3 Simple Ideas for Fall Decorating

Thanksgiving dinner is hard to plan for and decorating for the holiday can sometimes turn into a big chore. You know you want your home to have a fall feel, but getting started is tough. Here are 3 simple ideas for fall decorating to make your Thanksgiving a little bit easier.

leaf-wreathLeaves During the spring and fall, trees, shrubs and leaves dominate decor. In the fall, leaves take on warm shades of orange, red and brown. They decorate our landscape and bringing them indoors lets the season permeate our homes. For crafty people, leaves are a great tool, but for people who lack crafting skills, they can be intimidating. You can buy leaf wreaths for your door to welcome guests to your home. But you don’t have to put a wreath on your front door — make a temporary home for it over the mantle or even on bathroom or kitchen doors.

Fall-Floral-ArrangementsIf you want to use nature’s bounty to decorate the table, you can create a fall centerpiece using small gourds, branches and freshly fallen leaves. Tie together whispy, bare branches and colorful fall leaves to create an arrangement in a vase. If you don’t have the time, there are artificial fall floral arrangements to create a fall atmosphere or look for leaf-shaped decor and harvest colors — bowls, platters, flatware holders — to add a fall accent to the table.

pumpkin-dishesPumpkins Carving pumpkins is a messy tradition, but you don’t have to carve them to make them part of your decor. Outside, you can create a cute narrative on the porch — stack them using leaves or moss to keep them steady, or line the stairs with them to guide your guests to the front door. But leaving pumpkins unadorned, may not be quite cute enough for you. If you draw well, you can etch scenes into the pumpkins to make them unique. Painting them or decoupage may satisfy your need to make a mark on your pumpkin. If you’re looking for something to bring out year-after-year, pumpkin-shaped planters are an option. Real pumpkins aren’t always an option for indoor decor, but there are plenty of pumpkin products to dress up the living room or dining room to make it feel like fall.

Harvest-LED-Candle-Lighted-DecorCandles Candles make any season more festive — making them unique to fall is where the challenge comes in. To make a pillar candle uniquely fall, repurpose a jar by filling it halfway with popcorn kernels and put a small pillar candle in it — the corn will help keep the candle steady. Pumpkins (not jack-o-lanterns) also make great candle holders! Carve out the top of mini pumpkins and gourds to hold tea lights.  To keep them safe, use LED tea lights — they’ll last longer, too!

You don’t have to be crafty to give your Thanksgiving dinner a fall feel; knowing what you like and what your options are can be enough to put together your fall decor without having to put in too much thought. Shop The Lakeside Collection for easy decor ideas — you’ll need the extra energy to make a spectacular holiday meal!

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

halloween-dog-collarHalloween is a night everyone gets dressed up and hits the streets for candy! We love to take our pets with us, but there are some Halloween pet safety tips to think about before we start putting up Halloween decorations or bring out the candy for trick-or-treaters.

halloween-dog-costumeCute Costumes We can’t resist dogs and cats in costumes! But our pets might not be as keen on costumes as we are. When you have the costume picked out and ready to go, let your pet do a test run. Make sure there are no little pieces they want to chew off to become a choking hazard. Check that  they can see, hear, move comfortably, and they’re not irritated by the costume. It can cause a lot of stress for our furry friends and we want them to be as happy as possible. If they don’t like the full costume, a bow or fancy collar may please both pet and owner.

Ghoulish Goodies

Get special dog treats for Halloween to steer them away from Halloween candy! Children’s candy can be a toxic temptation for pets. Dogs love chocolate, but chocolate does not love them. It contains theobromine which is toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. A few bites of milk chocolate which contains the least amount can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Baking chocolate contains the most — even the smallest amount can kill a dog.

Sugar-free candy can also be hazardous for your pets. The artificial sweetener xylitol is toxic for dogs. It can cause a dramatic drop in blood sugar leading to tremors, seizures and sometimes death. It’s found in human treats like gum and mints. halloween-dog-treats

Trick-or-treating

On Halloween night, only take dogs with you if they are crowd-friendly. While they might be OK going out on their morning walks, Halloween brings out a lot more people — who don’t necessarily look like people. You don’t want them to get stressed out; they may not react the way they normally do even in a familiar neighborhood.

For those pets staying at home, all the people coming to the door and all of the opening and closing may cause alarm to your pets. To be kind to your dog and the kids in costumes, block off the entryway so they don’t get too excited or get out.

If your pet is an indoor-outdoor pet, keep them indoors on Halloween for the same reason you shouldn’t take them trick-or-treating; the unfamiliar costumes and number of people out and about may stress them out. Additionally, though there are myths surrounding black cats being the victims of pranksters around Halloween, the bigger concern is that they can’t be seen in the dark and get hit by cars. As an extra precaution on Halloween, make sure all pets have an ID tag in case they do get loose in the chaos of the holiday.

pumpkin-headDevilish Decorations

You know your pets and you know what they like to chew on, rub up against or bat. When you’re putting up Halloween decor, look out for little things that can be easily chewed off and swallowed. If you have a cat, think about what they like to climb and if your Halloween decor might be a temptation.

Be careful with jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin in small amounts can be good for dogs’ digestion, if they eat too much, it will upset their stomachs. It’s also high in vitamin A which can be toxic if a dog consumes too much.

Use LED lights instead of candles. Cats and dogs don’t know the power of their tails and they can knock over candles or jack-o-lanterns lit by tea lights causing a fire. LED lights also eliminates the risk of a curious kitten getting burned.

We ramp up safety precautions for our kids on Halloween, but pets are part of the family, too; it only makes sense for us to take care of their Halloween needs as well.

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

The crisp days of October are meant for bundling up for long walks and preparing for the winter ahead. The Lakeside Collection has what you need to look wonderful, stay warm, and get your home ready for guests. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

 

6-Pair Kids’ Glove Set lets them choose the pair they want to wear.

6-Pair Kids’ Glove Set lets them choose the pair they want to wear.

 

Add this Beaded Scarf Necklace to your closet for a fashion-forward accessory that looks great paired with any outfit.

Add this Beaded Scarf Necklace to your closet for a fashion-forward accessory that looks great paired with any outfit.

Seasonal Angel Figurine graces your decor with a lovely look for any time of year.

Seasonal Angel Figurine graces your decor with a lovely look for any time of year.

 

Decorative Lighted Snowman Shovel is a whimsical addition to your holiday setting.

Decorative Lighted Snowman Shovel is a whimsical addition to your holiday setting.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 5 Ways to Support Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink-Ribbon-Breast-CancerOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Millions of people are touched by the devastating disease, but there’s always more we can do to create awareness and support research to find a cure. Here are 5 ways to support breast cancer awareness.

Walk The most popular way to get involved is to participate in a walk or run. Hundreds of walks are held every year across the country. These events raise money to help cancer patients in addition to raising awareness of the disease. The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides originated in Boston in 1984 with 200 walkers. Since then, more than eight million people have walked to raise more than $460 million dollars to fight breast cancer.

Pink-Ribbon-Breast-CancerVolunteer All those walks have to have volunteer support to put the events together. They need people to set up, train walkers, put up posters, and do administrative work. Making time and putting in effort is appreciated and needed to make these events happen. There are several organizations to be of service to. Avon, The American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation all have volunteer opportunities.

Donate If you don’t have time to give, donations are welcome at every organization. Money goes to education, outreach, awareness, and treatment. In 2012, the National Cancer Institute spent $602 million for breast cancer research. Finding a cure costs money and every cent counts.

Host a Fundraiser Breast cancer foundations make it easy to create fundraising events. Whether you want to do something small like a bake sale, or you have bigger aspirations like hosting a dinner or an art show, you can manage these events through foundations.breast-cancer-awareness-tote

Buy Pink Everyone loves pink! Pink products come in all forms — scarves, tote bags, t-shirts, pink tulip bulbs — and a portion of the proceeds go toward breast cancer research. Not only is money you’re spending supporting the cause, but you’re also raising awareness of breast cancer and showing your support for the cause when you wear your pink products.pink-tulips

However you decide to support the cause, every little bit has a benefit — whether it’s for education for prevention, helping families as cancer patients go through treatment or research to find the cure, your support is appreciated and needed.

Fun Facts About Candy Corn

Candy CornLove it or hate it, Halloween would not be quite the same without candy corn. It’s been around as long as we can remember — but the confection we’re so used to seeing this time of year just becomes part of the Halloween decorations. But it has a few interesting details you may not be familiar with. Here are some fun facts about candy corn — the fall candy Americans fell in love with more than a century ago.

Chicken Feed Little has changed about candy corn since it was first manufactured in the 1880s except for the name. Candy corn was originally called “Chicken Feed” and the packaging featured a rooster as part of the logo. It originally had a very strong following among farmers.

Wedding Cake One of the ingredients that gives candy corn it’s unusual hard-yet-soft texture is fondant. Fondant is sugar and water heated together just long enough for it to be moldable. Fondant is used as icing on elaborate wedding cakes because you can sculpt it and make beautiful, ornamental cakes you can’t make with regular icing.

Candy CornSpecial Recipe Though Brach’s wasn’t the company to introduce candy corn to America, they’ve been making it for a long time with their own recipe – and that recipe includes honey. Most other candy corn is made with plain corn syrup.

Not for Vegans Even if you opt for the makers who don’t use honey (honey is not a vegan product), it still wouldn’t be a vegan treat because one of the ingredients in candy corn is marshmallow which contains gelatin. Gelatin is made from animal protein. More specifically, gelatin is made from collagen which comes from bones and joints of animals. It’s an ingredient in many of the things we eat but it’s a no-no for a vegan diet.

Shellac Shine Candy corn allegedly contains shellac – it’s what makes fingernail polish shiny. Shellac is a resin secreted from a lac bug found in India and Thailand. It’s used in all sorts of products and candies to give them a sheen – but it’s another reason candy corn isn’t considered vegan.

candy pumpkinPurple Corn You’re probably familiar with the slight variations in shapes and colors — pumpkins for Halloween or bunnies for Easter — but in eastern Canada, they produce a purple candy corn. The flavor is blackberry cobbler.

Of course, if you really love candy corn, you don’t have to wait until October every year to have it – you can eat it year-round if you make it. The Food Network’s Alton Brown has his own recipe for the fall favorite. Otherwise, there is plenty of candy corn coming at you in the next few weeks!

 

Frugal Fun Day: 10 Fun Frugal Finds

Saturday is Frugal Fun Day! To celebrate such a practical idea, we put a fun spin on it. We’ve selected items all under $5 we think are fun. Here are 10 fun frugal finds we think you’ll enjoy.

jumbo-lollipopJumbo Lollipop Sets If you have kids in your life, this is a no-brainer.  These Jumbo Lollipop Sets are treats that last for as long as you can resist taking a bite! They’re great as stocking stuffers, gift bag treats or an afternoon sugar fix.

Licensed Art Sets Even if you don’t have any birthdays to buy for coming up, you can always squirrel this one away until the holidays. Whatever your child’s creative outlet is, these 60-piece Licensed Art Sets will satisfy it. It comes with markers, oil pastels, colored pencils and all the tools they need to use their supplies. Choose from a princess, Minnie Mouse or Spider-Man theme. And in case you forgot, it costs less than $5.

gnomesNovelty Gnome Statues Rainy days and Mondays can always be cured with the right gnome! These Novelty Gnome Statues come as different characters – biker, fireman or police officer. You might not need a gnome, but it’s a frugal and fun way to add a little more sunshine to your life.

Heartwarming Letters Humor Books Our pets and our children love to create chaos, they also love us. Heartwarming Letters Humor Books are mock letters from our most precious family members saying sorry for all their antics and amusing misdeeds. They’re perfect pick-me-up gifts for pet lovers and parents.  What makes these gifts even better is they’re priced with fun in mind.

inspirational-keychainMulti-Charm Key Chains These adorable Multi-Charm Key Chains do more than just keep your keys in place; they have the power to inspire you. They are a multi-purpose frugal, fun find — with these, just $5 buys you positive thinking every time you pick up your keys.

Lifetime Holiday Movie DVDs Winter is coming — you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors and that means you’ll need a few good movies to watch. Cuddle up with a few Lifetime Holiday Movie DVDs to pass cold December nights or, stick one or two in a stocking — it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping. Who can pass up movies for less than $4?

best-grandparents-ornamentsBest Grandparent Ornaments Your kids might not be able to buy their favorite grandparents presents yet, but they can give them! Grandparents can show off their grandchildren’s love on the Christmas tree with these delightful Best Grandparents Ornaments. The nice price and shimmering glass ornaments aren’t the only things that make these easy gift ideas, they also come in a gift box with a ribbon.

Purse Organizer Insert Organizing is fun with decorative Purse Organizer Inserts! In polka dots or zebra print, keep all your daily needs compartmentalized and stylish for under $5! Credit cards, cell phone, makeup – there’s a place for everything you need to take with you – and when it’s time to change purses, just pull the organizer out and slip it into the other purse. Makes it easy to match your purse to your outfit every day!

fanpullDecorative Fan Pulls For less than $5, your ceiling fan becomes functional and fun year-round with these Decorative Fan Pulls! They dress up a fan cord with a dragonfly, butterfly or owl in a pewter finish. It adds frugal style and delight to any room of the house, any season of the year.

Santa’s Magical Key Here’s the answer to question every kid who lives in a home without a fireplace: How does Santa get in to put the presents under the tree? Santa’s Magical Key explains it all. It’s a fun, frugal find that delights parents and children throughout the holidays.

snowflake-earringsBirthstone Snowflake Earrings It’s the perfect birthday gift at the perfect price! These Birthstone Snowflake Earrings dangle and dazzle to fit the upcoming holiday season. Whether you’re buying for yourself or a loved one, these earrings dress up any outfit all winter long.

Fun and frugal is what we’re all about at The Lakeside Collection. Whether you want to honor October with frugal finds or you’re looking for holiday gifts, shop The Lakeside Collection for the best products at discount prices.

4 Benefits of Getting Kids Involved in Scouting

scoutsKids are back at school! Not every kid is into after school sports, but they all need something to do between the last bell and when you get home from work. A scouting group may be an alternative activity for your child. Here are 4 benefits of getting kids involved in scouting.

Self-confidence  Joining scouting clubs typically requires learning new outdoor and indoor skills. Demonstrating these skills translate into merit badges.  Learning new skills gives children a sense of accomplishment. While in adult life, new skills and accomplishments sometimes means an increase in salary or a promotion, in scouting, children receive a badge to acknowledge that they’ve mastered a skill; mastery of one skill gives them courage to pursue more difficult challenges.

craftingTeamwork In scouting, kids are involved in troops. Activities – crafting, camping or cooking — are planned around working with other kids, communication and building skills as a group. Unlike working in the classroom where children do individual assignments, kids have to talk to each other, share equipment and supplies – even teach others new skills. Teamwork also allows for socialization and developing friendships they may not have the opportunity to bloom in their regular classrooms.

Value of Volunteering Scouting emphasizes service work. Exposing kids to service or volunteer work early on teaches them the value of giving back to the community and that helping others feels good. Getting involved in community service work also introduces children to the working world before they have to earn a wage. It gives them a jump start on developing a work ethic and helps them learn time management without the pressure of a paying job.  These are skills kids can also apply to school work as well as sports.

scoutsAdvancing Education and Career Development It’s never too early to help your kids with their careers. By getting kids involved in scouting, they can explore interests and activities outside of academics that they don’t have the opportunity to look at in the classroom. The more exposure they have to a variety of activities, the more likely they are to find their own path to higher learning and, subsequently, a career.

There are many after school activities for kids to participate in – whether your child joins scouting, a sports team or dance class, after school activities help mold children into contributing members of society – and it prevents them from spending too much time in front of the television.

 

 

Pinteresting Picks for September

Fall is a great time for home-improvement projects and crafts. Our Pinterest followers are in a mood for decorating and DIY. Many already are casting their eyes toward Halloween. The Lakeside Collection has a huge selection of eerie decor for the indoors and outside to make your home boo-tiful for trick-or-treaters. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for September.

Trade your real candles for this Set of 6 LED Candles for the safety of your children or pets.

Trade your real candles for this Set of 6 LED Candles for the safety of your children or pets.

Sculpted Pumpkin Planters are handpainted to look like real pumpkins!

Sculpted Pumpkin Planters are handpainted to look like real pumpkins!

 

Make yours the scariest house on the block for Halloween night with these Lighted Ghosts Yard Stakes.

Make yours the scariest house on the block for Halloween night with these Lighted Ghosts Yard Stakes.

Handprint Ornament Kit gives your Christmas tree a personalized touch from your kids.

Handprint Ornament Kit gives your Christmas tree a personalized touch from your kids.

 

7 Game Day Traditions

football-fans On college campuses across the country, students, alumni and fans are putting on their game day gear and heading to the stadium for weekend football games charged with spirit and enthusiasm passed down from generation to generation. One thing that fuels the enthusiasm is tradition. Every team has some sort of tradition – some are more extreme than others. Here are 7 of the more interesting game day traditions.

Florida State: Away games in which Florida State is the underdog are called a “Sod Game” and the practice field has a “Sod Cemetery” which is a symbol of victory for the Seminoles. In 1962, a professor challenged the team to “bring back some sod from between the hedges”. That was a reference to the University of Georgia who was expected to beat Florida State. FSU won the game and the team captain brought back a piece of sod which was buried and memorialized at their practice field. Team captains continue the tradition and bring back sod from fields where they were victorious.

fans3Alabama: Alabama football fans chant “Roll Tide” during games for the Crimson Tide – which is a phrase fans tacked on to the Alabama Fight Song. Along with the fight song, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” is played at every game and fans insert “Roll Tide” half-way through the song.

Notre Dame: At Notre Dame home games, both the fans and the football players follow tradition. At the end of the third quarter, fans salute the coach as the marching band plays Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. At the end of the game, win or lose, the football team shows their appreciation for the fans by throwing their gloves to the fans on their way out of the stadium.

Ole Miss: At Ole Miss, fans dress in their Sunday best to tailgate at The Grove.  Tailgaters are so serious about their spots, a rule had to be made and enforced by campus police that no one is allowed to claim a spot before 9pm the night before game day.  Players enjoy The Grove as well — two hours before each home game, the football players “walk The Grove” to greet fans. It’s been a tradition for the last 30 years.

Ohio-State-footballOhio State: The rivalry between Ohio State and University of Michigan has a long and deep history. Since 1934, after every win over Michigan, players and coaches receive and a gold charm replica of football pants. It started with Coach Francis Schmidt. When reporters asked him what his team’s chances of defeating Michigan was, he replied, “Those fellows put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.”

Clemson:  Clemson’s football stadium is nicknamed “Death Valley” just like the national park. The name of the stadium is actually Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Frank Howard was once Clemson’s head coach. During his tenure, another coach referred to the stadium as Death Valley because his team rarely won games there. Howard started calling it Death Valley after that and the name stuck. Howard was then presented with an actual rock from Death Valley and for years, players would rub the rock before each game.  The rock is now under a protective case at the stadium.

football fansGeorgia: At the University of Georgia, every football game starts with the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation (the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic) — fans stand and take off their hats while a lone trumpeter plays the first seven notes, the rest of the band joins in to finish the song alongside a narrated video that highlights the team’s history.

6 Facts You Might Not Know About Fall

fall leaves5On September 22nd at 7:29, we celebrate the first day of fall or the fall equinox. Popular assumption is that we get 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness — that actually happens on September 25th this year. But that’s not the only interesting fact surrounding fall, here are 6 facts you might not know about fall.

Squirrels and Nuts Squirrels are known to collect nuts in the fall and store them to eat in the winter (where we get the term “squirreling away”). Red squirrels store them in piles where they dry out but gray squirrels bury their nuts. Gray squirrels tend to forget where they bury most of the nuts. Those nuts don’t dry out but take root and develop to be big trees. If it weren’t for forgetful gray squirrels, we might not have as many oak and walnut forests which depend on gray squirrels to thrive and grow.

pumpkin-dishesPumpkins We carve them for Halloween and put them in pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas because 80% of the pumpkin supply in the United States is only available in October. And, while we enjoy our spiced pie fillings, pumpkins were originally used for the pie crust and not the filling.

Cider Hot spiced apple cider keeps us warm on chilly fall nights and we don’t stop drinking it until the holidays are over. In New Hampshire, though, they celebrate cider all year (even if it’s not available all year). New Hampshire’s appreciation for the hot fall beverage is so deep that in 2010, cider beat out milk as the official state beverage.

Gourds Starting in September, we start seeing gourds everywhere — in a centerpiece for big fall dinners, on decorative door wreaths and to dress up the mantel to welcome fall. While we use them for decor now, Native Americans had a more practical use for them. In the 1700s, gourds were used by Choctaw and Chickasaw native American tribes as bird feeders to attract purple martins to keep bugs out of their villages.

fallleaves6Apples The apples you know and love — the ones that fill an apple pie, are boiled down for a spiced cider and give a juicy crunch to caramel as a caramel apple — aren’t native to North America. When the English settled in the northeast, the only apples they found were crabapples — those tiny bits of fruit that can really only be used for making jelly. Unsatisfied with the crabapple, the English  brought over seeds to plant apple trees in the New World. Now apple trees grow in all 50 states.

scarecrowScarecrows While scarecrows are a favorite fall symbol, they are not native to North America. One of the earliest scarecrows was used by Greeks to scare birds away from grape vineyards. They were made to look like Priapus, the son of Greek god Dionysus and goddess Aphrodite. Priapus was said to be very ugly and legend has it, while playing in the vineyards, he scared all the birds away and the farmers had a bountiful harvest.

With or without the little known facts, the colors of the changing leaves, the chill in the air and anticipation of the holidays is interesting enough to make it one of our favorite seasons.