Jul 152017
 

Get Your Home Ready for Summer with These Summer Home Maintenance Tips!

Summer is finally here, and I am so excited. The weather here in Maine has not really been that great for the last couple of months. He have still had some really cold days, and it has rained quite often. Hopefully the weather will start warming up now! This post contains affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link in this post. 

Summer is a great time for enjoying the outdoors. We love to travel around the state of Maine and enjoy the beautiful ocean views, as well as host back yard barbecues. Before we pack the family up for a getaway, or invite people over to our home, we spend some time checking on our home.

The beginning of summer is the perfect time to make repairs, before the heat is beating down. Every homeowner should have a basic tool kit before attempting any of the summer home maintenance tips below. I love this 69 piece general tool kit for home maintenance. It really has quite a lot of things that a homeowner will use on a regular basis, and it comes with a nice little storage bag to keep everything neat and organized.

Here are some summer home maintenance tips to start with!

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

  1. Air Conditioner – At the minimum, change the filters; better yet, have a tune up. It’s much easier to take care of problems before the heat of summer is underway, and you might have to wait several days to get a repairman to your home.
  2. Check Your Roof – Make sure that the roof is still in good condition, with no leaks or missing shingles. While you’re at it, clean the gutters to avoid leaks and clogs. If any gutters are loose, reattach them to the house.
  3. House Siding/Paint – It’s a good idea to wash down your paint or siding every spring. This allows you to see if there are any issues before they get out of hand.  It also makes your home’s appearance fresh.  Use a power washer and a mild detergent to clean.  It’s not a bad job on a sunny day.
  4. Windows – Inspect your windows inside and out to make sure the seals are still intact, and that they are operating properly. Wash them on the outside, after the winter rains and snow, they will most likely need it.  Check for any cracks or breakage and get them replaced. Make sure your window screens are in good repair, and clean out the window wells.
  5. Kid’s Area – If you have a swing set, or kids’ area of your yard, make sure that everything is safe, clean and usable. Swing sets can sometimes become a little loose and wobbly over the winter.  Make sure any sand areas are clean.  Spread new mulch or sand if it has become compacted.  If the metal swing set has become rusty, consider re-painting it. Check for sharp edges and wood that may cause splinters.
  6. Check Your Deck or Patio – Summertime is the season these spaces were designed for; make sure it’s safe! Check underneath you deck for missing or loose supports. Floor boards should be securely fastened.  Power wash and refinish if necessary.  Overhead coverings should be in good repair; if not, replace them.  Deep clean your outside cooking space – grill, fire pit, etc.
  7. Garden Chores – Remove any plants that didn’t survive the winter, check trees for soundness (you don’t want one falling on your house), mulch to keep weeds in check. Trim plants that might interfere with the A/C unit.  Freshen up any flower beds by planting new flowers.
  8. Check For Unwanted Pests – Lots of animals like to build nests and cause damage to your home. Check around your home, garage and shed for carpenter ants, termites, hornets, mice and other rodents, and get rid of their nests in a safe manner before they cause damage to your property.

By performing these summer home maintenance tips at the beginning of summer, you can spend the rest of your weekends doing what you please.  These simple jobs will keep your home not only looking good, but in good repair, too.

Do you have any summer home maintenance tips to add to the list? 

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
Apr 262017
 

As a busy Mom of two toddlers, I love anything that can help me save time, money, and more importantly, my sanity. Let’s face it, being a Mom is HARD. We are always trying to balance a million different things, and a lot of times we get so wrapped up in trying to get everything done, that we become completely overwhelmed. That kind of stress is not good for us or are families, so what’s a Mom to do? Find great resources to help make your life easier, of course! This post contains affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link in this post. 

The 2017 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is now available, and includes 106 resources to help you win at homemaking and mothering! I am so excited to share this awesome bundle with you, but it’s only available for 6 days, so you’ll want to hurry up and jump on this great deal TODAY!

106 RESOURCES TO HELP YOU WIN AT HOMEMAKING & MOTHERING

The 2017 edition of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 50 ebooks, 21 eCourses, 14 printables, 2 videos, 2 audios, 2 summits, and 1 membership site! WOW!!

This bundle has helped 67,000 homemakers stress less since 2013!

Categories Include:

  • Creativity
  • Faith
  • Finances
  • Home
  • In the Kitchen
  • Intentional Living
  • Marriage
  • Motherhood
  • Organizing and Systems
  • Recipes
  • Self Care
  • Work & Life Balance

Some of my favorite resources included in this bundle are:

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

Inside you’ll find quick & healthy recipes, homemaking printables, cleaning tips, date night ideas, parenting helps, and so much more! You’ll also get over $290 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love! It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

The value of this amazing library is nearly $2000…

BUT OF COURSE, THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU PAY.

Grab the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle now for only $29.97!!

Don’t forget! This bundle is only available for 6 days. After Monday night, May 1st, the sale will end, and you’ll have to buy all of these products individually. Not sure its right for you? No worries, it’s backed by a 30 day full happiness guarantee!

Learn more or get your bundle HERE:

motionmailapp.com

 Posted by at 3:07 pm
Oct 212016
 

Tiny Prints wants to help you get ready for the holidays! Read on to snag some great deals on holiday cards, and so much more.  

Can you believe October is almost over already? I am so not ready for winter yet, but it’s just around the corner. Eeeek! They are even predicting we will see snow in northern Maine at the beginning of next week!

With December fast approaching, I have had Christmas shopping on my mind a lot lately. I’m trying to get myself organized, plan out my shopping list, and look around to find the best deals. To be honest, I don’t really have a lot of money right now, and I am going to have to be very frugal with buying gifts and holiday cards this year so I don’t completely blow my budget. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

While searching for great deals online, I saw that Tiny Prints is offering up 10 Free Holiday Cards from 10/21-10/26, and I just had to snag some. Who doesn’t love free stuff?! To get this deal, simply enter promo code FREE10CARDS at checkout.

You do have to pay for shipping on these cards, but it still works out to be a really great deal! Dress your kids (or pets!) up, snap a cute photo and create your own holiday card while this promotion is still going on, and you’ll be ahead of the game. It always feels great to cross things off your to-do list, especially this far ahead of time. I know I could use one less thing to worry about!

Tiny Prints Holiday Card Collection

In addition to the 10 free holiday cards, Tiny Prints is also offering 25% off everything else! They have lots of great gift ideas to choose from, like (affiliate) Christmas ornaments, Christmas stockings, mugs, magnets, canvas prints and so much more!

I just love Tiny Prints. They have so many fun and beautiful designs to choose from, and I love how easy it is to just upload the photo I want to use, and turn it into the perfect holiday card or gift. My Mom and my Mother-in-Law go absolutely nuts over photo gifts!

Who will you buy personalized gifts from (affiliate) Tiny Prints for this year?

Don’t forget to shop through (affiliate) Ebates and get cash back on your Tiny Prints purchase!!

 Posted by at 12:01 am
Aug 312016
 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. 

Have you ever wanted to try out the latest technology products in a homelike environment? Well, now you can! Best Buy has brought to life the latest in home technology at their Tech Home in the Mall of America! If you live near Minneapolis, Minnesota, or if you are planning a vacation soon, you’ll definitely want to check this out!

Best Buy Tech Home

There, you will have the opportunity to learn about the latest in CE and Connected Home by touring the Tech Home with an expert Blue Shirt or Geek Squad Agent. You’ll be able to experience products from Samsung, Canon, NETGEAR, Philips Hue, Sony, Sonos, and Savant. Doesn’t that sound like so much fun? I would love to check out all of the awesome home technology products they have available now, like Samsung SmartThings. With Samsung SmartThings, you can control and monitor from anywhere, using your smartphone. How cool is that?! Tech products really do make life so much easier!

Best Buy Tech Home

Best Buy carries the latest and greatest in connected home technology products. Their knowledgeable Blue Shirts can help you find the solution to fit all of your home technology needs. Their Geek Squad can also bring the experience to life for you by getting your tech connected and up and running. I love how easy they make it!

Best Buy Tech Home

If you are one of the first 250 to visit the Tech Home at the Mall of America each day from 8/22-9/17, you could win one of many prizes made with Qualcomm technologies, including Sonos Play:1 speakers, Samsung Gear S2, and more! Go ahead and check it out, and while you’re there, learn how you could win a $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card, a Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Collection, Samsung Dream Kitchen, and a Samsung 55” SUHD 4K TV and more!

Tech Home

My husband and I just recently bought a 40” 4K Ultra HD TV from Best Buy, and we could not be more thrilled with our purchase. The quality is absolutely amazing. I also love knowing that we have Geek Squad protection on it for 2 years, if we should have any problems with it. We go to Best Buy for all of our technology needs. I so wish we could make it to the Mall of America for their grand opening. I think we might have to plan a family vacation near there some time in the future!

 Posted by at 5:19 pm
Aug 182016
 

This Blog has been sponsored by Nature’s Bounty® Earthly Elements™. The writer has been paid and received free product as compensation, nevertheless, all opinions are 100% my own.

I have a one year old and a three year old who both still wear diapers, so I have been putting up with diaper odors in my home for a long time now. I recently started babysitting my 1 year old and 3 month old nephews in my home three days a week, also, so the diaper odors have become even worse.

Over the past few years, I have tried a lot of different things to get rid of diaper odors in my home, but nothing really seemed to work, until I found essential oils.

Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Essential Oils

With two toddlers in my home, I am really picky about the products I use. While I don’t use natural products 100% of the time, I do try to use them as often as I can. After listening to recommendations from several of my Mom friends, I recently fell in love with essential oils. They have so many different uses, and I especially love how well they work to eliminate diaper odors in my home.

After a bit of trial and error, I have found that these are my three favorite ways to eliminate diaper odors in my home with essential oils:

Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Essential Oils

1. Diffuser – I absolutely love this Earthly Elements™ diffuser from Nature’s Bounty®. It’s so lightweight and easy to move from room to room, and it’s also very quiet! Another thing I love about it is that it will run on either 2 AA batteries, or you can use the USB cable that comes with it to plug it into a USB compatible device.

Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Essential Oils

When my one year old son, Logan, wakes up in the morning, he’s usually waiting for me with a surprise in his diaper. I can smell it the second I walk into his bedroom to get him, and it is certainly not a pleasant smell. He has a very small bedroom, so the odor just kind of lingers there for hours if I don’t take care of it right away. So, I simply move the diffuser into his bedroom and let it run for a little bit. It completely wipes out the nasty diaper odor and leaves his room smelling nice and fresh again. I like to mix lemongrass and peppermint essential oils in the diffuser for a light and refreshing scent.

2. Cotton Ball in the Trash Can – The kids and I stay right here at home most days, so the dirty diapers seem to just pile up in the trash can. I have learned that putting a cotton ball with several drops of essential oils on it in the bottom of my trash can really help to combat the diaper odors in that area of my home. My favorite essential oils to use for this are grapefruit, which has a tangy, clean and refreshing scent, and thrive, which is cleansing and purifying.

Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Essential Oils

3. Essential Oil Spray – Finally, I love making my own air freshener spray using essential oils. I can spray this anywhere in my home where there are odors and they will just disappear. To make my essential oil spray, I combine ¾ cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol or pure vanilla extract, and 15-20 drops of essential oil in an 8 oz. glass spray bottle. Essential oils can erode plastic, so that is why I use a glass spray bottle for this. You can use one essential oil, or mix and match your favorite scents. Some of my favorite combinations are peppermint and rosemary, lavender and grapefruit, and chamomile and eucalyptus.

Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Essential Oils

Using essential oils in your home can help set moods and create sensual experiences, from calming to invigorating, depending on the scent used. Each essential oil has its own unique aroma. Earthly Elements™, 100% pure and blended aromatherapy essential oils, from Nature’s Bounty®, are AVAILABLE AT WALMART®, and you can find them right in the vitamin aisle! I love how accessible they are!

Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Essential Oils

What are your favorite ways to use essential oils in your home? Do you have any favorite scent combinations?

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
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 Posted by at 12:54 pm
Aug 022016
 

Buying home canning supplies has been on my mind a lot lately. My husband, John, planted a variety of vegetables in our garden beds a few months ago, and we have been harvesting like crazy for the last couple of weeks.

We only had one garden bed last year, and it produced so many vegetables that we could not even keep us with them all. This year, we added on two more garden beds, and we are planning to can a lot of our garden haul. We planted quite a few different vegetables, but I think I am most excited about the tomatoes. Last year we had SO many tomatoes, and we actually planted even more this year. They haven’t ripened yet, but I think it will be any time now. I can’t wait to make and can sauces, salsa, ketchup and more!

I’m so excited that we are planning to can this year, so we can preserve all the wonderful flavor of our fresh vegetables. I think it’s so neat that we can just preserve them and enjoy them whenever we want to. If you’ve never canned anything before, here are the beginning supplies you will need. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Must-Have Home Canning Supplies

MUST-HAVE HOME CANNING SUPPLIES

To figure out what home canning supplies you need to get, you must first determine what you want to can. If you want to make a few jars of jam or pickles, and perhaps some salsa or tomato sauce, there are a few less items that you need. That’s because these foods are high in acid, and don’t need to be sealed under pressure. Regardless of the type of canning you want to do, most home canning supplies that you’ll need apply to low or high acid canning.

Canning Jars, Rings, and Lids – Purchase jars designed for canning (do not re-use mayonnaise or pickles jars that you bought at the store, they aren’t designed for home canning). Canning jars come in a variety of sizes from four ounces up to 32 ounces, and in a narrow or wide mouth. Buy the jars in sizes appropriate to what you are canning, and the size of your family. For jams, jellies and pickles, you might not want anything larger than a pint jar; if you have a large family, you might want to make salsa in quart jars.

Jars will last forever as long as they aren’t chipped or broken; rings can be re-used as soon as the jars have cooled and lids are sealed. Lids are a single use item. You can purchase jars almost everywhere, from the grocery store to home improvement stores to the big box discount stores.

Canning Kettle – Except for jams and jellies, most canned foods need to be heated in either a water bath or pressure canner.

A canning kettle looks like a large stockpot with a rack in the bottom. You heat water in the pot, add your jars filled with food, put the lid on, and let them heat per your recipe. Most canning kettles hold seven jars, either pint or quarts depending on the height.

If you are just beginning and want to make a small batch of pickles or tomato sauce, you can get by with a soup pot; just make sure you have a rack in the bottom so the jars have water circulating under them.

Pressure Canner – This is used for low acid canning, like vegetables and some fruits. It works like the Water Bath Canner, except the air is forced out of the jars while in the pressure canner. This keeps harmful bacteria away from your food. This can be a sizeable investment, but if you plan on canning much, buy the biggest one you can afford. It will speed up your process. They have single layer canners that hold about seven quart jars or a double layer of pint jars.

Canning Tongs – These are a godsend for lifting hot jars out of your boiling water bath! Canning tongs have a rubberized gripper that fits under the jar neck, and the weight of the jar holds them in place. If you’ve canned without them, buy a set – they’re very inexpensive.

Canning Funnel – This is a wide mouthed funnel that fits inside both narrow and wide mouthed jars for filling them. It helps to keep the jar rim clean, and will save time in manually wiping them to make sure your jars get a good seal.

Food Mill or Processor – If you are chopping or slicing a lot of vegetables, these both can come in handy. Your pickles will be very even, and relishes will be chopped up in a jiffy.

Canning Cookbook – Choose a reputable cookbook, Ball Canning Jars has a very inexpensive one. Follow recipes exactly; there is a balance of acid, temperature and food type that makes canning a successful way to preserve foods. Until you know the basics and understand what to look for, do not deviate from the recipe.

From your everyday kitchen supplies, you’ll need a timer, ladles, slotted spoons, measuring spoons and cups, lots of clean dish towels, etc.

Once you have your stash of home canning supplies ready, you’ll be good to go! Canning is very satisfying and an enjoyable activity. Jams are very easy and make a great starting point for learning to preserve food. With a little practice, you can amaze your friends with this new-found skill!

 Posted by at 11:47 am
Jun 272016
 

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Walmart.

Summer is here, and I have been so busy that I can hardly keep up with everything I have going on! Between a family vacation to Boston, Kayleigh’s 3rd birthday, Father’s Day, my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, the 4th of July, two bridal showers, two weddings and my niece and nephew’s birthday parties, I feel like I don’t even have time to breathe. On top of that, I have started babysitting my two nephews (a 1 year old, and a 3 month old) three days a week, in addition to caring for my own two children (a 3 year old and a 1 year old).

I have been so busy that it has been really challenging for me to stay on top of everything I have going on. My Outlook calendar is my best friend right now. It helps me to keep track of my scheduled and not miss any important deadlines. Another thing that is helping me out tremendously right now is being able to stock up on my family’s favorite household items at www.avoidtheoops.com.

As a stay-at-home Mom of two toddlers, it’s not very convenient for me to get out to the store.  I really try to avoid having any of those emergency moments where I have run out of something really important (like toilet paper, baby wipes, etc.) and need to run out to the store to get it immediately. Anyone who has toddlers knows that it’s not easy to get out of the house with them, and I’d rather just save myself the trouble by taking a little time to stock up, and make sure that I never run out.

Avoid the Oops Stock Up

I recently placed an order on www.avoidtheoops.com for some of the items my family uses quite often. I got a 6-pack of Bounty Select-A-Size Paper Towels. These are super rolls, so it is really like having 11 rolls. I have run out of paper towels while cooking bacon in the past, and it was very difficult to drain the fat off of the bacon without them. We use paper towels for other things around our home, too, but that really sticks out in my mind as one occasion where I don’t want to be without them again.

Bounty

You can never have too much toilet paper on hand, so I stocked up on that by ordering a 24 pack of Charmin Ultra Strong Toilet Paper Double Rolls. I won’t be running out of toilet paper any time soon, and that is a very good thing!

Stock up on toilet paper

Next up, I ordered some toiletries – a 3 pack of Crest Cavity Protection Toothpaste, a double pack of Crest ProHealth Mouthwash, and a 2 pack of Old Spice Deodorant for my husband.

Stock up on toiletries

We go through a tremendous amount of baby wipes in this house, so I also stocked up on those by ordering a large box of Pampers baby wipes refills. I also grabbed a huge bottle of my favorite Dawn dish detergent.

Stock up at Walmart

Finally, I ordered a smaller bottle of Tide Free and Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent which I keep as my back up in case I ever do run out of my bigger bottles of laundry detergent.

Tide Laundry Detergent

If you’re as busy as I am this summer, make sure you visit www.avoidtheoops.com to stock up on your favorite household items, too. You don’t want to be caught in an “oops” moment!

 Posted by at 11:13 pm
Jun 162016
 

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G.

Laundry is one of my least favorite chores. I used to not really mind it too much when I was single and only had my own clothes to take care of, but now that I have to wash my husband’s and kids’ clothes, too, it can easily become overwhelming.

After struggling to keep up with my laundry for what seemed like forever, I finally decided I had to make a change. I was so tired of watching the piles of laundry stack up around me and not ever being able to find anything I was looking for. After a bit of trial and error, I have finally found a system that works great for me.

5 Tips for Making Laundry Easier

Buy Two Laundry Baskets for Each Person in Your Home – One of the biggest problems I faced with doing laundry was that everyone’s clothes would just end up in one big pile and I could never find anything I was looking for. When it was time to take the kids out to the park or a doctor appointment, I would waste several minutes digging through a huge pile of laundry, trying to find each of them an outfit.

Now, I have two laundry baskets for each person in my home – my husband, myself, my son and my daughter. I know this may sound like overkill, but there is a method to my madness, I swear! I like to use the tall laundry baskets with handles on them, as they hold a lot, and are easy to carry around the house. Label your baskets, or designate a specific color of basket for each person to make things even easier.

I keep one laundry basket for each of us in our bedrooms, and I keep a second laundry basket for each of us in my laundry room. When the bedroom baskets get full, I take all of the dirty laundry to the laundry room to be washed, but I leave those laundry baskets in the bedrooms so they are available for putting future dirty laundry in. This prevents dirty laundry from being scattered all over my house, as everyone always has a designated place to put their dirty laundry.

After I have washed and dried the laundry, I separate it by person as I take it out of the dryer. Having a laundry basket for each of us in the laundry room makes this part super easy. After the laundry has been sorted, I bring each laundry basket upstairs, and into the bedroom it belongs in. The empty laundry baskets are then brought back to the laundry room.

Fold or Hang Laundry as You Take it Out of the Dryer – Instead of just throwing all of your clean clothes into a basket to deal with at a later time, take a few minutes to fold or hang your clothes as you take them out of the dryer. Keep a stash of clothes hangers in your laundry room for convenience. Having a rod to hang them up on also helps. Now that I have empty laundry baskets in my laundry room for each person in my home, I can simply fold a piece of clothing as I take it out of the dryer, place it in the basket it belongs in, then bring it upstairs to put it away.

Buy Two Separate Laundry Baskets for Towels – I wash towels separately from clothes, so I keep one laundry basket upstairs in my bathroom closet. This makes it easy for us to toss used towels in as we are done with them, and prevents them from being thrown on my bathroom floor.

When the basket is full, I bring the towels into my laundry room, and the empty basket returns to the bathroom closet. After the towels are washed and dried, I fold them as I take them out of the dryer, and bring them upstairs to be put away.

folded towels

Set Alarms on Your Washing Machine and Dryer – My laundry room is in the basement, so I was constantly forgetting when I had put a load in the washing machine. It would sit in there for a day or two, wet, and I would end up having to wash it all over again. Now, I set the alarms on both my washing machine and dryer.  The alarm sounds when my laundry cycle is done, and I am reminded to go downstairs to switch the laundry over.

Protect Your Clothes with Downy Fabric Conditioner – It can be so frustrating to buy new clothes, only to have them fade, pill or lose their shape in the wash. It’s so easy to keep your clothes looking new with Downy Fabric Conditioner, though. While your clothes are in the wash, Downy conditions, strengthens, and lubricates each fiber to protect clothing from the friction, and agitation of typical washing cycle. Colors stay true and resist fading, towels are protected from pilling and fuzz and fabrics are softened for added comfort!

Downy Fabric Conditioner also provides clothes with long-lasting freshness, reduces wrinkles better than using detergent alone, and it makes your clothes smell amazing! I absolutely love the April Fresh scent.

Downy Fabric Protect

To protect your clothes even more,  turn garments inside out, and wash soft fabrics like cotton on the gentle cycle.

You can find Downy Fabric Conditioner at Walmart and Walmart.com for everyday low prices.

What tips do you have for making laundry easier?

 Posted by at 10:31 am
Jun 142016
 

The 4th of July has always been my favorite holiday, even as a kid. Most kids love Christmas the best because of all of the gifts they get, but not me. I’d rather have everything that comes with celebrating the 4th of July – the warm summer weather, delicious BBQ food, and spectacular fireworks. I love to celebrate the 4th of July with a festive backyard party, and I’ve learned some great tips and tricks over the years for making it awesome. Here’s how you can throw a killer 4th of July party this year, too! This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

How to Throw a Killer 4th of July Party

Sometimes Less is More

When it comes to throwing a killer 4th of July Party, decorations are always fun, but sometimes less is more. You don’t want your guests trying to squeeze through overpowering decorations or duck under red, white, and blue streamers. Not only can decorations get expensive, but you can really show the love for your country in the food that you eat, your drinks and the games that you play. Instead of spending time finding the perfect decorations to fill up your space, spend your time creating the perfect party essentials.

Here are some simple decoration ideas:

Lights: You can use Christmas tree lights or change your bulbs in your outdoor lights to display red and blue colors as the sun falls. This is a fun idea and allows everyone to see what they are doing as it gets darker.

Red, White, and Blue tablecloths: You can never go wrong with table cloths no matter what party you have. Check out this really festive US American Flag Tablecloth!

A Flag: The 4th of July is about our freedom, and no 4th of July party can be complete without the symbol of our freedom displayed for all to see. Use small flags as centerpieces for your table or a large flag to hang on your porch.

4th of July Party

Show your Spirit with your Food

When it comes to fewer decorations, you can really add some decorative touches using the snacks you provide. Here are just a few favorites for 4th of July:

Flag Cake: Create a sheet cake and use red, white, and blue frosting to create a flag display. You could even do blueberries and strawberries over white frosting for this effect.

Festive Skewers: Get creative with your fruit bowl by adding white cheese, red strawberries, and blueberries onto your skew sticks for a festive treat.

Hamburgers with Flags: Mini-burgers are a great hit, but add a little flag toothpick for a decorative swing.

4th of July Party

Get your Drink on

Just because it’s a party doesn’t mean you have to drink alcoholic beverages, of course, it doesn’t mean you can’t either. Here are some drink ideas that can go either way!

Make a Kool-Aid Flag: This is a cool way to organize your drinks. Make blue, red, and white Kool-Aid. Pour into cups and start aligning them to make a flag. If you want to switch this to an alcoholic beverage, spike the Kool-Aid before pouring in the glasses.

Layered Drinks: Fill ice cube trays with blue and red Gatorade and freeze. Add your Gatorade cubes to a glass and pour in some sprite. Watch the festivity appears before your eyes.

• Add a Festive Touch with Fruit: Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut star shapes from a honeydew melon, and add those, along with strawberries and blueberries to your 4th of July drinks for a festive touch.

4th of July Party

Enjoy Some Creative Games

No party is ever quite complete without a few fun activities in the mix. However, as stated above, you want to make your party feel festive without all the decorations. Here are a few festive games to play:

Battle Ship Drinks: You can use two cardboard pizza boxes to create a battleship game of a lifetime. If you want an adult game, strategically place your shot glasses of liquor, otherwise fill those glasses with Kool-Aid for a fun battle of independence.

Balloon Pop Relay: Blow up some red, white, and blue balloons for this game. Line everyone up into two teams. Each player must run down, sit on the balloon, pop it to find the note and do what it says all the way to the next person.

Capture the Flag: Everyone loves a good ole’ game of capture the flag, and what better time to play it than on 4th of July. Don’t let the other team take away your independence!

4th of July Party

Don’t Forget the Essentials

A 4th of July party wouldn’t be complete with the essentials. Don’t forget to stock up on plates, napkins, plastic silverware, and cups. If you are making festive drinks, remember to get clear glasses. If you choose not to do festive drinks, make your cups festive by getting blue and red.

4th of July Party

If you want a killer 4th of July party, this is the way to go! Are you looking forward to 4th of July? What other ideas do you have for killing it this year?

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jun 032016
 

Basic kitchen skills are something that everyone should have. Everyone has to eat, and if you lack even the most basic of kitchen skills, then you will probably get bored of eating the same things over and over again, or eating out all of the time.

I fell in love with cooking and baking as a child. My grandmother was always in the kitchen, baking up delicious foods from scratch, and she would always let me come in to help her. As I got older, I started watching shows like “Death By Chocolate”, “Essence of Emeril” and “Baking with Julia”, and my passion for cooking only grew more.

After I had graduated from college and had an apartment of my own, I became infatuated with watching The Food Network. I learned a lot of very valuable kitchen skills from celebrity chefs like Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten, and others.

Fast forward fifteen years later, and I still love to bake and cook, and experiment in my kitchen. Some day I would love to cook for other people, perhaps by opening my own food truck.

I feel that some people have a natural love for cooking and baking, while others may struggle with it. It’s just like any talent, really. I would love to be able to create a beautiful painting, but I just don’t have that natural ability in me. I have tried. Cooking and baking is where my natural talent lies, and I try to better myself at it whenever I can. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Essential Kitchen Skills Everyone Should Have

If you have a desire to cook and bake delicious foods, but often feel lost in the kitchen, there are a few basic kitchen skills that will help you be able to achieve your goals. These kitchen skills are really essential, if you want to learn how to cook and bake. If you can master them, you’ll begin to feel more confident and want to keep learning. Start with these tasks to gain your footing.

5 Essential Kitchen Skills Everyone Should Have

Chopping/Dicing

Chopping is one the easiest things to learn, but one of the hardest to do with consistency and safety. One big key is having a sharp knife. One sure way to cut yourself is to be hacking away with a dull knife. Concentrate on the position of your fingers and the knife in relationship to the food. Cut in one direction, then turn the food or the knife to cut in another direction.

Separating an Egg

Separating an egg yolk from its white is another task that is simple to do, but sometimes hard to accomplish. There are a number of egg separators on the market that will help you with this task, but you can also just use your own two hands. Crack the egg into your hand and let the white seep through, leaving the yolk resting on your fingers. You also can pass the yolk back and forth between the halves of the egg shell, allowing the white to drain into a bowl positioned below. That’s the way I always do it.

Measuring

If you want to bake properly, you have to learn how to measure properly. Baking is a science, and if you do not get your measurements absolutely perfect, your baked goods will not turn out like they should. With most dry ingredients, spoon them into the measuring cup up to the proper line, then level it off with the back of a butter knife. With liquids, it’s best to set the cup on a flat surface and look at the cup from the side while adding the liquid.

Kneading

Kneading allows the mixture of flour and water to do its work within the dough by activating gluten, which make the texture that we know as being within bread. While kneading can be done with a mixer, there is something therapeutic about doing it by hand. A basic kneading method is done by turning the dough out, folding it over, then pushing it away using the heel of the hand. This continues until the dough is springing back and elastic.

Make an Omelet

This is another task that isn’t hard, but takes a bit of practice in order to get it perfect. I It’s very easy to end up with a pan of scrambled eggs, which is delicious, but not the same things as a fluffy omelet. I only recently perfected this skill, and now I make omelets quite often. They are delicious! To make the perfect omelet, whisk eggs together with a bit of water until they become somewhat foamy, especially at the edges. Pour into a hot pan – the edges should begin to cook immediately. With a rubber spatula, gently push the cooked egg from the outside toward the center, slightly tilting the pan to let the uncooked egg run underneath so it can cook. Once the egg has set, add fillings to one side of the pan, then fold the other side over to cover filling. Try not to add too many fillings, however, or it will make it difficult to fold your omelet over without breaking it.

These are but a few of the things that you can learn to do in the kitchen, but these kitchen skills will get you a long way. What are some of your favorite things to do in kitchen? How did you learn to do them? Let me know in the comments below.

 Posted by at 1:24 pm