Pinteresting Picks for August

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.

Deluxe Smartphone Charging Station keeps your phone protected and off the floor. Designed for versatility, it has 3 standard outlets, so you can keep other appliances plugged in along with your charger, or charge up to 3 additional devices at once.

Deluxe Smartphone Charging Station keeps your phone protected and off the floor. Designed for versatility, it has 3 standard outlets, so you can keep other appliances plugged in along with your charger, or charge up to 3 additional devices at once.

Shot Glass Display Shelf organizes your collection with ease. It holds up to 36 shot glasses for all to see.

Shot Glass Display Shelf organizes your collection with ease. It holds up to 36 shot glasses for all to see.

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.

The Wine Bottle Glass is perfect for the wine lover. It hold a full-sized 750ml bottle.

The Wine Bottle Glass is perfect for the wine lover. It hold a full-sized 750ml bottle.

5 Last Minute Labor Day Weekend Ideas

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.

Desert-Road

Image Source: William Warby via Flickr

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.

Everglades

Image Source: Chauncey Davis via Flickr

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.

Galena

Image Source: Joey Lax-Sallnas via Flickr

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.

5 Back to School Brain Boosts

back-to-school 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.

back-to-school3. 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.

back-to-school5. 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.

Friendship Week: The Lakeside Collection Rewind

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.

Lizzie-McGuire-dollThe 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.

Spy-ToysUnderwater 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-GameFriends 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.

Cat-SweatshirtHoliday 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-SweatshirtPooh 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.

Tiny-InstrumentsMusical 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.

7 First Day of School Traditions to Start This Year

Image source: Flickr

Image source: Flickr

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.

Image source: Young Sok Yun via Fickr

Image source: Young Sok Yun via Fickr

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

Image Source: Zeetz Jones via Flickr

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.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

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.

More fun than bumper cars or a pillow fight, this Sumo Bumper Bopper has a fun, kid-friendly design.

More fun than bumper cars or a pillow fight, this Sumo Bumper Bopper has a fun, kid-friendly design.

Your little girl will feel like she's caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14" Doll Set or Outfits.

Your little girl will feel like she’s caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14″ Doll Set or Outfits.

Fun lights, sounds, and moving parts on this Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle will help your little one save the day.

Fun lights, sounds, and moving parts on this Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle will help your little one save the day.

She can create her own fairytales with Disney Magnetic Paper Dolls.

She can create her own fairytales with Disney Magnetic Paper Dolls.

They will make a splash while staying dry in cute Kids' Disney Rain Gear.

They will make a splash while staying dry in cute Kids’ Disney Rain Gear.

 

End of Summer Countdown: 6 Ideas for Having Fun with Your Family

Family-FunAugust is Family Fun Month! We’re counting down the days before the kids go back to school, so we want to make the most of the time we have left with the family. Here are 6 ideas for having fun with your family.

Be Nostalgic Put together a family time capsule. Have everyone collect items to remind them of what they did this summer – shells from the seashore, artwork, postcards, photographs, small toys, books, calendars, lists of your favorite intangible items (TV shows, songs, bands), ticket stubs (movies, airline, sporting events). Put all the items in a sturdy container that locks out moisture, seal it and make sure you have an open date clearly written on it. Burying it could ruin the contents, so store it in a cool dark corner until it’s time to open it.

Be Active Play a game outside. Badminton is a great game for the family because you can play as individuals or as teams and it doesn’t take a lot of athletic ability for it to be fun for just about any age. If you want to do something less competitive, plan a family day at the pool.

Family-FunBe Hungry Go on a picnic. Choose the most beautiful park in your community and plan a big portable meal. Get everyone to pitch in to make the food and prepare the coolers for an afternoon of eating in the outdoors. Make a whole day of it by planning games or flying kites.

Be Creative Make a summer family scrapbook. Have all the photos of everything you did this summer – include individual activities like Girl Scout camp or tennis camp. Come up with scrapbook themes and ideas as a family. Give everyone a few pages to decorate and include pages for journaling about how each of you spent the summer.

Be Curious Plan a treasure or scavenger hunt for around your block. Scavenger hunts are a great way for kids to explore the neighborhood and see it from a different perspective. Hunts encourage team work and give families the opportunity to communicate and interact. It sparks unique quality family time you won’t have during the school year.

Family-FunBe Constructive Build something as a family. A tree house or a fort in the backyard will be fun to plan and make together and the kids will get use out of it for the next few months. But even smaller items like a table or bench made from an upcycled wooden pallet to add to your outdoor décor is fun for the whole family to build and enjoy. If you don’t have the time or materials to build something permanent, there’s no shame in building a blanket fort in the backyard.

The summer has flown by, but it’s not over yet! Enjoy the summer with your family while you can! Check out our emails and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more  #familyfun as the summer winds down this month.

Best Places to Camp

camping-2We only get so much time to get to spend outside, making the best of it by camping is the logical way to take in nature at its best and warmest. The great outdoors are vast and beautiful — so where do you go? Here are some of the best places to camp around the country.

Illinois In the southernmost tip of Illinois, nestled between Missouri and Indiana is Giant City State Park. The park has everything you might want for an active camping trip – rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and fishing. The campsites vary in accommodations – sites with water, electricity and showers are available for reservation, but you can also use the walk-in sites without all the amenities.

camping-3New York Just north of Lake Ontario and south of Canada, Canoe-Picnic Point State Park is open for island tent camping. What makes this campground more interesting than others is it is only accessible by boat, so you have to pack accordingly and budget for boat rental. The site is great for fishing and you can cook what you catch at the picnic ground where there are communal cooking facilities.

California Three hours west of San Francisco and four hours north of Los Angeles, is some of California’s most impressive landscape at Yosemite National Park. Cascading waterfalls, towering sequoias and tranquil trails attract more than four million visitors every year. There are thirteen campsites where you can pitch a tent, but motels and cabins are available for those who like a bed and bath.

Florida Not far from Cape Coral, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, cushy camping surrounded by water is best at Cayo Costa State Park where secluded beaches are lined by pine forests and swamps. The island is only accessible by ferry or private boat which means the nine mile island has hiking trails to lead you from the campgrounds to the water to snorkel and fish or watch for manatees and dolphins.

Camping-1Pennsylvania In eastern Pennsylvania, camping, fishing and hiking is best at Locust State Park. Hiking and biking allows you to take in the lush forest and wetlands on your own, but the park provides guided tours to examine the lake and Pennsylvania wildlife. There are lakeside campsites for those who want to swim or boat and sites to accommodate RVs and campers.

Wherever you are, you’re never too far from a great camping trip. You don’t have to drive to enjoy the great outdoors; sometimes your backyard makes the perfect campground.

Who We’re Following

Our social networks are buzzing and we want to share with you some of our favorite blogs, pinners and tweeters that share our love for home improvement and family life. Here’s who we are following we this week we think are worth checking out.

Better-in-bulkBetter in Bulk is a family-friendly, crafty and wholesome place to get ideas for what to have for dinner to where to take a weekend trip. Better in Bulk is also quite handy with the camera; check out her Fourth of July photos – they’re worth the visit to the website.

Shabby-Creek-CottageThe Shabby Creek Cottage is all about creating the perfect home from the ground up. The DIY tricks are unbelievably thorough – try aging galvanized metal! – and the recipes are so mouthwatering even if you didn’t think you’d want to try them, you will after you see the pictures.

PinterestPinterest

V. Ruth Baranowski is a well-rounded pinner. Farm animals and children’s costumes get equal amounts of pin-time with tookytooky15, but she pays special attention to The Art of Being Awesome and we pay special attention to her; so should you.

From cute kids to crafty creations, Dixie Henderson gives us Pinspiration. Not only does she pin things to encourage us to make and do things, but some of her boards are downright entertaining. A favorite of her boards is “I Remember These!” which is filled with all sorts of nostalgia. Check her out.

TwitterTwitter

Holly Becker (@decor8) Tweets sweetly with a new mom’s voice and a stylist’s eye. She mixes up her messages with décor suggestions and inspirational quotes. She’s a fountain of information as well as a pleasure to follow.

Alli Smith (@allismith77) Alli Smith is a writer and storyteller and offers tweets short and to the point. Her topics vary from “Mother-In-Law vs Daughter-In-Law” to “Porches, Patios, and Paths.” Whatever she tweets, we’ll follow.

At The Lakeside Collection we’re always scouring the Internet for ideas and inspiration. Whether it’s on Twitter, Pinterest or a blog – when we see something fantastic, we want to share them with you and we hope you’ll do the same for us. Leave us a comment if there’s a site, pinner or tweeter you think is inspiring.

Chocolate Day

Chocolate-Bar

Image Source: John Loo via Flickr

It’s Chocolate Day — No other food sparks such guilt and pleasure — that silky, cocoa morsel deserves a day to call its own. Here are some of the best and most inspiring quotes about chocolate.

“Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: Deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good.”  –Mariska Hargitay

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” — Katharine Hepburn

“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”   — Jane Seabrook, Furry Logic Laugh at Life

Chocolate-cupcake

Image Source: Shemille Laine via Flickr

“After about 20 years of marriage, I’m finally starting to scratch the surface of what women want. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate.”  –Mel Gibson

“Mom always said too much chocolate is like having too much love—you can’t get enough.”  ― Geraldine Solon, Chocolicious

“The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks and Shakespeare…neither knew chocolate.”  ― Sandra Boynton

“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” –Audrey Hepburn

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  ― Charles M. Schulz

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  ― Linda Grayson

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”  ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Box-of-chocolate

Image Source: Ulterior Epicure via Flickr

“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.”  ― Judith Viorst, Love & Guilt & The Meaning Of Life, Etc

“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.”  ― Dave Barry

You don’t need a reason to eat chocolate, but Chocolate Day is as good an excuse as any to indulge in the world’s favorite sweet treat. Happy Chocolate Day!