Commemorate Memorial Day

Memorial Day

The sun is shining, the mercury is rising, and strawberries are ripe for the picking! The month of May is a beautiful time in the Tarheel State, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathering with family and friends to commemorate Memorial Day, which honors the brave men and women who have died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Celebrate with a Parade!

Celebrate with a Parade!

Memorial Day with Kids

Looking for ways to teach your kids about Memorial Day? You could celebrate with a parade, create a card to send to a soldier who’s overseas, or visit a local war memorial. Check out Military.com’s guide to Commemorating Memorial Day with Kids for a full list of activities.

Flag Mason Jars from "It All Started With Paint"

Flag Mason Jars from “It All Started With Paint”

Patriotic Crafts

Or maybe you’re looking for some fun DIY craft ideas to remember this special day, like these Star Spangled Patriotic Crafts from around the web. Classy and kid-friendly, there are plenty of ways to get your red-white-and-blue on!

Chile Lime Shrimp from "Fork Knife Swoon"

Chile Lime Shrimp skewers from “Fork Knife Swoon”

Fire Up The Grill

Planning a legendary cookout? Check out 32 Delicious Things to eat on Memorial Day for inspiration! The list is chock-full of crowd-pleasers like Roasted Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Sauce, Chile Lime Shrimp Skewers, Watermelon Feta Salad, and Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies.

Red White and Blue Bark from "The Cookie Rookie"

Red White and Blue Bark from “The Cookie Rookie”

…And For Dessert

Whatever you do, don’t forget dessert! Try a new “flag cake” recipe, or branch out with some of these other Patriotic Treats, like Red White and Blue Bark, or All American Berry Buttermilk Shortcake.

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?

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!

Last-Minute Neighbor Gift Ideas

Looking for some easy, no bake, last-minute gifts for neighbors, teachers, mail-carriers or friends?  Look no further!  Here are the top ideas for gifts that you can whip together in no time.

Easy Does It!

Here are some super simple gift ideas that you can simplify even further.  Don’t have time to make tags for the reindeer noses?  Leave them out altogether!  Want to skip the sprinkles in the Christmas Crack Chex Mix?  Do it!

Mason Jar Reindeer Noses

Make these Mason jars of Reindeer Noses with Whoppers and red gumballs for the noses.  Just glue the antlers, googly eyes, and pom pom nose, and you have a cute, delicious present.

Don’t want to make your own gift tags?  These are elegant and simple and will go well with many gifts.  This round-up post includes templates for gift tags, gift card holders and even winter crafts for the kiddos in your life!

Sweet & Salty Treats

Christmas Crack Chex Mix - sweet and salty with a touch of peppermint!

Christmas Crack Chex Mix

If your favorite neighbor or teacher likes sweet and salty treats, then we’ve got you covered!  This recipe for Chex Mix Christmas Crack has Bugles, white chocolate, peppermint, and more.  Mix your dry ingredients together first, then coat with melted white chocolate, and let dry.  Break apart and give away in a cute holiday tin!
Love chocolate and pretzels?  Easily make this White Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel recipe by melting white chocolate with a little bit of shortening in a tall glass or container.  Dip the pretzel rods halfway in chocolate, sprinkle your favorite sprinkles on and let dry.
These classic Christmas Pretzel M&M Hugs can be made in 30 minutes or less.  First, line the pretzels on a baking sheet with the Hugs on top of them and bake.  Then put an M&M on top of each Hug and press down.  After they have cooled, put them together in a clear gift bag!

Fudge for All

Easy Salted Caramel Fudge | www.somethingswanky.com

Easy Salted Caramel Fudge

Love to make fudge, but want to give your recipients something they won’t get from anyone else this holiday season?  Try these three easy fudge recipes!

Use sweetened condensed milk to make the base of this easy Salted Caramel Fudge.  Then pour melted chocolate and sprinkle sea salt on top, and you’re done!
Want a holiday variation on an old favorite? Try this Chocolate Peppermint Fudge made with Andes Mint chips, and add sprinkles to take it to the next level.  Ready for something sweet that’s not chocolate?
This non-traditional Gingerbread Fudge will knock your socks off with molasses and seasonal spices.  Bonus points if you use a cookie cutter for that adorable gingerbread shape!

Gifts Ready in 5 Minutes!

Cinnamon Roll Neighbor Gift Idea

Cinnamon Roll Rollin’ Gift Tag

And, last but not least, here are the ultimate easy, last-minute gifts for that person who you almost forgot about…

If you want to give something a little less sugary that still packs an aesthetic punch, make a Clementine Wreath!  Simply lay out 6 to 8 clementines on a piece of cellophane, wrap up, tie together in a circle, and add a gift tag to complete the gift.

Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls, especially in the winter?! With the cute (& free) printable, you don’t even need to wrap this gift.  Your recipient can enjoy hot cinnamon rolls with minimum effort as a special treat either during the holidays or the first snow of the season.

So which gift (or gifts!) will you give this week?

Commemorate Memorial Day

Memorial DayThe sun is shining, the mercury is rising, and strawberries are ripe for the picking! The month of May is a beautiful time in the Tarheel State, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathering with family and friends to commemorate Memorial Day, which honors the brave men and women who have died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

Celebrate with a Parade!

Celebrate with a Parade!

Memorial Day with Kids

Looking for ways to teach your kids about Memorial Day? You could celebrate with a parade, create a card to send to a soldier who’s overseas, or visit a local war memorial. Check out Military.com’s guide to Commemorating Memorial Day with Kids for a full list of activities.

Flag Mason Jars from "It All Started With Paint"

Flag Mason Jars from “It All Started With Paint”

Patriotic Crafts

Or maybe you’re looking for some fun DIY craft ideas to remember this special day, like these Star Spangled Patriotic Crafts from around the web. Classy and kid-friendly, there are plenty of ways to get your red-white-and-blue on!

Chile Lime Shrimp from "Fork Knife Swoon"

Chile Lime Shrimp skewers from “Fork Knife Swoon”

Fire Up The Grill

Planning a legendary cookout? Check out 32 Delicious Things to eat on Memorial Day for inspiration! The list is chock-full of crowd-pleasers like Roasted Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Sauce, Chile Lime Shrimp Skewers, Watermelon Feta Salad, and Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies.

 

Red White and Blue Bark from "The Cookie Rookie"

Red White and Blue Bark from “The Cookie Rookie”

…And For Dessert

Whatever you do, don’t forget dessert! Try a new “flag cake” recipe, or branch out with some of these other Patriotic Treats, like Red White and Blue Bark, or All American Berry Buttermilk Shortcake.

So You Want to Build a Snowman…

It seems like every year Snow Days in NC are becoming more and more common. Whether your kids are home from school, or you’re just a kid at heart, make the most of your snow day with these creative activities!

Nathan Shield's delicious pancake art!

Nathan Shield’s delicious pancake art!

Pancake Art

Start your morning off right with a breakfast that’s both delicious and fun! Watch Nathan Shield’s hilarious pancake tutorial (or any of his incredible videos) for some inspiration. From Disney Princesses to dinosaurs to David Bowie, all you need is a squeeze bottle and a little creativity.

Frozen Bubbles

Ready to see something super cool? Bubbles will actually freeze if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit! Whip up some homemade bubble solution — 3 cups water, 1 cup liquid dish soap, 1/2 cup white corn syrup (sugar makes your bubbles extra strong) — grab your coat and mittens, and head outside. Blow your bubbles into the air, then watch them freeze when they touch the ground.

Snow Ice Cream

While you’re outside braving the cold, scoop up some clean snow to make a delectable treat. All you’ll need is a little milk, sugar, and vanilla to make your own Snow Ice Cream – click here for the recipe.

Frozen Snowflakes from Anthony Herrera Designs!

Frozen Snowflakes from Anthony Herrera Designs!

Paper Snowflakes

Ready to come inside and warm up? Make your own snowflakes with paper and scissors! Download PDFs of Frozen themed snowflakes from Anthony Herrera Designs (or check out his amazing Star Wars designs!). For littler folks who can’t use an exacto knife yet, try these simpler designs from Disney.

Homemade Playdough

So you want to build a snowman, but one that’s not so cold and wet? With homemade playdough you can build just about anything. You’ll need flour, water, salt, oil, cream of tarter, and food coloring – follow this super easy recipe for play-ready playdough in less than 10 minutes.

Time to De-clutter!

Time to Declutter

De-Clutter Diva

Looking for a practical project? A snow day can be a great opportunity to do a little de-cluttering! Pick a spot in your home that needs some help, maybe it’s a closet, a desk, that corner of the bedroom, or the shelf in the garage. Start sorting! Have bags handy for trash, recycling, and items to donate. Put away any items you’re keeping that have a home somewhere else in the house. Focusing on one spot at a time can be more productive than trying to tackle the whole house at once. You’re taking on a manageable, bite-sized project that can easily be accomplished in a short amount of time.

15 Extra Simple Cocktails for your Snowday - from The Kitchn

15 Extra Simple Cocktails for your Snow Day – from The Kitchn

Snowed-in Cocktails

What an action-packed day you’ve had! Time to put up your feet and relax with an adult beverage. Check out these extra-simple cocktails  that use ingredients you’re likely to have in your cupboards.

2014 Saturday Cleaning Days + Fall Fun

The Holidays are on their way!

The Holidays are on their way!

Saturday Cleanings – November/December 2014

Love them or hate them, the Holidays are on their way! The Holiday Season is one of the busiest times of the year for us, so typically we’ll open up a couple of Saturdays for overflow. This year we will be open for business on the following Saturdays.

Saturday – November 15th
Saturday – November 22nd
Saturday – December 13th
Saturday – December 20th

Please contact our office if you would like to reschedule your maintenance cleaning or schedule an extra holiday cleaning for one of these Saturdays.

Holiday Closings

Please note that, due to the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays, we will not be servicing homes on the following days:

Thursday – November 27th
Friday – November 28th
Thursday – December 25th
Friday – December 26th
Thursday – January 1st (2015)

Rescheduling options are on a first-come, first-served basis. If your regular maintenance cleaning falls on a day when we’ll be closed, you’ll want to contact us well in advance to reschedule.

Spooky Cocktails from the Cooking Channel

Spooky Cocktails from the Cooking Channel

Fall Fun

Want to celebrate the season, but feeling uninspired? Look no further! Check out these great links to crafts and recipes that will get your Fall Party started!

Start off with these Spooky Cocktails for the Grownups – after all, Halloween’s on a Friday night this year!

Need some last minute Halloween party ideas? Get some inspiration from A Little Craft in Your Day.

Yummy Pumpkin Chili from The Kitchn

Yummy Pumpkin Chili from The Kitchn

Looking to get your pumpkin fix, but want something savory? Try out this yummy Pumpkin Chili recipe!

Love all the beautiful shades and hues of fall foliage? Bring that color inside with these beautiful fall foliage projects compiled by Buzzfeed – both kid-friendly and classy ideas!

Classy Pumpkin Patterns from Southern Living

Classy Pumpkin Patterns from Southern Living

Crazy about pumpkin carving but want a gourd that won’t look out of place after Halloween? Check out these classy and creative ideas for pumpkin patterns!

Make Valentine’s Day Sweet Again

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and chances are you’re already being barraged with pink and red hearts and coma-inducing amounts of candy. You may be stressing over what to plan for your special someone, or maybe you’re single and dreading the prospect of a night in… alone.

Alright kids, take a deep breath – don’t stress! Valentine’s Day is about expressing your love to the special people in your life, and truth is, you don’t need to break the bank or even be in a romantic relationship to do that. We’ve scoured the web for inspiration and have even come up with some ideas of our own for making Valentine’s Day sweet again.

Sweet, Sweet Romance

Aphrodisiac Recipes from The Huffington Post

Aphrodisiac Recipes from The Huffington Post

  1. Tired of shelling out the big bucks every year for a fancy meal? Dine in and try your hand at one of these delicious aphrodisiac recipes, like “Asparagus Rolls With Prosciutto And Basil Ricotta Cheese” or “Warm Chocolate Cakes with Marscapone Cream.”
  2. Have a favorite local restaurant but it’s already booked up? Why not celebrate valentine’s day after valentine’s day? Seriously –  restaurants won’t be packed, and all the accompanying Valentine’s Day stuff in stores will be half off. You’ll just want to make sure that your partner is on board with this plan before hitting “execute”!
  3. Looking for a creative (and cheap!) alternative to the same old same old? Check out these fun ideas from The Daily Dish. We love #3 and #12 – let us know if you need help with #11!

Singles Unite 

Valentine-themed cocktails from Saveur

Valentine-themed cocktails from Saveur

Single ladies, and you single gents too,  let’s get real with this! Now is the time to ignore all those Hollywood stereotypes, because truth is, you do not need to be in a romantic relationship to be a whole person. Take this holiday as an opportunity to love the people around you, and don’t get bogged down by what pop culture says about romance.

  1. Throw a partay for your fellow single friends! Plan for ladies only or guys only, or make it a mixer. Have a chocolate theme and try out some of these savory chocolate recipes, or mix up some of these tasty Valentine-themed cocktails.
  2. If you’re really craving that night out on the town, plan a traditional date with a friend, or get a few friends together for a less-traditional group date.
  3. Destined for a night in? Raise your spirits with a good comedy like… Bridesmaids (R-rated!), Hot Fuzz, Mean Girls, The Producers (1968), Miss Congeniality, Starsky & Hutch,  The Devil Wears Prada,  Death at a Funeral, Bend it Like Beckham…

Family Fun

DIY Valentine's Day crafts from Woohome.

DIY Valentine’s Day crafts from Woohome.

Want to celebrate with the kiddos? Give the little people in your life some love!

  1. Make a fun treat together, like these tasty ice cream sandwiches.
  2. Try out some easy and fun Valentine’s Day crafts from these lists: 10 last minute crafts and 30 fun crafts for kids.
  3. Want holiday themed goodies but don’t want to over-dose your loved ones with sugar? Give these healthy (and fun!) recipes a try. The “Valentine’s Day Egg in the Basket” is adorable, and the “Blood Orange Margaritas” are a great way for the grownups to start the night.