Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple and Easy Jack-o-lantern Carving

Want to create a jack-o-lantern that is more than two eyes and a mouth?  Well, now you can! It's so simple and easy to do your own pumpin carving.  Here's how:
1)  Find a template (any line drawing will do). Print out and tape onto pumpkin. 
2)  Poke holes with the end of a pin, or use the tools purchased with pumpkin carving set (like at WalMart).  Make sure not to move or lift up the paper from the pumpkin until you are confident the holes are large enough to see, and all parts of the picture are traced.
3)  Decide which portions you will cut away, and which you will leave as pumpkin skin to create your design.  Using your carving tools, (I find they work best, and are safest for kids to handle),  cut around the traced portions.
4)  Remove pumpkin skin and enough of the part underneath so light from a candle or battery-operated light will shine through.

How to keep your pumpkin fresh until Halloween:
1)  Carve your pumpkin as close to Halloween as possible.  Day prior, and day of is best.
2)  If possible, keep your pumpkin wrapped in a plastic bag, and stored in the refrigerator.  You can also store pumpkin in a cooler with ice.  Just make sure to put plastic, and a towel between the ice and pumpkin.
3)  I've tried all the other suggestions of spraying/dunking in a bleach solution to reduce mold growth, but I've found they don't really work well.  And your pumpkin becomes shrivled.

I was going through Ellen's website--checking out the pumpkin carving photos...and saw the one (I had forgotten that I sent) we did last year!
Check it out here...

My eldest created the tokidoki cat, the twins made the Hello Kitty and Julius from Paul Frank.  (And Mom finished the twins pumpkins when they got "tired" of doing it.)

P.S.  I did a double-duty tip for Rachael Ray, which will appear in the show this Monday! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Germs...Is your purse, phone, grocery cart making you sick?

Germs...Is your purse, phone, grocery cart making you sick?
Are you a germaphobe?  I have to admit that I am.  I always have antibacterial wipes and gel on hand--and I use them liberally...everywhere.  I never use the community pen at a store, and I clean my hands immediately after using those magnetic signing pens.   I try not to touch door knobs, elevator buttons, and I never hold the railing on a stair or escalator.

I've read many articles and television segments on the subject of germs--which probably makes me even more of a germaphobe.  But...since many share my love of antibacterial products, I've consolidated some of these tips:

1)  Your purse may carry A LOT of germs both on the inside, and outside.  Never put it on the floor of the bathroom (e coli...ick!), on the restroom sink, back of toilet, or anywhere you prepare food or eat (no counters or tables).  Don't put it on the restaurant floor, and try to hang up your purse when you can.  Make sure to wipe it down with a cleaner and clean both the inside and outside frequently.  Tests have found over 1,000 germs on women's purses!  Oh yeah, also think about where your purse goes--your car seat, desk, table, bed, home floor.  Now I have a set place my purse sits.  And I set it down on something too. 

2)  Okay...this just goes without saying.  Never...ever...put your shopping bags in those same places that you now will never put your purse.  Where does the bottom of your Macy's Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, WalMart bags end up?  Ick!  (P.S.  I never put grocery bags on my counter when I get home either.  See below for thoughts on grocery carts.)

3)  Over 25% of cell phones have e coli bacteria on them.  Ewww!  So think about where you place your phone (restaurant table, sink area, desk, etc.)...and clean your phone often.  You will think of this, (wonder where their phone has been), the next time you borrow someone's phone. 

4)  Grocery carts are one of the WORST and most common places to find germs.  Stores rarely clean them, think about all the meat juices that leak out on them, people actually put their kids in diapers in these dirty carts.  Knowing this, you can imagine the amount of e coli and staph found in these carts.  (Another place your purse should NEVER be placed in.)
   After buying your food, they put them in grocery bags (or your reusable bag--see earlier post about this too)...then you put the bag back in the dirty cart.  It then goes in your trunk, and to your home.  Remember this when you put your grocery bags down.  Think about where it has been.  Ewww! now you may be a bit more neurotic about germs...join my club!  :)

These are just a few of the articles I've reviewed, but there are so many more...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Randy Pausch quotes and life lessons

Randy Pausch quotes and life lessons...if you are having a bad day, you need to read this!
These are some of my favorite quotes from Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture."  You will understand them, and it will mean more after you watch the video.  (Watch it!  Trust me, the hour goes by quickly.  You will laugh...and be moved.)

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture 

 “Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture 

 “When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”
Randy Pausch

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

  “It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture 

 “If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I'd add, all the time.”
Randy Pausch

 “When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you.”
Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch-ABC News Special with Diane Sawyer

Randy Pausch-ABC News Special with Diane Sawyer
After you watch "The Last Lecture," take another hour to watch this ABC News Special with Diane Sawyer.  You'll learn more about Randy Pausch, his wife Jai, his family and what happened after the "The Last Lecture" changed people's lives.

Randy Pausch-The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch-The Last Lecture
If you ever feel like you're having a bad day, week, month, this video and in just one hour, you will feel better, appreciate all that you have.  Appreciate life.

Someone introduced me to "The Last Lecture" about four years ago, and if you haven't seen this inspirational "lecture," I highly recommend you take an hour to watch it.  If you have seen this video before, like any great piece of's worthy of another view.

Randy Pausch was a computer science and human computer interaction and design professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  "The Last Lecture" was an annual event at Carnegie Mellon, which professors would contemplate if they were given only 6 months to live, what would you say, what would you do, how would you live that life?  Unfortunately, for Randy, this was his reality, as he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and was given 3-6 months of good health to live.  His lecture was captured on video and downloaded over 15 Millions times since then.

"The Last Lecture" was moving...inspirational...funny...a must-see for all!  (Note: Have lots of Kleenex on hand!)

Link to youtube: