power. The last of these options is becoming incredibly popular as the price of photovoltaic cells continues to drop and the technology becomes more robust. Remember not to skimp on power storage! A good solar panel battery is necessary in order to ensure the continuous availability of power if solar is your choice.

Make sure to do your homework regarding your own rate of energy consumption. Last year the average annual energy use per person was 10,649 kilowatt-hours. Learn how much power your energy system produces in the summer versus the winter as well and be aware of your peak usage times. Look for weak spots in your cabin’s insulation which might be wasting your energy. Learning to crunch those numbers is the key to DIY success.

Remember to Winterize 

A lot of cabins are built in parts of the country where winter hits hard. Winterization is especially important for people who live in their cabins on a seasonal basis. Arguably the most important concern in regards to winterizing is water. When water freezes it expands, and this expansion can burst pipes if the water isn’t removed before the first major freeze. If you’re not already an expert, consult with a plumber or homesteader to learn exactly what to do and what not to do when preparing your cabin’s hot and cold water systems for those cold winter months. Even if you keep your cabin’s thermostat set above freezing over the winter, that’s no guarantee that pipes in the walls won’t freeze or that the heating system itself won’t fail due to lack of maintenance. Also remember to take actions to winterize the outside of your cabin, such as bringing in the dock if you have a cabin on a lake and the dock isn’t strong enough to resist the pressure of ice, and make sure to drain outdoor faucets and remove the hoses so they don’t rupture.

Grow Your Own Food to Reduce Grocery Bills

A perennial concern involved in living in the wilds is getting food and storing it. Many cabins are located in at least semi-developed areas so hauling loads of groceries to your cabin is certainly doable in most cases. However, acquiring food takes gas and storing it takes energy (unless you plan to live on freeze-dried meals). You can at least blunt these costs by growing some of your own food in areas where the climate cooperates. So-called “Victory Gardens” were actually encouraged by the government during the Second World War when food supplies were in danger of being interrupted. Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map and use that to help optimize both the types of crops you can sow as well as planting times for them based on long-term climatology data. A garden won’t completely satisfy your food needs unless you operate a full-fledged farm, but every extra meal it provides will make you more sustainable.

Living in splendid isolation inside your dream cabin is all about learning the mindset. You have to be prepared to consider necessities that you might not have thought about before in order to be self-sufficient. Do your research and learn the tricks of the trade, and your off the grid dream can become a reality.

 

Craig has worked in health, real estate, and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated from the University of California – Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. When he’s not creating content or advising clients, he enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife.       

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Finding the Perfect Spot to Build the Cabin of Your Dreams

by Paisley Hansen

A cabin is the best hiding and retreat spot away from all the hustle and bustle of city life. However, a cabin is a substantial investment; therefore, you have to understand all the vital information involved in building a cabin. Similar to any form of real estate, when building a cabin, you have to find the most suitable location to render your investment valuable.

Additionally, you have to consider other factors influenced by your personal preferences, such as the views and location you wish to build your cabin. Here are useful tips on finding the best spot for your dream cabin.

Area is Important

The location you wish your cabin to be situated is down to your preferences and personal choice. When looking for a piece of land, evaluate the following factors to narrow down your hunt.

  • Purpose – You have to consider the purpose of your cabin as various locations have distinct features. Some areas are suitable for individuals who want a quiet time to relax and unwind, while others prefer areas close to adventure sites like ski slopes. Furthermore, some individuals prefer locations that have access to outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and fishing. The purpose of constructing your cabin will help you find the most suitable location.
  • Access – The tranquility and seclusion of cabin homes are what make them so popular. Nevertheless, you should ensure the location you wish to build your cabin home has convenient access to local amenities and roads. No matter how attractive the area is, it will be difficult to appreciate that if the trip to reach it is laborious and difficult. The right area should be accessible throughout the year.
  • Type of land – The land’s purpose is vital, especially if you plan to use the land for various purposes. If you want to grow crops or cultivate a garden, search for agricultural land where you can construct your cabin. If you are looking for a timber source, you should opt for a good woodland.
  • View – The views of nature you enjoy from a cabin are one of the substantial considerations when constructing cabin homes. The main objective of constructing a cabin home is to unwind and rejuvenate. Select an area with natural beauty to get the most out of your cabin home. Do you want your cabin home in the middle of the forest surrounded by trees or in an elevated location overlooking beautiful landscapes?

Legalities and Practicalities

After choosing a suitable area, you should consult with a home builder advisor. Local real estate agents and land developers understand the legalities of their specific locations. You should also consult with local experts about permits and regulations that you have to comply with. Evaluate future development plans, zoning, development restrictions, code restrictions, and other procedural issues.

On top of the legal issues, you also have to consider the practicalities of constructing a home cabin. When buying land for your cabin, you should consider the structural foundation, type of land, and soil type. You should consult a home builder advisor on these issues. Slopes and soil conditions are vital considerations that dictate the suitability of the location you wish to build your cabin.

Check the Amenities and Resources

After finding an area where you can legally and practically construct your cabin home, you must consider the amenities and resources situated on your land. Some of the amenities to consider are water sources, utility lines, and local drainage systems.

Cabin Orientation

Once you know the area where you will build your cabin, consider cabin orientation. To maximize the sun’s energy, you need to site your cabin facing south. Your windows should also face south if your cabin is situated in an area with a cold climate. If your cabin is located in a hot climate, your windows should face north to save on cooling and heating expenses.

A cabin home will give you the peace you desire. Ideally, when you consider all these factors, you will decide the best area to buy land and where precisely to position your cabin home on your land. With these tips, you will have a fantastic cabin experience.

 

Paisley Hansen has worked in real estate most of her professional career. She graduated from the University of California – Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. When she’s not creating content or working with clients, he enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband.

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Hosting Friends and Family at Your Cabin

By Mikkie Mills

Preparing a vacation cabin for guests is similar to preparing your home for guests. The biggest difference is the expectations of the visitors. When they arrive at your house, they expect it to have the qualities of most homes. When they arrive at your cabin, however, they are looking for magic. Create some cabin magic with a few simple décor and furnishing ideas.

The Best Night’s Sleep

Many people hope to catch up on their sleep while on vacation. Away from the hustle and bustle of city living and the bright streetlights, vacationers imagine falling into a blissful sleep after a full day of breathing in unpolluted air. Help your guests achieve their goal by providing them with an excellent bed set-up. Start with a nice mattress covered in 100% cotton sheets, soft pillows, and a fluffy comforter. Keep a cedar chest of extra blankets in the room for both the clean cedar smell and the warmth. Stay away from bright colors and stick with earthy browns and greens to blend in with the natural surroundings.

A Country Breakfast

Whether your cabin is in the mountains, woods or on the shores of the lake, awaken your guests with a good old-fashioned country breakfast cooked (at least in part) on an iron skillet. The smell of bacon sizzling in the pan and biscuits rising in the oven will get your guests out of bed early to get on with the day’s activities. Coffee should be strong and ground fresh, releasing an aroma of comfort throughout the entire cabin.

Outdoor Activities

You may go to your cabin just to relax but be sure to have plenty of outdoor activities available for guests who like to be active. Stock up on binoculars for birdwatchers, extra fishing poles and baskets for youngsters to collect treasures in such as beautiful leaves or unusual shells. A croquet or badminton set is fun to have around because all ages can play. If there are good places to hike around your cabin, consider keeping extra gloves, scarves and jackets on hand for folks who show up without the proper outdoor gear.

Games to Play

Even those friends and family who normally eschew games might not be able to help themselves away from their technology. Introduce a new generation to dominoes or card games like gin rummy and hearts. Board games are a great way for the old and young to come together in a way that Xbox and PlayStation aren’t. Make a scoreboard for a weekend-long tournament of all the different games you play from horseshoes to Chutes and Ladders so that all ages have an equal chance of winning. The grand prize can be a golden pinecone or jar of homemade jam from a nearby country fair.

Quiet Time

After the kids have gone to bed is a great time for adults to relax with a glass of wine and a good book or around a fire pit with a glass of whiskey. Imagine how your guests will want to spend their downtime after a busy day in nature. Keep a bookshelf full of reading material of all genres such as local history, nature studies, mysteries, and thrillers and romance. One fun shelf could be filled with any book with the word “cabin” in it that you find at garage sales or used books stores. Create reading nooks with comfortable places to sit, lamps and extra blankets to wrap around cold toes. For those who like to sit under the stars at night, purchase sturdy outdoor seating, an attractive fire pit and more blankets that you don’t mind getting dragged through the dirt a bit.

Hosting guests in your cabin doesn’t have to be any more strenuous than having them at your house. Just remember that away from the city, first-timers tend to be both excited and trepidatious. They aren’t sure what to expect and might possibly be unprepared. With a little planning, it’s easy to give them a vacation to remember.

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on natural health cures and news, budgeting hacks, and favorite DIY projects. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her little ones around or can be found rock climbing at her local climbing gym.

 

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Cozy Decorating Ideas For Your Lake Cottage

by Holly Welles

Nothing is more cozy and relaxing than spending a weekend in a lake cottage. When you have the decorations to go with it, you can transform a lake home into a cottage paradise, making it warm and inviting for anyone who enters.

A traditional cottage home pairs a rustic, natural vibe with bursts of color and texture. Each room of a cottage offers unique features and decor, but they all provide comfort.

If you’re looking to add cozy decoration ideas for a lake cottage, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at these eight ways you can make your lake home look even more comfortable.

Bring in Bouquets

Since cottage homes embrace the natural, what’s better than bringing in seasonal flowers? Add your favorite bouquet of blooms to make any room shine. Place your flowers in an old watering can and put it on your dining room table for the perfect centerpiece to elevate the cottage look.

If you would rather have living plants in your home, plant some ferns in a small barrel for the freshest green accents.

Paint It White

White brings feelings of freshness and openness. Plus, painting any wall white makes the perfect backdrop for your colorful decor. Choose to adorn your couches and chairs with white pillows and throw blankets if the painting isn’t an option. Dash your home with touches of white to give that cozy cottage feeling.

Light Some Candles

Any way you can add warmth to your lake cottage will make it all the more welcoming. Candles provide a soft glow that will make you and your family or guests want to curl up, and the scents will be delightful. It’s a bonus if you have a fireplace to set the romantic, storybook mood that most cottages radiate on their own.

If candles aren’t your thing, opt for elegant lamps and softer lighting to accentuate the walls and make your cottage look homey.

Take Advantage of Small Spaces

Cottages typically include a mixture of open rooms and small spaces. Make the most out of those small spaces with smarter decor. Use them for added storage, like for towels or toiletry items in a bathroom, or turn an alcove into a reading nook.

The best part of the cottage-style decor is that it doesn’t need to look modern to be trendy. Even in your smallest of spaces, you can add floral wallpaper or a colorful rug to amplify the cottage look.

Mix Patterns

Because color is an essential aspect of cottage homes, feel free to mix colors and patterns in your lake house. Get creative and pair stripes with florals — layer quilts and blankets on beds. Since most cottage homes will have white walls and furniture, you can easily add any color or pattern you choose with your decor.

Rope It In

To bring the lake into your home, include rope as a decoration. On the lake, rope is essential for keeping your boat from floating away. It’s very sturdy, so fashion some macrame plant holders and hang your greenery from the walls or ceiling.

Rope varies in thickness, so get some thicker rope and use it for trim around an accent wall.

Accent With Memories

Bring in nostalgia by hanging pictures of you and your family or friends around the cottage. Even when you’re at home by yourself, you’ll have constant reminders of the people that you love most, comforting you.

Another way to accent with memories is to decorate with antique family items. They’ll bring uniqueness to your lake cottage with stories passed down from one generation to the next.

Repurpose Lake Equipment

Any cottage you step into is bound to have antique or repurposed decorations. Living by a lake, you likely have old boating or lake equipment lying around.

Take an oar and sand it down to give it a weathered look, and hang it on your wall above your couch. Use half of a canoe to act as a corner bookshelf. Plus, when you repurpose materials into decor for your home, you’re helping the environment!

There are endless options to infuse your lake home with character and style. The best way to make your lake cottage cozy is to make it yours. Every aspect of your home will reflect you and your family, and you will swoon over the decorations for years to come.

 

Holly Welles is a writer and decorating enthusiast. She shares tips on home improvements and design for homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update. She’s also a regular contributor to industry publications including Build Magazine and Today’s Homeowner.

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Should I Get Solar Panels at My Cabin?

by Craig Middleton

A cabin can be an excellent investment. It offers a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, retreating to quiet, simplicity, and solitude. One of the downsides of that solitude is that it can be difficult and expensive to connect traditional utilities to many remote cabins. As a result, many people consider solar panels as an alternative power source. If you are thinking of adding solar panels to your cabin, asking yourself these five questions can help determine if it is the right choice.

1. What Other Options Are Available on the Property?

This should be the first thing you evaluate when deciding whether buying solar panels is the right choice for your cabin. After all, you may not have a lot of choice in how you power up appliances and lighting. On the other hand, you may have several choices. Alternative power sources have advanced over the past decade as renewable energies draw more interest and investment dollars. Small wind turbines and geothermal systems are both possibilities for powering your off-grid cabin. However, if you think solar power might be the way to go, you can continue on with more questions to learn more about what type and size of system you’ll need.

2. How Will You Use the Cabin?

Not every cabin has a need for electricity all year. Perhaps you only plan to use the property for occasional weekends or throughout hunting or fishing season. How many people will be staying at one time, how often they visit, and for how long all affect how you generate power.

3. What Will You Need To Power?

You will need to calculate the energy draw from everything you normally run and leave a little extra room for electric items you use only occasionally. You wouldn’t want to bring out the Christmas tree only to find it will have to stay dark this year, do you? Do this carefully so as not to miss anything. If you can devote a week or so to recording electric appliances, you’ll have a pretty clear picture. Use one of the available online tools to determine how much power each item uses during start-up and normal operation and enter it into a spreadsheet.

All of this information gives you an idea of how much power you use. Now comes the time to decide what size system you will need to operate all of those, plus some extra. Panels will not always operate at full efficiency, so take that into account.

4. How Will You Store Power That is Generated?

If you are going to an off-grid system, you have a few other complications that might come into play. The first of those is storage. Once you know how much power you use over the course of a day or week, you can see how much battery storage you will need to take your cabin completely off-grid. Solar panels only produce electricity when the sun is up. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sunny, but current systems simply don’t work once the sun sets for the day. That means any electronics run after dark will need to run off of stored energy.

Solar batteries have come a long way in the past several years. New models are able to hold a substantial charge for extended periods of time. They also last for many years, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them for a while.

5. How Much Sunlight Will the Panels Receive?

Home solar panels can be installed on a roof or a separate stand. Most are stationary, so you will need to find a location that gets the most direct sunlight for the longest period of time on most days. If that isn’t possible, there are some stands that can move to track the sun, called solar trackers. This article makes a case for double-sided panels that not only track the sun but also absorb light reflected off the ground by showing how they reduce the cost to generate power.

By understanding your power needs and options, you can make an informed decision about whether installing solar panels is the right move for your cabin retreat.

 

Craig has worked in health, real estate, and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated from the University of California – Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. When he’s not creating content or advising clients, he enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife.       

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Ways To Prepare Your Rental Cabin for Winter

by Craig Middleton

Renting out your property is a great way to make an income. However, being a landlord also brings with it many responsibilities, primarily keeping up with the maintenance of your real estate property. The winter season can bring with it severe weather that may damage your rental property. Neither you nor your tenants want to deal with that. Read on to learn ways you can proactively protect your property against damage from the winter weather.

Water Heater

Nobody wants to suffer from a lack of hot water, especially during the coldest time of the year. Before the chill sets in, set aside some time to have a professional, such as The Water Heater Company in Beverly Hills, evaluate your water heater. They will be able to complete a thorough diagnosis and advise any concerns or potential issues.

Insulation

Making sure your property is properly insulated will not only keep your tenants warm throughout the winter but can also save money on your heating bill. Two locations that can benefit the most from insulation are the basement and attic. Even though there might already be insulation in these parts of your house, it is still a good idea to do an assessment to determine if new insulation is needed. As it is not checked often, there is a good chance the material has deteriorated. Take a look at the basement ceilings and insulation throughout the attic and add more material as needed.

Air Filters

While you might not associate air filters with cold weather, they can have an impact on your house’s performance. Changing the air filters on a regular basis not only ensures cleaner air throughout the property but also conserves energy from your HVAC unit. If the air filters are old and clogged, the HVAC will have to work harder, therefore using more energy, increasing your utility bill, and ultimately causing the unit to wear out sooner than it needs to. Invest in quality air filters and ensure they are changed according to the packaging guidelines.

Gutters

Check your gutters regularly to ensure there is no build-up blocking the system. Clogged gutters can cause the water to get backed-up and damage the sealing behind the gutters. The last thing you want to deal with during a cold, windy winter is being outside trying to fix or replace damaged gutters. It may not be the most exciting chore but getting it done will save you time and money in the long run.

Window Seals

Damaged or old window seals are a prime suspect for a drafty home. While the weather is still nice, assess the windows throughout the home. Keep an eye out for cracks and rot. Depending on the degree of ruin, it might be worthwhile to replace the windows. However, for basic wear and tear, you can typically treat yourself with a sealant.

Exterior

Complete a thorough analysis of the home’s exterior surface for any damage. Rotten wood, missing bricks, and cracked planks are all points of concern for keeping your house warm. As with window seals, many minor issues can be corrected with sealant but if you are noticing substantial damage, bring in a professional to look at it. They can advise whether it can be fixed or a large-scale replacement is needed.

Fans

A simple adjustment that can make a big difference is switching the direction of the ceiling fans. Fans should be set counterclockwise during the summer, to promote cooler air, and clockwise during the winter, to circulate the heated air. Ensure the fan is also at a slower setting when it is cold. If you are prepping the house prior to tenants moving in, set the fans appropriately. Otherwise, if you are already renting the property it might be beneficial to reach out to the tenants regarding the switch.

While the winter season brings with it a welcomed relief from the heat, the cool weather can also pose a threat to your property. Take proactive steps to ensure your rental home is ready. The above recommendations can make a big difference in keeping the house heated.

 

Craig has worked in health, real estate, and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated from the University of California – Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. When he’s not creating content or working with clients, he enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife.

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Tasteful Ways to Decorate your Cabins for the Holidays

by Alex Platt

When the snow is falling, it’s peacefully quiet outside, and the holidays arrive, there’s no better place to be than a cabin. A cabin is an ultimate place to live for those who love decorating and going all-out for the joyous time of year. While it’s a lot of work to prep your cabin for decorating, the final product is beautiful and so worth it. If you love to get festive, here are some great ways to tastefully decorate your cabin for the holiday season.

Exterior

Depending on where you live, you may be in a winter wonderland during the holidays, or you may be experiencing some sunshine, but either way, you can impress your neighbors with your outdoor decorations. The first step of any great outdoor set up is ensuring your lawn care is immaculate. If it’s snowy where you are, you can skip this step; otherwise, preparing your lawn for decorating is critical. Christmas lights are one of the first items that people use to decorate their homes. If you live near a lake, choose lights that will look great while reflecting off the water. You can keep it simple with icicle lights or go big with bright colors that flash. Many cabin homes come with a large amount of outdoor space, which lends itself well for setting up inflatable decorations, a Santa scene equipped with reindeer, or other decor options depending on your personal style.

Entryway

Depending on how your home looks, the entryway could be one of the more difficult spots to decorate, or it could be simple. The entrance is the introduction to your indoor holiday celebration, so you want to make it look fantastic. Most people choose to go with a wreath on the front door, and it’s typically the focal point of the entryway and the deciding factor for the rest of the decor. You can coordinate your garland, lights, and knick-knacks around the style of your wreath. If you have a staircase that is the first thing you see when you open the front door, you will want to make it dazzle.

Interior

Once you have made an impression with your outdoor decorations, it’s time to move indoors. Depending on your home’s layout, the living room is often the main attraction when it comes to Christmas decorations. It’s usually the home of the Christmas tree, presents, and stockings in front of the fireplace. There are many ways to decorate your tree. Either by choosing one color or specific decor, you can have a lot of fun with your tree. If you have a large window in your living room, having your tree visible from the outside is a nice touch. With the fireplace ablaze, stockings hung with care, candles, and a wreath along the ledge of the fireplace provides the cozy feeling we love about the holidays.

The kitchen is usually the focal point of the home and the gathering place when we have guests over. However, many people typically skip this room. If you’re going all out for the holidays, there’s a lot you can do in the kitchen. Switching out your tea towels, hanging decorations for the cabinets, a festive table cloth, poinsettias as the centerpiece, and a candy dish full of treats are all great additions to your kitchen. If you have holiday dishware, now is the time to bring it out.

Many cabins have multiple bathrooms, and if you have a bathroom that is accessible to guests, decorating it can be fun. Most people like to keep the bathroom decorations to a minimum, so maybe a Christmas candle, a few decorations, festive hand soap, Christmas towels, or a wreath on the door. There are a lot of options, and choosing just a couple could be a nice touch without going overboard.

Lastly, bedrooms are optional, but there are many things you can do to make each room feel more festive. If you are decorating for guests, you may want to skip the guest room, but there’s no shame in decorating every room if you are going all out for Christmas. If you’re going to decorate your room or your children’s rooms, getting a mini Christmas tree to decorate is a great touch. Add string lights around windows, candles, and other fun accessories to make the room feel cozy and warm. If your kids are old enough, they can decorate their room in their style and to their liking.

Decorating Time

It’s time to take these great ideas and inspiration you may have found and get started. It can be a big job, and you don’t have to tackle it all at once. You don’t even have to decorate every room in your home, but you can pick and choose the most impactful. Happy decorating!

 

Alex Platt is a real estate agent for The Platt Group in South Florida and owner of livesellfl.com. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate.

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6 Ways to Enjoy Your Cabin as a Family

by Mikkie Mills

One of the best things about life is spending time and making memories with family. While each day presents its own ways of doing this, there’s nothing quite like a getaway to your cabin to take full advantage of special times spent together. If you’re planning your next trip, why not go prepared with some new, fun, and exciting ways to enjoy each other’s company? Keep reading for six ways your family can make the most of your next cabin stay.

1. Fire Up the Competition

Sometimes there’s nothing like a little competition. If your family hasn’t tapped into their competitive nature yet, there’s a first time for everything.

Is there enough room around your cabin for a game of kickball? If you have neighbors, challenge them to a game of backyard baseball. You won’t need much aside from a bat, ball, and a Rawlings glove. Bases can be stumps, pieces of firewood or even trees. Set up a family-friendly relay race, fishing derby, or water balloon fight, rounding out the day with a cozy bonfire and s’ mores.

Not only does a little competition encourage teamwork, but it also provides the opportunity to connect with each other on a different level.

2. Get Creative Together

Everyday life has a way of flying by, drowning in a sea of routines and schedules. When you’re at the cabin, this is your chance to slow it all down and live outside the box.

Maybe it means you let your kids prepare breakfast, or that you make your own t-shirts to commemorate your family reunion. It might mean spending time outside as the sun sets, trying your hand at the guitar, and singing your favorite songs.

Don’t be afraid to let go a little (or a lot). Breaking free of routine every now and then is good for everyone.

3. Give Your Cabin Some TLC

Putting personal touches on your cabin is something you’ll never regret doing, especially considering how quickly time flies. Think about little things you can do, such as filling the space with family photos and souvenirs and scrapbooks. Planting zone-appropriate bushes or perennials will ensure your cabin always looks beautiful outside. Making it feel as homey as possible will be more than worth it, and it will provide a lifetime of memories as well.

4. Connect With Nature

One of the best parts about cabin life is the close proximity to nature. Make the most of your next trip by doing things that enable you to enjoy it to the fullest.

Send the kids off to collect pine cones to make peanut butter bird feeders with, or install a birdhouse or two around your property. Grab a pair of binoculars and post up on your deck — you never know what you might end up seeing. If you have little kids, don’t forget about insect catching and searching for frogs.

5. Explore

Have you spent much time getting to know where your cabin is? Often times, there are wonderful and amazing things so close by and they go unnoticed.

Head into your next trip prepared to explore. Check-in with locals as to any hidden treasures in the area, or finally check out that trail you have heard so much about. Head into town and poke around different shops. The more you learn about the area, the closer bond you’ll feel to your cabin.

6. Have a Backup Plan

It’s no surprise that you can’t control the weather, but what you can do is be prepared for the days you’re cabin bound.

Most importantly, don’t stress. There are so many ways to enjoy your time even if the weather is bad, and you’ll probably find them to be pretty relaxing. Think board games, cards, movie marathons, crafting, napping, and cooking. If it’s just a rainy day, head outside and splash around in the puddles!

 

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on natural health cures and news, budgeting hacks, and favorite DIY projects. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her little ones around or can be found rock climbing at her local climbing gym.

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How to Stay Healthy at Your Cabin This Winter

By Craig Middleton

What’s the one thing nobody wants to have happen when they’re away at their cabin, enjoying a relaxing winter getaway? If you guessed coming down with a cold or other illness, you’re spot on. Unfortunately, many people aren’t so lucky. What’s important to remember is that there are plenty of things you can do in order to boost your immune system and stay healthy all season long. Keep reading for three ways to do just that, so you’re able to enjoy every minute you spend at your cabin this winter

1. Stock the Kitchen With Healthy Options

When you go to your cabin, chances are you do most of your cooking there. Since staying healthy is your goal, keep that in mind when you’re shopping ahead of time. This way, your cabin will be stocked with healthy options.

Remember that there are other ways to ensure your body gets what it needs to stay as healthy as possible. Selecting certain supplements containing red superfoods or other immune-boosting ingredients would be a great move to ensure you’re striking a good balance between nutrition and prevention.

Since meal planning is probably part of your agenda when heading to your cabin, take the extra time looking up good-for-you recipes that you can easily prepare and cook. If your cabin has a wood stove, have some fun with it by using it for cooking. Soup is a perfect choice, especially when it’s loaded with lots of vegetables and immune-boosting broth.

2. Keep Your Cabin Clean and Comfortable

While cabins are generally thought of as being more on the rustic side, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be clean and sanitary. You don’t have to go overboard with cleaning, but there are some things you should do routinely to ensure it’s a safe and healthy environment for all.

Remember the little things you can do each day, such as opening the windows just a bit to let in the fresh air or wiping down high-touch surfaces with antibacterial wipes. You can also run a diffuser with immune-boosting essential oils, or run a humidifier to maintain an appropriate moisture level indoors. Fresh, cool air and humidity go hand-in-hand during the wintertime, especially when you’re congested or sharing a space with someone who is sick.

However, ventilation is also important — especially in areas such as bathrooms, where mold or mildew tend to accumulate from built-up moisture. Be sure to crack a window, turn on the exhaust fan or leave the door ajar when showering or bathing to prevent too much moisture building up.

3. Get Outside and Exercise

If you’re lucky enough to have a cabin, chances are you have plenty of land available and opportunities for recreation as well. One of the best ways to stay strong and healthy throughout the winter is to get outside. The fresh air works wonders for your immune system, and staying active while you’re away at your cabin will help you stay strong. Pairing any activity with plenty of restorative rest afterwards is a recipe for total relaxation, comfort and good health.

If you do become under the weather when you’re at your cabin, don’t forget about the power of rest. Overdoing it when you’re sick is never a good idea and can end up setting you back in your recovery time. So, if you find yourself not feeling so well, don’t be afraid to curl up, sip on hot tea and let your body heal itself. That sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?

Heading to your cabin this winter should be an all-around treat. While there’s never any guarantee that you won’t get sick during one of your trips, there is a lot you can do to put up a good fight. With a little planning and preparation, you can look forward to a fun-filled and (hopefully) healthy winter ahead.

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