Entertaining

Clean Your Home for the Holidays in Four Steps

Written on November 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm , by

With November upon us, we’re about to enter prime party season—you know, that time of year when guests are coming over and your home needs to look its holiday finest. No worries! Study up on these quick-clean tips, and your space will be on its way to sparkling in no time.

De-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. Before you even pick up a mop or vacuum, best to clear off any surfaces that look messy. Grab a basket or bin and go through the rooms where you’ll be entertaining, collect out-of-place items and stash them in a closet for the time being. Target the coffee table in the family room, and get rid of catalogs and old magazines. Wipe down your downstairs bathroom vanity. Clear countertops are a must in the kitchen, and never leave pots or pans in the sink for company to see. Load and run the dishwasher before the party, even if you don’t have the chance to put everything away. The latest machines, including Samsung’s new Chef Collection model, are whisper-quiet and could even be run during the festivities if need be.

Shine surfaces in high-traffic areas. Guests tend to congregate in a few key places during get-togethers: the kitchen, the family room, the dining area. Whatever your cleaning weapon of choice—microfiber cloth and hot soapy water, disposable wipes or all-purpose cleaner and a rag—the process is the same. You want to focus on any visible surface where dust and grime build up. In the kitchen, run a disinfectant over the counters, stove, sink and island. Do the same in the powder room, wiping the sink, faucet and toilet handle. Spend a little time on the toilet, swishing the bowl with a long-handled brush and disinfecting the seat. Dust off the coffee and side tables in the family room, and make sure you wipe down the dinner table before you set it or lay out a spread of food. Be sure to use clean cloths each time you attack a new surface to avoid cross-contamination. Some pro cleaners even designate particular rags or cloths for certain rooms or jobs—a few for the bathroom, a few for the kitchen and so on.

Fake it till you make it. If you have enough time to mop the floors and dust off all your downstairs light fixtures, ceiling fans and baseboards/moldings, by all means do it. But if you can’t, your best recourse is to vacuum area rugs and give the kitchen floor a quick once-over with a wet mop or steamer. Fluff pillows and cushions on the sofa, and buff away fingerprints on stainless-steel appliances and streaky mirrors. Put out fresh hand towels and a candle in the powder room. Empty the trashcans. It’s all about the illusion of tidiness—that is, until you can actually take the time to do a deep clean, post-party.

Make it fun. Cleaning is a chore, yes, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complete drudgery. Bust out that wireless speaker before the party starts, and check out one of the many cleaning playlists on Spotify. Or crank your own. Make it a point to get through all the songs before you stop.

This post was sponsored by Samsung.  Opinions/content are Family Circle editorial. 

#RealDadMoments: This Father’s Day Ad Is a Real Tearjerker

Written on June 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm , by

Warning: Have a tissue handy when you watch this video.

Much to the chagrin of mothers around the world, “Da-da” (or some variation of it) is the first word many of us utter. And yet the role of dads can be somewhat overlooked in the larger world of parenting. But that doesn’t stop us from calling out to dad when we need help as seen in this Dove ad (the male equivalent of the company’s viral “Real Beauty” campaign).  The heartwarming video captures #Realdadmoments that fathers play in their kids’ everyday lives.

Wishing the father (and father figures) in your life a happy Father’s Day!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with These Healthier Food and Drink Recipes

Written on May 5, 2014 at 4:11 pm , by

One of the best things about Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, is that it can be celebrated the healthy way meal-wise and still stay true to its Mexican flavor. Instead of going heavy on the cheese dip and Coronas, why not focus on fresh guacamole and lime? If you haven’t given tonight’s menu a thought yet, not to worry. Here are a few quick and easy Cinco de Mayo recipes that feature an unexpected ally—the pomegranate, rich in antioxidants and potassium. We’ll drink to that! If you can’t get it together in time for tonight, these refreshing drinks make for fabulous sips all season long. And you can’t go wrong with guac—ever—just don’t overdo it on the chips.

Chef Katie Chin’s Pomegranate Guacamole (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados, skin and pit removed

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt to taste

Tortilla chips or pita chips

1/2 cup arils (seed sacs) from POM Wonderful Pomegranates or 1/2 cup POM POMS Fresh Arils

Directions

1. Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.*

2. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the avocado and stir in the lime zest and juice, red onion, jalapeño and garlic. Season to taste with salt.

3. Stir in the arils.

4. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.

*To prepare fresh arils, score pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils. They will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the arils and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)

 

 

Cinco de Mango

Ingredients

1 oz POM Mango

1.5 oz tequila

.75 oz fresh lime juice

.5 oz agave syrup

3 dashes Hellfire Bitters (habanero)

Lime wheels

Directions

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake and strain over ice. Garnish with lime wheels.

 

 

 

Dragon’s Punch

Ingredients

1 oz POM Coconut

1.5 oz vodka (recommend green tea-infused vodka, e.g., Charbay)

.75 oz basil syrup

.75 oz fresh lime juice

5 dashes angostura bitters

Crushed ice

Directions

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake and pour over crushed ice.

The “Batkid Rises” Trailer Will Make You Smile (Guaranteed)

Written on November 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm , by

Last Friday, we followed Batkid as he kept the streets of Gotham/San Francisco safe. Batkid, aka Miles Scott, is a 5-year-old who has battled leukemia for years. His wish to become Batman was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and thousands of San Francisco residents.

After being called into service by San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr, Batkid performed various missions, which were chronicled by the media and won him fans all over the world.

We can’t get enough of Batkid, and now we have a trailer featuring our new favorite pint-size Caped Crusader.

It’s wonderful what people can do when they come together, isn’t it?