BBQ Tips and Tricks

Spring has sprung and barbecue season is in full force. Barbecues are perfect for get-togethers and family dinner nights. Compliment your next barbecue this season with our delicious tips and tricks. 

 

Barbecue Tips & Tricks:

  • Spice it up. Literally, we mean add spices and herbs to your barbecued meals. This is a delicious take on any traditional barbecue meal from vegetable kebabs to grilled chicken. 
    • Pro-tip: Create your own herb brush to delicately marinate your meat and vegetables. The idea of a herb brush is that you are taking your herbs and tying the together to form a brush-like shape. In order to create an herb brush, you will need to take the stems (make sure that they have grown to at least six inches) and tie them together with a twine. The base of your herb brush can be a plant like rosemary, sage, oregano or bay. After you have created your base, you can add in other herbs that are more fragile like mint or cilantro. You will just take your herb brush and dip into your marinade to apply the sauce to your food. 
  • Think of all the possibilities. When you think of barbecues, your mind probably goes straight to the classics like steak, chicken, hot dogs or burgers, but barbecuing does not stop there! Try slicing up some sweet potatoes in a french fry shape and grilling them up or making your own cilantro fajita tacos on the grill. 
  • Go additive-free. If you use charcoal, it is important to buy additive-free lump charcoal rather than regular charcoal. Staying healthy is always important to us and choosing additive-free charcoal can any eliminate potential dangers posed by regular charcoal. 
  • Get saucy. Pairing your barbecued food with a delicious dipping sauce can really set the tone for your meal. Try making a zesty lemon or spicy mango sauce to add a flavorful kick to your next meal. We promise that the sauces you make can really complete your meal with the perfect finishing flavor. 
  • Get jamming. Throw on your favorite music while grilling to amplify your barbecue mood and set the tone for the evening. There is nothing like barbecuing on a warm night while listening to your favorite song, go ahead, just imagine it.

 

When in doubt, cook it out. Barbecuing can be a great stress reliever and guarantees a well-deserved treat at the end. 


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Easy Kitchen Updates

The kitchen: the place where you eat, cook, entertain, laugh, and create. Kitchens are significant rooms in our households because so many things take place there. Updating your kitchen does not need to be an intimidating task. You can update your kitchen with less stress than you might imagine. 

 

What to update:

  1. Paint your cabinets.

Painting your cabinets will change the entire look of your kitchen and it can be inexpensive. 

    • Want to try something different? Paint the cabinet doors one color and the inside of the cabinet another. 
    • After you paint your cabinets, replace its handles/knobs. This will help complete the overall look.
    • If you have ever seen Monica and Rachel’s apartment on “Friends,” you have seen the popular look of removing cabinet doors. This trend has come back full-force. You can easily remove your cabinet doors and create an open feel in your kitchen. 

 

2.    Switch up your lighting. 

There are several energy efficient lights on the market and they tend to be very stylish. Consider changing your room’s lighting and electric bill with this simple update. 

 

3.    Incorporate extra counter space.

If your room allows, think about adding extra counter space. Take a look at your floor plan and determine what would be appropriate for your kitchen.

    • Islands are always a nice feature. You can buy yourself a tall table-like island from the store to keep the costs down.

 

4.     Invest in new flooring.

Bad flooring can be a bit of an eyesore. Updating your flooring will make a world of differences. The best part is that there is a variety of different flooring to choose from. You will never be left unimpressed. 

 

5.    Switch out your sink faucet. 

 

6.    Update your appliances. 

Take time to save your money and eventually update your kitchen’s appliances. Updating your appliances will add the finishing touch to your kitchen. 

 

7.    Change up the decor. 

Now is a great time to buy new decorations for your kitchen. For your decor, you can pull colors used in your cabinets, appliances, etc.  Decorating will be the final and most fun step. 

 

A kitchen can be one of the greatest investments you can make for your home. A kitchen will add value to your house which can be important if you are ever looking to resell. After this, your kitchen will be the talk around town just from these simple updates. Enjoy the updating process and make it your own. 


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Bathroom Finishing Touches

After renovating a bathroom there are some finishing touches you should add. These finishing’s make your space feel lived in and welcoming. Find out what to add to your newly renovated space, to make it comfortable for guest use.

Purchase a thick pile bath mat. This way guest will feel comfortable when stepping out of the shower. Use all white for your mat and towels.

Good quality hand towels are a must! If the bathroom has a shower or a tub, buy extra-large towels, so that guests can completely wrap up after bathing. Egyptian cotton towels are the most luxurious kind. Guest will love the spa like feel.

It is a nice touch to add luxury hand soap. Spring for the liquid soap and avoid the bar. Soap bars show their age. A liquid pump looks nicer and is easy to use. Place mouthwash in a crystal decanter on the counter. Guest can easily freshen up and it looks fabulous!

Shower curtains look best when they have a liner. It gives it a fuller look and it is not as transparent. Always use a liner behind a shower curtain. If there are high ceilings, consider hanging drapery panels high to act as the shower curtain. Make sure to use a liner on the back of the curtains as well. If you decide to use drapery panels, it looks best to have them split down the middle. This will transform the bathroom. It will look like a dressing space, and not like a typical bathroom.

Make sure all toiletries are hidden from eyesight. They can be placed in a medicine cabinet or inside of decorative boxes. Keep them accessible, but find a way to keep them organized and hidden away. The only toiletries that should be visible are the luxurious hand soap and lotion.

Pleasant scents are important. Keep the pleasing smell constant by using a scented oil diffuser.

Finishing touches will make your space an enjoyable place to wash up. 

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Cinco de Mayo Piñata

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday filled with heritage, bright colors, parades, and excitement. The fifth brings various festivities and traditions along with it. A common tradition is creating a piñata for the festivities and we have an easy DIY piñata for you to make this year. 

 

Supplies:

  • Cardboard Box
  • Piece of Chalk
  • Box cutter 
  • Toilet Paper Roll’s Tube
  • Glue 
  • Rope
  • Candy
  • Tape
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Scissors 

 

How to create a piñata

Preparation: Choose a character to make in piñata form. You can create a donkey piñata or one of your favorite animals.

Step One. Take a cardboard box and cut off the four folding flaps (set aside for later). Cut two identical sized rectangular pieces out of the cardboard box. 

Step Two. Cut out the character you just sketched with a box cutter. Attach with masking tape onto the second piece of cardboard and cut around the character’s shape. In doing so, you will have two identical cut-outs of the character. Gently pull the two pieces apart and remove the masking tape that you just used.

Step Three. To connect the two cardboard pieces you will use a toilet paper tube. Lie down your first character cutout and place a toilet paper tube standing upright in the center of the character and adhere with glue. Pick up the other side of the cut-out and line it up directly with the other shape and adhere it to the toilet paper tube with glue. Ideally, the tubes will be holding together the two sides of cardboard that form your character. Wait approximately fifteen to twenty minutes for the glue to dry. 

Step Four. Pick up the four folding flaps that we previously removed from the cardboard box. We are going to use these for the space left between piñata character. Measure how much space is between the two sides (approximately 5 – 6 inches) and cut the flaps accordingly. After you have cut and measured the folding flaps, you will place them between the sides of the piñata and lock it down with masking tape. 

Step Five. Leave a small section open at the top of the piñata to attach the rope and fill with your items. Loop your rope underneath the flap of the section left open and you will have two ends of the rope sticking out. Tie the two ends together. 

Step Six. Fill your piñata and tape the opening closed.

Step Seven. Cover your piñata with wrapping paper. Start from the bottom and work your way to the top of your piñata. Trim any straggling pieces with scissors. 

 

Now that your piñata is complete, you can fill it with whatever you desire. Some people fill it with candy and others fill it fun items like toys or plastic jewelry. Grab a bat and get swinging! This is an activity for all ages. 

 

 

 

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Ocean Inspired Interiors

Most people love the being near the water simply for the calming effect it creates. The stress of the day can melt away when you let go and allow yourself to listen to the natural water sounds around you. While some people are lucky enough to live near a body of water, others need to create a little ambiance to achieve the same effect.

 

When envisioning coastal living, think about what you would enjoy the most about it. This is how you get started on creating your dream living space. Life can feel cluttered and heavy from the weight of daily responsibilities. Coastal locations inspire thoughts of a relaxing getaway and a vacation. So use that for your inspiration when decorating.

 

Keep colors neutral and relaxing. Soft blues and khakis, clean whites and natural woods. Textures should be kept light and airy. A little thickness provides warmth without becoming too heavy. Natural light will also be a huge factor as you recreate a coastal look. Allowing light to reflect on your interior will give it a refreshing feeling but keep window treatments light and easy to keep open with tie-backs during the day.

 

Keep furniture style simple to maintain the theme of removing the weight of your day when you arrive home. Let the lake, sea or ocean provide you with inspiration in your decor. Touches of nautical theme or artwork depicting a beautiful pier or traveling sailboat can carry you away. Wicker pieces can give any space that quaint cottage look you may enjoy. If you have souvenirs from a vacation you enjoyed on the water, feel free to sprinkle them in where appropriate.

 

No matter where you reside, creating a coastal paradise in your home is possible. Take your time and choose pieces thoughtfully. This process is meant to create a relaxing environment, not more stress. In no time, it will all come together and you will be able to relax and turn on an ocean sounds soundtrack to set the mood. Now close your eyes, and it’s like you’re right there on the shore!

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Eggs for Easter

Decorating Easter eggs has become a long lasting family tradition for many households across America. Traditions can become the essence of your family and maybe you would like to begin a new tradition of decorating Easter eggs. If you have never decorated any eggs before, you may need to know how to hard boil the eggs. The best part about decorating hard boil eggs is that they do not need to go to waste! You can include your hard boiled eggs into your favorite recipe. 

 

How to hard boil eggs:

  1. Place the eggs inside a kitchen pot on your stovetop. Let the eggs lay flat on the bottom of the pot. 
  2. Next, completely cover the eggs with cold water. 
  3. Turn your stovetop on high and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat. 
  4. You will need to cover the kitchen pot with a lid and set your timer for approximately fifteen minutes.
  5. After the fifteen minutes, drain the water from the pot using a strainer and rinse the eggs in cold water.
  6. By now, your eggs should be cool enough for you to touch. 
  7. Dry them off and begin decorating or place them in the fridge until you can decorate them. 
    • Keep in mind that hard boiled are only safe at room temperature for less than two hours and you will have one week to eat them safely as recommended by The United States Department of Agriculture. 

 

Here is a delicious recipe to make with your hard boiled eggs: 

 

Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe:

Ingredients: 

  • Eight Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Hot Sauce
  • Pepper
  • Croissant

 

Peel the shell off your hard boiled eggs and chop up the egg. Place the eggs into a large mixing bowl and add in 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard. While stirring, add a dash of garlic powder, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Place your mixture on a warmed croissant and top it off with chopped chives. Enjoy!

 

Do you have any recipes your family loves to make with hard boiled eggs? We would love to hear in the comment section below!

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Flooring for Your Family

Think about all the wonderful memories you create in your home each day.  Just being together with your family and doing the things that you love is enough of a reason to make sure that your choice in carpeting will only enhance the experience.  You want flooring that is not only soft underfoot but durable and aesthetically pleasing.  Add in a dash of stain-resistance, perfect pile length and environmental-friendliness to make the picture complete.  The bottom line is that you want to know that you’ve chosen the right look for your home while keeping it safe for your children and pets to play on all day.  It’s those little hands, feet and paws that bring a smile to your face, so take the time to make sure that you’ve created a space that they’re going to love to crawl, play and even take an impromptu nap on. 

 

When deciding on the right carpet, keep in mind all the activities you and your family enjoy.  Do you entertain often or rarely? Is the carpet going to be exposed to high foot traffic? Do you need to consider plusher options for better cushioning? Will there be food or drink brought into the room?  Visit our showroom and check out the color and the feel of the carpet samples.  Talk to one of our consultant about what you are envisioning for your home or if you simply do not know where to start, allow them to guide you to a selection that will work for your needs. Enjoying the look and feel of your carpeting is just as important as making sure it is functional.

 

When it comes to your family, we know that there’s no better way to show them you care than giving them a space in their home that is truly theirs to enjoy.  With the right choice in carpet, you can be sure to create even more wonderful memories with added comfort and peace of mind.  Come see us today to get matched up with the best flooring choices for your living space.

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Work Out While Doing Household Chores! Part Three – Full-Body

In Parts One and Two of our series, we discussed household tasks that focus either on the Upper Body or Lower Body.  For Part Three we will be talking about chores that focus on your whole body simultaneously for a more intense full-body workout.

 

Vacuuming, Sweeping, and Mopping

Since there is always a rug that needs vacuuming and a floor that needs sweeping or mopping, you are guaranteed to need to use these cleaning devices at a minimum of once a week. Make it worth your time! As you do these tasks you are engaging your arms, abs, back, legs and glutes all at the same time. While vacuuming, maintain a neutral posture as you make your way around the room and keep abdominal muscles engaged to work your core.  As you use your arm to push the machine forward, incorporate a shallow lunge at the same time by lowering the leg that is on the same side that you are gripping the vacuum with. Be careful not to reach too low to the ground or you will drop the vacuum! Alternate arms to evenly work both sides of your body.

 

For sweeping and mopping, keep weight evenly distributed on both legs and make broad strokes as you circulate around the room to bring some focus to your arms. Keep abdominal muscles engaged and your back straight as you clean the space.  To pick up remaining dirt on the floor, use a sumo squat position to make room for a dustpan or damp rag to pick it up. You can do so by taking a wide stance and placing your feet at a 45-degree angle. Keeping your upper body erect bend your knees until they have reached a 90-degree angle.  Pick up the mess and come on up!

 

Cleaning the Bathroom

Let’s face it. Cleaning the bathroom is probably the least enjoyable household chore hands down.  This is where people clean themselves up, so where does all the dirt end up? In the bathroom!  It’s on the floor, in the tub and coating the toilet and sink. It’s essential to keep your powder room clean, so you might as well get a full body workout while you’re in there.  While cleaning the mirror and sink, alternate your arms and use a circular motion at 10-12 repetitions per arm to wipe them clean.  While your arms are busy, plant your feet hip-width apart and do calf raises between strokes, holding for three seconds each time.  Use your time cleaning the toilet and shower stall to do some squats.  Stand with feet hip-width apart and working your way from top to bottom with your cleaner, squat after 10-12 circular strokes of your arm.  Alternate arms as you go along. For a bonus, do some calf raises while reaching up high in the shower stall. For the floor, use a cushion for your knees and a rag for your hands. Keep knees four to six inches apart and keep your abdominal muscles tight as you use both hands to push the rag forward until your body is parallel to the ground and pull it slowly back towards your knees.

 

We hope you enjoyed our household chore workout series! Check back for more household tips for your busy lifestyle!

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Work Out While Doing Household Chores! Part Two – Lower Body

In Part One of our series, we discussed some household tasks that focus more on Upper Body Strength.  In Part Two we will be putting the focus on your Lower Body. 

 

Before you can get started with cleaning the floors, countertops and other furniture throughout your home, you usually must walk through and put things back where they belong.  This is a great opportunity to incorporate squats, lunges, calf raises and step-ups into your routine. 

 

Squats

For items on the floor, reach down while keeping a neutral posture.  Be sure that you transfer weight back towards your heels so you prevent yourself from bending your knees past the front of your feet.  You can also do a sumo squat, which requires you to place your feet facing out at a 45-degree angle. The same rules apply for keeping your weight in your heels to prevent an injury to your knees.

 

Calf Raises

For items on countertops and other waist-level furniture surfaces, stand straight with your tailbone tucked in and your feet hip-width apart.  Raise your item and your heels simultaneously.  Hold for three seconds and lower heels back down.  Repeat with all your items.  Your calves will be burning in just a few minutes!

 

Walking Lunges

To keep things moving in between all those squats and calf raises do some walking lunges as you put everything away.  Stand with your feet hip-width apart with both hands holding the item in front of you to maintain balance.  Keep your back straight and step forward with one leg, lowering it until you have reached a 90-degree angle. The knee on your back leg should be just above the ground.  Lift your forward bent knee up and repeat with the opposite leg. 

 

Step-Ups

Keep on going as you put the items in their rightful place.  If the item goes in a lower drawer, get going on your squats! If you are staying at waist-level, let’s see those calves! Finally, if the item needs to go up somewhere high, get a small stool and do some step-ups!  Keeping your posture neutral, place one foot on the stool and press your weight back towards your heel as you pull your body upwards.  Return to the floor by stepping down with the same foot you first stepped up with. Repeat the movement for the opposite foot.  

 

We hope you enjoyed Part Two of our series. Check back for our final installment where we will be discussing chores that give you a full body workout!

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Work Out While Doing Household Chores! Part One – Upper Body

Making sure your living space is taken care of through a steady household routine is important and taking care of your body through a physical fitness routine should also be a priority.  The only problem is that while there may be enough time each day to accomplish one of these tasks, there is not always time to do both consistently.  To save time, why not combine the two? 

 

The key to making your chores work for you is form.  Just moving each part of your body in the direction you need to go is not going to give you any benefit.  It’s all about engaging the muscles you are targeting, keeping proper posture and maintaining form throughout the movement.  You should have intention with each move.  To start, here are a few chores that target the upper body.

 

Hand Washing Dirty Pots and Pans

While this may not seem like a very labor-intensive chore, it’s a great place to start your workout.   Stand up straight and engage your abs. Grab those dirty pots and pans and start scrubbing in a circular motion, making sure to apply a decent amount of pressure to create resistance.  After 10 to 12 rotations, switch arms to keep things even.  Keep a straight back while rinsing off dishwasher-safe items.  Use the time loading the dishwasher to stretch the muscles now that they are warmed up. 

 

Folding Laundry

To maintain proper posture while folding laundry, have a basket nearby to place the freshly dried items into so you are not straining your back to retrieve every piece of clothing as you go along.  Lift each item out of the basket, shake out the wrinkles and fold each item without pausing for too long.  Constant movement will help burn those calories!

 

Cleaning Your Countertops

Stand firm in front of your countertop with a slight bend in your knee.  You want the lower half of your body to be stable throughout the movement.  Using your rag or piece of paper towel make 10-12 circular motions with one arm and then the other.  Apply pressure to create resistance as you did while scrubbing your dirty pans.  Make sure your body is not leaning over the countertop or you will lose the impact on your abdominal muscles, biceps, and triceps.

 

Be sure to check out Part Two of our series as we discuss working your lower body muscles.

 

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