Winter Cleanup: Digital To-Do List to Start the Year Fresh

We’re less than a week into the New Year, which means most of us haven’t yet given up on our resolutions. It’s the perfect time of year to pack things up and get organized for the winter months. Nothing really makes us feel more refreshed than a thorough home cleaning after the holiday season, but few of us remember to do the same with our devices. Computers, smartphones, and tablets can get pretty cluttered throughout the year. Given how much we use our devices on a daily basis, that clutter can cause some major headaches. Start the year off right and finish off your winter cleanup with a few reminders on this 2017 digital to-do list.

Winter Cleanup: Digital To-Do List for 2017


Purge Your Inbox

Even those of us with the most organized email accounts get cluttered from time to time. Allowing it to build up is only going to stress us out, so it’s important once every few months to delete anything we don’t need, update our folders and sort all of our old messages. Not only will it make finding information a lot easier on our email platforms, it will free up a ton of space and give us a chance to unsubscribe to annoying emails.

Contact List Cleanup

Our email accounts can get pretty cluttered, but even though we may go a few months without cleaning up our inboxes, eventually we get the job done. The same can’t always be said for our contact lists. Wherever you keep your contact lists, whether it’s in your email account, on your laptop, in your cell phone or synced up across all your devices, it’s a healthy idea to go through and delete all that information you don’t need.

Delete Unused Apps

With so many free apps available across all our devices, it’s pretty easy to build up a collection we just don’t use. If you haven’t checked how much space all your apps are taking up or how much data they’re eating up with unchecked notifications, you’ll be amazed at how many apps you downloaded during the year that you don’t need, happy with how much space you’ve cleared out and pleased to decrease your overall data use.


Winter Cleanup: Digital To-Do List for 2017

Change Passwords

Regularly changing your passwords is a crucial step that helps protect all that sensitive information you’ve built into your devices over the years. But if you’re going to change passwords on websites you frequently use, you’ll want to spend some time developing strong passwords. If you just go through the motions, you’ll likely be swapping out strong passwords for weaker ones, which is the opposite of what you intended to do.

Backup Files

We all know how important it is to back up files from our devices. But transferring information to an external hard drive has more benefits than making sure you don’t lose precious documents, images or videos. It also frees up a lot of space on all your devices. Many of us are hesitant to delete files, which leads to us keeping too much on our devices. If unsure, backup the files–it will give you more time to decide, and free up space.

Valentine’s Day: 5 Ways to Show Your Dog a Little Love

puppyEverywhere you turn, our winter landscape is peppered with hearts and cupids to remind us to show a little love. For Valentine’s Day, that love doesn’t have to be romantic love — we can express our affection for everyone we care about — including our cuddly canines. If you’re looking for ideas to show your pup appreciation, here are 5 ways to show your dog a little love.

Dog Doctor We know we need to go to the dentist and the doctor regularly — even when we feel OK — just to make sure everything is working properly and to maintain good health. Our furry friends need the same kind of healing attention, particularly since our pups can’t tell us if they’re stomach is upset or they have aches and pains. Vets see all types of animals every day so they can hear, see and feel the things that are off that pet owners can’t. A trip to the vet once a year as the Humane Society recommends may save you money with preventive care and save your pup undue pain.gnawsome

Husky Hound Just like humans, to stay healthy between doctor visits, dogs need to eat right and get lots of exercise. Your vet should be able to tell you just how much and what kind of food your dog should be eating to maintain a healthy weight. At home, just do your duty by letting your pup get the kind of running in that he wants to do. If you have a dog that isn’t into exercise, don’t force him to take long walks — do as much as necessary and use treats as incentives to get him to walk a little bit longer. If that doesn’t work, try engaging him in activities he likes — maybe he just wants to play tug of war; that’s ok as long as he gets in some activity. Every little bit counts when you’re trying to prevent health problems like heart disease and arthritis.

Canine Comforts We all love a little pampering and so do our pups! Indulge your dog in a few cuddly items to keep him warm on a winter day. A cushioned pet bed keeps him comfortable and a new toy keeps him company. Dogs are known to get attached to things the way humans do — letting them do that with their special toys is just a way we show them we care.

pup-padDog Dousing We don’t like to be dirty. Daily showers are a habit humans don’t want to give up. Dogs feel the need to be clean, too. Even though they’re equipped to clean themselves, it’s good to give them help every once in awhile to get rid of matted fur, dead skin and anything lurking in their coats that they picked up outside. Taking him to the groomer is an efficient way to get your dog clean. Groomers are trained to handle dogs when they’re uncomfortable and you don’t have a mess to clean up at home. However, doing it yourself is fine if you know what you’re getting into. Either way you do it, The American Society to the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) recommends getting your dog cleaned up every three months.

Frolicking Fidos By nature, dogs like to be around other dogs — they’re pack animals. Setting up playdates with other dogs and going regularly to the dog park where his friends are shows him your love by letting him do the things he loves. Not only that, but getting him out playing with other dogs and people helps him socialize and learn to behave outside the home.

Anyway you show your pup love this Valentine’s Day, let LTD Commodities help! We have ideas and products to make your dog feel special every day of the year.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Six More Weeks of Winter

We are officially in the pit of winter, but we’re just a few weeks from the day it’s decided if we’ll get an early spring or if winter will be extended. Here at LTD, we hope for the best but we also want you to be prepared for the worst. With that in mind, here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Six More Weeks of Winter.ltd-frozen-socks

Toasty Toes They’ll love this 12-Pair Girls’ or Boys’ Frozen Socks. The Girls’ set features Anna, Elsa and Olaf, while the Boys’ set has Olaf, Sven and Kristoff. Low-cut styling gives these socks a sporty look. S/M fits sock sizes 4-6 and shoe sizes 7-10. M/L fits sock sizes 6-8 and shoes sizes 10.5-4. Polyester and spandex. Machine care. Imported.

Giant-Educational-Activity-BooksCure for Cabin Fever This Giant Educational Activity Book helps kids prepare for school with fun activities. It helps build academic skills that are critical for school success. The book has 8 characters who engage your child through key learning disciplines. 16-1/2″W x 12-3/4″L. Softcover, 63 pages. Preschool, for ages 3 to 5. Kindergarten, for ages 4 to 6. 1st Grade, for ages 5 to 7.Embroidered-Sham

Homey Heat Update your bedroom with the feminine Embroidered Florence Quilt or Sham. These accents give your room a simple and refreshing touch. The quilt features traditional floral embroidery and keeps you warm on chilly nights. Full/Queen Quilt, 86″ sq. King Quilt, 100″W x 90″L. Sham, 26″W x 20″L. Polyester. Machine care. Imported.Soft-Plush-Cat-Cuddle-Bed

Creature Comfort The Soft Plush Cat Cuddle Bed provides luxurious comfort for your pet. This deep bed with raised sides keeps your beloved feline warm and cozy. Cushioned on the bottom and sides for extra softness, it invites your cat to curl up and rest. 18″ dia. x 11″H. Polyester and polyfill. Machine care. Imported.

popcorn-makerCold Night, Tasty Treats Recreate that cinema feel in your own home with this Microwave Popcorn Maker. Pop and serve popcorn in the silicone box to enjoy healthier popcorn without excess oil. Just pour 1/4 cup of kernels into the popper, put on the lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Pops approx. 4-6 cups. Great for flavored popcorn, too. 6-1/4″W x 6″D x 5-3/4″H. Dishwasher safe.

LTD Commodities has hundreds of products for every season! Whether you need throws for winter nights on the couch or you’re looking for breezy dresses for spring, shop LTD for great products at practical prices.

Valentine’s Day: The Candy Connection

chocolate-heartsCandy — especially chocolate! — is one of our favorite things to eat so it’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day is an exciting day for candy and chocolate lovers. It’s one day we throw our resolutions for disciplined diets out the window and we can indulge in our favorite treats. The tradition of candy and chocolates on Valentine’s Day had to start somewhere, so we did a little bit of digging to figure out why we give our sweethearts sweets on Valentine’s Day.

Romance We know St. Valentine as the Roman bishop who, in the third century, performed secret marriages for soldiers when it was forbidden. St. Valentine was jailed for this and wrote his jailer’s daughter a letter and signed it “Your Valentine.” This where it is believed the Valentine as we know it was born, but it was hundreds of years before candy became part of the tradition.

Sweets to the Sweet The idea of Valentine’s was preserved through word of mouth and tradition for the next few hundred years — and then literature set the word in stone. Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century poem “Parliament of Fowls” was the first literary reference to Valentine’s Day, but it was Shakespeare who made the reference “sweets to the sweet” in Hamlet in the early 1600s.

chocolate-heartsFood of Love Chocolate has a chemical in it called phenylethylamine. It’s a stimulant that’s released in the brain when people fall in love. The Aztecs, who discovered the cocoa bean, recognized this quality early on. In the early 15th century, Aztec leader Montezuma allegedly indulged in cocoa beans for his romantic  rendezvous. Aztecs also used it as gifts and served it at weddings.

Chocolates for Boxes After chocolate was introduced to Europe, it was initially only consumed as a beverage until the 1840s when manufacturers figured out how to make it into solid candies. Many credit chocolatier Richard Cadbury for Valentine’s Day chocolates. It’s a popular theory that he was the person behind the heart-shaped boxes when his father’s chocolate recipe evolved from drinking chocolate to eating chocolate in the late 1800s. While Richard Cadbury did design elaborate boxes for fancy chocolates, the company doesn’t claim he was the person who popularized Valentine’s Day boxes of chocolate. However, according to the New York Times, confectioners started selling Valentine’s Day chocolates in heart-shaped boxes in the 1890s.

conversation-heartsCandy Chat About the same time Cadbury was perfecting chocolate, a Massachusetts company was innovating other types of sweets. New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) designed the first candy machine in 1847. In 1866, they started producing “Conversation Candies,” a precursor to conversation hearts. It was around 1902 Sweetheart conversation hearts began production. Those conversation candies are still made today with updated phrases. This year’s new phrases include “BFF” (Best Friends Forever), “TE AMO” (I love you in Spanish), “JE T’AIME” (I love you in French), and “Pugs and Kittens” (for animal lovers).

While there may not be an actual connection between sweets and sweethearts, Valentine’s Day is an excuse to eat chocolate and candy guilt-free. Whether you use the day to feed your sweet tooth or you take the day to honor your sweetheart, the tradition of sending Valentine’s Day candy will live on.

National Corn Chip Day: Our Favorite Corn Chip Recipe to Serve at Your Big Game Party

Chicken-Casserole January 29 is National Corn Chip Day! We’re also just days away from the NFL’s biggest game when the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots. So, while we’re celebrating the corn chip, we thought we’d also give you some ideas for your Big Game Party!

We love the crunch and salty goodness of a corn chip — it’s an amazing way to add a little texture to a casserole for a tasty game day snack. Here’s our favorite corn chip recipe to serve at your Big Game party:

Chicken-CasseroleCheesy, Crunchy Chicken Casserole

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2-10.5 oz cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1-10.5 oz can diced tomatoes with chilis
  • 2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1-12oz bag of corn chips
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (you can be generous with the cheese)

(if you like it spicy, you can add 1-4 oz can diced green chilis)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375℉.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sautee until they are slightly soft and a little translucent. Add cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes and chicken. Mix well and heat until the mixture is just bubbling.

Chicken-Casserole

Prepare a medium casserole dish (11”x7”) with cooking spray. Make a layer of corn chips on the bottom of the dish. Spoon the chicken mixture over the layer of chips followed by a layer of cheese. Continue layering until you run out of ingredients. There should be three layers with cheese on top.

Chicken-Casserole

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly. Let cool on a cooling rack. This recipe makes 4 cups.

Once you starting eating this dish, you won’t be able to stop — and neither will your game day guests! However, if you can’t eat it all by the time your favorite team is celebrating its victory, it makes great leftovers. This casserole is even better the next day or even two days later.

We have more ideas for your Big Game party — check out our Pinterest page for more inspiration to get your party started!

Chicken-Casserole

Celebrate National Have Fun At Work Day

Have-Fun-At-WorkHave you ever thought about how much time you spend at work? Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that most of us spend over 2,300 hours at the office in any given year. It’s high time to make some of those hours more fun. January 28 is National Have Fun at Work Day, and it is a perfect excuse for a little comedy in the cubicle.

How National Have Fun at Work Day came about is unclear, but what is plain is that it reminds us all of the importance of laughter and camaraderie at the office. Having a little fun at work develops a friendly and positive office culture. Plus, it also improves work satisfaction, morale and loyalty. Here are a few ideas of ways to have a little fun at the workplace on January 28.

potluckPotluck Lunch Everyone has to eat, so why not make the lunch break interesting with a potluck? Host it in the break room or an empty conference room and ask everyone to bring their specialties and favorite dishes. You also can select a theme to inspire some delicious creations. You could also try hosting a chili cook-off or an ice cream social.

Office Supply Crafts All day, you are surrounded by paper clips and sticky notes. Why not get creative with them? Let your imagination run wild, and use office supplies to make new jewelry and crafts. If you have trouble getting started, check out some online collections of . You can even use desk supplies to make your own fleet of!

farkelPlay A Game Invite your office mates to play a game over one of your breaks. It can be as simple as a round of Go Fish or Old Maid with a pack of regular cards. Twisted Farkel is a hilarious game that is suitable for all groups, or you could play a few rounds of Celebrity. Since your break time is limited, try to pick games that do not take a long time to play or set up. The point is to have a little fun in your downtime, not to sweat the details of starting a long board game.

While it should be entertaining, Have Fun at Work Day cannot be an “anything goes” event; after all, you are still at work! Double check with your company’s employee manual or human resources department to make sure your plans will not violate any company rules. In addition, remember to follow basic office etiquette. Of course, make sure your boss or supervisor approves of the activities, and don’t forget to invite them, too.

6 Personalized Gifts to Add to Your Holiday List

It’s time to start ticking off names on your holiday gift lists, but where to begin is challenging when you want to make each gift personal and thoughtful. We have some ideas to get you started! Here are 6 personalized gifts to add to your holiday list.

LTD-Personalized-sleeping-bagsPersonal Bedtime You don’t have to worry about sleeping bag mix-ups at slumber parties when kids bring their own Personalized Sleeping Bag! Comfortable and cozy, each child’s name is stitched into the top of the sleeping bag.

LTD-Personalized-dog-welcome-matsPersonal Pups For dog owners, show your love through their pets with a Personalized Dog Breed Doormat. Choose your pup’s breed and put his or her name across the bone on the dog’s collar. Rubber backing keeps it in place indoors or in a covered area outdoors.

LTD-Personalized-phone-casesPersonal Talk Snapping selfies has never been so personal with a Picture Frame Personalized Phone Case. Your loved one can easily swap and change pictures whenever he or she wants making it a one-of-a-kind smartphone case. The outer shell protects the phone from damage, and the inner picture frame adds a personal touch.

LTD-Personalized-PendantsPersonal Charm The Personalized Name Drop Pendant is more than an accessory, it’s jewelry that tells your loved one’s story. For a mom with her children’s names or a grandmother with her grandchildren’s names, the necklace is customized with up to 5 pendants, each with a name up to 9 letters long. The necklace comes on an adjustable 18″ chain with a lobster claw clasp.

LTD-Personalized-Pub-PrintPersonal Victories This is the man-cave must-have for the season: Personalized Framed Sports Pub Print. The framed sign features a favorite NFL team along with your loved one’s own printed customization. Pub marquee features the pub name of your choosing and the proprietor section can be personalized as well.

LTD-Personalized-Family-pajamasPersonal Holidays Christmas morning is one of the more personal family days of the year —  matching Personalized Snowman Pajamas! Each set comes with 39 iron-on letters you can use to personalize the long-sleeved top. Long flannel pants have an all-over snowman print and an elastic waistband for a comfortable fit. These pajamas are perfect for lounging by the fire or opening presents.

We have presents for everyone on your gift list. Whether you want to put your loved one’s name on it or you’re looking for a gag gift, LTD Commodities has hundreds of products for you to choose from this holiday season.

5 Ideas to Get Your Bedroom Cozy for Winter

Cozy-BedroomIt seems like the whole country got an early blast of winter this week. We may not be mentally prepared for the arctic chill, but we can get our bedrooms ready for the cold nights ahead. Here are 5 ideas to get your bedroom cozy for winter.

Make Your Bed Every Day According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who make their beds every day are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep. Your body needs extra energy to keep you warm in the winter. Using all that energy wears us out and if we’re not sleeping well, we can’t perform at our optimal level during waking hours. In addition to great sleep, a bed that’s made looks nice and it’s more inviting after a surviving a cold day than a pile of sheets.

blanketsLayering isn’t Just for Tank Tops If you’re not quite ready to trade in your comforter but you want a little more warmth, rather than turning up the heat, add another blanket. Find a nice fleece or plush blanket to layer between your top sheet and your comforter to add a little bit of weight and insulation for your winter slumbers.

Suitable Surfaces Textures can have a big impact on how you see your room and how you feel in it. Soft and dark textures absorb light and make it warmer. Adding a curtain panel to your ceiling, pile a few plush pillows in dark colors on your bed bed or add a cushy throw rug on the floor to visually and physically warm up the bedroom. Save the smooth and shiny surfaces for summer — they reflect light to make a room cooler.

mattress-padExtra Padding While our mattresses last about seven years, we can give them a boost to make them cozy as they approach their expiration date. A new mattress pad or a feather bed can refresh your bed to make it more comfortable and cushioned when you crawl into your cocoon for the night.

Mood Lighting During warmer months, there isn’t as much demand for mood lighting, but it can be soothing in the bedroom during frigid winters. According to a study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, participants reported feeling warmer in a dimly lit room than they felt in a bright room even though the rooms were the same temperature. Even if your thermostat is at the lowest temperature you can handle, having a few LED candles scattered around your room might trick your brain into thinking it’s warmer than it actually is.

Warming up your bedroom for the winter is easy — and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make it welcoming even on the coldest of evenings. With just a few ideas and adjustments, winter nights won’t be so bad.

 

8 Games and Puzzle Gift Ideas

The cold weather has set in and it looks like we’re going to have a long winter. While we’re stuck inside, we’re going to need activities to keep us busy. In honor of Games and Puzzles Week, we have 8 games and puzzle gift ideas to get you, your friends and family through the winter.

games-Farkel-DiceRoll with It The Farkel Game Set with Dice Rolling Tray is a great game to get people together for game night! Farkel is a high point-scoring dice game that has kept players entertained and challenged all night long. For ages 8 and up.

games-disney-scrabbleDisney Has it Covered Disney Jr. Scrabble is the word game that grows with your child’s vocabulary! It’s just like classic Scrabble, but it uses Disney-themed words to build vocabulary. When children develop stronger reading and spelling skills, they can flip the double-sided game board to the other side and play the regular version of Scrabble Jr. For ages 3 and up.

games-nostalgic-puzzlesPuzzles of Yore Go back in time and spend hours piecing together cereal boxes, games or treats we enjoyed as kids with Nostalgic Puzzles. Each puzzles comes with 1,000 pieces that features a collage of familiar favorites from the past. It’s a delightful, calm yet mind-sharpening activity for cold winter days.

Games-Elvis-Puzzle-ShapesTwist on Puzzles Break away from the traditional jigsaw puzzle with a Licensed Shaped Puzzle with Fun Shapes. Each 500-pc. puzzle forms a distinctive shape when completed. Adding to the fun are several pieces that are specially shaped to look like objects related to the larger image.

games-sequence-dice-gameLuck and Strategy Sequence Dice Game is an exciting dice game of luck and strategy for the whole family! The goal is to be the first player or team to make a sequence of 5 chips in a row…up, down, across or diagonally! This entertaining game for friends and family can be played by 2-4 players making it a challenge for couples’ night or family night. For ages 7 and up.

Games-shuffleboardGames of Leisure This 3-In-1 Tabletop Game is all you need for family game night. Play shuffleboard, curling or bowling all on your tabletop! You don’t need to go on a cruise or brave the cold and go to the bowling alley to enjoy a life of leisure games with this set. For ages 5 and up.

games-thomas-kincadePuzzled Movie Scenes A Thomas Kinkade Movie Puzzle lets you piece together memories of The Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind. Created by one of the nation’s greatest artists, this puzzle forms a beautiful piece of art you’ll want to frame when you’re finished. For ages 12 and up.

games-dartsThe Pub Comes to You Licensed Magnetic Dartboard has all the fun of this classic game of skill, without the pub and without the danger! These darts don’t have sharp points, so just about anyone can take a shot at the bullseye. For game night with your adult friends or a night in with the kids, the magnetic dart board promises hours of fun! For ages 3 and up.

It’s not winter yet, but with the temperatures already cold and destined to go down, Games and Puzzles Week couldn’t have come at a better time! You’ll need plenty of indoor activities to survive this winter.

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

It is finally time to get down to some serious holiday shopping. This magical time of year is all about children, and that shows in the variety of toys, clothing, and other delights waiting for you at LTD Commodities. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Your little girl will feel like she's caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14" Doll Set or Outfits.

Your little girl will feel like she’s caring for a real baby with a La Newborn® Real Life 14″ Doll Set or Outfits.

Add adventure and excitement to their pretend covert operations with the Military Walkie-Talkie Command Center.

Add adventure and excitement to their pretend covert operations with the Military Walkie-Talkie Command Center.

Jelly Belly® Gift Boxes include 10 or 40 different flavors of the world-famous, delicious candy.

Jelly Belly® Gift Boxes include 10 or 40 different flavors of the world-famous, delicious candy.

Your child can save the day with a Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle!

Your child can save the day with a Rush & Rescue™ Remote Control Vehicle!