3 ways to prepare your home for a new dog

Bringing a new dog home is an exciting experience for both you and the animal. While it can be tempting to rush and integrate the dog as quickly as possible, taking things more slowly and being careful is important. There will be anxiety on both sides, but preparation is key for getting the first few days right.

#1 Buy everything you need in advance

It’s natural that you’ll want to spend as much time with your new pet as possible. New homes are unfamiliar territory for dogs, and leaving them alone when they’ve just moved in is extremely stressful. That stress can, in turn, lead to excessive chewing, destructive behavior, and, if you leave them in a garden, digging or even tunneling under fences to escape. As such, it’s vitally important that you take a few days off work and devote your time to getting your dog settled in.

That, of course, means buying supplies in advance. A dog bed, food, a lead, and a collar are all essentials, but you’ll want toys and treats too. Buying supplies can be daunting if you’re a first-time owner, but dedicated pet search tools like Exceptional Pets make the process easier. They list everything you need in one place (including vets, grooming services, and more) so that you can easily track down services in advance of the pet coming home.

#2 Dog proof your home

No matter how safe you think your home is, dogs will find a way to cause trouble! That can involve chewing on wires, injuring themselves on sharp edges, or dislodging low-lying ornaments. Before you bring the dog home, undertake a quick survey of your living space. Look for exposed wires that could be chewed through and sharp edges that might injure the dog if it’s running. Dangerous chemicals like bleach should be moved to a high place or locked away.

The same applies to ornaments. A wagging tail is always a happy sight, but it can be (accidentally) destructive. Tails will sweep ornaments off coffee tables and even low shelves, so beware and move items accordingly. If there are some rooms that simply aren’t suitable for a dog, be sure to install a child gate to keep that area out of bounds.

#3 Give the dog some space

Dogs are people-orientated animals, but they also need space and time to get accustomed to a new environment. Dedicating a specific space to your dog is extremely important in the early days. It gives them somewhere to retreat to if they’re feeling stressed and a territory that is clearly identifiable as their own. A dog bed in a secluded corner is sometimes enough; other owners swear by crates. In the end, it comes down to the preferences of both you and the dog.

It’s useful to find a space that’s accident-proof, though. Even house-trained dogs can have issues when they move to a new home. A tiled floor is much easier to clean than a carpet. A corner in a kitchen is ideal, or anywhere that doesn’t have high footfall throughout the day.

Home & Living

How to Clean These Three “Hard to Reach” Spots in Your Home (Once and For All)

When it comes to keeping a clean, comfortable home, there are some spaces that we simply can’t afford to ignore.

You’re already probably in a routine of vacuuming, dusting and doing the dishes on a regular basis; otherwise, such messes can completely take over your home if neglected.

However, what about the “problem” areas that perhaps only get your attention once in a blue moon?

Chances are, those “hard to reach” spaces could be impacting your family’s health if you’re not staying on top of them. For example, the dangers of dust that’s likely lingering around your living room include the following potential complications for your family:

  • Exposure to bronchial and sinus infections
  • Irritation of allergy related symptoms (sneezing, coughing, runny nose)
  • Skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin or eczema

In addition to consistent dusting and vacuuming, consider the following three “hard to reach” spots where dust may be hiding in your home. By understanding how to quickly tackle these problem areas once and for all, you can make them part of your regular cleaning routine.


Blinds are often an afterthought since they’re busy blocking out the sun while we’re simply sitting at home; however, some fabrics and materials are prone to collecting dust that can become airborne if it’s allowed to accumulate over time.

Don’t assume that you need to give your blinds a bath: depending on the material of your blinds (think: faux wood, fabric, plastic), a simple dusting will do. In the case of most roller blinds, a low setting on a vacuum attachment is more than sufficient at sucking up dust.


Not unlike blinds, lampshades are relatively easy to forget about until they’re absolutely filthy. Fear not, as lampshades don’t take long to keep clean:

  • Fabric shades can be washed in the sink with a mild soap and cool water; after you’ve washed it thoroughly, dry with a blow-dryer
  • Paper shades obviously can’t be washed; therefore, use a low setting on a vacuum attachment
  • Plastic shades can be treated with soap and warm water, dried with a cloth

If you regularly clean your shades, the less likely they are to attract messes that require a wash.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fixtures such as fans can be a pain if you don’t have the right tools as your disposal, right? Thankfully, there’s a common home hack that can save you time and cash when it comes to cleaning your ceiling fan.

The solution? Pillowcases.

That’s right.

After reaching the fan with a stool or step-ladder, simply take a pillowcase and cover each blade of the fan. Then, slide the pillowcases off of the blades one at a time, keeping the dirt, dust and crime contained within each case. When you’re finished, empty the grime outside and throw the dirty pillowcases into the wash. Additionally, you can spruce up especially dirty fans with a homemade cleaning solution after you’ve dusted them.

Eliminating dust from your home is an on-going process: by understanding where allergens might be hiding and how to get rid of them, you can keep your home clean and your family’s health in check.

Home & Living

Cheap Ways To Make Your Home Look Expensive

If you’re like most people, it could be a constant battle to balance having a home that looks beautifully decorated, without emptying your bank account. Home décor and furniture can be incredibly expensive, and at times it can feel like a massive challenge to decorate a home and have it look great without busting your budget.

If you’re watching your spending, your goal with your home décor and decorating projects is likely to strike that balance between sourcing inexpensive items, while still creating a look that seems like it’s worth a million dollars.

Whether your plan is to sell your home and you want to impress buyers and up the value, or you simply want to give your space a facelift, the following tips can be a good starting point to get that magazine-worthy design at a price that’s actually affordable.

Shop for Replicas Online

Let’s say you’re shopping at a local furniture store and you find a gorgeous lucite coffee table. You check the price tag, and it’s a few zeros beyond your budget. Don’t instantly count yourself out of having the look of the table. Make a note of what you like about it, and shop online. There are millions of shopping sites online, so you can get inspiration from high-end retailers and then, more likely than not, you’re going to be able to find a much less expensive piece that has the same impact.

Limit Your Accessories

One of the easiest ways to make your home look incredibly expensive without spending a dime? Go through and do an accessories edit. Most people don’t realize that having too many accessories and shelves that are full of various items doesn’t make your home look better. It tends to make it look cheaply done and overwhelming. Choose a few simple, beautiful pieces and get rid of the rest. You’ll be surprised what an effect it has on the entire look and feel of a room.

Redo Your Moldings

Think about your moldings, including your crown moldings. Do you even have them? If you do have them and they’re standard builder-grade, you can make your home feel like a custom architectural dream simply by adding wide, detailed crown molding. This is inexpensive and something you can likely do yourself. If you have a little extra time, you can also consider adding your own wainscoting. It’s these decorative details that set basic homes apart from custom builds.

Beef Up Your Throw Pillows

If your sofa or furniture doesn’t have throw pillows, you should add them, and not just any old throw pillows will do. Look for oversized throw pillows. They tend to give a room a layered, luxe look that is common in professionally decorated homes. If you can’t find oversized throw pillows to suit your taste, you can visit a fabric store and purchase not just the fabric you like, but the inserts. You can then take them to a local upholsterer for custom pillows, at a relatively low price.

These are just a few of the many tricks you can put in place to get that stunning, expensive look in your home, even if you’re working with a tiny budget.

Child Development

Acting Out Without Mom and Dad

kids sleeping

This past weekend while Brian and I were on a golf trip Reagan stayed with her grandmother. Some times I feel bad having them watch her for an extended period of time because Rey is a very active and energetic child and she is becoming her own little person. This translates into acting out when mom and dad aren’t around. Apparently she had a couple of meltdowns for no reason and I think it may just be because she missed us.

I am saddened but very excited about this because you always wonder when that stage comes when your child truly misses you. Yesterday we picked up Reagan and as soon as she saw us she freaked out and started balling as hard as she could. Grandpa pulled her out of her car seat and she immediately reached for me and hugged me very tight. Tears were streaming down my back as she buried her head deep into my shoulder and sobbed. It took everything I had not to sit there and cry with her because I missed her too and I was so happy that she was showing me the emotion that she truly missed me.

After she calmed down and became more coherent in her words she was able to tell us that she had fun at grandma and grandpa’s house and she went swimming and played. Once we got home Brian was able to call his mom and get a play by play of the past couple of days they had watched her. She didn’t sleep that well, waking up around 2 or 3am and not wanting to go back to sleep. She had an accident in the pool which never happens. She is really good about knowing that if she has to poop she runs to the bathroom to take care of business. Her meltdowns came out of nowhere and she didn’t do that great with her potty training either. We could tell that the grandparents were exhausted.

Golf Views in Plumas Eureka

Last night as we settled back into our usual routine before bed Reagan was the precious little gem she always is. She was happy to be home and you could tell; a big smile on her face, giddy and running around, using dad as a toy box as she played endlessly until bedtime. I wonder if she is just getting to that stage where most of us adults get when we have had it with staying somewhere else and just want to be home in our own bed with our own things. Does it really start this young? I think part of her acting out at grandma’s house had to do with she just wanted to be home with mom and dad. She slept through the night last night with no issues, hasn’t had an issue with her potty training and was a happy little clam as she went to daycare today.

For me it’s hard to hear that your child is acting out but I guess to accept that it’s because she misses the hell out of you is acceptable in my book.