Save Halloween pumpkins with these three hacks

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2016 @ 10:54 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 12:35 PM

How A Teal Pumpkin Can Save A Child’s Life

Pumpkins are multiplying, appearing on stoops, sidewalks and porches across the nation.

But if you carve them too early before Halloween they will not last until the trick-or-treaters go door to door.

 >> Read more trending stories  

But there are three simple tips that could keep your jack-o-lantern from going from a bright orange gourd to a rotting mess.

All you need is a sharp knife, some Vaseline and bleach.

Find out how combining those three things will keep your pumpkin all smiles for the next few weeks by watching the video below:

5 Hallmark holiday movies that feature a piece of the South

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

Best Hallmark Holiday movies that feature the south "Angels Sing" - In this oldie-but-goodie filmed in Austin and Bastrop, Texas, a mysterious man helps a fellow rediscover joy after a long-ago tragedy. "Christmas in Conway" - This Hallmark Hall of Fame film doesn't need snow to tug at the heartstrings. Set in Conway, South Carolina, it was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina and debuted in 2013. "Coming Home for Christmas" - Though this holiday favorite is filmed in Canada, the movie, about a nanny and

Made for watching by the roaring fire, cocoa in hand, slippers on feet, the delightful, wintry scenes of Hallmark Channel holiday movies are not typically fit for Southern settings. It only makes sense: how are you going to have the Christmas Festival of Ice and similar “Winter Wonderland” themes set in Charlotte, or Atlanta or Rocky Top, Tennessee?

RELATED: A look at Hallmark’s 67-day holiday movie marathon

What's surprising is that there are some wonderful Hallmark holiday movies that were either filmed in Southern locations or set in some of the beautiful places of the South. 

Here are some Hallmark holiday favorites that are set elsewhere but filmed in the South:

"Christmas In Homestead"

The movie takes place in the fictional "Christmas-obsessed town of Homestead, Iowa," but the 2016 romantic comedy was filmed on location in Dahlonega, Georgia. Setting a Christmas movie (about a famous actress who falls in love while shooting a holiday movie in a small town) in Dahlonega wouldn't have been all that far-fetched, either. The town is fairly Christmas-happy itself, hosting a month-long gala each year with an old-fashioned Christmas parade, visits with Santa and a Christmas market on Candy Cane Lane.

Yes, that's Willie Nelson and Harry Connick, Jr. both featured in the 2013 Hallmark classic filmed partly in Austin, "Angels Sing."(Contributed/For the AJC)

"Angels Sing"

In this oldie-but-goodie filmed in Austin and Bastrop, Texas, a mysterious man helps a fellow rediscover joy after a long-ago tragedy. If it doesn't air during the season, catch it on DVD. It features a star-studded cast of music heavyweights, including Harry Connick, Jr. and Willie Nelson.

"Christmas in Conway"

This Hallmark Hall of Fame film doesn't need snow to tug at the heartstrings. Set in Conway, South Carolina, it was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, and debuted in 2013. The premise: a sweet husband pulls out all the stops to give his ailing wife a ride on a Ferris wheel in their backyard for Christmas.

And two Hallmark holiday movies only set in the South but filmed elsewhere:

"Coming Home for Christmas"

It's common knowledge that so many Hallmark movies are filmed in Canada and British Columbia that perennial co-star Danica McKellar is considered to have honorary citizenship in both places.

This instant Hallmark holiday classic is a prime example. While the fictional Ashford Slate where McKellar's character takes up residence as a nanny and party planner is in Virginia (and certainly portrays the host family's First Family of Virginia/Junior League/debutante attitudes correctly), don't look for any Virginia landmarks on set. "Coming Home for Christmas" was filmed at a multimillion-dollar mansion in Canada.

“The Christmas Cottage”

Still in her 20s, the heroine of The Christmas Cottage has given up on love to concentrate on her interior design career in Raleigh, North Carolina. While most of the romantic action takes place in a family cottage nearby, renowned for its romantic and Christmas magic, the film was made in British Columbia.

Christmas 2017: Top ugly holiday sweater ideas

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 9:55 AM

A Celebration of Ugly Holiday Sweaters

In recent years, the combination of Christmas and tacky sweaters has taken on a life of its own. Festive people aspire to wear the ugliest holiday sweater possible. Whether it’s including as many adornments as possible, breaking out a ratty and worn polyester pullover or sporting animals in full holiday cheer, here’s a roundup of ugly Christmas sweater ideas to inspire you.
 
Shiny wreath
What’s says Christmas more than a wreath with a little shine? Take your Christmas tackiness to a new level with a shiny wreath pinned to your red or green sweater. For a little extra bling, string some lights to the wreath and load with a battery pack to keep it shining.
 
The fireplace
If the coziness of sitting by a blazing fire in the winter tickles your fancy, you’ll love this ugly Christmas sweater idea. This sweater can be pre-purchased with a trimmed fireplace and a pocket in the middle of sweater for your phone. Download an app on your phone to provide virtual flames.
 
Trim the tree
Get your craftiness ready to whirl with this shiny and embellished sweater. You’ll need shiny garland, small ornaments and lots of glue, but the end result is a tree to inspire even the grinchiest with a smidge of Christmas spirit. By the way: Don’t forget the ornament to top the tree.

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Stuffed stocking
Need some wine or sweet treats to keep you going through the holiday season? This stocking stuffer sweater is just what you need.
 
A beer lover’s Christmas
Yet another DIY ugly Christmas sweater idea, this one entails the usage of hundreds of bottle tops to make a Christmas tree. Take a red or green sweater and gather all your bottle tops. Arrange them on the sweater and glue them into the shape of a tree. Top off the tree with a metallic bow for a touch of glitz.
 
Snow globe
Bring the wishes of a White Christmas to life with this ugly Christmas sweater in the fashion of a snow globe. Take a plastic tablecloth and fold in half, being careful to stuff it with the insides with a pillow to look like artificial snow.
 
An ugly tie tree 
For this creation, all of the old ugly ties of Christmases pasts can be put to good use. Gather your ugly Christmas ties and arrange them in a tree pattern on an old sweater. Easy peasy Christmas sweater to don at all your holiday parties in the season.
 
Matching couple sweaters 
Want to look tacky as a pair? Wear the ugliest Christmas sweater connected to one other person to have double the fun and double the tackiness.
 
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Pay homage to Santa’s favorite reindeer and favorite helper of them all with this Christmas sweater. Start with a black sweater vest and decorate with big eyes and a red nose. Layer a brown long-sleeved shirt underneath the sweater vest, attaching stems to look like antlers on your sleeves.

Your guide to building a fabulous gingerbread house

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

When an architect, a pastry chef and a kid decide to build a gingerbread house, who knows what will happen?

If you're like me, this time of year brings the yearning for upholding or creating family traditions such as building a holiday gingerbread house, but the reality is that there's only so much time in a day.

RELATED: 6 things you may not know about Christmas

Most of us were already burning our candles from both ends before they turned red and started smelling of spice and apples. Now we're just burned out.

 

Take a breath. You’ve got options. My family has been making a gingerbread house for the holidays since I was the age of my 11-year-old (trust me, it's been a while). And we've managed to not only stay sane, but continue speaking to each other.

 

How?

We cheat. We use a kit to build out houses. Kits comes in lots of shapes and sizes, from beginner to advanced, and can be bought even on the most meager of budgets. If you can Google, you can find a kit (but we’ve done some of that legwork for you, with a list of kits; see the list on this page).

 

Kits basically offer the pieces to your house already baked — all you have to do is the fun part: make some icing and start decorating and making memories. 

RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

WHERE TO FIND KITS

 

Wilton, Orbit, Gingerhaus and Create-a-treat kits and related accessories also are available from Amazon.com.

 

——————————

 

Royal Icing

 

Makes about 3 cups

 

Hands on: 2 minutes

 

Total time: 7 minutes

 

Use this icing "glue" to put together a gingerbread house, or to pipe decorative designs on cakes and cookies. You can also use the recipe in the booklet inside the Wilton Meringue Powder canister.

 

4 cups confectioners' sugar

 

3 tablespoons meringue powder

 

6 to 7 tablespoons warm water

 

With an electric mixer using a whip attachment, whip confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and water in a bowl until incorporated, Continue beating on medium speed for 7 minutes. Keep the icing covered with a moist paper towel when not using.

 
Per tablespoon: 25 calories (no calories from fat), trace protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no fat, no cholesterol, 2 milligrams sodium.

This week’s ‘Artisan Night’ offers gift ideas that can’t get more local

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 1:49 PM

The 2nd Street Market will host its first-ever Artisan Night at the Market from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13. CONTRIBUTED
The 2nd Street Market will host its first-ever Artisan Night at the Market from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13. CONTRIBUTED

The 2nd Street Market will host its first-ever “Artisan Night at the Market” from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13.

The event is described by market organizers as “an evening of music, gift shopping and mini workshops … a perfect opportunity to purchase or create your very own unique holiday gifts.”

>> RELATED: 2nd Street Market to add Sunday hours in June 2018

More than a dozen of the market’s vendors will be participating. The event will be held on the east end of the market. Attendees should park and enter at the far east end of the market. No registration is necessary, and admission is free.

Lynda Suda, the Five Rivers MetroParks 2nd Street Market’s coordinator, provided a few of the projects that vendors will offer:

• Consider the Lilies - small wreath

• Hedy Riegle Studio – stamped brass tag

• Willowdale Farm Botanicals – essential oil roll-on

• Revamped Jems – small earrings

• Studio Regina - glass ornament

The full list of participating vendors include:

Animal Snackers, Azra’s Mediterranean Desserts, Caffeine Carl, Consider the Lilies, Fabric Arts, Hedy Riegle Studio, Missing Peace, New World Alpaca Textiles, Now and Zen Terrariums, Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce, Revamped Jems, Simply Aura Boutique, Studio Regina, Tim’s Gifts N’ More, Westlane Alley, and Willowdale Botanicals.

>> CHRISTMAS DINING: Which Dayton-area restaurants are open on Christmas Day? 

Coffee and holiday treats will also be for sale, and Anna Baugham will provide acoustical music entertainment.

The artisans’ night could become an annual event, Suda said.

The 2nd Street Market is located at 600 E. Second St. at Webster Street in downtown Dayton. For more information, call (937) 228-2088.