4th if July: Fireworks Safety Tips

fireworksThe 4th of July is here! Across the country, friends and family are gathering to celebrate our independence with food, fun and fireworks. That’s exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted us to do on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. But with all the fun and fireworks comes a bit of danger. Here are 5 fireworks safety tips to keep in mind while you’re celebrating our nation’s birthday.

Be Aware of the Law The laws around fireworks are different in each state. There are reasons for that — some have to do with safety, others have to do with land preservation but both are there for protection. Before you flick your lighter or strike a match, make sure you’re complying with local laws. It keeps the community peaceful and you won’t have to worry about police crashing your party.

fireworksDress Appropriately If you’re working with fire, you have to work defensively. Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing that can catch fire if the wind changes direction. Keep your skin and feet covered to avoid any close encounters with a flame or hot coal. The damage from burns largely depends on how much exposure you had to a flame or coal and having a layer between you and the flame may reduce your exposure time.  What you choose to wear could be the difference between a superficial burn and a blistering burn.

Water Within Reach Make sure you have a fire extinguisher (and know how to use it) available before you start setting off fireworks. Keep a bucket of water nearby with a supply close enough that you can refill easily and quickly.

Use Common Sense You have to keep your eye on live fireworks at all times. This means give each explosive your undivided attention by lighting fireworks one at a time. Because you are the keeper of the fireworks, use protective eye wear to shield your eyes from rogue sparks. While your eyes are on the fireworks, make sure children don’t get their hands on any flammable items. Fireworks are dangerous by themselves, in the wrong hands they can be deadly.

fireworksBe an Observer The best way to prevent injury is to stay away from the fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks caused more than 17,000 fires in 2011 that resulted in $32 million in damages. In 2013, fireworks caused more than 11,000 injuries — some from what we think of as “safe” fireworks like sparklers. There are hundreds of thousands of fireworks shows that are put on by professionals across the country. It’s much less dangerous for you to let the professionals do what they do best and enjoy the sparkling sky from a distance.

LTD Commodities wants you to have a fun and safe 4th of July! Put safety first for your celebrations and everyone will have a memorable holiday.

Baseball’s Most Memorable Moments (For Fans and Non-Fans)

There are few things, if any, more American than baseball. The official game itself dates back to 1845 — and since then, it’s created memories and traditions share by millions across generations from coast to coast. But there are moments from the game that just about everyone remembers. Here are some of baseball’s most memorable moments even non-baseball fans remember and cherish.

July 10, 2001 Cal Ripken, baseball’s Iron Man breaks Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played. It was during the 2001 All-Star game — his final appearance for the annual series. It wasn’t the only record he broke at that game — at the time, he also became the oldest player to hit a home run (he was a little more than a month away from turning 41). He was also named MVP of the All-Star Game for the second time.

October 24, 2002 If you don’t remember J.T. Snow rescuing a bat boy during the 2002 World Series, you will now. Snow was playing for the San Francisco Giants against the Anaheim Angels. As Snow was on his way home to score off a triple, he scooped up 3-year-old Darren Baker (son of Giants’ manager, Dusty Baker) off home plate — where he was nearly clobbered in a baseball collision. It’s a spectacular act of quick thinking, fast acting and tear jerking.

October 14, 2003 For Chicago Cubs fans, this is a painful memory, but a memory that will last a lifetime. In Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Florida Marlins, the Cubs and fans were confident about heading to the World Series for the first time since 1945. After more than a half-century of heartbreak, the Cubs were up 3-0 in the eighth inning. That’s when the Marlins hit a foul ball. As many baseball fans do, Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached out to catch it though it was in reach of the left fielder, Moises Alou. Bartman deflected the ball out of the grasp of Alou and, subsequently, the Marlins scored eight runs in that game and won the series. Cubs fans were unforgiving of Bartman who has stayed out of the public eye since 2003 despite numerous requests for interviews.

October 27, 2004 It was a long wait for the Red Sox, but in 2004, not only did they make it to the World Series, but they also won it, crushing the Curse of the Bambino. It was the first World Series win for the Red Sox since 1918. As luck would have it, the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore  movie, Fever Pitch — about a Red Sox obsessed fan — was filmed during the series. The unexpected win forced a re-write for the film so it could be included.

July 1, 1992 Of course we can’t leave out our favorite fictional moment in baseball. If you’ve never heard Tom Hanks (as Jimmy Dugan) shout “There’s no crying in baseball!” it might be time to watch A League of Their Own. It’s the one baseball quote men and women, baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike remember and chuckle to on any given day.

At LTD, we celebrate all of our country’s greatest treasures! But you don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the American thrill of baseball — there is so much history and cultural relationships with the game it’s easy to see why it’s our national pastime and a reason to look forward to summer games.

Fascinating Facts About the 4th of July

old-gloryThe 4th of July comes and goes every year with as much pomp and circumstance as any American can muster. We’ve been celebrating our independence for more than 200 years and the holiday is more than just cookouts and fireworks. Here are 7 fascinating facts about the 4th of July.

Old Glory According to the Census Bureau, in 2013, we exported $781,000 worth of American flags — most of that money came from the Dominican Republic.

Property in Exchange for Happiness According to Jim Cullen in his book The American Dream: A short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation, Thomas Jefferson borrowed some, if not all, of the ideas he wrote in the Constitution. Most notably, the phrase “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was altered from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government which called for “life, liberty and the pursuit of property.”

Expansion The United States has grown considerably in the last 239 years. In July of 1776, the United States was home to about 2.5 million people. Today, the US and World Population Clock estimates that more than 321 million people live in the United States.

liberty-bellTap into America According to USHistory.org. the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was rung on July 8, 1776 for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Less than 100 years later, it chimed for the last time to commemorate George Washington’s birthday — the cracks were getting too big for it to be a functional bell. Now, every July 4, it’s gently tapped 13 times (for the 13 original colonies) to set off bell ringing across the country to honor our independence.

Life and Death Calvin Coolidge is the only President of the United States to share his birthday with the country. However, three Presidents — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe — died on July 4. The first two were Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Unofficial Holiday For nearly 100 years, Independence Day was an unofficial holiday. In 1870, Congress made it a holiday for federal employees — but they were not paid to observe our nation’s birth. Almost 70 years later, it became a paid federal holiday.

4th-hot-dogFestive Food July is National Hot Dog Month for a very good reason. According to  the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, July 4 revelers will consume about 150 million hot dogs — last year, 61 of those frankfurters went to Joey Chestnut, the winner of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY.

The 4th of July is one of our favorite holidays here at LTD Commodities, but we celebrate every holiday and every season with tips, ideas and products to make them memorable.

Tips for Making the Perfect Burger

hamburgerThis weekend just about everyone across the United States will be pulling out their grills and setting up picnic tables for the Great American Cookout. No Memorial Day cookout is complete without a few burgers on the grill — and we know how to make your burgers stand out for the crowd. Here are 5 tips for making the perfect burger.

Save the Salt When you’re seasoning your meat, leave off the salt. Salt draws water out of meat and when it hits the grill it shrinks up, dries out and crumbles. However, salt is important for flavor — salt your meat when you put it on the grill to add flavor without drying it out.

Add Some Fat Everyone likes a moist, juicy burger and we don’t like to think about it, but it’s the fat that makes it so tasty. But as long as you’re eating burgers, you’re probably not thinking about fat content! To make your burgers as juicy as possible, mix in some olive oil (2TB/pound) or bacon fat. You will not regret this and your guests will be awestruck.

hamburgerWarm Buns When you’re plating your burgers, don’t forget to give those buns a little love — throw them on the grill to warm them up a little bit before you add your patty. It doesn’t seem like much, but a warm bun is the difference between a good burger and a fantastic burger.

Better with Butter Never underestimate the flavor power of butter. Add a pat to your bun just before you place the patty on it. You know how everyone loves bread and butter? Just imagine what everyone will love once they’ve had bread, butter and burger! Once you start, you will never go back to a butterless burger again.

Warm Bath If you’re cooking for a crowd, don’t be shy about cooking your burgers ahead of time — not hours ahead of time, but enough time that you’ll be able to socialize and eat when your guests arrive. To keep your burgers hot, moist and delicious, keep a shallow pan of water on the grill — season it a little bit with beef base and stick your burgers in there when they’re done cooking. When guests are ready to eat, throw a patty on the grill for just a second and serve. The only issue with this is the burgers will all be cooked thoroughly (but not in a well-done, overcooked way), so guests who want a medium-rare burger might be out of luck, but the warm bath will make the burgers tasty enough that no guest will be disappointed.hamburger


Remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, so you may not be able to follow through on every request that comes your way at the grill. But burgers are the crown jewels of every Memorial Day barbecue — you can do them your way and still make it a memorable holiday for everyone!

Last-Minute Memorial Day Camping Ideas

campingYou have a three-day weekend coming up and the weather is just warm enough to sleep outside under the stars! It’s time to go camping and we have 4 last-minute Memorial Day camping ideas.

Backyard Camping If you have kids to entertain this weekend, you may want to take baby steps to get into the camping mood. Start small with a backyard camping trip. Have the kids pack a sleeping bag and backpack with the things they need to survive a night in the backyard and make believe you’re really in the woods. Heat up the grill and make all the things you might eat on a camping trip in the wild — hot dogs, hamburgers, hobo dinners, s’mores — to get them ready for a night of ghost stories.LTD-sleeping-bags

RV Camping If you want to get away from home but need all of the comforts while you’re becoming one with nature, check out RV rentals around town. Once you have one locked down for the weekend, all you have to do is throw your clothes and gear in the camper and off you go on a mildly wild ride for Memorial Day. It’s a great way for families with small children on an outdoor adventure because you have all your amenities with you — beds, kitchen, bathroom. You’ll have all the fun of being in the countryside without all of the inconveniences.

ltd-camping-grillCar Camping For families with kids that are a little bit older, pack up the car and drive off into nature and rough it for a few days. It doesn’t take too much planning if you have the right gear. Sleeping bags, a campfire grill and clothes that can handle a little wear and tear. Use the daylight hours to go hiking or fishing and use the evening for bonding with the family over a campfire dinner.

Overnight Alternatives If you don’t want to commit to an overnight stay in the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature for your long weekend. Consider packing water and lunches for a day hike. Everyone will get a little bit of exercise while spending time with the family and you’ll still get a breath of fresh air. If hiking is too rigorous an activity, try spending the day on a dock fishing if you’re properly licensed. camping

There are so many ways to spend your holiday weekend — there’s no reason you have to be inside. Any of these ideas will give you the weekend break you need after a long winter at home. Anyway you decide to do it, you’ll have the option of staying close to home in case the weather doesn’t cooperate or you want to join friends and family for a good, old fashioned Memorial Day barbecue.

Items We Adore: Product Picks for Wedding Season

ltd-weddingWedding season is starting to pick up — whether you’re going to a wedding or you’re in the wedding, you have a lot of planning and shopping to do! But we have a few ideas to get you started. here are this week’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for Wedding Season.

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

Ceremonial Sipping This Mr. and Mrs. Mug Set makes a cute wedding gift. Onthe front, the mugs read “Mr.” and “Mrs.”, and the back has an inspirational message. Contrasting scrolls complete the design.

led-balloonsBridal Balloons Add a fantastic glow to your next party with the Set of 12 LED Balloons. This fun set is perfect for any birthday, holiday, office event and more. Glowing LED lights illuminate five different colored balloons for up to 24 hours. Easily fill with helium or air.

wedding-totesCrew Courtesies Wedding Tote and Flip-Flop Set is the perfect gift for members of the wedding party. Use the handy black-and-white tote to carry essential items for the big day. It has ample room for hair styling tools, accessories and more. Includes a magnetic closure. Change into the coordinating pair of flip-flops after a night of dancing.

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

 

Wildflower Week: Best Places to View Wildflowers

wildflowersApril showers bring May flowers and it’s about time! The second week in May also happens to be National Wildflower Week. We certainly love curating a charming garden to enjoy all summer, but it’s fun to see how Mother Nature has designed her own garden in the wild. Because it’s the wild, you’ll have to plan a trip to witness the colorful flowers at their peak, but sometimes, it’s just a short drive away. Just so you don’t miss out on nature’s glory, here are some of the best places to view wildflowers around the country.

Northeast Monongahela National Forest near Richwood, West Virginia is the home to the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. What makes this area so unique is that it’s made up of bogs where you can see unusual wildflowers. There are boardwalks for visitors to walk on and experience the bogs and view the wildflowers without disturbing them. Guided tours are available on weekends throughout the summer.wildflowers

Southeast In the Juniper Springs in Ocala National Forest in Florida, your wildflower experience will likely be a wet experience. In a seven-mile canoe ride you can see dozens of wildflower species that grow along the Juniper Creek — which remains a comfortable 72℉. It’s the wildflower tour for adventurers and those who like to get a little wet!

Midwest A good hike on Ohio’s Wildcat Hollow Trail in the Wayne National Forest takes you through open meadows to see spring beauties and wild geraniums against hillsides and through the forest. Even if you don’t want to get out of the car, you can still view plenty of the colorful flowers from the roadside.

Northwest In Washington, the Tiffany Botanical Area is where you can see sub-alpine flowers like the Indian paintbrush and columbine under the branches of evergreens on a rigorous hike. It’s within the Okanogan National Forest which is hundreds of thousands of acres with dazzling landscapes, so even if you’re not into wildflowers, you’ll find something in the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest that you’ll enjoy.

wildflowersSouthwest Mills Canyon is where you want to go to see wildflowers in the Southwest, but be prepared — it’s far from civilization in the vast grasslands of New Mexico, but worth the worry if you get there after the rainy season in the late summer. There are more than 400 species of flowers to see, but the climate can be tricky — the best time for viewing is during the hottest time of the year, so it’s best to view them in the mornings and evenings to avoid the hot, mid-day sun.

At LTD we love all of what nature brings us in the summer months! Whether you’re going on a road trip to view wildflowers in their natural habitat or you’re creating your own flower heaven at home, look to LTD Commodities for inspiration and products to make your summer more colorful.

April’s Pinteresting Picks

May is here and there is a lot happening in the weeks to come! Memorial day, weddings and summer! Our Pinterest followers are getting ready for quality outdoor time and spectacular life events. Here are April’s Pinteresting Picks. wedding-photo-frames

Wedding Wishes Cherish a memory of your special day with an elegant Wedding Photo Frame. The silver-gilded and beveled frame comes with a decorative mat. The Now and Then frames create a 2-photo collage with a childhood photo and either a current photo or one from your wedding. Holds two 4″ x 6″ pictures. Happily Ever After features a heartwarming sentiment and a place for a 5″ x 7″ photo of the happy couple. Each frame has a clear acetate panel to protect the pictures.

nfl-garden-mosaicGardening Goals Let everyone know which NFL team you root for with this Mosaic Garden Stone. Use this garden stone as part of a pathway, or as an accent in your landscaping to demonstrate your team pride. Makes a great gift for a true fan!

rail-planterDecor Desire Add some color to your yard and porch with a Rail Planter. The weatherproof plastic planter fits over round or square railings and wood or chain-link fences, up to 2-1/4″ wide. It’s built with a reservoir to hold water for less frequent tending. Two plastic spacers fit into the bottom opening to stabilize and secure the planter onto the railing or fence.

solar-garden-postsElegant Enhancements Put an elegant finishing touch on your home with a Solar Garden Post. This classic accent features a teardrop shape enhanced with scrollwork. The lantern at the top is solar-powered, so it needs no time-consuming installation. Glows with constant white light for up to 8 hours on a full charge. On/off switch. A metal ring near the bottom of the Solar Post with Planter holds a 6″ pot.

extension-cord-sealPractical Gadgets Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals. The case snaps around the point where the cords come together, and a rubber seal keeps out rain, snow and mud. An internal locking safety mechanism holds cords securely together. These cases are a simple solution that will prevent shorting out and eliminate the chore of reconnecting cords that have been accidentally pulled apart.

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.