Summer has come to an end, and it is time get our homes ready for relaxing indoors. The thoughts of our followers on Pinterest definitely turned inward, with a lot of attention paid to making homes more convenient and comfortable as the weather cools. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for August.
Converted Closet With a little bit of paint, and the right containers, this blogger turned a cluttered closet into a crafting station. While she hangs her hammer like it’s a tool shed, this is a way cuter backdrop for her hobby hideaway. The decorative buckets and standard baskets keep crafting supplies visible and available for any crafting crisis or miracle.
Portable Peg Board The author behind this portable pegboard is prepared for presents anytime and anywhere. The peg board is cut into pieces to form a box. On the inside, she keeps paper and gift bags, on the outside, she keeps a clipboard for notes, ribbon, tape, and any other gear to wrap gifts beautifully and thoughtfully even when she doesn’t have the time.
Diaper Changing Station Even with all the drawers and cubbies to cleverly disguise all the little items required to change a diaper, a changing table alone doesn’t quite make the task efficient – especially when you only have two hands. The author behind this blog keeps the diapers right where you need them – out front – for easy access to complete a difficult duty.
Coffee Mug Collection If you’re in the habit of picking up a coffee mug in every destination you visit, you know the pain of not having enough cabinet space to hold your tankard treasures. With a pegboard, you make use of your vertical space while putting your sipping souvenirs on display.
Clever Kitchen Storage The peg board in the kitchen isn’t limited to coffee cups; it can also be used to hang pots, pans and gadgets. With your tools on the wall, you don’t have to go digging in drawers for your cheese grater when it’s hanging right in front of you.
Pegboard Décor Pegboards aren’t only used for clever convenience, they can also be delightfully decorative. One blogger turned a peg board into a cross stitch rose to dress up her kitchen.
Untouched, peg boards aren’t the most attractive storage solutions. But with the right color and the right accessories, they can de-clutter and decorate just about any space.
The end of summer is here. You’ve been so busy enjoying the sunshine you forgot to plan for Labor Day. It’s not too late to start. Here are 5 last minute Labor Day weekend ideas.
Texas Fredricksburg is about an hour north of San Antonio with all the charm of Texas Hill country and full of Texas-sized adventures for the whole family. Sample the farm fresh produce, tour Texas wine country or enjoy Texas nature at any of the many state parks surrounding Fredricksburgh.
Pennsylvania Not far from Scranton and about a two-hour drive from New York, City, the town of Skytop is nestled in the Poconos Mountains. It is home to the Skytop Lodge which is one of the Historic Hotels of America. It’s surrounded by 30 hiking trails, a lake for swimming and canoeing and plenty of paths for horseback riding. It’s a family-friendly destination, but if you have young kids, Langhorne, PA might be a better spot for you. That’s where the only Sesame Street theme park in the United States is. From Cookie’s Monsterland to Big Bird’s Rambling River, there are rides for kids of all ages.
Florida Forget Florida beaches, visit the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States at Everglades National Park. Explore 1.5 million acres in a boat, by bike or on foot. The diverse ecosystem is home to more than 60 endangered species as well as other rare plants and animals. From the cypress swamps to coastal lowlands, there’s no shortage of new places and wildlife to observe.
Ohio Florida has the Keys, and Ohio has the Bass Islands. About half-way between Toledo and Cleveland, South Bass Island is the southernmost Bass Island in Lake Erie. You can get there by ferry and the preferred mode of transportation on the island is a golf cart. And, just like the Keys, para-sailing and jet skiing are popular sports and activities on the island during the sun-soaked days with plenty of restaurants, pubs and entertainment to keep you busy in the evening.
Illinois Ulysses S. Grant once called the small lead-mining town of Galena, Illinois home and the town hasn’t forgotten its historical roots. The town’s Main Street is lined with historical buildings filled with antique shops and restaurants to suit just about any palate. If its small town charm doesn’t lure you in, Galena’s countryside appeals to those with an outdoor spirit. Hiking, fishing and kayaking excursions are among the recreational options for adventure.
Wherever you are, you’re not far from a lively Labor Day adventure, but start planning! It’s just a few days away.
No matter how much reading your kids get done over the summer, learning in those first few weeks of school can be a shock to the brain. Here are five back to school brain boosts for your kids so they are ready to learn when the first bell rings.
1. The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard Today’s schoolchildren have more gadgets at their disposal than previous generations could dream of. Smartphones, tablets, and computers are great tools for education, but there still is a place for the written word. Studies show that hand writing new information helps students of all ages commit it to memory. Writing something out engages more of the brain than typing, and since it takes longer, the brain has more time to process the information. Writing is especially helpful with spelling, reading comprehension, and mathematics. If your child is stuck on something or needs to memorize a fact, encourage them to write it out.
2. Make Sure Kids Catch Plenty of Zzzzs It is normal to be a little lax on bedtimes during the summer. When school starts, parents should enforce the rules to make sure children get a good night’s rest. Sleep is essential for any mind to function at its best. Not only does a well-rested mind pay attention during the day, sleep is the “down time” when short-term memories become long-term ones.
3. Feed the Brain Our bodies, including the brain, need the right fuel to do their jobs. While sugar and caffeine are useful for quick bursts of energy, they do not help build the brain. Antioxidants and vitamins found in vegetables and fruits fight brain cell damage and increase cognitive function. Experiment to find veggies your children will enjoy without a fight. No brain can function well without the amino acids in proteins like meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. Proteins especially are important at breakfast because they satisfy hunger, ensuring your stays focused in the morning.
4. Get Moving! The link between brainpower and exercise has been confirmed again and again in scientific studies. Unfortunately, many schools must limit the amount of exercise kids get during the day in order to squeeze in extra classroom time. Just 20 to 40 minutes of vigorous play every day can increase a child’s brain activity. It also improves concentration and a child’s ability to work for long periods of time without interruption. The exercise can be as simple as jumping rope, running games or hula hooping.
5. Review to Remember Repetition is the key to learning and memorizing new information. Every day, ask your children what they learned in school that day. Ask for specifics about the subjects you know they struggle with. One good idea is to make reviewing the day’s lessons a part of the nightly bedtime routine.
Starting a new school year is never easy. But with a little extra work, you can make sure your children get the most out of every day.
August 22nd is Be an Angel Day. Being an angel means different things to different people, but at The Lakeside Collection, we think of it as a day to remind ourselves of the power of kindness. Here are 22 quotes on how to Be an Angel today.
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ― Paulo Coelho
“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” — John Wooden
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” — Ann Landers
“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.” — Erastus Wiman
“The higher our position the more modestly we should behave.” –Cicero
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
“Each time I perform an act of kindness, a part of me heals.” ― Lupi Ngcayisa
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ― Mark Twain
“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” ― Brian Tracy
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank
“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” –Benjamin Disraeli
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” ― Jesse Jackson
“Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” ― Richard Carlson
“For it is in giving that we receive.” ― Francis of Assisi
“…treat people with understanding when you can, and fake it when you can’t
until you do understand.” ― Kim Harrison
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ― Lao Tzu
“If you’ve ever been homesick, or felt exiled from all the things and people that once defined you, you’ll know how important welcoming words and friendly smiles can be.”
― Stephen King
“Once you begin to acknowledge random acts of kindness – both the ones you have received and the ones you have given – you can no longer believe that what you do does not matter.” ― Dawna Markova
“Be kind to one another. Bye, bye.” ― Ellen DeGeneres
It’s National Friendship Week – it’s not a major holiday, but it’s a week worth recognizing to honor the people who have supported and celebrated us over the years. This week, we’re turning back the clock ten years and looking at what we might have gotten our best friends from The Lakeside Collection if it were 2004.
The Lizzie McGuire Doll Lizzie may be a clumsy middle schooler and a mediocre student, but she’s a great athlete and an even better friend. As a gift to your besty, the Lizzie McGuire doll says what you’re thinking: We’ll always be best friends, even in high school. This doll is a stuffed ‘04 trendsetter in her hot pink tank top and platform sandals but she’s also equipped to handle all your secrets – she comes with a purple notebook just like Lizzie’s to keep track of the confidential memos you only share with your best friend.
Underwater Spy Toys If you don’t want to leave a paper trail with your Lizzie McGuire journal, you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to your best friend under water with these Water Talkies! All you do is take a deep breath, put your mouth on the talkie, dip into the deep end and reveal your classified information. With the Water Talkies, your secrets will only be between you, your best friend and all the fish within 15 feet of your conversation.
Friends Trivia Game Ten years after the pilot episode, the Friends-ship has sailed, but not for you and your friends with the Friends Trivia Game! Test each other on how well you know all of Phoebe’s foibles, Monica’s management issues, Ross and Rachel’s rows, Chandler’s wisecracks, and Joey’s sandwiches. This game comes with 1,000 trivia questions covering 1994-2004 at Central Perk; it even comes with the signature over-sized coffee mugs just so you can feel like a true friend.
Holiday Fleece For the animal loving friend, nothing’s more fashionable than a stylish sweatshirt with cats adorned in holiday hats! And not a moment too soon – the weather is about to turn chilly and this cozy, one-size-fits-most shirt will give your best friend the cushy comfort a cat can’t.
Pooh Sweatshirts If your besty isn’t a friend of felines, there are other stylish sweatshirt options for friends – and who’s a better friend than Winnie the Pooh? Probably no one, but Tigger and Eyeore have certainly gotten Pooh out of enough jams to earn top spots on the Best Friends Billboard, if there were such a billboard.
Musical Instrument Replicas The besty with a musical flair will love these tiny instruments! At a little more than 6”, these little musical gizmos are built like the real ones! The violin has real strings and a bow while the trumpet has three valves and a flared bell! They even come in velvet-lined cases. They’re not meant to be played or to be played with, but for the friend who loves music, they’re perfect miniature musical collectibles.
Ten years older and ten years wiser, our friends still deserve recognition. Even though these items are no longer available at The Lakeside Collection, your friends are. Think of them this week and have a party, send a gift or give them a nice note to show them your appreciation.
Back to school means changing your morning routine. Getting the kids up and out of the house could double your morning workload, but there are tricks to get you out the door on time. Here are 10 morning time savers.
1. EAT Do not skip breakfast because you are tight on time! Get ingredients and utensils ready the night before. You even can prep things over the weekend, like smoothie packs that go straight from the freezer or fridge to the blender.
2. PLAN TO EAT Plan lunch a day (or even a week) ahead. Pack as much of the meal in the evening as possible, and make sure ingredients for the rest are in one spot and easy to find. If necessary, keep the fully packed lunch bag in the fridge overnight.
3. PICK AN OUTFIT One of the biggest sources of last-minute struggles is clothing. Avoid this one by helping kids pick out clothes the day before. Children can take all the time they want to create an outfit, and parents have chances to make sure clothing is appropriate and clean.
4. PLAN A ROUTINE Create a simple routine that is similar to your family’s bedtime routine. This will prevent forgetting important things like brushing teeth and combing hair. The routine should include a bathroom schedule to make sure everyone gets the time they need.
5. GET UP EARLY Wake up before the kids. It is easier to get them up and going when you are up and going. Take a little time to shower, have a cup of coffee and get dressed before you need to focus on getting your children ready.
6. LEAVE IT AT THE DOOR Select a spot near the door specifically for things you need to grab on the way out, like shoes, bags, jackets, keys, and more. This will prevent a hurried search for a backpack or matching boots.
7. MENTAL NOTES Before you go to bed, go over the next day’s schedule. Don’t forget to check the weather report, too. You also can take this time to finalize transportation and carpool arrangements to avoid last minute scrambling.
8. TIME IT Use a timer to keep everything on track. Figure out how long you have to complete each task before you head out the door, then set a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. That way, time will not slip away from you.
9. TUNE OUT Avoid the news unless the rest of your to-do list is finished. It is easy to get distracted by interesting—or depressing—stories from around the world. Staying up-to-date is important, but in the mornings, you need to concentrate on preparing yourself and your children for the day. There is plenty of time during the rest of the morning to catch up on current events. If there is a morning show you cannot miss, record it and watch it later.
10. STAY FOCUSED Resist the temptation to wash dishes, clean up an e-mail inbox, and other chores that do not need to be done in the morning. Once you have a morning routine down, you can add other activities to it if you have the time.
Do not wait until you are running late to find ways to save time. Plan ahead, and you will be ahead of schedule before you know it.
It’s Left Handers Day and we’re celebrating all things left handed. Only about 10% of the population claims to be a lefty, but quite a few of that 10% falls into the celebrity category. Being lefties might be an exceptional characteristic, but it’s not the only thing that makes these lefties special. Here are 12 unique left handed celebrities.
Justin Bieber What’s unbeliebable about Justin Bieber is not that he’s a lefty, but that Ludacris recorded a song with him. Maybe it’s not that uncommon, but what is uncommon is Bieber is the youngest male solo act to top the Billboard 200 since Stevie Wonder. Belieb it.
Lady Gaga Lady Gaga keeps everyone guessing onstage and with her music. What you might not guess is that she’s a lefty and she had a bit part on an episode of The Sopranos. She was played “Girl at Swimming Pool #2” in season three’s The Telltale Moozadell.
Niall Horan You may not know One Direction’s Niall Horan is a lefty, but just about every tween girl in the USA and in the UK know that. They also probably know that he’s a fan of The Eagles and Bon Jovi – but, as tweens, they probably don’t know who they are.
Martina McBride Martina McBride is, by far, the oldest of our musical lefties, but she’s not completely removed from the tween scene. She told The Boot her daughter once cried after meeting fellow lefty Justin Bieber. Even if you knew McBride was a lefty, you probably didn’t guess her daughter is a Belieber.
Julia Roberts This lefty will always be America’s Sweetheart. Julia Roberts does her best to keep her life private and has somehow figured out how to keep the paparazzi at bay. She even had a secret wedding in New Mexico to dodge the cameras. One little known fact about the little known nuptials: the only celebrity in attendance was another lefty, Bruce Willis.
January Jones Known for her role as Betty Draper on Mad Men, it’s a little known fact that January Jones is a lefty, but it’s also a little known fact that she never set out to be an actress. She moved from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to New York City to be a model and fell into acting doing commercials. Now she stars in a show all about doing commercials.
Angelina Jolie Angelina Jolie leaves little to the public’s imagination. It is uncommon knowledge that the Mr. & Mrs. Smith star is left-handed and that, as a child, her professional aspirations were to be a funeral director.
Ed O’Neill This lefty was made famous in the sitcom Married with Children in the 1980s and he now stars in Modern Family. Though he’s been in the business for decades, it wasn’t his first career. He was signed as an outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969. That career didn’t last long; he was cut before the start of the 1969 football season and became a teacher.
In the Spotlight
President Barack Obama As the President of the United States, everything about Barack Obama is common knowledge – including the fact that he is left-handed. What you might not know is that growing up he was called “Barry.” It wasn’t until college he asked to be called Barack.
Oprah Winfrey Yes, Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s favorite influencers, is a lefty. That might not be such a shock, but what might surprise you is that she once dated late film critic Roger Ebert.
Matt Lauer You wake up with Matt every morning and he shares the news and sometimes he shares what doesn’t pass as news. Either way, you know a lot about him and since he’s in the business of sharing, you’ve probably picked up that he’s left handed. What he’s less likely to share over the airwaves is his phobia: Emetophobia. It’s the irrational fear of vomiting.
Whoopi Goldberg That Whoopi Goldberg is left-handed might be the least interesting thing about her. What you might not know: she wrote a children’s book; she’s afraid of flying because she once witnessed two planes collide. Now she only travels long distances by bus; she is one of 11 people who has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. The list goes on and on, and they all trump being left-handed.
Being left-handed isn’t what makes these celebrities unique, but it certainly adds to their mystique.
The first day of school is exciting and there are only so many we get to experience with our kids. Here are 7 first day of school traditions to make every first day of school memorable.
Preservation The night before the first day of school is almost as exciting as Christmas. To get rid of that nervous energy, help them craft a box where they can save their papers and artwork for the school year. It will be a collection of their progress and at the end of the year, have them sift through it to create a scrapbook. They can fill it with memories and see how they mature over the school year.
Fashion Show Help them pick out their favorite outfit to wear on the first day back to school. What they like to wear and what looks good for the first day of school might be two different things, so they may need guidance on how to be camera ready. Add something new to the outfit to mark the day – like a sparkly barrette or a hat – and look good for a picture.
Breakfast Your kids no longer get up or eat when they want, so make it easy on them and prepare a breakfast to entice them out of bed. Make an effort, but not so much effort you can’t get to work on time. Make healthy pancakes (it pleases you as much as it pleases them) or French toast (with whole grain bread, of course). Cut up fruit and make the batter the night before so all you have to do in the morning is heat the griddle.
Expectations Over breakfast, have them make a list in a cute, crafty notebook of what they’re excited about for the new school year. Talk about their friends, what they want to learn and their new teachers. Save the notebook and pull it out to review on the last day of school.
Pack It Help them pack their lunches. Make it extra special with a fun dessert and a note from you. Tell them how proud you are of them and what kind of potential they have for the school year. Give them gentle encouragement to finish the day.
Picture It Take a picture of them before they leave for school or at the bus stop. Have them hold up a sign – pre-printed, on a chalkboard, or hand-drawn – with the date, their age and grade. Take an identical picture of them on the last day of school to show how much they’ve changed over the school year.
Dinner The first day of school is exciting and stressful. Treat them to a family meal of comfort food. Make them things only you can make right – like your perfect macaroni and cheese, oven-fried chicken or broccoli pie. After dinner, set up an ice cream sundae bar and take dessert to the patio to talk about the first day of school. Ask about what they did at school, what their teacher is like and who they were excited to see.
It’s just the first day of school, but there are only so many you get to witness in your child’s lifetime. You’ll be glad you marked the days for your memories and for theirs.
Summer’s days are ticking away. Soon, kids’ schedules will be full of school, homework, practices, and lessons. Make sure your child takes advantage of every chance to play with toys and gear from the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.