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  • Home Tips During Snow Days

    Posted on December 6, 2013 by Solr

    With winter in full effect, you might find yourself sitting at the window wishing for warmer weather.  Though the snow is nice, when it becomes a barrier to your outdoor entertaining, it doesn’t take long to wish for warmer days.  If you are snowed in, there are plenty of home tasks to keep you busy.

    From entertaining the kids to completing the endless list of house chores, there are several ways to keep you and the family busy.  As you go through the list, try to think of how these ideas will help your family for the new year ahead.

    It might not be spring, but what better way to use snow days than cleaning.  The kids might wish they were at school by the end of your list of chores, but it’s a great use of time when school is cancelled and no work can be done.

    Take time to organize your home.  Though you can’t run to the store for organizers and cleaning supplies, if you have them on hand, you can really make use of an entire day off.  Clean the floors, the walls, the fans, and the blinds.  Do an in depth clean of all of your bedrooms first.  With a clean environment to sleep in, you can better enjoy your off days.

    Once the bedrooms are clean, move on family rooms—the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, and any other extra rooms used by the family.  Make it a family affair.  Clean the baseboards, organize the shelves, make a trash pile; enjoy the experience by playing music and or timing yourselves.  Cleaning doesn’t have to be a boring and monotonous job.  Take this opportunity to spend time as a family and help each other complete the chores.

    When your house is clean and organized, rearrange the living room or create your own fresh scents in the kitchen.  When the outdoors are not an option, take time to update your home.  Rearranging can create a fresh feel; an essential when you are stuck in the same space for an extended period of time.  Instead of watching endless movies, stay active indoors.  Rearranging your home can create a new and exciting atmosphere as well as keep your heart rate up.

    If you have exasperated all of these ideas, it’s time for serious home redesign.  Go through magazines and browse the web for ideas on how to redecorate or revamp your space.  While you might not be able to get started, the planning phase is one of the most tedious processes of redecorating.  Use your free time to decide which style you want, the materials you need, and the budget you have to work within.

    Look up contractors if necessary and estimate pricing.  Though you are stuck indoors, you can utilize snow days to organize your home.  Take advantage of this forced focus and enjoy accomplishing goals you have.

    This post was posted in Holidays, Outdoor

  • Christmas Light Displays

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Solr

    Interior and exterior Christmas lights make Christmas merry.  Sharing your personal preference with the neighborhood and passersby spreads holiday cheer.  This year, try to spread some holiday cheer with your neighbors with additional Christmas lights.

    In most families, traveling through different neighborhoods to view Christmas lights is a special tradition.  This year, make a family smile by adding Christmas lights to your home.  Though it takes some time, and possibly practice, the look on the faces of passersby is priceless.

    Here are some tips to help you hang your light display with ease.

    Whether you are opening your blinds to display your beautifully lit Christmas tree or sticking to exterior lights, there are several ways to go about decorating your space.  For exterior lights, you want your display to mesh well with the style of your home.

    Ranch, Victorian, Modern, or two-story, there are several factors to consider before jumping in to a Christmas light display project.  Whatever style, you want to compliment your home and your neighborhood while reflecting your personal taste and preference.

    Start with the basics—choose a color of lights.  There are numerous exterior Christmas light colors to choose from, including multi-color, basic white, blue, red, and much more.  A classic look is the basic white.

    Once you choose a color, you need to determine which style of light strands is best for your home.  A simple strand is a classic choice that highlights your home without creating an overwhelming statement.  However, you can create a festive feel using other styles of strands.

    In making each of these choices, keep in mind the style of your home and your neighborhood.  For a ranch-style home, lights along the roof line, fence, and walkway are the perfect way to spread holiday cheer.  Two-story homes look especially nice with lights along the roof line in addition to lights around any columns and porch railings.

    These Christmas lights will serve as the foundation of your exterior light display.  Once you have completed this part of your display, look for inspiration from neighbors and magazines.  Be selective when deciding on additional yard décor.  A simple pre-lit sign can be as impactful as a giant Santa display.

    When decorating, avoid matching your neighbors too closely.  Exterior decorating is a balance of personal preference and viewer pleasure.  If your next door neighbor has decided on a particular style, complement their look without copying it.  Give your viewers something interesting and different to appreciate about your home.

    The final step in creating a Christmas light display is organization.  You can hang lights in the trees or line your roof with lights, but if they are strung without care or organization, the end result will not be as appreciated as you might expect.  Hire a helping hand to ensure that extension cords are hidden and lights are nice and tight.



    This post was posted in Holidays

  • Tips on Decorating for Christmas

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Solr

    Like all of the songs go, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  With family gatherings and beautiful décor, the holiday season is filled with wonderful treats for all ages.  However, you might find your holiday cheer slowly fading as you begin the process of decorating.

    This year, don’t fret.  There are plenty of resources to help you successful hang the stockings, decorate the tree, and hang the outdoor lights.  And all without losing your joy!

    Christmas décor has far exceeded the typical colors of red and green.  Where once homes were filled with homemade ornaments and traditional red and green stockings, now there are numerous color schemes you can choose from.  This might seem overwhelming to some, but it can be incredibly useful when decorating your home.

    The first tip is all about your Christmas tree.  This is the focal point of your Christmas décor.  Whether you opt for a real or fake Christmas tree, fluff your branches to achieve a full look.  Once your tree is standing tall and full, it’s time for ornaments and other décor.

    There are so many options for tree décor.  If you have a fake Christmas tree that is pre-lit, you are ahead of the game, but for those who opt for a real tree, the first step is to add the lights.  Arrange the lights starting at the base of the tree, moving your way from the inside of the tree to the outer portion as you work your way up.

    Next, determine if you will use any décor other than ornaments.  From decorative branches to ribbon, you can choose a staple item to make your tree stand out.  Make sure you complete this step before adding any ornaments, though.

    Then move on to the fun part! Ornaments are simple enough.  They have hooks for hanging and come in a variety of sizes.  However, to create a full look, you want to avoid placing all of them toward the outside of the branches.  Create a sense of depth by placing larger ornaments at the bottom and smaller ones near the top as well as spreading them evenly from the outer portion to the inner portion of the branches.

    With a completely decorated focal point, you can accentuate your home with other décor.  Decorate the mantle using garland, create a centerpiece for your dining table, and hang some mistletoe above the door.  Small decorative pieces make a drastic impact on the look and feel of your space.

    For the addition touch, purchase Christmas scented candles and bring the look alive with the fragrance of the holiday.  Reach your guests five senses with visuals, scents, and tasty treats.  You’ll love the look and the feel of your home!

    Decorating for Christmas involves some time and dedication, but once everything is complete and the stockings are hung, you will find that your home is one of the most appealing places to gather.  Host a party and open the blinds so that everyone can enjoy your beautifully decorated home.

    This post was posted in Holidays, Home Decor

  • Saving Money on Electric Bill This Fall

    Posted on October 9, 2013 by Solr

    Breathe in during these next few months and you will smell pumpkin and spice filling the air.  With foliage filling the ground, and tree preparing for winter, fall is a unique time of year.  However, most homeowner do not understand the importance of conserving energy during these important months.

    There are several fall energy saving tips that can keep your home warm and inviting as the weather begins to cool.  The first tip is to maintain the temperature in your home.  Often times, energy is wasted when no one is home.  The thermostat is set above 70 degrees and no one is home.  During fall, as the weather cools, turn your thermostat down so your home achieves optimal home heating.  You will notice as you move your thermostat, your energy bill will be lower.

    The next tip is to be aware of your fireplace damper.  If you are not using the fireplace, make sure the damper is closed.  Closing this little gadget can conserve a lot of energy in your home.  It can be difficult to forget to close this, especially if you enjoy letting the fire simmer as you snooze.

    It is important to be aware of your home’s energy.  If you are not conscious of the many ways to conserve energy in your home, you are inadvertently wasting energy.  These tips can help you understand a little more about energy and how to keep your home energy efficient.  This is not only beneficial to the environment, but to your checkbook.

    Make sure your radiators or heating vents are not being blocked.  It isn’t rare to walk into a home and find furniture blocking all of the heating devices.  If you find that your bedroom is warmer than your living room, the solution might be to rearrange your living room—you might be covering up a heating vent.

    Being a homeowner requires you to learn all about home repairs and maintenance.  There is always something to improve or consider in owning a home.  It might seem overwhelming, but once you get the basics down, you’ll have a peaceful and relaxing home environment.

    The next step is to have to heating system serviced.  At least once a year, your heating system should be analyzed.  Make sure to replace any furnace filters and change them often when it is extremely cold out.

    Finally, you need to weatherize your home.  This is an easy method to improve the energy efficiency of your home.  Weather-strip all of the doors and windows in your home to keep the cold from the outdoors from entering.  This will lock in the heat and keep your thermostat from having to work overtime.  In addition to weather-stripping your home, you should also caulk the doors and windows.  By making these small improvements, you can cut 10 percent off on your monthly energy bill.

    Making small home improvements with an awareness of energy efficiency can save you a lot of money in your monthly energy bill.


    This post was posted in Holidays

  • Tips on Arranging Living Room Furniture

    Posted on September 26, 2013 by Solr

    The living room is a multi-functional space in the home—used for entertaining, relaxing, watching television, conversing, and so much more.  Arranging the furniture to meet the diverse needs of the family can be a daunting task.

    Luckily, we have several different options for arranging your living room furniture so that you can get the maximum use out of your space.  The first design is face-to-face.  What is a more intimate and private setting than arranging furniture face-to-face.  With a shared coffee table in between, you can easily host an intimate gathering with your closest friends, provide table side snacks, and warm up by the fireplace.

    If, however, you have a large open concept living and dining space, you might want to consider separating these spaces into zones.  Use furniture placement to act as a divider between the different spaces.  So, for instance, if your dining room opens up to the living room, use the sofa to separate the rooms.  The back of the sofa should be closest to the dining room table.  This is a great solution for a large space.  It breaks up the endless space and creates a more intimate setting without creating visual barriers as walls would do.

    For a smaller family room, you might consider changing things up a bit.  Forget the sofa and go for several chairs.  With comfortable chairs positioned toward each other, conversation can flow easily or you and your guests can play games; the options are endless.  This arrangement offers a crisp and organized setting.  Be careful though; once you go with chairs you may never want a couch again.

    If you have a more eclectic style, the perfect piece to tie in all of your furniture and accessories is a rug.  This creates stability in the room.  It focuses the eye on the center of the room so that guests do not feel overwhelmed with all of the different knick-knacks and visual stimulation.Proper furniture arrangement has the ability to manipulate the eye to create an enlarged look.  The key to this look: diagonals.  If your living room is a perfect box, sticking furniture against the wall has the opposite effect intended.  Create a cozy feel with diagonals.  This opens up the seating area, creates a large walkway, and flows well with the remainder of the home.  Thus, diagonals are great for the open concept.

    Another great arrangement is designed around a serene view.  If your living space has a lot of natural lighting and a beautiful view, don’t let your furniture cut off the window space.  Instead, accentuate it.  Center your seating area around the windows, not the fireplace.  This highlights the view and still allows for plenty of conversation and relaxation.

    There are several ways to arrange furniture to achieve the intimate setting of a living room.  Whether you are looking to converse, entertain, or eat a quick snack while watching television, there’s an arrangement just for you.


    This post was posted in Holidays, Living Room

  • How to Determine the Right Kitchen Countertops

    Posted on August 11, 2013 by Solr

    There are numerous choices when it comes to choosing the right kitchen countertop for your space. From soapstone to stainless steel and even butcher block, the options are endless and the styles are only growing. To determine which kitchen countertop is the best option for your kitchen, consider the style and function of your space.

    It’s important that you find the perfect fit for your home. Take into consideration the ages of your children, the lifestyle of your family, and the function of your kitchen. If you are a young family with children learning to make their own sandwiches, choosing a white countertop that doesn’t hold up well to knife marks is probably not the best option for your space. By narrowing down your choices, you can find a material that is both aesthetically appealing and functional.

    The good news in your search for the right kitchen countertops is that there are several similar looks available in different materials. If you are looking for a solution that matches the contemporary style of your kitchen, there are several options including granite, natural stones like marble, limestone, and soapstone, engineered stone, solid surface countertops, concrete countertops, laminate countertops, and wood countertops.

    Each countertop offers something a little different aesthetically and functionally. Here are some of the main differences. Laminate is an economical choice that is available in numerous colors and designs. The downside to choosing laminate is that if a hot pan is in contact with it, you’ll see the scorch marks left behind.

    Wood countertops, like butcher block, is great for aesthetic appeal in a contemporary kitchen. Forget a cutting board, you’ve got one built in. This material is easy to clean, but the downside is that if your butcher block counter gets a lot of water, you’ll see the damages. A way to avoid water damage is to keep it oiled.

    The next countertop option is very unique. Concrete. It’s true; this industrial vibe countertop can be customized with pigments to give you the exact look you’re going for. There are a lot of options for customizing concrete including different finishes. If you leave a damp item on the counter, however, you will notice some discoloration.

    A great choice for functionality is solid surface countertops. Because this choice is seamless and resists stains, and offers a buffer ability to get rid of scratches, this surface can last for ages. Solid surface countertops are great for many styles. Find the right color and you’ll love the results.

    Engineered stone is a solid material, very durable, and extremely reliable. Easy to maintain, choose engineered stone if you want a functional surface for years to come. The only downfall to this material is that it is not any less expensive that granite.

    Granite is typically the first choice in countertops for homeowners. Because of the wide variety of shades and finishes, granite is a great choice for multiple styles.

    This post was posted in Holidays

  • Bathroom Remodel Tips: Updating an Old Bathroom Vanity

    Posted on March 1, 2012 by Callie Tyler

    Remodeling an old bathroom can be tricky. Finding the perfect vanity tocomplete your look, making sure the placement of the mirror is perfect, replacingtiles, all of these tasks might seem overwhelming. But having a remodeledbathroom that will fit your budget begins by following three simple steps.When completing a remodel, the first step is always getting measurements.Before you start tearing apart your worn out features, make sure you have all of themeasurements written down. Without this step, you might have some seriousproblems.

    After you have measurements of the bathtub, vanity, mirror, walls, andwhatever else you plan to remodel, you can move on to choosing the perfect fit. Thisstep can be the most fun and most stressful all at the same time. You want to makesure that you get a timeless piece, but that also looks up-to-date and trendy. Makingsure that your remodel gives an updated look and lot a remodeled, but the samelook, effect is important. Focus on the image you want to portray.If you are going for a more modern look, keep in mind colors, patterns, andshapes. Modern can be timeless if done correctly. To make your remodeledbathroom modern, try choosing a mirror framed with straight thick lines. A boxy,almost 3D looking, frame would stand out without taking away from other features.For a modern bathroom vanity, look for bright whites, a glossy finish, and straight, crispfixtures.

    Bathroom vanities can transform a bathroom. Taking out the shell sink and updating toa vessel sink. Vessel sinks can have a very modern look to them, but if you want tomix modern and traditional, a vessel sink is the way to go. You can choose atraditional vanity, with claw feet and rich, dark wood. Then, you add a stainlesssteel vessel sink, which will sit on top of the bathroom counter, and stainless steelfixtures to tie it all together.

    The last step is making sure everything flows together. This step is equallyimportant to the first two steps. Looking at various features of the bathroom, suchas the bathroom vanity, the bathtub, the wall color, the mirror, the fixtures, the styles, etc., youmight find that you are draw to a more modern style, but your paint color doesn’tmesh well with the rest of your decorating choices. A good way to make sure thatyour theme is followed thoroughly is by taking pictures and making a vision board.With sample colors, fabrics, and pictures of your desired pieces put together on aboard, you will be able to see how things flow together and what alterations need tobe made.

    After you have measured, looked for your desired pieces, and put it alltogether, you are ready to begin your remodel. The planning might seem like themost tedious and drawn out part of the process, but you will be happy you spenttime carefully in the long run. So pay attention to detail and keep your theme inmind when remodeling an old bathroom with new signature pieces.

    This post was posted in Holidays

  • Christmas Decorations for the Whole Family

    Posted on December 22, 2010 by NinaCarmen Monroe

    Some people like to get all their Christmas decorations up and finished the day after Thanksgiving. Me, on the other hand, I like to let my turkey digest, get together with friends and family, and make the Christmas decorating a long-term event. The decorations aren’t complete until the celebration begins, and each year we add new decorations, new traditions, and a unique look to the house for the holidays.

    My favorite thing to do, instead of buying all the Christmas decorations, is to make time to create them myself. This might sound like a daunting task, but you’d be surprised at how many beautiful trinkets you can create with a minimum of simple craft supplies.

    It’s easy to make a country-cozy Christmas tree with the family. I strongly recommend a faux tree – these are beautiful year after year, are easily stored, don’t leave a million pine needles all over your carpet for the rest of time, don’t have to be disposed of, don’t present a fire hazard, and – best of all – don’t result in the deaths of trees. So pull out your faux tree, and get to work. A string of white lights starts off the decoration and makes a twinkling foundation for the rest of your imaginative decorations.

    Dinner Table and Wine

    Less than 30 cents will buy you tiny grapevine wreathes from any crafting supply store – pick up a slew of these guys, tons of tiny red bows, a glue gun, and some twine, and you’re ready to make beautiful Christmas wreathes with a country touch to add to your tree. Look around the craft store for anything you think would be perfect to add to your tree. It’s easy to tie a piece of twine to almost anything and hang it off that puppy to make unique, hand-made decorations.

    Make sure to pick up Styrofoam balls, ribbons, bells, glitter, snowflakes, and anything else that catches your eye. Why spend money on breakable glass balls when you can sit down with the family and make exquisite decorations limited only by your imagination? Wrap your balls in ribbons and bows, sprinkle them with glitter, and place them amongst the rest of your decorations. And don’t forget to top it all off with a great, bit glittery barn star or angel to set everything off.

    Pick up Styrofoam cubes or find small cardboard boxes around the house. Wrap them in Christmas paper, cover them in curly ribbons and bows, and set them around the house and under the tree for a festive, generous look, even if you can’t buy a million presents. Don’t forget adorable stockings that can be personalized with glitter and fabric paints to hang on the mantle or the banister.

    Carry the country cosy theme over to garland with grapevine garland decorated with berries, pine cones, poinsettia blossoms and anything else that catches your eye. Fill glass bowls and vases with winter branches dipped in glitter, pine cones dotted with bows, and stems with berries – put a layer of snowflake glitter pieces inside the vases for extra effect.

    Use your imagination, and get your family involved. The holidays are a big event, and doing crafts, decorating, and celebrating together will help you create happy memories to last a lifetime.

    Do you have any tips for Christmas decorations or themes? Leave a comment below and share them with the world. If you have any questions or subjects you’d like to see covered, just let me know and you might find your question answered in a blog. Coming soon: What Makes Christmas Special?

    This post was posted in Holidays and was tagged with tips, decor, home decor, decorations, home decorating, christmas, holidays

  • Thanksgiving Madness: Tips, Ideas, Recipes, & Memories (Part 3)

    Posted on November 24, 2010 by NinaCarmen Monroe

    Well, the big day is almost upon us. As you read this dedicated cooks are fretting over the moistness of the turkey, the lumps in the gravy, and the flakiness of the pie pastry. Here’s to hoping that none of you out there have to add traveling madness (gridlock and crowds and body scanners, oh my!) to Thanksgiving madness, and if you do – here’s to hoping you’re safe. Once again I am overwhelmed with all the things I have to be grateful for: home, family, friends, great work – but especially friends. When I called for help with tips this holiday season, they stepped right up to offer their favorite Thanksgiving ideas. So without further ado, here are their thoughts:

    Thanksgiving Dinner

    My friend Katiem2, who is a dedicated and passionate writer on HubPages, reminds us not to forget the pie! “I love pie and feel pie is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.” She also urges us not to be too stuck in our traditional Thanksgiving menu: feel free to try something new, and it just might become a tradition. Check out Katie’s Thanksgiving menu: “We’re having a traditional cook-out with bar-b-que and all the trimmings: Ribs - both pork and beef - pulled pork; burgers, hot dogs, and brats all cooked on a smoker with cherry and apple wood; potato salad; mashed potatoes; pasta salad; macaroni salad; baked beans; slaw; salad; green beans with bacon and onions; veggies and dip; sweet corn bread; lots of pie, and – of course - lots of sweet and unsweetened iced tea!”

    Good Lord, save me a seat – I’m on my way!

    Chuck H., with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, suggests that, “The number one tip to make sure Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch is to not invite family.” While this may be a bit cynical, Chuck might have a point here; if holiday prep and stress is going to drive you crazy or make you miserable, you might consider asking another family member to host the festivities, or indulging in a low-key celebration at home. The holidays can be fun, but it’s no good for anyone if you’re too stressed out to enjoy yourself.

    But for the more traditional celebrants of Thanksgiving, Sally’s Trove, the pseudonym for a family of fabulous HP writers, offers two pieces of advice: First, don’t forget how helpful potluck can be when hosting a family feast, “Everyone who comes to dinner brings something, and there are always wonderful surprises.”

    Second, and most importantly of all, we’re reminded to keep in mind the point of the holiday, “Thanksgiving is the time for giving thanks, no matter what form the thanks takes. It's all about people celebrating their lives together…The holiday foods are great, and important, but what's most important is being together. No matter how that comes to be. Chinese takeout or pizza delivery would be fine. Just so long as all are sitting together at the table and giving thanks.”

    There you have it, that’s all the great advice my friends and I could come up with to make sure your Thanksgiving goes deliciously! I hope you are all able to share the day with people you love, that there’s plenty of scrumptious food to fill you up and make you pass out, and – most of all – that you have plenty of things to be thankful for now and always.

    I’d also love to hear your ideas. If you have tips, tricks, suggestions, or easy recipes you’d like to share, just leave me a comment below. Or if you have a question you’d like answered, let me know. You just might find your suggestion in a future blog. Coming soon? All things Christmas – ideas, tips, gift guides - you’ll find them here.

    This post was posted in Holidays and was tagged with fall, autumn, cooking, thanksgiving

  • Thanksgiving Madness: Tips, Ideas, Recipes, & Memories (Part 2)

    Posted on November 22, 2010 by NinaCarmen Monroe

    Menus, preparation, cooking, invitations, pre-dinner clean-up, post-dinner clean-up, decorations, entertainment – if you’re the one in charge of making sure your family’s Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch, you’ve signed up for one of the most grueling, but most fulfilling, jobs of the year. You, super-host, will be expected to coordinate a dinner full of everyone’s favorite dishes, enough room for everyone to spread out and dig in, a kiddie-table, clean-up – and you’ll probably be the one in charge of making sure everyone is happy, positive, and having fun. It’s no mean feat. But while you’re getting swept away in all the maddening preparation, don’t forget to keep in mind everything you have to be grateful for. After all, if you’re throwing a big gathering you’ve got food to serve, a place to serve it, and people you love coming to share.

    Besides everything you have to be thankful for, you might also want to keep in mind these helpful suggestions and ideas. All of the following suggestions came from my fabulous friends through Facebook.com and Hubpages.com - another big thanks to everyone who responded!

    • Hors d'oeuvres Buy You Time And Make A Statement: I have to extend a very special thanks to K9keystrokes, another active and talented writer (whose works include even more Thanksgiving goodness among many other things); she took the time to write to me personally and offer these yummy – and deceptively simple – appetizer offerings for your Thanksgiving table:
      • Banana Bonbons: “Roll whole bananas in strawberry preserves, then chopped nuts, and freeze. Just before guest arrive, slice into wheels and serve on a chilled platter with tooth picks.” This is a great idea – take it and run with it. Experiment with different flavors of preserves and crunchy bits – chocolate sauce and granola bits; caramel and mini-chocolate chips; orange marmalade, toasted coconut, and candied pineapple bits. Leave a comment with your combinations below!
      • Fire It Up: Looking for something impressive to really light up the table with sweet aromas and visual flair? “Try soaking sugar cubes in lemon or orange extract (the real stuff), and ignite them to bring you some flaming excitement. The alcohol content is just enough to do the job.”
      • Celery Centerpiece: Clean your celery, and keep it whole – including the leafy stuff on top – find a pretty glass container – or even more than one - and fill it (them) with water mixed with food coloring. Add your celery; it will soak up the colors adding a decorative touch to the table as well as a delicious, healthy nibbler perfect for dipping into cream cheese, peanut butter, and just about anything creamy. K9keystrokes adds, “Also, try finger-sandwiches; they look beautiful when seasoned cream cheese filling is shaded pastel with food coloring.”
      • Chocolate Fondue is IN: I recently attended a wedding that included a chocolate fountain. Delicious warm chocolate flowed through three tiers of a lovely fountain ready to bathe fresh berries, pieces of bananas, and shortbread cookies. It was a chocolate-lover’s dream. K9keystrokes mentioned, “Some of the best chocolate fondue dipping foods are, ladyfingers, maraschino cherries with the stem on, pear spears, banana chunks, and my favorite—cubes of angel food cake.” You might not have a chocolate fountain, but a Crock-pot on low with your favorite chocolate (and perhaps some cream stirred in to keep it smooth) will also do the trick. Use your imagination – whatever you use for dippers, make sure to keep them bite-sized, and include forks or skewers long enough for easy dipping.
      • Chilly Trick: K9keystrokes offers this ingenious tip for keeping your cold drinks chilled longer, even when you’re presenting them at the table. “Place your ice [and bottles of drinks to stay cold] into a large bowl that is placed inside another larger bowl filled with dry ice. The ice will keep your guest's chillin' for the entire party.” What a cool idea!
    • The Internet is Your Friend: My friend Stevennix2001, one of HubPages’ best movie reviewers, reminded me to turn to our trusty friend the search engine to find a plethora of ideas. From recipes for home-made apple pie to advice from the culinary queen Julia Childs, you can find a way to add something extra or new to your celebration this year with a with a quick spin around the World Wide Web. DoorMattnomore, a passionate, expressive author from Hubpages, echoed this sentiment when she suggested looking up Taste of Home on the web and finding their Sally Lunn Batter Bread Recipe. “Can’t give me credit, it’s not my recipe. But I make this every year, and its super easy...bread that you don’t have to knead, just mix it up, stir it and bake it. And the honey butter...yum!!! Everyone loves it and thinks I am way awesome.

    Okay, all this writing about food is making me hungry! I’m definitely going to have to give some of these tempting ideas a try – maybe even before Thanksgiving, just to give them a test-run of course! I’d also love to hear your ideas. If you have tips, tricks, suggestions, or easy recipes you’d like to share, just leave me a comment below. Or if you have a question you’d like answered, let me know. You just might find your suggestion in a future blog. Coming soon? You guessed it – MORE Thanksgiving Madness. I got so many great ideas – I just couldn’t fit them all into one blog. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make this series of articles possible!

    This post was posted in Holidays and was tagged with tips, fall, autumn, cooking, holidays, thanksgiving

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