Say Hello with a Gift on World Hello Day

World Hello Day is November 21, and it is a perfect time to promote peace and friendship by just reaching out and saying “hello” to people you know and strangers alike. Sometimes, a small gift can help you greet someone. Here’s how to say hello with a gift on World Hello Day:

Jumbo-NotebookStationery A wonderful way to say “hello” is to give someone stationery they can use to send their own greetings. The Jumbo Notepad and Pen Gift Set is a stylish pair that will get them writing immediately. For the more communicative friend, the 10-Pc. Book of Sticky Notes is an impressive pack of 500 sheets of notes. Each pad is beautifully designed and come in a take-along case. An address book will help them keep track of friends and family so they can pass along a warm “hello” of their own.

glass-paperweightGive Them A Welcome There is an almost endless variety of gifts and home accents that carry the message of “welcome”. A doormat that says “welcome” is a wonderful way to say hello to a new neighbor. Give an Inspirational Glass Paperweight that says “Welcome Friends” to an officemate or teacher to spread the word “hello” and the welcome good feeling.

LOAF-pansBaked Goods Nothing makes a person smile the way an unexpected treat does. Put together a plate of cookies and pass them out at work to to greet your work friends and spread cheer. You also can whip up beautiful loaves of bread in the Holiday Loaf Pan Set for a jolly and seasonal gift. If you are not a gifted baker, pack the Set of 12 Snowman Treat Boxes with wrapped candies and hand them out with a smile.

The Lakeside Collection has a variety of ways to say hello to celebrate World Hello Day. Whether you want to share some snacks or make a big impression, you are sure to find just the right gift at an incredible value.

5 Ideas to Keep Kids Busy on Thanksgiving

girl-helping-thanksgivingYou will soon be welcoming friends and family to your home to share your Thanksgiving feast. Putting together a turkey dinner with all the trimmings is ten times as much work as your regular weeknight dinners and loads more people walking in and out of the kitchen eating, drinking and chatting. With all the kitchen chaos, keeping an eye on the kids and making sure they’re happy is tough as you juggle all the elements for the perfect holiday dinner. Here are 5 ideas to keep kids busy on Thanksgiving.

Reindeer Games Have a few games and puzzles pulled out for the kids to play. Don’t give them too many options — three or four games you know they like (not one you have to teach) is plenty to keep them distracted from their rumbling tummies as you put the finishing touches on the meal. If there are kids coming that your kids don’t know well, games are a good ice breaker and will get everyone interacting with each other. If you’re lucky, they’ll enjoy the games enough that they’ll return to them after dinner.

Thanksgiving-Table-topDuty Calls Give each child a job to do. For the younger children, assign them simple tasks like folding napkins or making sure the spoons are shiny. For older kids, give them the big duties that require critical thinking — put them in charge of the checklist of all the things that need to be done and have them make sure everyone is staying on task. For children of ages in between, have them set the table, greet friends and family at the door and take their coats. Giving kids a hand in the event makes them feel part of the production while giving them something to focus on rather than watching TV while you work.

Letters to Santa Thanksgiving is the perfect time for the kids to write their letters to Santa. Set aside plenty of paper and pens and catalogs (for inspiration) so they can put together their wish lists. For young guests, it will get them excited and distract them from the idea of being in an unfamiliar home. For the kids who no longer write letters to Santa, have them help the younger kids craft the perfect letter to old St. Nick.

Clever Crafts If there are a lot of kids coming over to share your holiday, set up a craft table with Thanksgiving themed projects to work on while the adults socialize and get the turkey on the dinner table. Have the older kids help the younger kids to make it a family activity. A craft table might seem like too much to take on, but giving kids something to pay attention to and work on will save you the headache of coming to the rescue when they get bored. kids-crafting

Last Resort The TV can be tricky when there are a lot of kids with different personalities — you don’t want any clashing over what to watch. Let them turn on the TV, but only give them a few, non-negotiable options for watching TV. Limit the programming to holiday movies or specials. If you have to turn it on, it should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Planning activities or crafts for kids during Thanksgiving is a big task to add to your Thanksgiving plate, but reducing the risk of boredom and tears makes the overtime worth it.  If it’s not doable, pass the job off to one of your guests a few days in advance. Anyone who’s hosted a big Thanksgiving will jump at the chance to help out.

Happy Thanksgiving planning!

6 Games and Puzzle Stocking Stuffer Ideas

The holidays are here and gift shopping is well underway! Though we’re looking forward to the holidays, this week we’re celebrating Games and Puzzles Week. To share our competitive spirit with you, we thought we’d give you a few stocking stuffer inspirations. Here are 6 games and puzzle stocking stuffer ideas:

Dont-Count-On-ItDon’t Count on it! Don’t Count on it Gift Card Puzzle is the gift for them and a gift for you! Slip your gift cards or cash into this wood puzzle and watch your kids struggle to free it! It’s a sneaky way to disguise a gift and everyone comes out a winner with this one. It includes instructions for how it works and how to unlock it. Reuse it for years of creative gift-giving. For ages 8 and up.

Brain-BenderMind-Bending Play For the loved one who loves to exercise the mind, try filling his or her stocking with the Bamboo Brain Bender Puzzle. Made from one of the most renewable woods on the planet, this 3-D puzzle gives the brain a serious workout — there’s only one way to solve the puzzle! The complex design makes putting it back together an all-day challenge for even the sharpest of players! For ages 8 and up.

Twisted-FarkelThe Game for Underdogs The rules are in reverse for this dice game! For the Twisted Farkel Dice Game the winner is the player with the lowest score. When a player rolls, the points go to someone else — the die labeled the “Determinator™” decides who will get that score. The first person to reach 10,000 points actually LOSES the game! It’s crazy, mixed-up family fun for ages 8 and up.

Dont-Tip-the-CowsThe Tip You Don’t Want Don’t Tip the Cows Stacking Game gives “cow tipping” new meaning. The idea is to stack as many cows as possible without the cow pile tipping over. The game includes 18 adorable, stackable cows in a travel-friendly tube. For 2-3 players ages 5 and up.

Playing-CardsPortable Play with Personality Everyone needs their own set of playing cards and with Licensed Playing Card Set, they can play cards with The Beatles, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, or John Wayne! The cards come in a collectible tin and feature pictures of the pop culture icons on every card. The set comes with two poker-sized decks of coated cards.

Gift of the Future For the teenage girl who wants to know her future, finding the Wishcraft Fortune Telling Game in her stocking is like striking gold. Psychic Pendulum predicts your future with a crystal pendulum and mystery board, while Tarot Cards uses a deck of cards, and Wishing Heart is an update on the classic fortune teller. For ages 7 and up. Special Buy–Limited Quantities Available!

There’s a lot of celebrating ahead of you, but adding Games and Puzzles Week to your list makes holiday gift shopping easier and we can simplify it even more. Be sure to check out all of our gift ideas at The Lakeside Collection as the countdown to Christmas continues.

 

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

The holiday season is closing in fast, but The Lakeside Collection is loaded with plenty of toys and values to get you ready in a rush. We have toys, books, and clothes for every child in your family from newborn to teen all in one convenient online store. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

Ghosts and monsters don't stand a chance when you track them down with this Scooby Doo Remote Control Mystery Machine.

Ghosts and monsters don’t stand a chance when you track them down with this Scooby Doo™ Remote Control Mystery Machine.

Kids will have fun pretending to construct and build with this 17-Pc. Jumbo Tools Playset.

Kids will have fun pretending to construct and build with this 17-Pc. Jumbo Tools Playset.

Inspire a young musician with this 30" Wood Guitar With Case.

Inspire a young musician with this 30″ Wood Guitar With Case.

 

They'll be entertained for hours, turning page after page of this Licensed Look & Find Book.

They’ll be entertained for hours, turning page after page of this Licensed Look & Find Book.

 

7 Movies to Get You Excited About the Holidays

wreathThe holidays are almost here and at The Lakeside Collection we are excited to break out the garland, hot cocoa and candy canes! The guests haven’t arrived yet, so we still have a little bit of time to spend with the family — that means movie night! We have a whole list of movies that get us in the mood for festivities in the next two months — and we think they’ll work on you, too! Here are 7 movies to get you excited about the holidays:

Home-AloneHome Alone Who can resist the young, clever, towheaded Macaulay Culkin? In this 1990 John Hughes classic, he wins us over as Kevin McCallister — the youngest of a horde of children, who’s abandoned in his home while his family is off to Paris for Christmas. While the innocent little guy is trying to survive on his own, his calm, new life of solitude is disrupted by two brainless burglars. But our fearless youngster outsmarts the bad guys just in time for the family to return home on Christmas.

Elf While Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is decades older than Kevin McCalister, he’s also more naive. This 2003 favorite follows Buddy from his home with Santa and the Elves at the North Pole to New York City to find his biological father — a grouchy man who didn’t know he had a 40-year-old son. To Buddy’s disappointment, his dad rejects him and he’s left to navigate the new city by himself. But Buddy is persistent and as his dad gets to know Buddy, he softens and welcomes Buddy into his family for a merry Christmas.

Muppet-Christmas-CarolThe Muppet Christmas Carol If you’re going to watch any version of the Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge this holiday, make it The Muppet Christmas Carol. Though it’s a dark story, the Muppets give it life and comedy with songs like “Christmas Scat” from Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Though they are Muppets, the movie stays true to the story with Michael Caine taking Ebenezer Scrooge from mean old man to kind gentleman, you walk away from it feeling a little more generous.

A Christmas Story Rewind to a 1950’s Christmas in which a Red Ryder BB gun is at the top of 9-year-old Ralphie’s Christmas list. It’s his only fantasy and, despite the warnings he gets from everyone, he wishes and begs for the Red Ryder. Just about anyone can relate to his obsession with getting a toy, but few of us would persevere the way Ralphie does after being discouraged — repeatedly — from getting excited about the Red Ryder. After an awkward Christmas Eve dinner and disappointing Christmas morning, Raphie gets exactly what he wished for —  and way more than what he bargained for.

Christmas-VacationChristmas Vacation We went to Wally World and Europe with the Griswolds, but in Christmas Vacation, they take us us home — but with all the misadventure of their other trips. It’s as uncomfortable and difficult as any other family holiday, just more… wacky and dangerous. With Chevy Chase as Clark, he is as ambitious as ever and simultaneously failing masterfully at all his plans as the holiday arrives. Christmas might be disappointing for the Griswolds, but the Griswolds don’t disappoint us.

Gremlins The best Christmas present ever: a tiny, furry creature with all the charm of a two-week old kitten. The worst Christmas present ever: a tiny, furry creature that multiplies when it gets wet, turns into a scaly, slimy goblin when it eats after midnight and turns your town into a war-zone. That’s what happens when Billy Peltzer receives a “mogwai” over the holidays. This horror-comedy is more hilarious than horrific — it’s good for a laugh as the holidays approach. If you have doubts about its entertainment value, Steven Spielberg was the executive producer and the director was Chris Columbus of Home Alone fame.

GrinchHow the Grinch Stole Christmas Looking vaguely similar to a gremlin, the Grinch is only slightly less menacing as the mythical creatures. The bitter Grinch — annoyed by Christmas cheer, takes it upon himself to make the holiday as miserable for everyone in Whoville as it is for him. He dresses up as Santa Claus, sneaks into all the homes to steal presents before they can be opened. Despite the Grinch’s efforts to put a stop to Christmas, he didn’t destroy Whoville’s Christmas spirit but, in the process, made a change for the good in himself.

You only get so many weekend nights in before the family and guests start trickling in for the holidays. With gift shopping and holiday parties ahead, things are only going to get more crazy. Make the most of the calm moments before the storm for movies with the kids to enjoy the holidays before they get hectic.

4 Ways to Use Cranberries

CranberriesIt’s November and here at The Lakeside Collection we’re excited about the holidays! While we’re whittling down our gift lists, food and decor are coming together simultaneously — and some of those items are interchangeable, for instance: the cranberry. When they’re ripe, they’re the deep red we think of for holiday decor and winter warmth. They are also native to North America and, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, the Pilgrims learned how to use cranberries for food, dyes and medicine from Native Americans — which may be why we see them on our Thanksgiving tables every year. Cranberries are versatile and festive little fruits. Here are 4 ways to use cranberries this holiday season:

Cranberry Sauce If you have only served cranberries from a can for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you don’t know what you’re missing with homemade cranberry sauce — and it’s just as easy as opening a can.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice.

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let bubble (about 5 minutes). When the cranberries have popped, remove the pan from the heat. Set aside to cool. This recipe can be made days ahead of your dinner and it can easily be doubled, tripled or cut in half.

Stringing cranberries and popcornGarland Cranberries are very hearty. If you buy them fresh, they can sit in your refrigerator for months after the holidays without spoiling. This makes them great for garland. In addition to the cranberries, all you need are dental floss and a sewing needle. They’re easy to make: tie a big knot at the end of the floss, thread the needle and string the cranberries together. The garland can be as short or long as you want to add holiday flair — use them to decorate the tree, dress up the mantle or brighten the bannister. If you want to add contrast, add popcorn to the mix — alternate between a piece of popcorn and a cranberry. If you’re doing this as a project with kids, don’t let them eat the cranberries. Though they are beautiful little fruits, raw cranberries are extremely tart.

Floating Candles Cranberries float. Putting them in a bowl with water isn’t like putting other fruit — like grapes — in a bowl of water. Though they seem very dense, they sit on the surface of water just like a raft. This makes them the perfect accompaniment to floating candles. All you need are hurricanes or clear glass containers, cranberries and floating candles. Fill the container (about half-way) with water, add a handful of cranberries and then arrange the candle in the cranberries. The cranberries should last about a week. If you have bigger candles you want to use, you can use the cranberries as a base to hold the candle without the water.

Cranberry Bread The holidays mean family will be visiting or you will be visiting family with lots of meals — including breakfast. This a an easy quick bread that’s great for breakfast that’s not too sweet and goes well with coffee (it can also be made into muffins).

Bread:156989366

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Crumble topping (optional):

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 TB cold butter, cubed
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. For the bread, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Combine the egg and milk and add to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is moist but still lumpy. Gently stir in butter (do not over mix — it should still be lumpy). Fold in cranberries and nuts

For the crumble topping, combine all the ingredients and mix well. You can mash it with a fork, but it works best if you use your hands. It should resemble crumbly, wet sand when you’re done.

mini-loaf-pansGrease loaf pans — 9 ½” x 5 ½” loaf pans work great, but you can also use min-loaf pans. Sprinkle the crumble topping on top of the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes. Check for doneness and turn if one side is browning faster than the other. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

With its luscious red exterior and tart, juicy interior, the cranberry is certainly the fruit of the holiday season. With all its flavor and beauty, it’s hard to get sick of the cranberry — but they’re only harvest in the fall so use them whenever and wherever you can now!

Cook Something Bold Day: 3 Books to Explore Bold Cooking

Bold-FoodNovember 8th is Cook Something Bold Day! This is your chance to take on the kitchen and create something original and spicy! Take some time this weekend to dive into your spice rack and leave your culinary comfort zone. Try something new to wake up your taste buds and celebrate flavorful ingredients like garlic and hot peppers. But if you need some guidance on creating something spectacular, here are 3 books to explore bold cooking.

diners-drive-ins-and-divesDiners, Drive-Ins and Dives Take a trip to Flavortown with the all-new Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives cookbook. Guy Fieri is known for finding the wildest tastes around, and this collection of nearly 70 recipes does not disappoint. Try some Green Chile Stew or a braised brisket made with a rub of coffee and ancho chili powder.

Miss-kayMiss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen Challenge your taste buds with the more than 100 specially chosen recipes straight from the Robertson kitchen in Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen. Sample savory Cajun dishes like spicy chicken strips and crawfish fettuccine. Sweet flavors like the fresh strawberry pie and coconut cream pie make perfect desserts. Do those recipes sound too tame for you? Then dive into dishes made with out-of-the-ordinary ingredients like frog legs, squirrel, and, of course, duck.

webers-smokeWeber’s Smoke™ Cookbook If cooking outdoors is more your thing, check out the recipes in the Weber’s Smoke™ Cookbook. It is packed with ideas for all skill levels from beginning smoker to grill master. Create savory and smoky baby back ribs with ease. If you are looking for something more adventurous, try the smoked duck and cherry sausage recipe.

Remember, when you test out a new recipe, there is no need to stick to the ingredient list. The tastiest results often come when boldness is combined with innovation. Try a few of your own ideas for a flavor that is truly unique!

7 Tips on Hosting the Holidays Around Food Allergies

TThanksgivinghe holidays are all about family and food — and when you’re cooking for a crowd, you’re working around as many diets as you are personalities. It’s one thing when someone doesn’t like a certain dish, but it’s quite another if someone has an intolerance or allergy to a particular food. Here are 7 tips on hosting the holidays around food allergies.

Invitations When you’re planning the guest list and sending out invitations, make sure to ask if there are any food allergies. You may not be able to make all the food allergy-free, but asking your friends and family for diet restrictions will help you plan an accommodating menu.

Make a Chart Map out all of the food you want to serve and all of the separate diet restrictions. Decide what dishes are naturally allergy-friendly, which ones can be adjusted to be allergy-friendly and which ones are off-limits for diet restrictions. Make sure there are items for everyone to have a delicious and balanced holiday dinner.

Allergy-freeLabel Everything If you have a lot of allergies, make sure to label your dishes with the ingredients — it doesn’t have to list every ingredient, but highlighting safe or unsafe foods is helpful for guests. For instance: “Contains Dairy” on a pumpkin pie or “Gluten-Free” on green bean casserole will steer diners in the right direction to suit their diets. The labels don’t have to be ominous — be creative with them! Craft something cheery for the holiday.

Cook from Scratch When you cook and bake everything from scratch, you have control over everything that goes into the meal — you’ll know if there’s meat, nuts, milk, or gluten in what you make. If you can’t make everything from scratch, make sure to keep the labels for the store-bought items for your guests to refer to. Quick tip: make the allergy-friendly foods before you make the bulk of the meal to avoid cross contaminating the food.

bakersSanitize Wash everything really well before making allergy-friendly foods. Treat every dish as if you just cut up raw chicken with it. For someone with a severe allergy, it’s not an unreasonable safeguard.

Ask for Help If there are major diet restrictions, ask your guests to bring an allergy-friendly food they can eat. Be sure to have them list ingredients they used or a bring the label with them to dinner.

Extra Precautions Have an EpiPen on hand. The holidays are hectic and when parents are managing more than one child an EpiPen may fall through the cracks of their plans to make it to your house for dinner on time. Even if you don’t have allergies in your household, having an EpiPen in case of emergency could save the holiday.

For severe allergies, you may want to eliminate some items from your menu altogether. It seems extreme, but it might be a precaution worth taking to give yourself a stress-free holiday.


Traditional holiday meals are far from allergy-free. It seems like a big project to work around food allergies, but that little bit of work is a small price to pay for a safe and happy holiday meal.

5 Items You Need to Pull Off a Perfect Thanksgiving

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a challenge for even the most experienced host, but there are a few gadgets that can make things easier. Here are 5 items you need to pull off a perfect Thanksgiving.

countertop-protectorSave Your Counters! The 3-Pc. Countertop Protector Set won’t let a burn come between you and your favorite pots and pans. You’re going to need every inch of counter space to put your sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie — with the Countertop Protector set, you can put hot pots and pans on the counter without putting it through the wear and tear of a big holiday meal.

microwave-cooking-setMagical Microwaving There’s only one of you and thirty dishes to make — you’re bound to look to your microwave for a little help. Make sure you’re cooking with the right containers — the 6-Pc. Microwave Cooking Set has the right container for just about anything you need to heat quickly to get everything done and on the table when the guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner!

Lid-holdersHelping “Hand” You have stock simmering on one burner, another is keeping the gravy warm and the two remaining burners are reserved for cranberries and the butter for your pecan pie — they all don’t have to be covered at once, but you don’t have the space for the lid when it’s not covering the pot. The set of 4 Lid Holders gives an extra spot for your dripping hot lids when you don’t have an extra hand.

3-tier-cooling-rackCookies, Casseroles, Pie, Oh My! The 3-Tier Cooling Rack allows you to make use of vertical space for all your baked goods while they cool off when you don’t have extra counter space. It provides a safe place for fresh-from-the-oven goodies to cool, while allowing air to flow freely around them. This rack is made for big jobs — like Thanksgiving dinner — when you have a lot of hot stuff coming out of the oven and more stuff going in.

frosty-serverService with a Smile The Lighted Holiday Serving Stand is a festive piece for the dining room where it gets crowded — but with the 2-tiers for dinner and dessert plates and the built-in utensil holder, you’ll have plenty of room at the buffet for the Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings.

The Lakeside Collection has a variety gadgets and cookware to choose from — check out our housewares and dining section for more products to help you put together a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner.

Pinteresting Picks for October

Fall is in full swing, and it is time to get your home ready for the wave of visitors that is on the way. Our Pinterest followers have home decor on their minds, and fresh, unique pieces are getting a lot of attention. The Lakeside Collection has something to add personality to any space from the laundry to the dining room. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for October.

Bring the colors of fall into your kitchen with these Harvest Owl Tabletop Sets.

Bring the colors of fall into your kitchen with these Harvest Owl Tabletop Sets.

Metal Monogram Wine Cork Holder looks distinctive empty or when filled with tokens from your favorite wines.

Metal Monogram Wine Cork Holder looks distinctive empty or when filled with tokens from your favorite wines.

 

Laundry Room Wall Hanging is a novel way to give that room some character.

This Laundry Room Wall Hanging is a novel way to give that room some character.

Mount this Set of 2 Solar Fence Lights anywhere to accent garden features high and low.

Mount this Set of 2 Solar Fence Lights anywhere to accent garden features high and low.