Home organization definitely was on the minds of the followers of the LTD Commodities Pinterest boards this month. From a space-saving way to store your mops and brooms to creative ways to keep office supplies handy, LTD has dozens of ways to make your world less cluttered. Speed up your morning with a bathroom shelf with compartments for hair care supplies, accessories, and cosmetics. Store your kitchenware safely with our practical and pretty pan separators. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for January.
January 29 is National Puzzle Day — we’ve been celebrating the day since 1995, but puzzles of all types have been tickling our brains for hundreds of years. Experts say we love puzzles because we like to pick out patterns and build knowledge. The satisfaction we get from that knowledge is only one of the benefits of working through puzzles. Here are 5 benefits of puzzles for National Puzzle Day.
The Whole Brain The left side of the brain is where we work through tasks logically. The right side of the brain houses our intuition. We have to use both logic and intuition to piece puzzles together.
Brain Fitness Puzzles give your brain a workout — while it makes you happy to solve a puzzle, it may also keep your brain fit. Just like running and aerobics help keep your heart healthy and prevent disease, so may brain exercises. Some scientists believe intellectual challenges can slow down the deterioration of the brain we experience with old age — some studies even show a correlation between puzzles and staving off Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain-Building For kids, puzzles aren’t just brain boosters, they’re brain builders. Through puzzles, they develop hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills. Start them off with puzzles with large pieces and have them improve their skills when they graduate to puzzles with smaller pieces.
Cognitive Skills For adults, puzzles don’t build cognitive skills, but children’s brains are like sponges with puzzles. It helps them learn shape recognition, helps strengthen memory and develops critical thinking skills.
Social & Emotional Skills Puzzles help people of all ages with social and emotional skills. They give us a goal to work toward as well as an exercise in perseverance — setting out a box of pieces can seem insurmountable, but if you want to meet your goal it’s will take work!
Celebrate National Puzzle Day by fitting a few pieces together, solving crossword clues or getting your number in the right spot. Anyway way you celebrate National Puzzle Day, you’re celebrating your brain!
January 29 is National Corn Chip Day! We’re also just days away from the NFL’s biggest game when the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots. So, while we’re celebrating the corn chip, we thought we’d also give you some ideas for your Big Game Party!
We love the crunch and salty goodness of a corn chip — it’s an amazing way to add a little texture to a casserole for a tasty game day snack. Here’s our favorite corn chip recipe to serve at your Big Game party:
- 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2-10.5 oz cans cream of chicken soup
- 1-10.5 oz can diced tomatoes with chilis
- 2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed (about 2 cups)
- 1-12oz bag of corn chips
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (you can be generous with the cheese)
(if you like it spicy, you can add 1-4 oz can diced green chilis)
Preheat oven to 375℉.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sautee until they are slightly soft and a little translucent. Add cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes and chicken. Mix well and heat until the mixture is just bubbling.
Prepare a medium casserole dish (11”x7”) with cooking spray. Make a layer of corn chips on the bottom of the dish. Spoon the chicken mixture over the layer of chips followed by a layer of cheese. Continue layering until you run out of ingredients. There should be three layers with cheese on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly. Let cool on a cooling rack. This recipe makes 4 cups.
Once you starting eating this dish, you won’t be able to stop — and neither will your game day guests! However, if you can’t eat it all by the time your favorite team is celebrating its victory, it makes great leftovers. This casserole is even better the next day or even two days later.
We have more ideas for your Big Game party — check out our Pinterest page for more inspiration to get your party started!
Have you ever thought about how much time you spend at work? Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that most of us spend over 2,300 hours at the office in any given year. It’s high time to make some of those hours more fun. January 28 is National Have Fun at Work Day, and it is a perfect excuse for a little comedy in the cubicle.
How National Have Fun at Work Day came about is unclear, but what is plain is that it reminds us all of the importance of laughter and camaraderie at the office. Having a little fun at work develops a friendly and positive office culture. Plus, it also improves work satisfaction, morale and loyalty. Here are a few ideas of ways to have a little fun at the workplace on January 28.
Potluck Lunch Everyone has to eat, so why not make the lunch break interesting with a potluck? Host it in the break room or an empty conference room and ask everyone to bring their specialties and favorite dishes. You also can select a theme to inspire some delicious creations. You could also try hosting a chili cook-off or an ice cream social.
Office Supply Crafts All day, you are surrounded by paper clips and sticky notes. Why not get creative with them? Let your imagination run wild, and use office supplies to make new jewelry and crafts. If you have trouble getting started, check out some online collections of . You can even use desk supplies to make your own fleet of!
Play A Game Invite your office mates to play a game over one of your breaks. It can be as simple as a round of Go Fish or Old Maid with a pack of regular cards. Twisted Farkel is a hilarious game that is suitable for all groups, or you could play a few rounds of Celebrity. Since your break time is limited, try to pick games that do not take a long time to play or set up. The point is to have a little fun in your downtime, not to sweat the details of starting a long board game.
While it should be entertaining, Have Fun at Work Day cannot be an “anything goes” event; after all, you are still at work! Double check with your company’s employee manual or human resources department to make sure your plans will not violate any company rules. In addition, remember to follow basic office etiquette. Of course, make sure your boss or supervisor approves of the activities, and don’t forget to invite them, too.
Sunday, February 1, 2015, the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots go head-to-head on the gridiron for football’s championship title. While the players will be battling it out on the ball field, fans and foodies will be duking it out at the dinner table! The Big Game has created a true culinary face-off between two cities and two coasts — but whichever dishes you want to serve at your Big Game party, you’ll be the big winner! Here’s what you have to work with for regional food for the Big Game:
Fish and chips: Both Seattle and Boston boast of some of the best fish and chips in the nation. They both use cod and they’re both served with coleslaw.
Oysters: Seattle and Boston name oysters as hometown favorites. Who has the best should only be determined by experts.
Hot dogs: Seattle makes the hot dog its own by adding cream cheese and grilled onions to it — it was the brainchild of a bagel purveyor who wanted to please late night crowds during the grunge boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s..
Boston hot dog lovers are on the purist side. What makes up Boston’s Fenway Frank (named for the home of the Red Sox) are sauerkraut and mustard. It’s been a Boston fan favorite since the early 1900s.
Side dishes: Boston has Boston baked beans. They were a staple for the Pilgrims when they settled in Massachusetts. Settlers didn’t do any work on Sundays to observe the Sabbath — which included cooking meals. To get around this rule, they would cook the beans overnight (molasses being the key ingredient) on Saturdays so they’d have a hot meal to eat on Sunday.
Though it’s not something you can get everywhere in Seattle and they don’t have a rich history (just rich flavor), the garlic fries at Safeco Field are among Seattle’s iconic foods, so we’re pitting them against Boston’s beans. Both the beans and the fries can be made at home with comparable prep times.
Dessert: Boston has an obvious signature dessert: Boston cream pie. A french pastry chef at the Parker House Hotel is credited with coming up with this dessert in 1856. It’s not really a pie — it’s more of a pudding cake (yellow cake, custard filling, chocolate ganache icing) — but it’s celebrated as a Boston favorite and became the official dessert of the commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1996.
Seattle doesn’t have a signature dessert like Boston does, but it does have a famous dessert that can easily be replicated at your Big Game party (and it would make a pretty spectacular end to the game if the Seahawks win): The Lunar Orbiter. Basically, it’s an ice cream sundae served in a bowl atop a bowl filled with dry ice. Before taking a bite, water is poured on to the dry ice to make cloud-like vapors as you eat your sweet treat. They served it at the restaurant that tops the Space Needle for decades, but it’s been replaced by bread pudding, cheesecake parfait and seasonal cobblers.
Of course this list doesn’t include all of each city’s best food (we left off coffee, salmon and clam chowder), but there’s enough on your list to make a pretty amazing spread if you want your Big Game party to outshine the actual game. Even if the team you’re rooting isn’t favored to win, your food will be more than enough for a great party.
It’s two weeks into the new year. How are your resolutions going? If you are like most people, they are not going well. Only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions manage to keep them, and most resolutions don’t make it past 2 weeks. So you are not alone if you are stumbling. It is so common, there’s even a day to celebrate it—Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day on January 17. Sometimes, a little failure can be a good thing. Here are 5 reasons it’s healthy to ditch your resolutions for Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day.
They Are Unrealistic And Vague It is easy to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to resolutions. Sadly, these tend to set us up for failure rather than inspire us to achieve greatness. For instance, it would be wonderful if a couch potato transforms himself into a marathon runner. But, the chances of that happening in the real world in a short amount of time are not good. If you do not quickly achieve that lofty goal, you may get discouraged and quit. Likewise, many of us resolve to “be healthier”. Without specific targets, like “eating 5 veggies a day” or “go to gym twice a week”, you may not make it. Research shows that the more specific you make your goal, the more likely you are to succeed. So, get rid of the resolutions to “be nicer” and travel to the moon and try for smaller, specific things you can accomplish.
You Do Not Have A Plan Having goals is essential to self-improvement, but you need to figure out the steps to that goal to be a success. Remember that couch potato who wants to run a marathon? He has amended his resolution to “running in a local 5K event”. However, he still does not know the way to train for that goal. Without a plan, he cannot hit even this modest target. Take a look at your resolutions, and toss ones that you do not have a plan to accomplish. It’s far better to use your time to concentrate on attainable goals with simple steps than to stress over objectives that are hazy.
Results Will Vary Beware of differences between expected results and actual accomplishments. You may think that a smaller waistline or quitting caffeine will change your life, but you may be wrong. While these may make you healthier, they may not turn you into an entirely new person. It can be easy to slide back into old habits when you discover the new ones will not solve all of your problems. Take a moment to think about what you really want to change in your life and why. If the resolutions you made won’t get you there, abandon them for better goals.
You Set Too Many Resolutions You only have one supply of willpower. If you made more than one resolution, this precious resource is going to be used up quickly. A study by Stanford University found that the more goals people make, the less likely they were to achieve them. It is normal to have several things you want to change in your life, but if you try to tackle too many at once, you will spread yourself thin. Pick one important resolution to work on and drop the rest.
Resolutions Do Not Work As we said in the opening paragraph, only 8 percent of the people who make New Year’s resolutions manage to keep them. The remaining 92 percent fail. Why? Well, resolutions are based on what you think you should be doing, not on what you want to do. There is a big element of peer pressure and living up to other people’s expectations in New Year’s resolutions. That is not a recipe for long-term happiness. If you really do not want to follow through on the resolution, scrap it. Then, you will have more time and brainpower to spend on things you really want to achieve.
Making positive changes is an excellent idea, but New Year’s resolutions are not the right tools to do it. Ditch your 2015 resolutions and find more effective ways to start living the life you want. Who knows—once the pressure of the resolutions is gone, you may begin to make some progress!
The Big Game is almost here! While we all might be football fans, most of us won’t be in Phoenix to watch it in person — we’ll be at home or at a friend’s house for a party to watch every touchdown, field goal and commercial. It promises to be a great time — but you have to have the right food!
According to the National Restaurant Association, the most popular food for watching the Big Game is dips (spreads and salsa fall into that category). We’ve gone through all our recipes and came up with a favorite that’s both delicious and easy to make (nearly fool-proof!) with minimal ingredients. Our hot Artichoke Dip got the most votes and today we’re sharing it with you. Here’s how to make artichoke dip for the Big Game.
- 3 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 ½ cup grated parmesan three-cheese-blend (pecorino and asiago are the other two cheeses, but you can probably get away with just parmesan)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced (you can add garlic if you really like garlic)
Preheat oven to 350℉.
Place the artichoke hearts in a large mixing bowl. Break the hearts up with your hands so they’re in scoop-size pieces. Add mayonnaise, garlic and cheese. Mix everything together really well.
Place the mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until it’s bubbly and golden brown on top. Serve warm with tortilla chips or sliced bread. Makes 4 cups.
This dip is easy to make at the last minute so you can spend more time on games, entertainment and making sure all your guests are taken care of. Not only is it easy to make — it’s delicious! You won’t want to wait until the Big Game to serve it!
We have loads more ideas to make your Big Game party perfect — check out our Pinterest board for tricks and tips to put your party together.
Dress Up Your Pet Day is January 14! It couldn’t come at a more perfect time — the gray winter days make taking your dog out for a walk uninspiring. A little bit of color on a mid-January day may put a spring back in your dog’s step — and yours! Here are a few easy ideas for wrapping up your dog for Dress Up Your Pet Day!
How adorable are these pet collars? If your dog doesn’t like to wear clothes, you can make him cute by just adding fancy flare to his collar. They come in three styles — orange and black, red and green or red, white and blue!
For a DIY collar, turn an old, favorite t-shirt into a bandana! Strategically cut a triangle out of the t-shirt you want to salvage and pass on to your pup and you’re done! And you don’t even have to break out the sewing machine. This is a great way to upcycle your favorite team shirt so even your dog can show team support for the Big Game!
There are so many items we don’t want to wear, but they’re not in a shape that’s bad enough to throw it out. For instance, the winter hat. We don’t wear it out as quickly as styles change, which makes it a perfect candidate for an adorable sweater for a small dog or cat. Check out Pretty Little Things’ pattern for a hat-turned dog sweater. If you want to make it a no-sew project, try embellishing the edges using hot glue and embroidered edging.
Here’s a solution for all those socks who lost their match in the laundry — the sock sweater for tiny dogs (and cats)! Howcast does a step-by-step tutorial on how to turn a sock into a sweater without digging up your thread and sewing needles! Your pup will be ready to go out all dressed up for a walk in less than ten minutes. So easy and sew cute!
If your socks aren’t big enough for your pup, try using sweat pants or yoga pants to make something you can dress your dog in. Sweet, Cute and Cuddly Pups has a no-sew pattern to make pants into a dog sweater. She also has a few other more intricate patterns to try out for Dress Up Your Pet Day!
There are lots of ways to dress up your pet — whether they just need a new collar or they need a nose-to-tail coat, your dog will be exponentially cuter (maybe even warmer!) when you dress him up.
Spring is the perfect time to shake things up around your home. Whether you are looking for a big change in the living room or just some new bedding, LTD Commodities has what you need to refresh your space. Try some blackout patio curtains that look great while they help you control the amount of light in the room. Sink caddies organize your kitchen or bath, and you can add comfort to any floor with a runner designed to fit in a corner. Here are the Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.
Food, fun and football! We’re getting ready for football’s biggest game! It’s our favorite reason for a mid-winter celebration. For our Big Game party, people come for the football and stay for the food. Because there will be a lot of people to feed we want what we serve to be delicious and easy to put together. While wings and nachos are must-haves at Big Game parties, you need a little something sweet to break up all the salty snacks. We thought most of your entertaining energy should go to dips and spreads, so we’re sharing our easiest sweet treat to satisfy sugar cravings during the Big Game: Five-Minute Fudge! Here’s how you make it:
- 1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
- ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
Line an 8×8 casserole dish or cake pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
Top it with the condensed milk.
If the chocolate isn’t completely melted, put it in the microwave for another 15 seconds. Stir until it’s smooth.
Stir in the vanilla followed by the nuts. Spread the fudge into the aluminum foil-lined dish.
Place in the freezer for an hour or until it’s hard. Remove the foil with the fudge from the pan.
On a cutting board, flip the fudge over so the foil is on top.
Remove the foil.
This fudge takes so little time to make, you’ll be able to concentrate on cheering for your team. In fact, this fudge is so easy to make, it’ll be your new favorite go to treat for parties even after the Big Game!
We have more ideas on what to do for your Big Game party — check out our Pinterest board for inspiration to make your Big Game party awesome!