Monday, July 25, 2016

A Stroll At The Kingwood Center

As a family, we love to visit The Kingwood Center in Mansfield several times a year. My husband and I love the flowers and plants. The kids love the statues and we all love the exercise! It is easy to spend an hour strolling the paths with the kids.

The Kingwood was one of the first places Adam and I visited when we moved to Mansfield, pre-kids. Over the years we moved, but we make a point to visit The Kingwood several times a year with the kids, not only for the experience but also to revisit our roots in a way.

The Kingwood Center is a 47 acre estate that is open to the public. The grounds are compromised of gardens that are breathtaking. Kingwood Center Gardens develops and displays exemplary gardens on the former estate of Charles Kelley King for the pleasure and education of its constituents.  While admission is free there is a parking charge. It is minimal and helps to support the operation of this amazing place in Ohio.

If you visit, plan to stop by the greenhouses. It is easy to get swept away in the fun of the outdoor experience, but the greenhouse offers many gems including a fantastic banana tree. We seem to make a purchase of a plant on each visit.

This is a great place to snap some awesome photos of your family. The flowers are awesome in the spring and summer, in the fall the leaves add a lot to the experience.

Be sure to bring quarters to buy a few handfuls of food for the ducks! If you pay attention you may see the peacocks. They were nesting on eggs on our last month so we really hope to make it back this summer to see babies!

Do you have a favorite public garden? I would love to hear about it!

The Anatomy of a Great Family Home

We all want to live somewhere that’s perfect for both our children and us. But finding the right home can be hard. It’s difficult to find a place that meets everybody’s needs. Here’s what makes a great family home.

It’s Near Schools

For many young families, any new home has to be close to a great school. Getting a home that;s in the right catchment area is essential for the education of your children. Make sure that you visit schools before you move into your new home to find out whether they are any good. And ask people in the local area which schools they’d recommend. House prices tend to be higher where the schools are better. So be prepared to pay a little extra to get into the catchment area of the best schools.

It’s Big Enough For Play

Family homes should be precisely that: for families. And that means finding a space that’s suitable for every member of your tribe. Adults want formal areas with sensible and practical features. And kids want somewhere that’s big enough for play. Find a place with a space or spaces for kids to get on and play or do their hobbies. And make sure you can accommodate any dogs or cats in a backyard.

It’s Designed For You

Every family has their own individual style and taste. That’s why so many parents are now choosing to create their own houses. Red Ink's house and land packages, for example, allow you to choose and build specific home designs. That’s a good idea when you think about all the different ways your family uses your home. Some people will want space outdoors to play. And others might want an area to work or somewhere to store their instruments. A customised home, therefore, is far better able to meet your needs than one that is generic.

It Feels Like Home

All of us know what we mean when we say a home “feels like home.” And it’s an important consideration when choosing a new house. Granted, it’s going to be tough to create that feeling straight away. After all, you haven’t lived in your new home yet. But you’ll certainly get a sense of what does not constitute a great home. You’re looking for somewhere that feels cosy and is set up for family life. You’ll soon get an idea of the types of places you could call home and those you couldn't. It’s often a shot in the dark when it comes to finding a great home. But sometimes you just have to go with your instincts and take a chance. But don’t despair. There are rare times when you’ll discover a new place and it will genuinely feel like you always lived there. And that’s when you know you’ve found your perfect new pad.

It Can Be Improved

As time goes by, your family will grow. And so will its needs. That’s why a great home is one that can be improved. You might want to build a new extension for guests, for example.