Backyard Bridal Shower

Are you hosting the bridal shower for your friend and want to give out fun bridal shower favors? Let us help you with a few unique but fun bridal shower favor ideas.

If you’re holding the bridal shower in the fall or winter months, then seasonal themed bridal shower favors are definitely the way to go. Gorgeous yellow, oranges and browns look so festive for October and November showers, while silver, white, and gold favors are perfect for bridal showers held in December, January and February.

A few great ideas for fall showers would be fall candles or fall themed coasters. For winter showers, how about elegant snow flake themed favors or crystal favors that remind one of ice? You can already see these favors shimmering on your guests tables.

Will your bridal shower be held in the spring months of March, April or May? You have an extensive selection of spring and garden themed favors to choose from. Seed wedding favors are a practical bridal shower favor that will remind your guests for months to come of the fun they had at the shower. Flowers are blooming in spring so take your cue from Mother Nature and select a floral themed bridal shower favors such as a daisy or rose favor.

Wedding shower in the warm, summer months? Think beach, backyard picnic, Tropical Island or nautical themes and match your bridal shower favors to your decorations. A beach bucket filled with seashells or a sailboat party favor match beach theme or nautical themed bridal showers. For a backyard picnic, select butterfly party favors. Tropical Island? How about flip flop magnets or candles.

Want to simplify your shower favors? The easiest and quickest way to select your bridal shower favors is to match them to the wedding color scheme. Did you bride select pink and chocolate brown? You can choose pink candle favors with a brown ribbon. Is blue the color choice? Practical party favors such as the something blue post it notes.

Is your bridal shower going to be more of a girl’s night out? Lingerie bridal shower? Lingerie parties are all the rage now for brides to be and an absolute blast for the guests. Fun stiletto key chains or pink polka dot purse manicure sets would make great favors.

Just remember to not sweat the little things. Take care of the big things and the rest will fall into place allowing you to enjoy the bridal shower also.

Denise Sanger is the owner of several wedding planning websites including [] which features a diverse catalog of affordable bridal shower favors [], unique wedding favors and decorations.

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Zen Backyard

Want a backyard you can be proud to show off? With a little creativity, a backyard landscape can be a lot more than some grass and a swing set. Take a look at these uncommon backyard landscaping ideas to get some ideas for your own home.

Touch Garden

Landscaping doesn’t have to be all about color. Plants with touchable textures add another element to the gardening experience and are especially good for curious young children and the visually impaired. Once you start looking, you’ll be surprised at how many touchable plants there are. Some favorites are papery plants like money plant (Lunaria annua) and Statice (Limonium latifolium), plants with fuzzy leaves like woolly thyme (Thymus praecox), Horehound (Marrubium spp.) and Lamb’s ear, and feathery plants like astilbe (Astilbe spp.) and dill (Anethum graveolens). Plant them next to walkways and seating areas to make them even more inviting.

Zen-Style Garden

If you’re looking for very low-maintanence backyard landscaping idea, a Zen-style garden may be for you. Creating a true Zen garden would require an understanding of Zen philosophy, but you can easily reproduce the design of these meditation gardens. A Zen garden is a dry landscape garden in which the elements of nature are represented by a composition of sand or moss, gravel, stone and rock. Plants are limited to small evergreen trees, ground-level greenery, and a few modest flowers. Many Zen gardens also include raked gravel, but this is the only element that’s designed to replicate nature.

Foliage Garden

Flowers aren’t the only things that can bring color to your backyard. A foliage garden is a low-maintenance backyard landscaping idea that provides as much show as any flower garden. Plants with foliage in rich wine red, golden yellow, cool blue, and silvery gray can fill the landscape with color all year round. Look for plants that provide not only color, but interesting textures and shapes, too.

Vertical Garden

Want to squeeze a big garden into a small backyard? With a little organization, it can be done. Choose trailing, climbing, and container-friendly plants to create a space-saving vertical garden. Using baskets, window boxes, and pots filled with trailing plants is one of the easiest ways to do this. For a unique way to organize pots, try one of the upright plant-holder poles that use hooks to hold up to nine pots in a straight-up row with each pot angled differently to add interest. Raised beds and terraces are another vertical option. These make it easy to improve your soil in limited areas and, if sturdily build, provide seating, too. If you’ve got a garden wall, besides training climbing plants on it, you can attach hooks or brackets to hang baskets, plant small flowers in cracks between stones, or add a wall-mounted fountain or other decor.

Landscaping your front yard may take precedence, but don’t neglect the backyard, either. If you’re planning to landscape your backyard, take time to browse through as many different backyard landscaping ideas as you can to find designs that not only look good, but fit your personal needs, too.

Michael Aral invites you to where you can get details on how to create these garden designs and dozens more in your own backyard. Get tips on landscape lighting, garden structures, and landscaping problem areas, too.

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Backyard Reptiles

I’ll bet you didn’t know that lizards and turtles can carry harmful bacteria called Salmonella.

I love reptiles and I bet you do too (or you probably would not be reading this article!). You may have noticed that reptiles are becoming more and more popular as family pets. Reptiles such as turtles, iguanas, snakes, geckos, horned toads, and chameleons can make great pets because they are fascinating, quiet, don’t require daily feeding/walking, and can be kept in a cage with relatively very little fuss. However, there is a cautionary note folks need to be aware of when taking on a reptile for a pet. Reptiles sometimes carry a bacteria called Salmonella that can cause serious illness in people.

Although many people think of salmonellosis as an illness caused by contaminated food, it can also be caught by handling a pet reptile or contact with its environment. The trick is that you can’t tell by looking at a lizard, snake, or a turtle if it is carrying Salmonella. You see, Salmonella occurs naturally in many reptiles and the bacteria doesn’t usually make the animals sick.

If you have ever had about it, you most likely won’t ever forget it. Salmonellosis is a serious infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Diarrhea is the most common symptom of Salmonella infection, but other symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting can also occur. It can sometimes be extremely serious and even fatal for young children, the elderly, and persons with weak immune systems. Salmonellosis is not to be taken lightly. For that reason, families with children aged 5 years or younger or persons with weak immune systems should think twice about having pet reptiles.

Bacteria, including Salmonella, are easily passed from pet reptiles to people. Research by the Center for Disease Control shows that a person who handles reptiles can easily pass germs to others because bacteria are able to cling to skin, clothing and other surfaces. To reduce the chances of getting sick with salmonellosis by handling reptiles, here are some tips to follow as a reptile pet owner:

  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling a reptile; Launder any clothing the reptile might have touched
  • Do not allow reptiles to roam the house freely
  • Keep reptiles out of the kitchen
  • Use soap or a disinfectant to thoroughly clean any surfaces that have been in contact with reptiles.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is illegal in the United States to sell or distribute turtles with shells that measure less than 4 inches in length. This size was chosen because some small children treat smaller turtles as toys and put them in their mouths. Yuk! Despite this ban, these small turtles can still be found in some pet stores.

Of course, children will still catch wild turtles and lizards and bring them home to keep as pets, which is what kids are supposed to do. Just keep in mind, whether store-bought or caught in a friend’s backyard, a reptile can carry Salmonella and might not be the best choice of a pet for your family, especially if there are young children or persons with compromised immune systems in the household.

Tom Vaughan is an avid admirer of reptiles, especially snakes. He caught his first rattlesnake (pygmy rattler) at age 10 and hasn’t stopped catching reptiles since. A favorite website is []

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Backyard Grill Chicago

With it’s stylish design and it’s practical features, its no wonder Weber BBQ grills are the favorite BBQ grills amongst professional outdoor cooks and backyard grillers alike. What is it though, that makes the Weber BBQ grill so special? For that, we only have to look at the history of the Weber grill and the events that inspired it’s creation.

Back in 1952, 
George Stephen (Sr), who worked at, and was part owner of, the Weber Brothers Metal Works (a Chicago metal shop that specialized in creating customized designs for their clients), had a bad experience one day while grilling outdoors on an open brazier grill. It seems his frustration stemmed from his inability to control the flame.

This frustration inspired Stephen to create a grill that could be used properly even if the conditions outdoors weren’t optimum for grilling.

The Design 
of the most common model, the Weber grill 22.5 inch is a still a familiar descendant of the first design by Stephen. The original model was originally called ‘George’s Barbecue Kettle’ but his neighbors referred to it as ‘Sputnik” (the Russian name for the first satellite to orbit the earth), presumably because Stephen’s design resembled the first Russian satellite with it’s sphere shape and slim legged stance.

The shape of the first Weber grill was due in a large part to the materials that were available to Stephen at the Weber Brothers Metal Works. Stephen actually took the two halves of a buoy (that he would have normally welded together at his job for use in lake Michigan) and implemented one half to make up the kettle bottom and the other half made up the domed top. The new design proved to be a hit among Stephen’s family and friends who said it cooked the best BBQ they had ever tasted.

Stephen’s Weber Grills are more popular than ever. I really like the simple but effective design. The Weber is stylish and looks good on the patio or in the yard. It is rugged and stands up to years of use (I’ve had mine over ten years).

But most of all, the best feature of the Weber BBQ grill is the fun it brings to the neighborhood. Sometimes, even on weeknights, I will fire up the grill, throw on a couple of steaks, pop open a cold drink and relax in my lawn chair.

Dusk is my favorite time of day and the family inevitably gathers in the backyard lured away from the video games, HD-TV and computers by the intoxicating smell of the BBQ drifting from the Weber.

Often the neighbors will drop by with their own cooler of food and drinks and join the gathering. It’s a social thing and commonly ignored these days I’m afraid. That’s why I love my Weber grill. If you already own one then you completely understand what I mean when I say, “Weber BBQ Grills Cook Up Summertime Fun!”

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