• At Home Vacation Ideas To Keep The Kids Busy

    Lifestyle Family

    Make your own games
    The sky’s the limit with kids and games. Activities like Hoopla, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Snakes and Ladders, Twister, Capture the Flag or even Ring Toss can all be easily made at home and will keep the kids occupied, outdoors and happy.

    Cooking and baking
    Once a week you can plan a cooking or baking day with the kids. Let them choose from a selection of recipes and work through it step by step. They’ll love creating sweet treats and you’ll have bonding experiences to last a lifetime.

    Start a garden
    If you have the space, dedicate a small patch in the garden to the kids. They can plant flowers or vegetables whilst learning about farming, healthy living and a little bit of science through the growth of the plants. Get them their own spade and watch them light up at growing something for themselves.

    Have a treasure hunt
    Quickly make a treasure map with clues to find some treasure you have hidden somewhere in the house. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big because the excitement is in the hunt not the prize. If you want, they can dress like explorers or pirates to give the hunt an extra touch of fun.

    Make a movie
    This one’s for the older kids. Using a smart phone, they can easily make their own vacation days movie. Let them write their own script and film it in their own way and you can help them edit it together in the end using an app or editing program. Who knows, you might just have a family movie to show at Christmas every year!

    Take nature walks
    You’ll have to leave the house for a bit for this one but you don’t have to go far. Whether it’s at the park, or on the beach, get the kids out for some fresh air and activities. Bring the football or cricket bat for extra fun or maybe even have a picnic.

  • 5 Kitchen Appliances You Should Invest In

    Product

    1. Slow Cooker
    Why a slow cooker? Honestly, these can cook virtually any meal: soups, meats, stews, casseroles, the list goes on and on. It’s also great for making large quantities for a large family or if you’re a big fan of leftovers. Plus, if you’re more of a laid back home chef, slow cookers require only a small amount of prep! Some are even programmable so you can set it and forget it.

    2. Food Processor
    A food processor is basically the Swiss Army Knife of the kitchen. If you’re looking to easily double or triple whatever recipe you're working on, this is the way. With a variety of blades, you can grind solid foods, make purees, and even get your own dough going in a flash!

    3. Blender
    A blender of some kind is an incredibly useful tool to have in the kitchen. A high-end model beats most appliances by sheer power and versatility. If you're low on space and need a reliable tool to whip things into shape quickly, head out and invest in an immersion blender. Smoothies here we come!

    4. Mixer
    We know there’s a debate about mixers and their presence in the kitchen but if you bake a lot, an electric stand mixer is the way to becoming Betty Crocker! Because of the price, it’s definitely the number-one kitchen appliance splurge but it will make your life easier if you’re a lover of baking.

    5. Electric Kettle
    Don’t be fooled, the electric kettle is an integral and sneaky small appliance! It’s one of those things that you don't think is necessary until you have one. It's more energy-efficient than boiling water on the stove, and much faster. For avid coffee or tea drinkers, this is the way to go.

  • A Click Away: The Benefits Of Online Shopping

    Lifestyle

    We’re here to turn some of you into online shopping believers! Online shopping isn’t just the way of the future; it’s what’s happening now and at Courts, the best items for your home are just a click away on shopcourts.com. So what are the benefits of online shopping as opposed to coming in store? Well, it’s your preference how you shop but check out some of the benefits to see if you want to give it a try.

    It can happen anytime
    Many stores have opening and closing hours but online shopping operates at the 24/7 level. That means whether you’re browsing items early in the morning or looking to replace an item late at night, you can always log on and see what goodies are available.

     It saves you time
    With branches opening from 8AM – 5PM, it might be hard to browse, choose and pay for an item in the midst of your hectic day. When you do have that 15 minutes of quiet time, you can check out the selection online, order and collect in store on your lunch break or have it delivered to your home.

    Price comparisons
    Comparing and researching products and their prices is so much easier online. Check out all the specs of an item in the description section and make the purchase that’s right for you.

    No crowds
    Many people hate crowds when they’re shopping because it just adds confusion to the process. Things like Christmas or Black Friday tend to draw in throngs of people and can make you feel rushed or hurried. Don’t even get us started on parking. Skip all of that with online shopping!

    Less compulsive shopping
    Be honest…Are you a compulsive shopper? Sometimes when we go into a store we end up buying things compulsively whether it’s because of a really skilled sales person or you’re crunched for time. Skip the pressure, save your bank account and shop smart online.

    Better prices
    The prices between online and in store are different from time to time. For example, on shopcourts.com we have online specific deals as well as VIP shopping! When you sign up to be a VIP member, you are entered into the club of extra special discounts and deals that are offered only to members. Sign up to become a VIP shopper today!

  • 6 Ways To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

    How To Home

    You can go green and so can your home! Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd and in honour of that, we have some easy tips on how to make your home more eco-friendly.

    Recycling
    Plastic doesn't biodegrade and, unfortunately, it’s everywhere. From drink bottles, grocery bags, containers and utensils, when you buy and throw away plastic, it has a long-term impact on the environment. Try switching to using reusable drink bottles and containers. If recycling is an option where you live, get into the habit of separating plastic and glass so you don’t contribute to the excess non-biodegradable waste.

    Replace your paper towels
    Get rid of paper towels. We know how handy they are but just like plastic, they end up piling up somewhere and causing more harm than good. Switch to cloth dishtowels and rags for wiping up spills.

    Be a light saver
    LED bulbs are better for the environment than incandescent ones but did you know that they can lower your electricity bill and last for more than 10 years? If the stark blue-based light they give off just doesn’t do it for you, no worries. LED bulbs often have a yellow-based light option so your space can remain cozy and eco-friendly.

    Get into plants
    Houseplants improve the air quality within your home. They also add multiple elements of light and life to your space. You can also consider planting a small herb garden (it can be small enough to fit on your kitchen counter). This can cut down on the extra packaging from the grocery store and you’ll always have fresh herbs on hand.

    Shower smarter
    Showering smarter means taking shorter showers. Up your efficiency so you save on water by mastering the quick soap! You can also look into a low flow showerhead to help conserve water with those family members who can’t get down with the short shower.

    Hang dry your clothes
    Do it the old fashion way like Granny. Skip the dryer when you can and hang-dry your laundry. This will help reduce your carbon emissions and can even prevent dark clothes from fading. It’s a win-win.

  • Easy Tips To Take Care Of Your Furniture

    Cleaning How To

    Buying furniture is no small venture. Chances are you took the time to look over your budget, your space, your preferences, and your home life before you made the decision to purchase that new living room set or dining table. And when you got it home, you felt like you wanted to throw plastic over it to keep it looking new for as long as possible. No worries. Check out some of our easy tips to take care of your furniture so it can look and feel great longer!

    Wood
    - Avoid heat and light because wood contains a surprising amount of moisture that needs to be preserved in order to keep the colour and texture on point. This means positioning wooden furniture as far away direct sunlight, which can fade it. If that’s inevitable, use curtains to guard against the sun's rays.

    - Always be on the lookout for what is on your exposed wooden furniture. For example, for a wooden table, make sure to have cork or felt-bottomed coasters to avoid watermarks or rings that can appear from cold or hot drinks (like that morning cup of coffee).

    - Clean safely and dust frequently. Wood is prone to collecting dirt and grease and can slowly lose its sheen due to wear or loss of polish. It can also be easily stained. Mix a solution of oil soap and water or use a wood polish as instructed on the package and gently stroke the furniture using a moist natural sponge. Never spray wood directly, as overspray can leave a difficult-to-remove film. Follow the grain of the wood as you dust to avoid cross-grain scratches.

     

    Fabric/Upholstery
    - Dust and remove dirt frequently from upholstered furniture by vacuuming it weekly. Be sure to life the cushions and get into all the crevices where excess dust and crumbs tend to gather.

    - Remember to flip, swap and rearrange. Everyone’s got that special spot on the couch that’s gradually created a little sink in the cushion just for them. Flip loose cushions regularly, and rotate them if you can. This helps to distribute wear more evenly.

    - Invest in washable slipcovers, especially in the Caribbean. They help to protect the fabric from sweat and other heat related elements.

     

    Leather
    - Leather is very sensitive to heat and light and can fall victim to sun damage very easily. If you can, position any leather pieces away from windows or heat sources.

    - If you have uncoated leather furniture, it should be dusted frequently. If you have coated leather furniture, you can dust or vacuum regularly to remove surface soil and use a cleaner. You can check with the manufacturer to see what they use in store for best results.

    - Stay away from oil, furniture polish, dusting sprays or ordinary stain removers on leather furniture because these will harm the material as these products can change the colour or appearance of the leather.

  • 4 Essentials For Hosting A Game Night

    How To

    We all love hanging out with friends, but sometimes your wallet can’t handle all the weekly dinner and bar get-togethers. Enter the game night. It's the perfect middle road for a casual, laid-back hangout with your favorite people. Plus, it’s really easy to put together and it gives you an excuse to whip out the snacks and drinks. Here are our 4 essentials for hosting an easy and fun game night at home.

    The Seating
    Before everyone arrives, make your living room, patio or wherever you want to host game night, a comfy spot. Think about what kind of vibe you’re going for and work from there. For instance, board games mean people need to be closer together so set up cushions around your coffee table for a cozier feel. If it’s charades, move your furniture into a semi circle so everyone can have a great view of the action!

    The Games
    Speaking of seating based around games, let’s get into the main attraction. What games should you play? Well, that depends on the guest list and/or what you have in your storage! Board games are always a great idea for small groups. (Although, if you’re looking to be in bed before the sun comes up, we would leave out Monopoly) For larger groups, interactive games like trivia or charades is best because you can easily create teams and let the friendly competition begin!

    The Food
    Food brings everyone together so for game night, plan for small bites that your guests can easily grab between turns. Things like chips and dip, pretzels, mini pastries or sandwiches, veggie platters, cheese boards, etc are easy to set up, don’t cost a lot and will always be a hit.

    The Drinks
    For our alcohol drinkers out there, we know the drinks get the party started. Try making a punch, which is perfect for a large group of people so they can serve themselves and you’ll avoid playing bartender all night. Don’t forget to put chasers, like juices, sodas, water, etc, out as well so your non-drinkers can easily pour themselves a glass!

  • 3 Reasons To Say Yes To Financing

    Lifestyle

    In trying economic times, it can be difficult to imagine furnishing your home or purchasing new appliances. You may even find yourself at a point where you can no longer put off the investment and you need an item now. But what do you do? That’s where financing comes in! Ready Finance is our easy, affordable and flexible solution so that you get the items you want for your home without having to compromise on your budget. Sounds convincing enough, but here are 3 more reasons to say yes to financing.

    Choose How You Want To Pay
    One of the best parts about Ready Finance are the payment options available.

    - You can choose the way you want to pay; we know that having a big chunk of cash leave your account every month can be stressful. This is why we offer small deposits or installments to help keep you afloat. In some cases, we’ll offer $0 down until a certain period so be on the lookout for those ideal moments to shop!

    - You can choose the length of time that you want to pay; payment times can range anywhere from 3 to 36 months which gives you and your budget a lot of flexibility and room to breathe.

    - You can choose where you want to pay; Ready Finance offers easy payment methods and you don’t even have to come into the store to pay! Ask about what locations are set up in your region so you can keep on top of your payments and never lose track.


    Payment Protection
    When you make your purchase with Ready Finance, you can ask about Payment Protection. Life is unpredictable so Payment Protection covers you in the event that you lose your job due to redundancy, you’re hospitalized, or you lose your item due to fire, flood, natural disaster or theft.


    Quick Approval
    In some of your branches across the Caribbean, we have started rolling out same day approval for new customers! We’re not ashamed to have an Oprah moment and say, “you get approval, you get approval!” As a new customer you have to walk with your ID, job letter, pay slip, utility bill, and the names of two references. Ask about our approval process at your nearest Courts store today to see what we offer you in your region.

    Have it your way at Courts with Ready Finance and make your house a home today!

  • Make It Special: Courts Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

    Lifestyle

    We love to LOVE at Courts and that’s why this years Valentine’s Day Gift Guide is geared towards items that are perfect for 2! Whether you’re celebrating on the day, getting a gift to share between the both of you or trying something new together, here are the items we suggest so you can make it special all year round and not just on the day. Of course, chocolates are still welcome!

    Coffee Maker
    Coffee connoisseurs will always enjoy a gift that allows them to enjoy cup after cup! Surprise them with a gift that will change their morning ritual for the better.

    Stand Mixer

    Is your Valentine a baking machine? Stand mixers are handy for all those cupcakes and breads they love to make but also whisking, blending and even juicing. Mixers pretty much do everything so it’s definitely a gift they’ll love.

    Grill
    Now this gift is sure to turn up the heat. Not only is a professional grill great for barbecuing but it’s also a gift that will definitely get you and your Valentine spending more time together.

    1

    Matching Tablets
    Get cute with tech this Valentine’s Day. Check out our tablet options and get matching ones for you and that special person.

    6

    Smart TV
    A new Smart TV makes binge watching that show together even better! Snuggle up on the couch and we guarantee there’ll be no fighting for the remote.

    5

    Radioshack Goodies
    Have you checked out what Radioshack has to offer the tech lover in your life? From projectors to headphones to action cameras, you can’t go wrong with a little special something from the Shack!

    4

  • 5 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Home

    Exercise

    Was your resolution to get fit this year but you’re not feeling the gym scene? No worries. We’ve got various pieces of exercise equipment and accessories to help you maintain your new healthy lifestyle without having to pay for that pricey gym membership. Pair these simple exercises with a revamped diet, as well as adding in other moves, to help give you a full body workout.

    Plank
    The plank and side plank are a standard full body strength workout. The most common one is the forearm plank; place your forearms on the ground with elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance. You can leave your palms flat facing or clasp your hands together. Keep your core tight while breathing normally. Hold this position for 30 seconds. You can gradually add more time the longer you workout.

     

     

    Fitness Ball – Abs
    Exercise balls are great for building balance and strength. For abs, lie on the ball with your middle back resting on top, arms straight, and palms on your upper thighs. Then, slowly curl your upper body forward, keeping your hands on your thighs and your back straight. Avoid curling your chin into your neck. Then slowly lower to the starting position. You can do this 15 times.

     

     

    Squats
    The basic squat works wonders on your legs, butt and core. Start by standing as tall as you can with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, so that they’re parallel to the floor. Keep your torso as upright as you can for the entire movement, with your lower back slightly arched. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Like you’re going to sit on an imaginary bench behind you. Hold, and then push yourself back to the starting position. You can do 15 to 20 times.

     


    Burpees

    Talk about the old school workout. To do a basic burpee, begin in a standing position. Ready? Burpees generally follow 4 basic steps. 1. Sink into a low squat with both hands on the floor, placed just outside your feet. 2. Kick your feet straight back and land on your toes so that you're in a plank position. 3. Jump your feet back between your hands. Keep your abs tight and tuck your body back into your squat. 4. Now reach up and push off into a vertical jump. Make sure your burpees are fluid but controlled. Remember your breathing. You can start with 6 to 8 burpees and work their way up in both speed and number.


     

    Incline Push Up
    Use your couch or a bench to do these. Get into the push-up position, but place your hands placed on a raised surface like the couch, stairs, a chair, etc. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Start your pushup and let your upper arms dip below your elbows. Hold and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. When you become a pro at these, you can move to the floor for the maximum pushup workout. You can do these 12 to 15 times.

  • 8 Healthy Food Replacements To Try This Year

    Food
    1. Instead of Rice: Provisions or Quinoa

    Rice is a staple in most meals but white rice is a refined starch that has a high glycemic index making it a not so great food if you’re watching your weight. Consider eating provisions as a substitute or quinoa. Both are high-protein, high-fiber and if you can’t give up rice cold turkey, you can always take a smaller step to brown rice.

    1. Instead of Soda: Tea or Water

    Soft drinks are definitely an easy thing you can replace from your day-to-day life. The sugar is highly refined and basically invisibly AND the average 20oz bottle has about 16 teaspoons of the stuff! Try tea or water as a substitute. You can even try coconut water, which still has sugar but is better for your system and caloric intake.

    1. Instead of Cookies: Homemade Granola

    C is for cookie but it might not be good enough to eat a lot of them anymore. Keep the cookie jar empty for a bit and opt for granola (homemade if you can manage it). Remember, if you’re buying granola from the grocery, be sure to also check out the excess sugars from dried fruit that can sneak up on you. Check your labels guys!

    1. Instead of Mayo: Avocado or Pesto

    Some people can’t get enough mayo. It’s on sandwiches, mixed into a condiment, in salads, the list goes on and on. Although it's delicious, it’s not great for you because of the saturated fats. Try cutting it out entirely or using avocado as a spread. The similarity in texture and heightened taste might surprise you!

    1. Instead of Caramel Corn: Popcorn

    But popcorn is a snack…right? Well yes. Regular popcorn is actually a pretty great snack when you’re feeling to cheat on your diet but still have some fun. The trick is to stay away from caramel popcorn, oh the sugar, and the extra buttery kind.

    1. Instead of Candy Bars: Dark Chocolate

    Before you protest, we’re not kicking out chocolate for good! Heavens no. But we are tossing out candy bars. All the extra nougat, caramel, marshmallow, milk has got to go. Try dark chocolate bars or cacao nibs instead. They’re stuffed with the same goodness and the benefits of dark chocolate are scientifically proven!

    1. Instead of Ice Cream: Sorbet

    Ice cream is quite the sneaky unhealthy snack that is craved by the masses. If you can’t give up your sweet tooth, just replace the milky ice cream with sorbet. It’s fruity, refreshing and comes in a wide range of flavours. Your body will thank you, especially if you’re lactose intolerant.

    1. Instead of White/Wheat Bread: Many Things!

    Oh bread. We love you so but white bread, you’ve got to go! See what we did there? Bread, both white and wheat, usually have been stripped of most fiber and nutrients so you’re not eating as healthy as you think most of the time. The best thing is to cut down on bread fully but in the meantime, try substituting it here and there for things like corn tortillas, lettuce wraps, eggs, sweet potatoes or cauliflower to create healthier meals and still get your fiber intake.

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