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!

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.

 

Pinteresting Picks for June

It’s the last day of June and summer is in full-swing — we can tell just by looking at our Pinterest boards. We looked at our most pinned products — they’re all very different, but there’s definitely a summer theme to the selections. Here is our list of Pinteresting Picks for June.

Splish-Splash

Your kids will jump at the chance to make waves in this Banzai Splish Splash Pool. Overflowing with nearly 8 feet of fun, this inflatable water playground gives toddlers a cool retreat from the heat. Six activity stations include a rainbow canopy, whale slide, water-spraying starfish stacker, baby dolphin rider, clamshell sprinkler and water-spraying pool rim. Simply attach to your garden hose and let the fun begin.

 

Gnome-Tree

Solar Gnome Tree House will put a smile on the face of everyone who sees it. This whimsical garden accent features windows that light up using the power of the sun. Turns on automatically at dusk.

 

Smores-Grill-Rack

Prepare everyone’s favorite campfire treat on the grill with this S’mores Grill Rack. The stainless steel platform holds graham crackers and chocolate on top, while the sides can hold marshmallows on two of the four included skewers.

 

Body-Pillows

A 52″ Bright Body Pillow is a fun and comfortable addition to your bedroom. Cradle it for extra support while sleeping on your side. Lean back onto it when reading or watching TV. Works as a decorative pillow for your bed as well.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ideas to Give Your Room a New Look

living-roomRedecorating can be a lot of work and a lot of money but every room could use a refresher once in a while. Here are 5 simple ideas to give your room a new look without all the expense and effort of renovating.

Contrast

Treat trim and baseboards as you would treat wall art or a photograph. Curate it. Give it color in contrast to the walls. Making the trim stand out mixes up the mundane and gives the room an unexpected visual pop.

Angle

Pick up your furniture and move it. It doesn’t have to be completely re-arranged, a simple slide counterclockwise to change the angle of the room refreshes a tired arrangement without tearing down a wall or even dragging out your tool box.

living-room2Rotate

Change up your accessories. Rotate different colored throw pillows and blankets into the room to create a different mood. Do this seasonally to brighten the room, to tone it down or when you get bored the room’s landscape.

Redistribute

Go through your room and collect all your knick knacks, curios and baubles. When all of your surfaces are free of mementos, redistribute them. Just mixing up the little things brings a welcome shine to a dull room.

living-room3Nature

Add a houseplant or two to the room. Plants add color and life to a room as well as filter the air we breathe. The room doesn’t even have to have much light; some plants prefer indirect sunlight and thrive in dim spots. Even if you don’t think you can care for a plant, there are many plants that require minimal maintenance.

Reviving a room doesn’t have to be a lot of work or cost a lot. Sometimes it only takes a few adjustments to bring cheer back to a room.

Duck Dynasty 4th of July

Duck-Dynasty-flicker-USOThe Robertsons are known for their country values, patriotic flare, and being a little offbeat. Expect nothing less for a Duck Dynasty 4th of July celebration. Here’s a Duck Dynasty guide to celebrating the most patriotic of American holidays:

Taking the Day Off:

“Work Work Work. Nobody takes to to stop and smell the roses. Hey, so Jack we’re smelling the roses.” – Si

“It’s Saturday, I fish on Saturdays.” – Jase

Cooking Out:

“Food is the language. I know how to speak it.”- Miss Kay

“Buy those wieners with cheese already in them.” – Willie

Spending Time with Family:

“West Monroe born and raised in the duck blind is where I spent most of my days.” – Jep

“I want to learn how to make that little heart & a smiley face.” – Miss Kay

“I know this sounds like a crazy question, but what are you doing handcuffed to your uncle?” – Phil

Causin’ Trouble: 

“This thing is off the hook and the chain.” – Si

“We’re gonna run if we get in trouble.” – Jep

Relaxing and Disconnecting:

“They’re already suffering from digital dementia.” – Phil

“Peace of mind is like a piece of pie.” – Si

To create a Robertson Fourth of July is a tall order; you don’t have to do it their way to do it right, but their way is the fun way.

 

Summer Solstice Celebrations

Summer-SolsticeJune 21st is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere — in Chicago, that means 15 hours and 13 minutes of daylight, but it’s not the same everywhere – some places get sunshine until late at night and it’s steeped in tradition. Here are a few places where the longest day of the year calls for Summer Solstice celebrations much different from American summer celebrations.

Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe, they get more than 17 hours of daylight – giving them plenty of time to celebrate. Eastern European countries – Lithuania, Belarus, Poland – honor Summer Solstice as Kupala or St. John’s Day. Following tradition of Slavic folklore, the day is a festival of fertility and water. Children douse each other in water fights and uncoupled girls, read their romantic futures by sending flower wreaths in the river. According to folklore, it’s the only day the fern flower blooms; as a sort of pairing ceremony, girls are sent into the forest to find the fern flowers and boys are sent in to follow the girls. Young people already coupled jump over fire pits –hands locked—to determine the strength of their relationship.

MaypoleSweden, Finland and Norway

Sweden, Finland and Norway get almost 19 hours of daylight – the sun rises before 4am and sets after 10pm. Like Eastern European countries, they celebrate St. John’s Day on the Summer Solstice – or Midsummer – which is taken very seriously. In Sweden and Finland most businesses close up shop and people leave town for the countryside to celebrate. Flowers and plants are thought to have special healing powers on the solstice, so to welcome summer, children pick flowers to decorate the Maypole which they later dance around. Norway’s summer solstice is full of superstition – to protect their cows, they decorate barns with troll repellent birch and rowanberries. The center of Summer Solstice celebration for all three countries, much like Eastern European countries, is the bonfire – a symbol of the sun.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Stonehenge reigns as the most identifiable place to celebrate Summer Solstice. Stonehenge is a stone monument near what archaeologists believe to be ancient burial grounds that date back to 3100 B.C.  Every year thousands of people gather at the site to watch the sun rise at 4:53am on the Summer Solstice. Archaeologists believe the giant stones were set up in alignment with the sun and they were used as ceremonial paths during the shortest and longest days of the year.

DaylightThe only place in the United States that gets a day an excessive amount of daylight is Anchorage, Alaska where they get 19 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. Celebrations aren’t rooted in cultural traditions, but there is a big festival and a Midnight Sun Marathon.

We might not get as much sunlight as our northern friends, but it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate a day with extra sunshine. Happy Summer Solstice!

June 18th is National Splurge Day: 3 Ways to Spoil Yourself

June 18th is National Splurge Day…We’re taught to practice restraint in everything we do, but sometimes we need to let loose and do something for ourselves without feeling like we’ve done something wrong. Here are 3 ways to spoil yourself without feeling guilty for overindulging.

ShopaholicShopping

There are many reasons why we spend money and there are many reasons we don’t spend money. One thing is for certain: we like to spend money on things we want. Though the study hasn’t been officially published, researchers at the University of Michigan believe shopping can reduce residual sadness. Since Splurge Day is coming up, we’re going to give shopping the benefit of the doubt and give you the green light to splurge on whatever dress, piece of furniture or shoes you’ve been dying for. Buying something new might just lift your spirits – if they need lifting.

spa-day

 

Spa

A day at the spa doesn’t need much of a defense. By definition, it has countless benefits. British researchers found massage can reduce anxiety, but massage – more specifically, touch – releases the hormone “oxytocin,” which, new research shows, can keep you young. The study published in the journal Nature Communications was done on mice injected with the hormone – both young and old mice. Muscles in the old mice were actually repaired by the hormone while there was no effect on the young mice. This is not hard evidence showing more touching will make humans young, but a good massage is worth splurging on if there’s even a possibility it keeps us young. So please, splurge on that day at the spa.

Chocolate-CakeFood

There’s not much evidence eating too much of anything is good for you, but there are foods we are trained to eat sparingly – but some of those items can actually be good for you. One of them is chocolate. It contains flavonoid antioxidants which are considered to be good for your heart and blood vessels. With some evidence to back that up, Swedish researchers studied its effects on women who had suffered heart attacks and found the more they ate, the greater their chance of survival. It sounds too good to be true, but any reason to indulge in chocolate is a good reason.

We can’t eat, buy and do anything we want every day, but every once in a while it feels good to indulge; on Splurge Day, it’s ok to do just that. Happy Splurge Day!

Best Places to Fish Around the Country

Fly-Fisherman-CastingThe Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake is coming up. But even if you don’t live in Tennessee, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a weekend of fishing. Here are the Tennessee, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a weekend of fishing. Here are the best places to fish around the country right now.

California

Shasta Lake in Northern California near Redding is a prime spot for angling. Both warm water and cold water fish call it home. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass make waves there along with catfish, crappie, rainbow and brown trout, and bluegill among others. According to fisherman reporting on fishsniffer.com, kokanee and king salmon are buzzing right now with trout and bass performing a great side show.

Texas

Cedar Creek Lake outside of Dallas is one of the biggest lakes in Texas – and if it’s big in Texas, it’s HUGE to the rest of us. According to Cedarcreeklake.com it has about 320 miles of shoreline so there’s plenty of room to cast your line. Largemouth and white bass, crappie and blue catfish are yours for the fishing. According to bigcrappie.com, heavy rains are making shallow water great for reeling in crappies as the catfish move to deeper waters. Cedar Creek Lake isn’t just good for the fishing – it’s also a vacation spot and is rumored to be one of the best places to retire.

Illinois

Not too far from Carbondale, Lake of Egypt is the base for some of the best fishing in Illinois. There’s about 95 miles of shoreline between the Trail of Tears State Forest and the Shawnee National Forest. It’s a privately owned lake with public access for a fee — but it’s a great recreation destination. According to lake-link.com Largemouth and smallmouth bass, white and black crappie, bluegills and carp glide through the water of Lake of Egypt. Right now bass and bluegills are biting but the bigger fish are moving to deeper water.

Florida

About halfway between Tampa and Palm Bay, you’ll find Lake Kissimmee and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes where some of Florida’s best fishing is done; that’s saying a lot because Florida is peppered with great lakes. Lake Kissimmee is known for its bass – the Florida Game and Fish laws limits angler bounty to five fish per day – only one can be more than 24 inches long. Right now, the water is warm so it’s best to do your fishing earlier in the day before the heat slows the fish down.

Fly-FishingOhio

If you’re not tempted by the deep water of Lake Erie, just south of Akron, there’s plenty of fishing to be done at Portage Lakes – a chain of five lakes connected by channels. Many bodies of water means a variety of fish – walleye, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, rainbow trout, white crappie are among your options. Right now is a good time to scoop up crappies and largemouth bass are biting.

You don’t have to be a bassmaster to reel in a good fish, but you may need a fishing license, a fishing rod and a good lead to the best lake for outdoor sports. From California to Florida, you have some ideas on where to go… now all you have to do is bait your hook!

Garden Exercise Day: Make Your Gardening Routine into an Exercise Routine

Image source: ecosalon.com

Image source: ecosalon.com

It’s Garden Exercise Day! Today is the day digging up dirt counts as a workout. Surprisingly, getting your hands dirty can be great exercise if you do it right. If you’re putting an earnest effort into your gardening, you’ll be able to feel the physical effects – at least if you’re not letting machines do the work for you. Here’s to make your gardening routine into an exercise routine:

Mowing (with a push mower) – Using a reel push mower to mow your lawn can be a great calorie-burning activity. Mowing requires you to use your legs, arms and back and helps build core strength. Mowing can also be a moderate cardiovascular exercise. According to livestrong.com, a 135-pound person can burn up to 135 calories in 30 minutes of mowing the lawn.

Tree-pruning – The reaching and bending action involved in tree-pruning is similar to what fitness trainers call a burpee without stretching out into a pushup position. Try making tree pruning into a deliberate, repeated motion: Reach up to trim, squat to drop the twigs and leaves. Repeat. Add a step on a stool or ladder gives you one more calorie-burning motion to your routine.

garden-yogaDigging, Weeding and Planting – When you’re on your hands and knees digging in the garden, treat it as the cat-cow yoga poses with action. While you’re digging, you’re working the muscles in your forearms and shoulders (be sure to switch arms every few minutes to distribute the workout); incorporate the cat-cow poses to stretch your spine and get you ready for more rigorous activity.

Raking – raking is a resistance exercise. Pulling the rake toward you works your upper back and arms. Make sure to switch the sides you’re pulling toward to work both arms.

Bagging (leaves, mulch, weeds) – Turn bagging leaves into a squats routine. Squat to gather leaves and twigs, stand to drop the leaves in the bag. Repeat the motion. This works the muscles, thighs, hips, and glutes. It’s a simple exercise and if you do it regularly, it can help strengthen your muscles to make every-day routines easier and burn fat quicker.

garden-exercise

Gardening won’t help you train for a marathon, but it is good exercise. In a study published by the American Society for Horticulture Science, people who garden have better physical function and have less pain than people who don’t garden. Even if you’re not trying to get in a workout, gardening can make you feel good and also make your garden look good.

4 Things Frogs Teach Us About Slimming Down

May 13th is Frog Jumping Day. As the name of the date states, frogs jump, but they have many other ways of moving around. If we humans applied these methods to our daily routine, we might lose weight. Here are 4 things frogs teach us about slimming down.

frog-1Mix Up Your Routine

Frogs jump, run, walk, climb, glide, and swim to get around. Doing a variety of workouts gives your body a chance to heal. Working a set of muscle groups one day and working a different set the next day allows your muscles to recuperate and recharge. This can reduce the risk of injury. Varying the routine also helps you get the most out of your routines. Bodies tend to plateau if you only have one method of exercise.

Breathe

We need oxygen to produce energy – every move we make requires oxygen. Frogs breathe constantly. They have lungs, but they also take in oxygen through their skin when they’re under water. While frogs breathe involuntarily, it can be voluntary or involuntary for humans. When we put in a hard workout, it’s sometimes hard to breathe enough involuntarily, so we have to remember to breathe voluntarily to maximize our energy and workout.

frog.1Eat with Your Eyes

Unlike humans, frogs use their tongues and teeth to grab prey rather than to chew and swallow their food. Frogs use their eyes to swallow food. The eyes retract into their heads to help push the food down their throat. This is why it looks like frogs are blinking when they eat. Human eyes don’t have the capability to sink low enough to help us swallow, but eating with our eyes can help us stay trim. A study published in the journal Appetite shows people will likely enjoy food more if looks appealing. So if you make your chicken and broccoli beautiful and make your pizza look unappetizing, you’ll likely make the healthier choice.

frog-3Stay Hydrated

Frogs need water to keep their skin slick which protects them from everything – as a guard against bacteria to making them too slippery for predators to hold on to. It’s not a surprise frogs use a lot of energy to stay hydrated. Some frogs are nocturnal to avoid water loss; others secrete a waxy coating to prevent water loss; some even have a special stance that slows down evaporation. While humans need water to keep organs functioning and to stay alive, we don’t have the same sort of defense mechanisms on auto-pilot to keep us from losing water. A day in the life of a frog may be the reminder we need to have another glass of water.

Frogs are amazing little creatures. They might not be wise, we can learn a lot from them.