Blog Posts by Team Mom Staff

  • Make Life Easier With a Lazy Susan

    From the kitchen to the kid's room, there's one old-school gadget that can help simplify your life. Maxwell Ryan is the founder of Apartment Therapy, and he stopped by the "Easy Does It" studios to explain why the lazy Susan isn't so "lazy" after all.

    WATCH: Use a Tension Rod to Get Organized

    Maxwell suggests using lazy Susans in the kitchen to maximize cabinet space, whether storing pots and pans, spices, or perishables. "Snacks are a really good thing to put on a lazy Susan," Maxwell says, or "anything that's small that can get stuck in the back of the cabinet." And the simplified storage isn't limited to cabinets, either. Place a lazy Susan in the fridge to keep condiments together and in sight.

    Looking to help the kids get organized? Use a lazy Susan to create a craft center for your child's room. Simply glue metal containers to a lazy Susan, label, and "fill them all with your pencils, tape, paper — all your craft supplies," Maxwell says. The lazy Susan can also serve as a

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  • Grow Your Own Pizza Garden

    Making your own pizza is fun for the whole family, but growing your own ingredients can take your slice to the next level. Regina Ragone is the food director at Family Circle magazine, and she stopped by "Easy Does It" to demonstrate how to create our very own pizza garden.

    WATCH: Spring Cleaning Shortcuts

    Why grow a pizza garden? "It's a great way to get your kids in the cooking process, Regina explains. "And when kids actually get involved in the gardening, they'll eat more vegetables." Simply choose your favorite herbs and veggies; some classics are tomato, basil, oregano, peppers, and parsley.

    The best part? You don't necessarily need a backyard to start your garden. "If you don't have a ton of space outside, you can start your garden indoors," Regina says. Look for inexpensive biodegradable fiber pots — they will allow you to start seeds inside — then transfer to a larger pot (or outdoor garden) without harming the environment.

    WATCH: Lighter Spring Desserts

    Pick up some

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  • Lighter Spring Desserts

    Nobody likes to skip dessert, and with lighter sweets for spring, you won't have to! Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli shows how to make strawberry tartlets that are adorable to look at and incredibly fun to eat. Then, Alex shows off an easy coffee granita and a family recipe for a deluxe coffee cake, featured in her latest cookbook, "Old-School Comfort Food."

    Quickie Strawberry Tartlets

    · 1 lemon
    · 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    · 1 pound small to medium strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
    · 1 cup confectioners' sugar
    · 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    · 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    · 1/4 cup orange juice, not fresh squeezed
    · Cooking spray
    · 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream

    1. Prepare the fruit: Using a vegetable peeler and a light touch, remove the zest from half of the lemon. Try to remove the zest in small pieces, and leave the pith (the white part) behind. Juice the lemon into a medium bowl, and mix in the zest, granulated sugar, and strawberries. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready

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  • Spring Cleaning Shortcuts

    After a long winter, spring is the perfect time to refresh your home, but don't let the term "spring cleaning" scare you. Carolyn Forte, director at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, shares her ideas for tackling bigger cleaning projects.

    WATCH: Party Cleanup Tricks

    Curtains: If you don't have the time to get your curtains professionally cleaned, there's an easy way to freshen them up and remove dust. Simply toss them in the dryer on the "air fluff" cycle without any heat. "They'll get freshened, and they'll be ready to go back up," Carolyn says. If you don't even want to take them down, simply use the upholstery attachment tool on your vacuum for a quick dusting.

    Mattress: Remove the bedding and mattress cover, and give your mattress a good vacuuming. Then, run a household or garment steamer over the mattress. "That will help kill and remove some of the bacteria at the surface," Carolyn says. Finally, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress. "Let it sit about 15 minutes or

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  • Kid-Friendly St. Patrick's Day Sweets

    We're celebrating the luck of the Irish on this special episode of "Easy Does It." Chef (and Irishman) Stuart O'Keeffe shares his version of a mint-chocolate shamrock shake perfect for a St. Patrick's Day dessert. There's also a refreshing lime sherbet that will delight the kids and adults in your family.

    WATCH: Kicked-Up Grilled Cheese

    Stuart's Shamrock Shake
    Serves: 2

    3 large scoops of vanilla bean ice cream
    3 large scoops of chocolate ice cream
    2/3 cup of milk
    1/2 teaspoon pure mint extract
    Green food coloring
    Topping: whipped cream & green sprinkles

    In a blender, combine vanilla ice cream, mint extract, 1/3 cup of milk and 4-5 drops of green food coloring until smooth.
    Pour the first layer of vanilla-mint milk shake to the bottom of two tall glasses.
    Clean blender container.
    In the blender, combine chocolate ice cream and 1/3 cup of milk until smooth.
    Pour the chocolate milk shake over the vanilla-mint milk shake in the same glass, using a spoon to slow the flow and

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  • Make Life Easier with a Tension Rod

    Looking for a clever way to get organized? Try using one simple household tool: a tension rod. For just a few dollars, tension rods can help transform your living room, kitchen, and bedroom into a land of order — no drill necessary. Lifestyle expert Justine Santaniello shares some of her favorite ideas on this episode of "Easy Does It."

    WATCH: Tool-Free Storage Solutions

    Spice drawer: If you have a kitchen drawer that just collects junk, try converting it into a spice holder. Simply lay small tension rods across the drawer, and adjust to different-sized bottles of spices.

    Under-the-sink storage: Does the cabinet under your bathroom sink look like a disaster? Organize your cleaning supplies by placing a medium-sized tension rod across the width of the cabinet. Hang any spray bottles of cleaner over the rod to free up space for more storage underneath.

    WATCH: Speed Up Your Family's Morning Routine

    Decorations: For a festive look around holidays, hang ornaments or other decorations from a

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  • Easy Party Cleanup Tricks

    When the party's over and the guests are gone, you might find yourself alone with a pretty big mess. If you're not sure where to start, read on for great tips from Carolyn Forte at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

    "The first thing you need to do is put all the food away," Carolyn says. "You don't want to keep any food out longer than two hours." So if you can muster up the energy to do only one thing, throw your leftovers in the fridge before you hit the hay.

    WATCH: 5 Tips to Cut Cleaning Time in Half

    The immediate party aftermath is a great time to soak your tablecloth and linens. "Toss it in the washing machine, fill it up, and put it on a pre-soak cycle" if you want a head start on next morning's cleanup.

    If stray drink glasses left water rings on your tables, never fear. Carolyn suggests taking a thick towel and placing it on top of the ring. Then, using a warm iron (without steam), gently iron over the towel. "What that's doing is softening the finish a little bit to

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  • Speed Up Your Family's Morning Routine

    Does it take forever to get your family out the door in the morning? Getting ready for work and school can make you exhausted before you even leave the house. Dr. Natalie Azar joins Ereka for this episode of "Easy Does It" to share helpful ideas for speeding up your family's morning routine.

    1. Get up 15 minutes before your kids. "When the kids are around, they slow you down," Natalie says. Use the short morning quiet time to start getting yourself ready before the kids get out of bed.

    WATCH: Warm Up Your Bathroom for Winter

    2. Motivate with positive reinforcement. Children will respond to small rewards for good behavior. "I usually say to my kids, first one who has dressed, brushed their teeth, and is standing in front of the car will get a treat today," Natalie says. "You take the focus off of the yelling, screaming, and reminding 10 times."

    3. Encourage multitasking. If you let your children watch TV in the morning, make sure they are brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, or getting

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  • Who Needs Wrapping Paper?

    Everyone loves receiving a beautifully wrapped present, but going through rolls and rolls of gift wrap around the holidays can feel a little wasteful. This year, get creative with wrapping by repurposing, recycling, and reusing for presents that will look stunning under the tree. Interior designer Jennifer Adams shares some of her favorite ideas on this episode of "Easy Does It."

    WATCH: Best Hot Chocolate Ever

    Sheet music: Perfect for the music lover in your family. If you don't have sheet music around the house, wrap with pages of a book or magazine.

    Burlap: Use a burlap runner to wrap your gift, and fasten with kitchen twine and festive ribbon for contrasting textures that come together for a rustic and stylish presentation. Burlap bags also tend to cost less than traditional holiday gift bags. .

    Cloth napkins: Cloth dinner napkins can add an elegant touch to smaller gifts. Secure napkin corners with a rubber band, and then place a decorative napkin ring over the band for a special

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  • Best Hot Chocolate Ever

    What's better than a cozy cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter's day? If you've been relying on instant hot cocoa for your chocolate fix, you don't know what you're missing. In this sweet episode of "Easy Does It," chef Stuart O'Keeffe demos his favorite creamy hot chocolate and shares some delicious ideas to kick it up for extra decadence.

    WATCH: No Bake Pumpkin Pie

    Simply bring your milk or half-and-half to just below a simmer while you combine bittersweet and milk chocolate, sea salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Then, temper the chocolate by pouring the hot milk over the chocolate mix, allowing the chocolate to sit for a few minutes and slowly melt. Stir, and add back into the saucepan to stay warm while you serve to eager guests.

    WATCH: Surprising Trick for Extra-Cheesy Grilled Cheese

    Stuart recommends personalizing your hot chocolate with additions like peanut butter, instant coffee, caramel, peppermint sticks, or cinnamon sticks for an extra layer of flavor. So get creative

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