Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday responsible for bringing family and friends to the table year after year. Young and old alike come together to share delicious, mouth watering food and express gratitude for everyday blessings and triumphs. A beautiful holiday, sure, but a beautiful holiday that will do some temporary damage to your pristine home kitchen. Eek!
Preparing a massive Thanksgiving feast for hoards of family members and friends alike is an overwhelming idea to many. Even if many of us are experienced Thanksgiving hosts and hostesses, the task of shopping, preparing, cooking, and cleaning an enormous meal in ones own house is an exhausting task for anyone to fathom. Although its never an easy feat to prepare an enormous meal by hand, there are a few organizational tips, tricks, and hacks that will make your holiday prep a little easier this year.
Want to simplify your mealtime preparation this holiday? These Thanksgiving tips & tricks will make difficult kitchen tasks a pinch. Bon appetit!
At the store:
1.) Split up your supermarket trips
An entire feast’s worth of grocery bags is a lot for anyone to carry, and if you try to buy all of your Thanksgiving supplies in one trip you’re bound to forget an ingredient, or come across supermarket shelves so bare you’d think the apocalypse was here. Plan your time and split your shopping trips up, which will save you the pressure of trying to cram everything in the trunk in one trip.
2.) Make a thorough list
Plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu in advance, then making a detailed list of what you’ll need to pick up. Divide your list into perishables (milk, produce, eggs) and nonperishables (spices, canned goods, flour). Buy your nonperishables first, then return for the turkey, dairy, and vegetables a few days before you start cooking your feast.
3.) Prioritize your refrigerator
Sure you can fit it all in the fridge, but can you successfully shut the door? Empty your refrigerator of everything that isn’t essential, like jars of jelly, salad dressings, or anything expired. Plan ahead that you’ll need the extra space, and try to use up as much leftover food as possible in both the freezer and refrigerator.
4.) Designate a place for dry/extra storage
Because refrigerator space is precious on Thanksgiving, anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated should be stored in a cool, dry place. Store hearty produce like potatoes, apples, and cranberries in the basement, garage, or trunk of the car. Any food that needs to stay chilled? Use a beach cooler filled with frozen ice packs to store the turkey, casseroles, or any other food that needs to stay cool. An iced cooler stored in a low temperature location should keep your food fresh for at least 24 hours.
5.) Create a prep list
A organized prep list lays out (in order) all of the tasks you need to accomplish two days prior to your Thanksgiving feast.
- Identify what can be made a day ahead of time. Recipes like pies and gratins can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.
- Identify which dishes will take the longest to make on Thanksgiving day, then prioritize your recipes and allow yourself with a little extra time with each one.
- Look at cooking temperatures and see what dishes can go into the oven simultaneously. Use your smartphone or timers to set alarms to keep track of both the dishes in the oven and on the stovetop.
6.) Organize recipes
Nothing is worse than rifling through recipes when you’ve got hot food on the stove and six other things to do. If you make copies of your recipes in advance, you can then stick them on appliances with magnets, or tape them onto the cabinets at eye level. This will not only save precious counter space, but you can slip the recipes into plastic sleeves and file them away for next year.
7.) Designate your help
Although many of your Thanksgiving guests genuinely want to help you put together a beautiful meal, the old saying holds true that too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. To keep a busy kitchen from feeling too crowded, try to move as many activities out of the kitchen as possible. Set up a drink station in the living room, or a small prep table outside of the kitchen for extra work space.
8.) Time to Eat
Although you’ve planned your meal timing perfectly, there are a few helpful tricks to keep some tricky food items hot.
- Keep your gravy piping hot? A thermos will do the trick just fine.
- A cooler will retain heat, and can hold stacked foil dishes or covered pots.
- A microwave oven is insulated, and can be used as a resting place to keep a hot dish warm for a half an hour.
- A Crock-Pot will keep your mashed potatoes, rice, or stuffing warm (you can even set it to low for longer periods or time).
9.) Something sweet
Although you and your guests are ready for your famous pecan pie, it’s impossible to clear the dishes and serve dessert at the same time. Taking a coffee break between courses is the perfect way to give time to clear the table after dinner. Create a dessert station in the dining room with plates, forks, and coffee cups. Press the brew button when you (and your helpful guests) are clearing the table, and have the cream and sugar bowls ready in the refrigerator ahead of time. Your coffee will be ready and the table will be clear, making it the perfect time to present the dessert.
10.) The dreaded cleanup
Dinner is finished and your want nothing more than to put on your house slippers and spend quality time with your guests, but you dread the mountain of pots and pans waiting for you in the kitchen. After dinner, fill big pots with soapy water and use them for soaking utensils and plates. The cooler can also be used for soaking larger items, and as long as everything is immersed your cleanup can be put off until you’re up to it. Set up a lined garbage can ahead of time so food scraps can go directly into the trash, and voila! Your mountain of dishes is a problem for tomorrow.
Tiрѕ Fоr Dеаling With Blасk Mold
Blасk mold iѕ аlѕо оftеn rеfеrrеd tо аѕ tоxiс black mold оr ѕtасhуbоtrуѕ. It has the potential to cause numеrоuѕ hеаlth problems, and it iѕ fоr thiѕ rеаѕоn that it iѕ imроrtаnt thаt blасk mold iѕ dealt with еffесtivеlу. Thiѕ iѕ thе mоld that hаѕ been liked to ѕuddеn infant ѕуndrоmе, аnd it can also lead to tоxiс ѕуmрtоmѕ ѕuсh аѕ hеаdасhеѕ, fatigue, nausea, аnd brеаthing problems. Likе аll mоldѕ it can triggеr asthma аnd аllеrgiеѕ. It can be diffеrеntiаtеd frоm other fоrmѕ of mоld because оf its ѕlimу grееniѕh-blасk color.
In mаnу instances thе bеѕt advice fоr dеаling with mold will bе tо gеt thе professional in; a rulе оf thumb is thаt if thе mоld is соvеring an area grеаtеr than tеn ѕԛuаrе fееt thеn you аrе going tо nееd ѕоmе еxреrt help. Whеn gоing anywhere nеаr black mоld it iѕ imроrtаnt that уоu wear proper safety еԛuiрmеnt; wеаr a rеѕрirаtоrу mask аnd еуе рrоtесtiоn in case уоu release аnу ѕроrеѕ intо the аir. The рrосеѕѕ оf eradicating black mold саn be broken dоwn intо four parts; соntаin, еrаdiсаtе, remove, аnd рrоtесt. We will nеxt look аt hоw thiѕ process асtuаllу works when dealing with blасk mоld.
Thе firѕt thing you will wаnt to dо iѕ to contain the аrеа of thе mоld ѕо that it dоеѕn’t ѕрrеаd elsewhere. Thiѕ mеаnѕ thаt уоu ѕhоuld rеmоvе any furniture frоm thе room thаt уоu аrе ѕurе hаѕn’t bееn аffесtеd аnd kеер people оut of thе room. It iѕ аlѕо worth dоing аll уоu can tо dry your hоmе оut аѕ thiѕ саn rеmоvе the conditions that mоldѕ of all tуреѕ thrivе in. If thе area of mold is ѕmаll and on non-porous surfaces thеn уоu can ѕоаk it with a ѕоlutiоn mаdе uр of hаlf blеасh аnd hаlf wаtеr оr half vinеgаr аnd hаlf water; lеаvе thiѕ to soak fоr fiftееn minutes аnd this will еrаdiсаtе/kill thе mоld. You саn thеn rinse the аrеа tо remove thе dеаd mоld.
Blасk mоld iѕ dangerous ѕо the bеѕt wау оf dеаling with it iѕ to prevent it оссurring in thе firѕt рlасе. Yоu саn dо thiѕ bу removing the conditions thаt mоld likes tо grоw in. Proper maintenance, Clean up spills or leaks immediately, keep your home ventilated, and рrеvеnt mоiѕturе frоm ассumulаting in areas. Call Fun Guy Inspections for more information about mold inspections.
Mold inspections for black mold are like any other inspection. Mold Inspectors will search for water damaged materials and determine if the materials are wet. Further sampling is required, in each instance, to determine if the dark colored mold is indeed black mold or stachybotrys.
As the air turns cooler and leaves drop from the trees, it’s important to keep a few important fall safety tips in mind. With proper precautions and safety awareness, your family can enjoy that crisp autumn weather while avoiding some of the dangers that come with the season.
Fire Safety Tips for Fall
When the weather turns cold most people spend more time inside their homes using fireplaces, furnaces, and heaters to keep warm. There’s nothing quite as cozy as a fire, but it presents some safety hazards. Keep these tips in mind
Service Your Furnace
Before the cold autumn and winter weather sets in, be sure to call your heating and cooling company to service your furnace. A specialist should inspect the furnace to make sure everything is in working order and that there are no leaks.
Use Fireplaces Safely
Keep that fire in its proper place by using a fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace. Never leave a burning fire unattended, and make sure a fire in a fireplace is completely out before going to bed.
Use Caution with Space Heaters
A space heater can be an effective way to warm up a chilly room, but it’s essential that you read the instructions on the unit before you use it. If your space heater requires venting, make sure you have vented it to the outdoors. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home; only use space heaters that are approved for this purpose. Always allow at least three feet of empty area around space heaters.
Reconsider Leaf Burning
According to information from the Environmental Protection Agency, burning leaves produces dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals. For this reason, homeowners should avoid disposing of leaves this way. If you decide to burn leaves, wear a protective mask. Burning leaves should only be attempted far away from a house or other structures on a homeowner’s property. Always check the weather forecast before starting to burn leaves. This activity should not be attempted in windy conditions.
Exercise Candle Caution
Candles are a great way to give a room that warm glow, but they can also cause fires. According to the National Candle Association, almost 10,000 home fires start with improper candle use. Never leave candles burning if you go out or go to sleep, and keep your candles away from pets and kids.
Change Smoke Alarm Batteries
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when you turn back your clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Make sure to check the alarms with the new batteries installed. Check and replace any home fire extinguishers that have expired.
Safety Tips for Fall Driving
There’s nothing more beautiful than a fall drive, but this season brings some unique hazards for drivers. Being aware of these potential dangers can help keep you and your family safe and prevent accidents.
Be Aware of Poor Visibility
Falling leaves, while beautiful, can obscure your vision, as can rain and fog. Shorter days are part of the fall season, making it more difficult to see children playing or people walking and riding bicycles. Be aware of the limitations in your visibility, and slow down if you can’t see well. Use your dimmed headlights in bad weather with decreased visibility. If possible, try not to be on the roads when it’s hard to see.
Watch for Children
Children love to play in piles of leaves, so use extra caution where leaves are piled at curbside. In addition, the school bus will be making its rounds now that school is back in session. In addition to educating children about back-to-school safety, it’s important to stay vigilant as a driver.
Slow Down on Wet Pavement
In many areas of the country, rain is common during the autumn. If it’s raining, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Wet roads make it more difficult to stop. When wet leaves are on roadways, they make the pavement slippery, and it can be difficult for drivers to get good traction.
Be Prepared for Bright Sunlight
When sunrise occurs later in the morning, it can also present challenges for drivers. Have a pair of sunglasses in the vehicle to wear when the sun is bright is a good strategy. If it becomes too difficult to see because of bright sunlight or glare, a good strategy is for the driver to pull over until he or she can see again.
Watch Out for Ice
As the temperatures drop further at night, a driver will need to spend some extra time in the morning scraping frost off his or her vehicle. Shady spots on the roadway may be home to black ice, which a driver may not be aware of until his or her car starts to skid on it.
Safety Tips for Fall Boaters
According to a report from the US Coast Guard, autumn boating accidents are far more likely to be fatal than those that occur during the summer months. Although there are many more boating accidents in the summer season, boaters involved in accidents during the fall months are exposed to cold water and other weather hazards. Keep these tips in mind for safe autumn boating.
Be Prepared for Changing Weather
Since fall weather can change quickly, you should always be prepared for possible cold, windy, and wet weather even if the sun is shining. Stay closer to shore, so you can turn back if the weather changes. Bring appropriate clothing, such as warm coats, rain gear, and gloves.
Watch for Signs of Hypothermia
Small open boats combined with cold, wet weather can lead to possible hypothermia. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are a few of the signs you should know:
- Shivering or trembling
- General lack of coordination, including stumbling and dropping things
- Drowsiness, confusion, and apathy
- Mumbling and slurring of words
- Weak pulse and shallow breathing
Tell Others About Your Trip
Make sure you tell a friend or family member your boating plan and your expected return time. There are fewer boaters in the fall to help in the case of an accident or emergency.
Always Wear Life Jackets
Wearing your life jacket, while always a smart move, is even more important in the fall. If you should accidentally fall overboard, the cold water will quickly drain away your strength.
Autumn Home Maintenance Safety Tips
Fall is the time for yard clean-ups and readying your house for the cold winter ahead. Keep these safety tips in mind as you work.
Look Up Before Pruning Trees
If you have decided that your yard needs to be spruced up by trimming your trees, be sure to look up and survey the area carefully before you start. Make careful note of where power lines are located before you set up your ladder so that it is positioned away from them.
Use Caution on Ladders
Wearing appropriate footwear is important when using a ladder; shoes or boots may be wet, causing you to slip as you climb the ladder. The ladder should be positioned on a flat surface before use. Be sure that the tools you are using are specifically designed for this purpose and are in good condition before starting work.
Clean Up Fallen Leaves
Keep your driveway and walkway clear of falling leaves. Wet leaves can create a hazard for pedestrians in the fall by making sidewalks slippery. Later in the season, snow may mix with leaves to increase the risk of falling. Homeowners should mulch or rake up fallen leaves and dispose of them according to local bylaws.
Safely Enjoy the Beauty of the Season
By keeping these important fall safety tips in mind, you can be sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your family from seasonal dangers. This will leave your mind free to enjoy the beauty of this glorious season.
It’s the season for summer vacations — or at least planning one. You’ve hoarded your days off and have been eyeing some free time in the sun. Or, maybe a new city. Actually, what about getting away from it all and embracing the great outdoors?
If you’re as indecisive as we are after typing that paragraph, we don’t blame you. There are so many great summer destinations out there, confidently picking one to spend your summer vacation is half the battle. Then you have to worry about finding the best hotels and looking up things to do in each destination.
Fear not! We’re here to help. You see, the benefit of being a travel magazine is that we’re constantly reading up on some of the most exciting destinations out there and we can piece together for you, dear reader, what might be the summer vacation you’re looking for.
Below, we’ve included our picks for the best summer vacation spots of 2018. Whether you’re looking for your next city break, all-inclusive resort, outdoor adventure, romantic getaway, you’re traveling with the family, or you’re like us and travel for the hotel — we’ve got something for you.
Summer Vacation Ideas for 2018
Idaho: Adventure Awaits in the Gem State
Photo courtesy of Idaho Tourism
Idaho is known for its famous potato farms, but there’s far more to the Gem State than carbs. Writer Melynda Harrison takes us through some of the best weekend getaways in Idaho that will drop you off in front of rugged mountains, placid lakes, and canyons that’ll give you a new appreciation for Idaho and its pristine outdoors.
Ohio: Amish Ambiance and Hippy Haunts
When you hear “Ohio,” a rather plain, homogeneous image probably comes to mind. (Though if you’re from the Buckeye State, you know better.) If that’s you, then you’re sorely mistaken. Fact is, Ohio is an incredibly diverse state from its urban hubs of Cleveland Cincinnati to its Amish towns and hippy headquarters in Yellow Springs. Find out more about the heart of it all in our weekend getaways in Ohio guide.
Upstate New York: Nature and Historic Charm
Photo courtesy of I Love NY
More than enough has been said on New York City, so get out of town and see what’s going on upstate with our friends at Compass + Twine. From Buffalo to Ithaca, they share their favorite weekend getaways in New Yorkfeaturing recently-renovated inns and delectable farm-to-table restaurants surrounded by incredible outdoor adventures.
Summer Family Vacations
Tech-Free Family Vacation Ideas
Edward Cisneros, Unsplash
You don’t need a study to tell us that we’re spending too much time on technology these days. (But if you do, research confirms.) That means both you and your family could stand for some time away from the devices and out enjoying your natural surroundings. That’s why we hooked up with 12 family bloggers to share their tips on where to go for a family vacation away from the screens. From Helen, Georgia and Key West to Oceanside, California and Medora, North Dakota, your next family vacation might be closer than you think.
Moms Know Best: The 19 Best Family-Friendly Hotels
London Scout, Unsplash
There’s never been a shortage of parenting advice. Even people without kids chime in these days to give their two cents. To give you the best advice out there, we went straight to the experts themselves — the moms. Nineteen family bloggers shared their favorite family-friendly hotels of 2018 where you can comfortably book your stay and know that you’ll be surrounded by a slew of family-friendly activities.
Detroit: A City Untapped
Beyond the post-apocalyptic ruins and “most dangerous city” moniker, Detroit is a city untapped. Here we took a look at the 7 coolest hotels in Detroit that are reshaping the Motor City’s beguiling past into its exciting future. Near these hotels, you’ll find all kinds of things to do in Detroit from rocking out to local music to enjoying a pint of local craft beer.
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Denver: “Create, Drink and Be Merry”
Evan Simon, Visit Denver
There’s really never a bad time to visit Denver — one of the sunniest cities in the United States. Sure, it gets a little toasty in the summer with the average high reaching the upper 80s in July and August, but it cools right back down to the 50s at night. In our Art of the City look at Denver, writer Lauren Monitz dove in further beyond what’s already known in the Mile High City to show off the indie music scene, outdoor art, and some of the best places to eat.
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Kansas City: The Paris of the Plains
As Kansas City-native and writer Laura Watilo Blake put it, Kansas City is on a roll. That’s not just because of the new streetcar rolling up and down Main Street. It’s also thanks to the new hospitality options popping up in the city that undeniably make this so-called ‘Paris of the Plains’ decidedly cool. Follow Laura through her return to KC as she visits the coolest hotels in town and reexplores her favorite hotspots.
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Hotel Tips from the World’s Happiest Couples
Toa Heftiba, Unsplash
Every couple travels differently, so it’s hard to say precisely what the best romantic getaway is for your and your significant other. But, if we were to source couples from around the world, odds are we’ll be that much closer to hitting the nail on the head. That’s exactly what we did when we sought out hotel tips from some of the world’s happiest couples. Whether you’re eyeing something in Europe, Central America, or you’re looking to stay Stateside, there’s a romantic hotel (and getaway) waiting for you.
Sip and Savor Texas Wine Country
We’re not sure about the exact math, but we’d estimate that 99 percent of wine travelers have had a, let’s say, successful romantic getaway. If you’re looking for something you might not expect — that is, away from the familiarity of Napa — then think about planning a trip to some Texas wineries. Writer Elaine N. Schoch shares her favorite stops for wine in Texas Hill Country as well as where to stay to make the most of your romantic getaway.
Snuggle Up In Georgia
Okay, summer might not be the ideal temperature for a trip through Georgia, but have a glass of sweet tea and you’ll cool off in no time. Besides, you simply can’t beat the slew of romantic getaways in Georgia. From the rolling hills and lush meadows to the charming cobbled streets — you and yours will feel that southern welcome as soon as you step outside and breathe that fresh Dixie air.
Adults Only All-Inclusive Resorts
Costa Rica: Adults Only in the Land of Pura Vida
People know about Costa Rica through its reputation for natural splendor from the lush tropical forests to the rolling surf along the Guanacasteco Pacific coast. With that in mind, we fixated our eye on the best all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica with a nod to those with an adults-only spin. Start planning and enjoy your taste of the pura vida.
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Florida: An Adults Only Playground
Angelina Litvin, Unsplash
We know what you’re thinking. “Florida? In the summer? Will I ever not sweat again?” Yes, summer in Florida sends the mercury bursting out of the thermometer, but nobody is suggesting you roast yourself on the side of Jacksonville sidewalk. Instead, head to an adults only, all-inclusive resort where you can camp out by the pool, dip in whenever you’re hot, then retreat back under the shade when the sun gets to be a bit much. You’ll thank us later.
Caribbean: Check Off The Beach Boys’ Bucket List
The Caribbean is once again open for business after fighting to recover from last year’s tropical storms. Of course, you can continue to donate to charities like the American Redcross and GlobalGiving, who have facilitated hurricane relief efforts in the region, but another way you can contribute is by giving them your tourist dollars. With our list of Caribbean adults only, all-inclusive resorts, you can feel good about your summer vacation.
*Feature image courtesy of Thiago Cerqueira
Maintaining a healthy home goes beyond dusting and vacuuming. When is the last time you checked your smoke alarms? How about the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent? Follow the tips below to make sure your family and home are ready for a happy, clean spring season.
Grab a ladder, and check your gutters for debris. Remove as much as you can with your hands (Don’t forget to wear gloves!). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzle and have a helper turn on the water when you’re ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out of gooseneck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls.
Scrub Walls, Baseboards and Outlets
Scrub all the walls — in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas — with a sponge or brush and mild soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets. Make sure to completely dry outlet covers before replacing.
Replace all filters including water, range hood and air vent filters. You should replace these filters every 3-6 months depending on the type of filter you have.
Clean Faucets and Showerheads
Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water.
Sarah Wilson / Getty Images
A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.
Hire a window-cleaning service to clean all exterior windows.
Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos
A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps prevent excess moisture and mold growth, and they prevent critters from taking up residence underneath your home. The screens collect leaves and other debris from fall and winter. Spring is a great time to clean them out and check for damage. Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum. Repair any damaged screens — critters can get through even the smallest holes.
Your grill has most likely collected dust during fall and winter. Help your grill live a long life with these maintenance tips, whether you have a charcoal or gas grill.
You can’t have a successful garden without good soil. Follow these tips on how to prepare your soil to help you grow a lush garden.
Test smoke alarms and CO detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It’s cheap, only takes a few minutes and can save your family’s lives.