Simple Tricks for a Fun St. Patrick’s Day

 

Simple Tricks for a Fun St. Patrick's Day | Carpe Diem Cleaning

St. Patrick’s Day is THIS Friday, and we can’t wait to celebrate!  Whether you want to make this St. Patrick’s Day fun for your kids or for you and your significant other (or both!), we’ve got you covered!

Here are the best foods, crafts and sweet treats for you to enjoy this Friday or all weekend long!

 

 

Start the Day Off Right

Lucky Charms Pancakes

Lucky Charms Pancakes from Betty Crocker

Surprise your kids with Lucky Charms pancakes and milk that’s been dyed green.  Print off these place mats (and laminate them to use them for years to come).

You can even make rainbow fruit skewers to go along with breakfast (and make it a little healthier ;-).  Simply pick 5 different colors of fruit, put them on skewers, and you’re done!

 

Craft Time

Leprechaun Mask

Leprechaun Paper Plate Mask from abccreativelearning.com

If your children enjoy making crafts, then they’ll love these St. Patrick’s craft ideas!  For younger kids, try this marshmallow stamping craft to work on fine motor skills.

If you’re looking for a fun after-school craft for your school-aged children, here are two crafts that they can wear.  Older kids can make this Leprechaun Paper Plate Mask or Lucky Charms bracelet!

 

 

 

Luck of the Irish Dinner

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew from tasteslovely.com

For an easy meal that the whole family will love, throw this Slow Cooker Irish Guinness Beef Stew in the Crock Pot in the morning and let the slow cooker work its magic all day.  Or, make the classic Dublin Coddle instead.

Either way, be sure to bake this simple Irish Soda Bread with Orange Cream Cheese to go along with dinner.  Don’t skimp on the cream cheese if you’re saving some of the bread for breakfast.  With only 3 ingredients, you can be whip it up in just a few minutes!  Trust us, you won’t regret it.

 

Sweet Tooth

Boozy Shamrock Shake

Boozy Shamrock Shake from cookingwithcurls.com

 

End your night on a sweet note with any one (or more!) of these desserts.  The whole family will love these mint-flavored St. Patrick’s Day muddy buddies.  Here’s a kid-friendly Shamrock Shake recipe, and here’s an adult-friendly Shamrock Shake recipe. ;-)

If you really want to celebrate this holiday to its fullest, make these Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.  Even though they’re made with Guinness in the batter, whiskey in the ganache and Bailey’s in the frosting, these are surprisingly kid-friendly (though you might want to keep them all for your self).

 

 

Want more recipes, decoration tips and more?  Check out our St. Patrick’s Day Fun Pinterest page!  How will you make St. Patrick’s Day fun this year?

Why You Should Change Your Fans & Filters with the Time Change

Looking for ways to save on heating and cooling costs while keeping your air at home healthy?  These two tips will improve your air quality, the life of your HVAC system (one of the most expensive appliances to replace) and keep your home at just the right temperature for YOU.

One of the best ways to build habits is to set triggers around those habits.   This Sunday is Daylight Savings Time, and though we’re losing an hour, it’s the perfect time to change your filters and fans.  Set a reminder on your calendar to turn your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, March 12th (2:00 am will become 3:00 am).

HVAC

HVAC

Call your HVAC guy to come and check out your system and give it a tune up. You’ll be beating the rush of all those calls he’ll get when things start heating up in March.

Haven’t changed your air filters in a while?  Make sure that you’re changing them monthly during winter and summer when your HVAC system is working the hardest.  During spring and fall, you can change them every three months if you have a pet-free home and good quality air filters.

If you suffer from allergies or notice your air quality going down, changing your filters will improve your air quality and preserve the life of your HVAC system since it keeps out dust and other particles that clog up the system.  Let’s take a second to breathe that in.

Why You Should Change Your Fans and Filters with the Time Change  | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Ceiling Fans

When you turn your clock forward, it’s time to turn your ceiling fans back! Make sure your ceiling fans are spinning counterclockwise to force cool air downwards. When your fans are spinning clockwise they will create an updraft that will force warm air down downwards.  In spring, we want to prepare our house for the summer heat and use our fans efficiently.

This downward flow of air creates a windchill effect, which will make your home feel cooler than it is! Then you can raise your temperature and save your hard-earned money for something more fun–like spring break!

 

PollenBonus Tip

Pollen season in North Carolina lasts pretty much from March until September, with the worst of the yellow stuff plaguing us through March and April. Get some allergy medicine (antihistamines and/or nasal washes) now so you’ll have it when you need it!

By forming the habit of changing your fans and filters with the time change, you’ll be able to breathe easy as the seasons change.  Now go out there and make your home fresher and cooler!

The Amazing Sh-mop + Carpet Cleaning Reminder

Are you ready to get the musty winter smells out of your house and get a jump start on spring cleaning?  The Sh-mop and Carpe Diem’s steam cleaning service will give you back your fresh, clean floors just in time for spring!

The Amazing Sh-Mop

Amazing Sh-mop + Carpet Cleaning Reminder | Carpe Diem CleaningIf you love your Swiffer but are looking for something more eco-friendly, you’ve got to check out the Sh-mop!

The Sh-mop is easy to use and reuse — simply toss the reuseable mop cover into the washing machine and you’ve got a fresh mop.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the amazing Sh-mop!

At Carpe Diem we love the Sh-mop! It helps us clean your hard-surfaced floors easily and effectively, and since the mop cover is removable we’re able to use fresh covers in every house.

 

Carpet Cleaning Reminder 

It’s almost spring cleaning time!  Get a jump start on your spring cleaning by scheduling your carpet cleaning with Carpe Diem.  We even clean upholstery!  Once your floors are clean and fresh, you’ll be ready to tackle the rest of your home.  Go ahead and download our Carpet Cleaning Checklist to get things started.

You can give us a call 919-682-5326, or shoot us an email info@carpediemcleaning.com to schedule your carpet cleaning today!

Decluttering your House the Marie Kondo Way

Decluttering Your House the Marie Kondo Way | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Do you want to live more simply this year?  Or, do you just need to make room in your house for what you love?  This is a great time of year to declutter and get your house in order!  Marie Kondo’s book will help you to re-examine your space and things in a ruthless yet refreshing way.

We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what to get rid of. – Marie Kondo

Who is Marie Kondo?

Marie Kondo is a Japanese decluttering and organizing expert who has helped hundreds of clients tidy their homes.  Impressively, none of them have relapsed into how they managed their clutter before her.  Her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has sold over six million copies worldwide.

Her main theme is that you should only keep items in your house that spark joy.  Any items that don’t bring you joy should be released with gratitude towards what they have done for you without guilt.  While some of her suggestions are quirky to our Western culture, the framework will help you to efficiently declutter your entire house.  She insists that this tidying process be done quickly in no more than 6 months.  This way, the dramatic change will affect you in such a way that you do not go back to your old ways of collecting clutter.

Decluttering in Action

Here are the things to declutter (in order) so that your decision-making skills are honed by the time you discard photos and mementos:

Clothes – Don’t let unwanted clothes be turned into lounge wear.
Books – Arrange books on your shelves so that you can see only books that you love without stacking them on top of each other.
Documents – Recycle (and shred as necessary) all documents except for ones such as birth certificates or passports. Find documents online as needed. And do you really need that pay stub or mortgage payment from 3 years ago?
Miscellaneous – Go through all other categories of items in your house separately.  These include such as skin care products, electrical equipment, household supplies, kitchen goods, etc.
Photos/Mementos– Set these items aside until the end of the tidying process, and discard what you don’t love.  This will make the things that spark joy feel even more special.

pillows, bed, decluttered

Gather items by category so that the entirety of that type of item is in one place when you sort through it.  This way, you only have to make the decision once regarding what things to donate or throw away.  For example, you might have six different pairs of scissors throughout your house when you really need only three.  Would you really remember where the best ones are? However, if you organized your house by room over the course of several weeks, as many decluttering experts recommend, you wouldn’t use the best scissors.

Stay Organized!

Deciding where every item in your house goes is an essential part of Marie Kondo’s decluttering process.  Often things that belong nowhere end up everywhere.  Store things where they are easily put away so that you don’t continue to clutter up your house. Marie Kondo suggests that you not stack things on top of each other since things on the bottom often are forgotten.  Instead, she says to use boxes to organize your things.  Shoe boxes work well for larger items such as clothes, and iPhone boxes work well for office supplies and makeup.

Her folding method for clothes is a game changer, as it allows you to see all of your clothes in each drawer and actually fits more clothing in the drawer. Fold your clothes in thirds twice, and place upright in your drawers.  Never again will you look in a drawer without being able to see everything at a glance!

Want to try it for yourself?  Check out the book from the library for details or just start tidying today!

Throw an Oscar Party Fit for the Stars


Are you as excited about the Academy Awards as we are?!  If you’re looking forward to seeing the gowns, laughing with Jimmy Kimmel, and seeing La La Land win Best Picture (we can hope, right?), don’t do it alone!  Here are tons of ideas on how you can throw an Oscar party fit for the stars!

 

Film candle votive

DIY Film Votive from Babble.com

Start off with a Bang

Use this free online official Oscars invitation to invite your friends to party in style.  Add some Oscar-themed flair to your house by spray-painting Mason jars or wine bottles gold.  Or wrap old film around battery-operated candles or votives to keep the movie theme involved.  Keep the wine theme going, and hand out sparkling wine in champagne flutes as your guests arrive.

Show Time!

Oscar Party Bingo Printable

Oscar Party Bingo Printable

Have these Rate the Red Carpet printables from Hey Let’s Make Stuff ready and have fun seeing who’s dresses are the favorites of the night.

Let’s be honest, as much as we love the Academy Awards, waiting to see who wins Best Picture can get a little boring somewhere around Best Sound Editing.  Oscar Party Bingo can be played throughout the night, and Name that Best Picture can be made once and then recycled year after year and be kept fresh with just a few changes here and there.

Want to keep track of who’s winning which award?  Print out this Free Oscar Ballot from bidvine!

 

Oscar Party Hawaiian Roll, beef, blue cheese, bacon sandwiches

Beef & Blue BLT’s

What to Eat?

Wondering what to snack on all night?  Bring out these hummus and crudites shots and guacamole with star-shaped tortilla chips during the red carpet show.

Keep these cranberry meatballs warm in the Crock Pot all night so that your guests can go back for seconds…and thirds!

Once the awards start, bring out bacon-wrapped scallops and  beef and blue BLTs, which are sure to hit the spot.

 

Sweet Tooth

marshmallow-topped cupcakes

Popcorn Cupcakes

For dessert, serve chocolate-covered tuxedo strawberries!  Or, easily make these adorable popcorn cupcakes with marshmallows on top.

Really want to go all out?  Make these Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cakes in a muffin pan and wow your guests with the chocolate truffle drizzle presentation.

Enjoy your Oscar night, and check out our Pinterest Board for even more Oscar Party ideas!

The Best Date Night Restaurants in the Triangle

date night light

Looking for a new restaurant to take your sweetheart to on that special date night?  Here are our favorite restaurants in Durham and the Triangle with delicious food and that killer atmosphere that you and your date will love!  Don’t forget to get reservations if you plan on visiting on a holiday or a busy night of the week.

Durham

Durham North Carolina

JuJu 737 Ninth St. #210
$$ – Contemporary Asian tapas
Order several small plates to share with your date!  The Braised Beef Short Tip Won Tons are to die for, and try sitting on the patio if the weather allows.

Mothers & Sons Trattoria 107 W. Chapel Hill St.
$$ – Seasonal Italian cuisine specializing in homemade pasta
Come prepared to try the Primi and Secondi courses.  The Bombolotti cacio e pepe is simple pasta at its finest, and the swordfish will make your night!

Nana’s 2514 University Dr.
$$$ – Southern Regional Cuisine with European influences
You won’t go wrong if you order the risotto with three types of mushrooms and truffle butter.  Nana’s Truffled Chicken Liver pate is another staple in this classic Durham restaurant.

Sushi Love 2812 Erwin Rd. #204
$$ – Sushi rolls and Japanese steak and seafood
You can buy one get one free sushi rolls every day at Sushi Love!  The Durham Cares roll and the Sunrise Lava Roll are delicious, and order their Asian Pear martini to go with your meal.

Vin Rouge 2010 Hillsborough Rd.
$$$ – Authentic French cuisine
There’s no place better in the Triangle to eat raw oysters or the hangar steak with blue cheese.  The bacon and gruyere macaroni and cheese is impeccable as well!

The Little Dipper 905 West Main St. #21A
$$$ – Local Full-Service Fondue
Try the Surf ‘n’ Turf entrée for two, which includes steak, lobster and ravioli.  Finish your night with the Mocha Amaretto fondue with marshmallows, strawberries and more!

Dos Perros 200 North Magnum St.
$$ – Upscale Mexican serving vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine
Start with the Plantain Fritters, and for dinner go with the Carnitas or Carne Asada!  Try the classic Top Shelf Margarita or mix things up with the spicy Hot Guava Margarita.

Raleighvalentines-dinner

18 Seaboard 18 Seaboard
$$$ – Contemporary Southern, Locally-Sourced Grill
The menu changes often, but try the Big Rock Yellowfish Tuna or the Black Angus filet mignon if they’re on the menu!  You can’t go wrong with the Crème Brûlée of the Day for dessert.

 

Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse 8551 Brier Creek Pkwy
$$ – Authentic Brazilian Steakhouse and Salad Bar
At this all-you-can-eat steakhouse, put your rock on green if you want more meat, and put it on red if you want to take a break.  Try the pork, lamb or steak, and the coconut flan for dessert!

The Pit 328 W. Davie St.
$ NC Whole-Hog, Pit-Cooked Barbeque
Order the pulled pork or ribs, if you know what’s good for you, and enjoy the complimentary hush puppies!  Try a local beer on tap to go with your meal.

Chapel Hill

Mint 504 W. Franklin St.
$$ – Contemporary Indian Cuisine
The portions at this restaurant are sizeable, and the garlic naan, tikki masala, or the chicken pasanda are to die for.  For dessert, try the delicious gulab jamun!

Lantern 423 W. Franklin St.
$$$ – Award-winning Locally-sourced Asian cuisine
While the menu changes frequently, the Poulet Rouge chicken and crispy whole black bass are worth ordering for dinner.  Try the warm chocolate cake for dessert or any of their amazing cocktails!

Carrboro & Pittsboro
valentines-day-2

Glass Half Full 106 S. Greensboro St., Carrboro
$$ – Contemporary American Kitchen & Wine bar
Start your meal with the charcuterie plate, and then order the duck confit or the crab mac and cheese.  Ask your server for recommendations for wine, or bring a bottle home with you from their shop!

Oakleaf 480 Hillsboro St., Pittsboro
$$$ – Sophisticated Farm to Table American Dining
The menu changes constantly, but order the steak or gnocchi if you can!  Ask the bartender for drink suggestions to go with your meal or try whichever crème brûlée is on the menu for dessert.

Cary & Apex

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen 7307 Tryon Rd., Cary
$$ – Local Southern and American Cuisine
Start with the Voodoo Pig Bread, and order the catfish for dinner.  Make sure that you order a drink from their extensive wine and local beer list!

Little Hen 5160 Sunset Lake Rd., Apex
$$ – Modern Farm to table American dining
While the menu changes seasonally, the local cheese and meat plate appetizer is always a hit!  Try the locally-sourced pork for the main course and add one of their unique cocktails to your meal.

Sushi IWA 2026 Creekside Crossings Dr., Apex
$$ – Sushi Bar and Asian Restaurant
You can buy one get and one free sushi roll every day here, so check out the My Girl roll or any of the salmon rolls.  If you’re not interested in sushi, try the bacon fried rice or the Imperial Chicken dish!

So, which one of these fabulous local restaurants will you go to next?

How to Celebrate the Super Bowl Like a Champ

Super Bowl Party Like a ChampAre you ready to party?! This Sunday is Super Bowl 51, where the Atlanta Falcons will face off against the New England Patriots.

The last time the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl was way back in 1999, so it’s been a long (and often hard) wait. After a rocky start to the season, the Patriots have fought their way back to the big game. Whether you’re cheering for the underdog Falcons or the comeback Patriots, ladies and gentlemen, it is time to get our party on!!

You know Super Bowl parties are all about the food, so check out these mouthwatering menu ideas and get ready to party like a champ!

Patriots Jell-O shots

Patriots Jell-O Shots from Delish

First Things First

Enjoy the pregame and kickoff with some adult beverages, like these simple Red, White and Blue Layered Shots for Patriots’ fans. Or Falcons’ fans can try this Dirty Shirley cocktail.  Into Jell-O shots?  These can be made to support the Falcons or the Patriots! You can also create the perfect drink for your party with Gatorade Jell-O shots!

 

 

Easy Potato Bites

Easy Loaded Potato Bites from I Heart Naptime

The Main Event

Munch your way through the first quarter with tasty apps like Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites, Loaded Nachos, and Panko Mozzarella Sticks.

Got bacon lovers in the house? Serve up some Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Meatballs or Beer Candied Bacon (yes, beer-candied bacon is for real, and you must try it!).

Then enjoy the Super Bowl halftime show with these show-stopping Honey Mustard Fried Chicken Sliders and Easy Loaded Potato Bites.

 

Falcons Rice Krispie Treats

Falcons Rice Krispie Treats from Two Sisters Crafting

And for Dessert?

Finish things off with some sweet-as-victory Atlanta Falcons or New England Patriots Rice Krispie Treats. Or make some fresh and festive Chocolate Covered Strawberry Footballs.

Be sure to check out our Super Bowl Party Pinterest board for more mouthwatering inspiration, and enjoy the game!

How to Have a BLAST on Your Next Snow Day

Are you dreading the next snow day?  Don’t want your kids to be cooped up in the house all day with nothing to do?  Here are 4 tips that will help you and your family have a blast on your next snow day and make great memories!

Bundle Upwinter boots snow

Go outside and play in the snow!  You’ll make great memories with your kids and wear them out in the process.  Need more ideas of things to do outside?  Blow bubbles and watch them freeze if the temperature is under 32°!  Whip up some snow paint with just water, food coloring (or Kool Aid), and squirt bottles.


Burn It Off!

kids laser beam obstacle course

Laser Beam Obstacle Course

If your kids aren’t worn out after playing in the snow, choose one of these awesome games to get them moving indoors.  First, grab an over-sized t-shirt for each child to wear, and stuff pillows inside.  Then clear out some space in your living room, and let them sumo wrestle!  Looking for an activity to do in a more contained space?  Make a laser beam obstacle course with your kids in a hallway and then watch in amazement how many times they’ll go through it!  Use painter’s tape, crepe paper or yarn and masking tape for easy clean-up.

 

Crafting FTW 

paper snow flake

Lisa Griffith’s 3-D Snowflake Tutorial

Need to do something a little quieter in the house?  3-D Snowflakes keep kids busy for ages, and older kids can do this craft by themselves after you show them how to do the first section of the snowflake.  If your kids enjoy science-themed activities, try making Borax Crystal Snowflakes with pipe cleaners!  Simply dissolve Borax in water and let the snowflake-shaped pipe cleaners sit in the Borax solution overnight.  The next morning, they’ll be amazed at the crystals that formed and can play with their creation without it breaking!


Sweet Break

white blue hot chocolate

Elsa White Chocolate from Baking Beauty

Don’t forget to take a time out from your day to enjoy a sweet treat!  After all, a snow day is the perfect (and, really, the only) time to make Snow Ice Cream.  Make this dessert by mixing together milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and, of course, lots of clean snow.  Want something to warm you up instead?  Check out this easy recipe for Elsa-inspired White Hot Chocolate that just calls for milk, white chocolate chips, vanilla and blue food coloring.  Don’t forget to add Bailey’s in mom or dad’s hot chocolate or snow cream to take it to the next level! ;-)

Want to really get prepared for more snow days?  Check out this link with tips on how to make your own snow day box!   See our other blog post with even more tips on how to have a fun-filled, family snow day!

Prepping your Home for Snow + Free Checklist!

prepping for snow checklist

In North Carolina, we never know what to expect from the weather, especially in the winter!  Some years we have lots of snow and ice and power outages, and during other years we barely have a snowflake.  Whatever comes our way, it’s good to be prepared!  Scroll to the bottom of this post for the link to a Winter Home Maintenance Checklist to get your home ready for snow and ice.

Serious Snow Prepping
snow-shovel

Worried about possibly being without power for a few days if a snow or ice storm hits?  Buy gas heater or generator and have everything on hand and set up in advance.  Make sure that you have a thorough knowledge of safety hazards around a gas heater as it can be a serious fire hazard if used incorrectly.  Never leave a gas heater unattended, and keep it clear of any fire hazards, such as curtains and blankets.  Wouldn’t it be awful to think that you’ll have power in an emergency and spend time and money setting up a generator, only to not have it work?  If you have never had a generator set up before, have an electrician come to your home ahead of time to set it up so that you know that it is functioning correctly.


During the Snow Storm
winter-boots

If your car is parked outside, do yourself a favor and put your windshield wipers up and cover with old tube socks.  This prevents your wipers from sticking to your windshield and saves them from the ice and snow.  If temperatures drop below 25 degrees F, turn your faucets to just a drip so that your pipes don’t freeze.  If your pipes freeze in the winter, wrap your pipes in newspaper, towels or rags as needed.  Then warm them with a hair dryer if they freeze.

Make sure that you have charged electronics as needed if there is a threat of snow or ice before there is a power outage.  If you lose power, unplug important electrical equipment to avoid ruining it in a power surge when power is restored.

Click here to download the FREE Winter Home Maintenance Checklist!

Hopefully, we’ll have safe and happy snow days this year, and with these tips, you’re sure to have a peaceful rather than stressed snow day! 

Inclement Weather Policy

snow car door window

So far our winter has been pretty mild, but in North Carolina, the storm this past weekend shows that can change at any moment! Whatever comes for the rest of the season, it’s good to be prepared.

Safety is our number one priority!  Please be familiar with our policy during inclement weather.  We will work hard to accommodate each of our clients’ needs while also making sure our crews are not out in dangerous conditions.

During a normal workweek, Carpe Diem Cleaning follows the local public school systems to determine our hours of operations in the event of dangerous inclement weather conditions.  School system closures are determined by the safety of bus routes.  This provides a good indicator for both the safety of our crews coming to work from their own homes, as well as the safety of the routes to our clients’ homes.

Since our office and operations are based out of Durham, we follow the Durham County schools for closings or delays.  However, our route schedules into specific cities will follow the local schools for their respective counties (Wake and Orange).  For example, if Durham schools are open, but Orange County schools are closed, the Carpe Diem office will be open however we will not service homes in Orange County that day.  (As an alternative example, if Orange County schools are open, but Durham schools are closed, our office will be closed with the Durham schools and will not be in operation in any county that day).

If Carpe Diem is delayed for the day, your cleaning team will likely arrive in a different time window than normal or could possibly be switched to another day.  If your cleaning is switched to another day, we will contact you as soon as possible; otherwise expect the crew on a delayed schedule that same day. Please contact us that morning if this is a problem or if you have an urgent scheduling need.

InclementRoadIn the event of a closing or delay, our office will quickly respond to all email and phone communication as soon as we are able. If you have any questions regarding how we handle scheduling during inclement weather, please feel free to contact us at any time. While safety concerns can necessitate schedule changes in dangerous weather conditions, we will work very hard to accommodate each client’s scheduling priorities once we are back in operation!

You can also “Like” our Facebook page where we’ll be posting information about delays and closings.