How to Make a Carved Pumpkin Last Through Halloween

Halloween is less than two weeks away and now is the time to think about carving those pumpkins! Whether you like a traditional jack-o-lantern or something a bit spookier, here are 5 tips to make sure your pumpkin looks great and lasts through Halloween!

 

1 – Clean the inside really well. Many carving kits come with scoops to use to scoop out all of the “guts” of the pumpkin. The seeds and guts are the part that starts to rot first. Make sure yours is as empty as possible before you start carving your design.

 

2 – Soak it in a bleach bath. After you’ve carved the perfect design, it’s time to give that pumpkin a bath. Fill a tub or bucket with water and add 1/2 cup of bleach. Let the pumpkin sit overnight (or longer if possible) before pulling it out and drying it off.

 

3 – Store is somewhere cool. When you’re not displaying your pumpkin, make room for it in your refrigerator or another cool/dry place in your home to keep it from drying out.

by: Bekir Donmez

4 – Hydrate it! Fill a spray bottle with some water and give your carved pumpkin a spray daily. This will keep is fresh and moist as well.

 

5 – Use a battery-operated candle. Flameless candles help in making the pumpkin last longer since there’s no heat drying the pumpkin from the inside. Find an LED one that flickers for a spookier effect.

 

5 Tips for Back to School Success

September is here and that means back to school! Whether you are a student, teacher or parent, going back to school can be a big change. Make the transition back to school easier in your house with these helpful tips…

 

1 – Move bedtimes up. We all get in the habit of staying up late during the summer. Now that September is here it’s important to establish a better bedtime routine (especially for kids). Move bedtime up by at least 30 minutes.

 

2 – Keep a calendar. Everyone has busy schedules in the fall with school, sports, clubs and activities. Keep a printed calendar of all of these weekday events.

 

3 – Make a kitchen command center. This is a great place to put your calendar and schedule for everyone to see. Keep hanging file folders or shelves nearby to keep important documents that the kids will need for school. (Think medical documents, permission slips, teacher’s contact information etc.)

 

4 – Meal prep. If you’re back to packing lunches it’s a great idea to meal prep on Sunday to be prepared for the week. This will save you tons of time in the morning when you’re trying to get out the door on time.

 

5 – Get caught up on laundry. There’s nothing worse than having nothing to wear while you’re running late in the morning. Take time to catch up on laundry so everyone in the house has what they need during the week clean and read to wear.

The Easiest Way to Clean Your Microwave

 

We all neglect our microwaves now and then when cleaning. It’s easy to close the door and keep the mess hidden inside. If you’ve been neglecting yours, here is a quick and easy way to remove dirt, grime, and stuck-on food!

 

1 – Fill a microwave safe bowl with water about halfway full.

2 – Add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to the bowl of water.

3 – Put the bowl in the microwave and run the microwave for about three minutes (longer if it’s really dirty).

4 – Carefully (it will be hot!) remove the bowl from the microwave.

5 – Use a damp cloth to easily wipe away all of the grime and food stains. 

 

This trick is so easy you can now clean your microwave at least once a week. Just run the microwave with the bowl of water while you’re doing other dishes and before you know it, your whole kitchen is clean!

What are some of your favorite kitchen cleaning hacks?

10 Tips For Hosting a Successful BBQ

Fourth of July is this weekend and if you’re hosting a BBQ you’re probably in full planning mode! Before Sunday arrives make sure to check out our tips below for hosting a successful BBQ with your friends and family.

 

1 – Get a headcount – You want to make sure you have enough food and drinks for your guests. Get an accurate headcount from your guest list tonight so you know what you need at the grocery store.

 

2 – Know what your guests eat – Do some guests have special dietary concerns or allergies? Make sure you have options for them so they are able to eat and enjoy themselves at your party!

 

3 – Make sure you have all the cooking supplies – No one wants to be running out to the market for missing items the day of the party. Think about condiments, ice and charcoal now!

 

4 – Make the perfect playlist – No party is complete without the perfect playlist! Music streaming services offer plenty of options and some have already put together 4th of July playlists that are perfect for your soiree.

 

5 – Have activities planned – Put out some games for your guests if you have the space! Think lawn games like cornhole or badminton for some outdoor fun!

 

6 – Think of the kids – Make sure you have food and beverage options on hand for any little ones who will be attending the party (i.e. juice, water, snacks etc.)

 

7 – Have a bad weather back up plan – Rain can certainly ruin any party. Don’t let it ruin yours! Make sure you have a backup plan and a space for guests to go if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

 

8 – Have festive accessories – Nothing says 4th of July like red, white and blue apparel! Pick up some beads, glasses or hats for your guests to wear while they celebrate!

 

9 – Prepare for the sun and bugs – Stock up on bug spray and sunscreen and have it out so guests can help themselves if needed.

 

10 – Have fun – The most important tip is to remember to have fun! Hosting a party can be stressful but if you follow these steps you should be well-prepared and able to enjoy yourself.

 

10 Cooking Hacks to Save You Time in the Kitchen

Do you hate cooking at home and find yourself ordering out more often than you should? Start ditching the delivery and cut down time in the kitchen with these awesome tips and hacks.

 

1 – Like breakfast sandwiches but don’t want to make one every morning? You can poach a dozen eggs at once using a muffin tin. Refrigerate/freeze the eggs and pull one out to reheat on your toast each morning.

 

2 – Fast forward your fruit ripening by keeping your fruits in a paper bag.

 

3 – Making mashed potatoes? Don’t waste time peeling the skin. Instead, boil them with the skin on and it will fall off in the water. Better yet, mash them with the skins on for a more textured mash potato dish.

 

4 – Use cooking spray to coat your measuring cups. This will help keep foods from sticking to them when baking.

 

5 – Having leftover pizza? Reheat it in a skillet on your stove top rather than the oven to save time.

 

6 – Love a morning smoothie? Put your fruit and veggies into freezer bags. Put one in the fridge each night to throw into the blender the next morning.

 

7 – Put a piece of white bread in your cookie jar to keep your cookies from getting hard and eventually needing to be tossed in the trash.

 

8 – Dice up a bunch of vegetables and store them in freezer bags. These are great to use as soup starters. You can toss the pre-cut veggies in your crockpot and add your desired broth.

 

9 – Having a birthday party? Pre-scoop your ice cream and put them on cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Pull one out for each plate at cake time.

 

10 – Need to soften butter on the counter? Cut it into tablespoon sizes .The smaller pieces will soften a whole lot faster than the whole stick.

5 Ways to Go Greener at Home

Earth Day is approaching and it’s always a great time to start evaluating how we are treating our environment. There are plenty of ways you can go greener at home beyond the classic “reduce, reuse recycle.”

 

1 – Switch the lightbulbs in your lamps to energy efficient light bulbs. When shopping at your local hardware store just look for the “energy star” label on the package. While we’re talking about lamps…make sure to always turn yours off when you’re leaving a room.

 

2 – Use more reusable bags! These are not just for grocery shopping. Start thinking about packing your lunch in a reusable bag and bringing your bags to department stores for shopping as well.

 

3 – Plant a vegetable garden. Don’t have a lot of space? Many vegetables can grow in containers that you can put on your patio or balcony.

 

4 – Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles. Purchase a reusable bottle to eliminate the amount of plastic water bottles you are using each week.

 

5 – Wash more things in cold water than hot. Washing clothes and dishes in colder water is much more energy efficient.

How to Host a Virtual Super Bowl Party

We’re all getting really good at finding creative ways to be together these days – including during the Super Bowl! We may be used to having a big, loud party with family and friends to root for our favorite teams. This year you can still have fun with some of these tips!

1 – Virtual Super Bowl Squares – Setup some virtual squares with friends and make your own contest using Super Bowl Pool Site!

2 – FaceTime or Zoom – Meet with your friends over the web whether it’s for the first quarter or the whole game. Joining in and cheering together will make you feel like you’re together even if you’re not. Test out your technology ahead of time to avoid any difficulties.

3 – Choose the Same Menu – Just because you can’t be together doesn’t mean you can’t all enjoy nachos, wings and your favorite beverages at the same time. Create a super bowl menu to all enjoy virtually.

4 – Make Sure to Show Team Spirit – Wear your favorite gear from your favorite team and give an award for the best getup!

5 – Play Some Games – Track your favorite commercials and compare with friends. Give out a virtual award for the best commercial! Create some NFL trivia to play while you’re waiting for the game to start. Feel like singing? Do your best virtual reenactment of the halftime show and share with friends!

3 Delicious Holiday Cookie Recipes

Whether you like to decorate sugar cookies or prefer gingerbread men we have the perfect recipes to get you started! The snow is going to fall this weekend so head to the market, pick up some supplies and start baking!

 

1 – Gingerbread Men Recipe Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

These smell delicious while baking and are even more fun to decorate! Add some hair, bow ties or buttons…whatever your gingerbread heart desires!

Courtesy of sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

2 – The Perfect Snickerdoodles Courtesy of Cookies & Cups

If you like your snickerdoodles soft and chewy then you’ve come to the right place! These cookies are easy to make and full of flavor.

Courtesy of Cookiesandcups.com

 

3 – Soft Christmas Cut Out Sugar Cookies Courtesy of Live Well Bake Often

Fun to decorate and perfect for the holiday season! These sugar cookies have an icing recipe that is also easy to make and tasty to eat.

Courtesy of livewellbakeoften.com

5 Festive Halloween Treats to Make This Weekend

Halloween is a week away and you can get into the spirit now by cooking up something both festive and sweet! Pull out your baking supplies and get cooking!

 

1 – Jack-O-Lantern Rice Kreepies

courtesy of realsimple.com

2 – White Chocolate Eyeballs

courtesy of realsimple.com

3 – Spooky Spider Cookies

courtesy of realsimple.com

4 – Creepy Bat Cupcakes

courtesy of realsimple.com

5 – Frozen Banana Ghosts

courtesy of realsimple.com

Tips for Trying Tie Dye at Home

Tie dye has come back in a BIG way in 2020! If you’ve looked online or shopped at stores recently you’ve probably seen lots of tie dye merchandise to buy. Instead of buying it pre-made, why not get crafty and create your own tie-dye at home? Read below for some tips for creating awesome and unique tie dyed garments!

 

1 – Think about what you want to tie dye. Is it a t shirt or a pair of shorts? Either way make sure that the material is cotton so the dye will adhere to the fibers of your garment as best as possible. Also, choose a white garment so your colors will stand out.

 

2 – Purchase your fabric dyes individually or purchase a kit. Stores like Michaels, Target and Amazon are selling kits that come with everything you need. If you don’t use a kit, you’ll also need some squeeze bottles, plastic sheets, plastic wrap, plastic gloves and rubber bands.

 

3 – Bullseye? Sunburst? Polka Dots? Decide which tie dye pattern you want to try. Click here for a great list of patterns with detailed instructions on how to achieve each look. Fold or roll your garment and place your rubber bands accordingly.

 

4 – Set up your work station outdoors to limit the mess. Lay out your plastic sheet and get your fabric dyes in the squeeze bottles. Make sure to wear your plastic gloves so you don’t tie dye your hands! (if you do get dye on your hands you can mix baking soda and water together to create a paste. Scrub it on your skin and wash away with soap and water.)

 

5 – Have fun and unleash your creativity! Choose fun color patterns and don’t be afraid to be bold. You won’t know how the garments will look until they’ve dried and been washed.

 

6 – When your garments are done wrap them in plastic wrap and let them dry overnight. When they’re ready to be unwrapped, wash them outdoors with a hose or in a laundry sink to remove the excess dye. After you’ve washed them throw them into the washing machine (without any other clothes) for a quick rinse and then dry.

 

7 – Enjoy your new tie dyed creations! Make sure to wash them separately for the first few washes to be sure the dye doesn’t bleed onto other clothes.