4 Reasons to Plan Your Outdoor Living Project in the Fall

Make your backyard alive with fun and laughter, plan your 2016 outdoor living project now!

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Summer is winding down and the crisp fall weather is moving in, bringing with it the brightly colored leaves, bonfires and hoodies, and pumpkin spice everything. Though you may be packing up your outdoor furniture and cutting back your perennials, now is the perfect time to start thinking about next year’s projects. Plan your 2016 outdoor living project now and make your backyard alive with fun and laughter!

TimberTech composite deck with paver patio by Chicago Suburb deck builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Continue reading “4 Reasons to Plan Your Outdoor Living Project in the Fall”

Best Fall Recipes

Celebrate the changing of the seasons with the scrumptious desserts and treats, savory dishes, and sweet refreshments!

Best Fall Recipes - Archadeck of Chiacgoland


SCRUMPTIOUS DESSERTS & TREATS

  Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

These soft and fluffy pumpkin cookies won’t last long, a double batch might be in order!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Cider Bread

Treat your taste buds to the warm, sweet Autumn flavors.

Apple Cider Bread Recipe

Apple Pie Fudge

Decadent fudge + Sweet apple pie = Flavorful explosions!

Apple Pie Fudge Recipe

Healthy Orange Jack-O-Lantern Cups

Delicious and healthy Halloween treat the kids are sure to love!

orange-jack-o-lantern-fruit-bowls

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream

Spiced buttercream tops off this sweet and savory blend of pumpkin and ginger.

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream Recipe

Spooky Boo Brownies

These adorable little ghosts are too sweet to be scary!

Spooky Boo Brownies Recipe


SAVORY DISHES

 Butternut Squash Risotto

Switch up the flavor of your risotto by adding tasty seasonal flavors!

Butternut-Squash-Risotto

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Fire up the grill for these juicy and delicious pork chops!

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

A Fall favorite recipe – savory and sweet

roasted-acorn-squash-brown-sugar

Easy Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Healthy and delicious, this recipe will quickly become a family favorite!

Easy Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes


SWEET REFRESHMENTS

Apple Cider Sangria

Crisp and delicious, this drink is the perfect refreshment for a beautiful Fall evening.

Apple cider sangira

Pumpkin Spice Latte

These warm and tasty drinks usher in the new season.  Skip the line at the coffee shop and make your own!

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte-at-Home

Hocus Pocus Fizz

Bubbly fizz, colored sugar, floating cranberries….what more could you want in a tasty Halloween beverage?

Hocus Pocus Fizz Drink Recipe

Tips to Prepare Your Deck and Paver Patio for Winter

We hope you enjoyed your summer!  The days are definitely growing cooler and winter is right around the corner.  Now is the perfect time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor living space for winter months; you’ll want to maintain your wooden deck, outdoor furniture, and paver patio to extend their life.  Here are a few tips to get you started.

Protecting Your Deck and PatioDeck and patio combination project

  • Sweep the surface removing all leaves and debris to help prevent mold and mildew forming.
  • Wash with mild soap and water.  If some dirt remains or if there are signs of mold, you may need to pressure wash the surfaces.  It is advisable that you use a professional as pressure washing at too high of a setting may cause damage.
  • If you have a deck, inspect the entire deck (slats,  handrails, railings, and posts) noting any rotting, loose rails, or warping. If  re-hammering the nails or tightening screws causes the nails or screws to sink into soft wood or splits the wood, then the piece should be replaced.
  • If you have a patio, add joining sand and sweep evenly into the joints of your patio.  Don’t put too much sand on the patio at one time. Most paver patios have tight joints between bricks and won’t need a lot of sand.

Protecting Your Furniture

  • Wash and store vinyl furniture indoors.
  • Inspect any wood furniture for damage and make the necessary repairs before covering or storing it for winter.
  • Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Clean soil from planters.  Any pots made of clay or other fragile materials should be brought indoors.

Tips for Snow Removal

  • If you are shoveling snow from your deck, run the shovel lengthwise across the boards to minimize scratching or cutting into the wood. Another option is to use a plastic shovel.
  • Avoid salt and other ice melting substances as they may damage or discolor your deck finish.

Top 10 Fun Ideas For The Thanksgiving Season

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we are reminded to be thankful for the good around us.  We needn’t wait for a holiday to celebrate the things we’re thankful for.  Gratitude is good for you, so surround yourselves with your loved ones and start celebrating!  What can you do?  Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.

RAK jarCreate a RAK Jar (Random Acts of Kindness)

Every day, randomly do something kind for someone else.  Write it on a strip of paper and place it in a jar.  By the time Thanksgiving arrives, your family will be brimming with happiness.  Bring the jar out on Thanksgiving day and read the random acts of kindness together.   If you really enjoyed this, try it for a full year.  It’s amazing how much happiness you’ll find when you’re actively being kind or helpful to others.

 

bake memoriesBake Up Memories in the Kitchen

Make a little party or play date out of it.  Everyone brings their favorite Holiday cookie recipe and you make a day of baking, laughing, and loving.  Everyone goes home with a plate of delicious holiday cookies.

 

 

Toasty FireGet Toasty by the Fire

Do you have a fire pit on your patio?  Curl up in warm blankets in front of the fire, sip on hot apple cider or hot chocolate, and roast marshmallows.  Enjoy the last bits of autumn outside.  Too chilly?  Enjoy the fireplace inside!

 

 

Thanksgiving TableclothThanksgiving Celebration Tablecloth

Want a great way to record what you’re thankful for each year?  Buy a plain tablecloth and provide fabric markers for your guests to write what they’re thankful for.  Ask that they sign and date each message.  Use this tablecloth year after year as a family tradition.

 

 

Thank a heroShow Your Gratitude to an Unsung Hero

Get together with your family and decide on a person or a group in your community who could use an extra pat on the back, ie. firefighters, soldiers, police officers, volunteers. Put together a special plate of goodies and deliver it (or pack it up for shipping) as a family.

 

 

Famer marketVisit the Craft Shows, Farmers Markets, and Parades

Plenty of family fun can be had locally.  You can find a list of many events in the Chicagoland area on our Event Calendar.

 

 

VolunteerVolunteer

Spending a holiday with people who are less fortunate tends to remind us to be grateful for all that we have. It’s truly rewarding to help others in need.  HandsOn Suburban Chicago is a great site that helps match those that want to volunteer with opportunities to serve their community.

 

 

Gratitude JournalKeep A Family Gratitude Journal Throughout the Year

Each night, a family member can share something that they are thankful for. Share the highlights of this family tradition at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.

 

 

GobbleStart an Exchange with Your Friends, In Your Neighborhood, or at Work

Who doesn’t like a little surprise?  You’ve Been Gobbled! is a fun little exchange where you secretly leave a treat on the doorstep of a neighbor along with the Gobble, Gobble poem that gives simple instructions to keep the game going.

 

 

Thanksgiving GamesPlay a Game

Enjoy a little laughter with your friends and family by playing a fun game.  Turkey Feathers is a fun game the adults and children can enjoy together.  Need more?  Here’s a great list to get you started