Tag Archives: to do list

Four Creative Ways to Wrap Gifts (No Wrapping Paper Required)

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Maybe you want to be a little more eco-friendly this year, maybe you’ve never really understood the point of buying wrapping paper only to have people rip it off a gift, ball it up, and throw it away… Maybe you’re just looking for a unique way to display your presents this year, or maybe you just ran out of wrapping paper and it’s too cold to go out and get more. Whatever description best describes you best, we have four ways to help you wrap your gifts with items you probably have around your house. Turn on the radio, and let’s get wrapping!

1) It may have once been an old joke to wrap gifts with newspaper at the last minute, but you can definitely pull off a great (and purposeful) clean look with just a page of newsprint. The black and white design makes a great backdrop for a brightly colored ribbon or other fun details for a pop of color. You can even use a sprig of evergreen from your Christmas tree to add a fresh detail.

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 (Also, if you’re careful, you can curl paper like you curl ribbon!)

2) Cloth/a scarf. What’s better than a gift wrapped in another gift? It’s like the Turducken of the holidays! Simply wrap the scarf around the box/item and tie a good knot. Simple, and nothing to throw away after unwrapping! Or, you can go to a fabric store and pick up some scraps for a low price. Wrap the gift as though it’s paper and secure with safety pins. Hopefully, your gift recipient will save the cloth to use as a patch or make into something else.

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(We recommend using safety pins instead of sewing pins, pictured above. Safety pins will be much safer.)

3) If you’re anything like me, you have tons of old magazines lying around. Magazines are great to use as wrapping paper because it’s a little more structured, meaning you can accessories your gifts with your own handmade baubles. Check out this very easy tutorial for making your own fun bow (featured in the photo).

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(You can make variations of this by stopping at step 5, then cutting the additional straight pieces slightly shorter)

 

4) Your kids may be too young to wrap gifts this year, but if you want to include them in the ritual, you can use construction paper or white printer paper to wrap the present, then hand it over to your kids to decorate with colored pencils, crayons, glitter, construction paper shapes, whatever their little hearts desire! Be cautious handing over the pens though. It’s best to put the gift in a box that can take any bleeding ink so you don’t have to worry about the crafting damaging the gift.

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(The photo above features “The Big Bang Theory” themed wrapping/hand drawn details)

 

No matter what, don’t forget the very important tool that is the free SteerList app. We are doing everything we can to make this your least stressful holiday season ever by simply doing what we do best—being a reliable and easy-to-use list app. We use location based reminders so you don’t forget to get that perfect toy from Toys “R” Us, you’re reminded to stock up on tape when you drive by Target, and you take time to stop by your best friend’s house to pick up her extra magazines for your wrapping needs!

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Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Seasonal Food to Put You in the Spirit (and Fill Your Home with Heavenly Smells)!

There’s something nostalgic about the tastes and smells we encounter during this time of year. Smell alone can bring back vivid memories and feelings of warmth, happiness and family. We scoured Pinterest for some of the best recipes that can turn your house into a veritable potpourri of delicious smells.

Roasted Nuts

There’s a reason “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is a lyric in a holiday song, the nutty smell is absolutely delicious (especially mixed with the spicy aroma of cinnamon)! When I lived in Boston and experienced my first-ever snow, I remember walking in the Common and smelling  the comforting scent of roasting nuts mingled with the crisp freshness of a new coat of snow. These cinnamon sugar almonds from Something Swanky are fast and easy, and will quickly fill your home with that very same smell I encountered during my very first walk through the snow.

DSC_0205-edited-watermarked(Photo courtesy of Somethingswaky.com)

Freshly Baked Bread

Is there any better aroma than the smell of bread baking in the oven? No. There is not. Except maybe new baby smell, but that doesn’t count. Baking bread means not only that your house will smell homey but you will get a warm treat when it’s done! This beginner bread recipe from About.com is perfect for a first-time bread maker.

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(Photo Courtesy of The Pinterest Project)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Known as a secret weapon used by real estate agents everywhere, this is a seriously powerful aroma. Chocolate chip cookies are a classic throwback to delicious smells of special occasion bake-fests. Of course, you could go to the store and buy that pre-made stuff that you just throw in the oven, but if you plan on eating these after they’re done, it’s probably best to at least put in the work so you can appreciate them even more! You can’t knock a classic, which means two words: Toll House. The best chocolate chips cookies of all time.

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(Photo courtesy of Cooking for Engineers)

Hot Apple Cider

If you’re like me and not a huge fan of apple cider, adding caramel for this amazing caramel apple cider recipe from DIY Cozy Home makes the prospect heavenly. What is more seasonal than the smell of cinnamon and apples? Apples add a fruity sweet scent to the pungent smell of cinnamon that makes this juice warm you inside and out.

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Don’t forget to download the SteerList app to help “steer” you through the holidays this year! SteerList is a to do list app, a grocery list app, and just an overall list app for your everyday needs!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Gluten Free, Vegan, or Vegetarian Guests for Thanksgiving? Easy.

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Thanksgiving is coming up, which means you’re probably already starting to think ahead to your menu and the delicious food you’re going to make. However, finding out that your son’s new girlfriend is vegetarian or the neighbors have a gluten-free diet can send you into a panic, frantically redoing the whole menu and cursing the diet Gods for sending these people to your dinner table.

Take a deep breath. It’s not as scary as you think.

As a vegetarian, I can say that most people with special dietary needs understand that it’s not all about them, but do appreciate being thought of. Even though you may have encountered one or two cranky ones on a dinner where there was nothing for them to eat (Can you really blame someone who’s really hungry and can’t eat anything?), the average person understands that you wouldn’t go to a dinner expecting the whole thing to be catered just to him or her. The secret is in the sides.

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Vegetarians:

You don’t have to throw out a turkey just because a vegetarian is coming. Even though I’ve encountered those fabled “preachy vegetarians” who may make a comment or two, most understand that a turkey is part of the tradition. You don’t have to exchange a turkey for a tofurkey, though if you pick up some Hickory Smoked Tofurkey sandwich meat (available at most chain grocery stores, pictured above draped on a paper turkey to give an authentic effect) or some Morning Star Farms products (just heat and serve), it could be very appreciated. On the whole, most Thanksgiving sides are vegetarian or could be vegetarian with a few tweaks. Vegetables like string beans are easy, and you can moisten mashed potatoes with milk instead of chicken stock (if that’s how you usually do it). On the note of beef or chicken stock, simply substitute vegetable stock if applicable. If you want to score points though, you could make (or buy) a vegetarian “main dish.” Quiche or an egg puff is good because it includes protein (eggs, cheese), or a vegetable pot pie could work too.

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Vegans:

There is a difference between vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarians don’t eat meat (though some eat fish, that’s a personal choice that you can clarify by simply asking your vegetarian guest before the meal) and vegans don’t eat any meat or animal bi-products. This means no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no butter. Stock up on vegetable sides and prepare them mindfully. It’s especially good to make something that contains beans or peanut butter because that will be the main protein.  Vegan desserts are sometimes hard because they often require substitutions, but here’s a fun trick: Soda cake. Simply pick up a package of cake mix (read the ingredients to make sure, but most are vegan, Duncan Hines recommended) and a can of soda (take one or two sips for 10 oz.). The soda replaces the eggs and oil in the recipe! Just mix and bake according to the instructions. Warning: Cake can come out sticky!

Gluten-Free 101:

I’m not very familiar with the gluten free diet, but this article from Mayo Clinic breaks it down nicely. On the whole, meat is gluten free, though it may vary depending on what you add to it. A traditional turkey should be fine, but if you want to do anything fancy or just want to play it safe, simply take a cut and cook it separately for your gluten free friend’s needs. Vegetables are usually good to count on.  From what I understand, the toughest part of a gluten-free diet is bread and dessert. Huffington Post has a great article that lists the best gluten-free breads that you can order or get from a specialty store, and this recipe for a twist on a flourless chocolate cake looks so good, people who can eat gluten may even want to try it!

23733_856926265861_403190124_n(This would be a terrible nightmare for someone with a gluten allergy!)

As a final note, adding some “vegetarian” or “gluten free” place cards in front of special dishes will also be a good idea so there are no surprises. Also, be sure that the guests with special diets get the first chance at the dishes meant especially for them. Keep in mind, and note to your party, that where there may be eight dishes total, there may only be three or four that guests with certain diets can eat. I’ve been to a lot of parties where there was a vegetarian dish, but other people had eaten it all! Just be considerate, and your guests will be thankful for the effort.

Use SteerList as your grocery list app so you don’t forget to pick something up from the grocery store. You can also use it to remember notes (like that list of things not gluten free) or save tips to it.

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Stay Warm With Our Cozy Etsy Finds

The temperature is slowly going down and, if you’re quiet, you can almost hear the home thermostats all quickly being clicked up in unison. Unfortunately, you can’t change the temperature outside, so the minute you open the door to your warm cocoon of a house, the bitter wind comes in and blows that warm feeling off your cheeks. It’s time to bundle up. But just because you’re forced to wear sweaters and jackets, it doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice fashion!

Unisex Scarves

This grey cowl neck/infinity scarf from HandmadeABM is great for a guy or girl. Thick and comfy, with buttons to add a little flair, this style makes a classic color more modern.

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This yellow plaid scarf sold by Merrysewingnfabric is made from soft flannel so you feel like you’re in your pajamas all day! The pop of color adds a great punch of personality to brighten up your look and your day!

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Screen Printed

Screen printed scarves are like jewelry or art. If you’re bummed about having to wear a jacket over your perfectly planned outfit, wear a cute scarf like this navy blue one with gold feathers printed on it. It may not be thick, but the thinner fabric will still keep the chill off your neck. If this particular look isn’t you, SoKoDesigns offers more in their store!

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If you want something a little more clean and chic, try out this great bird silhouette scarf. A little whimsical, but still professional, this scarf from ASlideDesign is a great balance of work and play.

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Young and Fun Scarves

If you’re looking for a gift for someone young or just young at heart, these funky and slightly geeky scarves add a splash of bold fun to a winter outfit. I personally LOVE this purple tentacle scarf from Creeplings. Unfortunately, the seller is marked as “On Vacation,” but hopefully he/she will be back soon!

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This Nyan Cat scarf is inspired by the viral phenomenon that is Nyan Cat. If you don’t know what that is, here’s the video that made it famous.

With that in mind, this scarf from seller EinavIzack is perfect for any internet fanatic!

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Gloves

These fingerless gloves by lilyogini are a little rustic, but in a walk-in-the-woods-come-home-sit-by-the-fireplace way. They are both cute and functional, with thick knitted yarn and no cumbersome finger coverings, they are too adorable to pass up.

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These grey fingerless gloves would go well with that scarf we featured earlier. These fingerless gloves from YarnBlossomBoutique are a clean grey with black button detail. They look both cozy and stylish.

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If you like having gloves with fingers, check out these great studded leather gloves from Eastworkshop. A blend of hard and soft, the leather is balanced with a girly bow detail. These are definitely a statement piece for any outfit.

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Hats

This burgundy red flowered hat from AnnasFashionJewelry is super cute and is in the Oxblood red family (the big color of the season). The color is really what makes this chapeau such a great winter accessory.

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Last but not least, this bright yellow hat from SENNURSASA is a sunny reminder of spring and summer. The flapper style is also fresh and different, making this flattering hat a definite head-turner.

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Finally, if you’re no stranger to knitting needles and are inspired to make your own gifts or accessories this year, check out the Nice and Knit blog for ideas and patterns! We highly recommend checking them out!

The free SteerList app is here to help you remember everything you need to keep you warm this season!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Easy Caramelized Brussels Sprouts That Kids Will Love!

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Brussels sprouts aren’t the scrunch-up-your-face, stick-out-your-tongue affair they once were. Today, these cute little guys can be enjoyed by even the pickiest of eaters (I can confidently say this because even my boyfriend will eat them)! This super simple recipe only takes about eleven minutes to cook, and the flavor is a sweet-and-salty, nutty, and almost mustard-y flavor. The key to making good Brussels sprouts that kids will eat is to eliminate the bitterness. Besides, if you put the word “caramelized” before anything, it instantly sounds more appealing!

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.cookinglight.com)

 Fool-proof Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

 What you need:

 ~12 oz. bag of Brussels sprouts (Trader Joe’s microwavable bag recommended)

~2 table spoons olive oil

~1 teaspoon salt

~1 tablespoon sugar (throw in a little more if you want your sprouts even sweeter)

1) Wash your Brussels sprouts. I usually use ones from Trader Joe’s that come in a bag (I think they’re supposed to be microwaved, but I just open the bag and use them like regular sprouts) and are marked as “ready to eat,” so you don’t have to worry too much about washing them. I still rinse them just to be safe. If you’re cutting the sprouts off a stalk, it’s probably best to let the sprouts sit in salt water for a little bit.

2) Trim the ends and any leaves that look unappealing off of the sprouts.

3) Cut the sprouts in half. Be very careful doing this because they do sometimes roll around. I personally wedge the knife in a little bit, then hold the handle with one hand and use the other hand to finish pushing the blade through the sprout. That way, no fingers are near or under the blade and you have more control.

4) Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place in the oven while it heats up.

5) Add your halved Brussels sprouts to a medium bowl, then add the olive oil (2 tablespoons). Mix the sprouts a little bit, making sure the olive oil is covering all the greens. Then add salt (1 teaspoon) and sugar (1 tablespoon), stir until all sprouts are coated.

6) Wait for the oven to be fully heated before removing the covered cookie tray. The tray will obviously be very hot, so use appropriate hand coverings to remove it safely.

7) Empty the bowl of sprouts onto the tray. You should hear a little sizzle from the tray being hot. Make sure all the sprouts are face-down (with the flat side touching the tray). Be very careful while doing this.

8) Place tray back in the oven and set the timer for 10-12 minutes.

9) Check on the sprouts when the timer goes off. Be careful when you open the oven, there will be a wave of steam. I recommend opening the oven and counting to about five before looking in. When they are done, there will be some browning on the leaves. The leaves should look slightly crispy. It’s okay if there are a few dark looking spots appearing, but the whole sprout shouldn’t be black on the outside!

And there you have it! Super easy and fast Brussels sprouts! Remember to add anything you need or might be out of to SteerList, your faithful grocery list app. SteerList is free to download from the App Store!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Unique and Easy Last-Minute Costume Ideas!

Have you looked at your calendar recently? If not, you may be shocked to find out that Halloween is this week! You heard right, Thursday is All Hallow’s Eve! If you’re anything like me, you may have thought a few times about a costume for yourself or your kids, but never committed to an idea and now you’re drawing a blank. After some searching around, I’ve found some easy costumes that look like you put a lot of time into them when they don’t take a lot at all.

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(Photo courtesy of realsimple.com)

1) Rocket man (or woman). This idea from realsimple.com is super easy, just pull together an all-white outfit and add some details with black duct tape. For the super awesome jet pack, simply take two Pringles cans and attach party hats to the top. Then spray paint the whole thing silver. Finish with silver duck tape straps and streamer “fire.” A variation of this can simply include two upside-down soda bottles, also with streamers.

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(Photo courtesy of marthastewart.com)

2) This jelly fish costume from Martha Stewart is cute, and perfect for a rainy Halloween. All you need is a clear umbrella and some strips of bubble wrap. Dress in all one color. Not good for an indoor party, but an easy costume to “put on” and “take off.” Tip: So you don’t have to use both hands, use the hooked handle to carry the trick-or-treat bag.

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(Photo courtesy of Family Fun Magazine)

3)  A super hero costume is always a winning choice, but don’t choose to dress up like some other super hero, be your own super hero! We pulled this idea from the pages of “Family Fun” magazine. The best way to pull off a sophisticated superhero look is to pick two or three solid colors. This can be any combination, but picking just a few is what will make this look pop. Only dress in the two colors, and don’t forget accessories like arm cuffs (can be made out of toilet paper tubes), a mask, and a cape.

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(Photo courtesy of realsimple.com)

4) If you’re frantically reading this post on Halloween morning, this hula dancer outfit is great because it uses items you probably have around the house. It just uses a paper grocery bag (may need more depending on size) and cupcake wrappers to create the leis. Pair with a Hawaiian shirt or bathing suit (be sure to wear shorts or leggings under your skirt too). We like this one because it can be recycled when you’re done.

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(Photo from Etsy seller thehoneycomb)

5) This Greek God or Goddess costume only really needs a sheet. Can you say “To-ga, to-ga, to-ga”? We got the idea from Marie Claire, take a sheet and tuck and drape. Be sure you or your child is wearing clothes underneath… you don’t want a wardrobe malfunction! Sometimes sheets can be a little unpredictable. You can also use chord or rope to add more shape as a belt or crossed over the chest to add shape/interesting designs. Make a gold wreath out of a circle of fake flowers or leaves spray painted gold, or use gold paper to cut out leaves and glue them to a headband!

As always, be sure to program anything you might need to pick up for these costumes to our free SteerList organizational app. If you’re already stressing, our reminders can really ease your mind so you know you won’t forget a single thing, even if you feel like you’re running around like the headless horseman!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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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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