Category Archives: Holidays

Christmas Ready (1)

Are you ready for Christmas? Your last-minute holiday checklist

Christmas is just days away and as prepared as we think we are, there always to seems to be something we forget to do or get ready for. We’re here to help make sure that your holiday runs smoothly with a Christmas checklist you’ll want to refer to every year. Don’t forget to check it twice and then sit back and enjoy the magic of Christmas!

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Check the fridge and pantry: There is nothing worse than getting ready to prepare an amazing holiday meal only to find out that you don’t have an ingredient on hand and the stores are closed. Write down everything you plan to make and then inventory your refrigerator and pantry. Don’t forget appetizers and beverage needs.

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Remember service folks: Show your hairstylist, trash removal workers, the kid’s teachers, and all the people who make your life easier how much you appreciate them during the holidays. A gift card is a perfect way to do this allowing them to choose what’s right for them. Your delivery drivers and postal employees work especially hard this time of year, but they may not be able to accept gifts or only those valued under a certain amount. Check with your local offices to find out what they are allowed to receive. Another great idea is to leave a basket of goodies (think pre-packaged snacks, bottled water, and juice) at your door so they can grab a snack. With all the packages they are delivering, they may not have time to stop for a meal. Your gesture will be truly appreciated.

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Pick up stocking stuffers: Many times we find ourselves in a position where we could use a quick gift or stocking stuffer. Be prepared by picking up a few extra little tidbits for these very occasions. A good rule of thumb is to get something that you yourself would use, eat, or want and is not anything that would be outdated next year. That way, if you don’t give it as a gift, you can use it for yourself or keep it for next year.

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Don’t forget the pets: When busy shopping and picking out the perfect gifts for the humans in our lives, we sometimes forget about the furry critters that live with us. They like Christmas too! A couple of toys or treats for our fur-babies will make them extra happy during the hustle and bustle of the season. Most times, these gifts should be kept in an out of pet-reach place until you are ready to give them their goodies. 9 out of 10 times, under the tree is not a wise choice – trust us on this. 

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Schedule visit times: Family gatherings will be a bit different this year as large get-togethers aren’t recommended. If you have a lot of people you want to communicate with on Christmas it might be a good idea to create some kind of a schedule where can connect with them. This way you’ll be sure to share your season’s greetings with everyone you love and care about.

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Wrap it up: Are all those presents you hid throughout the house wrapped? Make one last sweep of all your favorite hiding place to make sure you’ve got them all. You don’t want to remember Christmas morning that you forgot those 2 on the top shelf in the linen closet behind the towels.

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Make your own checklist:  One of the most important things you can do is create a list of your own. Are the Christmas Morning Pajamas clean? Is your holiday music playlist ready to go? Have all the decorations been put up? There are so many things to think about. If you plan in advance and keep yourself organized you’ll be able to enjoy the very long holiday weekend with no worries!

 

Merry Christmas!

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Delight Your Sweet Tooth: 8 Holiday Cookie Recipes You Should Bake Right Now!

One of the best parts of the holiday season is all the wonderful sweet treats that we get to indulge in! It’s that time of the year where we fire up the ovens and start baking all kinds of delicious cookies. Holiday cookie making is a tradition that many of us do every year. They make for thoughtful gifts, beautiful platters for your holiday get-togethers, and of course tasty snacks for everyone in the household to devour. Plus, who doesn’t love to have their home filled with the smell of cookies baking?

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There’s nothing like putting on your favorite pajamas, brewing up a hot cup of cocoa or tea, and satisfying your sweet tooth. Whether you lean more towards the traditional varieties of cookies or like to experiment with new recipes, we’ve put together some musts  you’ve got to put on your holiday baking list!

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  1. Eggnog Cookies from Spend with Pennies

A favorite holiday beverage in a chewy cookie is exactly what we crave. There’s eggnog in both the cookie and the icing! The great part about this cookie is the ability to finish them off by sprinkling a variety of different toppings over the creamy icing. You can find the recipe here at Spend with Pennies.

Raspberry Linzer

  1. Raspberry Linzer Cookies from My Recipes

What’s not to love about crispy almond cookies filled with sweet raspberry preserves? Dust with a little powdered sugar for the “snowy” vibe and you have a traditional holiday cookie that everyone will love. This recipe from My Recipes is just like grammas.

Peppermint Patty Cookies -Delish

  1. Peppermint Pattie-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies from Delish.com

This is a super easy 6 ingredient cookie that blends 2 of our favorite flavors chocolate and mint. This chewy cookie with a surprise inside is a perfect addition to your holiday cookie platter. Here’s the recipe from the folks over at Delish.com.

Pecan Crescent

  1. Pecan Crescent Butter Cookies from The Spruce Eats

No holiday is complete without these crescent moon, melt in your mouth pecan cookies. They are a very versatile treat that pair well with coffee, tea, or just by themselves. We love them as that little “something sweet” after a wonderful meal. Try this recipe with options for substitutions from The Spruce Eats.

Snowman

  1. Melted Snowman Cookies from myimperfectkitchen.com

A fun cookie to make that the kids will just love. You start with a basic sugar cookie that you can make from scratch, a mix, or refrigerated dough and decorate from there. It’s a cute alternative to the standard cut-out sugar cookie. My Imperfect Kitchen has a great recipe with step-by-step pictures to guide you through the process.

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  1. Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies from thefirstyearblog.com

If the thought of chocolate and cherries has your mouth-watering you’re not alone. These are a Pinterest favorite and the recipe from thefirstyearblog.com has amazing pictures that will have you writing ‘cherries’ on your grocery list immediately.

Pistachio

  1. Gluten-Free Pistachio Truffle Cookies from Epicurious

This sweet and salty cookie is a great way to get your sugar fix without straying from your gluten-free diet. They take a little more effort than some other recipes but the end result is a cookie you’ll want to make well beyond the holiday season. Epicurious has a detailed recipe that walks you through the process.

Gingerbread

  1. Gingerbread Men (or women, or whatever) from Taste of Home

No holiday season is complete without the traditional gingerbread cookie. Traditionally, the most popular shape is happy little guys complete with buttons and a big smile. Nowadays, any shape you desire will complete your holiday cookie display. We found one of the best recipes over at Taste of Home.

If you have a favorite recipe we’d love to have you share it with us. Post it here or on our Facebook page.

 

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gifts they love

Looking for the perfect gift? Unique holiday gift baskets they’re gonna love!

With the holiday gift-giving season in full swing, we all have that person or people in our lives, that are either impossible to shop for, already have everything, or we’re just not finding something that screams “this is it”. Sure you can go grab a gift card, a bottle of wine, or a pre-made gift box and give those as gifts. That would be quick and easy right?

We have a better idea. Make unique gift baskets for everyone on your list this year. They are completely customizable, look beautiful, and you have complete control of their contents. Plus, we think you might have some fun making them too!

We’ll get your creative juices flowing with 10 basket ideas we plan on making this year.

BM Basket

Bloody Mary Basket. The vodka is the centerpiece of this basket so make sure you get a nice bottle. Add a bottle of Bloody Mary mix, hot sauce, seasoned salt, an array of pickled condiments, and some snack mix to round your basket out.  As a nice Added Touch, you could add personalized glasses with the recipient’s name.

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Spa Day Basket. There are no rules for this one. Fill it with scented body washes, scrubs or sugars, bath accessories, facial treatments, and even a pair of warm slippers to tie it all together. A few candles, a fragrant diffuser, and soft music CD makes this gift even more special.

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Pet Lovers Basket. Sometimes, when you give the gift to the special fur baby in someone’s life, you’re doing much more than giving the human parent something. You can fill these baskets with so many goodies like dog treats, toys, pet outfits, or even a new dish for food or water. Top it off with a beautiful frame for the human, so that they can proudly display their favorite picture of their beloved companion.

Salad Bowl

Salad Addict Gift Basket. You probably don’t want to add fresh produce to this gift, but you can give them wonderful additions to the standard salad. Think nuts, dried berries, tortilla strips, croutons, artichoke hearts, olive oils, a bottle of fancy vinegar, and don’t forget the gourmet dressings (make sure you don’t choose ones that need refrigeration). Instead of a basket, use a large salad bowl to hold everything and finish it off with serving utensils.

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The Cuddle Up Basket. This is for the person who either needs to relax or loves spending a peaceful day at home. Start with a set of pajamas, warm socks, a cozy blanket, and then include herb tea and honey or some trendy hot chocolate bombs. If you know what kind of movies they like, include a couple of Blu-ray discs.

Wine Gift

The Wine Drinkers Basket. Yep, we said a bottle of wine was quick and easy but an entire wine basket is a whole different thing. Choose good wines, and add wine glasses, wine glass charms, coasters, and chocolates. A wonderful added touch would be a gift certificate to a local cheese shop. Shopping for a beer lover instead? Swap out the wine items for craft brews, beer mugs, beef jerky, and nuts.

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The Breakfast Basket. The most important meal of the day has no rules. Pancake mix, maple syrup, bacon (make sure they can refrigerate right away), jams, breakfast biscuits, granola bars, coffee, tea, homemade sweet bread/muffins, or anything else you think they will enjoy can be added to this thoughtful gift. If you want to add some non-food items, consider coffee mugs or a gift certificate to a local restaurant for champagne brunch.

The Pickle Fanatic Basket. There are hundreds of different kinds of pickles out there. If you know someone crazy for pickles, this is a wonderful treat. You can get hot & spicy ones, sweet ones, sour ones, big pickles, and small pickles. You can even find things like pickle-flavored candy, chips, vodka, and nuts. A quick internet search of ‘pickle flavored’ will shock you. If you know someone who lives for hot sauce, you could do that instead.

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The Pasta Chef  Basket. Fill it with unique kinds of pasta, robust sauces, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta serving spoon, and a chef hat. Sweeten it up with Italian cookies and some limoncello.

The Barbecue Master Basket. Perfect for the king –or queen – of the grill, you can get super creative here. A nice set of BBQ tools, seasonings & rubs, barbeque sauces, hot pads, hickory or apple chips, metal skewers, and a digital meat thermometer are just some of the items you can stuff this basket with. Want to really make an impression? A gift certificate to the local meat market will make their holiday extra great!

When it comes to gift baskets, there is no right or wrongs. They are fun to make, always get a wonderful reception, and allow you to give folks exactly what they like. Come up with your own theme and fill those baskets full!

If you have creative ideas for unique gift baskets, please share them here or over on our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

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Blog Fall Scene

Have Fun Creating a Fall Bucket List

Fall is upon us and for many people, it’s their favorite time of year. Pumpkin spice, cozy pajamas, leaves changing colors, and cool crisp nights are just a few of things we love about the season. This year, why not create a ‘bucket list’ of activities you’d like to partake in so that you can get the most out of fall.

We’ve got 9 fantastic ideas that are on our list this year to get you started on your own:

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Go to a corn maze. This fun family activity is one you can make a whole day of. Most places that offer corn mazes have a variety of other things you can do while you’re there like petting zoos, pumpkin picking, and hayrides. You’ll quickly get the whole family in the mood for fall!

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Paint a pumpkin. One of falls most loved activities is pumpkin carving. The Halloween tradition is said to have started in the 19th century in Ireland where they carved out pumpkins, turnips, or other root vegetables and used them as lanterns. More recently, painting pumpkins has become the latest craze and the design possibilities are endless. And if you still want to enjoy the pumpkin seeds, you can still cut open the top and scoop them out, although your creations may not last as long.

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Jump in a pile of leaves. Chances are as a child you did this many times but now as an adult, you may think it’s a silly thing to do. Sure you’ve probably seen a big pile-o-leaves and thought to yourself “I’d love to jump in that” but your grown-up voice told you not to.  Tell that voice to be quiet, and go for it! It will take you back to your childhood and a simpler time.

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Go canoeing or kayaking. Autumn is a perfect time to get into a canoe or kayak and tour the fall colors from the water. The air is still warm enough and you’d get a great workout at the same time. Just make sure you dress appropriately and mind the time as the days are getting shorter.

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Can fruits and vegetables. If you’ve never done this before you’ll want to do some reading first to ensure that you do things correctly and the food will be safe for consumption later. Whether the fall bounty you preserve comes from your own garden or from a local farmers market, you’ll love that you can have the taste of summer at your fingertips throughout the long winter.

Tulips

Plant bulbs for your spring garden. Anything that blooms in spring should be planted now. This includes Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinth, and Crocus. When the snow finally melts and spring arrives next year, these are some of the first flowers that will pop their heads through the soil and say “hello spring!” The Farmer’s Almanac provides some great tips for planting correctly HERE.

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Start a giant puzzle. Soon enough you’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors so why not dive in and start a puzzle that you can work on for the whole season. Make sure it’s at least 2000 pieces to really challenge you. It’s a nice way to wind down after a busy day or have some ‘me-time’ while the kids do their homework.

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Take a fall family photo for your Christmas cards. With all the vibrant colors of the season as your backdrop, you’ll have an amazing memory that you can share with friends and family during the holidays!

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Make caramel apples. Really what tastes better than a caramel apple? We say not much! The great part of creating these sweet treats is that it’s not just about caramel and apples anymore you can dress them up with just about anything. Of course chopped nuts are a great standby, but why not try other ingredients like cookie crumbles, chocolate chips, toffee bits, colorful sprinkles, or your favorite candy. These gourmet caramel apples will be a hit with the whole family!

Now that your wheels are turning and you’re list is getting started, we’d love to hear about what your fall bucket looks like. Tell us about them here or over on our Facebook page!

 

Happy fall!

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Take in Summer’s Last Call with these fun Labor Day Activities

Another summer is wrapping up, and more so this year than in the past it feels like it went way too fast. We’ll still have plenty of warm weather to enjoy, but as kids head back to school and the days get noticeably shorter, Labor Day weekend typically marks the end of summer as we usher in fall.Make the absolute most of it by fitting in all the activities you can during your 3-day weekend. This year, why not try something a little different from the usual backyard barbecue or trip to the beach. We have some great ideas that will inspire you to mix it up as you bid summer adieu.

Go apple picking.  It’s the time of year where orchards are full of delicious apples ready to be picked. Many of them will host kick-off events on Labor Day weekend complete with music, crafts, kids activities, and tastings of everything apple. Get the family together and visit your local farm. The best part is all the delicious treats you’ll be able to make when you get your harvest home!

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Go rummaging. The old saying that ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’ is why millions of people visit yard/garage sales every year. You can find just about anything you need, and probably quite a few items you don’t. Labor Day weekend in many parts of the country is the last big weekend for treasure hunters so take advantage of the opportunity to pick up some goodies at deeply discounted prices. Many communities even hold neighborhood-wide sales over the weekend so check out social media or designated sites dedicated to rummage sales and plan your route. Just remember to bring a big car to transport all your hot finds home.

Yard Sale

Plan a scavenger hunt. This is a great way to get family and friends together for a full day of fun and adventure. You can make the search a full-on road trip if it’s an adults-only activity, or keep it within a smaller area if kids and families will be participating. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of ideas that you can use to customize your event.

Scavenger Hunt

Adventure trip. Print out a map of your state or particular area radius that you are willing to travel to, close your eyes, and point. This is your destination! Make a day – or a weekend of your trip and take in all the unique stops and attractions along the way. Many people don’t realize how much there is to see in your own backyard. The best approach is to map out one way of getting to your destination and an alternate way back so you get twice the sightseeing in.

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Go to a drive-in. Many kids today don’t even know what a drive-in theater is. With the current social distancing guidelines in place, the drive-in is making a resurgence and becoming the hip place to be. Check your area and surrounding areas to see if you have a theater nearby. If not, many ‘pop-up’ theaters are appearing all over the country. Put your pajamas on and show the kids how the old folks used to enjoy movies!

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Revive an old hobby. Most people have a hobby that they used to enjoy that just sort of fell by the wayside as life got in the way. Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to resurrect your old passion. This can be anything like playing an instrument, creating arts and crafts, cooking, collecting, or even building models. If you really want to be adventurous, take up a new hobby and find your next obsession.

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However you do Labor Day this year, make it count. Time flies way to fast these days so make every moment count.

Happy Labor Day!

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Memorial Day Weekend Staycation Ideas

Memorial Day, first and foremost, is the time we remember the heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s also an extra-long weekend where we spend quality time with family and friends to celebrate the official start of summer. Typically this holiday weekend is spent enjoying cookouts, parades, beach parties, and other celebrations that involve large gatherings. This year however, things will look dramatically different due to social distancing practices.

Although all our states are now open to one degree or another, everyone is still being encouraged to stay home whenever possible and limit the number of people we come in contact with. Because of this, folks are looking for ways to still enjoy the holiday weekend in a toned-down way.  We have some fabulous ideas, sure to keep the spirit of the weekend alive and well.

1. Sleep in. To make sure you are refreshed and ready to enjoy all your planned activities, you’ll need to be well-rested. Sleeping in – even an extra hour will assure that you are re-energized for all the fun.

2. Have a down-sized cookout: Memorial Day weekend just isn’t complete until you fire up the grill. You can set up yard games like cornhole or lawn Jenga and spend the day playing games, enjoying terrific food, and getting fresh air.

3. Go to a concert – virtually. The National Memorial Day Concert is being broadcast on PBS on Sunday night at 8pm EDT. The concert will stream from various locations around the country and feature performances and tributes honoring our veterans and troops. It features performances from artists such as Trace Adkins, CeCe Winans, Kelli O-Hara, and more.

 4. Build a campfire: Roast hot dogs and marshmallows, tell stories, and play campfire games for a good old fashioned summer tradition.

5. Do nothing. You read that right. Use the weekend to just relax, gather your thoughts, and enjoy the beautiful weather. There’s nothing we enjoy more than unplugging and taking as early afternoon nap in our favorite lawn chair or hammock.

6.Make your own paper poppies: After World War I, the red field poppy was one of the first plants to flourish in the battlefields of France & Belgium. The color also symbolized the bloodshed of the battles, after the publication of the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines. Today, paper poppies, which are all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation, are distributed on Memorial Day weekend as a symbol of remembrance. This simple tutorial outlines how you can make your own poppies right at home. We love the idea of crafting them yourselves then donating money to your local VFW to continue supporting their mission.

7. Have a neighborhood parade: Get the neighbors together and plan a parade for your street or block. Kids can decorate floats and show their handiwork while everyone watches from their respective driveways or yards. It’s a great way to lift people’s spirits and get outside for some fun.

8. Make care packages for soldiers: While you are enjoying your uber long holiday weekend, soldiers are on the front line protecting our country. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude hold several events during Memorial Day weekend and are ready and waiting to collect your donations to send to our men and women serving in the armed forces. You can also check with your local chapter of veteran’s affiliations to find out what items they need and how you can get your care package to an appreciative soldier.

9. Decorate in Red, White & Blue. Nothing shows patriotism more than displaying our national colors. Fly the American flag, make ‘Thank you’ signs  for your front yard, decorate your driveway in red, white & blue in chalk art, and deck your home out with other arts and crafts to show your support for the good old U.S.A. This weekend is a good time to thank our first responders, care givers, doctors and nurses.

10. Bake festive treats. Baking can bring families together and the results are always delicious. Whip up some yummy treats for the family and decorate them in red, white & blue for the theme of the weekend.

Your Memorial Day weekend may be a bit more low-key than what you are used to but that doesn’t mean you can’t make everlasting memories, have fun, and spend time remembering what the day is all about.

We’d love to hear about your plans for the holiday. Share them below or visit our page on Facebook and share them with our community.

 

Happy Memorial Day!

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Gardening: The Hottest Hobby Around

As many continue to follow stay at home orders, nurseries and greenhouses are reporting a huge uptick in sales. It seems that gardening has become a very popular hobby.

Aside from enjoying beautiful blooms, or the satisfaction that comes from growing your own veggies and fruits, gardening also has both physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.

The process of planning, creating, and planting gardens gives your brain stimulation and helps you forget about the stress you may have in your life. Gardening connects us to nature and allows us to focus on the entire process. Your finished product then continues to give back two-fold: It provides an ongoing outlet for stress relief as you maintain it, and the end result is a soothing environment that you can enjoy and decompress in for the entire season.

The physical aspects you gain from gardening have tremendous health benefits. To begin with, gardening releases serotonin and dopamine in our brains, otherwise known as the “feel good” chemicals.  A 2007 study showed that working with soil just makes us happier. A bacterium in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae triggers serotonin release, which in turn lifts mood and reduces anxiety. The human body also benefits from the vitamin D we get from the sun and the fresh air we inhale. These elements give you energy, build immunity, cleanse your senses, and help you sleep better.  Plus… you’ll find that you eat more fruits and vegetables because you have them right on hand. It’s surprising how much more delicious they really are when picked fresh!

The best thing about gardening is that you can have one regardless of where you live. Here are some popular methods for creating your very own garden getaway.

Apartment or Condo Living: You don’t have to have a huge back yard or acres of farmland to surround yourself with nature. Urban patio gardens, for instance, come to life with hanging planters, raised beds, and oversized pots. You can grow just about anything from flowers to vegetables in these receptacles so don’t be afraid to experiment

Small City Lots: If space is an issue, consider a leveled garden and using window boxes to maximize your growing area. You’d be surprised at how many varieties of botanicals, vegetables, and herbs don’t need a lot of room to flourish. Did you know you can turn an old dresser into a beautiful vertical garden? It’s the perfect way to repurpose an unwanted piece of furniture.

Subdivision Spaces: If you live in a subdivision, there is a good chance you have a Home Owners Association that has some guidelines you’ll have to follow. Find out what those are before you start planting because it’s common for HOA’s to limit gardening spaces to side or back yards only. With a little creativity however, that’s plenty of room to grow your garden paradise.

Wide Open Spaces: If you’re fortunate enough to have a larger property where the sky’s the limit you’ve got yourself a gardener’s paradise. Containers, levels, flower beds, hanging baskets, and more can all be worked into your creation. The possibilities are endless so use your imagination. Let both ideas you find online and your local garden center provide inspiration and don’t be afraid to try different things.

The weather is getting warmer so get out your gloves, shovels, and fertilizer and join the growing population of home gardeners. Your new space will be the perfect place to have your morning coffee or evening cocktail, spend family time, and eventually start entertaining again! It’s also the ideal place to just lounge in your pajamas!

 

Happy gardening!

 

We want to see your garden creations! Post your pictures here or visit our Facebook page and let’s see how you enjoy paradise!

 

 

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How to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – The Guide

As 2020 approaches, we not only usher in a new year, but also a new decade and the season where we practice the annual ritual of setting New Year’s Resolutions.

Before we get to how you are going to keep those resolutions this year, let’s review last year’s goals. Did you keep your resolutions? Did you at least make progress towards what you set out to accomplish? If your answer is no, you join 80% of Americans who also allowed their good intentions to fall by the wayside.

The inability to stick to New Year’s Resolutions is normal and should not be viewed as failure, or lack of willpower. Most of the time, not being able to follow through is because we didn’t have a plan. So how you ask “can this be the year I actually keep my New Year’s Resolutions?” We created this guide to offer up great tips and ideas that will surely help you succeed.

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Set Realistic Goals

If your mission is to lose weight, good for you! Just don’t set goals that aren’t attainable – or at least right away. Let’s say for instance you want to shed 30 pounds. Set your sight on the first 5 to start. It’s much more realistic and not that hard to do. Then, when the first 5 pounds are gone, go for the next 5 pounds and so on. You’ll see results as you go along and taking baby steps will take the pressure off, giving you a stronger feeling of accomplishment.

Make It Fun

The hardest thing about making resolutions can be that it feels more like a chore than actually making a change for the better. If you add fun into the mix it’s so much easier to get where you’re going. A perfect example is when we make the decision to eat healthier. The intention is there, but many times the spirit isn’t and we give in to temptation. One solution may be to take a healthy cooking class with like-minded resolutioners.  You get the social aspect of being with others which can be fun, plus you learn healthy, delicious recipes that will keep you on track.

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Use Technology

Whatever your resolution is, chances are there’s an app for that. Technology can help you remain accountable for everything from food intake to sleep patterns. You just have to look. Want to be more productive in your daily routine? We found an app that stops you from wasting hours on ‘time suck’ websites that keep you from the really important things you should be focusing on.

Find A Partner

Partners with similar goals are great for a couple of reasons. To begin with, if you have someone to ‘report’ to you are more likely to follow through. You also have a likeminded companion to whom you are accountable. If you planned for going to the gym with them 3 days a week, and you decide you ‘don’t feel like going’ one day, now you are disrupting someone else’s routine as well. A partner with the same goals will ensure that you have each other to lean on and you’ll also motivate one another to succeed and thrive.

Make it a Habit

Statistically, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit so if you make it past the initial 3 weeks your chances of success dramatically improve. With that in mind, why not stop thinking of your New Year’s resolutions as ‘have-to’s’ and start thinking of them as new habits – good new habits!

Don’t Let a Stumble make you Fall

Setbacks happen and are a fact of life. If we were all perfect, we wouldn’t need to set New Year’s Resolutions at all. If you slip or lapse back into bad habits, just reset and start over. There is no time limit when it comes to improving yourself.

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Stay calm for the holidays. How to cope with holiday stress

Ahhh… the holidays. If you’re anything like us, you love this time of year. The festivities, celebrating with family and friends, and the all-out joyous feeling of the season truly does make it the most wonderful time of the year.

The only real downside of the holiday season is the inevitable rise in our stress levels. So many places to be, so many things to do, and it always seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

Don’t fret. You’ve got this. With these simple tips, you’ll skate through the holiday season with a minimal amount of stress.

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  1. Plan ahead. It may sound easier said than done, but if you make a list and check it twice, you’ll find that keeping organized can take a ton of stress away. You’ll have a better idea of what you need to do and when you need to do it. It also feels pretty great every time you can cross something off!

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  1. Remember to take time for yourself. Putting on your favorite pajamas, wrapping up in a cozy blanket, and enjoying a hot cup of tea can do wonders for helping you to relax.  Better yet, take an afternoon to treat yourself to a massage, a manicure, or a pedicure.
  2. Carry out a random act of kindness. It doesn’t have to be something huge. Keep an eye out for someone who may not be as fortunate as you, or is having a hard time, and do something nice for them. Have a neighbor that’s going through a difficult period in their lives? Bring them over some homemade cookies. Know someone who could use some help making the holidays special for their family? Purchase a couple of gifts for them (they don’t have to be expensive) that they can put under the tree. Helping others gives a whole new perspective on the true meaning of the season.
  3. Volunteer your time. Yes, we did say that it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but if you can make yourself available for even a couple of hours to visit a nursing home, children’s hospital, or another facility that could use some extra holiday cheer – do it. The joy you bring others can be the biggest stress reliever of all. You’ll bring smiles to those who can’t celebrate the holidays as they should be.
  4. Exercise. It is a proven fact that exercise reduces stress. Physical activity stimulates your brain’s ‘happy’ neurotransmitters AKA endorphins. The positive flow of these mood elevators keep you on an even keel and naturally relieve stress. You also get the added bonus of working off those holiday treats you may have overindulged on.

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  1. Eat Good Food. It’s no secret that the holidays provide an overabundance of food that’s probably not so good for you. It’s literally everywhere and a poor diet can bring your blood pressure up which in turn can increase your body’s stress levels. It’s not that you can’t partake in the flavors of the season, just make sure that you stick to some kind of a healthy routine and include foods like citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, yogurt, and omega-rich seafood which are all known stress reducers.
  2. Wine. Need we say more?

And that’s it. Follow these tips and you’ll ease through the holiday’s feeling great and with less stress. You’ll be able to enjoy and take in all that this beautiful season of love and giving has to offer.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Pajama Company!

 

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Blog Black Friday Shopping Pro

Tackle Black Friday Like a Pro

The busy holiday shopping season is upon us again and it all kicks off with Black Friday. This is the day that retailers everywhere give deep discounts on merchandise so you can save big bucks on everything from clothing to computers.

The atmosphere in stores can be frantic and this epic shopping day can be stressful if not approached just right. Don’t fret – we’re here with tips to get you through it so you can cross people off your holiday list while still getting great deals and not losing your sanity in the process.

Plan Ahead

Unless you have superpowers, it is impossible to visit every single store that has Black Friday promotions. Prioritizing and planning will not only help you get what you’re after, but it will also make the day less hectic. Most retailers publish their sales well in advance so taking a couple of hours to make a list of where you are going to go and what you are going to buy will keep you on schedule. If you are signed up for your favorite stores email lists, you’ll get all the deals directly delivered to your inbox

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Know Your Budget

During the holiday season, people put themselves in debt that can take many months, and sometimes years, to repay. To avoid putting yourself into a financial bind, make a budget and stick to it. Know how much you can afford to spend and creating a budget based on it. Make sure to not only think about the gifts you are going to buy but also put a little extra into the fund for those impulse buys that are sure to sneak up on you.

Make Time to Reboot

Being in ‘go’ mode can be stressful on both mind and body. Make sure to take time to regroup and make sure you are sticking to your plan of action for the day. Stop for lunch, fuel your body, and take a deep breath. You won’t miss anything that important by taking an hour to decompress. You’ll find that the second half of your day to be much more carefree if you settle down for a rest.

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Keep Your Cool

Finding parking, crowded stores, and long checkout lines can be enough to send your stress meter into the red zone. We don’t want to sound like your mother, but you knew what you were getting into when you went out shopping on Black Friday so the best course of action is to just go with the flow.  Put a smile on your face and take in the spirit that is the holidays.

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Wind Down After the Day

Once the day is over and you’ve secured all those great Black Friday deals, you need to wind down from all the excitement. A great idea is to pull out the Crockpot and get your evening meal ready before you leave for the day. When you get home you don’t have to worry about feeding yourself or the troops. Dinner has cooked itself while you shopped away! Hide the presents, put on your favorite jammies, have a glass of wine or cup of tea, and enjoy a hot meal. You’ll have a great night’s sleep if you give yourself a little ‘you time’ at the end of the day.

Now that you have the inside scoop on how to approach Black Friday like a pro, we’re confident you’ll come out feeling fantastic about your haul. And don’t forget – Cyber Monday is just a few days later. Luckily you can do that in your comfy clothes right in your own home.

Do you have other Black Friday tips for the Pajama Company community? We’d love to hear them. Tell us in the comments or head over to our Facebook page and share them there!

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