All posts by Summer Says...

About Summer Says...

My name is Summer and I'm here to give you advice! Have a delicious relationship nugget and want my opinion? Email me at summerknowsall.sortof @ gmail.com (erase the spaces between the "@" sign, trying to avoid spam).

Etsy Fall Haul, Y’all!

With the seasons changing, we all look forward to new things. Whether you like colder or warmer weather, seeing nature transform as if by magic is inspiring. It symbolizes a new beginning, a second chance. Maybe you meant to start a project but never got around to it, now is the time to tackle it! So, to celebrate the change in season and bring you even more “fallspiration,” SteerList brings you an Etsy haul to get you excited about Autumn!

These delicious gourmet caramel marshmallows from seller whimsyandspice can be used for a multitude of fall flavors. Float them in your hot chocolate for a twist on an old favorite, or make some especially fancy autumnal s’mores! Even just on their own, they make any day decadent.

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(Photo courtesy of WhimsyandSpice)

These homemade vanilla chai spiced caramels from CandivorEpice offer a mouthful of fall flavor in a bite sized treat. As the weather gets colder, the spices come out. Flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg fill our noses as we pass bakeries and coffee shops, giving us the feeling of warmth in our stomachs. Keep some of these in your purse or pocket for a fun seasonal treat on the go.

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(Photo Courtesy of CandyvorEpice)

Invite nature into your home with this wreath made with real preserved Oak leaves! If you find yourself staring out windows wistfully and watching the leaves fall, get this fun decoration from NHWoodscreation. The seller lives in New Hampshire, where fall foliage is world-famous and most vibrant! You don’t have to travel to see the most beautiful leaves of the season, you can keep it in your own home!

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(Photo Courtesy of NHWoodsCreation)

If you’re not into spooky Halloween decorations, try out this “Fall in Love” banner to celebrate the whole season rather than a single holiday. The play on words is also an ode to the season if you love it like we do. Cuddle up under a blanket and admire an everyday reminder of love and brightly colored leaves from seller IDoBanners. Also great for a fall wedding!

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(Photo Courtesy of IDoBanners)

We all know that pumpkin is the big flavor around this time of year, but what if you’re on a diet? Get your pumpkin fix with this yummy pumpkin-scented soap, made by seller Dailyrepose, with real pumpkin puree. The seller has a lot of positive reviews, but if you have allergies or sensitive skin, you can check the ingredients before buying. Great for the guest bathroom or a festive bath.

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(Photo Courtesy of Dailyrepose)

These were just a few of our fall favorites. Visit Etsy.com for more handmade decor, and be sure to visit each of the seller’s shops featured in this article for tons of other great items (just click on their names in the article, the shop is linked)! Also remember to try out our free to do list app, SteerList. We’re a grocery list app, an organization app, and a location based app all rolled into one!

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Baking A Pie Isn’t As Scary As You Might Think!

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Now that it’s autumn, it’s time to let the baking bug take over. It’s wonderful to fill our homes with the scent of freshly made cookies, loaves, and pies… To smell the sweet perfume of some delectable treat just waiting to be cooled on the windowsill. Making your own pie from scratch may sound daunting. Today, a lot of people may go to the store to get a pie, or even get a frozen one from the grocery store. There’s no shame in admitting it! But making your own pie can be a lot easier than most people realize, and you’ll feel really proud of yourself.

The first step to making a great pie is a great crust. You can get frozen crust from the grocery store (we won’t consider this cheating as long as you make the filling yourself), or you can make your own. Again, it’s surprisingly easy and you only need flour, unsalted butter, salt, and ice water. I’ll explain how to make your own crust below, but I just want to remind those of you who may opt for crust from the grocery store to read the directions. Frozen crusts need to be thawed to roll out properly or they’ll break or crumble. If they fall apart though, don’t panic! You can kneed it back together into a ball and roll it out flat again.

Make your own pie crust:

(This recipe comes from “Dana” on Allrecipes.com, and I’ve personally used it many times.)

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, cubed (one stick)

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup ice water

Remember to use our free grocery list app, SteerList, to help you with your shipping list!

Directions:

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks crumb-like (you can use your hands to achieve this too). Cutting the butter into the flour is what makes those yummy flakey layers. Stir in water a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. Don’t just dump all the water in! You might not need it all, and then your dough will be too wet. Finally, wrap the pie dough in plastic and refrigerate. You need to use ice water and refrigerate the dough to keep the butter in the crust cool.

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Next comes the filling. You can look up any recipe you want (I always recommend checking out Allreceipes.com because the recipes are rated by people who have tried making them, so you get a good idea of the best recipes out there), whether they be sweet or savory. The best part? You can pretty much put anything you like in a pie. I once read about a family that makes “Thanksgiving leftover pie’ with turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. I personally opt for a vegetable pot pie, where I just sauté whatever vegetables I want with garlic and onion, add seasoning, and pop the whole thing in the oven. Unless otherwise advised, it’s usually best to at least partially cook your savory filling before putting it in your pie, to ensure that everything is cooked properly when the pie is done (especially if you’re using meat).

When your filling is ready, get your dough and divide it in half to roll flat. A rookie mistake is rolling out all the dough, filling your pie, then realizing you forgot the top!If your filling looks very wet, you can bake your crust a little (about ten minutes) before you add your filling so it doesn’t come out gooey, wet, or under-baked. Some people brush egg white over the top of their pie before putting it in the oven so they get a glossy top, but you don’t have to.

Bake at 425 degrees for half an hour, and sit back and enjoy the wonderful smells that fill the house!

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Emergency Mode: Home Remedies for Cold and Flu Season

As we enter cooler weather, we all know that the sick season will be shortly upon us. Instead of panicking when it hits your home, get the over-the-counter things you might need ahead of time so you can tuck your little one in right away, instead of dragging them around with you from drug store to drug store. Also, this is a good time to go through the medicine cabinet and add anything that’s expired or you need to get rid of to your SteerList to do list app (so you remember to stop and get new the next time you pass CVS or Walgreens). Besides, when kid sniffles hit, we know it’s only a matter of time before mommy and daddy ones follow.

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The first major tip for a cold is to rest as soon as it starts. Pushing yourself or your child to muscle through it can make it worse in the long run. Kids don’t always know when they’re really feeling bad until it’s in the thick of the cold, so when they say they feel “ok” it could mean that it’s just not crippling yet. Though you may hate taking time off work or having your child miss school, just think of it as saving them from more time out in future. Your child may conquer his or her cold in one or two days if you take care of it right away, as opposed to what may become three or four sick days later. Tuck them warmly in bed and insist that they rest, even if they say they’re fine.

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 The second step is liquid, liquid, liquid. Vitamin C is a big power player in getting over a cold, so invest in some orange juice and oranges. It’s best to get the vitamins right from the source. Also, tons of water. I mean a LOT of water.

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To help relieve congestion, have your child breathe in steam. They can do this during a shower, in a bath, or just with a mug of hot water. It will ease congestion which will immediately make you or your kids feel less groggy. Heat packs on your forehead can also help ease the tension For a sore throat, an old home remedy is tea with lemon and honey, but WebMD advises against caffeine that might dehydrate you when you’re sick, so try to use herbal tea. If your kid won’t drink it, then you can try gargling with warm salt water. For mommy and daddy, they say that a little shot of bourbon or whiskey in your tea can help, but not too much alcohol.

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Even if you or your child doesn’t feel like eating when sick, insist on a few bites of something. Your body is spending a lot of energy fighting off the bad things going on inside it when you’re sick, and proper nourishment is what will give your body strength and more energy to keep on fighting. Even if it’s just soup and crackers, make sure you and your kids eat something.

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What A Can of Pumpkin Can Do!

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Today, I looked in my pantry and saw a lonely can of pumpkin sitting by itself, most likely from last fall. I felt almost sorry for it, forgotten and lonely. It seems like everyone goes pumpkin crazy this time of year, so much so that one might pick up one of these little unassuming cans on a whim, but then comes the question: What do I do with it? Fear not, after these easy recipes, you’ll never find yourself with an orphaned can of pumpkin again!

1) Mix a Pumpkin Rum Shake. Don’t just fall back on making pumpkin pie, make this adult alternative from Bonappetite.com. Simply combine canned pumpkin, ground nutmeg, vanilla ice cream and rum for a tasty and totally naughty fall treat in a cup!

2) Pumpkin butter is a fast and easy way to add a little taste of fall to whatever you’re eating. Though it’s usually made with fresh pumpkin, TLC.com swears you can use canned pumpkin and no one will know the difference. Simmer canned pumpkin, brown sugar, apple cider, and spices (cinnamon and nutmeg suggested) for about half an hour, then store or gift in jars.

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3) Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese adds a little twist to a classic kid favorite. You can make it from scratch, adding a couple spoonfuls of pumpkin to your sauce after the roux and milk. However, after experimenting last year, I can confidently say that you can even just add it to a boxed mixed, but don’t be too heavy-handed with the pumpkin. Bake in a casserole dish with breadcrumbs and cheese on top for a crunch!

4) Pumpkin Pancakes or Waffles. This is easy, just add a little pumpkin puree to your batter. If you want to get fancy, you can add some cinnamon or ground nutmeg. Candied pecans make a great topper, along with plain old maple syrup.

5) Three words: Pumpkin Chai Latte. That’s all I’ll say. Check out this recipe from TexanErin.com.

6) Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes for pop-in-your-mouth goodness. These little guys are baked, not fried, and small so you can pace yourself. We’re not going to call them healthy, but they’re definitely a little better than grabbing a fried donut with tons of frosting.

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 7) Pumpkin Praline Pretzels! It’s not a tongue twister, it’s just delicious. I wasn’t going to include this because it looks a little complicated, but I ended up caving because it just looks too good to be true. Would you try it?

8) Pumpkin Soup is “soup-er” easy to make! It takes more than one can of pumpkin puree, but just add some garlic, onions, cream, and spices and you’re good to go! This is definitely a fall favorite!

9) Rachel Ray recommends adding some pumpkin to your morning oatmeal for a fast and easy pumpkin fix. Top with cinnamon sugar, maple, walnuts, or raisons!

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10) Last but not least, nothing goes better with pumpkin than cream cheese. Make this simple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread for bagels, toast, or in a pastry puff a la Rachel Ray. Just blend equal parts cream cheese, powdered sugar, and pumpkin, then throw in some pumpkin pie spice to taste and voila! A decadent spread for any occasion!

Be sure to add any recipes you want to try to your SteerList grocery list app so you remember to pick up what you need the next time you pass the store!

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Five FREE Fall Activities!

It’s October 1st, and for most people that marks the official beginning of fall. We suddenly have a strong craving for pumpkin flavored things, along with apple cider and candy corn. It’s a magical time of year, where the leaves change colors and even adults can enjoy jumping into a big pile of leaves. So while we’re all daydreaming of crisp afternoons and walks in the rain, here are some fun FREE autumnal activities to enjoy by yourself or with your family. Be sure to add this list to your free SteerList organization app so you remember to take time and have some fun!

1) Collecting leaves is an activity as simple as taking a walk or driving to a nearby park. Take a stroll and pick up leaves that catch your eye, whether they be red, orange, or yellow. To turn them into a work of art and prolong their life, Family Fun magazine suggests ironing them between sheets of wax paper or sealing them with mod-podge.

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(Photo courtesy of Family Fun Magazine)

 2) Jumping into a pile of leaves. Simply get a rake or broom and sweep the fallen leaves into a pile, then allow your kids to kick and throw or jump into them. Be careful of jumping, though, and be aware of what your pile is on. Lawn is preferable to cement if your kids plan on diving in, and make sure you have a substantial pile to cushion their jump.

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 3) Enjoy a hot beverage on a rainy day. There’s something simply satisfying about drinking a nice hot cider, tea, pumpkin spice latte, or hot chocolate. Feeling the warmth spread down your throat and into your body is a small happiness. Open the windows and listen to the rain.

 4) Go to a pumpkin patch. My family would just pick a pumpkin at the grocery store, but recently I’ve learned the joy of going to a local pumpkin patch instead. They are usually free to enter and look around, and sometimes have things like hay bale rides, petting zoos, and corn mazes (though they may cost a little). Indulge a little and spend the day surrounded by fun and other families.

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5) Go puddle jumping. Kids love jumping in puddles, but aren’t always encouraged to do so. One day, dress your kids in rain boots and let them go to town walking through the water and splashing like a duck. You can even take a walk in the rain or let your kids go and run in the yard without an umbrella, but be sure to hustle them into a warm bath right after so your little ones don’t catch a cold!

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Get the Kids to School on Time

All moms know the sounds of a typical weekday morning: Birds chirping, bacon sizzling, and the desperate shouts of “TIME TO GET UP! NOW!” from moms heard ‘round the world. For those with kids, we know that the morning is a race against the school bell, with many obstacles to overcome before making it to the front door. A single missing shoe can be the defining moment that guarantees a walk of shame to the principal’s office for a tardy note. Here are some of our tips and tricks to helping you get your kids to school on time.

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The best weapon you have in your mommy belt is to prep ahead. Bedtime needs to become a ritual of picking out clothes and laying them out for the next day (including the full set of shoes and socks), making sure all homework is packed, and that lunches are made and ready to be grabbed from the fridge. Consider this your training for the morning marathon. If nothing else, the clothes are key. Simply picking out an outfit and shoes can eat up time quickly, even as an adult. Just getting that done ahead of time can save you a good fifteen minutes to half an hour, and you’ll get the “But I don’t wanna wear that” out of the way. If you have older kids, make sure they’ve picked out their own clothes the night before.

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 The next morning, set your kids’ alarms for about fifteen minutes before they need to get up. This eliminates the frantic yelling and dragging them out of bed by the foot. It will wake them up, but allow them that extra “five more minutes,” to gently wake up. It will give a little warning head’s up, rather than suddenly being awoken. No one likes having to jump right out of bed. Another tip? Open the blinds or turn on the light, the brightness which will pull them out of sleep. Consider this the stretching.

Finally, the moment of truth begins from the second your kids’ feet touch the floor. That’s when you’re off and running. Pack their lunches in backpacks while they’re getting ready so you don’t forget— we want to avoid the second trip to school to drop off a forgotten lunch bag. Have a variety of healthy options that are fast for breakfast, such as microwaveable oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, or fruit that can be taken in the car or on the bus if need-be. Kids like to have choices, and for your sanity, don’t let yourself fall into the “I don’t feel like pancakes, can you make me eggs?” trap. As wonderful as it is to make breakfast for them every morning, make sure you have a fast plan B if they refuse to eat it and you don’t miss a beat.

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 Hopefully some of these tips will help your morning roll a little smoother. A free organization app like SteerList can really help with a morning checklist so nothing is forgotten. The morning reminders can make sure you sign and pack a permission slip for the upcoming field trip, or remember to stop by the office to put some money on the kids’ lunch cards. Being on top of your morning routine guarantees a strong finish, rather than frantically tripping over the finish line.

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