8 Movies for Backyard Movie Night

Movies-In-The-Park

Image source: Bryan Fountain via Flickr

There are only a few weeks left in which we can enjoy our backyards at night. Make the most of it by hosting a backyard movie night before school starts again. Here are some of the best family-friendly movies for backyard movie night.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Sardines are the only source of food for the town of Swallow Falls when it falls victim to an economic crisis. A failed inventor, Flint Lockwood, is determined to turn the town around by building a machine that changes water into food. When the machine malfunctions and sends it into the atmosphere, it causes cloudbursts of culinary delights, saving the town from a lifetime of sardines. But the town’s leaders go from grateful to greedy, causing a food super-storm that, without Flint’s intervention, would destroy the world. With cheeseburgers falling from the sky, Flint’s mission is to disable his greatest invention and save the planet.

The Wiz Young Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and a girlish Diana Ross as Dorothy ease on down the yellow brick road in this 1970s classic take on the Wizard of Oz. Lost in the Land of Oz, a thankless Dorothy goes on a mission to find the Wiz who, she is told, has the power to send her back to Harlem. Through a fanciful trip to the Emerald City, Dorothy learns to be grateful with the help of the characters she meets on her way.

E.T. E.T. is the heartwarming story of a friendship between a boy and an alien accidentally left on earth by his family. The boy, Elliott takes in the alien, E.T. while they secretly try to figure out how to get E.T. back to his home planet. But their mission is derailed when government agents discover E.T. and take him in for testing. The real adventure begins when they try to escape the grips of the government to get E.T. home before the agents figure out they’re gone. E.T. promises to bring tears to your eyes and vows to turn on your heartlight.

Movies-In-The-Park

Image source: Tommy Low via Flickr

Toy Story Toy Story is the story you imagine when you’re a kid – toys come to life when you’re not in the room. In this story, Woody is by far Andy’s favorite toy, but when Andy gets a new action figure, Buzz Lightyear, jealousy and resentment sends both Woody and Buzz out the window and into the real world. Buzz and Woody, fighting the dangers of the outside, struggle to get along as they try to get back to the safety of Andy’s home.

Back to the Future Marty McFly, is sent back to the 1950s in a time machine his friend (and crazy scientist), Doc, builds. Arriving in the same place he left, but in a different decade, Marty gets mixed up in his teenage parents’ lives and accidentally throws history — as he knows it – off course. Marty must go back to the future, but not without fixing the past and getting his parents together.

The Sandlot The new kid in town, Scotty Smalls, makes friends and learns how to play baseball with the kids from the Sandlot. But when they play with the wrong ball – a ball signed by baseball legend Babe Ruth – they knock it out of the sandlot and into the yard of a vicious dog known as The Beast. Facing his fears, Scotty is determined to get the ball back.

Movies-In-The-Park

Image source: Aaron Molina via Flickr

Ghostbusters When New York City seems to be taken over by spirits of the dead, a group of outcast scientists take it upon themselves to capture and cage these spirits as Ghostbusters. With doubt cast over the Ghostbusters, city officials unlock the ghost holding cell and unleash a firestorm of otherworldly chaos. To get the ghosts back under control, they must face an ancient evil god and, as this evil god would have it, their own demons.

There’s only one month left before Labor Day weekend; as you’re savoring the days, throw in a backyard movie night to make the most of your warm summer nights.

5 Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

Even the best of homemakers could use some help around the kitchen. Here at LTD we’re always on the look out for tools to shave off prep time in the kitchen. Here are 5 kitchen gadgets you didn’t know you needed.

Every-last-drop-funnel

Every Last Drop Funnel helps you utilize every ounce in a bottle. It holds a bottle upside down until the product drips out into the saucepot. Keep it in the kitchen for condiments or use the included suction cups to cling it to a shower wall for shampoo and conditioner.

ice-cube-tray-lid

All ice cube trays should come with a lid! Not only does the lid snap on so you don’t spill water on your walk from the sink to the freezer, but it also protects your ice from things being spilled in the freezer.

folding-cutting-boards

These are no ordinary color-coded cutting boards – they also fold! This makes for convenient, space-saving storage, but it also minimizes mess by bending in a v-shape so you can add an ingredient to your recipe without spilling or having to scoop it. The colors also act as a code so you can cut your raw meat and fish on a separate board than your vegetables while you prepare meals.

Refrigerator-magnet-Measuring-Converter

A refrigerator magnet is a quick measurement conversion guide where you need it when you need it. The recipe divider allows you to shrink or expand your recipe and the measurement magnet gives you equivalents in cups, fluid ounces, tablespoons, teaspoons, and milliliters.

Batter-dispenser

The Batter Dispenser takes the challenge out of making perfect cupcakes, pancakes and muffins. The 4-cup dispenser drops a uniform amount in the muffin tin or on the griddle with just a squeeze of the handle. As a bonus, it’s designed to stand upright on the counter and the cover allows you to keep unused batter for later.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Weekend Getaways

Weekend-GetawaySummers are for vacations, but even during the summer it’s hard to take time off from work; when you want to go away it has to be a weekend retreat. Here are some of the best places around the country for weekend getaways when you don’t have time for a vacation.

California About five hours north of Los Angeles and two hours south of San Francisco, is the easy-going town of Carmel. It’s good for shopping, a stroll and enjoying time away from home. For outdoor serenity, Point Lobos is just to the south where you can take in California’s cliffs and beaches with a hike or whale watching.

Texas Not far from the Texas State Capital of Austin is the tiny town of Bastrop. It sits between the Colorado River — where you can kayak, canoe or paddle board – and the Bastrop State Park – where you can camp and hike. But Bastrop’s charm doesn’t end in the outdoors. The Deep in the Heart Art Foundry hosts tours (by appointment) where you can see how massive metal monuments are made. For entertainment, the Bastrop Opera House holds weekly musical performances and plays.

Weekend-GetawayFlorida For architecture enthusiasts, Lakeland is at the top of the bucket list of places to visit. Just east of Tampa, it’s the home to the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world – he designed the Florida Southern College campus. In addition to architecture, golf is also an attraction; it’s home to courses to accommodate players at all skill levels. There is also a festival for almost every month of the year.

Ohio Northwest of Cincinnati is an outdoorsman’s paradise. Hocking Hills State Park is a recreational area where you can camp or stay in a cabin to enjoy Ohio’s nature at its finest. Discovery hikes are held periodically but there are plenty of biking and hiking trails to explore on your own and find mystical waterfalls, deep, dark caves and cliffs of insanity.

Pennsylvania West of Philadelphia and north of Baltimore, the Pennsylvania Amish settled for a “plain” lifestyle. You can experience the plain lifestyle by touring the countryside in a horse and buggy and explore what life was like before cars and manufacturing. If you’re looking for something more bustling, “America’s Coolest Small Town” – Littitz, Pennsylvania – is in the heart of Lancaster County. There are bakeries, parks and museums to enjoy without having to put in too much effort.

Weekend-GetawayYou don’t have to go far to get away, but sometimes a weekend trip is just the refresher we need when we can’t fit in a vacation.

 

5 Summer Cocktail Ideas for Lounging on Hammock Day

hammock-1July 22nd is Hammock Day — which is perfect for the middle of July because all we want to do is lounge in a hammock and sip a cold cocktail. So we came up with a list of fun and easy cocktails to drink on Hammock Day.

CocktailsTea with a Kick

Peachy Hard Iced Tea 

  • 1/3 cup peach liqueur
  • ¼ cup TB spiced rum
  • 1/4 cup peach schnapps
  • 1/8 cup vodka
  • 1 cup sweet tea
  • Lemon wedges

Combine the first four ingredients and pour over two glasses of ice. Stir in tea. Squeeze in lemon to taste. Makes about 4 servings.

Citrus with Spice

Moscow Mule

  • ¾ cup vodka
  • Fresh lime juice from 1 lime
  • 3 cups ginger beer

Combine vodka and lime juice in a shaker with ice and shake it up. Pour over four glasses of ice and top with ginger beer and gently stir. Garnish with lime slices. Makes about 4 servings.

Cocktails-2

 

Berry with a Bang

Berry Shandy

  • 3/4 cup blackberries or raspberries, muddled
  • 4 bottles light beer (a lager like a pilsner is best)
  • 1 (12-oz.) container frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 TB blackberry or raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup vodka

Stir together ingredients. Pour over ice. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes about 6 servings.

Melon with Marvel

Watermelon Sangria

  • 1 small watermelon, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 750ml bottle white wine (dry is best – a sauvignon blanc or a white Burgundy would be ideal)
  • ¾ cup vodka
  • ½ cup triple sec
  • ½ cup simple syrup

In a blender, puree watermelon into a juice and strain through a sieve or a cheese cloth to remove chunks. Combine the strained juice with remaining ingredients and refrigerate for two hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over ice. Makes about 7 servings.

You don’t have to have a cocktail to enjoy the day in a hammock, but if you have a hammock, this is a reminder to get out there and enjoy it while the weather is lovely.

Happy Hammock Day!

Who We Are Following

The Internet is exploding with new slants and twists to simplify and enhance our lives. We’re on Pinterest, Twitter and the blogosphere, watching for what’s trending, what’s useful and what we think you might like. Here’s our list of who we are following:

theidearoomAt  theidearoom.com, Amy, as a science teacher turned-DIYer-blogger-crafter, shares fun projects to inspire even the craftiest of people. She has tips on everything from dealing with a child’s temper tantrum to creating a DIY vertical flower bed. For June, our favorite was her 30 day photo challenge post. Inspiring indeed.

Every-MileEverymilesamemory.com chronicles Pat and Cindy Bonish’s travels in their RV. They’ve been on the road for the last two or so years, living, loving and taking pictures of all the places they’ve seen around this beautiful country of ours. Their story is inspiring and their pictures are enviable. Their latest adventure was to Cedar Key, Florida; check it out and you won’t be able to trade in your house keys for RV keys fast enough.

Pinterest

PinterestJen Simpson  pins and pinspires. Her boards vary – she throws a “pet-shaming” board in between her breakfast recipe and home improvement boards and you might even find a board dedicated solely to Valentine’s Day wallpaper. However unpredictable her pinning ideas are, the inspiration is always consistent.

Mandy Naranjo is full of tricks and tips to share and we’re so glad she shares them with us on Pinterest. She’s not short on ideas for what to do with a box full of buttons or what teens can do with their extra energy. DIY and crafts are what on Mandy’s mind and, you know, great minds think alike.

TwitterTwitter

@craftaholicanon If you have a DIY or craft question, @craftaholicanon will answer it. Really. Just tweet her – she’s standing by with a response or she’ll find someone who can give you the answer. In addition to answers, she also offers craft tutorials, creative ideas for the family and holidays.

@allthingsthrift tweets from every angle to keep things affordable whether you’re making holiday decorations yourself or you need a new blueberry recipe. Hair tutorials, DIY day bed pallet projects and a July 4th wreath are all on @allthingsthrift’s Twitter feed this month.

Pinners, tweeters and bloggers – there are a lot out there with great ideas; these are just a few we think are worth following.

Cure for the Mondays: Sophia Petrillo

 

Sophia

Image source: Roberto Garcia Fadon via Flickr

It’s Monday. It’s hard to get back into the swing of the work week, so let’s not yet. Here’s our cure for the Mondays: Sophia Petrillo. Let’s warm up our brains with the musings of our favorite Golden Girl.

On Being Old

-“When I turn my hearing-aid up to ten, I can hear a canary break wind in Lauderdale!”

-“I sleep like a log! I never have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I go in the morning. Every morning, like clockwork, at 7am – I p**. Unfortunately I don’t wake up ’till 8.”

-“I’m an old white woman. I’m not supposed to have color.”

-“I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know.”

-[On retirement homes] “Do you know what they do? They set off the fire alarm in a retirement home. Who can rush? Half the people have walkers. The other half can’t get out of their chairs. They got bells going off like crazy. Do you know what that does to hearts that only beat a few times a week? It’s not pretty.”

Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

On Being Cranky

-“There’s just something I don’t like about him. I can’t put my finger on it, but if I did, I’d have to wash it.”

-[On her late husband Sal] “May he rest in peace till I get there.”

-“You didn’t ask me for my opinion, but I’m old, so I’m giving it anyway.”

-“Why do blessings wear disguises? If I were a blessing, I’d run around naked.”

-“There’s nothing to fear but fear itself… And of course the bogeyman.”

Sophia was sometimes wise, mostly witty and always hilarious. Even when you have the Mondays, Sophia is good for a chuckle.

Different Colored Eyes Day: Celebrities with Different Colored Eyes

July 12th is Different Colored Eyes Day – different colored eyes is a condition called heterochromia iridum and, according to the National Institutes of Health, it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Among those 200,000 people are some you may know – from a distance, anyway. Here are 7 celebrities with different colored eyes:

Dan-Aykroyd


Mark Nassal via Flickr

Dan Aykroyd You may know him as Elwood Blues, and even though Dan Aykroyd is known as a Blues Brother, there’s nothing blue about either of his eyes. The difference is so subtle you might not notice, but Aykroyd has one brown eye and one green eye.

Elizabeth Berkley As studious Jessie Spano on Saved By The Bell, Elizabeth Berkley’s head may have been buried in the books too much to notice the color of her eyes. She has two different colors in one of her eyes – one half is brown, the other half is green and the other eye is green.

Kate-bosworth

Startinghere71 via Flickr

Kate Bostworth With all the action thrown at Superman’s girlfriend in Superman Returns, you may have been too distracted to notice Lois Lane’s eyes. The actress who played Lane, Kate Bosworth, has one brown eye and one blue eye. Perhaps that was the Man of Steel’s Kryptonite.

Jane Seymour From Bond Girl to Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman to Cougar in Wedding Crashers, it wasn’t Jane Seymour’s eyes that landed her some of her best roles on screen. In addition to the actress and model’s long, flowing hair and sultry voice she has one green eye and one blue eye.

Christopher Walken Another Bond and Wedding Crashers alum also has two different colored eyes. Christopher Walken has one blue and one hazel eye. The difference is about as extreme as his ability to stretch from drama to slapstick comedy.

Kiefer-Sutherland

Dan Correla via Flickr

Kiefer Sutherland A little known fact about the 24 star is he has one green eye and one blue eye. Another little known fact about Kiefer Sutherland, according to IMDB, is he was active in the rodeo circuit in his early 30s. Sutherland is chock full of interesting dichotomies.

Mila-Kunis

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Mila Kunis It’s hard not to notice Mila Kunis these days with all of the attention she’s getting for her upcoming wedding to Ashton Kutcher, the birth of their child and quitting acting to start a home. But what with all the buzz, the one thing you might not notice is her different colored eyes – one green and one brown.

 

 

Video Game Day: How We Played Video Games Before Internet Consoles

July 8th is Video Game Day. For parents, this day is met with an eye-roll even though most parents went through a video game phase when they were kids. Perhaps the disdain for the day is out of envy — after all, video games 20 years ago weren’t quite as fancy and high-tech as they are today. Here’s a look back at video games LTD Commodities was peddling before internet consoles.

Push-Button Basketball “Indoor hoops without the drywall repairs” and… fun! Make lay-ups and three-pointers with the touch of a knob, but even with all the “surprising upsets” everything stays intact with the protective plastic dome. The colorful score keeper tracks all of the exciting one-on-one action of “thrilling comebacks” all without a battery, cord or internet connection.

Push-Button-BasketballHappy Driver with Bump and Go Action Get behind the wheel without a driver’s license with this driving simulator! It has a key you can actually turn to start the “car” and a gear shifter so you can change gears as you speed up and slow down — depending on your simulated traffic. You can even avoid jams by shifting into reverse and head in another direction to reach your destination without getting into an “accident.” If you prefer action in the air, water or narrow road ways, simulators come in choice of airplane, motorcycle and boat.

Happy-Driver

Cassette Game Player Who needs an MP3 player or a portable CD player when you can listen to your Wham! Make It Big cassette tape and play video game tennis or grand prix at the same time from the same machine!  This Cassette Game Player takes FULL-SCALE cassettes (no Pocket Rockers here!), it features adjustable headset and built-in belt clip. The video games function on a simple watch battery; the cassette player — which features play, stop and fast forward (Sorry! No rewind) — operates on two AA batteries.

Cassette-Game-Player

Electronic Action Games Tic tic tic! Beep beep beep! Aliens are blown to bits with the intergalactic Space Blaster! Battle hostile aliens from wherever you are in the Universe and you’ll “feel the power of an arcade in the palm of your hands.”  ”Arcade?” you might ask. Well, it just means you don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy decimating aliens with the touch of a button. Oh, and don’t worry, your hands won’t actually turn green if you play Space Blaster. If sports are more your thing, “Basketball,” “Motorcycle” and “Car Racing” are also Electronic Action Game options. There are two skill levels to choose from on each game and, just in case you need help getting to class on time, the EAG includes a “handy clock and alarm.”

Video-Game-Player

Electronic Tabletop Games What’s your video game pleasure? Football? Fighting aliens? Car racing? Baseball? Well, you can play them all on separate machines from the comfort of your kitchen table or desk top (by “desk top” we don’t mean a computer that is not a laptop or tablet, we mean the top of a desk!). You have the option of playing as a beginner or an expert (no in-betweeners, please!) as you take on the electronic opponent of your choice. These games will keep you mesmerized for hours, but just so you don’t get too wrapped up in Electronic Tabletop Games, the clock chimes hourly to remind you you’re wasting a perfectly nice summer day.

Electronic-Tabletop-Game

Technology has improved exponentially in the last twenty years so LTD Commodities no longer carry these video games. It’s a good thing, too — now video games just take up Cloud Space rather than storage space (but we will always sell storage space solutions!). Unfortunately, video games still waste your time now the same way they did in 1994.

 

Fried Chicken Day: Best Places for Fried Chicken

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day… Everyone has a different idea of how it should be done, but there isn’t a wrong way to do fried chicken. Here are some of the best places for fried chicken around the country.

Texas In Texas, Houston’s Barbecue Inn takes the top spot for fried chicken. It’s been in business for almost 70 years and everything is old-school – it’s the type of place where kale is used as a garnish, not in a salad and the only other green you might find on your plate is a side of creamy cole slaw. But you’re not going for the vegetables, you’re going for the fried-to-order chicken that is worth the wait.

Florida Jumbo’s Restaurant in Miami serves up crispy fried chicken every minute of every day. The food is consistent and it should be – just about everyone who works there has been there for decades with an extensive menu to match; you don’t have to stop with the fried food (conch and shrimp are also favorites), you can get everything from a chicken liver omelette to sweet and tasty fried plantains.

fried-chicken

Image Source: Robyn Lee via Flickr

Pennsylvania Good ‘n’ Plenty in Smoketown not only gives you home-style fried chicken, they also serve it to you home-style – which means you might be seated next to a stranger, sharing a pitcher of iced tea, eating all you want for one price. But if you want to try the fried chicken, you have to keep up with their menu – it’s on a weekly rotation.

Ohio At Mya’s Fried Chicken in Columbus they keep it simple; they have to because they’re working out of a truck – and only on the weekend. Chicken, biscuits and a few sides are what’s on the menu, but do you really need more? Not in Ohio.

Fried-Chicken

Image Source: Maigochan via Flickr

California In Los Angeles, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is a classic spot to get breakfast any time. They serve just about every part of the chicken next to waffles, biscuits or potatoes smothered in gravy. But if you’re craving chicken and waffles while you’re in LA, be prepared to wait; the lines there are legendary.

Wherever you are on July 6th, there’s bound to be a great fried chicken place near you. Do yourself a favor and order a few drumsticks for the occasion; you won’t regret it.

UFO Day: Best Places to Spot UFOs

UFO

Image source: Gerhard Ulhorn via Flickr

July 2nd is UFO Day. According to the Syracuse New Times, there are about 25 UFO sightings reported around the world every day. In the United States there are a few places where reports are heavier than others. Here are 5 of the Best Places to spot UFOs.

Texas Apparently, the entire state of Texas is a great place to spot UFOs. From Lubbock to Huffman, there have been compelling accounts of UFOs hovering over the Lone Star State. Going back to the 19th century, an aircraft crashed in the town of Aurora, destroying a windmill. The remains of a small being were found and it was buried in the town cemetery. More recently, in 2008, dozens of Stephenville residents claimed to see aircrafts the size of football fields flying over the town. It made national news, but about two weeks later, the US Air Force dismissed the claims saying training flights were being conducted at the time of the “sightings.”

UFO

Image source: Flickr

Pine Bush, New York As the UFO Sighting Capital of New York, residents of Pine Bush have been seeing and hearing strange things regularly since the 1900s. One aircraft known as the “Westchester Boomerang,” has been spotted more than 2,000 times in Pine Bush and surrounding areas, but there are numerous claims of alien encounters – two books have been published about the activity. Today, there’s a yearly festival in the spring to celebrate UFOs and aliens in Pine Bush.

Cleveland, Ohio UFO activity is hot in Cleveland and its surrounding area. Many people have reported strange lights over Lake Erie – like big red or orange balls unlike anything associated with an airplane or helicopter. There are government and military bases nearby, but witnesses claim the lights are from out of this world.

San Luis Valley, Colorado The UFO sightings are so frequent a woman built a UFO watchtower where more than 20,000 in the last 15 years have gone to witness alien air forces in action. There have been more than 60 reported sightings – including flying discs — in the area along with strange occurrences involving cattle. There is a nearby air force base, but whether it’s there for testing aircraft or fighting alien invaders, is a matter of debate in some circles.

UFO

Image source: Roberto Fontana via Flickr

Los Angeles, California The Battle of Los Angeles in 1942 has UFO chasers still linking the city with extra-terrestrial activity. The Battle was what seemed like an enemy attack and even set of air raid sirens, but the US military had no explanation for it except it was likely a lost weather balloon. Now there is thought to be an underwater UFO base off the coast of Los Angeles UFO chasers think is connected to the Battle of Los Angeles. There was some speculation about a base in 2006, but earlier this year, some structures were discovered off the coast. Whether or not those structures are alien has yet to be determined.

Whether you have spotted unidentified flying objects in the sky or not, UFO Day reminds us the Universe is much bigger than the world we live in and we are not alone.