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?

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?

Hosting For The Holidays & Oven Cleaning

The Kitchen Oven Is Reliable,
But It’s Made Us Lazy.

-Jamie Oliver

Let’s be honest for a moment. Stove cleaning is just one of those household chores that we attempt to avoid as for long as possible. Just the thought of this time consuming domestic punishment will have you adding it to “The List” of things to do when you have free time. Not only is this chore time consuming, but having several layers of baked-on meals, requires you to use elbow grease and patience. Stove cleaning, though tedious, is instrumental to keeping a clean and healthy kitchen. However, there are also a number of dangers involved in the cleaning process.

Cleaning Products

The majority of cleaning products available in your local big b6ox stores contain chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled, ignited, or come into contact with your skin or eyes. Make sure when choosing these products to read the warning labels, and conduct a little research on the active ingredients.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Truth is, many of us stove-users aren’t bluntly ignoring the disaster building up in our ovens. It’s a fact that once that oven door closes, we don’t think about it again until its next use. Which is conveniently as we are pushing in a casserole to serve our family for dinner.

It’s not rocket science to imagine what happens to your stove when you continue to cook at high temperatures with left over cheese last month’s burnt lasagna. The food or grease that has collected in your cooker will often stick to the hot plating, grills and metal trays—continuing to burn. You and your family are now dealing with a smoke-filled kitchen. And if the smoke alone isn’t enough of a nuisance, there’s also the lingering smell and soot!

#ovencleaning #cleaning #SAHM #HomeCleaning #seizetheday

Most phone calls that Fire Departments receive are likely to be kitchen related, as full-blown kitchen fires actually account for more than half of  accidental domestic fires, and the majority of those are cooking related.

Is that Smoke for Dinner?

Firefighters and Fires aren’t the only hazards you have with cooking with a dirty stove. Another consequence is that a stove with sticky buildup will take a crucial toll on the quality of the meals you’re preparing.

Imagine an oven that is full of smoldering oil, charred cookie dough, and burnt french fries. Not a pretty sight! Now imagine how all that build-up can ruin the flavor of your signature dish. Instead of the flavors you love, now there’s a nasty, smoky taste. Not only can this ruin your dinner, but ingesting minute soot particles is not great for your health!

A  Headache-free Solution

Cleaning your stove regularly is essential to your safety, your health, and the quality of the meals you enjoy. But the process of cleaning your oven can feel so labor intensive and time-consuming that it keeps getting pushed off for another day.

When you’ve got a tough job on your hands, sometimes the best thing to do is to call the professionals. If you’ve been putting up with a dirty oven for way too long—give us a call! We’ve been making ovens sparkle for over 20 years, and our skilled staff will have the toughest ovens clean in no time.

Click here to schedule your oven cleaning.

 

 

 

 Durham NC, Cleaning Service, Housekeeper

                                             Wendy Clark

Cleaning it Yourself

Still interested in taking a bat at cleaning your stove yourself?

Carpe Diem Cleaning’s owner Wendy Clark recommends this #GreenCleaning method using environmentally friendly ingredients that can be found in your household.

 

 

Enjoy the Holidays with Carpe Diem!

The Holidays are a busy time – for us here at Carpe Diem and for you, our clients! We’ve put together some tips on how to make your holiday experience the best it can be. So keep calm and celebrate on!

A Change in Decor?

Holiday DecorHomes can get a little cluttered during this season as extra decorations go up for the Holidays. We recommend putting up your decorations after you’ve had your cleaning – this way your team will still have full access to the surfaces in your home and won’t have to work around Rudolph and The Abominable. However, we know you can’t plan your entire life around your cleaning schedule. So if candles and garlands need to go up before your cleaning appointment, give us a call (or shoot us an email) letting us know if there are any areas with especially delicate decorations that should be omitted from your cleaning, or areas that should still be cleaned but with extra caution.

Rescheduling: When & How

We will not be servicing homes on Christmas Day or the day after Christmas: Thursday the 25th and Friday the 26th. We will also be closed for New Year’s day on Thursday, January 1st. If your regular cleaning falls on any of these days, it will need to be rescheduled. If you have family or friends coming to visit, you might also need to reschedule your regular cleaning depending on their itinerary. Reschedules are made on a first come, first served basis, so please contact our office as soon as possible!

Let it Snow! …just not too much…

InclementRoadAll of us at Carpe Diem are hoping we don’t get a repeat of last year’s historically bad winter storms. Our fingers are crossed, but in the case of inclement weather, Carpe Diem will be following the school systems for delays and closings. Our Main Office and Southpoint Office will follow the Durham County schools for closings and delays, and our Cary-Apex office will follow the Wake County school system. Our individual route schedules will also follow the local schools for whatever county they are in. For example, if Durham schools are open but Orange County schools are closed, the Carpe Diem office in Durham will be open, but we will not be servicing homes in Orange County. Click here for a complete explanation of our Inclement Weather Policy. You can also “Like” our Facebook page where we’ll be posting information about delays and closings.

Tipping Your Team

HolidayTippingIf you’d like to gift your cleaning team with a holiday tip this season, you can leave cash or check in a clearly marked envelope for them to pick up at the time of your cleaning. If you prefer to give via credit card you can contact our office to have a tip added to your regular credit card payment. Your team members will receive the tip as an addition to their next paycheck, clearly marked with which client it’s from. Click here to read a full discussion on the topic of Holiday Tipping.

Carpets: To Clean, or Not to Clean?

Carpet StainThe Holidays are a major source of activity in your home – often bringing extra foot traffic and brightly colored food and beverages. A lot of our clients wrestle with the question of whether they should go ahead and get their carpets steam cleaned before the holidays. The facts are these: if your carpets have numerous unsightly stains and need some major rejuvenation, go ahead and give us a call – however, if they’re looking alright for the most part, we would actually recommend scheduling your steam clean appointment for January. This way we can clean up any of those unfortunate party-induced stains your carpet may have suffered over the holidays, leaving it clean and fresh for the New Year. Click here to download our Carpet Cleaning Checklist.

Get Ready for Company!

You’ve got celebrations planned and visitors on the way, you know you’ve got a lot of prep to do before their arrival, but you’re not quite sure where to start. Not to worry, we’ve created a handy checklist that will get you well on your way towards a stress-free holiday experience for hosts and visitors alike! Click here to download our Prepping for the Holidays Checklist.

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.