8 Easy Ways You Can Kick the Winter Blues at Home This Year

a book, a pink mug, and a cozy-looking gray scarf

Like it or not, winter is slowly but surely approaching. If you find yourself beginning to dread the entrance of a new season, don’t fret. There are a few very easy things that you can do at home to help you have a happier winter!

Here are 8 clever tips to help you keep your mood elevated all winter long:

Bring in Some Nice Scents – Did you know that your sense of smell is directly connected to your emotions? You can thank your limbic system for that! Beat the winter blues with some happy or relaxing scents. We like orange, lemon, or lime for a mood-boost or chamomile and lavender to help you kick back and relax.

Keep Your Home Tidy and Clean – Piles of clutter can make you feel more anxious and unmotivated. Combat this by keeping your home tidy and neat. Make your bed in the morning, do small tasks when they come up (say, doing the dishes after making a meal), and clean regularly. You’ll find that your mood is more elevated when your home is picked up!

Let in Natural Light – Speaking of a mood boost, light is a natural way to make you happier! Even 15 minutes of sunshine can help! Open the blinds and curtains, trim back obtrusive tree branches, and clean the windows to let the sunlight pour in more easily. Craving more daylight? Sitting next to an artificial light such as a light box can work wonders!

Stock the Fridge and Pantry with Healthy Food – It can be so tempting to reach into the pantry for a bag of chips or grab a carton of ice cream out of your freezer to munch on, but it will more than likely leave you feeling not so great (and not so happy). Eat well-balanced meals to help give your body the nutrients it needs to feel and function well. Your diet should consist of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and complex carbs. Want to treat yourself? Indulge in rich dark chocolate moderately!

Get Out and Exercise – We know that one of the last things you want to do in the winter is to go outside and work out, but you’ll feel so much better once you do! Sticking to a regular exercise regimen can help you combat the winter blues, improve your focus, and lower stress levels. Too cold or snowy to go outside? There are plenty of exercises you can do inside to help give you that boost of endorphins!

Play Some Upbeat Music – Music can affect us in so many ways. It’s no wonder that upbeat tunes have been shown over and over to improve our moods significantly, both in the short- and long-term! If you haven’t done so already, create a playlist of your favorite cheerful songs and blare them shamelessly in your abode!

Invite Some Friends Over – Sometimes during the winter season, we feel like hibernating. While a little bit of solitude is healthy, be sure to reach out and spend time with your friends and family! Have the gang over for a fun game night, ask the fam to drop by and check out that new comedy you just found, or hold a holiday potluck with your closest pals!

Get Comfy – Maybe you’re not a fan of all that winter brings with it – the longer nights, the cold weather, the icy precipitation. While you can’t do much about the weather, you can definitely treat yourself to some comfort during this time of year! Wrap yourself in your softest blankets, cozy up with your favorite hot beverage, and read a good book by the fireplace as you watch the snow drift lazily to the ground. Who knows – you might actually come to love winter if you do this enough!

What are some things you do to combat the winter blues in your home? Be sure to tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

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8 Bright Ideas to Help You Bring More Sunshine Into a Dark Room

a bright room with white brick walls, shades of white, and pops of color

It’s that time of the year again when we turn back the clocks one extra hour and begin seeing less and less daylight in our days. If you’re dreading the lack of light and want to have more sunshine in your life (and home), don’t fret! We won’t leave you in the dark. Just follow these 8 tips to help you brighten up a dark space:

Choose a Light or Neutral Color Scheme – It almost goes without saying that rooms painted in dark hues will reflect less light. Create the illusion of light by painting your rooms a white or light neutral color. The lighter the color is on your walls, the more light they’ll reflect. Think shades of white, cream, light neutrals, and pastels for a happy and bright room!

Keep the Contrast – While a light color scheme can definitely brighten up a space, a room bedecked in nothing but one bright color can feel pretty dull and uninspired. To make the room pop, add accessories, decorations, and other objects in your favorite color. Items in navy, crimson, hunter, or royal purple can really tie a light room together without overpowering it. Darker furniture or picture frames can also do the trick!

Hang Mirrors Strategically – Want to double the amount of sunlight you get in a room? Hang a large mirror or an assortment of smaller mirrors directly across from the largest window in your room! While mirrors won’t do much to brighten up dim hallways and small bathrooms, they can work true wonders in larger rooms.

Cut the Glare – While you’ll want plenty of light in your room, the quality of lighting you use can create a negative effect. Eliminate harsh glare by avoiding glossy paint and choosing a matte paint, which will reflect light in every direction. Additionally, we suggest situating lights near your walls and placing LED strips underneath cabinets to create a soft glow.

Reflect Light with Shiny Surfaces – As we mentioned earlier, it’s wise to avoid going glossy on the walls; however, reflective surfaces can come in handy when it comes to bouncing light around the room. Choose accessories such as acrylic accents, mirrored surface, and objects in metallic finishes to amplify the sunlight in your space.

Reconsider Your Window Treatments – To maximize the amount of sunshine you receive, we suggest saying good-bye to dark, heavy curtains and switching them for translucent shades instead. Sheer and semi-sheer window treatments are great for letting light into the room while still providing plenty of privacy throughout the day. Want to block the light at night? Invest in blackout curtains that can be pulled all the way back during the day and closed completely at night!

Trim Up the Trees – Sometimes our outdoor view can block light from entering our home. If that’s the case, it’s time to break out the shears and trim back the bushes and trees before winter arrives! You may find that, once you cut back some persnickety branches, your home may be infused with more sunlight than you’ve seen in months or years!

Clean the Windows – We know this sort of goes without saying, but say it we shall! Cleaning your windows inside and out can have a huge effect on how much sunshine streams into your home! Simply wash the windows with a sponge and mild soapy water like dish soap, wipe them dry with a squeegee, and finish the job with the help of a soft chamois cleaning cloth.

Looking for a new home? Let us help shed some light on your search! Call The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com for more information!

9 Quick and Easy Last-Minute Halloween Decoration Ideas

Halloween jack o' lantern background

Halloween is less than two weeks away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to decorate. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do to celebrate the holiday in time with the perfect frightening flair!

If you’ve waited till the last minute this year and need some ideas stat, here are 9 quick and easy Halloween decorating ideas to help turn your home into a spooky setting (in a good way)!

Paint Some Pumpkins – Don’t feel like carving a jack-o’-lantern? You don’t have to! Just grab some pumpkins of various sizes and paint them instead. Go with classic looks like black and white polka dots or stripes, or get a bit more creative and paint something scary, funny, or meaningful on them. Set them on your front porch or throughout your home to give your abode a spooky vibe!

Create Your Own Candy Corn Pots – Remember those cheap terra cotta pots you’d find all summer long? Score a few of those pots at your local hardware store, grab some white, orange, and yellow acrylic paint, and create your own candy corn pots! These fun pots are perfect for displaying frightening foliage or filling with your favorite Halloween goodies.

Decorate with Black Flowers – Speaking of scary foliage, find some fake black flowers at a crafts store and arrange them in a few vases around your home! You can add a few fake maroon and dark purple flowers to give your arrangements more depth or ramp up the creepy factor with fake spider webs and spiders, ravens, or other spooky items!

Make Your Own Chalkboard Tombstones – Come up with your own clever chalkboard tombstones for less than $20! All it takes is a tombstone template, plywood, saw, chalkboard paint, and a bit of determination. When you get ready to paint, make sure that you apply three coats of paint to your creation. Once it dries completely, grab some chalk and get creative!

Scare Up a Ghost Lollipop Bouquet – This decoration is easy and, once the holiday is over, edible! Just find some lollipops, drape white cotton over them, tie each of them with twine, and paint black eyes on each ghost. Place these so-cute-it’s-scary creations in a mason jar (bonus if you spray-paint your mason jar black!) and use them as a fun centerpiece!

Invest in Some Tall Black Candles – Make your very own creepy candelabra with the help of a few black candles! After you place the candles in the candelabra, lightly drape some fake spider webs over it for a more eerie feel.

Hang Out With Some Ghosts – Dangle some spooky spirits from the ceiling! Just snag a few small Styrofoam balls, cover them with cheesecloth, paint eyes on them, and hang them from the light fixtures in your home. It’s as easy as that!

Create Creepy Creatures of the Night – Got some old plastic or ceramic animals hanging around the house? Take them to the dark side by spray-painting them black and adding red glitter (or better yet, glow-in-the-dark red paint) to their eyes! This will really give your home a devilish vibe in time for Halloween!

Group Together Some Scary Drac-o’-Lanterns – What’s orange, small, and has big fangs and red eyes? Drac-o’-lanterns! If regular ol’ pumpkins won’t quite cut it for you, find a few pumpkins, print out a mouth template, cut out the “mouth,” and wedge some plastic vampire teeth into the hole. Finish your creation off by sticking in red pin map tacks into the pumpkins for eyes. Group them together on your mantel, a side table, or on the coffee table to give guests a real fright!

You know what’s really scary? Living in a home you don’t love! If you’re on the hunt for your dream home, be sure to contact the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or check out our current listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.

10 Hot Ideas for a Great Fire Pit Party This Fall

marshmallows roasting over a fire

It’s time to embrace the season of fall and the wonderful things it brings us – crisp, cool nights, pumpkins galore, colorful leaves, and plenty of warm drinks to cozy up with. As the mercury drops and the weather becomes more temperate, we should take the opportunity to celebrate this beautiful weather around a fire pit. And what good’s a fire pit without friends and family around to enjoy it with us?

Here are 10 tips to help you put together a fun and memorable fire pit party in no time!

Break Out the S’mores – Fall just isn’t complete without a heaping helping of S’mores and plenty of friends to share them with! Gather the necessary ingredients – graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows – and you’re halfway there. Now grab some long sticks from the yard or some store-bought skewers or roasting sticks to help you and your friends toast some marshmallows, sandwich it between two pieces of graham crackers and chocolate, and enjoy! Bonus points for trying different types of chocolate or using colorful marshmallows!

Celebrate With Cider – If you and your friends are fans of apple cider, now is the perfect time to enjoy some warm cider by the fire! Hook up a slow cooker, pour in a gallon of apple cider, and keep it warm for a few hours. Keep up the fall theme by setting up hale bays for extra seating and pumpkins for a decorative touch.

Get Your Game Face On – Break out some fun games and keep warm by the fire pit! Try to keep the games on the easier side – we’re thinking games like Farkle, Uno, and Phase Ten, for example. Make it interesting by giving the winning team a bottle of wine or a box of hot chocolate mixes!

Start Star Gazing – Fall is a great time to look up and drink in the starlight. If you’re blessed with a clear night, check out the stars with your friends. See how many constellations you can find while you enjoy solar-based treats like Moon Pies, Cosmic Brownies, or Starbursts!

Sip and Savor Some Wine – Do you and your friends love wine? Now is the perfect time to enjoy some great wine around the fire! Prepare your favorite to serve and ask your friends to bring their favorite kind or a local wine no one has tried. Pair the wines with a tantalizing cheese plate to complete the evening!

Serve Warm Seasonal Drinks – We mentioned hot cider earlier, but don’t forget about the other warm drinks that the season brings! Hot chocolate is always a favorite. For an older crowd, try serving hot buttered rum in enamel mugs. You can also set up a coffee station complete with sugar and sweetener for your coffee-loving friends!

Sing Your Heart Out – Go a little crazy and break out into song with your friends! Grab your karaoke machine (or find an app on your smartphone) and sing to your heart’s content! Just be sure to be courteous to your neighbors, of course, especially if you live in close proximity to one another.

Go Camping (Sort Of) – Like the idea of camping but don’t want to go far from the comforts of home? Host a camp-out around the old fire pit! Roast some wienies, munch on some corn dogs, and roast some marshmallows for that camping feeling. Get extra spooky by recounting some of your favorite ghost stories!

Paint and Sip the Night Away – For a more creative twist, try painting around the fire with your best buds as you sip some wine. You can buy inexpensive watercolor kits and watercolor pads at your local craft store. Let your imaginations run wild and paint something beautiful as you warm yourselves by the fire!

Enjoy Your Very Own Kabobs – Want to include a nice meal during your fire pit party? Try some shish kabobs! Prepare and precook each of the kabobs before your friends come over so they can choose their own and finish them off by cooking them a little longer over the fire pit. Mix it up some by offering veggie-only kabobs and some that feature tasty meat like chicken or beef!

As always, be safe around the fire pit. Keep the fire small and at least 10 feet away from any structure. Refrain from placing it under trees or your roofline, and keep a hose or a fire extinguisher nearby in case something happens. Never leave a fire unattended – when you’re done having fun, be sure to put the fire out.

How do you like to celebrate fall? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

8 Super Thrifty Ways to Decorate for Fall

Fall Decoration.Pumpkins,Orange Candles,Cinnamon,Chestnuts and

It’s officially fall! That means it’s time to fill your home with warm colors, pumpkins, and the scents of the season. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of ways that you can welcome fall into your home and still make everything look stylish and chic!

Here are 8 super thrifty and clever ways you can decorate for the season:

Pick Up Some Fresh Produce – Now is the time to head to the grocery store and grab some great seasonal produce. We’re talking apples, pears, and, of course, pumpkins and gourds! Place some of your produce in a clear vase or a large wooden bowl for an inexpensive yet elegant centerpiece. Bonus points for adding in a few cinnamon sticks!

Bring in a Few Beautiful Branches – Pick a few pretty branches from the trees in your yard and have some fun decorating them inside! Whether these little branches have leaves on them still or not, you can arrange them in a tall vase, nest mini gourds and pumpkins among them, or strategically display them around the mantle. Just remember to spray them off with water, and allow them to dry in your garage before decorating with them!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins! What better way to show that fall has arrived than by displaying these cute gourds inside and outside your home?! Whether you use them as they are, paint them, stripe them with tasteful Japanese washi tape, or mix and match colors, you’re sure to get that fall vibe you want with pumpkins, big and small alike!

Get Creative with Mother Nature – Remember all those pumpkins, gourds, and squash we mentioned earlier? Wouldn’t they look really neat on a tiered cake serving plate? You can also gather pinecones, nuts, acorns, leaves, and more and combine them in an enclosed vase to give a natural look to your home!

Light a Candle or Two – You know fall has arrived when you smell salty caramel, apple crumble, or S’mores in the air! Find a few fall-inspired candles, light one, snuggle up with a good book, hot tea, and a blanket, and enjoy!

(Potted) Mum’s the Word – Mums are everywhere right now, so bring one, two, or a few more into your home to evoke that fall feeling! Place potted mums in your flowerbeds, on your porch, near your fireplace, or on a mini straw bale. Whatever you do, you just can’t go wrong with mums!

Break Out the Blankets – It’s time to pull out your favorite, coziest blankets and throws and drape them over the backs of your chairs and sofas! Not only do they look stylish, but they’re also awfully nice to cuddle up in after a long day at work!

Check Out the Dollar Stores – Visit your local dollar store for some really great deals! You can find all sorts of fall goodies like wicker baskets, candles, fake flowers, and more. Use these gems to your advantage and start decorating!

How do you like to decorate for fall? Tell us on our Facebook page or leave us a comment below!

Unfinished Basement? Transform It Into One of These 8 Fun Spaces!

3681304126_70e75dc6b1_bIf your house is like most in the Midwest, it probably has an unfinished basement. This underground space is great for storing seasonal decorations, tools, extra buckets of paint, and more, but it can often be used in more efficient and fun ways!

Got an unfinished basement but not sure what to do with it? Here are 8 ideas to help your imagination cook up something fun to do with your home’s blank canvas!

Get Crafty – Tired of using your kitchen table or spare bedroom for all of your craft-making and artwork? Set up a space in the basement to decrease the mess upstairs and give yourself more square footage to break out the paints, scrapbooking material, and clay!

Set Up a Home Theater – While it might be nice to watch TV in the living room, there’s really nothing like having your own home theater in the basement. Whether you’re watching one of your favorite movies or the big game, your basement can be the perfect setting to watch it all on a big screen, complete with surround sound!

Give ‘Em a Playroom – If you have kids, then you know that playtime is critical (and pretty much unavoidable). Transform part of your basement into a playroom for your kids! Just lay down some soft carpet or rugs, bring in a few bins of toys, and watch them enjoy the ultimate playroom by themselves or with their friends!

Unwind with a Basement Bar – After a long day at work, it’s always nice to go somewhere cozy and unwind. A basement bar can help you do just that! You can also consider hosting fun wine and cheese parties for your friends (or apple cider and S’mores parties for the upcoming fall months!).

Get Fit With a Home Gym – Who needs a gym membership when you can get fit in your basement?! Whether you enjoy doing yoga, running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or some other fit activity, your basement can be the perfect place for getting tone and in shape. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about the weather or crowds!

Work Quietly in a Home Office – Working from home can be great, but it can also be distracting. Claim your own little space by turning your basement into a home office. Basements are surprisingly quiet and can help you zone in on your work, helping you check off your to-dos even more quickly!

Get Your Game On – Love board games or video games? Have you always wanted a space to shoot some pool when your friends come over? Turn your basement into a fun game room! With some couches, a table for game playing, or a billiards table, the basement can easily become the place where you entertain your guests and make awesome memories!

Live It Up in the Library – Are you a bookworm in need of a peaceful place to retreat? Create your very own library in the basement! Sunlight won’t damage your collection of books, and you can make the space as cozy as you want with soft carpet, good lighting, and, of course, comfortable spots to curl up with your favorite books!

Are you in search of your dream home with the perfect basement space? Call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to begin your search today! Remember to check out our listings online, too, at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

7 Ways to Make a Cozy, Creative and Kid-Sized Hideaway Spot!

1024px-Cotsen_Childrens_Library_PrincetonKids and hiding spots go together like nooks and crannies or peanut butter and jelly. They love exploring and finding tiny spaces to create little worlds of their own, read fun books in peace, or dabble with their artistic skills.

Give your kids their own little world with one of these 7 ideas for child-sized nooks, hideaways, and corners!

Put Tiny Nooks to Good Use – Got a small space like a closet or the space underneath the stairs that isn’t being used? Take advantage of this space and create a private little oasis for your child to enjoy!

Create a Top-Secret Tepee – Move over, blanket forts. Tepees are a way more awesome addition to any play space and give plenty of room for your child’s imagination to take wing! You can purchase one at a store or create your own version with some twine and bed sheets.

Don’t Forget Window Benches – Who doesn’t love a nice window bench with a beautiful view? Even if you don’t have the most beautiful settings outside, a window bench can easily act as a cozy place for your child to enjoy some “me time.”

Set Some Lofty Relaxation Goals – If you want to save space and give your child their own mini-paradise, loft beds are a good way to go. Your child can count sheep on the top bunk while playing, doing homework, or reading on the bottom bunk. It’s as easy as that!

Put Tiny Crawl Spaces to Good Use – Is there an awkward closet or crawl space (complete with a little door a la Coraline) in your home that you have no idea what to do with? This can be the perfect little getaway for your youngster!

Make a Cozy Corner – Corners can be the place that your child plays or reads without getting in the way of your main living space. All you need to do is angle furniture or bookshelves against a wall, add some floor cushions, pillows, or beanbags, and voila! You’ve created a fun space that can give your young one hours of fun!

Cover It With a Canopy – There’s something so private and cozy about a canopy. Drape one over your child’s bed, and you will create a sanctuary in an instant! Much like the tepee, you can buy a canopy at many stores or create your own by suspending fabric from curtain rods above his or her bed.

What were some of your favorite hideaways as a child? Tell us in the comments below!

7 Essential Tips to Help You Choose the Perfect Patio Furniture

8634820124_d3fd2bed41_bDecks, patios, balconies, and even pocket gardens are fun little escapes to kick back and enjoy the beautiful weather with family, friends, or even by yourself with a good book and your favorite beverage in tow. With the right patio furniture, you can turn your outdoor space into a comfortable oasis during the warmer months.

Not sure where to begin? Check out our 7 tips below to help you choose the right furniture for your outdoor living space!

Start Dreaming – Before you head out, think about how you would like your outdoor space to function. Can you see yourself cozying up in a peaceful nook, or would you rather host outdoor evening dinner parties with your friends? Make a list of what you would like your space to do for you and which pieces of furniture could help you meet that goal.

Test It Out – A chair or swing may look like a dream, but just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean that it will be comfortable. Before you buy, take a seat and see how you like the furniture. If the furniture is comfortable, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy your patio than if the chair or swing looks nice but isn’t as cozy.

Opt for Easier Maintenance – Spend your time outside enjoying the scenery, not maintaining your furniture. We suggest opting for metal, teak, cedar, and all-weather wicker pieces, which can withstand quite a bit of weather and look fantastic for years to come.

Make Storage a Priority – Want to add years of life to your patio furniture? Make sure that you store it in a safe location during the off-season. Before you purchase the furniture, ensure that you have ample space for proper storage in your garage, basement, or shed. It’s also helpful if your furniture can be taken apart easily or can fold for more compact storage!

Get Colorful – Just because you’re shopping for outdoor furniture doesn’t mean that you have to choose from a palette of browns and tans. While the natural tones of wood, along with black, white, and beige, look great, you can always add splashes of color into your outdoor furniture to keep the vibe happy and fun. We suggest saving the color for cushions and accent pieces so you can switch them out easily and at a lower cost throughout the years.

Make Them Do Double Duty – When you’re looking at outdoor furniture, it’s wise to see if certain pieces can function in multiple ways. A cute ottoman or sturdy bench can help provide extra seating or storage, for example. Pieces that are multi-purpose and comfortable are a great investment and can help you save a little extra cash in the long run.

Don’t Forget the Rugs – Tie in your furniture by choosing an all-weather rug. When looking for a good rug, you’ll want to choose one that dries quickly, is soft, and has rich texture. A good rug can really make you feel like you’re sitting inside while you’re enjoying the outdoors!

Looking for a home with the perfect outdoor and indoor living space? We can help! Just contact The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties by calling either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. You can also view our current listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.

10 Fun Indoor Activities to Do When It’s Too Hot Outside

four children stare at sand tiger shark

If you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the weather lately, you’ll know that it’s really hot outside. In fact, it’s so hot that the National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for the rest of this week in the Greater St. Louis region and the Metro East. With heat indexes reaching between 105 and 113 each afternoon and early evening, it’s wise to stay indoors, but that doesn’t mean you have to be bored!

Here are 10 fun things you can do indoors when it’s too hot to be outside. Enjoy them by yourself or with your friends and family!

Enjoy a Movie Night – Grab your friends, some popcorn, tasty snacks, and cold drinks and enjoy your favorite flicks! Jazz it up with a themed movie marathon, catch up on your favorite Netflix series together, or take turns picking out your favorite movies.

Splash Around at an Indoor Pool – Don’t want to swim outside? Try hitting up a local indoor pool instead! Try the YMCA or another gym in your area, especially if you have a membership. Don’t forget to bring a towel and a bag for your clothes!

Savor a Sweet Cold Treat – With this sweltering heat, we think it’s the perfect excuse to have an ice cream night! Grab a carton of your favorite kind or go out to a local ice cream parlor and try something totally different. It’ll keep you cool and it’s delicious! Oh, and snow cones and milkshakes count, too!

Visit an Aquarium – While it might mean braving the heat to get in and out of your car, visiting an aquarium is a great way to stay cool! Besides, you’ll get to see lots of really interesting sea creatures and maybe even learn something new. Looking for something local? Try the World Aquarium on Laclede’s Landing!

Get Creative – Host a coloring book night with your buddies and unwind together as you create something beautiful. Don’t want to color? Try making your own scrapbooks, sketching something, or coming up with a fun comic to draw out together!

Host a Marathon Gaming Session – Boot up your favorite gaming system, invite your friends over, and start playing your favorite multiplayer games! Make it even more interesting by hosting a tournament, or choose to play any type of game with your friends, whether they’re on the couch with you or playing with you virtually. There are plenty of great games out there, both old and new, to tear into and enjoy!

Put a Puzzle Together – Put your brain to work and construct one of your favorite puzzles or play a brain game with crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Make it even more fun by having your friends work on a puzzle with you. Challenge mode: get two puzzles out, split into teams, and see who can complete their puzzle faster!

Enjoy a Book – Want some quality you-time during these sweltering summer days? Grab your favorite book and a cold beverage, curl up somewhere cool and comfortable, and get lost in some wonderful literature!

Go Bowling – Head over to the closest bowling alley with your buddies and see who can get the highest score. Make it a little more interesting by having the loser buy a round of cold beverages for everyone!

Check Out Your Local Library – Libraries are so underrated and are a true hidden gem in our towns and cities. Venture over to this air conditioned-oasis to check out the collection of books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, and more for free!

How do you like to beat the summertime heat? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

5 Outdoor Fire Safety Tips to Keep Your Party Fun

skewered marshmallows roasting over a charcoal grill

As you probably know from reading our previous blog, outdoor parties and summertime go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re relaxing with friends in front of a fire pit, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, or partying by the light of tiki torches in the background, it’s always smart to be prepared in case a fire breaks out.

Here are 5 helpful safety tips to help keep your outdoor activities fun for everyone this summer:

Use Caution with Open Flames – There’s nothing like using tiki torches, outdoor fireplaces, candles, and sky lanterns to create the perfect ambiance. If you choose to use these items, however, you need to be careful. The majority of home damage and fire-related injuries can happen when torches or candles are knocked over or if the flame is placed too closely to something flammable. Make sure that your candleholders are sturdy, and keep flames at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn.

Keep a Watchful Eye – It’s always smart to leave a responsible adult in charge, especially if there are children or pets around. Make sure that at least one adult is supervising any children or pets present at the party and to keep them away from open flames.

Be Smart With Campfires – Making a campfire? We suggest that you build it in a fire pit to help prevent fire from spreading. And of course, never leave your campfire unattended. When you’re finished telling spooky stories and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, make sure to extinguish the campfire. Keep a water source nearby as well, just in case the flames get out of hand.

Try Faux Flames – If you want to take the danger factor out of the picture but still want to keep the romantic, outdoorsy ambiance alive, flameless candles and solar-powered patio torches work just fine. Battery-operated flameless candles and patio torches are safe alternatives that can put your mind at ease so you can simply enjoy your party with your friends and family!

Be Careful with Your Grill – Want to grill up some delicious brats, hot dogs, burgers, or vegetables? Go for it! Just keep the grill at least 10 feet away from structures so they won’t catch on fire. Also, be sure not to turn on the gas while the lid is closed.

Outdoor parties, campfires, and pool parties are fun summertime activities that can leave you and your guests with wonderful memories. Just make sure that you follow our 5 fire safety tips to keep your parties fun for everyone!

Don’t have the space to throw an outdoor party? Looking for your very own oasis complete with pool? Find your dream home by calling the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! Don’t forget to check out our listings online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.