Author Archives: Stephanie Hilliard

Make Outdoor Dining Simple on Your Patio

Outer Banks Collection on Patio

There may be no better feeling than sitting around a table with your family, enjoying a good meal in the great outdoors – eating, drinking, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company.

How can you achieve this idyllic vision of a nice day? You’ll have to supply the patio space, family members, food, and conversation, but we know just where you can find a customizable outdoor dining set to start creating those memories.

When it comes to dining furniture, we have two collections, the Outer Banks Collection and Lake Shore Collection, that make it simple to mix styles or stay within the look of a matching set. But the variety and versatility doesn’t stop at the designs you can choose from. We offer a wide range of poly lumber colors to choose from, including three wood grain options. Both collections are featured with a two-tone color scheme, but single tone options are available as well. These dining sets are truly custom to your needs.

The Outer Banks Collection pulls from traditional back designs, using classic styles like ladder back, fanback, and vertical back, but adds a beachy twist.

Outer Banks Collection Seating Options:

 

 

 

Outer Banks Collection 101 Ladder Bar Stool, Counter Height Bar Stool, Side Chair, Swivel Bar Stool, and Arm Chair

 

 

 

Outer Banks Collection 202 Ladder Bar Stool, Counter Height Bar Stool, Side ChairArm Chair, and Swivel Bar Stool

 

 

 

Outer Banks Collection 303 Crown Fanback Bar Stool, Counter Height Bar Stool, Side ChairArm Chair, and Swivel Bar Stool

 

 

 

Outer Banks Collection 404 Wavy Vertical Back Bar Stool, Counter Height Bar Stool, Side ChairArm Chair, and Swivel Bar Stool

 

 

 

 

Outer Banks Collection 505 Backless Bar Stool

Outer Banks Collection Tables:

 

  Outer Banks Collection Round Tables with Picket Fence Base, available in:

42” Round at Table Height

42” Round at Counter Height

42” Round at Bar Height

48” Round at Table Height

48” Round at Counter Height

48” Round at Bar Height

 Outer Banks Rectangle Table with Poly Picket Base in Lime and Tudor Outer Banks Collection Square Tables with Picket Fence Base, available in:

42” Square at Table Height

42” Square at Counter Height

42” Square at Bar Height

48” Square at Table Height

48” Square at Counter Height

48” Square at Bar Height

 Outer Banks Rectangle Table with Poly Picket Base in Lime and Tudor Outer Banks Collection Rectangle Tables with Picket Fence Base, available in:

30″ x 48″ Rectangle at Table Height

30″ x 60″ Rectangle at Table Height

30″ x 72″ Rectangle at Table Height

30″ x 48″ Rectangle at Bar Height

30″ x 60″ Rectangle at Bar Height

30″ x 72″ Rectangle at Bar Height

If a contemporary look is more what you’re trying to accomplish, check out the Lake Shore Collection. This collection relies on clean lines and angular design for a modern appearance.

Lake Shore Collection Seating Options:

 

 

Lake Shore Bar Stool in Driftwood Gray and White

 

 

 

Lake Shore Collection Bar Stool 

 

Lake Shore Side Bar Stool in Driftwood Gray and White

 

 

 

Lake Shore Collection Side Bar Stool 

 

Lake Shore Backless Bar Stool in Driftwood Gray and White

 

 

 

Lake Shore Collection Backless Bar Stool

 

Lake Shore Arm Chair in Driftwood Gray and White

 

 

 

Lake Shore Collection Arm Chair

 

Lake Shore Side Chair

 

 

 

Lake Shore Collection Side Chair

Lake Shore Collection Tables:

 

 Lake Shore Table Top in Driftwood Gray and White Lake Shore Collection Square Table Tops, available in:

24″ Square

30″ Square

36″ Square

 Lake Shore Table Top in Driftwood Gray and White Lake Shore Collection Rectangle Table Tops, available in:

24″ x 30″ Rectangle

24″ x 48″ Rectangle

30″ x 42″ Rectangle

30″ x 48″ Rectangle

30″ x 60″ Rectangle

30″ x 72″ Rectangle

30″ x 96″ Rectangle

 

Lake Shore Table with Picket Base in Driftwood Gray and White

 Lake Shore Collection Rectangle Tables with Picket Fence Base, available in:

30″ x 48″ Rectangle at Table Height 

30″ x 60″ Rectangle at Table Height 

30″ x 72″ Rectangle at Table Height 

30″ x 96″ Rectangle at Table Height 

30″ x 48″ Rectangle at Bar Height 

30″ x 60″ Rectangle at Bar Height 

30″ x 72″ Rectangle at Bar Height 

30″ x 96″ Rectangle at Bar Height 

 

Lake Shore Poly Lumber Bar in Driftwood Gray and White

 

 

 

Lake Shore Collection Poly Lumber Bar

All of the collections use durable, eco-friendly poly lumber and #304 stainless hardware to ensure a lengthy lifespan. Find out more about taking care of your new poly lumber dining set here.

Because there are so many options for you to customize a dining set, please call 800-687-5086 to speak to a customer care specialist.

Which collection do you see on your patio? Would you mix collections or stick to one? Tell us in the comments below!

6 Tips to Help You Start Your Home Improvement Projects Now

Renovate Your Home

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your bathroom remodel! Although the spring season often comes to mind when you think of home improvements, early winter is the best time to get started.

Spring is typically the busiest time of year for most contractors because home owners wait for their tax returns and warmer weather to take the plunge. Starting mid-March through June, the costs of materials go up exponentially so even the fiercest DIY-er can be subject to the uptick in prices.

There are many items you can check off with the snow still falling outside your window (add installing a bay window to the list), so here’s how to get started!

Find your inspiration– Put your Pinterest boards to use! Pinterest, magazines, and design blogs can be a great resource for finding an idea of what you want your reimagined space to look like. After you have an overall idea, take a field trip to your local hardware store, Lowe’s, or Home Depot for paint, flooring, and carpet swatches. Bringing physical examples into your home can help you visualize the result before you purchase anything.

Ruler

Get the intel– If you’re hiring out any sort of labor for your home improvements, you need to get on their schedule ASAP. And, chances are, you aren’t going to want just any contractor. Start by asking friends and family close by who’ve had recent projects who they’d recommend and get quotes. Make sure to include these quotes into your budget for a better idea of what this will cost you (and if you’d rather do the labor yourself).

Penny-pinchingSetting a budget for any home improvement project is necessary for it to go (somewhat) smoothly. If you’re planning on multiple projects, make sure to itemize everything you need to get a true idea of the cost. After totaling, if you’re budget is looking a little too much for you to handle, know where to cut back and still get your remodel on. Doing the project for yourself instead of hiring, using vinyl flooring instead of tile, or going for classic paint colors instead of trendy wallpaper can do wonders for your budget. Luckily if you gather your materials in the winter, you can avoid the price hikes in the spring and give your budget a little extra cushion!

Painting the Wall

Do I need a permit?- Now that you’re rearing to go, sledgehammer in one hand and paint can in the other, you need to see if your project requires a building permit. Any project that involves a structural change to your existing living space, electrical, plumbing, or window modification needs a permit. If your home improvements fall under these umbrellas, you’ll want to file for a building permit as soon as you can because nothing can advance until you do. Check out this handy list to see if your project requires a permit, but also communicate with your municipality as well to be sure.

Stick to a timeline– As with most planning processes, your home improvement needs to find space in your schedule. Make time for purchasing supplies, meeting with contractors, and even delays. Be realistic with your goals; sickness, extra work, and bad weather all happen. If you’re plan on doing the work yourself, having a flexible timeline of when you want to accomplish your project is crucial to it getting completed. After all, you only have yourself to rely on at that point.

Prep the space– Time to move spring cleaning up on your schedule. Focus on decluttering the space you’re trying to renovate, before that first stroke of primer hits the walls. This is a great time to do a cleaning overhaul and donate or recycle clothes or furniture you no longer need. Decluttering now can save you time when your project begins because it will need done eventually, so the time is now!

Paint bucket and brush

Making your home look exactly the way you want is a perk of being a homeowner, and if you are active in the preparation process, your home improvement will be a success. Early winter is the ideal time to start laying the figurative groundwork for what work you want to have accomplished so you can avoid the traditional “busy time”. That way, come April 1st, your neighbors will scrambling to meet with your contractor while you’re sipping coffee, watching out your new bay window.

How to Winterize Your Home

Winter Home

If you are a snowbird that flees to sunnier skies before the first snowflakes hit the ground, then listen up! Winterizing your primary home before heading to 75° weather is a must to prevent any sort of issues that may arise while you’re gone. The last thing you’ll want to do when you get home is to deal with a broken pipeline and a destroyed home.

Leaving your home for months on end can be difficult, so we’ve created a handy checklist that will help you assess what you need to do to winterize your home and grab a flight faster.

The best asset you can have when you’re going to be leaving your home for a long period of time is a trusty friend or neighbor. Not only can this individual help you out by checking up on the list items below, but it will give you piece of mind that you have a dependable person looking after your home. Create a unique checklist for your home and work out a schedule of how often you want them to drop by. If they are willing to help watch over your home, be sure to hold up your end and provide the proper tools. These can include but are not limited to your contact information, emergency numbers, and anyone that they would need to have contact with concerning your home. Don’t forget to reward them with something for your travels to show your appreciation!

Now that you have your house sitter lined up, here are some crucial tasks for you before you head to warmer weather.

Pipes

The pipes are probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of winterizing your home. There are a couple different ways you can make sure that you don’t come back to a ruined water system and home.

  • If you are turning your water off, you’ll want to have a plumber drain and blow compressed air through your pipes. Any water left to freeze can cause blockage or breaking of your pipes.
  • If you plan to leave your water on, you MUST keep your home and plumbing at a maintained temperature of at least 55°. If you don’t, your pipes will freeze up. Remember to keep your furnace running and leave room and cabinet doors open to allow the heat to circulate.

Theft

Don’t let your house be a sitting duck while you’re away. The more lived-in you can make it look the better! Burglars prey on unattended homes. Make sure yours isn’t taken advantage of by making sure your alarm systems are fully functional and doors are locked. Keep up with outwards appearances by installing timer lights, hiring a snow removal service, and forwarding your mail (which you can even do online!). Be sure to take care of your valuables inside by placing them in a safe, far from prying eyes. Another way you can protect your home is to be wary of what you post on social media while you’re away. Keep your vacation updates limited to family, close friends, and house sitter to not further entice burglars. Don’t let your care-free beach selfie turn into an ad for an empty home!

  • Install timer lights
  • Forward mail and stop news delivery
  • Snow removal
  • Test alarm systems
  • Lock doors
  • Store valuables

Routine Maintenance

Although there are quite a few items on this checklist that are not the norm for many homeowners, it’s important to not forget your normal routine maintenance. You don’t want to rely on your house sitter to be worrying about these simple tasks you can check off your list before you ever leave the airport runway.

  • Test your fire alarms and replace batteries or units as needed.
  • Have heating system inspected and serviced.
  • Have your roof inspected and clean the gutters.
  • Remove dead trees or overhanging limbs that could fall.

Keep the Pests Away

While you’re away, you don’t want pests to be throwing a party of their own. Talk to your exterminator or pest control about any potential problems that can be addressed proactively. The last thing you’ll want to come home to is an infestation of any sort!

  • Clean perishable foods out of your fridges.
  • Defrost and unplug your fridges and freezers.
  • Check for cracks in your home that animals could crawl in.

Winterizing your home for winter can seem like a daunting task. There are so many things that need to be done, but if you take your time, you’ll be able to check everything off your list! We advise starting the winterizing process about two months prior to your departure, just to make sure you’re not too rushed.

To help you winterize efficiently, use our checklist below to make sure you don’t forget anything!

Winterizing Checklist

 

Can You Leave Your Adirondack Outside?

Aruba Blue Adirondacks

The easy answer to this is………… yes, you can leave your Adirondack furniture outside. All of our Adirondacks are made from poly lumber, a weather-resistant, high-density polyethylene lumber made from recycled materials that are easy to maintain.

Quite a few homeowners will buy metal or plastic outdoor furniture and end up lugging it in or out of storage when the weather gets bad. Poly lumber is a great alternative to these materials because it doesn’t rust or absorb moisture and has higher density to keep it from blowing away with a gust of wind. Unlike cheaper plastic, poly lumber doesn’t get brittle with cold temperatures.

But the bigger question that remains is, should you leave your Adirondacks outside?Poly Lumber Texture

If you don’t have the storage space to put away your Adirondack furniture for bad weather, do your best to keep them covered. Although this furniture does not absorb moisture, it’s not good for heavy snow to sit on anything. Even putting them in a gazebo, pergola, or under a tarp can be a vast improvement than leaving them to the elements.

It’s very much like a car. You certainly don’t have to put your car in a garage for the winter, but will it keep the car in better condition for longer? Most likely. These chairs can last a lifetime, and taking care of them will stop them from aging prematurely.

Please note that accessories such as pillows or cushions should be brought in during bad weather. Even all-weather seating add-ons can get serious water damage that could result in mold and discoloration.

If you have any other questions about the care of your Adirondack furniture, please call us at 1-800-986-5352.

Creative Camping Cuisine

Campfire Cooking

Surveying the average campsite, you’ll see the typical supplies to make a meal: graham crackers, marshmallows, hot dogs, and mountain pie makers. But there’s more to camp food than the rustle of a chocolate bar wrapper and the clang of hot dog sticks! Getting a good cooking fire going and serving up new recipes is a great way to breathe new life into your family’s camping trip.

Before you reach beyond the baked beans, there are some must-haves to make your new fare truly one of a kind. Making sure you have a good cooking fire is essential for these recipes, and its temperature alter how long you cook the food. If there is little to no flame and you have a bed of hot coals, your fire should be good and ready. Now that you have your heat source, you’ll also need a meat source. You can go to any grocery store to find ingredients, but the best place to find meat is your local butcher. From steaks to bacon, you can find an assortment of fresh meat to add to the quality of your camping recipes. You’ll also want to make sure to have a good cast iron skillet, fire pit cooking grate, and aluminum foil. Other handy items include heat-resistant gloves, long-handled utensils, and a stainless steel grill cleaning brush to make your cooking safe and clean. For the most

If you’re up to the challenge, our in-house camping expert has prepared a full day’s menu of culinary creations that will make your camping trip full of memories and excellent food.

 

Breakfast Camping Recipe

Breakfast- Sausage and Eggs

  • ½ lb sausage
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Diced peppers, diced onions, and spaghetti sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Begin cooking sausage in your cast iron skillet over the fire. While this is cooking, make your eggs how you would like (scramble, over easy, etc.), adding salt and pepper, and pour over the sausage. Add the mozzarella cheese on top so it melts. For more flavor, add diced peppers, diced onions, and spaghetti sauce to complete the dish.

Lunch Camping Recipe

Lunch- Hamburgers and Chili Cheese Fries

  • Ground beef shaped into patties (for a nice sized burger, you can get four patties out of a pound of ground beef)
  • Hamburger buns

Place your burger patties on the cooking grate and keep them on there to your liking. To give your burgers even more flavor, add diced onion and mesquite seasoning to the meat before you mold them into patties. From there, top your burger how you like and enjoy!

You can also add more crunch by toasting the burger buns. Apply butter to both sides, lay a piece of foil on the cooking grate, and toast for 30 seconds to a minute. Just make sure and keep your eye on them so they don’t burn.

  • 1 bag of frozen French fries
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 can of chili
  • Velveeta cheese to taste

Add frozen fries to cast iron skillet with butter. While these are cooking, add the can of chili and Velveeta cheese. Cook the mixture until fries are hot and cheese is melted. When you’re cleaning out your cast iron skillet, remember to never clean it with soap or leave standing water in it. This is one piece of cookware that can last you a lifetime if you take care of it!

Steak Camping Recipe

Dinner- Sausage, Steak, and Potatoes

  • 1 lb or package of sausage
  • 2 fresh-cut steaks
  • 1 jumbo potato
  •  Salt, pepper to taste

If you have pre-cooked sausage (Hillshire Farms has a good variety of options), cut sausage into ½ inch slices and cook in your cast iron skillet.

If you have fresh cut sausage, you can stick the pieces right on the cooking grate and allow them to cook.

Peel potato, cube, and begin cooking in your cast iron skillet with diced peppers and onions. Add a ½ stick of butter and pepper, salt, and seasoning to taste. Place foil over the top of the skillet while they cook, stirring 5-10 minutes, until brown.

Place desired steak cuts on cooking grate. Add salt, pepper, and other steak seasoning to the steak and cook until liking.

Corn on the Cob Camping Recipe

Green Beans and Corn on the Cob

  • 1 can of cut green beans
  • 1 can of cream of onion soup
  • 4 pieces of corn (in husk)
  • Butter, salt to taste

First, take a can of cut green beans and combine with a can of cream of onion soup. Place mixture into foil and seal, flip every 10 minutes until done.

Soak corn in its husk for at least two hours, prior to cooking. Bury corn and husk in coals of your cooking fire for 20-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. When you’re ready to eat, husk the corn, roll in butter and salt to taste, and enjoy!

Keep in mind, many of these recipes don’t have exact times or ingredients because practice really does make perfect with camp cooking. Each recipe can easily be customized for your personal taste preferences. Trying out these recipes is a great family bonding experience, especially if they are done well!

Campfire Cooking Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Perfect Your Patio With These Poly Lumber Rocker Styles

Poly Lumber Rocking Chairs

It’s been a long day. You’re ready to settle into your favorite spot on your porch with a chilled iced tea, anxious to feel the warm breeze flutter the pages of your latest read. Frogs and crickets come together to make a subtle harmony that is the soundtrack to your evening. The world seems still from your porch, all except for the gentle movement of your rocking chair.

These will be the rockers that you can’t stop thinking about while you’re at your desk, in the crowded grocery store line, or on your drive home.

Whether you want to fly solo in your happy place or have enough for a crowd to take in the scenery, rocking chairs are a great way to add character to your patio and are easily accessorized to your personal style.

Rockers have a way of making your home warm and friendly, which is why each is assembled with excellent Amish craftsmanship that will last you for years to come.  These rockers are made with eco-friendly poly lumber that provides many benefits when used in an outdoor environment. This material is easy to clean and resistant to insects, fungi, and UV rays. Poly lumber does not fade, crack, warp, rot, or splinter, meaning you’ll have little to worry about with these rockers. Because poly lumber is made of recycled materials, these rockers are recyclable at the end of their 50-year lifespan, you just remove the #304 hardware.

With many different personality types, we have three different rocker variations to satisfy them all.

Adirondack Rockers

Adirondack Rocker

Enjoy a quiet night on your patio, rocking your cares away with the Adirondack Rocking Chair. Conjuring visions of sandy beaches and calming waves, this rocker was made for your happy place. Keeping the Adirondack look intact, the rounded edges of this rocker make it easy for you to curl up with a good book and rock the day away.

Plantation Rockers

Plantation Rocker

No matter where you live, what your home looks like, or what region you’re in, the Plantation Rocker gives your porch a Southern Living feel where you can almost hear the crickets and smell the magnolias. With a vertical slat back and clean straight lines, this rocker keeps its charm in all colors options. To really set the scene, toss a knit blanket into the mix and make this rocker feel just like home.

Lake Shore Rocker

Lake Shore Rocker

Our newest rocker comes from the Lake Shore Collection with its clean, modern lines and notable winged-out back shape. An easy addition to any patio, the Lake Shore Rocker gives off a regal touch with its throne-like back, waterfall seat, and ergonomically-designed armrests. Flourish with a few pillows and a brightly colored side table to really make this rocker fit into your porch’s concept.

With over 20 colors to choose from, these rockers can match any home décor or patio theme. And if you can’t decide on just one color, we have the capability to create two-toned rockers. Unique style, color, and composition, an East Coast rocker will be your new favorite thing about your outdoor space.

6 Must-See Fourth of July Firework Displays Across the United States

Firework Displays

Fireworks have been an integral part of celebrating the Fourth of July since 1777. For the past 240 years, these dazzling explosions have lit up the sky in remembrance of the date the Declaration of Independence was signed. Every year, pyrotechnic technology has increased, making firework displays continually brighter (and louder) than the year before.

This year is going to be a big year for fireworks, so why not treat your family to the best and brightest firework displays in the country? We’ve narrowed down fireworks displays for a comprehensive bucket list of Independence Day destinations for the whole family! Whether you are in or traveling down south, to the east coast, or over to California, make this July 4th a picturesque memory with some of the biggest and best celebrations.

Addison Kaboom Town (Addison, TX)- July 3, 2017

Dubbed as one of the top fireworks shows in the country by the American Pyrotechnics Association, Addison Kaboom Town draws over 400,000 visitors each year from around the country. In its 32 years, Addison Kaboom Town has been awarded numerous accolades from USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Travel + Leisure Magazine as a top firework display. In addition to the firework show, there is also a carnival and an air show with plenty of stunts to keep the excitement going.  Gates will open at 4pm as 1,500 pounds of fireworks start are prepared to shoot off at 9:30pm for a 30-minute show.

Wawa Welcome America (Philadelphia, PA)- July 4, 2017

On America’s 241st birthday, there’s no better place to celebrate than its birth place. Join hundreds of thousands of festival-goers in Philadelphia for Wawa Welcome America, a six-daylong celebration of America. This festival finishes with a bang with one of the largest free concerts in the nation, featuring Mary J. Blige, and a spectacular firework display set over the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 9:45pm. Enjoy the historic Philadelphia of America’s beginnings and how much we’ve progressed with these exciting events. See a complete schedule of events here to plan your Fourth in Philly.

Lights on the Lake (Lake Tahoe, CA)- July 4, 2017

Take your Fourth of July celebration to the beach with Lake Tahoe’s Lights on the Lake fireworks display. Although the lake has numerous Independence Day firework shows, Lights on the Lake is a nationally ranked and recognized firework display by the American Pyrotechnics Association and the Today Show. These fireworks are visible throughout the South Shore and begin at approximately 9:45pm, check here for the best places to view the show.

CITGO Freedom Over Texas (Houston, TX)- July 4, 2017

Whether you come for the entertainment, food, or the fireworks, Freedom Over Texas has everything you need for a memorable Independence Day celebration. This festival brings together over 40,000 people together for a grand event that includes performances by the United States Air Force Band of the West, Hunter Hayes, and DNCE. Activities for kids and adults alike, there’s no shortage of fun at this party. Boasting the largest land-based fireworks show starting at 9:30pm, you’ll be able put the boom in your Fourth of July in Houston.

Go 4th on the River (New Orleans, LA)- July 4, 2017

What’s better than one fireworks display? Well two of course! At New Orleans’ Go 4th on the River, visitors can watch dueling barges shoot off fireworks in this red, white, and blue spectacular. The fun in New Orleans happens in the water and on land. Enjoy the historic New Orleans riverfront shops, food, and culture set against the Mississippi River with the General Roy S. Kelley fire boat water show up until the fireworks begin at 9pm. With this epic new take on a firework display, it’s no wonder that this celebration was ranked in the top five of US fireworks shows by the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Bar Harbor’s Fourth of July (Bar Harbor, ME)- July 4, 2017

With a firework display nationally recognized by National Geographic and voted the #1 July 4th celebration by the Today Show, Bar Harbor is a pro at celebrating this patriotic holiday. Start your day with the annual blueberry pancake breakfast and have fun throughout the day with a parade, lobster races, craft fair, and live music until the fireworks begin at 9:15pm over Frenchman Bay. With a full day of events, it will be a picture perfect Fourth of July in this small, coastal town.

The grand tradition of shooting off fireworks can bring together both kids and adults to enjoy the red, white, and blue lights streaking across the night sky. Check out these locations for amazing displays for the whole family to enjoy, and keep your eye out for new up-and-coming shows that we can add to our list next year.

No matter how you’re spending the birth of our nation, we hope that you have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Fourth of July Fireworks

 

Shamrock Shake Copycat Recipes

McDonald's

While everything pumpkin flavored heralds in the fall season, spring is announced with an almost glowing, green drink. McDonald’s Shamrock Shake season is in full swing, especially now that we’re not far away from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. First available at select McDonald’s beginning in 1970, the Shamrock Shake debuted in every stateside McDonald’s in 2012. Now, with over 60 million sold, the Shamrock Shake is taking on a new look in 2017. Make that five new looks. You can now order a Chocolate Shamrock Shake, Chocolate Chip Frappé, Shamrock Hot Chocolate, and Shamrock Mocha alongside the original Shamrock Shake at a McDonald’s near you.

While it may be green, the Shamrock Shake hasn’t had the best reputation for being a healthy choice. A large contains 820 calories and 49 different ingredients, not too many of which can be found in your everyday kitchen.

via GIPHY

Shamrock Shake Ingredients: (courtesy of mcdonalds.com)

Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate. High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Yellow 5, Blue 1. May contain small amounts of other shake flavors served at the restaurant, including egg ingredients when Egg Nog Shakes are available.

Whipped Topping: Cream, Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, contains 1% or Less: Mono-And Diglycerides, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80, Beta Carotene (Color), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) to Protect Flavor. Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide).

Maraschino Cherry: Cherries, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Red 40, Sulfur Dioxide as Preservative (Contains Sulfites).

Green Sugar Crystals: Sugar, Yellow 5 Lake, Confectioners Glaze, Blue 1 Lake, Carnauba Wax.

We rounded up our favorite copycat Shamrock Shake recipes so you can enjoy this minty treat at home with your own ingredients.

DIY Shamrock Shake

Photo via bakingbeauty.net

DIY Shamrock Shake (via bakingbeauty.net)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2 large milkshakes

Ingredients:

3 cups vanilla ice cream

1 ¾ cup whole milk

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Green food coloring

Whipped cream and cherry topper (optional)

Instructions: Blend first three ingredients together. Add food coloring for desired green coloring. Optional whipped cream and cherry on top.

If you’re looking for an even healthier way to enjoy a Shamrock Shake from the comfort of your home, check out this recipe we created (Weight Watcher points included).

Weight Watcher-Friendly Shamrock Shake Copy Cat Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2 large milkshakes (8 Weight Watchers points apiece- a traditional large McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is about 41 points for reference)

Ingredients:

3 cups Halo Top vanilla ice cream

1 ¾ Premier Protein in vanilla

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Green food coloring

1 mint sprig (optional)

Instructions: Blend items together and add green food coloring.

*For this recipe, I would recommend not adding the whipped topping. This milkshake is sweet enough all on its own!

Adirondack Spotlight: The Kids Adirondack

Kids Adirondack ChairWant a way to kick back and relax with your kids on a beautiful summer evening? We’ve got your little one covered with our Kids Adirondack chair. The ideal size for your mini-me, our Kids Adirondack chairs are perfect for traveling to soccer games, the beach, or just hanging out on the back porch.

Although kids have a tendency to be hard on things, these chairs are up to the task by being splinter, crack, peel and moisture proof. Made by Pennsylvania Amish craftsmen, this chair is a no-nonsense alternative to flimsy canvas or plastic options. These chairs don’t need painting, staining, or waterproofing to stay in great condition. They are also resistant to fungi, insects, and salt spray damage, so a beach or camping trip is no sweat.

Kids Adirondack Little One

In addition to the beautiful craftsmanship, each Kids Adirondack can be customized with 20 different colors to choose from. Match your own Adirondack or let them choose their own colors! Our standard wood tones are made with 97% per weight post-consumer recycled plastics, making this an eco-friendly purchase. The brighter, more tropical colors are made with a virgin HDPE resin instead of recycled. All colors are able to be recycled at the end of their 50-year life cycle.

Poly Swatch Guide

Whether you choose a vibrant or neutral color, you won’t have to worry if the chair gets nicked or a scratch. The color on all of our poly lumber products go throughout the lumber, not just on the surface.

Like our other poly lumber products, this Adirondack chair is easy to maintain. Since this chair does have a cup holder for a snack or sippy cup, it’s likely to need a little TLC every once in a while. For cleaning, all you’ll need is a soap and water mixture.

The perfect gift for any holiday or birthday, the Kids Adirondack is sure to be your child’s favorite chair, wherever your adventures may take you.

Year of the Rooster: How Does Your 2017 Look?

roosterWouldn’t it be nice to have an idea of how your year will go? What to avoid and what to keep an open mind to? Of course it would be! If you check newspapers or magazines, you’re bound to find a zodiac section, filled with different star signs and what your day will hold. With the Chinese New Year coming, up a whole new perspective on your horoscope could do you some good.

The Chinese zodiac system links a 12-year cycle to an animal and alternates each year. For example, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. In another 12 years, it will be a Rooster year again. Your Chinese zodiac animal sign depends on your birth year in this cycle and the Chinese lunar calendar, which begins on Chinese New Year. The animal signs include Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. If you were born in 1993 (24 years ago- or a multiple of 12), you are a Rooster sign.

In addition to your animal sign, there is also an element, depending on your year. Gold (metal), wood, water, fire, and earth elements work in conjunction with the animal sign for certain personality traits. These combinations recur every 60 years. For example, 2017 is a Fire Rooster year, meaning people born this year are trustworthy and have a strong sense of responsibility.

If you want your 2017 so go a little more smoothly, here are some hints:

If you are a Rat sign, your fortune is looking relatively good this year. It is advised that you put more effort into your current job and you will see the rewards. This is a great year for you to get married or begin having children.

If you are an Ox sign, you will have many new opportunities this year. In the career field, Oxen will have fortuitous finance and career development. But be careful on the health and romantic fronts, you’ll want to err on the side of caution.

If you are Tiger sign, be willing to accept help from the people around you. In love and career, take notes from others and go with the flow. This will be a year when you learn new things, so just prepared to take it all in!

If you are a Rabbit sign, this is going to be a rocky year. At work, there will be a lot of pressure and difficulty, which may push you to the edge of your career. Give in and move into what suits you better. Your bad luck cycle can be disrupted by getting married.

If you are a Dragon sign, your year is looking positive, especially if coupled with a relationship. Intuition will be your guide this year. Think carefully through taking the plunge with work, health, or love.

If you are a Snake sign, luck is on your side this year! While lucky, Snakes should lead with priorities to ensure success in their career. Keep thinking straight to overcome obstacles, especially the second half of the year. Health and love will be uneventful but take time to enjoy the small things.

If you are a Horse sign, be prepared to accept help from females. With new opportunities abound, Horses can look forward to good luck in their careers. With the love front looking like smooth sailing, Horses should take care to enjoy time with friends and family to relieve stress.

If you are a Goat sign, bad luck and feeling helpless will follow you into this year. Work very hard to learn and study where you currently are in your career, wait until next year to get out of your comfort zone. Spend your time taking care of the seniors in your life, your love life will be stagnant this year.

If you are a Monkey sign, this is a great career year for you! A mentor will help you to you to expand these work opportunities and carry over the good luck into your personal life. If you are a single Monkey, it is likely you will find love.

If you are a Rooster sign; watch out. In accordance with Chinese legend, you are actually unlucky in your zodiac year because you are “offending” Tai Sui, the God of Age. To ward off bad luck, it is advised that you wear red (not bought by you, only gifts), accessorize with jade, and adjust your furniture and dwellings to face east.  While your health, wealth, and love prospects aren’t looking great this year, you can find success in leadership and your creativity.

If you are a Dog sign, get ready for a bumpy ride. To be rewarded this year, you will have to go above and beyond your efforts from last year at work. Don’t let this pressure get the best of you, your health is at risk. Work extra hard this year, next year is Year of the Dog, therefore, unlucky to those born in the year.

If you are a Pig sign, you should spend all of your energy on your career. While your health and love life will remain the same, your career focus can bring you luck. This work drive can bring you lots of opportunities for social interaction; it’s time to network!