Easy Summer Recipes

With longer daylight hours and the kids out of school, Summer is the best time for entertaining your friends and family! But… who enjoys slaving over a hot stove in 90 degree weather? Click the link below to check out some of our favorite easy Summer recipes that allow you to keep the kitchen cool… Bon Appetit!

Spring Cleaning Your Refridgerator

While many of us neglect to keep our fridges clean, it can be unhealthy to live with a dirty refrigerator. Spoiled food can foster the growth of microorganisms that can spread to the rest of your food. Take spring cleaning to the next level this year by getting your refrigerator clean, and keeping your family healthy.

If it’s been a while since you last cleaned the fridge, then a deep-clean is in order:

  • Unplug your fridge, removing all food and discarding anything that is no longer edible
  • Thoroughly scrub the interior with a powerful disinfectant, careful to clean seams and corners
  • Place a fresh box of baking soda to help with odors
  • Reload the remaining food into the fridge.

While it might take a bit of work, it’s important for your health that you deep-clean your refrigerator. To take it even further, you can change your habits so that food lasts longer and your fridge remains cleans for a longer period of time:

  • Maintain fridge and freezer temperatures of about 40 and 0 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively
  • Follow a food freshness guide to learn how long various types of food last in storage, and be sure to throw away anything that outlasts the recommended time.
  • Store food in air-tight plastic containers after opening packaging

By following these tips, you’ll have a lot less fridge cleaning to do next time spring rolls around!

Keeping a clean fridge is about more than just unpleasant odors – it’s about your health. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to maintain a bacteria-free fridge by following these simple tips.

Homemade Pet Snacks

While you might laugh at the thought of cooking your pet a meal, switching to homemade pet snacks can provide benefits for both you and your pet. For you, it will save a few bucks on grocery bills each month, which is always a good thing. More importantly, however, homemade pet snacks are often the healthy choice for your pet. Many store bought brands are filled with additives and chemicals that aren’t always beneficial to your pet’s health, which is especially important for animals with food allergies or medical conditions.

Next time you run out of dog biscuits or cat treats, try whipping up one of these simple and healthy pet food recipes:

  • Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits– This easy recipe, created by a veterinary employee, is healthy alternative to prepackaged dog treats. Approved by both vets and pets, this recipe is sure to become a staple in your home.
  • Wheat-free Biscuits– When your pet has food allergies, homemade pet snacks can be hugely helpful. For example, this recipe is a safe and healthy choice for wheat-sensitive dogs.
  • Martha Stewart’s Dog Food– Instead of making individual treats, Martha Stewart opts to mix nutritious ingredients with her dogs’ dry food each morning.
  • Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats– We can’t forget about our feline friends! These tasty tuna treats contain much less sodium than anything you would buy at the store, while still packing the flavor that your cat loves.

As you can see, there are plenty of simple and healthy recipes you can cook up as an alternative to prepackaged dog food. When you make pet treats yourself, you’re helping your pet stay happy and healthy, and hopefully having some fun in the process.

Culture Shock When Moving

Whenever you move someplace new, it takes time to get adjusted to the surroundings. This is an inevitable process, so try not to get too stressed out when it happens. Instead, take a step back do your best to get to know your new home. Be patient while you’re become acclimated to your new home, and we’re confident you’ll get settled in faster than you ever expected.

The first thing you should know: you’re not alone. For most, it takes about a year to adjust to a new city, especially if it is significantly different than your previous home.

This effect is due to a variety of factors. First, you’re dealing with a new lifestyle and daily routine. You also may not know many friends yet in this new town, and haven’t had the time to get to know your new coworkers or neighbors. Additionally, you have a new living space, which always tends to make us feel uneasy. Finally, you’re left comparing your new city – which you haven’t yet experienced fully – to your old city, where you surely had many fond memories.

But once you realize what you’re going through, it becomes easy to combat this sense of culture shock. To put it simply, you need to open yourself up to your new city and embrace its community. You can do this by:

  • Meeting your neighbors and attending events at your apartment community
  • Visiting local sights and attractions
  • Attending company outings
  • Discovering local cultural events, like concerts or festivals
  • Exercising regularly

Easy Late Night Snacks

When you’re up late watching a movie or spending time with friends, a midnight snack is all but inevitable. But you don’t have to eat junk food – there are plenty of easy and healthy late night snacks you can cook up as a tasty alternative. Whether you’re preparing a snack for one or for the whole family, these late night snacks are sure to leave you satisfied.

Here are a few of our favorite tried and true late-night snacks:

  • Bananas and peanut butter – Simply slice up a banana and toss it on a cracker with a dollop of peanut butter and you’ll be ready to go!
  • Greek yogurt with fruit – Another great choice for those with a sweet-tooth, Greek yogurt is renowned for its health benefits, adding strawberries or blueberries will take this snack to the next level.
  • Dark Chocolate – Of course, there are times when chocolate is a must, and a piece of dark chocolate is a guilt-free choice. Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate, and is more filling in small quantities.
  • Oatmeal – Microwaveable oatmeal can be topped with whatever ingredients you desire, making it a versatile snack that everyone can enjoy.
  • Chips and Guacamole – Guacamole doesn’t require any cooking whatsoever: simply gather your ingredients and smash away. It’s also delicious and avocados are well-known as a “super food.”

Next time you’re craving food in the middle of the night, try these delicious – and healthy – late night snacks. They’re sure to satisfy, helping you feel fresh and energized when you wake up the next day.

Natural Cleaning Products

Because most commercial cleaning products are loaded with potentially harmful chemicals, switching to natural, non-toxic cleaning products is the safe choice for your family. In particular, added chemicals can adversely affect individuals with sensitive allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Avoid these harmful side effects by switching to all-natural products.

Looking for a safe alternative to chemical-laden cleaning supplies? Try these effective alternatives:

  • Dr Bronner’s – As one of the longest-standing organic cleaning supplies on the market, Dr Bronner’s soap is an tried-and-true all-purpose solution. It also uses exclusively fair-trade ingredients, making it a good choice for your conscience as well as your health.
  • Method – Another major natural cleaning supply brand, Method, offers a wide variety of safe, non-toxic cleaning products, from hand soap, to surface wipes, to laundry detergent.

While both of these products are effective alternatives to chemical-based cleaning products, you can also make your own non-toxic cleaning supplies from ingredients you already have in your home.

For example, white vinegar is a powerful cleaner when diluted with water and also acts as a disinfectant. You can even add lemon juice to the mixture to make it stronger and more fragrant. Visit About.com to learn more about how you can make your own natural cleaning products.

There’s no reason why you need to sacrifice your physical well-being for a clean house, so try out these safe cleaning products once spring cleaning rolls around. Whether you’re cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, or washing your hands, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best.

Fun and Inexpensive Weekends

You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time – and in many cases, you can have a fun-filled weekend without spending any money at all! So next time you’re thinking about going to an overpriced movie, why not gather your friends and family together and enjoy some activities that don’t cost anything at all.

Here are our favorite inexpensive or free activities that the whole family will enjoy on the weekend:

  • Game Night – Hosting a game night at your apartment is the perfect weekend treat. Gather friends and family, grab some snacks, and pick out a few of your favorite board or video games, and prepare to have a thrilling and memorable night.
  • Scavenger Hunt – Scavenger hunts are a classic weekend activity, and for good reason. To spice up a traditional scavenger hunt, turn it into a video competition, with each scavenger team recording themselves performing activities rather than simple finding items. Once you’re finished, watch the results together and get ready to bust your gut from laughter.
  • Volunteer – While you might not think that performing volunteer service could be fun, you’d be surprised how good you’ll feel afterward. Invite family and friends to join, and you’ll all be able to spend quality time together while giving back to your community.

So next time you’re planning to enjoy some weekend fun with friends and family, try one of these inexpensive or free weekend activities – you won’t be disappointed.

Phone Apps For Pets

There’s an app for everything – even dog ownership! Laugh all you want, but there are quite a few apps that can prove to be greatly beneficial to dog owners. With the help of smartphone apps, you can locate dog parks, manage your pet’s veterinary information, and much more. These apps truly excel because they both give you valuable information about caring for your pet, as well as practical functionality that makes pet ownership much easier.

To help you choose the right app for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite apps for pets, in no particular order:

  • Pet Dossier – With the Pet Dossier app, you can organize all of your pet’s information in one convenient place. You can store medical information, grooming and medication reminders, and much more. The app is only $1.99, and 25% of the profits go to support the ASPCA.
  • Dog Park Finder Plus This app provides up-to-date information on local dog parks and dog-friendly establishments. If you’re on a road trip – and your dog has tagged along – this app will be quite useful.
  • Petoxins – Petoxins is an information app that could end up being a life-saver. The app contains a comprehensive list of common plants, with pictures and safety information. The entries are detailed, and will tell you the plant’s level of toxicity to different animal species.
  • Dog Whistler Pro Don’t have a dog whistle but want to do some serious training with your dog? The Dog Whistler Pro app is here to help! Within the app, you can control the tone’s frequency and pattern, allowing you to train your dog with more precision.

Whether you own a dog or a cat – you can use these smartphone apps to become a better pet owner. They make caring for your pet easier and give you quick access to important information. Your pets are a part of community just as you are. Make sure you’re treating your dog or cat right by using these smartphone apps for pets.

Apartment Safety

In an apartment, fire safety is paramount. You should always use your kitchen responsibly, as household fires typically start there. Luckily, it’s not difficult to keep your apartment safe from kitchen fires as long as you cook responsibly, practice wise cleaning habits, and stay vigilant while cooking. To help, we’ve put together this list of common causes of apartment fires, so you know what to look out for next time you are in the kitchen.

In order to practice good apartment fire safety habits, you must know the common ways that kitchen fires start. That way, you’ll be able to prevent unsafe conditions before they arise:

  • Oil/Grease – Oil and grease are common kitchen fire culprits. Grease can build up on your stove or in your oven if you are not cleaning diligently, and this can cause fires. Additionally, oil that is heated to a high temperature must be handled with care; if it is thrown into a trashcan haphazardly, the entire can might go up in flames.
  • Unattended cooking – This one’s a no-brainer, right? However, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, unattended cooking is the number one cause of kitchen fires. Always stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and always keep a timer running.
  • Clothing/Cloth – While clothing fires are not especially common, they present a high risk of bodily harm. Avoid loose-fitting clothing while cooking, and keep towels and oven mitts well away from burners or open flames.

If you practice these safety habits, you and your family will be at a much lower risk from kitchen fires. Practicing wise apartment fire safety habits is important – not just for you and your family, but for your neighbors as well.