5 Best Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

ChivesMother Nature has been teasing us with the snowy spring weather, but this last storm is not going to break our stride. We’re still planning our gardens as if we didn’t just get a fresh blanket of snow! Right now we’re focusing on adding a little flavor to our gardens with herbs. Herb gardens make so much sense — herbs can get pretty expensive when you buy them fresh — so we’ve put together a list of the best herbs to grow in your garden.

Chives Chives are versatile for cooking — freshly minced, they add bright green to an omelet, give cream cheese a delightful zip or boosts a soup’s freshness. Chives are also rich in dietary fiber, packed with vitamins and an excellent source of folate. While they do so much for our food and bodies, they’re also easy on the eyes. When they’re in bloom, their wisps frame a delicate purple flower that some gardeners use as edging for herb gardens. To make sure they’re as happy as they make us, keep them in full sun. They’re not picky about the dirt they grow in —  they grow well even in poor soil.vertical-planter

Basil Basil is great on pizza, makes pesto perfect and produces a stand out pasta salad. There’s no herb that you’ll use more than basil! Basil is a great source of protein and vitamin E on top of being tasty. Basil plants are bright green and don’t stop growing if they have rich, moist soil and a good six hours of sunshine every day. They’ll be good to plant outside two weeks after the last frost.

rosemaryRosemary There’s no shortage of health benefits from rosemary — it’s good for digestion, makes our hair and skin nice as well as boosts our immune system. In the kitchen, it’s fantastic roasted with chicken, infused with oil for salad dressing or in drinks, it adds a unique layer of flavor to cocktails. In the garden, rosemary brings a garden bed a unique aesthetic. It has leaves that are like soft needles with a piney fragrance. That fragrance is very relaxing — studies have shown that it can actually reduce hormones that make us feel on edge and anxious. If you put it on a garden path for people to brush against, it releases its scent to make your garden a sensory oasis. To care for rosemary, give it full sun with well-drained but moist soil and prune it regularly.dill

Dill Dill can turn just about anything into a summer treat — mixed with Greek yogurt, it makes a fabulous sauce for grilled chicken, it stamps out bland in egg or potato salad and it’s the perfect addition to savory baked goods like scones. Dill is also packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C and folic acid, so you can’t go wrong by sprinkling it on your meal! In the garden, it’s feathery fronds peak out behind adorable yellow blossoms to add a little brightness to your herbs — it’s also a butterfly magnet! To care for dill, give it full sun, plant it in deep soil water it moderately.thyme

Thyme Thyme is a good source of folate, calcium and dietary fiber. It’s also known to lower blood pressure as well as boost your mood. In the kitchen, it’s popular for our holiday dishes — Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t be the same without it! It brings out the flavor in mushrooms, roasted vegetables and poultry. In the garden, thyme is a little different than the other herbs mentioned in that it makes fabulous ground cover. It looks great surrounding garden paths or as a flowery, fragrant blanket peppered with tiny blossoms on a garden bed to attract bees. To care for time, give it full sun and soil that drains well.

7 Container Garden Ideas We Think You’ll Like

Container-GardenGardens aren’t just for those who have big backyards or giant lots in suburban spaces. Perfect gardens can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that don’t have to fit in the confines of a garden plot. At LTD, we’ve been looking at all the fun ways to give our gardens character. This week, we’re all about container gardens. Here are 7 container garden ideas we think you’ll like.

Old Tea Cups Before you send your old dishes off to the thrift store, think about how they might hold some herbs or flowers. If you have a teapot (these are very popular for container gardens) to match your cups, create a flower tea party!

coffee-can-gardenTin Cans Whether you have coffee cans or soup cans, clean them out, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, fill them with soil and seeds and you have a garden. They can be arranged and rearranged to suit your mood, painted to give your patio a pop of color or mounted to create a vertical garden. The Newly Woodwards hung their coffee can planters along the fence to create a welcoming yard — tin cans are about as versatile of a planting vessel as you can find!

Tool & Tackle For those who have a handyman and angler in their lives, old tool boxes and tackle boxes make spectacular container gardens. You really only need casino online to punch a few holes in the bottom of the box for drainage and you have a themed planter. The same idea can be used for those old themed lunch boxes you can’t bare to throw away but don’t have any use for.

soda-bottle-gardenPlastic Soda Bottles Plastic soda bottles can be hacked up into planters of all shapes. Cut off the top and you have a steady container to put anywhere. RiteMail cut out the middle of many bottles and strung them together to create a vertical garden that covers an outdoor wall. The same idea can be used for something on a smaller — but still impressive — scale.

Kitchen Garbage An old lemon peel or an empty egg shell make sweet planters if you plan well. Cut (or crack) the top off your lemon (or whatever piece of fruit or egg shell), scoop out the middle and prepare it for drainage and add the appropriate seeds (small plants and flowers) for your natural planters.

Furniture Not all furniture is in the right condition to become a container garden. They have to have some sort of base or foundation remaining to stand up straight — for instance, you may not be ready to get rid of that antique chair with a missing leg, but that doesn’t mean it should be made into a planter. But that chest of drawers that’s taking up space in the garage may be able to hold all of your favorite plants with plenty of drainage to keep them healthy.

croc-container-gardenShoes They may not be fit to run another marathon, or support you at your next formal dinner, but you can get more mileage out of any shoe in the garden! One family took rubber shoes, made them into planters and hung them on a fence to create an outdoor vertical garden. It’s one more reason to buy new shoes.

From ski boots to a dresser drawer, just about anything can be turned into a garden! As gardening season picks up, LTD has more ideas and products to give you the garden you want to take care of.

Pinteresting Picks for August

While the weather still is warm, there is no doubt that autumn is creeping into the air. Fall is a time of change, and our fans on Pinterest definitely have the transition from warm days outside to cool evenings indoors on their minds. They are thinking of cozy lounge wear, treasured artwork and more. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for August.

Stylish Women's Camo Cargo Sweatpants are cute and fun! They're great for everyday wear or a casual night out.

Stylish Women’s Camo Cargo Sweatpants are cute and fun! They’re great for everyday wear or a casual night out.

Forget magnets on the refrigerator and use Easy Change Artwork Frames to give your child's artwork the attention it deserves.

Forget magnets on the refrigerator and use Easy Change Artwork Frames to give your child’s artwork the attention it deserves.

Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals.

Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals.

Enjoy pleasant accent lighting with the timeless look of an Enduring Candle Jar.

Enjoy pleasant accent lighting with the timeless look of an Enduring Candle Jar.

5 Last Minute RV Destinations for Labor Day Weekend

RV-tripThis is it. The end of the summer. If you haven’t already planned your Labor Day weekend RV getaway, you still have a little bit of time. Here are 5 last minute RV destinations for Labor Day weekend.

California Borrego Springs, California is an RV destination about half-way between Palm Springs and San Diego. Hike the desert trail leading to the third largest palm oasis in California, golf or take a tour of the more than 100 giant sculptures of Ricardo Breceda. At night, with the big, open sky, stargazing is an essential desert experience.

Texas Kerriville, in the heart of Texas Hill Country, is an RV hot spot surrounded by Texas nature. A park-lined river runs through the RV-triptown where you can swim, fish and kayak or go tubing. If you’re looking for a spectacular adventure, just about an hour away is the Lost Maples State Natural Area. Limestone canyons, springs and grasslands make up this preserve. Whether you’re sightseeing, bird watching or fishing, Lost Maples is a nature lover’s paradise.

Florida An idyllic RV destination, Ocean Pond is a 1,700-acre lake in the middle of Osceola National Forest – not far from Jacksonville. The plentiful longleaf pine surround the inland swamps and provide shelter for endangered animals, but it’s also a harbor for hunters. Whether you want a leisurely horseback ride or swimming is at the top of your list of Labor Day activities to check off, Ocean Pond is just a drive away.

Ohio Sailing, exploring caves and golf are all on the list of things to do in Delaware County, Ohio. This RV destination has the largest inland beach in all of Ohio. The Midwest has a relentless winter, and with Delaware’s 11 nature preservation parks, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy Labor Day weekend weather. But in an RV in Ohio, you’re never too far from fun.

RV-tripPennsylvania History, nature, shopping — Mercer County has just about everything you need for a last minute RV trip to end the summer. Kayaks and canoes can be rented for excursions in the surrounding waterways, Hell’s Hollow has miles of trails where you can explore the history and nature of Western Pennsylvania and if you want a challenge, check out the Cool Spring Corn Maze.

If you haven’t started planning your last RV trip of the summer, you’re not running out of destinations but you are running out of time.

Relaxation Day: 5 Ways to Relax Before School Starts

The first day of school is just around the corner. It’s a stressful time of year, but, luckily, August 15th is Relaxation Day and we’re using it as a reminder to loosen up before everything turns topsy-turvy with the new school year. Here are 5 ways to relax before school starts.

Dog

Image source: Chapple via Flickr

Take Time for Your Pet Having a dog or cat around to bond with has shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. In fact, at some university campuses, they’ve employed therapy dogs for students to visit when school becomes too stressful. At Harvard Medical School, you can even “check out” a dog just like you check out a book. If it works at Harvard, it may just work for you.

Exercise A good workout may not sound appealing, but aerobic exercise can actually help you relax. It lowers stress hormone levels and releases endorphins – the feel-good chemical. In addition to releasing endorphins, according to a study from Princeton University, exercise re-organizes the brain to shield it from stress. Take 30 minutes to jog down the street and you’re on your way to relaxation.

neck-massagerTouch There aren’t many people out there who would turn down a massage. In addition to feeling good physically, it can reduce anxiety, stress and aggression. Australian researchers examined the effects of daily massage on participants over seven weeks and tracked their anxiety and aggression levels. They found massage reduced stress and anxiety almost instantly. A daily massage may not be a reasonable activity, but the effects may warrant having a massage ball or neck massager handy at all times.

Play with Your Kids You only have a few weeks left to spend time with your kids, so playing with them is a no-brainer. What you might not know is studies show playing reduces stress. Researchers at Kansas State University found the more time mothers spent engaging with their children, the less overwhelmed they felt. You love being around them anyway, that they make you feel relaxed is an excellent bonus.

chocolate-cupcakeEat There are all sorts of soothing foods you can eat to relax. At the top of that list is dark chocolate. It contains Tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin which can help your sleep and improve your mood. Tryptophan is found in a variety of foods – honey, spinach, cheese, eggs, duck, to name a few. When you’re planning your next meal, make it a relaxing one and be sure dark chocolate is for dessert.

Anytime is a good time to relax, but sometimes we have to make a point of working it into our schedules. Make Relaxation Day your notice to slow down before things hit hyper-speed on the first day of school.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Summer is almost done, but there still is time left to plan one last trip before the leaves fall.  Close up the house and grab the family for a weekend road trip, or head to the woods to bond over flickering electric candles and a crackling fire. Pack up and head out with our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Aunty Acid is that grumpy old lady inside us all! This humorous travel mug says what you're thinking so you don't have to.

Aunty Acid is that grumpy old lady inside us all! This humorous travel mug says what you’re thinking so you don’t have to.

This Set of 6 LED Candles creates a realistic glow that's safe around kids and pets.

This Set of 6 LED Candles creates a realistic glow that’s safe around kids and pets

Air conditioners are expensive...do not let fall and winter conditions destroy them! These covers, designed to fit most window or central air units, prevent snow, ice and dirt from collecting and causing the compressor housing to rust.

Air conditioners are expensive…do not let fall and winter conditions destroy them! These covers, designed to fit most window or central air units, prevent snow, ice and dirt from collecting and causing the compressor housing to rust.

 

This comfortable fleece jacket will keep you warm on all your outdoor adventures. His and Hers Highland Timber Jackets feature woodsy camouflage detailing around the shoulder and collar that adds a fashionable touch to a basic fleece zip-up jacket.

This comfortable fleece jacket will keep you warm on all your outdoor adventures. His and Hers Highland Timber Jackets feature woodsy camouflage detailing around the shoulder and collar that adds a fashionable touch to a basic fleece zip-up jacket.

Set of 4 Wrap It Heavy-Duty Storage Straps is great for holding pipes, tubes, extension cords and more.

Set of 4 Wrap It Heavy-Duty Storage Straps is great for holding pipes, tubes, extension cords and more.

 

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.

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks of the Week

As the bustle of summer activities winds down, it is almost time to start getting children ready for the new school year. This is the perfect moment for moms and dads to take a breath, relax a little, and prepare for the coming rush. Treat yourself to something you need or something fun with our Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks for the Week.

This Laminator is perfect for the home or office! With the ability to laminate documents up to 9-1/2" wide, this device will quickly become a valuable resource.

This Laminator is perfect for the home or office! With the ability to laminate documents up to 9-1/2″ wide, this device will quickly become a valuable resource.

These Plaid Quilts or Shams will add country charm to your bedroom.

These Plaid Quilts or Shams will add country charm to your bedroom.

Wireless Key Finder locates your keys so you won't have to go searching for them.

Wireless Key Finder locates your keys so you won’t have to go searching for them.

Embroidered Open Front Cardigan is a wonderful layering piece for your wardrobe.

Embroidered Open Front Cardigan is a wonderful layering piece for your wardrobe.

A wonderful gift for mothers and grandmothers, a Mother's Birthstone Necklace or Charms helps celebrate her family with a birthstone charm for the month in which each child was born.

A wonderful gift for mothers and grandmothers, a Mother’s Birthstone Necklace or Charms helps celebrate her family with a birthstone charm for the month in which each child was born.

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!