Cabin Fever: How to Entertain Your Kids This Winter

kids playingMost of the U.S has been experiencing the worst winter in many years. We’ve seen wind chills fall as low as negative 40 degrees in some areas of the country! With temperatures this low it’s not safe for the kiddos to go out and play, but what are they to do? Below is a quick list of things to do in your home to keep the kids happy and your sanity in tact.

Hot Chocolate Bar

With sub-zero temperatures outside, it?s not always easy to stay warm inside. Instead of simply huddling together in front of the fireplace, how about making a fun hot chocolate bar with different kinds of toppings? From peppermint sticks to marshmallows to sprinkles to whipped cream, there are plenty of fun things to add to your hot chocolate. Have your kids help prepare the different toppings and set up the hot chocolate bar, and then have fun making different concoctions. For added fun, invite a few of their friends over and make it into a party!

Play Active Indoor Games

There are plenty of indoor games that help get you and kids moving without putting a football through the TV. Start with simple games that require a little activity like WiFit, charades, and indoor Olympics. You can also have a great time by creating an indoor obstacle course! Have the kids follow a specific path, such as over the back of the couch, under the kitchen table, etc., and give them little challenges along the way, like bouncing a ball in a hula hoop, or doing a somersault.

Dress Up and Put on a Show

Got a few fancy dresses and Halloween costumes? What about props and accessories? Pull out whatever dress-up materials you can find and plan a play for you and the kids to put on at the end of the day! You can make up your own script, or base it on a popular story like Frozen or The Lion King. Check out your kids? fun books and comics for ideas. It?s a great way to pass a snow day!

Build a Blanket City

Yeah, not just a fort, build an entire city. Pull out blankets, ladders, sofa cushions, throws, and all the pillows you can find, and actually create blanket forts throughout the entire house (maybe skip the kitchen and bathrooms). You can name each room, create a royal city, and pretend the hallways are moats so you have to row your (skateboard) boat to get from room to room. This is a great game for a Friday or Saturday so you can leave the forts up overnight!

Have Fun in the Kitchen

Cold and icy snow days remind us of baking cookies and getting marshmallow mustaches from hot chocolate, so give your kids the same memories! Make it a little healthier by cutting vegetables into fun shapes, making fruit kebabs, or even making snowmen out of varying sizes of fruits! You can also get crazy with decorative cookies, making your own chocolate, snowman cupcakes, and more. If you?ve got older kids, you can use this opportunity to teach them to make special family recipes.

Image Source: Fun Family Education

Items We Adore: LTD?s Product Picks For The Week

patriotic heartAnother week over, so we?re highlighting some of our favorite picks this week! It may be warming up in some places around the globe, but it?s the very beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympics. We?ve decided to compile a list that combines patriotism, Olympic-watching parties, and a little inspiration to host your own family Olympics in the next few weeks.

Glass Spinner Stakes ? Patriotic Heart

Get your patriotism off to a strong start with this fun red-white-and-blue glass spinner heart. With 230 Americans off to the Winter Olympics, this is the time to show your American pride, watch today?s opening ceremony, and do so by displaying our nation?s colors and flag!

Set of 4 Tumblers

Coming in four different colors, including red, white, and blue, this set of 4 tumblers is the perfect addition to any Winter Olympics celebration. Serve cocktails and kids? drinks in these great insulated mugs to enjoy the games, no matter where you are!

Handled Casserole Dishes

Again, if you?re entertaining for this year?s Winter Games, make sure your tools are up to the task. We like this three-piece round casserole dish set for both cooking and serving. You can make warm Kale-Artichoke Dip in one, and serve cool pita chips and baby carrots in the other.? With three sizes, these multi-purpose dishes are ideal for serving up a storm! Stay warm together watching the Olympics and enjoy dips, soups, casseroles, and more!

Giddy Up Racing Horse Hoppers

There may not be any horse-related events in the Wither Olympics, but that doesn?t mean you can?t create your own backyard competition with these kids? horse hoppers! If you want to make it similar to traditional Steeplechase, consider adding hula-hoops the kids have to hop into and cones they must hop around. Other easy ideas for backyard Olympics events include running races, egg toss, obstacle courses, and shortened variations of croquet or mini golf.

Sports Superstar Gold Cards

And finally, now that you?ve got your own Olympic Games in your home or living room, you need to have some sort of medal or prize, right? We think these collectible gold trading cards are perfect. Honoring sports icons like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, they certainly fit in with the sports theme! Use the same medal for each event, or get the whole set.

4 Tips For a Successful Fun at Work Day

Many people dream about coming into a work environment filled with activities, team work and most of all fun. You can stop dreaming because January 28th is Fun at Work Day! It?s a great chance to take a break from the usual routine and have a blast–but how do you have fun at work? We?ve got four tips to make Fun at Work Day legendary in your office.

1. Games

Fun at Work Day is all about the fun so play a few games to lighten the mood. There are numerous games you can play at the office. Here are a few for inspiration.

Paperclip Trail

This game can be a timed event between competitors. Each competitor has a stack of paperclips to choose from. When the game starts the goal is to connect as many paperclips as possible to make the longest trail. At the end, the trail will be measured and the longest paperclip trail is declared the winner.

Bobble Head Challenge

Bobble-head-challengeThis activity is known to make those playing and watching laugh. Have participants line up in preparation for the game. Each participant receives a headband and a pedometer. After they have their headbands on, attach the pedometer to the front of the headband and set each pedometer to zero. For one minute the participants will bobble their own heads in order to make the pedometer count. The person with the highest number on their pedometer wins the challenge.

 

 

2. Casual to Themed

When participating in fun games no one wants to be dressed in their business gear.? A causal jeans day would be a crowd pleaser. If you want to inspire even more fun, make a theme day out of it. Choose a fun theme such as Hawaiian Day, Funky Hair Day or even a Superhero Day to create a fun atmosphere.

3. Desk Duty

It may be difficult for some people to get away for a physical activity. Puzzles such as Sudoku or trivia questions are a great option to those who can?t get away. You can choose a pop culture or even create your own puzzles for an extra challenge.

4. Food Day
Cute-Cucumbers
Another way to make it a fun and relaxing day for everyone is to have an option for pot luck or to order in for lunch. Fun days are also busy days because everyone needs to balance work with fun. An option to have a lunch set up can take the stress away at lunch time and make the day more enjoyable.

 

 

Fun at work is just one of the unique holidays you can celebrate. It?s important to take a step back and reduce stress at work and this is the perfect excuse. With these four tips you and your co- workers will be having a blast in no time!

Do you have some tips to have fun at work? Share your favorite tips in the comments below.

?Image Credit: youtube.com

 

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks for the Week

seasonal towel setsHappy Friday everyone! Today?s LTD Commodities picks for the week highlight your last-chance Christmas and holiday items. January is coming to a close, which means you better stock up on your favorite holiday gifts and d?cor accessories before they?re gone! Check out these fun and useful holiday items at LTD.

Seasonal Kitchen Towel Sets

Many of us have several different towel sets for different times of year, but this set of seasonal kitchen towels streamlines your organization. One set includes three cutesy towels from the designated season. Choose winter, spring, summer, or fall, or get the whole bunch! They?re a great way to change up your seasonal d?cor without searching through dozens of boxes in the garage.

Gift Wrap/Ornament Storage Organizer

Without fail, every Christmas comes with box after box of decorations and wrapping paper, and somehow, at the end of every season, the boxes just don?t want to close. Which is why we love this storage organizer, perfect for gift wrap, ribbons, and ornaments. Use it to organize those odds and ends that don?t have a home, while you?re waiting until you have to scrounge up another empty box. This holiday organizer is perfect for under-the-bed storage or small vertical spaces.

Record a Story Books

Twas the Night Before Christmas is an all-time holiday classic, but this clever record-a-story book takes it to another level. These books record and play back your voice, so you can ?read? to your little one, even if you?re not there. This is a great gift if you?re a faraway grandparent or relative, or if you?re a parent who works late nights, is in the military, or travels a lot for work.

Christmas Memories Book Boxes

So we understand if you don?t want to save every single Christmas card you receive, but there are some you just can?t bear throwing away: the family picture of your niece/nephew/grandchild?s first Christmas, or the last card sent by an older relative. For these occasions, we recommend the Christmas Memories Book Boxes. These decorative ?books? are hollow on the inside with magnetic closures on the cover, creating a perfect place to store memories. The fun part is putting them out every year and getting the chance to go through some of your favorite memories from holidays past.

Winter Items You Can’t Live Without

warm clothes LTDWith the ice and snow from the Polar Vortex beginning to melt, it?s easy to look forward to spring. Unfortunately, warm weather is still a few months away, and now is the best time to score discounts on winter apparel. While the items are still around, stock up on a few of these winter necessities for both this season and next year?s winter. A Scarf For Warmth ? Not Fashion Okay, it doesn?t have to be hideous or anything, but fashion scarves made from satin, silk, linen, jersey, and other lightweight materials are not meant for warmth. Grab yourself a nice alpaca or wool scarf and learn a few fun ways to tie it to make it fashionable. A scarf is always a fun accessory for men and women?s winter coats, cardigans, and sports jackets. Once it warms up a bit, you can turn to those beautiful fashion scarves once again. Waterproof Boots (Galoshes) Sure, they might not match your skinny jeans that well but with the Polar Vortex melting, you?ll do anything to keep your feet warm. There are tons of different styles and shapes of boots, but make sure they?re lined with warm fabric on the inside and coated with waterproof material on the outside! Keep the fashionable boots at home for next fall. Go-To Hot Chocolate Recipe We?re not talking about Swiss Miss here, although, if that?s your favorite, then your job here is done! There are so many more ways to make rich and velvety hot chocolate, from maple-mocha syrup to rich Valrhona cocoa powder. One thing everyone seems to agree on is that it?s better on the stovetop, so find yourself a whisk and a sturdy pan and whip up a batch for your family. The winter is hitting its peak right now, so if you want to relax and let your fingers thaw, hot chocolate is a must! TV Series on DVD The holiday season is over, and you can finally get a little me time with your couch and television. When you?re stuck inside without access to the outside world, you?ll be so thankful you bought the DVDs for Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. Nothing says winter quite like a snowy outdoor wonderland and a cozy indoor comfort zone. Grab a blanket and your steaming mug of hot chocolate and take a few hours off, getting lost in your favorite TV series.

Pest Control in the Winter

pest-controlKeeping pests out of your home is one of the most critical things you can do, no matter the season. During the winter some people have a tendency to let their guard down as many types of insects begin to hibernate. For some pests, this is the easiest time for them to come inside, and the most likely too. Rather than forgetting about pest control for the season, take extra measures to protect your home, especially from mice during the winter. Take the proper steps to keep them out during this season. It will be easier to put up the barriers rather than playing catch up once they are already inside.

The cat
One of the easiest ways to get rid of mice in the home is to invest in a cat. You don’t even need to have the cat living indoors. Cats are one of the biggest predators out there, tackling everything from insects to snakes. A mouse’s worse enemy is a playful cat.

As long as you don’t get a Garfield, most cats will help reduce the mice and other insect population around your home significantly. For those who have absolutely no interest in owning a pet cat, there are other options out there. Take these methods instead, keeping the rodents, insects, and any other unwanted critters as far away from your home as possible.

Keep organized
Mice love to find a place to nestle in close together building their nests away from the cold. Keep these spaces out of the way before they even have a chance to congregate. Although it is too late now, for next fall take care to eliminate the waste that has built up around your home. Piles of trash, hay, compost, or other things are the perfect place for nests to be built, keeping them warm for the winter.

The closer these piles are to your home, the higher the chance the mice will make their way into your home. Move them as far away from the structure as possible. This includes garbage, which should be emptied out as often as possible to prevent attracting even more mice.

Although many insects will die at the end of the fall, if they are able to find a safe and warm place to hibernate, they will be just as ready for next spring. The closer these warm spots are to your home, the more likely it is they will make their way inside. Move piles of wood and other insect habitats away from the sides of your home.

Close the options
If you do not have screens installed in your home, put them on now. This is especially important in protecting against mice for the windows of your home that are close to ground level. Presumably during the winter you will not be having the windows open, but it is better to have this extra protection than not. In addition to this, you can invest in screens for your chimney and other openings. This will keep mice, birds, and other pests out of your home.

You would be surprised how small of a hole a mouse needs to make its way into your house. Inspect the perimeter and make sure that all the holes and cracks are properly filled, including those that house water pipes or electric lines. An entire insect population could make its way inside through one of these openings carelessly left unattended.

If a pest population does make its way into your home, they can cause destruction and reproduce fast. At this point you may be better to call an exterminator. Do all you can to rid your home of an infestation, keeping your house clean and free from diseases they may carry.

 Cassie Costner writes for beelinepestcontroldenver.com, a Colorado pest control company. She has written on the most effective way to rid pests from your home no matter the season, and keep them out for the long run. 

Celebrate Fruitcake Toss Day with LTD

There are many bizarre and unique holidays out there many of us never heard of. Some of these holidays are only celebrated in the hometowns where they originated from. Fruitcake Toss Day is just one of the many fun days to celebrate.

Fruitcake Toss Day started in Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1995. This event includes multiple divisions so the tossing athletes are competing equally with each other. Divisions include catapult, slingshot, or a fruitcake shooter. Objects of the game are for either distance or accuracy. The winners of these prestigious games received a prize within their tossing division. Due to the popularity of what became the fruitcake festival, January third was deemed Fruitcake Toss Day.

The fruitcake is a gift few want to receive and if you do happen to get one, what do you do with it? It has been rumored that some folks like to eat these dense fruit filled cakes but many shy away and look for alternative options. Don’t let your fruitcake take up space in your trash, instead toss that cake as far as you can!

If you don’t have catapults or sling shots don’t let that stop you! You can create your own version of the fruitcake toss and have a blast doing it. So gather up your friends and your fruitcakes for the toss of the year.

Here are some tips on planning your own fruitcake toss:

Right on Target
If you want to create a competition based on accuracy create targets to knock down. Find unused boxed to set up and set them up at different angles and distances. Have athletes knock down as many targets as they can. If you live in an area with snow, just stack a few snowballs up. Get your fruitcake and aim to knock them all down!

Long Distance
For those athletes with a throwing arm, this is the way to go. Simply step up to the line and hurl your fruitcake as far as you can. This version will rely on distance to determine a winner. It ensures the correct distance is recorded and feet are behind the line, we suggest nominating a referee to measure and to keep all fruitcake throwing fair.

Team or Individual Players
Depending on the ratio of fruitcakes to people you may want to consider if it would be better to create teams or have individual players. Playing as a team can add fun to the game by creating team name and logos.

This year we created our own fruitcake toss for distance. Our referee kept us on our toes as we went for the gold! Travis was our big winner with a phenomenal fruitcake toss of 95 ft. Second place tossed their cake a whopping 85 ft and Third place was gaining with 80 ft.

Take a look at our Fruitcake Toss Day that we did to spark ideas.

Fruitcake Toss Day is just one holiday started by a town that was looking for a solution for those who receive fruitcakes. Do you know of another funky holiday? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Holiday Decorations to Keep Throughout Winter

The term “winter wonderland” is often heard around Christmas but in actuality could be used throughout the cold months of winter. Every year you work hard to decoration the entire house for Christmas. It can be disheartening it only lasts for a month after all the time and effort dedicated to creating a magical atmosphere in your home. Within all the red, green and Santas, there are probably some items that you can keep after Christmas. Here are some home decor pieces you can enjoy all winter long.

 

snowflake-throw

Image Credit: ltdcommodities.com

Snowflakes
Though we usually think of a white Christmas during the holidays, December is not the only month we see these beautiful flakes fall. Snowflakes on bedding, throws, dishes and other home décor items are welcome to stay as long as snow is on the ground. If your snow filled items are red, try not to pair it with green. This way it won’t feel like Christmas in your home but more like a wintery wonderland.

 

 

 

 

snowman

Image Credit: ltdcommodities.com

Snowmen,penguins and polar bears oh my!
Many pieces of home décor come as snowmen or adorable animals. These cute wintery figures are always happy to fill your home as long as they are not promoting Christmas. If your penguin is wearing a Santa hat or your snowman is decorating a Christmas tree it will make your home feel like Christmas. Keep the pieces that have a winter feel but cannot be obviously tied back to the holiday.

 

 

 

 

Winter in the Country
Stars and pine cones are typically found among holiday décor items. These items can be stuck in the wreath or wrapped in Christmas colors. If you have some of these iconic pieces in your holiday collection, don’t put them away yet! Look at the décor closely and determine if you can remove any additional decorations that resemble Christmas and reuse with a winter theme.

 

 

 

 

Winter-garland

Image Credit: ltdcommodities.com

Garland
Pre-lit is popular for Christmas trees and even for garland. An easy way to use your garland throughout the winter is to remove any lighting and add pine cones or snow decorations. The beautiful garland you had on your mantel can be easily transformed into a winter staple.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-green-white-ornaments

Image Credit: womansday.com

Ornaments
After you take your ornaments off the tree you normally would put them away for next year–but wait! Those cool colored ornaments aren’t done yet! Ornaments in tones of blue and white are perfect to adding to your winter wonderland décor. Add them to a snowy wreath or stack them on a plate for a beautiful center piece. To add a little additional color, a cool cucumber green can keep the winter theme while adding a pop of color.

 

 

 

 

With just a little organization and effort the money and time you spend to decoration your home for the holidays can be stretched throughout the entire winter season. You may buy a few extra items to complete a look, but most likely you will find many decorations you already have to redecorate your home after the holidays.

Do you have some decorating tips? Share your favorite tips in the comments below.

What’s the Foul Smell Associated With the Water Heater?

Water-heaterThere’s nothing worse than foul smelling water in your house. The smell permeates everything. We use water from our tap for drinking, washing, and a number of other things. If there is something wrong, it can cause major problems for you. Rather than dealing with the problem, do something about it. As the holiday season approaches, you don’t want to be left with a large mess, especially if you are having guests over. Address the problem sooner rather than later.

If you smell a rotten egg stench coming from your tap, or from your utility closet, there is a good chance that the water heater is the problem. Get this solved as quickly as possible. Letting the smell continue longer than necessary will only do more damage.

Finding the source

Most of the time, the rotten egg smell will be caused from the hot water heater. There are a few cases however where this is not true. Before calling a professional, or tearing the water heater apart, verify that that is indeed where the smell is coming from.

To ensure your water heater is the source of the problem, fill a glass with hot water, and another glass with cold water from the sink closest to the heater. Make sure to allow enough time between filling them to ensure the smell doesn’t cross over. Smell both glasses to see which one smells worse. If the smell is obviously coming from the hot water sample, and is unnoticeable in the cold water, your problem is related to the water heater.

Fixing the problem

This issue with water heaters is more common than many people would think. Hard water is the main cause. When the iron particles breakdown, the water begins smelling worse. The more iron you have in your water, the harder it is, making the smell difficult to deal with.

Before you run out and get a new water heater to mend the problem, there are a couple of things that can be done. There is an anode rod made of magnesium that helps to protect the lining of the tank. As a result, this rod corrodes, causing the iron to be eaten by bacteria. The smell is released through this process, causing more damage than good as far as taste goes. In some cases, the rod can be completely removed.

Even with this rod out, there is a chance sulfate-reducing bacteria could still be inside the hot water heater. This will cause the problem to remain, feeding off the hard water. To solve this problem, raise the temperature about 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least eight hours. Make sure to avoid using hot water in the home during this time, to prevent scalding. Before starting, make everybody in the house aware of what you are doing, keeping you and your family safe. These temperatures are way above what the hot water heater should normally be set to. If the problem persists past this point, it may be necessary to contact a professional to drain your hot water heater.

Timing is everything

Dealing with a malfunctioning water heater can be difficult. You don’t realize how often you use it until it’s gone. Before the problem gets too out of hand, make sure you have a grip on the situation. Rather than wasting time and money, fix the problem as soon as it comes.

Whether you are traveling for the holidays, or you have family and friends coming to your home, you don’t want the problem festering for longer than necessary. It is much easier to fix the smell and cover that up than a full on flood caused by a faulty water heater. Be sure to address the problem prior to company, making the experience less stressful for you, and more enjoyable for everybody.

Maintain your hot water heater properly to ensure it will continue working for years to come. Hard water can be damaging, so do all you can to protect the heater. If you notice a foul smell coming from your water supply, do the research to find the source. There are a couple of different ways to fix the problem, find the one that works best for your hot water heater.

Cassie writes on the various plumbing projects that can be done on your own around the house, and when to call a professional. She has researched the best Salt Lake City plumbers to find the most common causes of hot water heater problems.

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

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift for your loved ones. Even if you are just looking for a birthday gift, we’ve got it all. At LTD you’ll find a variety of great gift items, even for those that are hard to shop for. Here are a few of the gift items that we adore.

Sentiment-mugWhen the temperature drops there is nothing like a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up.  It’s even better when your mug is a heartfelt gift from a friend.  Our Classic Sentiment Mugs warm the soul and make a great gift for anyone.  Beautiful floral designs with bold colors make this mug eye catching. Choose from friend, aunt, daughter, mom and sister with a thoughtful message on each cup.  These are dishwasher and microwave safe which makes them an easy gift to give and to take care of.  This mug will bring back warm memories for the heart and soul every time it’s held.

Birthstone-handprint-charms

It can be difficult to find the perfect gift for a birthday near the holidays.  One way to leave an imprint on someone’s heart is to give a gift that includes a birthstone. Celebrate their birthday but also remind them of the special people in their life such as a children or grandchildren. This Birthstone Heart Handprint Charms and bracelet will bring a smile with every charm added. The silver link bracelet is 8” with a spring ring closure that adjusts for a comfortable fit.

To make this gift extra special, a card is included with the charm that reads, “Sometimes you get discouraged because I am so small, and always leave my fingerprints on furniture and walls. But everyday I’m growing up and soon I’ll be so tall, that all those little hand prints will be so hard to recall!” This charm bracelet will leave a lasting impression for years to come.

NFL-slipper-socksWe can’t forget the sports fans in our lives! Lakeside’s NFL shop has a great selection of football related gifts. These NFL Slipper Socks will score big points with your fan. Give this gift and they will turn on the game while keeping warm with their favorite team. This gift is a guaranteed touch down with no slip grippers on the bottom. These socks are one size fits most and make a great gift for men or women. Whether it’s a rivalry or a team effort, these are even a great gift for a couple in love with football. Your family and friends will show their team spirit all winter long.

Find products from sentimental to humorous and fan favorites from MLB to NFL. We have gifts for the young and for the young at heart that will make memories and bring smiles every time. Whether you are looking for holiday, birthday or even anniversary, LTD is your one stop shop for all your gifts.

Have you bought something from us lately? What is your favorite LTD product of the moment? Let us know in the comments below.