4 Summer Food Trends You’ll Want to Try Right Now!
It’s (almost) summer and that means it’s grilling season! This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of eating outside as often as possible and making use of the many fresh foods available this season. It’s also the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, we have some recipe ideas that will get your taste buds tingling!
Watermelon Ice Cubs
You read that right! A hot (or should we say cool) trend out right now is taking pureed watermelon and freezing it in an ice cube tray. You can add these sweet cubes to a regular glass of water, for a fruity kick or use them in any variety of juices or cocktails to add flavor without watering down the drink. Why stop with watermelon? Any fruit puree can be frozen and used in the same way. Peaches, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple would all make great varieties.
Vegetables Wrapped in Steak
This trend offers a new twist on the ever-popular kabobs. All it requires is a thin piece of meat, like skirt steak, and your favorite vegetables. Slice your vegetables long, about the same length as your steak, or meat of choice. Then wrap them with the meat and pin closed with tooth picks. Add them to the grill and watch the magic happen. The meat adds flavor to the vegetables, while keeping them moist. The end result is a perfectly portioned meal, ready to be served.
This next summer food trend marries the smoky taste of the grill with the sweet taste of fruit. Maybe you’ve had grilled pineapple before, but this new trends opens the door to every fruit! Place your strawberries, watermelon, peaches, blueberries and more on skewers, just as you would meat or vegetables, then grill them to perfection. You can serve these as a side dish, or add them atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.
Of course we can’t end without dessert! Campfire cones are as simple as they are delicious, and everyone can make them just the way they want them. Essentially you start with a waffle cone and fill it with any variety of ingredients such as chocolate, marshmallow, bananas, raspberries, nuts, and more. Next, you wrap the cone in tinfoil and place it over a heat source like a camp fire or fire pit. After three to five minutes, the chocolate and marshmallow will have melted to create a deliciously gooey dessert you’ll want to try again and again.
Which of these food trends is your favorite? Or do you have another trend to show? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment.
7 Family-Friendly Activities to Do This Spring in Central PA
Spring in Central Pennsylvania is a beautiful and fun time of year when everyone seems to come back to life and branch out into the community looking for fun, family-friends events to enjoy. Central PA has an ever-growing list of activities, parades and festivals that cater to a wide variety of interests. Here’s a look at 6 of the many family-friends activities to put on your calendar this spring!
St. Patrick’s Day Parades – Varied Dates
All across Central PA, St. Patrick’s Day Parades will be taking place over the course of March. This means multiple opportunities for you and the family to head out and experience the fun of this lively Irish holiday. Here is a snap shot of the St. Patrick’s Day Parades scheduled this year in Central PA: Scranton and York on March 11; Lancaster (a Saint Patrick’s Day benefit concert) on March 11; Philadelphia on March 12; Harrisburg on March 18; Stroudsburg on March 19; and Girardville on March 25.
Central PA Comic Con – April 1-2, 2017
Saturday, April 1 through Sunday, April 2, the York Fairgrounds will be transformed into “Central PA Comic Con.” Memorial Hall East will feature 28,000 square feet of fandom fun with meet and greets with some of your favorite comedic stars. This year marks the five year anniversary of the event, and they have plans to make it the best one yet. If your family is a fan of comics, be sure to mark your calendars for this event.
Spring Carlisle Car Show – April 19-23, 2017
From Wednesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 23, the Spring Carlisle Car Show will again take place at the Carlisle Fairgrounds. This is a collector and classic car swap meet, car corral and auction that has been noted as one of the top five automotive swap meets in the world by Fox News. This is a great family event where you can casually explore the 8,100 vending spaces and even slip behind the wheel of some of the vehicles!
Dillsburg Picklefest – May 13, 2017
This small town festival kicks off with a 5k Pickle Chase & then all of the food starts up. Of course, there are many pickle flavored items to try! There is a charming arts & craft show, a kids zone, and even a little of history to explore at the Maple Shade Barn. If you are looking for a relaxed free event, Picklefest has what you are looking for!
Greek Fest of Holy Trinity – May 19-21, 2017
Starting on Friday, May 19 and running through Sunday, May 21, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill will again host its ever-popular Greek Fest. What really draws in the crowds in the mouthwatering array of handmade, authentic Greek food. Whether your taste is sweet or savory, you and the whole family will find a treat worth indulging in at the Greek Fest. Better yet, there are an assortment of vendors selling crafts and various other items. Come rain or shine, this is one event not to miss!
Army Heritage Days – May 20-21, 2017
Whether someone in your family is a war-buff, or simply enjoy exploring the open grounds of the U.S. Army Education Center, make it a point to come out to Armed Forces weekend May 20-21, 2017. The grounds feature a timeline living history event that features several hundred reenactors from all eras spread out over the one mile long Army Heritage Trail. Best of all, this is a free event, making it that much more family-friendly!
Arts Fest of Greater Harrisburg – May 27-29, 2017
From Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29, the Riverfront Park in downtown Harrisburg will again be transformed into a bustling hub of activity including hundreds of vendors selling arts, crafts and delicious treats. This is a great family event because “kids” of all ages will enjoy the festival setting and all the inspiring works of art created by vendors in PA and beyond.
10 Unique New Year Eve Tradition’s in Central Pennsylvania
Across Central Pennsylvania, towns and cities of all sizes ring in the New Year with quite a variety of celebrations that include a twist on the traditional ball drop. From food items like pickles and bologna to roses and wrenches, each item has its own connection to the city in which it is dropped (or in some cases, raised). Let’s take a look at 10 of these creative New Year’s Eve celebrations that take place across Central Pennsylvania and the meaning behind them!
Dillsburg – Pickle Drop
Of course a town named Dillsburg would choose to drop a pickle! The idea is as delicious as it is fun. The full evening of celebration includes vendors, children’s activities, Irish clog dancers, magic show, balloon artist and wintery refreshments. Especially for the children who may not stay up late enough to see the official pickle drop at midnight, a “baby pickle drop” takes place at 7 p.m. The big pickle drop is followed by a grand finale of fireworks!
Carlisle – First Night Button
What was once a car drop for the town of “car”lisle, has since been changed to the raising of a button (as of 2013). A large replica of the buttons used for admission to the night’s festivities is raised instead of dropped because the community wanted to raise their spirits for the New Year. What does the button look like? The design changes from year to year! Children can enter a drawing using the year’s theme, and the winning drawing is used on the buttons for admission as well as for the large button that is raised 21 feet in the air at midnight.
Lower Allen Township – Lowering of the Yellow Breeches
Upper and Lower Allen Townships are known for their prime location next to the Yellow Breeches, so it’s only fitting that their New Year’s Eve celebration would involve a nod to this local attraction. The township’s celebration involves a variety of games, activities and refreshments for families and takes place at the Barn in Lower Allen Township Park. At midnight, a pair of five-foot-tall “yellow breeches” are lowered by children attendees.
Mechanicsburg – Wrench Drop
The name does most of the explaining! Mechanicsburg drops a large, lighted wrench in the middle of downtown with many activities taking place throughout the evening.
Harrisburg – Strawberry Drop
Market Square in downtown Harrisburg is most recognized by the building known as “Strawberry Square.” This location is home to offices and retail space and also connects to the Hilton Hotel. Because Strawberry Square is such a central point in downtown Harrisburg, it’s fitting that they choose to drop a strawberry at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. The full celebration includes music, theatrical performances and children’s activities, plus a ton of activity on restaurant row.
Hershey – Raising of the Hershey’s Kiss
What else would the town made famous by chocolate raise on New Year’s Eve other than its signature Hershey Kiss? What’s great about Hershey’s celebration is that it is extremely family friendly with activities beginning as early at 11am that day. Music, games and refreshments make it an enjoyable event for attendees of all ages.
Lebanon – Bologna Drop
Lebanon, a town very well known for its delicious Dutch treat, Bologna, chooses to drop a 12 foot, 250 pound replica on New Year’s Eve. What a sight to see! This fun and amusing celebration is a great way to ring in the New Year. Be sure to come hungry and enjoy the many different treats Lebanon has to offer its guests.
Highspire – Candy Drop
The New Year’s Eve candy drop in Highspire is not only fun, there’s a special meaning behind it too! At midnight, a variety of small candies are dropped from a Knight’s Candy bin and children dash to collect their share. The candy drop is in commemoration of the Knights Candy Store that operated there during the 1950s to 1970s. Counting down to the candy bin tipping over and spilling out candy is exciting for guests of all ages.
York – White Rose Drop
In the town square, the city of York drops a white rose at midnight followed by a large fireworks display. Why the white rose? This symbolizes the War of Roses which were a series of wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet. The House of York’s symbol was a white rose.
Lancaster – Lowering of the Red Rose
Similarly to York’s NYE celebration, Lancaster lowers a red rose to symbolize the House of Lancaster which was associated with a red rose throughout the War of Roses. This is such an interesting piece of our history here in Central Pennsylvania (which you can learn more about here). It’s a great tradition that each town honors its heritage, and looks to the future, by celebrating with a special rose to ring in the New Year!
Do you have another unique New Year’s Eve celebration to share? Leave us a comment!
How to Keep Your Pets Safe & Healthy in the Winter
Winter can be a fun and exciting time for your pets who enjoy watching the snow fall or running around in the cooler weather. However, winter can also pose several new dangers to your pet’s health and safety. It’s important to use common sense, plan ahead and exercise some caution to be sure you furry friends are kept comfortable. Take a look at these seven tips for keeping your pets safe and healthy this winter!
Keep them inside
It’s a myth that pets are more tolerant of the cold than humans. For most breeds, dogs and cats get cold just as quickly as we do. Try to keep your pet inside during the coldest winter days and especially overnight. Provide several sleeping options so they can choose if they need to be warmer or cooler in the home. Finally, watch for signs that they may be seeking more warmth or are too hot. Trust your intuition!
Offer protective coverings for fur & paws
It’s likely that avoiding the outdoors altogether is simply not possible. Your pet will need to go to the bathroom and get exercise at some point! When you do take your furry friend outside, cover their paws with booties or paw pads that add an extra layer against the cold and ice. Also consider investing in a pet coat or vest to insulate their core while still giving them full mobility.
Wipe down their fur after being outside
Once you bring your pet in from outside, wipe down their coat and paws. This ensures any ice that may have gotten stuck will be removed before it can cause damage or discomfort. It will also keep your home a lot cleaner!Additionally, a quick wipe down will remove any potential chemicals like anti-freeze or salt that your pet may have picked up during their time outside.
Make guests aware of food allergies & rules for table scraps
If you plan to host a holiday gathering of any size, be sure to mention to guests your ground rules for feeding the pets. If your furry friend is not used to table scraps, they can become very ill. Additionally, a house guest may not be aware of a food allergy and accidentally slip them a treat that turns deadly. Avoid this scenario by being upfront about pet feeding policies in your home.
Keep them up to date on vaccines & their medicine in stock
Preventative care is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to keep your pet in good health throughout the winter months. Keep them up to date on check-ups and vaccines. Also, if you pet is on medication, be sure to stay well stocked especially if there is a threat of a winter storm that might prevent you from getting to the vet for a refill. To help lessen the financial burden of visits to the vet, consider investing in pet insurance.
Be sure their collar information & microchipping is up to date
Now is a smart time to check your pet’s collar information to be sure it reflects your current address and phone number. In the winter, a pet can get lost more easily because familiar scents and landmarks may be covered up by snow. This is an especially dangerous time of year to get lose due to the cold temperatures. Give your pet the best chance of being found and returned by keeping their emergency information up to date.
Give your car a quick check before starting the engine
During the winter, stray animals will seek out any available heat source which includes your car engine. Its takes only a few seconds to give your vehicle a quick glance for any sleeping critters before you turn on your engine. Make some noise and give any potentially sleeping animals some time to scurry away!
What steps do you take to ensure your pets are kept safe and comfortable during the winter months? We’d love to hear your ideas!
It’s the holiday season and it’s likely that many of you will be doing some type of travel to celebrate with your family and friends over the coming months. While the time spent together is priceless, the stress and frustration often associated with holiday travel can be downright painful.
Check out this helpful advice for making traveling over the holidays just a little more enjoyable, whether it includes an international plane ride or merely a couple hours in the car. Take a look!
Give yourself a lot of extra time
Especially if you’re traveling with children, give yourself ample time for setbacks and pit stops along the way. You are likely to also encounter some holiday traffic and having some time to spare will make you less stressed while you’re inching along. Even if you don’t use all of your buffer travel time and end up arriving at your destination a little earlier than planned. All the better! This means more time to visit with family.
Share driving responsibilities
If your holiday travel includes driving for long distances, you will want to share this responsibility with at least one other driver. Have a schedule for when each person will go behind the wheel and let the other person rest. This will keep you and your family safe while making the long travel a little more enjoyable for you.
Be flexible with your travel dates
If possible, try and avoid the heaviest holiday travel days which tend to be the day before or the day of a holiday. If you can swing it with your work schedule, take a long weekend or use an extra vacation day to make your stay a little longer. Not only will you avoid the headache of holiday traffic, you’ll have more time to spend with your family.
Ship presents in advance
Having presents directly delivered to where you’ll be celebrating the holidays is a smart and savvy idea. You’ll reduce the amount of luggage you have to carry with you, which is valuable no matter how you’ll be traveling. Just be sure to let the recipient know to not open the packages before the holidays!
Keep your essentials within arm’s reach
Water, snacks, a book, phone or iPad are all items you’ll be grateful to have nearby to make your travel a little more bearable. Don’t make the mistake of packing these items away deep in your suitcase. Rather, be sure to pack them in your carryon or a bag you keep in the front seat of the car.
Plan your pit stops
Pit stops are a necessary part of travel. If you’re traveling with multiple children, you should plan out your pit stop strategy to avoid someone needing to stop every 20 minutes. Give everyone a heads up as to when the next stop will be so they can plan ahead with their bathroom and food needs.
Always be kind
Finally and most importantly, remember to be kind to one another even during the most stressful moments. This goes for your family members traveling with you as well as strangers who you pass at a pit stop or sit by on a plane. The holidays should be a happy and care-free time where people go out of their way to spread some cheer. Let this be your inspiration for doing something nice for someone else and hopefully they will pass it along too!
What piece of holiday travel advice did you find most helpful? Share your thoughts by commenting below.
6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Could Be Covered by Insurance
When you purchase insurance for your home, automobile, life or anything else, you likely have a good understanding of the most obvious things you expect the policy to cover. But did you know that there are a ton of other scenarios that may also be included under your insurance plans?
It’s important to keep in mind that each insurance company and each policy they offer vary, so check with your insurance agent or policy to verify your coverage!
In case life should throw you a curve ball, there’s a lot of value in being informed of your insurance policies so you can fully utilize your coverage. Here’s a look at six things you probably didn’t know could be covered by insurance.
Food spoilage in freezers and refrigerators due to loss of power
If your home should lose power for a prolonged period of time, causing your freezer or refrigerator to turn off and get warm, you will likely have to toss the food you had stored in there. Depending upon your homeowner insurance policy, you could be eligible for a reimbursement to cover this loss. This could be especially important for homeowners who have a freezer chest or spare refrigerator in which they store steaks or bulk food.
Temporary repairs to your home
If your home should get hit by a storm or sustain some other type of damage, such as a tree falling on your roof, you will likely need to make immediate, temporary repairs to avoid further damage to your home. Most property insurance policies provide a reimbursement of a certain
amount to put towards temporary repairs to protect property from further loss, such as tarping the roof or parts of your home. When in doubt, protect your home, but don’t take risks to yourself in the process, hire a contractor to do the work that’s dangerous or specialized.
Identity theft expenses
We live in a day and age where identify theft is a daily threat to our finances, credit and private information. Many people are unaware that some insurance companies offer Identity Theft Expense Coverage, which for about $30/year, covers expenses related to identity theft, such as taking time off work, attorney’s fees and credit repair and monitoring services.
Loss of wages after an auto accident
If injuries from a car accident cause you to miss work, your car insurance may be able to help get back some or all of the lost wages. This benefit is part of personal injury protection, which covers injuries for you and your passengers regardless of who caused the crash. Note, personal injury protection is only required in 12 states, so make sure you check with your insurance agent!
If your dog bites someone and causes injury, your homeowner policy may cover that person’s medical expenses (even if the bite didn’t happen on your property). A lot of policies will also pay for legal expenses, if that injury results in a lawsuit.
Personal vehicle rental
Most national auto insurance companies extend your coverage on your best covered vehicle to any personal vehicle you rent for personal use in the US, at no extra cost. (Note: Smaller local or regional insurance companies don’t offer this outside of the state(s) they work in.) Credit card companies may also offer some coverage if using their card for the rental. Keep in mind that insurance companies are strict about personal vehicles for personal use. So if you are renting a car for commercial use, or if you are renting a U-Haul or dump truck, your personal auto policy most likely won’t extend coverage to it.
Again, we must emphasize that each insurance company and each policy they offer vary, so check with your insurance agent or policy to verify your coverage!
What insurance benefit did you find most surprising? Share your thoughts or ask a question by commenting below!