Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

September is National Courtesy Month – Guest Related Products 02Sep14

When you invite guests into your home, you want them to be as comfortable as possible. When relatives or friends spend the night, they may not be accustomed to the temperature at which you keep your house. A lovely throw at the end of the guest room bed will give them a chance to snuggle in if they need to. It also adds design and flair to the room, states Chicago Tribune.



People may want a quick drink if they wake up at night when they are staying with you. A simple carafe on their nightstand gives them a chance to take a sip without even having to get out of bed.


Welcome friends and neighbors to your home with a door mat that will give them a smile. One particular design states “Live well, Laugh often, Leave soon”. They know you don’t mean it, and that’s what makes it funny. Outdoor mats should be sturdy and washable with a garden hose. Some mats also have rubber backing, so they won’t slip on your porch.


If you have guests staying at your home, leave them a comfortable robe on a chair by their bedside. You can find robes in many materials and colors, and his gives your guests a chance to wander down to the kitchen to share some coffee before they head into the bathroom for their morning shower.


When you hold a party, make it a more festive event with a lighted beverage fountain. The liquid is first pumped toward the top, and then it cascades from one tier to another through holes located on each bowl. The effect of a waterfall will allow your guests to fill up their cups with delicious punch without needing a ladle. The base is illuminated and lights the entire bowl and its beverage, creating a wonderful centerpiece.


Source:


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-11/features/sc-cons-0110-goods-guest-room-20130111_1_guests-touches-goods

Three Great Summer Vacation Ideas 08Jul14

The mere words “summer vacation” sets off sounds of cash registers clanging in the heads of most parents who have an entire brood of children to entertain and take on vacation. A headache may then follow, as thoughts of the massive workload starts to bring on anxiety. However, the best summer vacations don’t have to break your pocketbook or your nerves. Here are three easy and fun summer vacation ideas:


Classic road trip. A road trip can be one of the most affordable vacations to take because you basically get in your family vehicle and just head off along the roadways. Some planning may be in order, with a map of your route and lodging for the times you stop driving. The most interesting places to visit during road trips probably won’t be on the tourist websites; you and your family will discover them as you drive.


Humanitarian trips. Taking your family to places where others need help can not only be a humbling experience as you can develop an appreciation for what you have, but it can also be educational. Spending a vacation helping to build a home for a family who doesn’t have one or preparing meals for people who don’t get enough to eat can foster other ideas for ways your family can help others on a regular basis.



Themed trips. You may decide to take your family on a Wild West themed vacation, where all the activities and foods are based on things people did in that time period. Or an Outer Space theme may come with a visit to a space center and planetarium. A sports themed vacation could include trips to visit sports memorabilia museums and live action games for whatever sport is in season.


Summer vacations taken as a family will create memories and values for the entire family that will last a lifetime. If you display those memories in your home, consider this adjustable collage display to show friends and family.


Sources:

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/summer

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/?siteID=Google_family_volunteering&gclid=CjgKEAjwq_qcBRDZ-PeZ7NGQiVwSJAATT7q2HcFEmNNVkPVU8z4jM2vliG4hzUPT3Q-L_GLyzuCA8PD_BwE<br>

Make the Day Special with Memorial Day Activities 20May14

It’s easy for adults to become involved in Memorial Day activities, since we understand the importance of the holiday. It will help children to learn about the day if you use Memorial Day activities in which they can participate.


If your children are old enough, they will be more interested in the meaning of Memorial Day. They should be able to understand the sacrifice of our military members. With older children, you can discuss how countries act and react when there is conflict.


Children’s Memorial Day Activities


Even if your children don’t have a full grasp on Memorial Day, they can commemorate the day with you. Here are just a few things children can do with you:


Display the flag outside your home.
• Decorate the graves of family members who have passed with flags and flowers.
• Bring cookies or doughnuts to your local VA hospital.
• Participate in parades and other community events.
• Serve a red, white, and blue dessert after lunch.
• Wear red white, and blue.
• Make patriotic crafts and speak with your children as they are creating them.
• Read a patriotic story to your children.


Other Ways to Share Memorial Day


Before bedtime, have your child share a moment of silence with you, to remember people who have died. There is a National Moment of Remembrance in many areas.


If your children are old enough, go online with them and read names of military members who have passed away, says Enchanted Learning. Sadly, there are too many names to read them all, but at least your children will be able to understand that the people who died were protecting their country and your family.


If you take your children to a parade with you, teach them to stand respectfully as the US flag passes by, and to stand and applaud veterans as they march by.


Source:


http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/memorialday/

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions 11Mar14

There are many traditions associated with St. Patrick’s Day, even though some of them don’t have anything to do with Ireland. The day is adorned with shamrocks and parades, and more than a little beer. From the color green to leprechauns, it’s a festive day that Irish people especially enjoy. Many other people enjoy it, too. Chicago officials order the Chicago River dyed green for the day.


Shamrocks were sacred plants in ancient Ireland, symbolizing spring’s rebirth. It was seen as a symbol of an emerging sense of Irish nationalism by the 17th century. As the English seized land from the Irish and made laws against speaking their language, people wore shamrocks as symbols of their pride in their Irish heritage and displeasure with being ruled by the English. Show your Irish pride with any number of personalized gifts from Taylor Gifts.


Music is often heard during parades and parties on St. Paddy’s Day. Music has always been an integral part of life for the Irish. They passed their history, legends and religion from one generation to the next with songs and stories. When oppressed by the English, they turned to music, to hold on to Irish history and heritage.


The story is told of St. Patrick standing on a hilltop and banishing snakes from all of Ireland. This is a legend; Ireland is an island and never had any snakes. This tale is really retelling a metaphor for the Irish eradication of the ideology of pagans from Ireland, and Christianity’s triumph.


Leprechauns were originally part of Irish folklore, known as “lobaircins”, which means “small bodied fellows”. It is thought that believing in leprechauns comes from a Celtic belief in fairies. These are tiny people who can serve either good or evil. In Irish folktales, leprechauns were cranky. They have always been known as tricky little fellows, using this trickery to protect their treasure, found in fables alone.


What Are Some Valentine’s Day Ideas for Your Girlfriend? 14Feb14

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Your Girlfriend

Guys, it’s that time of year again. Yes, it can be difficult thinking of Valentine’s Day ideas for your girlfriend, but it’s not exactly something you can just not do. So, bite the bullet, read the rest of this article, and get to it before the shops close.


No Valentine’s Day is complete without getting your woman flowers. If you can have them delivered to her place of employment, even better. Fortunately, florists will make this one a no-brainer by having plenty of Valentine’s Day options available. But remember that you still need to get her a gift. . If she is allergic to certain flowers, there are alternative flower themed gifts.


It’s always a good idea to take your lady out for a special dinner on the big day, as well. This doesn’t always need to be the case, though. If you decide on staying in, though, I recommend against ordering a pizza or just seeing what’s in the fridge. Another fun idea can be taking a couple’s cooking course that night. It’ll involve plenty of time together, and, at the end, you’ll have a first rate meal (hopefully) ready and waiting.


After that, head home and bring out a bottle of champagne. Now is the time to give her that special gift.


There are plenty of Valentine’s Day ideas when it comes to the present. But be sure it’s appropriate for where you’re at in the relationship. If it’s only been a few months, you might want to hold back on that expensive jewelry. Likewise, if it’s been closer to a year, now’s not the time to give her that DVD she wants and nothing else. It’s always a good idea to think creatively and get her something that shows you’ve been paying attention. Feel free to ask her friends and family for help, as well.


While it’s usually not easy, the above Valentine’s Day ideas should at least lift the burden a bit. Just remember to put thought into it and never, ever get her a gift card.


Source:


http://www.yourtango.com/2014205876/valentines-day-ideas-gifts-for-her-youll-love-too

http://mashable.com/2013/02/01/valentines-day-apps-online/

What Are Some Valentine’s Day Ideas for Your New Boyfriend? 11Feb14

Valentine’s Day ideas can often be tough to come by, but when you’ve only been dating your boyfriend for a few months the issue is compounded. You want to show you care, of course, but you’d hate to overdo it and make for an awkward moment. Fortunately, there are plenty of gifts that will reflect your affection without going over the top. Keep reading for some examples.


To start, keep your costs to around $50. This is more than enough to get your boyfriend a gift he’ll appreciate without risking a situation where you went overboard. Guys generally expect to spend a bit more anyway, so this is a great dollar amount.


Fortunately, it leaves plenty of options. If your man appreciates a good beer, $50 is enough to take him on a tour of a local distillery. You can even set him up with his own craft beer kit if he’s mentioned an interest in the pursuit.


If his preferred poison comes in the way of red meat, consider any of a number of appliances that will help him enjoy a nice cut in the future. Barbeque kits are also a great idea if he owns a grill.


Just about every man has some kind of hobby. There are a ton of Valentine’s Day ideas that can take advantage of this without pushing your price over the limit. Best of all, it shows you’ve been paying attention to his interests and that you put some thought into your purchase.


Of course, one of the easiest options is to get him something related to his favorite team. While $50 isn’t enough for a jersey, it could be enough for tickets to a game or some other form of memorabilia he’ll enjoy.


When it comes to Valentine’s Day ideas for your new boyfriend, you have plenty of options that won’t fall short or go too far. Consider the $50 price tag, and any of the above options will hit the mark.


Source:


http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/30/valentines-day-gifts-new-boyfriend_n_4696369.html

What Are Some Holiday Cookie Baking Tips for the Home Baker? 10Dec13

The holiday season is here and with it comes one of the most popular of all tasty treat – cookies. Holiday cookie baking won’t be difficult if you choose the right tools to help you. Professional bakers know that starting with high quality ingredients will help create the most delicious end products. There are two main types of cookies including drop cookies and rolled cookies. You can make drop cookies uniform with a cookie gun. It comes with various inserts that allow you to create a variety of shapes using soft cookie dough. Simply insert dough and pull the trigger to place them onto a prepared cookie sheet.


Rolled cookies can be made into shapes by using cookie cutters. Holiday shaped cookie cutters help you make cookies in festive shapes. Once the cookies are baked you can decorate them with frosting. Use a deluxe icing set to decorate cookies. The set has a selection of tips and bags so you can create professional looking cookies with ease. When making rolled cookies it is helpful to place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for a while before rolling it to prevent sticking and to make the shapes form properly. Bake cookies on an extendable baking sheet.


Holiday cooking can be a fun family project if you’re well organized. When baking with young children measure the ingredients and have everything ready before you begin. Allow the children to participate by giving them safe and easy tasks and keep them away from a hot oven. Let them assist in decorating cookies with as assortment of candies, sprinkles, and frosting they can use to make unique creations. Place cookies in bags or airtight containers to keep them fresh for up to a week. If the cookies are for a bake sale, place several cookies into each plastic package and tie with a colorful ribbon so they can be sold in small quantities.


Sources:


http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/tools-and-techniques/5-tips-for-baking-the-perfect-cookie4.htm

Need A Holiday Gift Giving Guide? 03Dec13

The holidays are here and it’s time to start thinking about gift giving. Of course your family and friends are on your gift list, but what about giving gifts to other people? You’ll need to consider giving gifts to people who provide regular service to you throughout the year including your children’s teachers, and your boss and work associates. Tipping is appropriate for some gifts such as your hairdresser or nail technician. Holiday tips should be about double a regular tip.


Parents need to purchase gifts for their children’s teachers but not all gifts are appropriate. Stay away from wine or related gifts and avoid gifts that are too personal. Opt instead for useful gifts that are unique. A cute print insulated lunch tote makes an ideal teacher gift and won’t break the bank. A metro cooler basket is another fun choice. When shopping for the boss, be sure to keep the gift professional. Consider a personalized gift but be sure to order in advance so you’ll have it in time for the holiday office party.


If you have a large office, consider conducting a secret Santa. Each person picks a name and buys a gift for that person. This allows you to buy only one gift rather than many. While it may be tempting to buy a funny gift, it’s better to choose a nice gift that the person can actually use. There is usually a set price limit (sometimes about $25) so you’ll have to get creative. For men, shop for sports related gifts or for hunters, consider gifts for the hunter. Other good choices are gardening, cooking, and pet related gifts so choose an option based on the person’s interests. When giving gifts, a good rule of thumb to follow is to give a gift that is something you’d love to receive. Keep your choices simple and have fun finding the right gift for everyone on your list.


Sources:



http://christmas.organizedhome.com/gifts-and-giving/understand-unwritten-rules-gift-giving
http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2012/12/top-10-dos-and-donts-of-teacher-holiday-gift-giving.html

What Are Some Terrific Turkey Tips? 19Nov13

The holidays are just around the corner so it’s time to start thinking about family food get-togethers. According to the National Turkey Federation, Americans eat 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving. This equates to about 736 million total pounds of turkey making turkey the most popular meat item for the Thanksgiving holiday. Proper organization ahead of time will make holiday cooking a breeze. Using the correct roasting pan will ensure a bird that is cooked to perfection. Choose an oval roaster set with a rack so the turkey won’t rest directly on the bottom of the pan. This will provide the best heat distribution.


Roast the turkey without the lid for the first hour so the skin will get brown. Then, place the lid on the roaster or cover the turkey with foil to keep it from drying out or getting too crisp. Roast the turkey with the breast facing up in a 325° F. oven. The length of time needed to cook the turkey depends on the size of the bird as well as whether the turkey is stuffed. For example, a stuffed turkey that weighs 9 to 18 pounds will need to roast for 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours. Use a fast read food digital thermometer to determine when the turkey is done. The temperature should be 165° F. in the breast or stuffing and 180° F. in the thigh.


Before carving the turkey, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes after taking it out of the oven. In the meantime, use the pan drippings to make delicious gravy. Remove the rack from the pan. Add some turkey or chicken stock to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Heat the gravy on the stove, adding flour and butter mixture to thicken it before serving.


Sources:



http://www.livescience.com/17161-thanksgiving-turkey-americans-eat.html
http://www.butterball.com/how-tos/roast-a-turkey

How To Light Your Home for the Holidays 05Nov13

One of the best ways to create a festive home interior is with decorative holiday lights. You don’t need a lot of lights to make a cheerful room but choosing the right style and placement is important in making a wonderful look. Lights can transform your room into a winter wonderland. String some star garland around the perimeter to instantly give the room a warm glow. For some soft color, add a string of lighted sisal balls or bells in gold or white. They add a natural look to your display. Cordless lights are best because you can place them wherever you like and they don’t have to be near an electrical outlet.


Adorn your tables and staircases with small battery operated lights. Take a strand of lights and place them in a small pile for an instant bright centerpiece. Place small lights along the top of your fireplace mantle. Cordless flicker candles make the perfect finishing touch. Place them on every windowsill and on your side tables to make a beautiful display that looks good from both the inside and outside. Set luminary walkway lights around the inside of your home to add a blush of light that will radiate from the floor.


For the holidays, remove some of your regular wall décor and hang holiday themed lighted canvas signs. Choose brightly colored designs to brighten your walls and make sure they have cordless lights so they can be placed anywhere. Complete your indoor lighting décor by adding some wreaths. A cordless lighted wreath adds warm appeal to your door and also looks great when placed on the inside of a large window or sliding glass door. Use suction hangers to place them on any glass window or door you like. Place a cordless wreath above your fireplace to make a pretty focal point for the room.


Sources:


http://www.examiner.com/article/50-bedrooms-decorated-with-christmas-lights
http://www.bhg.com/christmas/indoor-decorating/super-simple-holiday-decor/