Backyard camping: enjoy the great outdoors without leaving home

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Pinterest

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities, but sometimes it’s hard to set aside a week or even just a weekend to get away. That’s why I love the idea of backyard camping. It gives families the opportunity to spend time outdoors and bond. Plus, staying close to home is often recommended for young children who are not ready for the full camping experience.

Backyard camping seems like a simple concept, but there are some strategies you can use to create an experience that is similar to an actual camping trip. For example, you can:

Set up a tent
Backyard camping

Photo credit: Daily Mail

Okay, I know it seems silly to sleep outdoors when you have comfortable beds inside waiting for you. However, your backyard excursion will feel more like a bonfire than an authentic camping trip if you head inside after the fire dies down.

Design a sitting area
Seating area next to camp

Polywood Adirondack Chairs

Most campsites have benches for dining and generally people bring their own chairs. Set up your backyard to mimic an actual campsite by arranging outdoor chairs and tables near the tent area.

Install a fire pit
Fire pit

Firescapes Fire Pit

In my opinion, it’s not camping without a fire and s’mores. If you don’t already have one, consider adding a fire pit to your backyard space; you can use it all summer long! On chillier nights, make sure you have extra blankets for sitting around the fire!

Add a sprinkler

If you live within walking distance of a lake or ocean, head out for a swim in the afternoon. Otherwise, a sprinkler can add a splash of fun for the kids (and the adults).

Keep technology indoors

Phones and laptops are hard to leave behind — believe me, I know. Camping, however, is all about taking a break from technology and connecting with nature. While you might not have a forest in your backyard, you can at least enjoy the sunshine and breeze without having to check your cell every five minutes.

Roasting marshmallows

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are you ready to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories? A simple camping trip in your backyard can be a special memory you and your family will cherish for years.

By Wendy Weinert

The Perfect Gift for Your Next Party

Summer brings lots of pool parties, birthday parties and family events. If you are the one hosting, the right décor and design is often top of mind, leaving the gifts to figure out later. This year, give a gift that is one-of-a-kind. If you are in a rush or can’t find the perfect gift, we have a few suggestions for you!

Consider Wall Decor

Wall décor is not only for adults but is a great gift for kids as well! No matter what your style is, wall decals from RoomMates make decorating easy and fun! Featuring your favorite licensed art like Minnie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Winnie the Pooh and Disney Pixar Cars, kids can bring their walls to life with their favorite characters and designs. (Wall decals by RoomMates also offer a wide selection of wall quotes, trees & branches and floral décor for adults). The best part is these wall decals are peel and stick. No sticky residue gets left on your walls! Plus, temporary decorating is great for kids since their favorite characters change so frequently!

Wall decor makes a nice gift if attending a child’s birthday party that has theme! The Frozen line is especially popular and is a special gift to give at a Frozen themed birthday party. What little girl wouldn’t want to open up her very own giant Elsa and hang her right up on her bedroom wall?

RoomMates Gift idea- Elsa

And one of our favorite reasons to give wall décor as a gift, it pairs well with bedroom themes. If the child’s bedroom décor is based on Mickey Mouse, giving a giant decal of Mickey or Mickey and his friends, just adds to the collection. Plus, after the décor is hung, it makes a nice bold statement on the wall.

RoomMates Gift idea- Mickey cropped

Personalized Wall Art

A cool spin on wall decals, give a custom wall decal for a gift that is really memorable. RoomMates custom wall decals offer the ability to personalize your own wall sticker. Use one of their premade templates and add your name or phrase. A great gift for any child, there is nothing that brings a room to life than a personalized peel and stick decal that says “Sasha’s Room.”  Like the wall décor line, customizable wall art is also removable and reusable!

RoomMates Gift idea- Personalized

Children receive so many toys. Consider a gift that is out of the box and fun! Remember wall décor is child friendly! We particularly like this kind of gift because of the application process! It is nice for the child to decorate together with an adult and be amazed by the peel and stick of the decal on the wall as they move it from wall to wall.

Consider something out of the box the next time you give a gift!


Jessica Toutsis

About Jessica Toutsis

Jessica Toutsis is the Digital Marketing Manager for is passionate about blogging, all things Web, and of course wall decals! Her expertise lies around content development, as well as SEO and social media and she frequently writes about home decor, re-purposing and home organization. To read more of Jessica’s blog posts, follow the RoomMates blog and add Jessica on Google+

The Love of LEGO

Lego website

Legos – those multicolored bricks roughly the size of peanuts- for most of us bring back a flood of nostalgia.   Although the concept was simple, Legos became ubiquitous for generations of children much like iPads and Netflix have become now.  The core appeal of Legos was built upon the creativity of the ambitious, transporting young engineers and city planners to their own worlds where they played unquestioned ruler.  In the infinite space of imagination and strategy, I and countless others thrived.

Lego Minions

Although it is hard to quantify exactly what we garnered through the hours spent stacking those simple bricks, it is not hard to imagine how it helped our development of key skills.  Creative problem-solving, collaboration, project-management, design, creativity; these skills all seem like realistic possibilities.  We might never know how Legos affected us, but for me it is impossible to imagine a world without them.

Lego themed bedroom

This was the inspiration for Weston Homes, a leading developer of real-estate in Great Britain, to both design and create the first children’s themed Lego room completely made with standard and mini-Lego figures.  The sample room that Weston Homes created for one of their luxury home developments from head to toe is decorated with red and yellow Legos and themed accessories.  From the wall decals of the “Evolution of the Lego Man” to the Lego brick themed furniture, the room is a perfect place for children to explore the wonderful world of their imagination.  Weston Home claims that other themes like Star Wars and Indiana Jones Lego rooms will follow as the popularity of the attraction increasing.

Lego themed room

Bob Weston, Chairmen & Managing Director of Weston Homes had this say about the project: “Lego is a global brand loved by children… and it has definitely helped play a role in our success at promoting the houses to families with children.”

The Lego Movie

Today the Lego world is more complex as the cherished brand has diversified to theme parks, video games, and even the big screen.  The Lego Movie, voiced by well-known actors/actresses like Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, and Morgan Freeman, has grossed over $450 million internationally.  For kids today, Legos might just seem like simple toys, but for those of us who have grown up using Legos as a tool to construct our dreams and push our creative frontiers, Legos are so much more! If you want to learn more about Weston Home’s Lego projects, please visit