4 Fun Ways To Decorate A Locker

lockerA locker is a student’s room away from home. It is a small bit of personal space you visit throughout the day, and it is a prime place for you to show off your own style. Personal expression aside, a decorated locker is easier to keep organized to keep you on track so you make it to class on time. Here are 4 fun ways to decorate a locker:

Clean It The first step is to start with a clean locker. Then, check on the school’s locker policy before purchasing accessories. Some allow students to do everything up to painting lockers, while others permit little to no personalization. If your school has a policy, it should be in the student handbook or just ask an administrator.

Light It Up While the school’s hallways are well-lit, the lockers in those hallways can be dark caves. Put some light in there and it will be easier to find the right books and supplies in a hurry. Battery operated LED candles can go almost anywhere and they’re designed for energy efficiency. For extra bling, use string lights to dazzle your locker. You can even coordinate the light with a curtain that hangs over the locker opening.

locker2Magnetic Personality The metal walls and doors of lockers practically beg to be covered with refrigerator magnets. Funny ones or inspirational ones, they can hold up personal pictures, to-do lists or reminders to help you get you through the day.

Artwork and Photos The quickest way to personalize a locker is to fill it with pictures. Print and hang up single Instagram photos of friends, or create a big collage. Tuck in some magazine clippings, artwork, postcards, and mini posters. Don’t forget to save space for your own creations, too. Sports and trading cards are a cool touch, as well.

 

locker

Organizers, Mirrors and Magnets A mirror on the inside of the locker door will give you a place to primp in between classes and list pads and small wall bins help with organization.  Bins provide catch-all storage for pens, pads, art supplies, and more.Nothing is too heavy to put on a locker door; keep everything secured with inspirational magnets or double-sided foam tape. Add shelves to multiply the space for books, but they can also be a good place to hold your gym bag. 

However you decide to decorate your space, remember the decor is a reflection of you. Make it personal and it will be a welcome picture during your breaks between classes.

National Punch Day: 4 Punch Recipes

 

Punch

Image source: Mel McC via flickr

September 20th is National Punch Day! Of course, we’re celebrating the fruity beverage and not what you do in the boxing ring.

Punch actually has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia, punch was brought to England from India in the 17th century. It was a drink made up of five ingredients – originally, they were alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and spices, but recipes have evolved since then and now it’s a generic term for a party drink served in a big bowl. Today, we have 4 recipes we call “punch.”

Non-Alcoholic Punch

Holiday Punch

  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 liter seltzer water
  • 2 liters cranberry-apple juice
Punch

Image source: Stuart Webster via flickr

Combine ingredients over ice in a punch bowl, gently stir and serve. If you are concerned about ice watering down the punch, you can freeze half of the juice in ice cube trays and use those to supplement the ice.

Serves 8-10.

Orange Sherbet Punch

  • 1 liter cold orange juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • ½ gallon orange sherbet

Combine juice and ginger ale and gently stir. Fill glasses with ice. Top each glass with a scoop of sherbet. Pour juice mixture over sherbet.

Adult Punch

Rum Punch

  • 3 cup dark rum
  • 2¼ cups lemon juice
  • 1½ cups grenadine
  • 1½ cups sparkling wine

Combine the first three ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in sparkling wine. Ladle over glasses filled with ice.

Serves 10-12.

Warm Holiday Spiced Punch

  • 2 liters cranberry apple juice
  • 1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cups bourbon

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine first four ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon.  Serves 12.

Punch

Image source: Tymesynk via flickr

Football Season Begins: 4 Man Cave Essentials

mancaveEveryone needs a place to call their own, and that includes the man of the house. The man cave creates a space where he can relax and do as he pleases without fear of interference from the ladies. It is a place where he can enjoy an adult beverage, yell at the TV, play games, and hang out with the guys. It can be the basement, attic, a rehabilitated office, or a shed. A man cave does not need to be fancy, but here are a few things a fully functional “mantuary” needs. Here are 4 man cave essentials.

mancaveSeating The main point of a man cave is to create a comfortable place to relax. That requires plenty of seating. No man cave is complete without at least one recliner. Nothing makes a guy feel like the master of his domain like putting his feet up. Take the recliner one step further with a reclining sofa or sectional that provides seating for visitors. If your man cave has a bar, stools are mandatory. Beanbag chairs are classics, and you can opt for sofa-sized ones or special designs that convert to guest beds.

Refrigeration Since no one wants to constantly run back and forth to the kitchen for drinks and snacks, the man cave needs a place to keep them chilled. It can be as simple as an old refrigerator or mini fridge appropriated for the room. If beer is your beverage of choice, try a fridge with a built-in tap . There even are appliances specifically designed to hold and cool a keg, as well as dispense beer. DIY kits help you convert a fridge to a drink dispenser. Keep your drinks and food even closer at hand with a coffee table with a built-in cooler.

Entertainment The crown jewel of any man cave is its entertainment system. Often, the entire point of establishing a man cave is to have a place to host game day parties or to watch favorite movies and TV shows. A flat screen TV, as large as you can afford and the room can hold, and a DVD player are absolute musts. Include a game console for days when nothing is on. Don’t forget tables and equipment for other pastimes, like pool, foosball, darts, and poker.

mancaveDécor The thing that really sets the man cave apart from the rest of the house is its décor. It is a spot where a man can escape from the pastels, floral prints, and matching furniture that fills most homes. A sign on or near the door should make it clear visitors are entering a male sanctuary. Look for one with the logo of your favorite team, or get a personalized one with your name. Beer-themed decorations are very popular, but do not limit yourself to that. Show off your sports memorabilia, or transform the space into a tribute to your favorite pop culture icons. Do not forget posters from your favorite movie. A man cave with an attached bathroom is the ultimate in luxury. If you are so blessed, make sure to extend the décor into the bath.

 

Cheese Pizza Day: 6 Tips for Homemade Pizza

cheese-pizzaMark your calendars: National Cheese Pizza Day is September 5th. There are few foods that can instantly put your smile on a face the way pizza does. It’s the food for all ages – young and old enjoy pizza in all shapes, temperatures and texture. Frozen, delivery or homemade, even when pizza is bad, it’s still pretty good. But, of course, when you’re making homemade pizza, you want it to be better than pretty good, so here are 6 tips for great homemade pizza.

Weigh it Baking is a science. All professional bakers measure ingredients by weight using a digital kitchen scale. Using a scale makes measuring more accurate and, in turn, more tasty. It’s not a must for making great pizza, but it certainly makes a difference. Besides, learning to measure opens up a new world of professional recipes you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Plan Ahead Just about every pizza dough recipe you find requires it to be refrigerated overnight. When you’ve mixed together the yeast, water, salt, and flour, kneaded it and let it rise, it’s very tempting to skip the refrigeration step – don’t! Pizza dough ferments while it’s in the refrigerator. One night of fermentation is great, but three nights makes it super. This is how they do it in New Haven. If you’ve ever had New Haven apizza (that’s not a typo – that’s what they call it in New Haven), you’ve had some of the best pizza in the world.

cheese-pizzaRoll it Out In movies and TV shows you see people spinning and tossing pizza dough out over their heads to make a perfectly circular pie; what you don’t see is that it takes years of practice to make it look that easy. Tossing pizza dough is really hard. Don’t be ashamed of using a pin. It’ll make nice circles and it won’t take you years to do it.

Keep it Loose Professionals and serious pizza makers toss the dough, top it and slide it into the oven with the help of a pizza peel (like a big paddle) and a lot of semolina or cornmeal to make it loose so it doesn’t stick to the peel. To do that without everything falling off into your oven in one big lump also takes a lot of practice. But you can skip the practice and the equipment (unless you’re aiming for authentic). Parchment paper or bake mat work just fine to replace the cornmeal and the pizza peel. Roll your dough out on the paper, top it, carry it to the oven and lower it onto the pizza stone. Easy-peasy, pizza-cheesy.

cheese-pizzaKeep it Flat The best homemade pizzas are made with pizza stones, but you don’t have to have one to make a pizza good. Flip over a cookie sheet and use the bottom for your flat surface. Make sure you preheat the oven with the pan inside (as you would with a pizza stone) so it’s hot when you slide your pizza in. Alternatively, you can assemble it all in a cast iron skillet and bake it just like Pizza Hut.

Get it Hot! Turn your oven up as high as the temperature can go – most ovens won’t go much higher than 500°F. The dough has to be baked all the way through without burning the cheese on top. The high temperature for a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) allows the pizza crust to get crispy and the cheese just hot enough to bubble and melt.

Pizza is hard to make – which is why there are so many alternatives to making it at home. But eating a pizza you created yourself is way more satisfying than anything you can buy. Happy Cheese Pizza Day!

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.

Who We Are Following: Bloggers, Tweeters and Pinners

We’re always looking to the Internet for inspiration — Pinterest, Blogs and Twitter give us countless ideas and we would like to share them with you. Here are some notable bloggers, tweeters and pinners we’re following.

gypsy-nester

Gypsy Nester chronicles the lives of David and Veronica after sending their children out into the world to fend for themselves. Without children to rear, they sold their nest and they’re filling their time with “Tales from the Road.”

laugh-lines On Laugh Lines Vicki Claflin quips and jokes about aging and all the good and bad things that come with it.

bowl-full-of-lemonsIdeas and tips on organizing, cleaning and budgeting is what you’ll find on A Bowl Full of Lemons. The creative team maps out a plan for you to simplify your life. Here’s your key to a life of order.

PinterestPinterest Karen Propes love beagles and has a knack for finding the craziest pumpkin carving projects. She’s got tips to share and boards to inspire – that’s why we follow her.

Virginia says she’s a food enthusiast, but she likes a whole lot more than food. From her Bath and Powder Room inspiration to what inspires cute, classy style, we’re watching for her favorite pins.

With boards like “Baking substitutions, mixes, spices” and “Michigan,” Connie Thelen shows us new ways of seeing things and pinspiring us.

TwitterTwitter @boomergparent is chock full of wisdom and ideas about getting older and how to do it right.

@sharongreenthal tweets and re-tweets about the things that matter in mid-life.

@MidlifeRoadTrip is tweeting their way across the USA giving us the best places to stop with budget tips to boot. Also, they love bacon.

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.

Best Back to School Movies to Get You Excited About the School Year

Watching-MoviesThe kids are nervous about going back to school and hitting the books. But the anxiety can be eased with a few good flicks. Here are 10 of the best back to school movies to get your kids excited about the school year.

1. Clueless (1995)
Beverly Hills princess Cher Horowitz thinks she knows what’s best for everyone. But this high-school matchmaker may not be as brilliant as she thinks. Inspired by the Jane Austen novel Emma, this movie has infectious music, weird slang, and strange fashions from that bizarre era known as “The 1990s”.

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
Based on the books by Jeff Kinney, this story follows new middle school student Greg Heffley as he struggles with his insecurities and learns about real friendship with humor kids can easily understand and situations they can relate to.

3. Matilda (1996) Everyone feels like they are an underdog sometimes, but Matilda Wormwood may be the ultimate one. Neglected by her parents, this young genius is stranded in a school with an evil principal. Aided by a kind teacher, Matilda discovers her special gifts and reminds kids that good can prevail, even in the worst of times.

Hogwarts

Image Source: Scott Smith via Flickr

4Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) After taking the summer off from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter returns to start a new year with his friends Ron and Hermione. Filled with magical adventure, this movie reminds kids that heading back to school can be exciting.

5. Akeelah and the Bee (2006) Dare to dream big with this story of a disadvantaged girl with a knack for spelling. Akeelah Anderson overcomes incredible barriers to make it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. You will love this inspiring tale about setting goals and achieving them.

6. Freaky Friday (2003)
Tess Coleman and her teen daughter Anna switch bodies, thanks to some fortune cookies. Tess soon finds herself back in high school, which is a lot more complicated than she remembers.

7. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
Just before summer break, four best friends find a pair of magical jeans that fits each of them. To stay connected during their season apart, they share the pants, as well as messages to each other and stories of their summers.

8. Fame (1980)
Long before reality television, there was this gritty fictional story about what it’s like to be a young performer trying to get into show business. The music will tempt you to groove along with the heartaches and triumphs of these gifted students at a high school that specializes in music, dance, and acting.

9. Mean Girls (2004)
When the home-schooled daughter of zoologists goes to public school for the first time, she finds out that no predator on Earth is more treacherous than her fellow teenagers. This film is a look at peer pressure that keeps things funny and avoids getting preachy.

Mom&DaughterWatchingMovie10. Friday Night Lights (2004)
Back to school also means back to sports—namely, football. Get ready for varsity gridiron action with this perfectly paced movie that also packs a lot of heart.

While a movie will not soothe all the angst your children may be feeling, it can offer some much-need perspective, as well as a distraction. Pop some corn and relax with them as you enjoy these films.

Guide to Upcycling Wooden Pallets

Wooden-PalletWooden pallets: they’re everywhere, they’re free (or almost free) and they’re versatile. Inside and outside they can be converted into inspiring and functional pieces of furniture. Here is a brief guide to upcycling wooden pallets .

Before You Get Started Wooden pallets are used for shipping; they keep items secure during long distance transit as well as in warehouses when goods are being moved by forklifts. They’re very sturdy but discarded fairly quickly after use – making them the perfect material for upcycling. But, because they’re cheap, discarded materials, working with them comes with pitfalls.

Selection Because they’ve traveled across the country and maybe an ocean or two, pallets have likely been exposed to chemicals and bacteria. When you’re choosing palates from a pile, use your instincts. Don’t take anything home that looks or smells terrible – it’s probably not safe. Try to stick with the clean ones and look for stamps and markings to tell you if it’s safe to use.

Preparation Scrub down the pallets with a strong disinfectant and soapy water to get rid of any bacteria lurking in the wood. Rinse it well. Bacteria grow in moist spots, so make sure it’s completely dry before starting your project.

Dismantle They can be tough to take apart, but if you’re willing to work with shorter pieces of wood, you can saw off the joints connected by nails and avoid the hassle of nail removal.

Wooden-PalletOutside Projects

Patio Furniture Pallets are sturdy enough to stand up to most of the elements which make them ideal for patio furniture. There’s no limit on the size of outdoor seating. It can be as small as a single-seat bench or big enough to accommodate five people. Construction is minimal and requires few tools. The most thought you’ll put into it is for the color of the cushions to finish off the furniture.

Gardens Pallets are a practical material for getting creative with gardens. If you just want a simple raised bed, it only takes about three pallets to put one together. With even less work and fewer pallets, you can turn a wall into garden; all you need is your garden supplies and finishing materials (landscape fabric, staple gun, staples, and sand paper) for the pallet.

Inside Projects

Beds If you’re familiar and comfortable with platform beds, wooden pallets can be collected and fitted to make a bed in just about any size and shape you need. A drill and brackets are about as complicated as the accessories get to put together a durable bed frame.

Shelves Wooden pallets as shelves give a living room or bedroom a rustic quality when the texture is left untouched. But pallet wood is, generally, good quality – some are made with cherry wood or maple – so when the wood is sanded and finished, the product can be elegant.

Wooden-PalletTables Pallets can be transformed into tables of different sizes – an end table, a coffee table and even a dining room table. Because you’re making it yourself, you can tailor the table for your needs – add compartments or drawers to make magazine storage or shelves to put books.

If you’ve never thought about upcycling pallets before, you will now. Even the least crafty people can turn out an original furniture design with the wooden pallet.  As your ideas about what you can make with them start to develop in your head, you’ll start noticing how easy they are to find and once you get started, you’ll find they’re easy to work with, too.

5 Back to School Organizing Tips

Back-to-schoolThe first week back at school is here and it’s hectic. No one is ever prepared for the chaos that comes with that first week. Take it easy and go with the flow with these back to school organizing tips.

Review Think back to the last school year and how mornings were carried out. Remember what worked and what didn’t work. Eliminate practices that slowed mornings down and improve the ones that helped move mornings along. Tailor new routines to fit personalities and habits of your growing children. They’re evolving, so their routines should evolve with them.

Back-to-schoolVisualize It Make a list of things for each person to do in the morning and a list for the evening. Most tasks will be repeated daily, so you don’t have to recreate lists every day, but you may have to add to them. Do it on a chalkboard or dry erase board so everyone can see what they’re responsible for. When you and your family follow what’s written on the agenda, it will be harder to miss something.

In Box, Out Box Next to your daily schedule, set aside a basket or box for school papers going to you – report cards, permission slips, etc. Look at it before you sit down to breakfast and make sure to sign or read everything before the day starts. It will save you the time and energy of looking for papers at the last minute when you’re rushing to get out the door.

Plan Ahead If there’s anything you and your children can do the night before, do it. Put cookies and chips in lunch bags, lay out clothes for the next day or set aside breakfast food and dishes for the morning. Set up everything so the only thing you have to do in the morning is execute the task. It will shave time off the morning routine and you’ll walk out the door a little less frazzled.

Back-to-schoolSchedule Schedules are the key for a smooth morning. For shared bathrooms, mornings can feel frantic. Allot each person a certain time when they can be in the bathroom for their morning mirror time. With set times, the risk of conflict is greatly reduced. Set a time for everyone to be at the breakfast table to eat and get lunches sorted. With everyone operating the morning machine, getting out the door and to school and work on time will become a habit.

Starting the day never feels as good as we want it to, but it doesn’t have to be crazy. Getting things sorted ahead of time with plenty of communication helps develop positive patterns to begin the school day and leads to a great school year.