Friday, November 22, 2013

Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are always the busiest time of the year. It can be challenging to divide time between friends and family during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve. And what about co-workers and work related holiday parties? What happens when there are two or more events on the same day? Or if guests don’t get along? Follow our blog throughout the holidays to learn how to survive this season!

  1. What do I do if guests are not getting along?

If you know ahead of time that certain guests will not get along, and you’re forced to have them both there during a holiday meal, use place cards to insure that they are on opposite ends of the table. If a disagreement occurs prior to sitting down and you over hear it, walk over and attempt to quickly change the subject. Or if a disagreement happens at the dinner table, inconspicuously switch seats, and continue to do so throughout the meal so you have an opportunity to socialize with everyone at the table.

  1. How do I prepare a meal for vegetarians?

It’s hard to please everyone during the holidays, especially if guests have special dietary needs. If vegetarians or vegans are attending your holiday get together, try to prepare a few dishes that they will be able to enjoy. There are several great vegan and vegetarian recipes available online. Many vegetarians will be happy with eating side dishes such as mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles, stuffings and other dishes. If you prepare any dishes using chicken or beef broths, or other animal meat products, try to substitute these ingredients with vegetarian friendly options such as vegetarian broth or stock.

  1. What’s the easiest way to clean up a huge holiday mess?

There is no doubt that the holidays will create a huge mess in your kitchen, and clutter around the house. If you’re anticipating leftovers, make space in the refrigerator and have containers prepared before serving the meal.  

It’s common to use fine china during the holidays, but most of the time we are unable to place these dishes into the dishwasher. This year pre-fill your sink with hot, soapy water to soak dishes in between courses, this will cut down on clean-up time at the end of dinner.

What holiday survival tips do you have for fans of SeaGate Homes? Share them with us on our Facebook page or in or comments section!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Pumpkin Patch

It’s that time of the year again, time to gather up the family and head to the pumpkin patch for the perfect pumpkin! Pumpkins come in all different shapes, sizes and shades of orange: fat, skinny, round, or square, bright orange and buttery shades of orange. If you consider them all, finding the perfect pumpkin can be quite a challenge for you and your family.  So, how do you find the perfect pumpkin? We’re glad you asked!

Love at First Sight
When you arrive at the patch, take a quick glance around, what pumpkins catch your eye first? Gather these pumpkins together for further examination. 

Does it have a stem?
Now that you have selected a few pumpkins that are free from visible rot, bumps or other non-visually appealing characteristics, examine each one for a stem. Eliminate all stemless pumpkins. 

An Ideal Width
If you already know what design you would like to carve before heading to the pumpkin patch, bring it with you! You can compare it against each of the pumpkins to make sure there is an adequate amount of space for carving. If you’re not quite sure what design you will be carving, select a pumpkin that appear to be greater than 10 inches in diameter. 

Did you know? Pumpkins that are between 8 and 10 inches are ideal for baking pumpkin pie because they contain less stringy pulp!

Is it Ripe?
Knock on each of the remaining pumpkins. If the pumpkins produce a hollow sound, then they are likely to be ripe! If you’re at a pumpkin patch where pumpkins are still on the vine, look for pumpkins with a dry, brown stem. 

Level Headed
The final test involves placing the pumpkin on level ground, does it appear flat? If so, then you have found the perfect pumpkin! If not, start our process over in a new area of the pumpkin patch!

What characteristics do you look for in the perfect pumpkin? Share your responses with us on our SeaGate Homes Facebook page! Happy Hunting!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall Flowers

A few months ago we started our Do-It-Yourself (DIY) blogging series with the basics of floral design. In honor of the Fall season, we thought it would be a great idea to learn how to design our own Fall floral arrangements just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Themed floral arrangements are the perfect compliment to any seasonal table design, get started on yours today!

Simply Pumpkin 

If one of your favorite things about Fall is the pumpkin, then this is the design for you! In order to create this beautiful fall centerpiece, you'll first need to head to the pumpkin patch. After you have selected a pumpkin, take it home and cover it with matte black spray paint. Once the paint is dry, use a paring knife to scrape Fall foliage designs into the pumpkin, then hollow it out and fill with orange and yellow gerber daisies or flowers of choice. 

Fall Flowers

This dahlia and spider mum design will add the perfect amount of color to your Fall table. All that is needed to create this arrangement are white and pink dahlias, golden spider mums, and Fall foliage. Gather into a wooden vas and scatter leaves around the base for this beloved Fall arrangement. 

The Colors of Fall 

Our last arrangement is perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday! Purchase a white, footed ceramic vase and arrange roses, tulips, and protea in a visually appealing manner. We recommend selecting shades of red, yellow, orange, and purple.

Which floral arrangement will you create first? Share your pictures and ideas with us on our SeaGate Homes Facebook page!