Summer Boredom Fixes

summer-funAs adults, we’d give just about anything to have the summer off just like our kids. They have so much time for all sorts of fun activities — yet they still get bored mid-summer. It’s hard to be responsible for entertaining them all summer long when you have work, errands and chores to do, but The Lakeside Collection has a few ideas to get you started. Here are 7 quick and easy boredom fixes for those mid-summer lulls.

DIY Ice Treats It’s hard to keep your freezer full of cool treats in the summer, but on a day your kids are out of ideas for activities, you can put them to work replenishing your supply with an old school treat. Have your kids stir together their favorite drink mix with sugar and water (a little less water than the directions call for). Pour it into an ice cube tray and cover it with plastic wrap. In the center of each cube, poke toothpicks through the plastic — the plastic helps the toothpicks stand up in the liquid. Place it in the freezer and wait for three to four hours for the cubes to freeze. When they’re frozen, you’ll have miniature ice pops to while away a hot summer day.

kitchen-twineObstacle Course This one requires a little bit of imagination from your kids. Using items from the garage and the house, have them build an obstacle course. It doesn’t have to be elaborate like the ones you might find at a military boot camp — it can be as simple as laying out a two-by-four to use as a balance beam or using a hula hoop to hop through. It can even involve crafting a bracelet out of kitchen twine — have them use their brains! When they have everything in order, they can race each other to see who can finish the course first.

DIY Container Garden A container garden is an upcycling craft to last the whole summer! Have your kids look for an interesting container from the house that you no longer need. Coffee cans, tea cans, old plastic storage containers that no longer have lids all work as planters. With a few seeds, soil and sunshine, your kids can care for and document the growth of their plants or flowers as they sprout and become greenery. A few weeks or a few months, it’s an activity to keep the kids occupied long-term.

DIY Spray Paint There’s so much you can do with empty spray bottles, it’s a shame to save them solely for cleaning! This project is pretty easy — all you have to do is dilute tempera paint with water and pour the different colors into spray bottles. Your kids can spritz a few paintings (outside, of course, to save yourself serious cleanup time) and create a backyard masterpiece to add to your refrigerator art gallery.

bubbleBubble Brilliance Have extra bubble wrap you don’t have plans for? While your kids’ first instincts might be to pop every bubble one-by-one, help them resist the temptation so they can make cheerful paintings! With a little bit of tempera paint, your kids can get creative with colors and shapes — they can even get creative with the applications — check out how Mess for Less stomped out a few bubble wrap paintings.

Ice Cube Racing This activity requires a hot slide — if you don’t have one in your backyard, the one at the park works just fine. Have the kids take a cooler of ice cubes to the top of the slide. On “go” have them each set an ice cube on the slide and watch it melt all the way to the bottom. The first cube to make it to the end of the slide without completely melting, wins. If you want to make it more colorful, make ice cubes the night before with a drop of food coloring for each cube.

Balloon Ping Pong With a couple of paper plates, tongue depressors and a balloon, your backyard will get more face-time with your kids than you might want. All you do is staple or glue the tongue depressors to the paper plate to create your paddle and blow up the balloon as a ping pong ball substitute. It may not be an official summer sport, but it’ll get the kids moving. Plus, it’s easy, inexpensive and addictive!

At The Lakeside Collection we have ideas and products to make the most of you summer and keep your kids from getting bored. Keep checking back with us until the 4th of July and throughout the summer for more inspiration!

National Adopt a Cat Month: Our Favorite Cats of the Internet

June is National Adopt a Cat Month! At The Lakeside Collection, we love our pets and we do our best to take care of them as a member of the family, but we can always make our families a little bigger! We don’t need any convincing to adopt a cat, but for people wavering on whether or not to take a new furry friend home, we have a few things to share. Here are our favorite cats of the internet to persuade you to bring home a new friend for life.

Cole and Marmalade
Here are Cole and Marmalade — they’re “celebrity cats” and you’ll see why they were elevated to celebrity status after their lesson on how cats say “I love you.” They’re frisky and lovable rescue cats who are always doing something interesting for the camera.

Jasper
Jasper will make your heart swell! This little guy didn’t see his best friend for ten days and boy did he miss him! Jasper gave him his best hello hug and you can bet he won’t let go for ten days ever again!

Plume
Cold Canadian snow would give anyone the chills, but cats are curious creatures so it’s hard to hold them back from something as fascinating as snow. Plume the cat’s inquisitive inspection after a storm got him stuck outside. But cats are also masters of getting themselves out of the messes they get themselves in… and Plume’s homecoming was certainly masterful.

Lucifur
This is the appropriately named Lucifur and his buddy Honey Boo Boo. Everyone knows to be aware of attack cats — but Honey Boo Boo let down his guard at just the wrong moment…

Napo
Here’s a familiar summer scene for many humans — we go after a cool treat with a little too much enthusiasm and BAM! We get hit with the sweetest headache summer can deliver. Napo the cat captures this feeling perfectly with a spoonful of ice cream.

The Lakeside Collection wants to make every home happy and healthy for every member of the family. Whether you already have a furry friend or you’re thinking about adopting a new shaggy chum, Lakeside has products and ideas to make your home a little happier.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts

We’re getting ready for a fun-packed summer! Barbecues and pool parties are on the schedule — and so is Father’s Day. It’s just about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about how to show Dad some appreciation. Here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts.grill-cover

Grill Protection Shield your grill from the elements and keep it looking brand new with the Weatherproof Gas Grill Cover. Constructed of durable PVC, it will provide your grill with a protective barrier against rain, snow and damaging UV rays. Available in 2 sizes, there’s one to fit your grill, big or small. Use the attached tabs with fabric-magic closures to secure the cover tightly around your grill to keep it from blowing off in the wind.freezable-can-cooler

Fun & Functional Whether your team is playing like they’re on fire or on the bench, this NFL Freezable Can Cooler keeps your drink chilled throughout each quarter. Water is encased in the double-walled, single can cooler, emblazoned with the logo of your favorite team front and back. Put it in the freezer to chill it, then put your drink can into the cooler. Rubberized plastic around the bottom edge makes sure the cooler won’t slip or scratch your table.tripod

Guiding Light The Stanley Tripod Flashlight is perfect for emergencies, camping and DIY projects in hard-to-reach places. Use both your hands to repair a dripping pipe or start a campfire while the powerful LED lights up your work space. The flashlight’s articulated head directs the light right where you need it. Weather-resistant anodized aluminum case makes it ideal for roadside emergencies and trips. Retractable legs make it easy to take with you. Flashing low-power indicator means you’ll never be unexpectedly caught in the dark. Runs on 3 batteries with a battery life of 41 hours.fork-thermometer

Grill Gadget Great for barbecuing or broiling! The Fork Thermometer quickly and accurately reads the temperature of your food. Indicator lights let you know if the meat is rare, medium or well done. It takes the guesswork out of oven roasting a turkey or grilling steaks and burgers. Stainless steel tips provide accurate results.chainsaw

Camping Contraptions Portable Camping Chain Saw or Belt Pouch is a must-have for anyone who enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and spending time outdoors. The 24″ Flexible Chain Saw is a revolutionary tool that cuts and clears in both directions for clean, efficient strokes on even the hardest wood. This easy-to-use saw gives you a flexible blade for cutting from a variety of angles. Made of heavy-duty coated steel, its cutting teeth are self-cleaning and require little maintenance. Nylon handle straps prevent the chain from twisting. To cut, simply wrap the blade around the object and pull. Store the saw in the Nylon Belt Pouch so you’ll have it when you need it. It features a fabric-magic closure and a belt loop attachment to hold the saw firmly in place around your waist. Versatile pouch can also be used to carry a pocket knife. Imported.

 

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Wedding Season Products

WeddingMemorial Day is next weekend and after that, it’s non-stop entertaining until Labor Day. Along with barbecues and fireworks, there are weddings to plan for. Weddings are big events even if you’re just a guest. But if you’re in the party or a bride or groom — you have a lot on your plate. But we have ideas to make the event easier. Here’s this week’s Lakeside Collection: Our Choice for Wedding Season Products.

wedding-flutesFestive Flutes These Wedding Keepsakes make memorable gifts for a newly engaged couple. Each piece has a distinct pewter-like finish with elegant script, making it easy to buy all 3 for a matching gift basket. The Album  says “Wedding Day” on the bottom and has 2 wedding bands on the top. Holds 72 of your 4″ x 6″ photos inside, and also showcases your favorite 3-1/2″ x 5″ photo on the cover. The Certificate Holder ensures the marriage certificate is always safe and secure. Metal. Use the metal-stemmed Set of 2 Champagne Flutes to toast on your wedding day and anniversary. Each has “Bride” or “Groom” on the glass.

wedding-string-lightsCeremonial Shimmer Shimmering Set of 2 Beaded Light Strings dresses up your home for any holiday or occasion. The 20 white LED lights combine with colored beads for a pretty glow. Convenient battery case means you can place them almost anywhere indoors.

outdoor-entertainingVibrant Vessels Brighten up your pre-wedding ceremony cookouts with this vibrant tableware! Our break-resistant Outdoor Dining Collection is perfect for your picnic basket. Mix and match these sets. Mix and match these sets of 12 serveware for a setting that’s right for you.

wedding-mason-jarsMerry Mason Jars The mason jar design of this Mr. and Mrs. glass goblets set is perfect for a country-themed wedding or event. One glass says “Mr.” in black, and the other reads “Mrs.” in white. Each has a ribbon on the stem that coordinates with the color of the script. Goldtone lids give them an authentic look.

monogram-braceletStylish Souvenirs Set of 2 Monogram Beaded Stretch Bracelets is a fresh way to wear personalized jewelry. The script monogram sits on a stretchy bracelet covered in polished beads. Accent it with the matching beaded bracelet. Makes a fabulous bridesmaid or wedding favor friends and family.

wedding-nameNuptial Nameplate Wooden Personalized Sentiment Wall Plaques add a warm touch to your home. Add a name in bold lettering to the Home sign, then add your marriage date to the bottom line. Main lettering, 12 characters maximum. Bottom line, 4 digits maximum. Add your family’s name on the top line of the Welcome sign and the date of your marriage on the bottom line. Top line has a maximum of 15 characters and the bottom line has a maximum of 4 digits. Proud to be American sign has room for a name up to 15 characters seen over “Family.”

National Bike Month: Benefits of Biking

bikingMay is National Bike Month and, probably not coincidentally, it’s a great time of year to get on two wheels — it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. But weather might not be quite enough incentive for you to go for a ride. In case you’re wavering, here are 4 benefits of biking that will get you back on the saddle.

Easy Exercise Biking is a low-impact way to workout. It’s easy on the joints while giving you a decent cardio workout it also works all your major muscle groups — making it a great way to tone up your entire body for summer. It’s so easy, you won’t realize that you’ve gotten an intense workout until you’re back home and ready for a nap. If you want to burn a lot of calories, kick it up a notch and you can burn as many calories in an hour of biking as you would an hour of running — and you’ll go a lot further doing it.

bikingIt Feels Good Biking releases dopamine — the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. Biking has the power to improve your mood and relieve anxiety — it’s kind of like a natural antidepressant. It also gives you energy and reduces fatigue. It may not fix your problems, but for just 45 minutes on your bike, you may be a little happier for the day.

Brain Booster Getting your body moving gets your brain fit, too. But participating in cardio exercise, you’re increasing the blood and oxygen flow to your brain. Not only will you be keeping your body and brain fit, according to a study from the University of Illinois, you may also be fighting off age-related brain deterioration.

It Keeps You Young Just three 45 minute rides a week could make you almost a decade younger — biologically, anyway. King’s College in London studied the effects of cycling and found cyclists show fewer signs of aging than sedentary people. It also reduces the risk of heart disease,  type two diabetes and obesity. In addition to feeling younger, according to a study from the University of Valencia in Spain, Tour de France cyclists live an average of eight years longer than people who don’t bike. Get on your bike and ride to youth and health!biking


Just about everyone knows how to ride a bike but not everyone knows how good it is for your. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how biking can improve your life, get your bike out and prepped for a summer on two wheels!

Nature’s Favorite Moms

This weekend we’re honoring our moms on Mother’s Day — they deserve it! They do so much for us from birth to adulthood, but the animal kingdom has some pretty amazing moms that deserve a little recognition this week, as well. Here are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing moms.

Elephants Elephant moms are pretty spectacular animals. First of all, the gestation period for elephants is 22 months. That’s a pregnancy that lasts just short of two years! There’s no wonder why females rule the herd. But just like human moms, elephant mothers can’t do it all on their own — their sisters and aunts help out with the rearing of a young calf.  

Orangutan Orangutan moms develop strong bonds with their offspring. Much like humans, they give birth to one baby at a time. The babies then stay with their mothers to learn the ins and outs of life in the forest for up to eight years. But just like humans, their children (the females, at least) go home every so often to visit.

Koalas Koala moms are dedicated creatures. They’re marsupials (like kangaroos), so after koalas give birth, their young live in a pouch in their torsos for about six months. When they’re too big for the pouch, mom puts them on her back and takes them anywhere and everywhere she goes for an entire year. It’s nature’s way of fostering a strong mother-child bond.

Polar Bears Polar bear moms are fierce, but it’s their nature. Basically, polar bear moms are left alone to dig a snow den to give birth and raise her twin cubs until it’s warm enough to leave. When the cubs leave, a whole new set of challenges arise — not only does this single mom have to protect them from the cold and teach them how to hunt, she sometimes has to fight other polar bears to keep her cubs safe.

Cheetah Cheetah moms are moms on the move. After giving birth, every step she takes is an effort to protect her young from predators — she makes a new home for her and her litter every few days so their scent is untraceable. When her cubs are big enough, she teaches them to hunt for themselves for up to two years. After that, they’re on their own, sometimes forming small groups with their siblings.

At The Lakeside Collection, we celebrate all mothers for everything they sacrifice for their children every day of the year. Whether you want to honor your mom with a unique Mother’s Day gift or you want to make her ordinary day extraordinary, we have ideas and products to make your mom feel special.  

 

Mother’s Day: Our Favorite TV Moms

June-Cleaver

Image Source: The Bees Knees via Flickr

It still doesn’t quite feel like spring — and we’re spending a little more time in front of the television than we’d like to admit. But Mother’s Day is headed our way and while we’re looking for gift ideas we thought, since we’re watching TV anyway, we’d use it for a little Mother’s Day inspiration and pick our favorite TV moms.

June Cleaver (Leave It To Beaver) Who better to deal with the shenanigans of Wally and the Beav than June Cleaver? She embodies the quintessential 1950s stay-at-home-mom (back then, they were known as housewives). She was calm, cool and always reasonable and supportive — all things moms strive to be.

carol-brady

Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch) Carol Brady made blended family life seem so simple! But simple doesn’t mean easy. Convincing six kids to love an entirely new family was a big challenge, and the even bigger challenge was dealing with them as teenagers. But whatever hair drama, girl trouble or miscommunication came up, Carol always had an answer.

Marion-Cunningham

Image Source: Elvis Kennedy via Flickr

Marion Cunningham (Happy Days) Sweet Mrs. C kept the house clean, got meals on the table and was always full of cheer despite her gruff husband, the greaser who lived above the garage and the two teenagers she was raising. Always delightful with her subtle quips and the balance she brought to the Cunningham family, her assumed naivete thwarted by her profound brilliance was what made Mrs. C a mom worth watching every week.

elyse-keaton

Image Source: Dorothy Snarker via Flickr

Elyse Keaton (Family Ties) Elyse was the hippy-dippy mom who was blessed with children that were her polar opposite. With boy-crazy Mallory, conservative Alex and spunky Jennifer, she had to stretch her parental skills to match three very different children. She did it all and managed to be a successful architect, to boot. She was a model working moms of the 80s appreciated.

katie-sagal

Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

Peggy Bundy (Married With Children) This list isn’t about the best TV moms, just our favorite TV moms and Peggy Bundy, with all the hair, heels and humor is definitely one of our favorites. While she was no June Cleaver and parenting wasn’t her top priority, we could suspend our disbelief once a week to watch how not to be a mother.

roseanne-barr

Image Source: Stand-Up Sucks, LLC – “I Am Comic” Directed by Jordan Brady and distributed by Monterey Media Located on Monterey Medias Flickr account.

Roseanne Conner (Rosanne) Roseanne Conner was a refreshing change from the common upper-middle-class mom we typically get from Hollywood. She gave America a small glimpse at blue collar life that we rarely see on TV. Her no-nonsense parenting and unvarnished humor made her an unconventional and respected TV mom.

Marie-Barone

Image Source: Phil Konstantin via Flickr

Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) Just about everyone has a Marie Barone in their lives — she may not be your mother-in-law, but you know one just like her. She smothers her grown son and gets under her daughter-in-law’s skin, but her intentions are good.

edie-falco

Image Source: Viva Vivanista via Flickr

Carmela Soprano (The Sopranos) On the surface, Carmela Soprano has a pretty nice life — nice home, good kids, a husband who provides well for the family — but being married to a mob boss is a tough gig with no way out. But she was a tough cookie — not taking any guff from Tony Soprano and still raising respectable children is no small feat.

The Lakeside Collection is always looking for ideas and products to inspire our customers every day of the year. From Mother’s Day gifts to ideas to make your Memorial Day cookout spectacular, shop Lakeside for fabulous products at unbeatable prices.

5 Ways to Show Mom You Care Every Day

mothers-dayMother’s Day is just a few weeks away. Though we set aside the day to celebrate our moms, they deserve recognition for the lunches, driving us to and from soccer practice, musical rehearsals and loving support they give us year-round. Here are 5 ways to show mom you care every day.

Say Thank You We grow up with our mothers dressing us, feeding us and cleaning up after us so it’s easy to take these tasks for granted when she deserves a big thank you. While you’re probably thinking of gifts to give your mother on Mother’s Day to show your appreciation, taking a moment to actually say thank you to your mother will blow her away.

mothers-dayDutiful Children There’s so much that goes into running a household that we don’t realize until we have to run things ourselves. Why not share some of your mom’s load? Take over one of your mom’s chores or take on a cleaning project she hasn’t been able to get to. Shred the junk mail that’s been piling up, do the grocery shopping for the week or wash her car. Any little thing you can do will ease some of the burden your mom takes on every day.

Tell Her How She Inspires You Moms inspire children every day whether they’re aware of it or not. Your mom does amazing things — things you want to be able to do, too. Whether it’s being kind and generous or smart and accomplished, let your mother know how she inspires you.

Tell Her Your Favorite Memories of Her When you grow up with someone, it’s hard to see the impact they have on you day-to-day. It’s only when you look back at all of the experiences you had with someone that you can appreciate your relationship. Though your mom may have the same memories you have of different events, letting her know how special they are to you is a priceless gift.

mothers-daySpend Time With Her Time is about the most valuable thing you can give a person. Take your mom out for a meal for one-on-one time to catch up on things that have nothing to do with school, work or chores. Spend the afternoon nurturing your relationship with your mother and showing her you appreciate her.

There are dozens of ways to show your mom you love her. Whether you want to give her the perfect gift, surprise her with a spectacular brunch or you want to spend quality time with your mom, The Lakeside Collection has ideas and products to help your day with mom memorable.

 

National Stress Awareness Day: 4 Ways Gardening Relieves Stress

GardeningApril 16 is National Stress Awareness Day — we’re all victims of stress and there are many ways to manage but, since we’re in the middle of spring, we’re looking toward the garden for stress relief. Here are 4 ways gardening relieves stress.

Exercise Gardening isn’t quite like running a marathon, but it’s an activity that gets you moving. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise reduces tension, stabilizes mood, reduces fatigue, as well as improves alertness and concentration. Pruning and weeding makes your garden look nice, but the up and down motions and repetitive actions require your muscles to have a range of movement that gets your blood pumping through your body and brain. If you look at gardening as something you get to do rather than something you have to do, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free summer.

Garden-ScooterQuiet When we think of gardens we think of a quiet place where nature rules. Leaving behind your smartphone to tend to your plants and flowers gives your brain space and peace. It makes sense, but researchers in The Netherlands have facts to back up the claim. They found that spending just 30 minutes a day in the garden doing chores actually reduces the amount of stress hormones your body creates. If you’re feeling stressed, maybe it’s time to take a break from daily stimulus and get in the garden for a few hours a week to relax.

Sunshine Plants need sunshine to survive and working outdoors alongside your precious plants exposes you to the same sunny goodness. While we know that sunshine gives us vitamin D to help strengthen our bones, it also boosts serotonin — the neurotransmitter that helps us feel good. We need bright light that we get from summer sunshine (brighter than anything we can get indoors) to get adequate amounts of vitamin D to improve serotonin levels (which is why we see so many cases of seasonal affective disorder during dark winter months). Working in the garden to spruce it up for as little as ten minutes a day can give you a good amount of sunshine to help with your vitamin D and serotonin production to make you feel relaxed.

gardeningThe Right Plants While some budding shrubs and flowering plants are easy on the eye, some are also easy on the brain. Plants like lavender are known to relieve stress through their scents. Lavender can relieve stress just by being next to it and inhaling its fragrance, but lavender, along with other herbs like chamomile and lemon balm can be used as tea to relieve stress. Whether you’re pruning your lavender or harvesting chamomile for tea, your garden can have the calming effect your brain and body craves.


Daily stress can get in the way of good moods, so if you’re playing with the idea of starting a garden, let stress relief tip the scale in favor of getting it growing! The Lakeside Collection can help you get started — we have ideas and products for a lush garden this spring that will thrive all summer long.

National Pecan Day: Pralines Recipe

 

Pralines-recipe

April 14 is National Pecan Day — we love pecans at The Lakeside Collection and we have a few favorite recipes for these magical nuts. If it were November, we’d be making pecan pie or tartlets, but since it’s spring, we thought a recipe we can whip up quickly would be in order so we can head outside and enjoy the weather we’ve been waiting for. With that in mind, we thought we’d share our American pralines recipe — it’s quick and it originated in New Orleans, so it’s not something that will heat up the kitchen when it’s hot outside!

If you only know pralines (pronounced praw-leans) through the ice cream flavor pralines and cream, you haven’t experienced real pralines. They’re sort of like a very rich cookie (some people describe as fudge-like, but it’s a little more delicate than fudge). Technically, it’s candy, but it’s more of an adult candy than a lollipop or licorice. The original recipe was made with almonds, but because of the abundance of pecans in Louisiana, they were the obvious substitute for almonds. And it was a perfect substitute — the pecan praline has been an iconic confection in the Big Easy for hundreds of years.  Pralines are surprisingly delicious and, just like fudge, they make a nice gift or party favor — which is why you can buy them on just about any corner in the French Quarter. But you can’t get to New Orleans every day, so here’s our recipe for pralines.

Pralines

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat until it’s hot to the touch. Add pecans in one layer on the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently (or toss, if you’re good at that) until the pecans are hot and fragrant — about 2 minutes. Set aside. Over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar, butter, cream, and milk to a sauce pan.

Pralines-recipe

Stir the mixture frequently as the mixture bubbles up. Keep this up until your candy thermometer reads 238℉ — this is the softball stage of heating sugar. Add the pecans and stir vigorously for 30 seconds before turning off the heat. Continue stirring and add the vanilla extract. Continue stirring for four minutes until the mixture just starts getting a little stiff — this part is crucial. It should still be a thick liquid when you spoon the pralines onto your cookie sheet. Set aside to cool.

Pralines-recipe

The result should be a lump of delicious nuts and sugar with a consistency of a very delicate cookie. The timing is difficult to get right and if you don’t, there is nothing you can do to correct it. You may end up with a crumbly mess or caramel clusters — either way, you can use your mistakes to top vanilla ice cream (delicious!). But this recipe is a small batch — it makes about five pralines, so if you don’t get it right the first time, you won’t have mounds and mounds of  caramel to repurpose.

Pralines-recipe