4 Fun Thanksgiving Traditions

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Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost here? We love hearing about the many ways families around the country practice gratefulness and enjoy being together on this holiday. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions:

Guess Who. Have everyone write one thing they are thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. During the meal, read them out loud and let everyone else guess who is thankful for what. If you want to get a little fancy, use harvest-colored paper leaves instead of slips of paper. After the meal, capture the memory by assembling the leaves into an album, hanging them on a Thankful Tree, or taking a photo with everyone holding up their leaves.

Get The Kids Involved. Let the kids create place mats, place cards, or sweet centerpieces for the table (this Pumpkin Turkey Centerpiece is adorable, too). Involve them in meal prep as much as possible with age-appropriate kitchen tasks.

Game Time. Before the meal or after, get guests’ competitive juices flowing by setting out board games, card games, a Twister tournament, or this cute set of Turkey Bowling Pins.

Take It Outside. If you plan your meal early in the afternoon, take some time to enjoy the outdoors together afterward. Take a walk, play a game of football in the yard, or organize a “Thanksgiving Olympics” with relay races and an obstacle course.

Of course, your Smartphone Pocket is sure to come in handy on this busy holiday, whether you’re brining, baking, turkey bowling, taking a post-dinner stroll, or playing touch football.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

 

 

 

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Quick and Healthy Pumpkin Soup

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With the cooler temperatures come heartier meals, and of course everything pumpkin. From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin bread to pumpkin brownies, our social media feeds and favorite blogs are chock-full of delicious-looking but less-than-healthy recipes highlighting the orange orb. But what about those evenings when you want something comforting and seasonal, but lighter?

Enter this delicious Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup, adapted from Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks. It’s been one of our favorite fall weeknight meals for years now–perfect when enjoyed with a big green salad and bread.

Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

2 cans pumpkin
1 can coconut milk
Approx. 2 teaspoons Thai Kitchen red curry paste (or to taste)
Scant tablespoon of brown sugar (or to taste)

Whisk all ingredients together in a pot on the stove. Bring to a simmer, then add about 1/2 cup of water (or more or less depending on the consistency you prefer) and salt to taste. Taste and add more red curry paste or brown sugar until it’s just right.

What are your favorite healthy fall meals?

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Health News Roundup

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From an Ebola-free Sierra Leone to an FDA-recommended cap on sugar, we’ve rounded up the latest stories in the world of health and wellness:

For the first time ever, the FDA is recommending a daily cap on sugar. (via NYT)

Ever thought to plan for your own “driving retirement?” (via NPR)

Sierra Leone has been declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organization. (via BBC News)

Despite health experts’ recommendation to lower cholesterol through diet and exercise, many Americans prefer to simply take a pill. (via NYT)

Are you a southpaw? 20 ways being left-handed could impact your health. (via CNN) (We’d add #21: It could affect where you decide to iron in your Smartphone Pocket!)

How often do you prepare meals at home? A new study suggests that eating at least 2 homemade meals per day can lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. (via Medical News Today)

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Smartphones In The News

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It’s that time again–the time when we give you the lowdown on what’s happening in the world of smartphones. Here’s the latest:

So far, Google’s new Nexus 6P and 5X are getting rave reviews. (via TechNewsWorld)

What do you think about the Senate’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act? (via CNET)

In case you’re wondering how your selfies stack up. (Plus: Why do people take selfies during emergencies?) (via Gizmodo)

And finally: What’s the best smartphone, anyway? (via TechNewsWorld)

What are you reading these days?

 

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Fresh Ideas For A Pretty Fall Mantel

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Everyone loves a beautifully decorated fall mantel, especially when it frames a cozy, crackling fire. Whatever your style, there are lots of ways to bring a touch of autumn into your living room–check out these fresh fall mantel ideas!

Ask Nature. Go for a hike and collect pine cones, acorns, branches, stones…and incorporate them into a natural, calming display. (Your Smartphone Pocket will keep your phone safe and secure so you can be hands-free for nature collecting!:).

Get Creative With Color. Reds, yellows, oranges, and browns just not your thing? Not to worry! There are plenty of other color schemes that say “fall.” Go bold (and a little spooky) with black + orange, brighten it up with pops of turquoise + orange, or add some sparkle with metallic elements.

Craft It Up. Get in touch with your crafty side and whip up a fall garland, brown paper flowers,  or mason jar lid pumpkin.

Put A Pumpkin On It. Or two or three. After all, there are a gazillion fresh and fun ways to decorate them!

What’s on your fall mantel this year?

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Health News Roundup

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What’s going on in the world of health and wellness? Find out here, where we’ve compiled today’s top health stories from around the web:

A fascinating slideshow showcasing the health game-changers of the past 500 years. (via CNN)

Can you prevent muscle cramps during exercise? (via NYT)

Americans spend the most on health care, but have the lowest life expectancies. (via Fox News)

Hospital beds prevented an estimated 40,000 Ebola deaths. (via BBC News)

Apparently summer babies become healthier adults. Who knew? (via CNN)

Contrary to popular opinion (and previous research), it’s okay to sit! (As long as you exercise regularly, too). (via Medical News Today)

What are you reading these days? We’d love to know!

 

 

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A Fall Cleaning Checklist

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Spring cleaning is an age-old pastime, but fall cleaning is just as important, as it readies your home and family for a busy season of school routines and holiday hosting. Here’s a handy fall cleaning checklist to get you started:

Clean the walls. A good deep cleaning tip to remember: clean your house from top to bottom. Start with ceilings and walls, then move to windows, then baseboards and floors.

Wash the windows. You can use Windex + paper towels, or go natural with hot water + vinegar + a microfiber cloth.

Vacuum window treatments and upholstered furniture. Break out that brush attachment! And while you’re at it: vacuum ceiling light fixtures, then pull out your refrigerator and vacuum the coil, too.

Clean carpets and wood floors. Rent a Rug Doctor, or call a carpet cleaning or refinishing service if you’ve got stains or scuffs that your regular sweeping/vacuuming/mopping routine can’t handle.

Organize kitchen cabinets and pantry. Wipe down all kitchen shelves.

Launder all bedding. Flip and/or rotate mattresses from end-to-end to mitigate wear.

Clean out closets. Have bags at the ready labeled “Keep,” “Sell,” and “Donate.” Take the opportunity to tackle the attic, too!

Sweep the chimneys. Prepare for a season of cozy fires by having your wood-burning fireplace, flues, and chimney professionally cleaned.

Tend To The Outside. Clean and store patio furniture as well as children’s summer toys (see you next year, sandbox and kiddie pool!). Inspect all windows and external doors and re-caulk or install weather-stripping if necessary. Clear gutters of debris.

Final pro tip: While you’re cleaning, wear your Smartphone Pocket to keep your phone safe, secure, and close at hand. :)

What’s on your fall cleaning checklist?

 

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5 Fun Things To Do In The Fall

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Crisp air, falling leaves, and plenty of plaid to go around–it’s what we think of when we hear the word “fall.” We love this season and wanted to share a few of our favorite autumn activities:

Leaf Peeping. If you live where the leaves turn incredible shades of red, orange, and yellow, get outside and look at them! Take a drive down a scenic highway (and pack a picnic), find a nearby trail to hike (don’t forget to wear your Smartphone Pocket :), or go camping!

Apple and Pumpkin Picking. Like leaf peeping, apple and pumpkin picking are on most people’s fall bucket list, and it’s easy to see why. Many apple orchards and pumpkin patches also offer fun activities like face painting and hayrides, and farm stands where you can buy apple cider–and if you’re lucky, snag an apple cider donut. Yum!

Fairs and Festivals. Wherever you live, there’s bound to be a fair or festival–or two or three–coming your way in the fall. Ride some rides, see some animals, and eat a funnel cake!

Football. For many, fall means football. Tailgate parties and game day get-togethers are great ways to connect with friends and family during this busy, back-to-school season. And how often do you get the chance to eat your weight in cheese dip and chicken wings?

Fall Crafting. Okay, so quilting may not be your thing, but there are plenty of simple, family-friendly fall crafts to bond over. Try Leaf Drawings: collect freshly fallen leaves, place them under pieces of white paper, and use the side of a crayon to color over them, revealing their unique designs. Or make a Pine Cone Bird Feeder by spreading a pine cone with peanut butter and hanging it from a tree in your yard.

What are your favorite things to do in the fall?

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Delicious (And Easy!) Fall Dinners

Kids are back in school, swimsuits are packed away till next year, and fall is in the air! We thought we’d share a few of our favorite nutritious, easy-to-throw-together fall dinners–perfect for busy weeknights:

Pork Chops With Roasted Apples and Onions. Pair with a pan of Roasted Brussels Sprouts for a quintessential fall meal.

A big pot of Chili–enough to serve over baked potatoes one night and with brown rice the next. (Even more leftovers? Make chili dogs!)

Chicken Pot Pie. The ultimate fall comfort food. (And how cute are they served as individual pies?!)

Looking for something a little lighter? Try Pumpkin Soup paired with a Fall Salad! This Black Bean Pumpkin soup looks great, too.

Plus: Finish off your meal with a delicious fall dessert–we suggest giving this Honey Butter Apple Cake a try!

What are your favorite fall dinners?

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Smartphones In The News

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Wondering what’s happening in the world of smartphones? Here’s the latest:

With a smartwatch synced to your smartphone, you’d never have to take your phone out of your Smartphone Pocket!

And speaking of smartwatches, Google just released a new app that allows users to pair their iPhones with an Android Wear watch.

Sony introduces 3 new smartphones aimed at affluent buyers.

Meanwhile, Samsung aims to convert iPhone users by offering them a one-month Samsung Galaxy trial for just $1.

Patent wars: Apple and Samsung continue to battle it out in court.

A screen protector designed to make the iPhone 6 easier to use one-handed.

 

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