Shell Horseshoes is always a beach favorite when you don’t have any playing gear

Of course it doesn’t always work out that you are actually carrying what you need for a quick game to play at the beach. This is where years of wisdom and your parent ingenuity kicks in – it’s time to play a game of Shell Horseshoes! The rules for shell horseshoes are a combination of sorts between horseshoes and washers, but with some minor differences in the playing gear.

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First, find yourself four hardy shells along the beach; shells that are strong enough and can withstand being tossed around the beach for the next 30 minutes or so.

Once you’ve found your four playing shells, dig two holes in the ground, roughly the same distance you would have dug the stakes in the ground if you had a set of horseshoes.  Voila! Instant shell horseshoes.

Not only do you have a game for yourself and the other adults, but it’s a game the kids love more so than the actual horseshoes game because it seems more clever to them – you’re an instant hit with the kids too!

Beach Games at the Shore is available today at Amazon.


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Fall Projects for your Home

By John Focht

As the September temperatures begin to moderate, it’s time to do more than just break out the football. Early autumn is the time to get some of the home projects knocked off your to-do list. Keeping up with your home can be a tough task, but be sure to get some of these must-do’s complete for your home upkeep, as well as some additional projects just to stay ahead of the clutter.

Fertilize your Lawn

Keeping up with your lawn can be a fulltime job. Heck, even trying to stay up-to-date with just cutting and weed-whacking is enough to keep you busy all season.

But as the temperatures begin to moderate in September, your lawn is ripe for another round of fertilizer to keep the grass fresh and strong, and the weeds at bay.

Keep a watchful eye on the forecast. Be sure you are not fertilizing right before a September Indian Summer; fertilizing while temps are in the 90’s will do more harm than good to your grass. Look for temps in the 70’s for a few days and water your lawn at night when the sun goes down. Soon, your lawn will have that fresh autumn look to it.

Replace Storm Windows

Did last winter feel drafty to you? If so, those old storm windows may need some replacing. Double-check their condition; if you are due for an upgrade in windows, now is the time to get it done.

Drafty windows do more than just keep your home frosty, they can eat away at your heating bill all winter long. Drafty windows can cost you hundreds of wasted dollars in extra heating this winter.

Check out your windows now, and start replacing what you can before the winter chill is here.

Seal your Driveway

Sealing the driveway is always a messy job, but a job that needs to get done. To ensure you are preserving the life of your driveway as best you can, sealing your driveway is the best way to ensure you do that.

To get the max out of your driveway, best results are to seal it every other year; every third year at the very least. Spending a Saturday getting tar-covered for a few hours will save you the cost of replacing your entire driveway later.

Clean the Garage

Maybe cleaning out the garage is not a home necessity for the fall, but it usually is a good time to go through all the old stuff that has accumulated through another season of baseball, softball, volleyball, and football and get rid of the old stuff.

If there is old sports equipment that still is usable but no longer fits, or simply isn’t used, look for athletic programs in your neighborhood or community to donate to. Donating old bikes to local organizations and charities is also a good way of getting a few more years out that old bike too.

Find good use for the items that are still functional, and get rid of the items that are not.

Paint a Room

When all else fails, paint a room. Nothing freshens up and brightens up the inside of your home like a painted room.

Go through the house and see which room needs to be freshened up. Maybe it’s the kid’s rooms, or the kitchen, or the basement. Make a weekend out of it and get the entire family to help out. It will make for an enjoyable weekend and will get it done that much quicker.


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Back to School

By John Focht

The changing of the calendar from August to September also means it’s time to shift from the summer season to the new school year. There is plenty to do this time of year as you and the kids gear up for another year of school. Getting into a routine and eating healthy after a summer of BBQ’s, campouts, and late nights is hard, but start adjusting now so the whole family is ready to get back into gear when that school bell sounds for another school year.

Getting Back into a Routine

One of the most important things for kids during the school year, particularly the younger kids, is a set routine. Sometimes with after school activities, or games, or practices, that’s not possible, but having a set routine with dinner, bed time, and waking up is helpful in getting the kids adjusted and easing them back into the daily routine.

Another helpful tip, particularly in the early part of the school season when the weather is still nice and it is still light outside for a few hours after dinner, is trying to set a routine for homework. Whether it is having your kids to do their homework immediately after they get home from school, or finishing it up after dinner, try to create a set time for homework. The routine of doing homework at the same time daily will help your child immensely as the school year kicks off.

Healthy Breakfast

It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason. Getting the kids off to a good start in the morning starts with a healthy breakfast. A bowl of cereal, a piece of fruit, or a yogurt will go great with a glass or two of orange or apple juice. Provide plenty of nutrition for the kids in the morning to help carry them throughout the morning; don’t just send them off with a pop-tart or granola bar.

A healthy breakfast each morning will take your kids further each day and will provide them the energy they need.

Balanced Meals

Ok, so this one is a bit tough. Just how are you supposed to create balanced meals when the kids are going in separate directions each day between sports, after school activities, and just getting outside and being a kid?

Be sure your child is getting plenty of nutrition with each meal. A piece of fruit in the morning and in their lunches will help provide them energy throughout the day. At dinner, steer clear of fast-food or eating out every night. Make a strong healthy meal with a hearty mix of vegetables.

If your kids are eating at different times due to after school sports and activities, be sure they are still getting a good healthy dinner and not just a frozen dinner every night. Plan out the meals for the week to help ensure you, the kids, and the entire family are getting that well balanced meal. Planning your meals in advance will also help you steer clear of the frozen dinners and fast-food night nights out too.

Also, make Sunday night family dinner night. Get back to your family roots by planning a nice family Sunday meal in the dining room. Having quality family time is just as important to the overall health of your children as a plate full of green beans.


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