Must-Read Tips for a Perfectly Carved Pumpkin

Carving a pumpkin may seem like a fun, relaxing autumn activity that you can do together as a family, but if you’ve ever actually attempted to carve a pumpkin, you know that this isn’t always the case. Carving the perfect pumpkin is possible, however, and these simple tips can help you get there safely and without too much stress.

  1. Start by choosing a pumpkin with a flat bottom so that it won’t roll around while you try to carve it.
  2. Cut the top of the pumpkin on an angle, so that once you scoop it out and replace the stem it won’t drop down inside.
  3. Soak the pumpkin in a bleach solution for one or two hours before carving to lengthen its lifespan. After you carve it, dry thoroughly and rub the edges with some petroleum jelly to prevent it from shriveling.
  4. While it may seem like a waste of money, it’s very helpful to purchase a kit of knives designed especially for pumpkin carving. Using a common kitchen knife that is too big or not sharp enough can be dangerous for everyone involved.
  5. If this is your first time carving a pumpkin, choose a pattern with bold features and large details to make it a bit easier.
  6. Cut out your stencil and either trace it directly onto the pumpkin or tape it on with clear tape before carving.

8 Pro Tips for Carving the Perfect Pumpkin [Good Housekeeping]
Pumpkin Carving Tips – How to Carve a Jack-o'-lantern [About Food]
How to Carve a Pumpkin [Martha Stewart]

Creative Uses for Paper Towel and Toilet Paper Tubes

Instead of throwing away those empty paper towel tubes and toilet paper rolls, you might want to keep them around. There are a number of fun projects that you can create using these cardboard tubes, and best of all, they even help to keep them out of the landfill!

  • Cut a toilet paper roll in half and use it to plant seedlings. Simply fill the roll with soil, cover one end with plastic wrap, and plant your seedlings. When it’s time to transplant, you can bury the whole thing.
  • If you’re an avid crafter, use a toilet paper roll to store tangled string by cutting a notch into one end of the roll, slipping the string through and winding it up inside. Cut another notch into the other end to keep the whole thing in place.
  • Prevent creases in your pants from the clothes hanger by cutting a paper towel tube in half lengthwise and sliding it over the length of the hanger. The next time you hang your pants, the tube will help minimize creasing.
  • Make cute (and cheap) napkin rings for your next get-together by cutting a toilet paper roll into smaller rings and covering them with leftover fabric scraps.

18 Incredible Uses for Cardboard Tubes [Reader’s Digest]
10 Unconventional Ways to Use Old Paper Towel and Toilet Paper Rolls Around the House [One Green Planet]
15 Surprising Uses for Toilet Paper Tubes [Care2]

Pucker Up! Here Are 6 Ways to Clean With Lemons

Not only do lemons smell great, they’re also packed full of naturally disinfecting properties that are said to be safer and gentler on your household than store bought cleaners. If you want to make the switch to a green cleaning routine, check out these tips for cleaning with lemons in every room in your home.

  1. Clean the copper bottoms of frequently used pots and pans by sprinkling coarse salt on half of a lemon and scrubbing away.
  2. If you’re unsure of how to properly disinfect wooden cutting boards, rub lemon juice onto stained areas and watch as they fade away overnight. You can also use lemon juice to clean your cutting boards after each use.
  3. Remove odors from your microwave by filling a cup 3/4 of the way full with tap water, then adding two tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat the mixture to boiling, and then let it sit for approximately 10 minutes to fully dilute odors.
  4. Create an all-purpose cleaner for countertops and tables by filling a spray bottle with diluted lemon juice.
  5. Clean grout from the bathtub or shower by using lemon juice and an old toothbrush. Simply dip the toothbrush in the lemon juice, then scrub until the debris disappears.
  6. Polish the faucets on your bathtub and bathroom sink by gently rubbing them with half of a lemon and coarse salt.

Cleaning With Lemon Juice [DIY Network]
24 Things You Can Clean With Lemon [Mother Nature Network]
10 Ways to Clean the Kitchen with Lemon Juice [How Stuff Works]

5 Reasons to Have Petroleum Jelly in Your Beauty Arsenal

Though it’s tempting to splurge on pricey makeup and skincare products, few things are more useful than good old-fashioned petroleum jelly. This miracle product is simple, very versatile, and, best of all, incredibly affordable. Here are just a few of the best beauty uses for petroleum jelly.

  1. Use it as an eye makeup remover. With its slick, gooey texture and petroleum-based composition, petroleum jelly makes a great eye makeup remover. Just smear some across your eyelids and wipe it off gently with a cotton ball or tissue.
  2. Highlight your cheekbones. Instead of contouring your face using an expensive, name brand highlighter, get the same effect for just a few dollars with petroleum jelly. Dot a tiny bit on the cheekbones, brow bones, and upper lip, then smooth it over with your fingers or a makeup sponge.
  3. Create a nail polish shield. If you always get nail polish on your cuticles while giving yourself an at-home manicure, smear some petroleum jelly around the nails to keep the polish from staining your fingers.
  4. Use it as a heavy-duty moisturizer. Apply petroleum jelly to elbows, knees, and heels to combat dry skin during cold winter months.
  5. Conceal split ends. If you’ve waited a bit too long between haircuts, dab a small amount of petroleum jelly to the ends of your hair to coat split ends and make them less noticeable.

16 Practical Uses for Petroleum Jelly [All You]
26 Extraordinary Uses for Petroleum Jelly [Reader's Digest]
57 Uses for Petroleum {Free} Jelly [One Good Thing]

How to Make This Year’s Halloween Party Your Best Ever

So you’ve decided to throw a Halloween party at your home, but where do you start? Luckily, a spooky Halloween theme offers an almost endless list of decoration and refreshment ideas to make your party a ghoulish good time. Here’s just a bit of inspiration.

Severed Finger Invitation []
Give your guests a fright before the party even starts by sending them a severed "finger" in a box as a party invitation!

Spiked Witch’s Brew []
For refreshments, serve a black cauldron filled with a spiked punch that looks like witch’s brew. You can even make it “smoke” by adding dry ice to the cauldron.

Monster Face Paint []
Entertain the little ones at a Halloween party by setting up a face painting station. Even if the party isn’t a costume party, they’ll love to wear their new monster face around all night.

Mad Scientist Party []
If you prefer to go all-out with a unique theme, a mad scientist party is one that your guests probably haven’t seen before. Decorate with beakers and test tubes, don a white lab coat and a wild wig, and turn your kitchen into a laboratory filled with experimental refreshments.

Five Beauty­ Enhancing Products You Already Have at Home

Beauty products and spa treatments make you look and feel great, but they can turn your wallet inside out. Try using these everyday products as quick, hassle-free beauty treatments to keep your looks in line.

Use this bathroom staple as a quick zit zapper. Rest easy with a dollop of the minty fresh paste on the potential pimple overnight and see it disappear in the morning.

Shine up your locks with a couple bags of chamomile tea. Brew two tea bags worth of tea, refrigerate it to room temperature before pouring it over wet, just-washed hair. Let it sit in your strands for ten minutes before rinsing it out for a beautiful, shiny mane.

Whole Milk
This wholesome drink works great as a gentle way to slough off dead skin and moisturize at the same time. For sensitive skin, add a gallon to your next bath for a moisturizing soak.

When life hands you lemons, use them to moisturize your dry skin! Slice a few lemons in half and rub then cut side over your rough patches. Let the citric acid sit for a minute on the skin and then rinse for super smooth skin.

Bananas & Avocado
These two emollient-rich foods do wonders for frizzy hair. Mash together one of each and work it through a dry head of hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse, and voila: beautiful tame locks.

Our Favorite All-Natural Home Beauty Treatments [Fitness]
Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work [Whole Living]
DIY Beauty Treatments! [Seventeen]
6 All-Natural Beauty Fixes [Woman's Day]

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