Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category


Four Ways of Honoring Native American Heritage This Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 15th, 2015


American history and culture can sometimes feel like a Seurat painting: some of us stand at a distance and see only an idyllic scene. When asked about that monkey business at the bottom of the famous “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, many say they hadn’t even noticed. There are a few, however, who not only see that monkey but also have a perspective that gives them a close look at the Seurat, revealing its bumps, complexities, and ugliness. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Columbus Day crystallize this dichotomy of perspective.

In particular, Thanksgiving immortalizes a friendly thank you dinner between native people and pilgrims who’d been pulled from the brink of death, but erases the tragic thanks that the indigenous people suffered thereafter. One can’t fully appreciate the historical meaning of Thanksgiving without first taking that disturbing closer look at history and then returning to the quickly lost tradition of honoring native American heritage. After all, without the help of native people, the pilgrims have never have survived to make America our shared home.

Here are four ways to give thanks and appreciate Native Americans this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.

1. Remember great individuals like Sacajawea who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition, Maria TallChief who danced with the New York City Ballet in the 40’s and 50’s, comedian Will Rogers, and of course the political and military leaders who defended and preserved a people and culture under siege. And remember that October 12 is not only Columbus Day but also Indigenous People’s Day – another chance to remember the complete story.

2. Cultivate a pro-indigenous culture in the mainstream by divesting from the many sport organizations, businesses, and products that natives say still exploit, misrepresent, and denigrate native people often for mere branding purposes (looking at you, Sexy Chief costumes).

3. Give back to organizations that serve the needs and interests of these very deserving but often under-served people. Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), American Indian College Fund, and Native American Business Alliance (NABA) are just a few charitable organizations you can support.

4. Pass it forward. That means taking the same generosity that natives showed to our weak and weary predecessors, and passing it forward to those less fortunate than ourselves. Native people made America possible by teaching immigrants how to till the land and survive; later, we even used their fighting techniques to win our independence. Think about how you too can empower fellow Americans and the weak and weary around the world.

As we cultivate an attitude of gratitude, humility, and generosity during this uniquely American tradition of Thanksgiving, honoring Native Americans for their life-saving generosity towards America’s first immigrants must go beyond plays with children donning feathered headbands. After all, a thank you dinner is all the first pilgrims could do to express their thanks as they struggled to make a new life. We, on the other hand, have the power to do so much more and continue to see new reasons to be grateful as native peoples continue to shape America’s future.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ― W.T. Purkiser

5 Ways to Honor Local Veterans on Veterans Day

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015


While the Christmas fanatics often forget that there are even holidays during the month of November, there is another holiday that we foodies tend to forget even as we reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. Veterans Day is November 11th and it’s a great time to show some pre-Thanksgiving gratitude to those brave men and women who may not be our near and dear, but who’ve risked their lives and made sacrifices to protect our way of life. So, before you stuff and carve that turkey, here are five ways you can honor those who have fought for our country:

Visit: Whether your local veteran is in a retirement home or the house next door, you can put on your Sunday best and brighten their day with your smile. If you do not have a local veteran, visit the closest memorial and give a big thanks to all.

Help: Many veterans are unable to do certain tasks around their home. That’s when a young, able-bodied person (such as yourself) comes in handy. Go give them a hand with whatever chores they may need; fall has arrived and those leaves aren’t going to rake themselves.

Welcome: You know what everyone loves about November? Food and it’s always nice to share the food with others (because you never finish it all in one day). So, you can invite a local veteran to your home for Thanksgiving dinner, and then let them take a big plate back with them.

Listen: Veterans have a lot of stories to tell but there aren’t too many to tell them to. Be one of the people who hears them out and listens to whatever amazing story they have to share. A listening ear is sometimes the best thing.

Give: Whether you’re donating money, supplies or time, it’s always nice to give something to help those who need it. With the cold season here/approaching/near, how about providing some warm clothes or taking time to help build homes for veterans.

And those are just a handful of ways you can honor and say thank you to those who have served. Visit for even more Veterans Day ideas. For those of you who have served, we thank you for your service.

Happy Veterans Day from TalkLocal!

What to Do with Your Leftover Pumpkins

Monday, November 2nd, 2015


Halloween has come and gone and all you’re left with is leftover candy, the dread of the upcoming gift buying rush, and pumpkins…lots of pumpkins. Now, comes the question: what can you do with all of that leftover pumpkin? While the obvious answer is to throw them away, there are more productive, nutritious, and delicious things to do with each part of those gourds. Here are just a few ideas!

Warning: If a pumpkin has been carved and left out for 24 hours, they can be unsafe to eat.

Pumpkin Seeds

Well, pumpkin seeds are simple enough to recognize and do things with. First, you can the bake them and eat them because they are delicious and nutritious. Or you can choose to eat them raw or give them some salt for a bit of taste. They’re also good in brownies. Maybe after you taste them, you decide you aren’t a fan of the taste. That’s perfectly fine. If they’re not your thing, you can take them to your local park and feed them to the birds.

Pumpkin Guts

Sounds gross. Pumpkin guts are the annoying stringy bits that are attached to the pumpkin seeds. While there aren’t as many uses for them as the other parts, they can still be used to make pumpkin stock. Separate the guts from the seeds and then put them in a pot of water and boil it for about 30 minutes (or until the water changes color). After that, strain the guts from the broth and plan what you want to use your pumpkin broth for. Maybe a good soup.

Pumpkin Flesh

Another gross term but this is different from the guts. This is the part that’s on the inside of the shell and with it, you can turn the pulp into a puree and do all kinds of amazing things with it. To get to that pulp, cut your pumpkin in half and take out all of the seeds and guts (which you’ve probably already done for our first things). Afterwards, place the pumpkin (cut-side down) in a baking dish with about a cup of water then bake it for 90 minutes (or until the flesh is tender).Then, all you have to do is scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor.

Now, that you have that delightful puree, what can you do with it? Everything! You can use it for your pies, your butter and even pumpkin face masks which are great for your face because pumpkins are filled with zinc and vitamins A, C, and E.

Pumpkin Shell

And all that leaves is the outside which you probably already turned into a Jack-O-Lantern. With what’s left of the pumpkin, why not create a really cute planter for your garden? If the pumpkin’s been carved, pack the soil really tightly to ensure none gets out of the face. Best thing: out in your garden, the pumpkin will compost naturally and fertilize your garden. Just make sure you’ve removed all the seed otherwise you may end up planting something unexpected.If the pumpkin garden decor isn’t your style, just add it to the compose pile so that your garden can still benefit from the pumpkin’s nutrients come planting season.

Need more ideas? Here are plenty, the possibilities are endless. Was there a pumpkin leftover favorite that we missed? Comment and let us know.

And as always, if you need help with booking a home service, especially as the holiday season ramps up, give TalkLocal a ring.

Five Super Fun Kids’ Crafts for Halloween

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015


It’s the final countdown to October 31st! Soon, you’ll need the mountains of Halloween candy ready and the kids will need to have their costumes primed and prepped. You’ll also probably need to put up a decoration or two. Now, how do you distract the kids long enough to get those things ready?

Well, to help keep the kids busy for a while and even get some cute (or terrifying) Halloween decorations up in time, here are five super fun kids’ crafts for Halloween that we loved on our Pinterest board:

Halloween Tin Can Bowling: What’s better than crafts for kids? Crafts for kids that continue to distract them afterwards, of course! This Tin Can Bowling DIY is child’s play, literally. Take about five or so tin cans and have the kids paint them to look like fun Halloween monsters. When that’s done, give your children some room and a small ball (no firmer or larger than a tennis ball) so that they can defeat their monstrous creations by bowling them over.

Black Sock Cat: Happen to have a black sock and don’t know what to do with it? Well, the kids can lay the sock flat, trim the ankle opening into a big C shape, then stuff the sock full of soft cottony filling. Afterwards, we recommend you being the one to sew it up. Add a cute ribbon,  some little button eyes, a triangle nose, and you have a new pet cat who is plushy, pawless, and will keep the kids entertained and the upholstery perfectly safe!

Handprint Witch: Hand painting is fun for the kids because it’s messy and it lets them personalize their art. Bonus, it helps you track their growth over the years and remember how little they once were. The handprint turkey is already popular in school, so why not adapt it to the Halloween season? The kids can turn their handprint into little witches. A green handprint, some orange paint for hair, a paper pointy hat, and whatever other witchy things they can think of.

Fuzzy Monster Snap Bracelets: This one is great because the kids can walk around with them and show them off to their friends. Pick up a fuzzy snap bracelet and some googly eyes. Put on as many eyes as you want (we say the more the better), then add some felt scraps for whatever special kind of monster your child wants to represent.

Halloween Garland: A Halloween garland is pretty simple to make. You’ll need various colored construction paper (orange, yellow, black, all the fun Halloween colors), then you cut them up and make them into whatever Halloween thing you want before you glue them to a long piece of string. Voila! Hang them up wherever you want them in the house, or even outside.

So, there you have it! If you have anymore craft ideas that you want to share or look for, then check out our Pinterest board. Also, don’t forget to give TalkLocal a ring when you need a professional to get some home projects done before the twilight hour.

Happy Halloween!

How To Carve A Pumpkin In 5 Steps

Monday, October 12th, 2015


We hate to love it, but it’s a cherished family tradition. Picking out scary or fun designs to draw (and trying not to mess up) and scooping out gross orange flesh. That’s right, it’s pumpkin carving! The actual process is a BIG pain – let’s admit it. But, the look on the kiddies’ faces when you finish makes it 100% worth it. So, that’s why we keep doing it.

Now, are you ready to carve some pumpkins? Here are our five steps to properly carve a pumpkin:

1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin. You can use a keyhole saw to cut it, but any serrated knife will do.

2. Hollow out the pumpkin by scooping out the insides (flesh, pulp and seeds). Any large-sized spoon or scraping tool will work. It is important to scrape some of the walls’ flesh because it thins the walls and makes carving a whole lot easier.

3. Draw a fun (or scary) design with a marker, or print out a template and tape it to the pumpkin. To trace the design, you can use a sharp tool like a nail or needle tool.

4. Remove the template (if you used one) and begin to carve out the design feature with the same serrated knife you used to cut off the top of the pumpkin. Tip: try to saw in short, back and forth movements. This will give you more control.

5. Place a candle inside. We recommend putting it in a glass or using a battery-operated light inside the pumpkin. P.S. If you use a candle, cut out a “smoke hole” in the back so the smoke from the candle can escape.

Voila! Your pumpkin is ready to go. If you’re worried about it turning brown before Halloween comes, you can apply a layer of vaseline to the outside of the pumpkin. You can also preserve the pumpkin by placing it in the fridge whenever you’re out of the house. We highly recommend doing both to keep your Jack O’ Lantern in good shape.

Make sure to check out our Halloween board on Pinterest for tons of pumpkin decoration ideas, creepy recipes, and scary DIY decoration ideas.

Happy Halloween!