How To Get Sand Out of Everything

Sand. It’s heavenly between your toes, but what about when you find it everywhere, from your clothes to your car to your hair? Here’s a simple primer to keep the sand where you want it and nowhere you don’t!

Skin: Sand stuck on dry skin will slide right off with a little sprinkle of baby powder and gentle rub. Keep a travel size bottle of baby powder in your beach bag.

Hair: Baby powder will also dislodge sticky sand from dry hair and scalps. Sprinkle a little at the roots, then tilt your head upside down and tussle hair at the root to release sand. For straight hair, use a fine-toothed comb. Then later, opt for a sudsy bath instead of a shower. Soak hair in the water and work hair at the roots with your fingertips. Sand is heavier than hair, so it will release and fall to the bottom of the tub.

Clothing: Tossing sandy clothes into the washing machine will only lodge them further into the fibers. Lay clothes flat in the sun to dry. When fully dried, give them a gentle tug to loosen the fibers, then shake out the sand. Once the sand has been released, you can put them through a wash cycle.

Swimsuits: The fine fibers of swimsuits are a perfect trap for sand. Turn suit inside out and allow to dry completely. Tug gently at suit and shake out trapped sand. Next, soak swimsuit in a sink full of warm water for about 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of delicate laundry soap (such as Woolite) and hand wash. Rinse with warm water and wring out extra water with your hands before laying suit out to dry on a large towel.

Cars: If simple vacuuming doesn’t seem to do the trick for your car upholstery and carpeting, try brushing it first with a pet hair brush. This will release the sand from deep in the fibers and make it easier to vacuum. Repeat the cycle several times if necessary.

Your Child’s Eyes: The most important thing is to keep your child from rubbing or scratching her eyes, since the sand could scratch the cornea and cause infection. Take a fresh bottle of water (preferably at room temperature and not ice cold) and have the child tip her head back while you pour a gentle stream into the corner of the eye to flush the sand out.

There’s only one thing left to do: get out there and get sandy in order to try these techniques!

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25 Genius Travel Tips

 

Summer is full of long vacations and quick weekend trips, so we’ve gathered 25 genius trips to make your journeys sweet!

  1. When packing, roll your clothes to save space and avoid wrinkles. For clothes that have to be folded, use a sheet of tissue paper to avoid wrinkles.
  2. Pack a variety of snacks for the kids in a tackle box.
  3. Carry wet wipes on the plane and wipe down tray tables, arm rests, and anything your hands will touch during a flight.
  4. Use a sunglasses case to store chargers and cables.
  5. A dryer sheet at the bottom of your suitcase or duffle bag keeps clothes smelling fresh for weeks.
  6. Use your cell phone to take a clear snapshot of all your tickets, passports and other important documents.
  7. Wrap shoes in a hotel shower cap to keep dirty soles off your clothes.
  8. Stuff shoes with socks, belts, or scarves to utilize more space.
  9. For road trips, hang a shoe organizer on the back of the seat to have kids’ activities and items organized and within hands’ reach.
  10. Tuesday afternoons are statistically the best time to buy airfare for less.
  11. Marking your luggage with a “Fragile” tag usually gets it preferential treatment, like first in line at baggage claim.
  12. When traveling to a foreign country, use an ATM to withdraw cash. You will get the best exchange rate and avoid markup fees by banks.
  13. On your last day in a foreign country, gather all your cash and loose change and give it to a homeless person or someone in need.
  14. Use contact lens cases to store small amounts of cosmetics and lotions to save space.
  15. A rigorous workout the day before international travel will help you fight jet lag.
  16. On road trips, pull over for scenic photos and outlooks. It’s a great way to break up the drive and you’ll see amazing sights you’d otherwise miss, all for five minutes of your time.
  17. Tie a colored ribbon around the handle of your luggage for easy identification at baggage claim.
  18. Always keep a bottle of water and a protein-based snack in your purse or bag.
  19. Keep a stash of essentials (underwear, toiletries, documents) in your carryon, just in case your luggage gets lost.
  20. If you miss a flight or connection, don’t stand in line at the counter, use your cell phone and call the airline directly.
  21. For car rentals, hotels and any other type of reservation, always ask the booking agent, “Is this is the best rate you can give me?” They are obligated to answer honestly.
  22. Always sign up for frequent flyer and customer loyalty programs. The perks are plenty and add up quickly.
  23. The water on airplanes is not regulated. Order drinks without ice and always use hand sanitizer after washing your hands in the lavatory.
  24. Purchase park, museum, and tour tickets online and in advance. You may pay a dollar or two extra, but it will save you precious time standing in lines.
  25. Ask local people where to eat.

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10 Tips for a Perfectly Packed Cooler

Packing a cooler for a day on the water is both an art and a science. A lunch of  warm drinks and waterlogged sandwiches can put a damper on the whole experience, so use these tips to establish yourself as Master of the Cooler and bask in your glory (and the sunshine) all day!

  1. Use separate coolers for drinks and food. This is the number one tip because your drink cooler will get opened several times all day long, allowing cool air to escape, which can be dangerous for food. The temperature in the food cooler will be easier to keep consistent and safe if it is separate.
  2. Mark your coolers. A strip of masking tape with “FOOD” and “DRINKS” written on it is all you need to keep your friends from opening the food cooler a hundred times looking for drinks.
  3. Pre-chill drinks. Your ice will last 2-3 times longer if drinks are already chilled.
  4. Use crushed ice in the drink cooler. Lay cans and bottles on their sides along the bottom of the cooler and cover with a layer of crushed ice and repeat the process. This allows the ice to touch a greater surface of each drink, and as the cooler gets opened and closed, the ice will melt a bit, which will keep drinks nice and ice cold all day long.
  5. If you have a variety of drinks, have them represented in each layer, so that no one has to dig to the bottom of the cooler for their favorite drink.
  6. Always pack water. Hot sun, water activities and alcohol all dehydrate the body, so make sure to have plenty of water on hand. You can also freeze water bottles ahead of time and use as ice packs in the food cooler for backup water if needed.
  7. Avoid ice in the food cooler. Ice melts into water and water seems to find its way into everything. Use frozen gel packs and pliable freezer sheets to keep foods cool. There will be minimal condensation and no slushy water to mess with. Cool air travels down, so put your cooling mechanism on top of the food and allow it to cool from the top down. If it’s an especially large cooler, add gel packs in the middle and the top.
  8. Pack your food cooler in chronological order. Think about what you’ll need first and most often, and have that available at the top. This will help you contain the cold air and keep you organized.
  9. Keep perishable items in sealed containers and close to a cold source. Meats and dairy products should be stored in an airtight bag or container and placed directly next to a gel pack to prevent spoil and contamination.
  10. Keep coolers out of direct sunlight. All your smart packing and cooling techniques will not do much good if the cooler is baking in the sun all day. A shady spot will make all the difference.

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Summer Boredom Buster: Make Greeting Cards

If it’s too hot outside and the kids are getting restless, why not get creative to beat this summer boredom? Open up your arts and crafts closet, pull out your stuff, and have the kids create their own greeting cards for a year’s worth of occasions. The kids can eliminate their boredom with a little creativity and you’ll be thanking yourself again and again during the busy occasions ahead for utilizing this down time! Check out these ideas for inspiration:

1. Turn a handprint into Santa’s beard with this clever holiday card. (Can you imagine the bragging rights you’ll earn if you get your holiday cards made in July?)

2. Transform wine corks into custom stamps to create these handmade valentine cards.

3. Pick some flowers from the yard and use them as stamps to create a delicate design for an anytime card.

4. Create designs with a white crayon on card stock, then use watercolors on top to create a beautiful reverse design.

5. Cupcake liners from the kitchen cupboard paired with tissue paper and fuzzy poms transform into colorful birthday cupcake cards.

Do you have a favorite boredom buster? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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DIY Temporary Tattoos

Summer skin is the perfect place to showcase a new tattoo, but there’s no need to commit to permanent ink. We’ve got a fun way to create your own temporary tattoos that look totally legit with just a few household items (and maybe an artistic friend). Follow these directions for a tattoo that will last approximately one month with normal wear.

DIY Temporary Tattoo

Sharpie marker
baby powder
hairspray

1. Wash and dry skin surface.
2. Use a Sharpie marker to draw image directly onto skin.
3. Sprinkle a generous amount of baby powder onto the tattoo and gently rub in a circular motion.
4. Brush off excess powder.
5. Hold hairspray can several inches from tattoo and spray the area for about 5 seconds, or until coated.
6. Allow hairspray to dry and set for about 10 minutes before washing the tattoo.

HINT: Use a variety of Sharpie colors and tips to create all sorts of intricate art. The sky is the limit! (Although, we’re partial to cookie tattoos.)

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How to Revive Your Dingy Outdoor Furniture

If your patio furniture has lost its luster, don’t toss it out. A little elbow grease along with the right tools can turn your dingy patio furniture into like-new lounge areas. Here’s what you need to bring your furniture back to life:

  • White Resin Furniture: Use a bleach/water solution (1 part bleach to 5 parts water) along with a fine steel wool pad to easily scrub away the grimy gray film on your furniture (as pictured). Don’t forget a pair of gloves.
  • Aluminum Furniture: Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap with a gallon of warm water. Dip a sponge in the solution and scrub the furniture. Rinse with a hose.
  • Wrought Iron Furniture: Use a broom or bristled brush to remove dirt and debris from crevices, then hose it down thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to a gallon of water and gently scrub the iron, then rinse thoroughly. Wipe furniture down with a towel.
  • Teak Furniture: Use a soft brush to clear dirt and dust away. Then, use a mild wood soap solution with a damp rag to clean the wood. Rinse with a hose and allow to dry.
  • Wicker Furniture: Use a hose vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the tight weave, then dust with a dry paint brush. Mix 1 teaspoon mild wood soap with 1 gallon of warm water and use a soft rag or sponge to wash the furniture. Rinse with hose and wipe down with a clean towel.
  • Canvas Cushions: Mold and mildew can build up on the edges and underside of canvas fusions. Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent with 1 teaspoon Borax in one quart of warm water and fill a spray bottle. Thoroughly saturate the entire surface of the cushion, especially in the creases, crevices and edges. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes, then using a garden hose with a jet attachment, spray the cushions to release the solution and the grime. Stand the cushions on edge and allow to dry in a sunny spot until just damp. Then spray with a fabric protector to prevent future mildew. Allow to dry thoroughly in the sun.

NOTE: Always test in an inconspicuous area before treating an entire surface!

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Sweet Ideas for Store-Bought Nibblers

Have you picked up a box of our fudge-dipped Nibblers Cookies at your grocery store yet? These crave-worthy cookies are delicious right out of the box, but we’ve thought of some other great ideas to transform these snacks into some of your favorite desserts!

  • Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches: A little scoop of ice cream in between two Nibblers Cookies is both delicious and adorable.
  • Pie crust: Add two tablespoons melted butter to one box of loosely crushed cookies, then press into an 8″ pie tin. Fill with your favorite cream or pudding filling.
  • Brookies: Our Nibbler Cookies are delicious baked inside of a brownie using our Brookie Pan.
  • Push Pops: Layer Nibbler Cookies with cream and chocolate layers in your favorite childhood push container.
  • S’mores: Squish a freshly roasted marshmallow in between two Nibblers Cookies. The fudge will melt to make an ooey gooey easy s’more.

Grab a box and get creative!

Tips for a Perfect Cheese Plate

As an appetizer at the beginning of a party or as dessert to wind things down, a cheese plate is a beautiful and creative way to feed your guests. Putting together a great cheese plate is both an art and a science, but it’s not hard to pull off once you learn a few tricks. Here’s everything you need to know to do it right:

  • Serving Sizes: Plan on roughly 1-2 ounces of cheese per guest.
  • Variety: Select cheeses that are a variety of different textures (aged, firm, soft, semi-soft, blue) and made from different milks (cow, sheep, goat).
  • How Many: No need to go overboard. Three to five cheeses are plenty for a great platter. Too many options can get overwhelming.
  • Serving Temperature: Room temperature provides the best flavor and texture of each cheese. If you make your platter ahead of time, allow 45 minutes to an hour before serving.
  • Use Labels: Mark each cheese with its name and a simple one or two word description.
  • Knives: Have one knife per cheese.
  • Ask an Expert: If you’re not a cheese connoisseur yourself, no problem! Ask the advice of your local deli manager when putting together your cheese platter. He or she will likely have a lot of great recommendations. Let them know your budget and then allow them to offer advice.
  • Always Have Honey: A drizzle of honey balances and tames the flavor of sharp cheeses that some guests might not enjoy on their own.
  • Use Plain Bread and Crackers: Avoid herb-infused or flavored breads and crackers, which can fight flavors and take away from the experience.
  • Don’t Crowd the Platter: Leave a 1-2 inch gap between items on the platter to avoid getting fingers and knuckles where they don’t belong (and possibly cut!).
  • Fruit and Nuts Are a Must: Break things up with fresh fruit like grapes, figs, apricots and dates as well as small handfuls of your favorite nuts.
  • Sweet and Savory Sides: Jams, chutneys, olives, and thinly sliced salty meats like prosciutto are also great additions to your platter.
  • Platter vs. Individual Plates: If guests are walking around, opt for a large platter from which everyone can serve themselves. If it’s a formal sit-down meal, use an individual plate for each guest.

Do you have a favorite cheese or platter tip? Share your ideas!

Image via Williams Sonoma

10 Genius Camping Tips

Summer is officially here and the great outdoors is calling. Before you pack up your gear and head for the hills, check out these great tips that will make your camping trip a breeze (and make you look like a genius)!

1. No need to lug around an entire bag of charcoal. Fill an empty paper egg carton with Match Light charcoal for a simple and effective fire starter for the grill.

2. No coffee pot? No problem. Make individual coffee bags out of coffee filters and dental floss. Allow them to steep in boiling water for several minutes, just like tea.

3. Refill empty Tic Tac containers with your favorite spices. It takes up less space and you can store them with your camping equipment year round.

4. Add bundles of sage to your campfire to keep mosquitoes away.

5. For perfect s’mores, use a small block of wood on the outer rim of campfire to rest your cracker and chocolate while you roast the marshmallow.The wood will transfer heat to get the chocolate nice and melted.

6. Campfire Banana Boats are a delicious ooey-gooey alternative to s’mores. Or a good side dish for s’mores. Either way.

7. Freeze drinking water in jugs and use them instead of ice in your cooler. Not only does it save space, it saves your ham sandwiches from getting soggy.

8. Avoid soggy, slippery bars of soap by creating one-time-use strips of soap with a vegetable peeler. HINT: rub dry soap on a mosquito bite to relieve itching.

9. Place a few of unscented dryer sheets on the table (or under a tablecloth) to keep bees away from the food.

10. A first aid kit that fits in your pocket is a must-have for hiking. Use an old prescription bottle and fill it with bandaids, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment and some Benadryl.

Do you have a favorite camping tip? Share you ideas with us!

Colorful Ice Cubes

Mrs. Fields Secrets Flavored Ice Cubes

We’ve got a simple way to add a fun range of flavor and color to your summer beverages. Freezing concentrated cubes of punch or juice will not only cool your summer drinks, but infuse them with bright color and flavor. You can match the colors to your party theme or holiday fare (think red, white and blue), combine them in a beautiful pitcher or in individual glasses. As the cubes melt, the drink gets more flavor and color with each sip!

Rainbow Ice Cubes

3 packets Koolaid, different flavors/colors
1 cup sugar
6 cups water
3 ice cube trays

Directions
Mix contents of one Koolaid packet with 1/3 cup sugar and 2 cups water. Stir thoroughly to ensure that sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into one ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Repeat with remaining Koolaid packets and ice trays. Once frozen, place cubes in a punch bowl, pitcher, or individual glasses with water, wine or clear soda for a beautiful pop of color and flavor.

HINT: Dark, concentrated juices like grape or pomegranate work best for juices. Consider freezing berries inside ice cubes for even more color and texture!

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